3 Ways to Open to Intimacy when You're an Abuse Survivor

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 3 Ways to Open to Intimacy when You're an Abuse Survivor
Childhood abuse doesn't have to stand in the way of you having a close and intimate relationship.

#2: Honor your limits.

This is not a time to pretend that everything is okay and to push forward. When you're feeling triggered and struggling to stay present, be very gentle with yourself.

Honor your limits and take the time to give yourself what you need.

Even if you and your partner are in the middle of making love, if an image of the abuse comes barging into your mind, pause. The tendency for many is to pretend that the memory, emotional discomfort or dissociation isn't happening.

You might not want to interrupt or get in the way of your partner's pleasure, but when you've pulled away, chances are he or she will notice.

There are countless ways to be intimate that don't involve sexual intercourse. Non-sexual touch can be an opportunity to connect deeply and meaningful too. If you are triggered while making love, ask your partner to hold you, say I love youor to give you a moment to come back to the present.

Keep the communication with your partner honest. Let him or her know if you are feeling triggered or like you are “leaving” and also what you are open to right now.

For example, you could say, “I'm triggered and need to stop for a minute and just breathe. Could you please just hold me?” Words like these help your partner understand that you aren't rejecting him or her and that you are working on being intimate.

#3: Continue to heal.

It doesn't matter how long ago the abuse happened or how much work you've done to heal your past, there is probably more healing to be done. Because the wounds of abuse can run very deep, the healing tends to be ongoing and in cycles or layers.

Please know that you don't have to re-live the trauma that happened during your childhood and it's not helpful to become fixated on or stuck in the past. What IS beneficial is for you to regularly do healing things for yourself.

This might mean that you meet with a counselor or coach who specializes in childhood abuse. It could be that you get those layers of residual emotion and thought out by writing in a journal. Healing might be as simple as taking an occasional evening to do something that feels soothing to your “inner child.”

The more you allow time and space for your healing, the more open and available you can be to deeper and enjoyable intimacy with your partner.
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Susie & Otto Collins

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Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect and create the passionate relationships they desire.



 

Location: Columbus, OH
Credentials: BS, CCC
Specialties: Communication Problems, Couples/Marital Issues
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