Welcome Metta family!

My name is Renee Minx. I am a masters level mental health therapist as well as a person in long-term successful recovery from complex trauma and addiction.

Please feel free to reach out if you want to work together for individual therapy or if you have any questions reneeminxtherapy@gmail.con

What will your blogs be about?

This blog is about all things trauma, wellness, recovery and health. My clinical expertise is in trauma, abuse survivors, somatic techniques, inner child work and holistic healing.

Why read this blog?

  • Because you will learn new ways to help cope with your mental health symptoms
  • Because improving your own symptoms will also improve your relationships
  • As you learn more, your awareness will grow and so will your power to change

I am extremely passionate about trauma and mental health healing because I know that a happier life is possible.

I want us to connect with each other like a community would. So if you have any requests that I write on a topic please let me know! I’m also very open to questions as well.

I want this to be a free and helpful resource from an expert + survivor to you. Cheers to this journey of life together!

If you have any more questions about psychotherapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at reneeminxtherapy@gmail.com

Thank you so much! You are worthy of wisdom, healing, and being LOVED.

#mentalhealth #traumatherapy #cptsd #ptsd

What is best treatment for mental health therapy?

I receive this question quite often from incoming clients or people that are just curious about mental health treatment and therapy. We tend to be pretty goal oriented and solution focused in this country so of course when we think about healing, we want to know about the best treatment possible.

There are two main components in my professional opinion that lead to the best treatment for mental health therapy. I’ve listed them below:

1. The therapeutic relationship. There has been research done over and over and over again that proves that the relationship between therapist and client is the most important indicator for success in treatment. I value and adore every single one of my clients, and feel so grateful and lucky to work with them. That sense of trust, connection, understanding, and unconditional positive regard is so important. I’ve had clients who switch from another therapist to me because they say that they just didn’t feel connected to their old therapist. Some ways that the therapeutic relationship can be strengthened are if your therapist makes you feel really seen, heard, and it’s clear that you have their undivided attention. It also builds a solid relationship when it’s clear that they remember things that you’ve told them in parts of your story. Some ways to hurt the therapeutic relationship is if you see that your therapist is distracted, they make you feel invalidated, they try to tell you what to do or you don’t feel that they are competent. I can’t overstate how important it is to choose a therapist that you feel connected and seen by. This leads to the best mental health treatment possible.

2. Somatic therapy and bottom up techniques. I believe wholeheartedly that if we do not treat the mind and body holistically then we are missing a huge part of the picture. 80% of the information center nervous system is sent from our body and only 20% is in from our brain. What that means is that our body has stored a lot of the negative experiences we’ve been through and in order to fully heal we need to listen to the signals and wisdom of our body. There are some therapies that just purely focus on trying to change thoughts, which no doubt is part of the picture, but it definitely is not the whole picture. I would go so far as to say some therapies that just focus on thoughts can feel in validating, because they make you feel like if you just change your thoughts, then your anxiety will go away. But this is not the case. It’s like that situation where our mind knows some thing and we intellectually know why someone did some thing that harmed us, but it still hurts in our body and emotionally.

These are the two most important part of affective mental health therapy in my professional opinion. If you don’t feel a connection to your therapist, then I would suggest telling them that and trying to work through it first and then if nothing changes find a therapist that you do feel connected to. It’s very important that folks are getting the treatment that they deserve.

If you have any more questions about somatic therapy, mental health therapy or trauma therapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at reneeminxtherapy@gmail.com – if you’re in crisis or an emergency please call 911.

Why can’t I remember my trauma?

It’s extremely common to not remember part or all of the trauma that you’ve experienced. This can happen in instances of childhood abuse, childhood neglect, childhood sexual abuse, adult domestic violence, or rape and sexual assault in adulthood.

As a trauma therapist, many of my clients have gaslit or discredited themselves over the years because they couldn’t remember parts or all of the trauma they’ve been through.

So why does our brain block out traumatic memories? Below I’ve listed the top three facts related to the blocking out traumatic memories that are helpful for trauma survivors to know…

1. Blocking out memories is different than blacking out memories. Let me explain: When we are extremely under the influence of alcohol or drugs, some of us of experience what it is like to ”black out.” We might look back on the night before and not remember what happened after we had a certain amount to drink or use. When we black out, our brain is not even recording what is going on in the present. We might have trauma when we wake up from a blackout, but the actual experiences that we had while blacked out are not being recorded by her memory. This is very different than when we block out a memory because our brain has recorded everything that has happened but it is just protecting us from those memories. The main difference here is that our brain is using the danger that happened during the memories that we blocked out in our present day reactions so even though we don’t remember everything, it is still having an extreme effect on us.

2. Our brain is trying to protect us. If a certain event happened that we are unable to process emotionally at the time because it was too damaging to us or felt too dangerous. Then our brain is now going to be recording this memory, and storing it in a part of our brain that we can’t access. It doesn’t actually mean that we can never access the memories although sometimes that is the case. Some folks in their 70s are having flashbacks for the first time about childhood sexual abuse that happened when they were eight years old. Other folks start having flashbacks in their early 20s from childhood sexual abuse that happened when they were six. Other folks just know that some thing happened because of the reactions they have to sex and the nightmares they have, but they may never remember exactly what happened. Our system can only process so much at a time, and if the trauma was out of our window of tolerance, and our nervous system could not process it, but it is likely that we will block out some or all of it. But again, as stated above, it still has an extreme affect on us and our present behavior, even if we can’t remember what happened.

3. It is still possible to heal from trauma where we don’t know the details of what happened. This is because we use the body as a starting point. 80% of the information sent to our nervous system is sent from our body to our brain. Only 20% is sent from our brain to our body. This is why a lot of trauma therapist believe that trauma is held in our body. That’s why in a certain situation we might not intellectually know what triggered us, but our body is extremely triggered because of something that happened. So even if we don’t remember everything that happened, we can still do somatic therapy such as Emdr, IFS, somatic, experiencing and mindfulness to heal.

Most importantly I want to state that IT IS NORMAL and THERE IS HOPE. Believe yourself! Your body knows what happened. Don’t second guess yourself or gaslight yourself.

Some people get so caught up in trying to remember every detail of what their brain blocked out and that is not the way to heal. If it was helpful for you to remember what happened, then your brain will give you access to it. Trust your body.

Remember that your body loves you and is always only trying to protect you. And seek therapy for trauma you don’t remember! It is still possible to heal even without all the nitty gritty details.

You deserve healing!

If you have any more questions about childhood trauma therapy, childhood abuse therapy or trauma therapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at reneeminxtherapy@gmail.com – if you’re in crisis or an emergency please call 911.

Recovery tips for childhood trauma or abuse survivors

Most of us know that abuse is bad, that it is not the victims fault and that no one deserves it. What most people don’t know is how much childhood trauma and abuse developmentally impact an individual.

As a trauma therapist and trauma survivor, you would be surprised with how often I hear, “well it happened so long ago I should be over it by now.”

We feel like because time is gone by that we should have moved on already. We feel like if somehow, we are still having anxiety, depression, trauma symptoms it’s because there’s something wrong with us. We see other people on social media, or other people around us that are seemingly functioning so well. We wonder why we can’t do the same. The truth is, everyone has an internal struggle. It’s just hard to see from the outside, looking in.

I’m going to write a list of 10 tips for childhood abuse and trauma survivors to begin to heal and regulate their nervous system.

1. Surround yourself with people that make you feel supported. This one is actually way easier said than done. It’s difficult to cut people out of our lives especially if we aren’t close with our family of origin. But it’s really important that we start to cultivate connections with people that make us feel seen, valued, understood and loved. If we don’t, then we will just end up piling trauma upon trauma over time.

2. Get exercise that feels good to us. This is an underrated coping skill, and it doesn’t need to look like becoming a professional bodybuilder. What it means is when we activate our muscles they release which scientist called the hope molecule. Essentially, exercising and moving our body makes us feel happier and it’s easier to cope when things are hard.

3. Eating a nutritious diet. Feeding our body food. That makes our body feel good is really important also. When thinking about trauma healing, we think about whole body healing. A part of this is feeding our bodies foods that will help improve our mood. Our body in our mind are extremely connected and there’s no way to separate them so feeding our body healthy foods is a way of feeling better emotionally also.

4. Focusing on good sleeping habits. The quality of our sleep affects everything in our lives. Especially when we have had childhood trauma we can often really struggle with sleep. Getting into a good sleep habit means taking an hour before bed to get a new routine and turning off electronics. It also means Getting our circadian rhythm balance which means going to bed and waking up around the same times every day. This helps our body know what to expect and function better overall.

5. Eating enough food. Sometimes when we’ve experienced childhood, trauma or abuse, we can begin to neglect our bodies by not eating enough. If we’re not getting enough calories every day, then our body actually goes into survival mode and it’s extremely hard for us to function. We aren’t able to learn or retain information the same way, if we are not getting enough food.

6. Allowing ourselves to play. As trauma and abuse survivors things often feel really serious. We’re often in a trauma response, and we know how to go deep emotionally. What we didn’t get enough practiced doing was keeping things light and playing when we were kids. So now it is important that we intentionally give ourselves time to play as adults.

7. Create a healthy sexual dynamic with ourselves. When we’ve experienced childhood abuse or trauma, some of that can include child sexual abuse. This can end up affecting us by causing us to either number out when it comes to sex or overindulge and then feel shame. There’s nothing good or bad when it comes to sex – just what makes us feel good or makes us feel bad. Really listening to your body and realizing what makes you feel good and what doesn’t and honoring that is really important.

8. Start listening to your gut. If we have experience childhood abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, or other trauma, we can become really disconnected from our body. A way to reconnect is by listening to our gut feeling and then acting accordingly.

9. Tend to your inner child. Pay attention to what you liked when you’re younger and sometimes give yourself those simple pleasures. Listen to what your inner child wants, needs and how your inner child feels.

10. Acts of self-love and self-care. And do you things that actually make your nervous system feel better. This can be taking a hot bath, taking a few deep breaths, meditating, yoga, hiking, spending time with friends, and the list goes on. We can be really tempted to spend hours scrolling on our phone and it’s important that we aren’t too hard on ourselves for that But that is also not making her nervous system feel any better. So taking just a few moments a day to do some thing that really feeds our sense of calm and self love is really important

This is just a really good starting list of where to start to begin to heal from childhood abuse. I could probably make a list of 100 tips. Of course it is really important to seek professional help when dealing with childhood trauma and abuse recovery. Going to trauma therapy for PTSD And complex PTSD can be a way to heal from trauma much faster than we can heal alone.

If you have any more questions about childhood trauma therapy, childhood abuse therapy or trauma therapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at reneeminxtherapy@gmail.com – if you’re in crisis or an emergency please call 911.

What is inner child healing?

As a therapist and trauma survivor myself, one of my all-time favorite quotes is “be the person you need it when you were younger”.

This is the essence of inner child healing.

Our childhood and teenage years are the most important years developmentally. This includes social emotional development, and also actual brain development. The experiences we go through when we were younger, actually rewire our brain.

We all have experiences when we were younger that made our inner child feel unseen, unloved, and misunderstood. Some of us have even had childhood trauma, where our inner child was actively hurt, betrayed, abused, or neglected.

There are many ways to begin to start the process of inner child, healing both in therapy and outside of therapy.

Below is a list of the top three ways to begin, and her child healing.

1. Parts work. There is a therapy technique called internal family systems, or IFS, that focuses on healing the parts of ourselves that are still wounded. Often, our inner wounds are younger parts of ourselves that have been left feeling alone, unloved or not good enough. The good news is that we can work to listen and understand what these younger parts have been through. And we can also work on healing these parts and giving them what they needed back then. This is a beautiful way to rewrite history.

2. Somatic experiencing. This is one of my favorite therapy techniques to do with clients in session but there are also ways for clients to do somatic experiencing work through guided meditation in between sessions too. The good and bad news is that our brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imaginary. The reason why this is helpful is because we can use somatic experiencing to feel what our inner child was going through and then imagine we got what we needed and have a felt sense of what that would be like. Because our brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined, we actually feel what it would be like for needs to have been met when we were younger. This also helps to rewrite history in the most beautiful way.

3. Play. This is something that can absolutely be done outside of therapy. It’s important to really get in touch with what your inner child loved and what made your inner child happy. If your inner child loved video games, it would be really healing to play video games more often in your adult life. If your child self loved Disney movies, it’s important to watch a Disney movie here and there. If your childhood self loved to run around in the forest, take some time to get out in nature more often. Taking some time to intentionally be silly and act in ways that are lighthearted and fun will make our inner child very happy. Your inner child may have had to carry burdens that were too heavy for a young person to carry. We went to help them lighten their load.

There are many other beautiful ways to help our inner child heal but above are some of the most effective I’ve seen.

More than anything else what her and her child needs is compassion. That is the most important place to start. And you can start by treating yourself kindly when you make mistakes in the present.

Let yourself off the hook for being imperfect. What all humans have in common is that we are imperfect in our lives are imperfect.

Having the awareness that your inner child needs healing is the first step, and I am beyond proud of anyone who is on this journey of giving your inner child what they need. Good work!

If you have any more questions about inner child work, ptsd or trauma therapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at reneeminxtherapy@gmail.com – if you’re in crisis or an emergency please call 911.

How does sexual assault affect us

Sexual assault can be one of the most horrifying things that can happen to a human being. It’s important to remember that it’s never the survivors fault, and all the fault belongs with the perpetrator who wanted to do the sexual assault.

Unfortunately, millions of young girls and boys are sexually assaulted every year. There are also millions more of adults who were sexually assaulted too. It’s some thing that society is talking a little bit more about but still seems just as pervasive as ever.

As a PTSD therapist, I focus a lot of my work on helping survivors of sexual assault heal and recover. A lot of them ask me how does the sexual assault affect me? It’s sometimes hard for us to untangle how these assault affects us, especially if it happened has happened more than once or when we were children.

When our nervous systems are feeling unsafe and overwhelmed, it’s really hard to have clear awareness in insight of how the traumatic event is affecting us now. We sometimes can be hyper aware of how are feeling, but unable to make connections of how that is attached to our sexual assault or rape.

Below I’ve listed the top five ways that sexual assault can affects us:

1. We experience dissociation or numbness. Because sexual assault is a trauma on our body, one of the ways our bodies can cope is by trying to numb. This is a form of avoidance, because being in our body might not feel safe.

2. We experience a flood of emotions. During a traumatic event such as rape or sexual assault our bodies are not able to process what is happening to us at the time because our bodies are in full survival mode. This leaves pent-up emotion and sensation that can later flood us at inconvenient times. Emotions such as disgust, helplessness, sadness, anger, rage, grief are commonly associated with the flooding of our emotions attached to the assault.

3. We find ourselves wanting to isolate away from people. After experiencing sexual assault, our bodies might feel really shut down. Our nervous system, then uses most of its energy to repair our system. It doesn’t leave much energy for social interaction. There also might be a part of us that doesn’t trust other people for a while or doesn’t feel safe with them. This part of us might want to isolate.

4. We may have nightmares associated with the assault. Nightmares are often tools for nervous system to work out emotions that we aren’t able to work out during the day. This comes into play when we’ve had an assault and our nervous system is trying to release some of the emotions attached through nightmares or night terrors.

5. We might start utilizing unhelpful coping skills. As a way to avoid what we’re feeling, we might start self sabotaging in ways that don’t really feel good to us but help Nahum what happened. Some unhelpful coping skills that we may use includes: abusing substances, addictively watching TV/playing video games/scrolling on our cell phone, watching harmful kinds of porn, overeating, etc.

These, of course, are not all the ways that sexual assault can affect us, but these are some of the main themes in which are trauma can manifest.

If you have any more questions about rape, sexual assault, ptsd or trauma therapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at reneeminxtherapy@gmail.com – if you’re in crisis or an emergency please call 911.

What is narcissistic love bombing?

You may have heard of love bombing associated with narcissistic or abusive relationships, and wonder what does that mean? Love bombing is one of the really important signs to notice when trying to spot an unhealthy start to a relationship.

Love bombing happens at the beginning of a relationship and it’s distinctly different than normal courtship. The beginning of any relationship can feel exciting and you can think of the person often and want to spend time with that person. This is different than love bombing.

Below, I’ll list some examples of the difference between love bombing and normal courtship.

1. The types of compliments and verbal affirmations.

Love bombing: “you are the best person I’ve ever met in my life”, “you are perfect in every way.”

2. The types of displays of affections.

Love bombing: sends an extreme amount of gifts to your work such as flowers, candy, balloons, stuffed animals. Buys a really expensive gift. Invites you on a vacation away.

Normal courtship: takes you to a nice dinner, brings flowers when they pick you up, holds the door open for you.

3. Commitment and promises

Love bombing: promising you a future, discussing marriage and kids, introducing you to their family or friends right away

Normal courtship: discusses goals for the future to see if you all align

4. Past romantic partners

Love bombing: says their ex was “crazy”, says that no one comes close to comparing to you, devalues their past romantic partners and puts you on a pedestal

Normal courtship: discusses past partners with respect and honesty, takes responsibility for their part

As humans, we crave to be seen and loved. This is why I love bombing can feel really good and be hard to spot until it’s too late. A healthy start to a relationship slowly builds into something that can last. It doesn’t burn fast and bright, and then burns out. When thinking about building a house it’s important that there is a sturdy foundation in place first.

As always, be kind and gentle to yourself. Abuse is NEVER the victims fault.

If you have any more questions about the love bombing, or trauma therapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at reneeminxtherapy@gmail.com – if you’re in crisis or an emergency please call 911.

How long does grief last?

Losing someone we love whether they died, or a relationship ended can be some of the most difficult pain our heart can go through.

There are many factors that determine the depth and the length of our grief. Some of these factors include the depth of the relationship, the closure before the ending, our own coping skills, and the strength of our present day relationships.

Grief comes in waves, and the waves that come lessen in intensity and height over time. The length might be 30 years or it might be two months. Unfortunately there’s no calculator that will determine how long these waves will last.

The reverberation of these waves may last a lifetime, but they definitely won’t always hurt as intensely.

Below I’ve written three tips to moving the grief process forward:

1. Understand the five stages of grief. The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These five stages of grief will all come in waves at different times. It’s also important to know and understand that these stages of grief are not linear. They don’t always happen one by one and sometimes you will go back and repeat a stage. Feeling all five of these stages are necessary and part of moving forward in grief.

2. Feel it in order to heal it. The way through grief is through. What that means is that we can go underneath it, around it, or over it. The depth and intensity of grief will stay with us, and come out in other ways until we embrace the struggle and feel the feelings associated with our grief.

3. Seek support. Since grief is centered around the loss of relationship, but then it only makes sense that part of the process of healing grief is reaching out for the support within relationships. Some relationships that are helpful, our friends, family members, a good grief, therapist, members of our spiritual community, or as supportive members at work.

I want to end with saying, most importantly, be kind to yourself during this time. Grief is not a time to overachieve or try to accomplish. Grief is the time to rest and lean on others. Your productivity during this time is to rest and to feel.

You are doing enough. You are enough. You can survive this grief.

If you have any more questions about the grief, or grief therapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at reneeminxtherapy@gmail.com – if you’re in crisis or an emergency please call 911.

Childhood Trauma and the Holidays

Experiencing childhood trauma and attachment issues with the family you grew up with is hard enough. This leads to having to work out dysfunctional patterns in future relationships, and often coping with some really difficult negative self beliefs over the years. If that isn’t enough, here comes the holidays!

The holidays are a time that can be extremely triggering for people who have trauma surrounding their family.

It is a reminder that they don’t feel the unconditional love and safety that they see others experiencing with their family around the holidays. It’s a reminder of their grief. It’s a reminder of their trauma. It’s a reminder of their wounded inner child. It’s the reminder of all of our need to be loved and accepted.

So what are some ways that we can feel supported and regulated during the holidays if we have a history of childhood trauma?

Below I’ve listed the top three ways that you can help support yourself and your nervous system this holiday season:

1. Stay in close contact with your chosen family. It’s important that we are staying connected to people that we have chosen in our lives during the holidays whether we are or are not going to spend the holidays with her family of origin. Because if we are going to spend some time during the holiday season with her family of origin, we need that line of communication open with people that we know will not hurt us. If we are not going to spend the holidays with her family of origin, we need a reminder that we do have people in our life that love us and are there to support us so we don’t feel so alone.

2. Remind yourself that you are not alone. One of the core foundations of self compassion is common humanity. What common humanity means is that we are not the only ones that feel the pain that we feel. We have to be careful not to use this to beat ourselves up, as if our problems are less severe than others, but use it to remind ourselves, that we are not alone. We can feel, even more sadness, anger, loneliness, if we feel like our problems, mean that there is just something wrong with us.

3. SET BOUNDARIES. This is probably the most important one. We do not owe our family of origin, our time, energy, emotions, or money. We may choose to show up and spend time with our family of origin but it’s OK to have boundaries around that time. Remember that boundaries are not about controlling other people’s actions but rather what we will do if someone says or does something that we are not OK with. For example, if a family member starts to ask you about some thing that is off-limits and they won’t stop asking then a boundary could be that you will not talk to that person the rest of the night or that you will leave.

I really just want to send anyone who is reading this endless validation and compassion. Holiday seasons are some of the most triggering and difficult times for survivors of childhood trauma and abuse. This time of year doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you – it just triggers the scars of what has happened to you in the past. It is not proof that you are unlovable, but rather proof of the opposite that you are lovable and sensitive and have a heart that still has the capacity to care.

If you have any more questions about the holidays, childhood trauma, or ptsd therapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at reneeminxtherapy@gmail.com – if you’re in crisis or an emergency please call 911.

What is sexual assault?

The public knowledge and recognition of sexual assault has increased over the years, especially due to movements like the no more and me too movement.

There has been so much gaslighting and victim-blaming in our culture that it has made it hard for survivors of sexual assault to really recognize and admit what happened to them.

The purpose of this article is to help clarify and validate survivors of sexual assault.

Being a survivor of sexual assault can be one of the most difficult things than any human can go through.

People can often go through the five stages of grief when it comes to their assault, and one of the first stages of grief is denial. It feels easier for a nervous system to handle if what happened was in someway our fault. That’s why it’s really important to clarify, that sexual assault is never the fault of anyone other than the perpetrator.


Below I’ve listed a few concrete examples of what sexual assault is.

1. If the survivor of the assault was under the influence, especially if they were experiencing brown or black outs (meaning they were drunk or high to the point where their memory was going in and out) they could not give consent. So if there was sexual contact made by the perpetrator when the survivor was heavily under the influence of drugs or alcohol, this would be considered sexual assault. We need to be in our conscious mind to give consent.

2. If the survivor of the assault gave indications verbally or non-verbally of being uncomfortable with a sexual encounter, but the perpetrator did not stop or ask for consent then this is considered sexual assault. It’s important for us to think about nonverbal communication because this is the vast majority of how we communicate as humans is using nonverbal’s. If the perpetrator was not paying attention to obvious nonverbal‘s such as anxiety as evidenced by breathing quickly and looking away, facial expressions of disgust or fear, then the perpetrator was not interested in consent.

3. The perpetrator felt obligated to the sexual contact, due to being in a relationship with the person or the survivor giving consent at some point in the past. Consent isn’t something that is agreed-upon based on being in a marriage or relationship. Consent isn’t something that holds up for years, consent is something that is agreed-upon in each new sexual act. Just because someone has had consensual sexual contact with someone in the past does not mean that they can never be sexually assaulted by that person. In fact, the majority sexual assault is by someone the survivor knows well.

Here are all the reasons for sexual assault:

1. The fact that the perpetrator wanting to sexually assault.

That’s it.

It’s never the survivors fault. No matter what they were wearing, what substances they were or were not on, their relationship to the perpetrator, their relationship to sex, where they were.

It’s important that we BELIEVE and STAND WITH survivors of sexual assault.

I believe you. And it wasn’t your fault.

If you have any more questions about rape, sexual assault, ptsd or trauma therapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at reneeminxtherapy@gmail.com – if you’re in crisis or an emergency please call 911.

Why do my family and friends not believe me about my sexual assault?

Having experienced sexual assault is one of the most traumatic life events that can happen to anyone. On top of that, it is unfortunately common that people in the persons life will not believe them about their sexual assault and rape.

Others will often question if the trauma survivor is telling the truth, exaggerating what happened or if it was the trauma survivors fault that the sexual assault happened. Others will often question that the trauma survivor is telling the truth, exaggerating or if it was the trauma survivors fault that this happened.

As a trauma therapist and also a survivor myself, I have seen firsthand how common is that friends, family and acquaintances do not believe the survivor.

You would think that with the #metoo #believesurvivors and #nomore movements That people would be past questioning survivors trauma. But unfortunately it still happens all the time. And this is just stacking trauma on top of trauma further survivor who needs nothing but full support, compassion and healing.

So the question remains, why do friends and family members not believe a survivor about sexual assault?

Below I have listed the top FIVE reasons why friends and family members downplay, minimize, question, gaslight or just flat out don’t believe survivors.

1. The overwhelming guilt of not protecting their loved one. If family’s members/friends truly believed the truth that their loved one was raped or sexually assaulted, some of them would not be able to function living with the guilt that they could not protect their loved one. Guilt and shame are powerful emotions and they are some of the most difficult emotions to feel. Even though it’s selfish to not believe in fully support trauma survivors, sometimes these coping skills that our friends and family members have are unconscious. We unconsciously avoid pain all the time. This is a common human experience AND an important reminder that it is not about the trauma survivor at all but more about the other people.

2. They have their own unhealed past trauma. Generational trauma is extremely real and what this means is that there can often be abuse, sexual assault and trauma that happens for generations and generations in a family. When someone comes out with the truth and is extremely brave – it creates a dilemma for those around them who have been suppressed their trauma. Sometimes friends and family members gaslight or question the survivors sexual assault because that is what they’ve done to themselves in order to survive. Yet again, this is a reminder that the not believing is not about the trauma survivor at all.

3. They are scared that it will hurt their reputation. This reason is one of the most insidious because it’s not about the person protecting themselves from shame and guilt, protecting themselves from dealing with their own trauma but more about the other person’s ego. This one tends to hurt the trauma survivor deeply because the friend or family member is trying to protect their image over their loved ones well-being. It can also cause the sexual assault survivor to begin to feel shame that maybe there is something wrong with them because this happened. It can also shame or coerce survivors into hiding their truth in order to “protect the family.”

4. They want to keep the perpetrator in their life. This reason comes up often if the person that committed the sexual assault is a friend or family member. For this reason, friends and family members often choose the route of complete denial because they do not want to cut the friend or family member that committed the sexual assault out of their life. This could be because of extremely codependency, coercion, fear, financial dependence, don’t want to “break up” the family, fear conflict, fear of change, sexual dependence and more. This reason is retraumatizing and can create some really intense resentments against the friends choosing the abusers side. This reason for not believing the trauma survivor can feel so painful, hurtful and lonely.

5. They were manipulated by the abuser to invalidate the trauma survivor. It’s also happens when the abuser is known by friends and family. Perpetrators tend to be extremely good at manipulating other people and webbing together lies that will benefit them. They can do this by trying to make the trauma survivor seem like a liar, that they wanted it, that it’s a cry for attention, that they are jealous, or mentally unstable. If the perpetrator is able to successfully convince others that the sexual assault victim is lying, then they save their reputation and also have the opportunity to do it again. This reason is extremely dangerous to the trauma survivor and put them at risk.

I want to tell you that I BELIEVE YOU. It is extremely uncommon for assault survivors to lie. It is brave to be truthful about your assault and I am SO sorry if you were not believed. It was not about you.

If you have any more questions about friends and family members not believing survivors or trauma therapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at reneeminxtherapy@gmail.com – if you’re in crisis or an emergency please call 911.

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