Recovery from child abuse and any form of emotional abuse is vital for highly sensitive people. The sensitive HSP nervous system recovers slowly from abuse. Trauma lives in the body until it is processed and released. HSPs take longer to process information and experiences including abuse. HSPs must, therefore, protect themselves from incurring abuse and take special care with abuse recovery.
Each culture has specific ideas about abuse and when it is permitted and by whom. Environmental conditions can create a situation where innocuous practices in themselves can become seen as abusive for others. In Japan, there are so many people living in a very small space that noise is something that they try to control. There is regulation of workplace and construction noise, and it is the common practice to stop playing music around 9 to 10 PM. This is just one example of a culture-wide effort to prevent environmental factors from becoming a source of perceived abuse in the community.
In an aggression prizing culture like most modern economic systems, gentle introspective people may become targets of abuse not only in social settings but also in the home. Parents may demand that children conform to the culture at large creating an abusive situation for the child who does not fit the profile. Additionally, parents may have their own baggage that they visit on a child, and if they have the HSP trait, may reject the HSP trait in their child the way it was rejected in them when they were young.
Recovery from child abuse can be challenging and complex since abuse takes many forms, from severe physical, emotional and sexual trauma and violence to so-called ‘acceptable” abuses, like teasing, withholding, put-downs and other forms of denigration.
A Holistic Approach to Abuse
Viewing recovery from child abuse from a holistic perspective makes it possible to see the cumulative effects of all forms of abuse. Physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse all have a cumulative impact of a human being. HSPs are particularly challenged in abusive circumstances because they have a need to restore their systems from stress on a continual basis, to prevent depleting stress buildup which will lead to disease. When that is not possible any number of social and psychological illnesses may be the consequence.
On a larger scale, it is also possible to think of poor food, water, and environmental pollution as forms of abuse even if not so intended. Taking a holistic approach to abuse and stress makes it easier to set health priorities. HSPs will perceive or feel some activities as abusive that do not bother other people. Loud noises, bright lights etc. are felt strongly by HSPs even though no one meant them any harm.
Highly sensitive people need to be careful about attributing motives to those who do not appreciate their special physical nature, particularly since most people are genuinely caring and have the capacity to make accommodations for those with different needs. HSPs can also provide a service through their sensitivities by raising awareness about causes of harm. Raising awareness is not always appreciated, so HSPs need to weigh when to raise awareness and when not to, when to push for change and when not to. And of course, this just adds to all the other mental processing that HSPs have to do!
Recovery from Child Abuse
There are many treatment options for recovery from child abuse. HSPs, however, need to be aware that their bodies may require a long term, sustained effort to become healthy and free from the effects of childhood abuse. Abuse becomes embedded energy in the body tied up like knots until a way can be found to untie and free the blocked energy.
Some of the best solutions for these problems come from meditation and energy medicine like reiki which creates a healing atmosphere in the body. If talking therapy is needed it is important for an HSP to find a therapist who understands the HSP trait because, otherwise, additional trauma can be added to the original abuse by an invalidating practitioner. At all stages of the healing process, validation is important for continued healing. Therefore, assistance has to be chosen wisely. In the absence of HSP sensitive therapists, self help can be useful, and over time create the necessary healing.