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Lingering Shadows: Embracing Your Healing Journey 5+ Years After a Sexual Assault

A woman covers her face while sitting in a dark room. This could represent the pain of trauma that a trauma therapist in Scotch Plains, NJ can address. Learn more about trauma therapy in Branchburg, NJ and the help EMDR trauma therapy in Scotch Plains, NJ can offer.

Time has often been touted as a great healer, yet there are some wounds that linger. Years ago, you experienced an assault that left an enduring imprint on your soul. While society might expect you to have moved on, it’s crucial to recognize that healing is not a linear process. Furthermore, after a sexual assault, it is not unusual to struggle a half a decade or many decades later.

The Complexity of Sexual Assault Trauma

A woman covers her face while sitting in a dark room. This could represent the pain of trauma that a trauma therapist in Scotch Plains, NJ can address. Learn more about trauma therapy in Branchburg, NJ and the help EMDR trauma therapy in Scotch Plains, NJ can offer.

The trauma of sexual assault is a complex entity that doesn’t adhere to a predetermined timeline. Its effects can reverberate through your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and even physical well-being. It can change your understanding of yourself and others. Your sense of safety in the world changes. The nervous system can be reconfigured at a fundamental level by an assault.  Comparatively, while some people may find solace sooner, many continue to struggle for decades. Frequently without an understanding of what is fueling their distress.  It’s important to understand that healing is your unique journey.

Revisiting the Past through Triggers

Triggers can best be described as emotional time machines, catapulting you back to the very moment of your trauma. Even the faintest reminder—a scent, a place, a phrase—can inundate your mind with vivid recollections of that pivotal day. In turn, these triggers disrupt your daily life, making it feel as though the assault is unfolding all over again. Sometimes you might be very aware that you have been triggered.  Yet at other times you may not realize it has happened. You can begin to believe you are just a distractible, anxious, high-strung person.  Consequently, the notion of “moving on” can remain distant.

Rebuilding Trust, Both Inward and Outward

Trust is akin to a fragile thread.  It weaves relationships together. An assault has the power to fray this thread into countless fragments. Reestablishing trust, whether in yourself or in others, demands time and patience. The lingering fear of vulnerability can impede your efforts to form new bonds or confide in loved ones. You may have built up self-protective behaviors. Inevitably though, they keep out the very support that could facilitate healing.

Tackling the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

A woman sits near a railing with a pensive look on her face. This could represent the time taken to overcome trauma. Learn how trauma therapy in Branchburg, NJ can help by searching for EMDR trauma threapy in Scotch Plains, NJ. Contact a trauma therapist in Scotch Plains, NJ for more info. Contrary to considerable progress, the stigma surrounding mental health endures. The pressure to appear strong often compels survivors to conceal their pain, leaving them isolated in their struggle. It can fuel self-deprecating statements that punish yourself for not getting over it.  It could have been much worse, right?  Remember your trauma is your own.  It is not to be compared or minimized.  You have been intruded upon and you deserve understanding.  Each step you take in healing 

  • from self-acceptance 
  • to reestablishing safety 
  • to making meaning out of your journey 
  • is the gradual process of restoring your sense of self.

Dispelling the Closure Myth after a Sexual Assault

The concept of closure is frequently oversimplified. It’s as if it were a magical remedy for all emotional wounds. In reality, closure is a deeply personal and ongoing endeavor. It isn’t about erasing the past, but about integrating the trauma into your life narrative. As you grapple with this notion, you begin to understand that closure isn’t a finish line. It’s a continuous evolution.

Unseen Scars: Navigating the Inner Struggle

Much like physical scars serve as evidence of past injuries, psychological scars bear witness to your emotional wounding. These scars might not be visible to the world. Yet they’re just as real as any external wound. Anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder are all manifestations of this wounding.  In fact, many traumatic reactions are the body’s attempt to help you survive in a world turned upside down.  Your anxiety hopes to keep you alert for danger.  Your depression keeps you from getting hopeful and willing to take risks in a dangerous world. Intrusive thoughts and nightmares continually remind you of what’s possible if you venture out.  It is not easy to guide yourself out of the pain of a traumatic assault.

Celebrating the Power of Your Resilience

Resilience isn’t synonymous with the absence of pain; it’s your strength to endure and heal despite it. Although you might not be “over” the assault, appreciate the remarkable resilience dwelling within you. Instead of covering up the wound, you have to dig out the infection. You must treat the injury and dress it, over and over until the sting subsides.  It is not unusual to think that time will be enough to heal an assault, yet often more is needed.  There are many effective treatments and therapies for a sexual assault.


A woman smiles while hugging herself This could symbolize the self love cultivated after working with a trauma therapist in Scoth Plains, NJ. Search for trauma therapy in Branchburg, NJ to learn more about the benefits that emdr trauma therapy in scotch plains, NJ can offer.Five years, maybe more, have passed since the assault that forever altered your life. Today, you stand at the intersection of healing and vulnerability. Triggers, mistrust, social stigmas, and internal battles fought valiantly mark your journey. Both visible and concealed scars bear testament to your struggle, your strength, and your incredible capacity for resilience. By sharing your experience, you can foster a more compassionate understanding of yourself and what you need to heal. Healing isn’t a destination; it’s an ongoing path you walk with courage, one step at a time.

Begin Trauma Therapy in Branchburg or Scotch Plains, NJ Today!

Your trauma does not have to define your life. With trauma therapy at Brave Minds Psychological Services, our trained and caring therapists at our offices in Branchburg and Scotch Plains are waiting to give you the best trauma therapy available. If you’d prefer to meet with a counselor via video session, we also offer online therapy in New Jersey. To begin trauma counseling, follow these easy steps:

  1. Connect with Brave Minds Psychological Services today for a free 20-minute consultation.
  2. Get your questions answered by one of our many compassionate trauma therapists.
  3. Start your healing and free yourself of your past.

Other Services At Brave Minds Psychological Services

At Brave Minds Psychological Services, we offer a variety of services from our licensed therapists to get you on the right path to healing. Our therapeutic services include therapy for children, with a special focus on anxiety treatment for children and child sexual abuse therapy. We have specialists doing therapy for teens, specifically anxiety treatment for teens and teen social phobia therapy. Our adult therapy services include anxiety counselingcouples counselingcounseling for parentspostpartum counselingOCD therapyloss and grief counseling, food allergy therapy, and group therapy. Finally, we have specialized trauma therapy and PTSD treatment areas for birth traumapregnancy loss and miscarriage, and sexual assault counseling for adults,

We also have a blog where we write about a variety of different mental health subjects.  If you’re interested in learning more about our mental health services here at Brave Minds Psychological Services, please contact our Scotch Plains and Branchburg counseling offices!


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