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can anyone recommend a good self-help book for abuse in childhood?

(10 Posts)
forthisthread Thu 24-Jul-08 09:43:03

I've recently confronted the fact that I was sexually abused as a child - I told my DH about it a few weeks ago because our marriage was in crisis due to my secrecy and sexual hang-ups.

We are talking things through, but have reached a point where I need to delve deeper. I am willing to go to counselling, but would like to have some insight into myself first, and read about people who have coped with similar pain and come through it.

I have no idea where to start, so can anyone recommend something they've read and let me know why it was good.

Thanks x

ActingNormal Thu 24-Jul-08 10:28:55

ForThisThread, I'm so sorry you went through this and I recognise that you have taken a massive step by acknowledging that it happened rather than denying/burying it, and saying something.

I've just read Moving Forward by Dave Pelzer. Terrible things happened to him in childhood (not sexual though), yet he has some really positive ways of life! His views sometimes seem a bit alternative and the book is quite funny in places. I don't think this is the type of book other people will recommend but I think you should read a selection of authors, wording things in different ways because lots of people can say the same thing, but then one person says it in certain words that really make sense to you and then you 'get it' and feel better. At least with Dave Pelzer you know that he isn't just full of it, he has actually lived it.

Do you know about the Stately Homes thread? It is a support thread for people from abusive families. I have found it really helpful.

Would you consider seeing a therapist? If you find a good one it really does help in the end (very hard at the beginning).

forthisthread Thu 24-Jul-08 10:37:44

thank you actingnormal, I remember you giving me support on my first thread smile

DH has been fantastic - he has been gently pushing me (for my own good) because he knows my default position is to just bury stuff and think that it will go away by not talking - this is what I've done for over 20 years.

We had a breakthrough when I was finally able to tell him the circumstances of the abuse, and how I think it has contributed to some of the things wrong in our relationship.

I don't mind alternative views, anything that gives me insight will help. I know that I have had almost a physical block on speech when it comes to saying what happened (my throat closed up and I had a minor panic attack before I could say the words to DH), which is why I'd like to read a bit before going to talk to someone.

Thank you for the suggestion, looks like I have a summer of heavy reading ahead of me smile

SubRosa Thu 24-Jul-08 15:03:47

Forthisthread, well done for being brave enough to start dealing with this. I hope that doesn't sound too patronsing. I read this

www.amazon.co.uk/Courage-Heal-Guide-Survivors-Sexual/dp/0091884209/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=12 16907929&sr=8-1

and it was really useful. It's upsetting and there are quite a few triggers in there, but it really helped to read it as it made me realise that I'm not mad, but the abuse has conditioned me to behave in a certain way.

forthisthread Thu 24-Jul-08 16:15:33

Thank you subrosa - the reviews for that book look really encouraging.

And you are not at all patronising smile. I have had wonderful support from mn and it was people like you, telling me how brave I was, that gave me the courage to tell DH.

SubRosa Thu 24-Jul-08 17:12:59

Thank you Forthisthread

columbolover Thu 24-Jul-08 21:01:44

Well done for getting this far fortishead, I read your other thread too.
A good book is "Breaking Free -Help for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse" by Carolyn Ainsough. This self help book is used and recommended by therapists. Some people work through the book in conjunction with their counsellor. Amazon have this book and there were some other books that rated highly on that site too.
This book helps you see and understand why what happened to you was not your fault- many people blame themselves - and gives you strategies for moving on with your life and for coping with things like flashbacks, relationships etc. Its very easy to read and not at all patronising. It has real examples of what has happened to people as well at the beginning of the book, though I would recommend you don't necessarily read these util you are feeling up to that as it some people can find it distressing depending on where they're at personally - but you may find it helpful to do that. You decide! But it does detail their progress during the book too which is good. its the kind of book you can go through at your own pace.
Best wishes to you and your dh as you start this journey of recovery.

LittleBella Thu 24-Jul-08 21:16:15

Can I recommend breaking the cycle of abuse by Barbara Engel and Toxic Parents by Susan Forward.

Neither is specifically about sexual abuse (although both have chapters dealing with that, they do recommend you to more specialist reading) they may be useful for a more general view of abuse in general.

forthisthread Mon 28-Jul-08 15:17:45

Thank you all for your replies, I really appreciate it.

I have decided to buy 'The Courage to Heal' and 'Breaking Free' as they both look like good starting points. I'm hoping it will give DH and I something to work at together.

Things are hard at the moment. DH is getting impatient that things aren't moving quicker and I'm still quite closed despite the initial opening up. This in turn is making me resentful of his insensitiveness. Both of us are picking over the past problems in our relationship and trying to work out why we have behaved in certain ways. But all it's doing is making me see how much damage keeping this secret has done to our marriage.

He keeps telling me he wants "me" back and his pushing is because he wants me free of this abuse. I do understand that and I believe him, but he doesn't understand that his pressure is making me less likely to turn to him for support sad

SubRosa Mon 28-Jul-08 17:12:54

Sorry to hear your dh is being insensitive. It's easy to say, but he needs to see that this must be done at a pace you're happy with, for it to work properly.

Wish I could offer more helpful advice

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