COPING WITH CRISIS

Crisis can hit at many points whilst you're dealing with and recovering from sexual abuse. It can hit when:

Crisis can be a particular feature of the early stages of remembering and dealing with the abuse. It can feel at this point like everything is in chaos. But it's not confined to this stage. Along the way a crisis can be triggered by some of the events described above. Sometimes things can seem to get worse before they get better as the full extent of the hurt suffered becomes clearer. There's no particular time limit to a crisis. They can be short and dramatic or last for a long time.

What happens in a crisis?

It's hard to imagine it going away, and it's hard to see a way through it. You may feel:

It's usually noticeable that one or more parts of you're life are not working right, and people around you may have commented upon this. Where there's a crisis there's usually a feeling of being threatened. The threat may be obvious an physical such as the place you're living not being particularly safe. Or it may be more subtle - as if your inner sense of yourself as a person and a man is under threat. You feel like you can't cope with the feeling of threat. Being abused as a boy can trigger a number of threats for 'you as a man:

What to do in a crisis? - Build the life raft for recovery!

Over the next few pages we'll look in detail at coping with crisis. To help with this you could use the image of a life raft. This sees the process of recovery from abuse as being like a river running down to the sea. The aim is to get further down the river towards the sea. And as you do you start to feel more in control, happier and more fulfilled. The pain gets less. It's a difficult journey, but one that has been completed many times by many survivors of abuse.

Any rapids you encounter on the way are like a crisis. You need to travel in something safe on this journey for, whilst the water will often be smooth and the raft will simply glide with the stream, the rapids are very difficult to get over. So, you need a sturdy life raft to get you over the rough patches.

Building the life raft for recovery means:

Try to build your life raft as soon as you can, even if you're not in crisis now. It's important that when you need it you can jump in. If you're in a crisis now then try to concentrate on building it. Get some help with building it from those around who you trust.

The next few pages will give some tips on how to do it. Most of these tips come from other survivors who are on the journey too. They have overcome many rapids and their experience might be of great help.

The life raft is just an image. If it doesn't suit you then you could imagine your own safe image. It might be a house, or a boat or a plane - anything which will help you feel safe, protected and able to survive the hard times until better times come.

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