Childhood sexual abuse is one of the loneliest experiences on the planet. It is being alone in 3 significant ways:
1. Alone with the secret. First, such abuse almost always leaves one alone with the secret of the abuse. It is an awful, wounding secret that could destroy, and so we keep it safe, sometimes even from ourselves. In cases of incest, it means being alone amidst one’s family.
2. Disconnected from the victimizer. Sex is supposed to be one of the most intimate experiences in the world, but with sexual abuse the two parties are about as far apart as 2 people in 1 experience can be. The abuser is totally disconnected from the actual experience of the victim. There is no empathy or attunement. The victim has become an object.
3. Disconnected from self. The experience of sexual abuse is overwhelming for a child, so many dissociate. Since abusers are often dissociated as well, this leaves the feeling of no one fully present. No wonder the victim of childhood sex abuse feels so utterly alone and abandoned.
The depth of this aloneness can reverberate through one’s system for years, leaving a trail of tears. It may leave a sensitivity toward similar experiences where people are together but not emotionally connected. Emotional disconnection paired with physical touch can become a trigger, eliciting painful earlier feelings or perhaps dissociation.
You were alone then, but you don’t need to be alone now. This kind of intense experience can be hard for friends and partners to hold, so it is good to find a qualified professional to help you process this significant trauma.