The Primary Trauma in Sexual Abuse Is Not the Sexual Abuse Itself…

Trauma is not what happens to you, it’s what happens inside of you as a result of what happens to you.

Gabor Mate, MD,  The Wisdom of Trauma


As I was watching the Gabor Mate The Wisdom of Trauma movie, and series of interviews, he shared something very powerful that I’ve heard him say before about the trauma isn’t really thee trauma that we think it is.  It made such a huge impact one me when I first heard it that I immediately incorporated it into my work as an Inner Child Advocate.  I call it the trauma after the trauma, however, in this talk he offered a bit more detail. This particular topic is on sexual abuse and it plays out with other traumas as well.

I hope you can find some relief in reading it and if you would like to find some relief in your body too please reach out for a tapping session.

Hugs!  Gwen

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


People often think that sexual abuse was their trauma AND of course it’s very traumatic.

You can actually see on brain scans the impact of sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse ins’t just something that happens to you that gives you bad memories or a bad sense of yourself.  It also goes underneath the skin and gets into your body and into your brain.

However, the primary trauma in sexual abuse is not the sexual abuse itself.

When I speak with groups of people and I do this all the time, I have them raise their hands if they’ve been sexually abused (if they are willing to acknowledge it that is.).

A lot of people put their hands up.

Then I ask them how long did it go on for?  Someone says, from 5 to 8 years old, or all of my childhood, or for 6 months, or for a while summer when I was staying with an uncle or something.

Then I ask them who did you speak to about it?

Oh, I told my mother 20 years later … is a common answer.

No, who did you speak to about it when it was happening?

Ninety-nine times out of a 100 the answer is… nobody.

The next question is:  Those of you with children, if this was happening to your child even once, not for a whole summer, not for 2 years, just once.  Who would you want them to talk to?  All of you would say that I wanted them to talk to me as their mother or father.

The next question:  If you learned that this has happened to your child and they weren’t coming to talk to you about it.  How would you explain that?  How would you understand it?

People say, I’d be very upset about that.  Of course you would. But I’m not asking how you would feel.  I’m asking how you would explain why it’s my clild coming to me?  Because they did’t trust me, they didn’t feel that I would protect them.  Maybe they were trying to protect me.

THAT is the trauma!

The trauma is the disconnect from the nurturing adults that allowed the abuse to happen in the first place.  So what I am saying is not that the abuse is not traumatic but before the abuse happened there was a trauma underneath that already happened and that’s why people work for years on their sexual abuse and they never resolve it because that wasn’t the fundamental trauma.

The fundamental trauma was the disconnect that made them disconnect from themselves.


Disconnection from yourself is really expensive….

Emotional Freedom is priceless!



PS. Please let me know if you have any questions. The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.












Gwen Orwiler
Gwen Orwiler

Gwen Orwiler is an Emotional Freedom Coach & Inner Child Advocate. Through tapping, Gwen helps her clients release emotional wounds from their past, at a core level, so they can live their strongest life today.

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