Bad parenting and child abuse have long-reaching consequences, but there is a way to heal.

Sherry Hamby, Ph.D., outlines in an article at Psychology Today that that among the best ways to heal is to tell one’s story of abuse:

“Telling your own story can help you organize what happened to you and put it into the big picture of who you are. It improves something that psychologists call “narrative coherence.” Another benefit is what psychologists call “emotional clarity.”

She also points out that there are others who have also dealt with childhood adversity who need our help as well:

“Giving back to others is so important to virtually every psychologist, social worker, police officer, or health care provider. It is the way that many of us have overcome our own childhood experiences and worked to interrupt the cycle of violence. Which is why it is all the more ironic that psychotherapy and most other interventions for abuse or adversity hardly ever focus on generosity, community involvement, and social support. That needs to change.”

She also recommends child abuse survivors focus on improving self-regulation:

“It means learning to manage our emotions and to gain more control over the difference between having a feeling or thought and acting on it. It’s almost impossible and also unwise to try to control thoughts and feelings. Like the old challenge of not thinking about a pink elephant. That is one reason that narrative interventions help, they help you express and organize thoughts and feelings instead of suppressing them.”