How to Practice Self-care and Still Be There for Others

Years ago, one of my counselors at the YWCA told me that survivors of childhood sexual assault usually have difficulties setting boundaries.  She said we’re like a house with all of the windows wide open or all of the windows closed and locked down.   There’s no in between because we were groomed (or I like to say brainwashed) as a child.  The child predators carefully talked to us as they went a little bit farther physically each time.  This made us feel as if it was consensual and therefore our fault. 

Now we know by definition of the law that a child cannot consent to sex, so children are not to blame and don’t have anything to be ashamed about because they were manipulated.  All of the blame and shame belongs to the criminal who assaulted them. 

I still have problems setting boundaries because I tend to put other people’s needs ahead of mine.  Reminding myself to think about what I want first, helps me not lose track of my wishes.  Then, I work on figuring out how I can help the other person while still practicing self-care.  It’s not easy when you don't have a lot of extra time like most of us don't these days, but it works for me most of the time.