Abuse victims usually feel betrayal. Children who have been sexually abused know their perpetrators in 90% of the cases. Most often, it is a family member. As helpless children, we look to the adults in our lives for protection and guidance. Sadly, the adults in our lives, instead of keeping us safe, become the ones who harm us.
This feeling can continue long after the abuse has subsided and carried into other relationships. A number of dynamics may be set into motion: the victim may refrain from getting too invested in any relationships for fear of letting the other person in, only to be betrayed again or they push the person away emotionally if they draw too close so they won’t “have the chance” to potentially betray them.
When someone is abused, especially at an early age, a hyper-vigilance is set into motion. Because the child has been “attacked,” and caught off-guard, they prepare against another possible attack by subconsciously seeing others as a possible threat to their safety or well-being. Even deeper is the fear that if the other person gets to know them, they may see them as damaged, dirty or unlovable, so they often strike the first blow by not allowing others to get close enough to possibly harm them.