In this counseling answer:
• Find a counselor/mental health professional in your area and start a therapy.
• Appreciating and loving yourself leads to high self-esteem.
• Allah will, in fact, forgive you if you are sincere in your repentance. Believe it.
Thank you for sending us your question. I am very sorry to hear about the past childhood sexual abuse that you have experienced as well as your negative experiences with your previous boyfriends who appeared to be emotionally and sexually abusive towards you. I ask Allah (swt) to give you the strength for you to reach out for the right kind of help to help yourself regain your sense of self-confidence and self-love that you are longing for.
Sister, you have been through so many traumas in your lifetime. Your childhood experience of sexual abuse is in of itself a huge issue that will certainly continue to affect you at so many levels as an adult. I am really happy that you have asked this question and disclosed your experiences that others may feel too ashamed to admit and deal with. Of course, reading this answer alone will not solve your problems, but it is a start to know what you should do and where you should go to get the right kind of help.
I would first like to address you childhood sexual abuse. Did you tell anyone about it? Was the perpetrator someone you know? How do you feel about what happened to you? How have you been dealing with these feelings all these years?
I cannot speak for you, but what we generally know from victims of sexual abuse is that they feel ashamed, worthless, and suffer from low self-esteem. In many cases, they grow up to feel that the only way to be close to someone or be accepted by someone is through sex because that is what they have been exposed to and that is what they know. Many enter into abusive relationships because of their low self-esteem, and also because they automatically gravitate towards things that they have been exposed to in the past.
I am so sorry to hear that your past boyfriends have forced you into sex when you didn’t want to. This is completely unacceptable and you should have never been put in such a situation by those men. It is unfortunate that in many societies all around the world (including the USA), we have been brought up to devalue women and to objectify them in a way that is completely demeaning and offensive.
That is why domestic violence is a reality here and in many other places in the world. I commend you for breaking up with those men and I pray that you will be able to identify the right man before entering into a relationship the next time around. I would like to suggest a few things for you to do to help yourself overcome the difficulties that you have experienced:
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1.) Please find a counselor/mental health professional in your area and start a therapy. There are a lot of things that have happened in your life that need to be addressed correctly and sorted out. You need to overcome the childhood sexual abuse you experienced and understand how it affects you now. You need to understand why you felt the need to have many boyfriends in a short period of time, and what is attracting you to the wrong kind of guy. You also need to take some time off seeking a mate and learn to appreciate, value and love yourself. Counseling will help you to sort out all these issues and give you guidance and clarity. This is absolutely necessary – please do not underestimate the importance of counseling!
2.) Take time to appreciate yourself and value yourself without seeking out a boyfriend. What are your goals in life? Do you want to go to college? Do you want to work/volunteer? What makes you happy? What kind of person do you want to become? What are your strengths/weaknesses? How do you want to overcome your weaknesses?
Appreciating and loving yourself leads to high self-esteem. When you have high self-esteem, you will start to make better decisions for yourself, feel better about yourself and about your future in general. Self-esteem is not given to you by a boyfriend or another person – it comes from within yourself. Therefore, spending quality time with yourself is absolutely important.
3.) Know that Allah (swt) is All-Forgiving, and He (swt) wants us to forgive ourselves! Allah (swt) constantly tells us in the Qur’an that He (swt) is All-Forgiving and All-Merciful. He (swt) wants us to seek His forgiveness, and He (swt) promised to forgive us even though we sin constantly. Since Allah (swt) forgives, He (swt) also wants us to forgive! If we do not forgive ourselves, then we remain stuck and unable to move forward.
Allah (swt) wants us to forgive ourselves because He (swt) wants us to understand that we all are prone to mistakes. The special person identifies the mistake, seeks forgiveness for them, and then moves on. The mistake doesn’t keep us down and constantly lingers in our lives to make us feel guilty and bad about ourselves.
Since we know that Allah (swt) is All-Forgiving, we also have to be forgiving towards ourselves and move forward. Sister, please understand that Allah (swt) will, in fact, forgive you if you are sincere in your repentance. Believe it. Allah (swt) wants you to forgive yourself and gain the strength and courage to move on with your life and grow. Give yourself a chance because Allah (swt) certainly has.
I ask Allah (swt) to help you to gain the courage to forgive yourself and to connect you with the right kind of help.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.