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The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of Potomac

Ashley Darby Opens up About Experiencing Sexual Abuse as a Child

The Real Housewives of Potomac's Ashley Darby shares what has helped her heal from this past trauma.

By Laura Rosenfeld
Ashley Darby

Ashley Darby shared that she was sexually abused as a child in a video on Instagram Live on Wednesday, February 27.

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The Real Housewives of Potomac mom-to-be opened up about her past trauma while hosting a Sacral Chakra Chat to help others learn how to heal from emotional and sexual abuse. "I was sexually abused as a child for a number of years, and I didn't really understand exactly how it could affect me later on in life until I began my yoga journey and my mindfulness journey," she said.

Ashley said that she really started to put in the work to try to heal from her experience with sexual abuse after she separated from her husband, Michael Darby, in 2017. "I came back to yoga and mindfulness and really came back to love myself again," she shared.

But when the sexual abuse occurred when Ashley was 5 and 6 years old, she said she felt too ashamed and guilty to talk about it. She didn't even tell her mother, Sheila. "I thought that there was something that I had done or said that made this person want to sexually violate me for how long he did," Ashley said. "I felt I was the reason I was experiencing this, I invited this man to touch me the way he did."

Ashley said that she stored those emotions and memories away and moved on with her life. But as an adult, she "realized that there are still ramifications that I still deal with every day," including in her relationship to Michael. "Part of the reason I think I had issues in my marriage the way I did was I didn't feel comfortable with my emotions," Ashley explained. 

Before she met Michael, Ashley said that she was acting "overly sexual" and had been "attracting people who had emotional dysfunction" as a result of being sexually abused. She would also become fixated on fixing others. "I wanted to fix them, I wanted to heal them," Ashley recalled. "I became an empath to an unhealthy degree."

When Ashley became pregnant with her first child, she said that she displayed this "obsessive behavior" again, fixating on family and stability.

Through therapy, yoga, and mindfulness, Ashley said that she has found several tactics that have helped her to heal, including awareness, meditation, daily affirmations, identifying sexual feelings, and learning to not shut off any negative feelings or fear she may have. Ashley also uses yoga to cope, and she demonstrated several poses that particularly help with healing. "I do find these tactics and these principles really help me," she said. "And I believe that there's so much power in ourselves and learning how to heal ourselves and learning how to hear the inner voice."

Ashley later showed her gratitude for all of the love she received from fans after sharing her story. "Thank you for all of your support and the incredible feedback on today's Sacral Chakra Chat. It was therapeutic to be vulnerable and open with you beauties about the path I've been on for the past couple of years," she shared in a post on Instagram. "Remember that we have two constants in this life - the mind and body. It's important to take time out to heal the traumatic experiences we have endured both mentally [and] physically. Operating on auto pilot is a survival mechanism that gets us through, but it certainly doesn't get to withdraw us from our senses and feelings. Please take some time to check in with yourself and figure out just what helped you get here. You're pretty incredible."

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