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Long-term Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Posted Jul 24 2011 12:00am

Although I've found and have numerous list of symptoms this is the most comprehensive and eaily understood list.  I found many of them interesting as I did not know that some of my ailments and behavior was due to my sexual abuse.  Dr. Carol Boulware offers counseling in the Santa Monica and Redondo Beach area in California and education especially on EMDR on her website and in her practice.The following was found on Carol Boulware, MFT, Ph.D. Los Angeles - Santa Monica & Redondo Beach, California  website:

Was I Sexually Abused?

Pay attention to your feelings and follow your gut. A lot of victims of sexual abuse tend to block out memories they have of the incident only to be triggered by painful reminders: specific sounds, smells, words and facial expressions. If you suspect that you were sexually abused, you probably were. Trust you feelings and memories.
What Are The Affects Of Sexual Abuse?
Being in your body
  • Do you feel at home in your body?
  • Do you feel comfortable expressing yourself sexually with another?
  • Do you feel that you are a part of your body or does your body feel like a separate entity?
  • Have you ever intentionally and physically hurt yourself?
  • Do you find it difficult to listen to your body?

  • Do you feel out of control of your feelings?
  • Do you feel you sometimes don't understand all the feelings you are experiencing?
  • Are you overwhelmed by the wide range of feelings you have?

  • What are your expectations of your partner in a relationship?
  • Do you find it easy to trust others?
  • Do you find difficulty in making commitments?
  • Even though you're in a relationship, are you still lonely?
  • Is it hard for you to allow others to get close to you?
  • Do you find yourself in relationships with people who remind you of your abuser, or you know is no good for you?

  • Do you find it difficult to love yourself?
  • Do you have a hard time accepting yourself?
  • Are you ashamed of yourself?
  • Do you have expectations of yourself that aren't realistic?

  • Do you enjoy sex?
  • Do you find it difficult to express yourself sexually?
  • Do you find yourself using sex to get close to someone?
  • Does sex make you feel dirty?
  • Are you "present" during sex?
What Problems are Caused by Sexual Abuse?
Major Sexual Symptoms of Sexual Abuse
  • Difficulty with becoming aroused and feeling sensations
  • Sex feels like an obligation
  • Sexual thoughts and images that are disturbing
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors or sexual compulsivity
  • Vaginal pain
  • Inability to achieve orgasm or other orgasmic difficulties
  • Erections problems or ejaculatory difficulty
  • Feeling dissociated while having sex
  • Detachment or emotional distance while having sex
  • Being afraid of sex or avoiding sex
  • Guilt, fear, anger, disgust or other negative feelings when being touched

Major Long-Term Medical Symptoms of Sexual Abuse
  • Insomnia
  • Vaginal or Pelvic Pain
  • Eating Disorders
  • Headaches
  • TMJ syndrome
  • Low back pain, chest pressure
  • Erection problems or ejaculatory difficulty
  • Asthma
  • Dizziness/fainting
  • Self harming/self-mutilation
  • Chronic physical complaints

Major Long-Term Psychological Symptoms of Sexual Abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stress disorders - PTSD
  • Personality disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-abuse behaviors
Remember, if you have these symptoms it does not necessarily mean that you were sexually abused.  Other things can impact one's life to develop some of these symptoms.  But if you know that you were sexually abused, which ones do you recognize in yourself.  Mine are in italics.

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