The Effects are Real...AMWT 26

" One night I remember saying that I would undergo being molested again than feeling the pain that I was feeling at the time."

So, I’ve been doing a lot of reading in the book, Rape, Incest, and Child Sexual Abuse and I’ve noticed how my emotions started going all over the place. I felt myself becoming angry, upset, sad, and then happy all at the same time. There are so many relatable things written in this book, and that’s what caused all of these emotions to overtake me.

After reading, I sat and thought. I realize that people just don’t know how severe the long-term effects of child sexual abuse are, and it’s even more severe when it’s not treated. I shared this passage in my online support group:

“Because the victim must attend to the difficult task of surving…she…has little time or energy available to interact with the environment and master its surmountable challenges…Instead she becomes developmentally conservative—taking as few risks as possible and limiting her activities to those that are immediately relevant to safety and/or escape. In this context maturation is difficult, and…the individual is, to some extent, frozen in childhood.”

If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse, I’m almost certain this applies or has applied to you at a certain point in life. Maybe you’re feeling this way now. Starting my healing journey did make me see that the inner child in me was frozen. That six-year-old never grew up. She was stuck! There a lot of women and men who’s inner child never grew up due to child sexual abuse. So as we age, the inner child is still lost in time. For some reason that six-year-old had a difficult time adapting to what we call life, so she stayed a child. Not being able to trust or take risks was because of the little girl who was stuck. She has been stuck for so long that it became the norm….and quite comfortable, which then made my life just blahhhh.

So I mentioned how the effects of child sexual abuse are already severe. So how much more severe are they when it’s not treated? Well let me list a few effects:

Psychological aftereffects-anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts

Somatic complaints-weight problems and sleep disturbance

Behavioral problems- eating disorders and substance abuse

Interpersonal problems-difficult getting along with others

Cognitive difficulties-chronic perceptions of dangers

Changed self-perceptions-self-disgust, low self-esteem

Sexual problems-promiscuity, an impaired motivation to be sexually active, becoming a prostitute

Of course there are other effects, but these are some that are listed in the book I’m reading. I’ll focus on one I suffered from. I suffered with “changed self-perception.” Due to my abuse as a child, I literally lost my identity. I didn’t know my self-worth, and deep down inside, I didn’t really value who I was. I didn’t always think I was beautiful. I hated my hair. GOD knows I hated my crooked teeth. There was a point I stopped smiling. So as I got older, nothing changed. I felt unlovable and thought no one would ever love me, for me. I wanted to look perfect. I wanted the long straight hair, the perfect body….the whole glam package. Even with the glam look, I still felt unlovable. I was constantly hungry for male attention, so I could feel better about myself. I just knew if any guy could drool over me and what I could offer would make me feel beautiful. But it didn’t. It made me feel worse, and I received attention that I didn’t need and ended up hurting myself even more. It caused re-victimization, mental abuse and sextortion. I never thought losing my identity would have caused even more harm in my adult life than the act of the abuse as a child. All of this was led from my changed self-perception. One night I remember saying that I would undergo being molested again than feeling the pain that I was feeling at the time.

The effects are real. Until you have undergone child sexual abuse, you’ll never know how we feel, what we’ve had to deal with, what we’ve had to carry, and how that child has had a hard time catching up to our adult life.

To those who are on the healing journey, take your time, because healing will come. You’ve already made the decision to heal, so just continue to go through the process. It will hurt. You will become angry, and you will cry some more, but it’s not the end. You can do it. Do it for that little girl or that little boy inside.

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