Shadows Of The Mind


List of effects for survivors

Posted on May 18, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Below is a list of effects that we suffer from as survivors of sexual abuse. Recognizing these effects in myself helped me to negate them on my road to healing. Although I didn't suffer from all of them, I wanted to include them all for others. These are very similar to the effects in adult children of alcoholic parents. I hope you find the list helpful.

Effects of Sexual Abuse

-afraid to remove clothes when appropriate (bathing, swimming, sleeping)

-alcohol abuse or total abstinence

-anger issues, fear of expressing, fear of rage

-attempts to be invisible

-boundary issues

-carrying secret, urge to tell

-creation of fantasy world, life, friends

-crying for no apparent reason


-dislike of water on face

-drug abuse

-eating disorders

-extreme control of thoughts

-extreme risk taker, or unable to take risks

-fear of the dark

-fear of losing control

-fear of nobody listening

-fear of rejection, abandonment

-fear of sleeping alone

-feeling crazy, different, unreal

-feeling watched

-feelings of suffocation

-'female' problems, vaginal infections

-gastrointestinal problems


-headaches, arthritis, joint pain

-hiding, clinging, cowering

-inability to deal with crisis, shutdown

-inability to trust (not safe), total trust, poor judgement

-inappropriate attire - baggy clothes

-instinct to know others wants and needs

-intense anger towards whole gender or race of abuser

-lack of ability to set limits

-lack of sense of humor, seriousness

-low self esteem

-low self worth

-magnification of stressful situations

-need to be perfect, or bad


-nightmares or terrors, particularly of being chased, trapped, threatened

-no sense of rights or personal power


-over reacting when startled

-people or places blocked from memory

-periods of life blocked, lack of memory


-physical pain associated with sex

-poor body image, not taking care of body

-relationships are trade offs


-sensitive gag reflex, swallowing

-separating from self (splitting)

-serious need for privacy using washroom


-uncomfortable accepting favors, love, gifts

-victim pattern, especially with sex

-weight loss or gain to change body and avoid sexual attention

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Reply Bee
6:15 PM on August 4, 2010 
I too have been affected by many of these items on the list - some I didn't realize were effects from abuse till now.
Reply Debbie Roxborough
1:10 PM on May 19, 2010 
As was I Patricia. It was in being able to recognize that I wasn't crazy and that these were a result of abuse that I was able to negate them for the most part and begin my healing journey.
Reply Patricia Singleton
1:09 AM on May 19, 2010 
I have been affected by most of these at different times of my life as an incest survivor.