If you're here, it's likely because you suspect that you or someone you care about may have experienced childhood sexual abuse. Perhaps you're grappling with PTSD, chronic health conditions, womb and fertility related issues, emotional dysregulation, relationship problems or unexplainable physical sensations in your body.
You may or may not have memories of sexual abuse, often survivors have what I call somatic impressions which can arise through the body, energy system and through visual flashbacks. The lack of concrete memory can be confusing and lead to chronic self doubt - leaving you going round in circles and unable to move forward in life.
Every day, I help people like you get complete clarity on what happened to them, heal the imprints and symptoms at the root cause - physically and emotionally, and move forward confidently into their future with a renewed strength, purpose and peace.
In this article I provide a comprehensive and detailed check list of the most common symptoms of childhood sexual abuse so that you can get clarity and heal. This is based on thousands of hours of somatic and energetic healing work with adults all around the world.
If, after reading this post, you feel that you are ready to embark on your healing journey here are your next steps:
- Enrol in my 2 month self paced online healing course for Healing Childhood Sexual Abuse - Work with me 1-1 in a personalised healing programme designed to release the imprints of sexual trauma at a somatic, emotional and energetic level and enable you to move forward in your true power. This starts by booking an in depth consultation where you will get a personalised treatment plan and pathway forward.
How Childhood Sexual Abuse Affects Your Memory
You may or may not have concrete, reliable memories of the abuse. This is normal. The memory of childhood sexual trauma is held in the nervous system. As a child, your brain would have developed a mechanism to block, fragment or mute the retrieval of the abusive memories. This is a protection mechanism. A child's brain doesn't have the capacity to process the terror and injustice of sexual abuse, which is why most people start healing this in their 30's and 40's.
The most common experience I see is people who have a strange sense that they were sexually abused, have spent a lifetime trying to piece together fragments of information and hold an immense amount of charge in their nervous system that keeps them in a sympathetic state of chronic stress and trauma. As the abuse happened in childhood, this state was normalised. After several decades it can lead to chronic health conditions.
Abuse can impair your memory in many different ways:
You have significant gaps in your childhood memory
You struggle to recall significant events in your childhood
Your childhood memories seems like a blur
Your memories are fragmented and abstract which creates uncertainty
When you try to explore a memory, you dissociate almost immediately.
Focusing on a memory leads you to dissociate / shut down / go numb
The memories you do have feel superficial and made up
You feel like you might be making up your own memories
You have memories of abuse but you feel nothing when they come up
You have memories of abuse but they don't feel like yours
Your memories are extremely fragmented like a jigsaw
Your memories are contradictory and hard to make logical sense of
Your memories begin in your teenage years and you have a blank before then
Your childhood memories don't correspond to your childhood events
You have no negative memories at all, your childhood was 'perfect'
Despite having an abusive childhood, your memories are all 'happy'
You have no memories of being with your parents
Your memories are polarised (extremely good or extremely bad)
Your memories of childhood involve splitting, e.g., mom is good, dad is bad
Your memories of abuse don't show any clear faces but you see a dark room
Your memories of abuse don't show any clear faces but you see hands, genitals
You get flashbacks / nightmares that involve genitals, sexual acts, hands
Your childhood memories mostly involve events happening to other people, such as your friends or siblings.
You have a sense of dread / doom when you start to approach a memory which leads you to avoid it
You have a physical stress response when an abusive memory arises
You feel disgust when your memories of childhood arise
You feel you are selecting and avoiding memories and constantly trying to filter
You struggle with your adult memories and don't remember key events in your life
Your memory is distorted e.g you have memories of abuse from a person who it couldn't possibly be, or in a location that you knew you were never in
You feel your memories have changed over the course of your life and you now don't know what's true
Your memories feel threatening and intrusive and cause distress and disgust
Your flash backs are too vague to make any sense of
You have a few vivid memories that replay over and over again
How Sexual Abuse Affects Your Spine
The spine is an important area where the body can hold imprints of sexual abuse. Survivors may experience constant lower back pain that doesn't go away with physical therapies. The spine may also feel stiff, held, and rigid, even when the person is relaxed.
Your lower back feels dense and heavy all the time despite there being no physical injury
Constant lower back pain that doesn't resolve with physical therapies
You feel stiffness and rigidity in your spine almost constantly
You can't feel your own spine
You spine feels fragile, unsupportive and weak
You have extremely low spinal density
Difficulty maintaining good posture and standing up straight
Tightness or discomfort in the upper or mid-back
You have numbness or tingling in the legs or feet
When you lie down your spine hovers off the ground
Sensation of being pulled or stretched by an invisible force
Difficulty moving or bending the spine without pain
Lack of support or stability in the spine
Weakness in the spine, unable to hold the body upright
Sudden or intense pain in the spine without any apparent cause SACRUM
Your sacrum feels stuck or bound
Your sacrum feels numb / blocked / frozen
Your sacrum feels bruised somehow
You feel disgust in your sacrum that you can't explain
Your sacrum is shifted or bent to the right creating nerve impingement
Regardless of physical therapies this doesn't change
This also radiates pain or tingling down your legs into your groin
You have sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Sacrum is energetically disconnected from the rest of the spine
Sacral plexus is imbalanced, usually the right side is over active
You feel pain in your tail bone that you can't explain
Tail bone feels lifted without physical injury
Energetically tail bone is pointing up rather than down
How Childhood Sexual Trauma Affects Your Head, Face, and Neck
Sexual trauma imprints can manifest in various ways in the head, face, and neck area. When the sympathetic nervous system is activated for many years, it can cause increased muscle tension throughout the body, including the muscles in the head, face, and neck. Sexual trauma can also create sustained levels of hyper-vigilance and affect sensory processing which directly impacts the functioning of the cranial nerves that play a vital role in sensory and motor functions. These include your vision, hearing, taste, smell, facial movements, and other sensory experiences.
Unresolved childhood sexual abuse can impair your head, face and neck in many ways: HEADACHES
Tension headaches that feel like a constant, dull pain or pressure in the head
Intense migraines particularly during menstruation. This is caused by hormonal imbalance due to elevated cortisol as a result of the body being in fight flight mode for so many years
Cluster Headaches in extreme cases
Heightened sensitivity to light and sound
Dizziness and vertigo related to disruptions in the vestibular system
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction: TMJ dysfunction due to heightened muscle tension, jaw clenching, or teeth grinding associated with the trauma.
Your jaw feels tight and movement feels limited or difficult
Your jaw locks or clicks
You grind your teeth at night
FACE & EYES
Your face feels tense, strained and restricted
Partial facial paralysis with no known head trauma, usually on the right side
You have symptoms of facial weakness such as drooping of your eyelid or mouth
You have Bell's Palsy or Guillain-Barré Syndrome
Discomfort or pain in the face around the temples
Reduction in the range of your facial expressions
You have a perpetually solemn or guarded appearance
You struggle to recognise your own face in the mirror (depersonalisation)
You feel disgust when you look at your own face
You suffer with Adult acne, eczema, or psoriasis
You struggle to make eye contact with others
Your eyes do not feel symmetrical , one feels lower than the other
You get blurred or double vision especially when stressed
You are extremely sensitive to light
You feel heaviness within your eyes
You have long term eye twitching (myokymia)
You struggle to process depth perception
Your spatial awareness is compromised
You eyes look dead / numb / expressionless
CRANIAL MEMBRANES & NERVES
You have chronic tightness in your cranial membranes
Your head constantly feels like it's being squeezed
You feel a constant pressure in your head that you can't release
Your head movement is restricted
Your head always feels heavy
Your falx feels compressed and your tentorium feels extremely tight
Your sphenoid feels twisted or imbalanced affecting vision, sinuses, dizziness etc
You have a sensitivity to sound causing everyday sounds to be excessively loud or painful
You have ringing or buzzing in your ears or phantom sounds - tinnitus
You have issues with auditory processing and struggle to follow conversations
You get auditory overload very easily that triggers anxiety
Your ears feel full for no reason
One of your ears feels more pushed in than the other
How Childhood Sexual Trauma Affects Your Brain
Sexual trauma can leave a significant impact on the brain, leading to memory loss or difficulty retaining information. Survivors may experience cognitive difficulties, such as trouble concentrating or processing information. They may also feel disconnected from their own thoughts and emotions, making it challenging to form a sense of identity. Additionally, sexual trauma can lead to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can further impact brain function and emotional regulation.
Severe brain fog
Symptoms similar to ADHD
Difficulty learning and retaining new information
Feeling like your brain is not accessible to you
Frequent migraines or cluster headaches
The frontal lobe (forehead) feels full, heavy, or dense
Flashbacks that don't make sense
Struggling with contradictory long-term memories
Feeling disconnected from your own memories
Difficulty focusing and being productive
Excessive forgetfulness, even when reminded
Forgetting things you've said or what others have told you
Thoughts that feel slower or blurrier than others
Difficulty planning ahead or thinking coherently
Difficulty turning off your thoughts and getting lost in them
Feeling overwhelmed by your own thoughts
Lack of trust in your own thoughts or judgment
Difficulty processing your environment as "real"
Difficulty following conversations and blanking out
Mind frequently wandering and losing track of time
Daydreaming at inappropriate times and not recalling what you were thinking
Difficulty self-motivating despite having resources
Difficulty organizing yourself at the basic level (day, week, job)
Obsessing and compulsive thinking or acting
Fantasizing about violence, sexual violence, or acts of perversion
Muted perception of dangerous situations and difficulty processing danger
Difficulty reading people's emotions and facial expressions
Difficulty visualizing things like other people do
Difficulty self-reflecting and answering "why" questions
Difficulty naming your own emotions
Long-term depression with no apparent cause or unsuccessful treatment
Slurred speech or difficulty communicating clearly
Inability to distinguish between a memory, flashback, vision, dream, imagination, or energetic imprint or somatic sensation.
How Sexual Abuse Affects Your Sleep: Insomnia & Nightmares
Sexual trauma can significantly impact an individual's sleep patterns and quality of sleep. Survivors may experience difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or wake up frequently during the night. They may have vivid nightmares or flashbacks related to their trauma, which can make it difficult to fall back asleep. Sleep disturbances can result in chronic fatigue, exhaustion, and increased irritability, leading to a lack of productivity during the day. Additionally, the body's natural regulation of hormones can be impacted, causing changes in appetite, mood, and energy levels.
You have insomnia for longer than 3 years
You have restless legs
You wake up during the night and can't get back to sleep
You have nightmares often
You often experience night time paralysis
You experience astral rape and brutality
You avoid sleeping because you're scared
You're scared to fall asleep because you feel you're going to be in danger
You still need to sleep with the lights on
The quality of your sleep is poor and you're not sure why
You wake up and do not feel refreshed
You feel you are being abused in your sleep
You dream about perverse things
Needing to scream during nightmares but unable to let the scream out
Confusion about who is screaming
You wake up feeling physically ill
You wake up feeling emotionally drained
You wake up with a sense of dread or impending doom
You feel like you're constantly fighting for your life even in your dreams
You wake up with bruises or other unexplained injuries
You experience sleepwalking or other forms of sleep disturbance
You have trouble falling asleep because your mind is racing or you're constantly reliving traumatic events
You experience sleep paralysis accompanied by terrifying hallucinations
You avoid going to sleep or entering a dark room
You experience panic attacks or extreme anxiety at bedtime.
How Sexual Abuse Affects Your Hips & Pelvis
Sexual trauma can also have a profound impact on the hips, pelvis, and legs. These areas may hold the memory of abuse and manifest in physical symptoms such as chronic pain, numbness, or tightness. Survivors may also experience difficulty with sexual functioning or have a sense of disconnection from their bodies. Additionally, survivors may feel unsafe or uncomfortable in situations that require them to be physically vulnerable, such as during medical exams or intimate relationships.
You feel constant tension or pain in your hips
Your hip joins feel inflamed or you have limited mobility
Your right hip feels rotated or much tighter and heavier than your left
You have chronic pelvic torsion (one side of the hip is more rotated than the other)
Your pelvis feels locked at different levels, sometimes you sense padlocks energetically
You struggle to feel into your pelvic area
Your pelvic floor feels constricted and tight (hypertonic)
You can't feel your pelvic floor at all
You have pain in your groin area
Sacroiliac joints are painful / inflamed / limited mobility
You don't feel your legs or notice them throughout the da
Your legs feel hollow or wobbly and unstable
You don't trust your legs to move you forward
Your quads feel tight despite not exercising
Your psoas muscles on the inside of your inner thighs feels constantly tight
You feel like your legs are bound by something around the ankles
You sense your legs are crossed to protect your genitals and womb
You often cross your legs and squeeze your genitals
Your legs feel like sticks or twigs unable to hold your body weight
Your legs appear like metal rods or pegs energetically
You feel like you have given up on your legs
You experience hypervigilance during sleep
You have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
You frequently wake up gasping for air
You have vivid and disturbing dreams
You experience sleepwalking or night terrors
You wake up in a panic or with a racing heart
You have trouble sleeping without medication or substances
You experience flashbacks or memories during sleep
You feel like you are reliving the trauma while asleep
You struggle with daytime fatigue and sleepiness
You avoid sleep as a way to avoid confronting traumatic memories
You experience physical symptoms during sleep, such as sweating or trembling
You feel like you are constantly on guard even while asleep
You have difficulty distinguishing dreams from reality
You experience sleep disturbances in cycles or patterns
You have difficulty trusting others enough to sleep in their presence
You experience a sense of dread or impending doom before sleeping
Watch Now: Unveiling the Crucial Role of the Sacrum in Healing Childhood Sexual Trauma
Book a consultation call with me for a personalised treatment plan and guidance on your healing path forward.
How Childhood Sexual Trauma Affects Your Womb and Genitals
Sexual trauma can leave imprints on the womb and genitals, leading to physical and emotional symptoms. Some of these symptoms include chronic pain or discomfort in the pelvic area, painful periods or sex, urinary issues, and gastrointestinal problems. Survivors may also experience a disconnection from their own sexuality or struggle with intimacy and trust in sexual relationships. The trauma can create physical tension and tightness in the pelvic floor, making it challenging to relax and feel safe in the body.
Your womb feels heavy and full or like it's overflowing with something
Your womb feels foreign / like it doesn't belong in your body
Your womb feels like a black box that you're scared to go inti
Your womb feels like there is a rock inside
Your womb feels disgusting to you / dirty
When you feel into deeper vibrations you dissociate or shut down
You sometimes feel like your womb is attacking you
You feel repelled by your own womb
You have the sensation of your womb being on fire
You have a sense of terror in your womb and you're not sure why
When you feel into your womb you feel nauseous / angry / full of pain and grief and you're not sure why
You feel ashamed about your womb and genitals
Your menstrual cycle is very painful
Your menstrual cycle has stopped or is very irregular
You have developed endometriosis, cysts or fibroids
You are struggling with fertility and unsure why
Your genitals feel separate from your body
You only feel your genitals during sex
Energetically your womb space is not integrated into the pelvic area but floats high above or to the side of the body
You feel imprints of hands / face / tongue or genitals within your womb space and you're not sure why
You have seen imprints of the abuser in your womb, or around the right hip
You have done alot of womb healing but you still can't access your womb
You struggle to breathe from the womb
You experience sexual dysfunction most of your adult life (more on this later)
Your womb is surrounded by a black box making you feel rigid within
Your womb is being invaded by something external that you cannot see
You feel a foreign or dark energy around the entrance to your yoni
You feel obstruction in your anus
You feel you have been violated but you're not sure how or when
How Sexual Abuse Affects Your Organs
Sexual trauma can also leave imprints on your internal organs, gut, kidney, and adrenals. Some signs of this can include chronic digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), chronic bladder infections or inflammation, adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome, and chronic pelvic pain. Survivors may also experience a sense of feeling disconnected from their body and have difficulty regulating their emotions, which can impact their overall well-being. The internal organs can also hold emotional imprints and be impacted by stress and trauma, leading to physical symptoms and illnesses.
Kidneys hold intense fear and charge
Kidneys feel frozen heavy / numb / cold
Kidneys feel muffled or are dissociated from the body
Kidney failure in extreme cases after many decades
Stomach feels tight / contracted / knotted almost constantly
Gut is inflamed / IBS symptoms / Gut-brain connection inhibited
Can only feel stomach and gut when full / sensation is muted
Uncertainty about satiation which leads to patterns of starvation / binging / eating disorders
Liver toxicity and held charge of anger that can't be accessed
Overactive nervous system, constant stress
Cortisol levels are elevated but chronic stress states perceived as 'normal'
Adrenal glands are over-active
Organs feel full / like about to burst
Body feels bloated, there is visible bloating
Organs feel like they are on fire - especially womb, genitals
Diaphragm is tight
Breathing is shallow and feels constricted
Breath doesn't go down into the womb / root on the exhale
Lymphatic stagnation and neurotoxicity
Layering of chronic and degenerative conditions
Organ dissociation particularly heart, womb and in more severe cases, also the gut and liver
Thyroid issues, blocks in throat
How it Feels to Be In Your Body After Sexual Abuse
Sexual trauma can have a profound impact on the connection between your body and mind, making it difficult to feel grounded and present in the moment. You may experience dissociation, numbness, or a sense of disconnection from your body, as well as a lack of awareness of your physical sensations. This can make it challenging to identify and express your needs, boundaries, and desires, and may lead to difficulties with intimacy and self-care. Additionally, you may experience physical symptoms such as chronic pain, tension, or digestive issues, which can be linked to the impact of trauma on the nervous system and internal organs.
You don't feel safe in your own body
You have never felt safe in the world
You are dissociated and unable to be in your own body
You don't recognise your own body or reflection in the mirror
You don't feel like your body is yours or it feels foreign
You feel like your body is attacking you or has betrayed you
You feel there is something deeply missing within your own body
You feel undernourished despite eating well
Your internal sensations trigger deep fear and mistrust
You cannot trust or make sense of your own internal sensations
Your internal sensations trigger self disgust, shame and blame
You are scared to feel deeper into your body incase you are destroyed
You have an internal feeling of doom, dread that keeps you clinging on but not living
You are scared of being 'found out / seen' because of what you hold inside
You use your body like a machine but cannot rest and have insomnia
Your body freezes when you need it most which creates mistrust and confusion
Your body feels hot, on fire from the inside, burning, but you cannot identify what it is
You feel a sensation but it means nothing, even when it is extreme
You only respond to pain, to suppress or manage it, you cannot feel other sensation
Your body feels dangerous to be in
Your body feels under attack
Your body feels like it's holding a strong charge and you are scared of what will happen if you 'go there' or release it
You feel like you are holding back from life, holding yourself back
You have body dysmorphia, you can't look at your own body except in shame
You feel like your body is a hollow, empty space with nothing inside
You feel like your eyes are blank, dead, disconnected from your body
Your body feels weighed down and heavy and you do not move much
Your chest feels constricted, held down, tight and uncomfortable
You're often tired and unable to do basic tasks 'like everyone else can'
You feel disgust is held in your body but you don't know how to get it out
You feel your body has shut down or stopped working
You have no energy and rely on drugs or stimulants to get you through the day
You feel like you're being punished by being in the body you have
Dissociation and Depersonalisation after Sexual Abuse
You don't feel or value your own body sensations
You only feel physical pain but other sensations are invisible
You do not feel any connection to your womb or gentials
You feel like you are having an out of body experience
You experience alot of astral rape or astral interference at night
You see yourself hovering above yourself
You can't ground or self regulate
You have no idea that you are checked out but people say you look spacey
You don't feel any emotion deep enough to make sense of it
You have chronic health conditions that have persisted over time
You are numb to physical disturbances in your body such as back pain
You resent being in your body because you believe it only holds pain and disgust
You feel attacked by dark entities
You are not getting results from healing work that you're doing
You can't meditate or identify when you need to self soothe
You seek substances to self soothe
When you feel overwhelmed emotionally you get tired and then check out
Your coping mechanism for processing emotional pain is to go to sleep
The energy body is asleep and the eyes are closed
You have severe levels of adrenal fatigue
You can't see or visualise your inner child without spacing out or shutting down
You shut down when in busy places and around certain people
You feel uncomfortable within your own body
You feel like your body is trying to destroy or punish you
Numbing or finding oneself numb and unsure why
Feeling of being lost , disconnected from self and body
Not able to drop into anything, not able to fulfil oneself
Unable to access inner world, many external attachments to distract
Sudden emotional shut downs
Suddenly feeling blank when triggered or childhood memories come up
Moments of intense triggering and then sudden shut down
Unable to cry or release emotion from the body
Unable to feel own emotions for more than a few moments
Avoidance of emotions / inability to sense inner emotions or describe them
Inability to feel love / loved / pretending to feel love
Sense of acting / pretending in life, not knowing what 'real' is or feels like
kicked out of the body / unable to access emotions in the heart for prolonged periods or in enough depth to heal them
Unable to express emotion easily without shutting down
How Childhood Sexual Abuse Affects Your Energy Body
Sexual trauma can also leave imprints on the energy body, which includes the root space, solar plexus, and throat chakras. These imprints can manifest as blockages, disruptions, or imbalances in the flow of energy through these areas. Symptoms may include physical discomfort, emotional distress, and difficulty expressing oneself. Additionally, survivors may experience dissociation or disconnection from their bodies and their inner selves.
Inability to feel into your own subtle energy body at all (despite healing, training courses etc)
You have a feeling of being locked in your own body
Your energy body feels like a jigsaw puzzle that doesn't fit
Your energy body feels distorted and incoherent or moves in a chaotic way
You struggle to ground
You don't feel connected to the earth
Energy doesn't flow up and down your spine
You feel like you're carrying something really heavy all around you
Feel like you are being crushed under something heavy
You feel held down / pinned down by a force greater than you
You feel attacked by something energetic from the outside of you
You feel unable to move forward like you are held in something sticky
You feel the energetic binds connecting you to something dark
You feel constant darkness and terror in your field
You cannot raise your vibration with any healing you do
You feel something attacked to your womb
You feel something is in between your legs
you feel like you are being followed
You feel paranoid about the energetic impressions you sense
You feel like everything energetic is happening to you rather than within you
You don't have a sense of where your energy field begins and ends
You feel invaded by other energies
You constantly feel other people's darkness but not your own
You feel a pulling of energy into the right side of your hip
You feel something is wrapped around your neck
You feel the energetic vibration of hands near your genitals
You see an energetic figure of a person in between your legs
You feel controlled by something bigger than you, often a dark force
You sense daggers and chains in your field
Your field carries lots of imprints of you in powerless positions
You feel past life sensations of rape or sexual abuse
You feel the vibration of sexual abuse or perversion in your field
You see glimpses of young children sometimes naked in your field
You feel body parts that are disconnected in your field, usually genitals or mouth
Your midline is completely distorted or dissociated
You have no centre or sense of home within your field
You have multiple false midlines that leave you confused about where you are
You cannot stay in your midline longer than a few seconds before you distort and dissociate
How Childhood Sexual Abuse Affects Your Root Chakra and Grounding
Sexual trauma can impact the root chakra by causing a sense of disconnection from one's own body and a lack of trust and safety in the world. This can result in feelings of anxiety, fear, lack and instability. Individuals may also experience physical symptoms such as chronic pain, digestive issues, or reproductive problems.
Your root space is empty or hollow
Your roots are shallow or non existent
Your roots are frayed and broken and damaged
Your root space feels dangerous to feel into
You cannot go below the superficial root space level
You experience extreme fear and paranoia when you feel deeper into your root space
You feel pain and perversion is held in your root space
Your are not sure whose pain or perversion this is
How Sexual Abuse Affects Your Your Solar Plexus and Self Confidence
Sexual trauma can impact the solar plexus by creating a sense of powerlessness and low self-esteem. This can lead to difficulties with personal boundaries, self-worth, and decision-making. Individuals may also experience physical symptoms such as digestive issues or chronic fatigue.
Your solar plexus is tight and knotted or completely outside of your field
Your solar plexus is wide open and there is no sense of where you begin and end
Your heart field is inaccessible to you
Your throat is shut down
Your crown - you have only a conceptual sense of what the crown space is
You cannot feel into your own crown without seeing disturbing images
You feel the presence of someone in your field - usually this will be the abuser e.g father, grandfather, teacher, aunt, neighbour etc
How Childhood Sexual Abuse Affects Your Throat Chakra & Authentic Self Expression
Sexual trauma can impact the throat chakra by causing difficulty in expressing oneself and speaking truthfully. Individuals may feel shame or guilt about their experiences, which can prevent them from speaking out. This can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection from others. Physical symptoms may include throat or thyroid issues.
Your throat feels blocked and you struggle to speak
You doubt yourself every time you speak
You avoid speaking at all costs
You are scared you will say something that could destroy you
You are scared to be punished if you use your voice
You are terrified to speak your truth and you don't really know what that even is
Your voice and heart have no connection, you can't speak easily
Your throat feels tight and constricted for no reason
Your throat feels like it's being strangled
Sometimes you get images of a hand aorund your throat
You feel barbed wire or rope around your throat
You have persistent thyroid issues
Emotions: fear, dread, anger and shame Unresolved childhood sexual abuse can create a complex mix of emotions that can last a lifetime. Fear and dread are common emotions, as survivors may feel constantly threatened and on edge. Anger is also a common emotion, as survivors may feel a sense of injustice or betrayal. Shame is another common emotion, as survivors may feel that they are somehow responsible for what happened to them or that they are somehow damaged. These emotions can be intense and difficult to manage, leading to difficulties in relationships, work, and daily life
Feeling a deep sense of fear, but not knowing why or how to explore it.
Being unsure of what you are scared of.
Experiencing fear or terror when trying to access deeper inner layers somatically and energetically.
Fear of trusting your own body and where it may take you.
A sense of impending danger, especially at night or when alone.
Continual dread that something dangerous is going to happen.
Constant fear of being attacked, but unsure why.
Inaccessible inner child due to fear and terror.
Explosive expression of anger, resulting in self-blame and guilt.
Feeling impure or unworthy of existing.
Feeling inherently wrong, bad, or dirty.
Feeling different and wrong compared to everyone else.
Feeling like a different or dark child compared to other kids.
Feeling like you do not belong in the world or needing to hide your true self or a secret.
Holding something that needs to be kept a secret.
Holding the secrets of the world that cannot be spoken of.
Feeling like you are living in darkness.
Feeling like you have no heart, or a hole in your heart.
Feeling trapped in the shame-guilt cycle that is noticeable through relationships with others.
A lifelong sense of shame or feeling there is something inherently wrong with you.
A sense of self-hatred that you have come to terms with and built an identity upon.
Feeling disconnected from your true self and not knowing what that is.
Feeling like you are wearing many masks and need to in order to survive.
Your internal critic is always attacking you.
Self-blame, self-criticism, or seeking external validation to be "worthy" or "good enough".
A lack of self-worth, feeling like you are never good enough regardless of achievements.
A lack of self-compassion, where attempts to "feel good" trigger guilt or shame.
Uncertainty around your sense of self.
Feeling totally alone even in a relationship or marriage.
Feeling like your self and body are repulsive, dirty, bad, or wrong.
Attracting partners that trigger body shame and guilt.
Attracting emotionally or sexually unavailable or abusive partners.
Shame around sexual arousal, leading to confusion around the shame.
A lack of capacity to feel and cultivate self-love, which collapses under an unknown weight.
A feeling that "there is something more" or that "something has happened", but unable to pinpoint it.
Feeling different from other children or people.
Feeling cursed, fallen under a curse, or under a spell that keeps you stuck.
Feeling ashamed and triggered by your own inner child.
Struggling with inner child work because your inner child brings up emotions that you do not feel safe with.
Feeling a sense of injustice and needing to take revenge, but not sure what for.
Suppressed anger, the inability to access, feel or express anger.
Anger that is not recognized or expressed, and when it is, it is distorted.
Internalizing anger, directing it toward the self when events happen.
Face turning red but no words coming out, tendency to say "I'm fine".
Violent and intrusive thoughts of doing damage to other people.
Feelings of hatred directed toward self or others.
How Sexual Abuse Creates Confusion and Lack of Self Trust
Sexual trauma can create emotional dysregulation by disrupting the normal functioning of the brain's emotional processing centers. This can result in difficulty with emotional self-regulation, leading to mood swings, excessive emotional reactions, and difficulty identifying and expressing emotions. The experience of trauma can also lead to persistent feelings of anxiety, fear, and distrust, further exacerbating emotional dysregulation.
Feeling overly emotional, erratic, or out of control
Experience of manic or bipolar states, emotional volatility
Mistrust in own emotional intelligence, intuition, or emotional validity
Difficulty self-soothing or regulating emotional state
Inability to understand own emotional states
Easily triggered but unsure of what the trigger relates to
Feeling emotions but drowning in them without understanding their origin, engulfment
Sense of unending grief or fear with no apparent cause
Heavy, pressured feeling in the heart without clear reason
Processing trauma psychologically, rationalizing, intellectualizing
Incoherent trauma narrative, difficulty making sense of events
Lots of "I don't knows" around events and feelings
Inconsistent narratives around caregivers
Difficulty moving forward in life despite spiritual work
Feeling blocked, unable to concentrate deeply or losing focus easily
Confusion as a persistent state of being, constantly overthinking and worrying
Avoiding the heart because it feels dangerous or blocked
Inability to feel the heart at all, only surface sensations in the chest
Sexual Dysfunction after Sexual Abuse
Sexual trauma can leave a deep impact on an individual's sexual experiences and functioning. It can result in sexual dysfunctions such as vaginismus, dyspareunia, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and loss of sexual desire. It can also lead to sexual avoidance or promiscuity, difficulty with intimacy, feeling disconnected from the body, and a distorted sense of self-worth and identity related to sex. The trauma can also lead to triggering experiences during sexual activities, such as flashbacks, panic attacks, or dissociation.
You avoid even the thought of having sex
The thought of having sex triggers shame and disgust
The thought of having sex triggers flashbacks
Your relationship with sex is transactional
You only have sex to release stress and charge held in your body
You do not feel present during sex and you find yourself not wanting to be there
You shut down during sex and dissociate
You are unable to feel sexual pleasure and focus entirely on pleasing the other
You feel sexual pleasure and feel immense guilt and shame about it
You avoid penetration or you cannot have penetrative sex
You lose your erection before penetration
You shut down the stream of arousal before penetration
During penetration you leave your body and go numb
You have given up on penetrative sex and orgasmic experiences
You have sex but don't feel an intimate connection
You are suffering from sexual dysfunction for a long time
You are unable to sustain an erection and not sure why
You feel aroused but dirty / scared / guilty at the same time
You feel vacant during sex, like it's a distorted act, like you're fulfilling a duty
You feel very young and vulnerable during sex and scared
You engage in sexual activities to distract yourself from your emotions
You use sexual experiences to make your inner child feel safe and loved
You engage in sexual activities to feel a sense of power
You engage in sexual activities to intentionally harm your own body
You engage in self harm during sex or you harm others
You cannot experience pleasure unless you are being harmed or harming others
You do not know what your boundaries are sexually and you constantly violate them or violate others boundaries without realising
You only receive sexual pleasure when you are made to feel worthless
Traumatic sex feels comfortable and familiar to you
You cannot self pleasure or look at your own genitals
You feel nauseous during sex but shut the feeling down
Sense of feeling unsafe / in danger when sexually aroused
Disturbances of desire, arousal including hyper-arousal / loss of libido
Excessive sensation of sexual arousal pertaining to people / objects
You are repulsed by the fact you are a woman / are female
How Sexual Trauma Affects Orgasms and Sexual Pleasure
Sexual trauma can impact the ability to experience pleasure and orgasm. Survivors may feel disconnected from their bodies, struggle to feel sensations, experience pain during sexual activity, or have difficulty reaching orgasm. They may also feel shame or guilt around sexual desires and experiences, which can further impact their ability to enjoy and engage in consensual sexual experiences.
You have never had an orgasm
You struggle to orgasm and when you do it feels mechanical and empty or unfulfilling
You feel like when you climax you are releasing pain and grief
You experience orgasms that are shallow and fleeting
You feel the climax building but then you shut down / dissociate
Orgasms trigger guilt and shame that you can't understand
You feel like you're doing something wrong when you orgasm
When you orgasm you have strong releases of fear and grief and you're not sure what they relate to
You feel unsafe when you orgasm or like something bad is going to happen
How Sexual Abuse Affects Your Intimate Relationships
Sexual trauma can deeply affect a person's ability to form intimate relationships. It can lead to difficulties in trusting others, fear of vulnerability, fear of abandonment, and a tendency to attract partners who are emotionally unavailable or abusive. It can also impact sexual intimacy, leading to issues such as fear of sex, difficulty experiencing pleasure, and dissociation during sexual activity.
Lack of trust in self, world, and others at a deep unspoken level
Difficulty trusting people to accept you as inherently good and worthy
Believing that there is something dark and different about you, feeling unlovable
Needing to protect and hide from the world and others
Avoiding sharing emotions with others, being disconnected from the world
Struggling to form deep and meaningful friendships
Inability to name your own emotional state, saying you're fine when you're not
Feeling inauthentic in relationships, unable to show up fully and consistently
Feeling like you're "acting" a role and putting pressure on yourself
Feeling disconnected from your true needs and true self
Struggling to assert boundaries in a clear way
Being passive-aggressive without realizing it, difficulty expressing yourself
Constantly involved in trauma bonding with others
Persistent history of toxic relationships where you're not honored, connected, or respected
Letting your body be taken advantage of to please others
Feeling unsafe around men but not knowing why
Struggling to leave toxic relationships even when losing yourself in the process
Justifying bad behavior because you believe you're not worth better or won't get better
Feeling like a child in relationships, interacting from a place of childhood neediness
Difficulty vocalizing or identifying needs in relationships
Developing a false self that feels inconsistent and incongruent, difficulty getting behind the mask into your true self because it feels like there is a vacant hole behind there.
If you're struggling with the effects of childhood sexual trauma, you're not alone.
If you find yourself identifying with almost all or more than 80% of what you are reading, it may be time to start your healing journey. Consider joining our self-paced Masterclass 'Healing Childhood Sexual Abuse' designed to guide you through the healing process from childhood sexual abuse. Don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns, we are here to support you every step of the way.
My course and 1-1 healing sessions are designed to help you navigate these challenges and find a path towards healing and recovery. We'll explore how sexual trauma can affect your brain, memory, sleep patterns, body connection, energy body, and more.
Together, we'll work to release the deep-seated emotions of fear, shame, anger, and dread that can keep you stuck in a cycle of pain and trauma. We'll also address any sexual experiences and dysfunction that may be affecting your intimate relationships and work towards cultivating a healthy sense of pleasure and orgasm.
If you're ready to take the first step towards healing, my course and 1-1 healing sessions can provide you with the tools and support you need to overcome the lasting effects of sexual trauma. Let's work together to bring light to the darkness and find a way forward towards a brighter future.
Get in touch with me if you would like to heal from sexual abuse or if you suspect you have have experienced sexual abuse as a child but it was never brought to light.
Ready to Heal?
Resources to Support Your Healing
You might like to listen to: Why childhood sexual abuse is so hard to talk about
How to reconnect with your womb after trauma
You might like to read The Lingering Impact of Childhood Trauma on the Spine
What PTSD feels like when you're healing