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Title: The Legacy of Sexual Abuse Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright: © 2004 by Margaret Paul URL: http://www.innerbonding.com Word Count: 837 Category: Emotional Healing
The Legacy of Sexual Abuse Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
During many years I've been counseling people, Iíve worked with many people who were sexually abused as children. Some of them remember it all their lives, while others repressed it and remember it only as adults. In either case, resulting harm exists on many levels.
THE PHYSICAL LEVEL
If a child was violently abused, physical pain may have been so intense as to cause person to not be able to function in a normal way sexually as an adult. The fear of penetration or of oral sex may cause person to avoid sex entirely, or to be too tense to actually enjoy sex.
However, even if abuse was not violent and physical harmful, physical harm can be deep. A childís body is not big enough to handle intense feelings of sexual arousal. When a child is sexually activated at a young age, child may be so overwhelmed with feelings that he or she ends up constantly masturbating to find some relief. Incessant masturbation is one of symptoms of sexual abuse. As an adult, this could translate into various forms sexual addiction.
THE EMOTIONAL LEVEL
The harm done on emotional level is extensive. Sexual abuse is a deep form of violation, and invariably leads to child feeling objectified. The child comes to see herself or himself as an object to be used rather than as a person deserving of caring. This objectification of self can lead to promiscuity at a young age, or to other forms of being used and abused.
One of deepest levels of harm is that child tends to absorb darkness of abuser. The child, not knowing that he or she is not causing abuser to be abusive, takes on shame of abuser. It is as if darkness of abuser goes right into child. As a result, abused person grows up with a feeling of being a very bad person, with a huge ball of darkness within. Most survivors of childhood sexual abuse need to go through a process of realizing that this darkness does not belong to them and releasing it.
Children who have been sexually abused generally absorb many false beliefs about themselves that can plague them throughout their adult life - beliefs such as: