Alison Saylor Alison Saylor, MA, MFT

While individuals vary greatly in their personalities and coping strategies, there are many symptoms that are common to many survivors of sexual abuse:

Trouble with trust: Either trusting too much or too little. Trouble discerning who is worthy of trust and who is not. This often leading to either isolation or involvement with abusive people.

Disruption in sexuality: Feeling 'dead' sexually, not able to gain any pleasure from sex or even experiencing anxiety or flashbacks during sex, or being hypersexual, seeking out sex in a driven or addictive manner. Survivors can go through long periods of chosen abstinence and avoid romantic relationships entirely as well as periods of impulse driven sexuality sometimes leading to situations that are unsafe physically and or emotionally.

Addictions: The symptoms of sexual abuse are so severe that survivors that do not seek treatment often end up self-medicating through the use of drugs, alcohol and food.

Anxiety, panic attacks and hyper-vigilance: Survivors often experience being on high alert, never able to fully relax, always scanning the environment for potential danger. This can be interspersed with periods of numbness and being unaware of actual signs of danger.

Low self-esteem and depression. Survivors often struggle with feelings of worthlessness, with the idea that they are valued by others only for sex.

The good news is that because these symptoms are common to most survivors, the path to managing and then recovering from them is well mapped out. Sexual abuse is something immanently treatable, something that can be worked through, allowing you to regain a healthy sexual and emotional life.

 

Alison Saylor
  Alison Saylor
Alison Saylor
Alison Saylor Alison Saylor Alison Saylor