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Traumatic Child Abuse Causes Physical Brain Damage: An Alarming New Study

The hippocampus as shown in this Harvard Medical School diagram. Actual shrinkage of this vital area has been documented in the scans of incest survivors.

The hippocampus as shown in this Harvard Medical School diagram. Actual shrinkage of this vital area has been documented in the scans of incest survivors.

By Gloria Siess, {"Garnetbird"}

It is estimated that childhood sexual abuse affects over 40 million people yearly, just in the United States alone. To those of you, like myself, who struggle daily with symptoms and defense mechanisms aquired from childhood incest, this study will prove especially enlightening. It will also, hopefully soften the attitude of family members and close friends who must endure the drama of the survivor. So many times I have heard well-meaning people state, "Just move on and forget about it," or the more judgmental, "You're just CHOOSING to be unhappy."

The problem is not that survivors want to stay miserable--new research indicates that childhood sexual trauma causes actual shrinkage and damage to the part of the brain called the hippocampus. This finding in itself is shocking and astounding. The hippocampus deals with learning, stress responses and memory. When brain stressors such as early sexual abuse and incest impact its development in children, the lasting effects into adulthood can be profound. Pop-up memories, intrusive, negative thoughts, flashbacks and a kind of over-all numbing called disassociation are just some of the symptoms this causes. To anyone who like myself has experienced incest recall "popping up" while they are pushing a grocery cart, this can be devastating and difficult to treat even with the best of therapists.

Some of the symptoms associated with the shrinkage of the hippocampus feed into what is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This bag of disturbing "tricks" the mind plays on survivors includes flashbacks, feeling uneasy and "on edge," and on guard constantly, nightmares, and general problems associated with memory. Gaps in memory can also occur, for a few minutes to a few days. This may well explain the emergence of abuse memories suddenly "popping up" at a later age in a survivor's life. The hippocampus also affects the part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, where stress responses are absorbed and dealt with.

Incest survivors have a far more serious response to stress than those who have not experienced severe childhood abuse. I, for one, have to get more sleep than what is normal in order to function in a stable manner. I also need down time in which to think, dream and generaly detach from outside stressors. This need can appear to others as being "lazy" or even "spoiled." Think of the Incest Survivor as a very sensitive child in an adult body. The child has to be protected constantly in order to thrive and feel "safe."Again, this is not coddling oneself. With brain damage as a side effect of such abuse, all survivors need to watch and monitor their stress responses carefully. One of my favorite sayings is, "I'm not hiding from life...I'm healing from it."

We all admire injured or disabled athletes for jogging or walking at their own pace. We think of them as brave and heroic. In this same manner, the Trauma Victim needs to be viewed in a positive light, not judged for pulling away when they need to. Quiet "down time" can be very healing and soothing. Or as a friend of mine said (who experienced Satanic Ritual Abuse as a little girl} "I don't need dramas or roller coasters. Inside, I AM a roller coaster."

The work Dr. Bremner conducted took place at the Yale Psychiatric Institute, and has been met with interesting reactions. Many Incest survivors find his work to be liberating and validating; others are disgusted and think it's "hogwash," in so many words.

Note: For many of us--myself included--extensive therapy is very helpful and can be life-saving. However, for those of us who do not possess the health coverage and means for regular therapy, a local Incest Survivors Group may provide a supportive, healing environment. Groups may differ, and you may have to shop around for the appropriate setting in which to heal. I personally hooked up with a powerful group in Southern California and am the better person for it. Our Group Moderator was a ritual abuse survivor who was literally tortured sexually for many years and now teaches other survivors to let their "inner child" play and heal.

Dr. Bremner is still on the Faculty at Yale--I recommend his article, "Does Stress Damage The Brain?"


Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on November 08, 2015:

Thank you so much!! I am being treated for Ptsd and can finally afford a wonderful therapist on my health plan. I wish all survivors could do so, as it is very encouraging.

O from New York on November 08, 2015:

Child Abuse leaves such trauma in a child's life, this is a great resource to bring out the topic. You have truly engaged your Hubbers. Great and a must read! Passing this along to family members. :)

CJ on June 18, 2015:

Does this apply only to sexual abuse victems or may it also apply to other forms of mental abuse?

Bert on January 12, 2015:

My hat is off to your astute command over this tor-oibpavc!

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on September 30, 2014:

Thank you, Lou!!

Lou on September 29, 2014:

Such a terrific post, at the thread alliance we try to have resources and other programs to help people and loved ones in such situations. Thankfully, there are many resources for support and help. This article is really insightful , thank you

Black gem on June 01, 2014:

Thank you very much Garnet :-)

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on May 27, 2014:

Thank you for caring enough to post; I can totally relate to everything you have written here. It can be a lonely journey without a support group--try your local Incest Survivors anonymous group for help. Hugs from Garnet

Black gem on May 26, 2014:

Hi I am so glad I so glad I found this page via Google. I was molested by father as a teen and am now in my mid-30s. Not in relationship, never been married, no kids which breaks m heart deeply. It hurts that others I know even those younger than me had kids, husbands, SO's. I feel so cheated out of that. It's hard for me to get close to men. I have PTSD really badly and for years didn't know what was wrong with me. It even sickens me to see couples walking down the street holding hands because it makes me think about SEX which I find disgusting and see as a weapon. My mother was uncaring, had no clue what was going on and even blamed me for the abuse! I'm in therapy now; I love my therapist but sessions aren't easy because layers and layers are coming off. Plus like Lynn I grew up in a strict pentecostal household where I couldn't wear pants, jewelry, makeup, sleeveless tops and a host of other things. My life was JACKED UP, but I am making progress. I would love to join a support group one day for more help and where I won't feel like a weirdo. I just want to let go and love and be loved, but it's so hard

Jennifer from Florida on December 01, 2013:

Yet another informative hub that has given me a better understanding of how the sexual abuse I went through as a child has effected my brain! I've always known it effects me but until now didn't understand the complexity of it. I often feel that I am over sensitive and overly emotional. It makes a lot more sense now. Thank you. Thank you to everyone who has commented here as well. Your stories are very touching and the things you are going through in the aftermath of the abuse you suffered lets me know that it's not "just me" as I have so often thought before!

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on April 27, 2013:

Yes, it is the hardest battle to ever wage, because few people can appreciate the inside wounds and scars. It's all on the inside. I try to protect myself from needless stress and trauma, as I do not want to lose the big gains I've made through the years. Setbacks do not have to be inevitable if we protect ourselves and stay balanced. Thank you for your comments!

Diane Blanchette from New Hampshire on April 23, 2013:

Hellokitty, first you must care for and love yourself. Think it believe it live it. I just surfaced again from trauma in my life. Was not sure I could make it out this time. But Idid....I...did. I found out I have been married for eight years to a incestual pedifile. That really kicked my soul. I am a survivor of multiple times people at all ages of my life and then Idiscover that my wihole marriage is based n a lie and Iam married to the same kind of monster that has haunted and ruined my life. I fought for my mental health. Fought hard. And Iwon. So can you. Its a lifelong battle but now Iam on the up .

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on April 23, 2013:

Exactly. Survivors need safe people, and safe places to relax in. Enough drama is enough! Thank you for your comments and visit.

hellokitty on April 18, 2013:

I understand how people feel here on this web site, I also have been a victim of sexual abuse during through out my life and. Nobody knows about the abuse I had to live with as a child and growing up. It has been hell for me and I am surprised I am still here. I feel that men are putting pressure on me. I need someone who will not hurt me and make me feel safe and hold me really tight and won't let people hurt me anymore. But I feel that I am living in a world where I will feel and become peoples target for punishment. One thing I glad for is that people that know me at work and in my personal life are not ware that I have been threw so much abuse from my parents and others. I don't want people to feel sorry for me because it had "Nothing to do with them" it was my parent not being there to protect me, kids that I played as a kid from school, with ex boyfriends, ex husband, others that I knew. I feel in my heart that the damage and memories that I have to live everyday of my life are irreversible effect in my life. I pray and I ask god to send me someone that will care for me and keep me safe from predators. Please leave me alone and don't hurt me anymore " Please"

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on April 03, 2013:

Is there an incest survivors group in your area? Mine saved my sanity, literally. My group leader is a ritual abuse survivor and has run this group for over 30 years, helping others to heal and deal with their symptoms. You might just need to journal and talk to other survivors. Please feel free to email me at Bearauburn@aol.com and I will be happy to discuss options I have found healthy and helpful.

Todd on April 01, 2013:

I was frequently molested by my brother when I was younger, and went through a period of amnesia and have just recently started dealing with it again.

What I find hard to deal with is all the things that were taken from me that I don't get to have back. I learned how to have sex at 6 years old, so I don't get my special "first time," etc. I don't have any insurance coverage for therapy and nowhere else will cover me, it seems. My mom is trying to pay for it out of pocket but she can only afford about one trip a month, and as I'm still a college student, I don't make enough myself to help contribute to the bill. One plus is I have an EXCELLENT support system of friends and my boyfriend, who suffered a similar experience when he was younger.

One thing I struggle with that everyone seems to keep suggesting is finding that 'outlet' for my emotions. A lot of people mention arts and crafts, but I'm an art student, so it's hard to lose myself in that sort of thing since I do it all the time. I'm a musician as well, but I don't have many opportunities to play with my busy schedule, so I find myself constantly confronted with the memory of this horrible event.

I'm not really sure how to progress without more frequent therapy and no outlet for emotion, and it scares me. I'm not sure what to do.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on March 02, 2013:

Your input is valuable to me and others and I admire your courage. Please feel free to visit this site and contribute your feelings. God bless You.

Diane Blanchette from New Hampshire on February 19, 2013:

I agree GarnetBird, revealed bird, lonelytommy, it is being a survivor of someone else's drama, not your drama. The part a lot of people can't do is get over staying in the "victim" mode and transitioning to survivor. It is a constant battle since life's events have a way of making us want to revert. In the past 6 months since my previous post, I had to put my dog down, am seriously down to my last pennies, decided to leave my husband (a good thing) but when he found out he schemed and had money in the bank I didn't know of, and woke me up one morning with a UHaul and his brother, took his stuff and left. That is not a bad thing except he took both the car and the mortorcycle leaving me with no transportation to find a job or get to a job when I find one, the rent needs to be paid, cable is shut and I am getting bills such as an electric and disconnect notice and others. I am left with an apartment full of stuff I don't care about, can't sell for what it is half worth and now the stress of trying to sell some in this economy. BUT, I am putting all my effort into not letting my emotional and mental health deteriorate. Some days I want to give up but I don't. I worked too hard to get this far, with therapy, and I won't let another scumbag take that from me. In the long run, this is a positive time... you know "It was the best of times....it was the worst of times....". I just have to keep reminding myself that someday it will get better and keep on truckin. I am not trying to write a horror story but this post might help another who feels like reverting and giving up with life's seemingly constant very hard knocks.

David Dang 408 from California on February 18, 2013:

Hello GarnetBird. I just want to first applaud you for writing this article. I was searching for non scholarly articles about child sexual abuse and its effects on the brain and I found your page. I am 28 now and a survivor of sexual abuse as a child. I have been getting help for the last 2 years in order to continue on with my life. Going back to school to get a degree in order to help others like ourselves. Every comment I've read hit home. Even though this isn't a forum for discussion about our horror stories I applaud you for doing such a great job and may the future bring you the best happiness. Thank you.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on October 09, 2012:

You are never a drama queen (as I tell people) but a SURVIVOR of someone elses' sick drama. It was all projected onto you as an innocent child. Please hug yourself, look in the mirror and tell yourself that none of this tragedy was ever your fault. I have done this per the advice of a mentor and it helped enormously. You are always welcome to post here. Hugs, Garnet

revealedtruth on October 07, 2012:

I was was molested by my father from the time I was a little girl. My mother died when I was 7 in an automobile accident. After that my dad remarried a woman he knew for 2 weeks she was very abusive, emotionally and physically to me. My dad continued to molest me for years using threats if I told anyone, when I was 17 I became pregnant with his child he took me to get an abortion this happened 2 times. I enlisted in the Navy to get away from him. I told my sisters and brother and no one would really listen. My brother actually asked my dad if he did do that in front of my stepmother they vehemently denied it. They then did not talk to me for 14 years. I became a born again christian at the age of 28 and had to do a lot of work with forgiveness. I have suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, drinking too much and anger issues. I have come a long way however I am and have always been hypersensitive, I react with extremes at times I scare myself. I hate that I behave this way. I have issues getting along and because I am so sensitive I have trouble getting along in work environments especially when there are people who bully. I hate confrontation yet I will only take it so much and I erupt. I have trouble remembering details and now wonder if the incest and physical abuse did do something to my brain :( I try to be happy, exercise get along but again at almost the age of 55 still feel like I am a child at times. I have family issues where my brother in law is not speaking to me, he doesn't like me never did, what hurts now is my sister no longer speaks to me and has blocked my calls because I made a comment his statement was so sappy I could throw up. Nothing is ever simple and she says I am a drama queen because I feel things so deeply. I want to be normal. Faith took me so far but I feel like so much more has to be done to be healed inside. I have forgiven my dad and stepmother and speak to them, but would NEVER leave my children with them nor grandchildren. Does it get better what can I do to get along it's almost like I have a magnet for bully's and mean spirited people...

Garnetbird on September 30, 2012:

You're very brave to have weathered such a hideous storm..my prayers go with you..

lonelytommy on September 29, 2012:

Thankyou for your kind words and support garnet. most laugh at me.god bless you and again thankyou

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on September 29, 2012:

I know of many such cases..I used to sleep with a stuffed Pink Panther animal for comfort (I was 30). I wish you comfort and all the validation you deserve, hugs,


lonelytommy on September 28, 2012:

I am an adult male but in my mind im a child and do child like things.I was abused all in childhood and only time felt safe was when in bed and in my diapers.I was a bedwetter and kept in diapers at nite. I never felt loved and felt so safe in bed and my diapers made me feel secure and happy.

The need for the comfort of diapers never left me.I have been laughed at all my life for this need and called many names.I sleep with stuffed animals too. I look and act normal to the world and no one would ever guess my pain and shame for what I do. I am a scared little boy inside and very lonely. I am very shy and keep to myself.I know its because of my abuse as a child and affected my brain as well . I have dated woman in the past but as soon as they find out about the diapers and my teddy bear they leave me.no one will give me a chance.just wish people would understand how abuse of a child will affect them for the rest of their lives

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on August 29, 2012:

I have noticed that heat,illness and general fatique affects my mental functioning enormously. I really need to take special care of myself or I feel like either blowing up or giving up, both equally bad. Hugs


Lige Spiegel on August 28, 2012:

I'm strulling in college because of abuse that happen around 20years ago. I don't feel like a failer just i think i need to go at a slower pace than my classmates. Which eats me up inside but that's the way life is.

I myself have all these symptoms and I have been in therapy and have had many hardships. My family has nothing to do with me. They treat me as if I am the problem even though they know of this abuse. on August 28, 2012:

I already knew this but now see it is true facts.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on August 16, 2012:

Eloquent and heartbreaking comment/so true. The wounds this kind of experience leaves behind is worse than an amputation.

aesthetic cataclysm on August 14, 2012:

"This will only hurt for a minute" is the most horrific lie ever uttered into my ear.

This will hurt forever.


Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on August 04, 2012:

Try to get a lot of sleep and rest and nurture yourself; it can fend off a breakdown later down the road. Hug yourself from me.

Diane Blanchette from New Hampshire on August 01, 2012:

Ah, what a rollercoaster, in a bad way. All my savings in now gone but I am not at the pont of being able to work. My husband wants to leave me. I write this so those who are rolling down as I am, will know they are not alone and somehow we will get through it. If only I could forsee my future to see if it becomes good enough to stick around. I'll start by showering today, since I haven't been doing that either. I'll look for a brainless job, for now, and go from there. I can always call my sister who is very supportive. All of you survivors, think of 2 things you can do when the coaster is down and share. Thanks.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on July 29, 2012:

GREAT idea. I love it!!!

Kathryn L Hill from LA on July 29, 2012:

These case histories should be sent to child molesters in jail to let them know the devastating effects of their actions. Perhaps victims should write letters to their abusers to explain the constant and unyielding pain they have caused through their lack of self control and internal sickness. A good book to write could be titled, Letters to Child Molesters.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on July 29, 2012:

Your stories touched me deeply/I feel for you.

Please feel free to visit this site and keep in touch and email me anytime you need some support.

Diane Blanchette from New Hampshire on July 17, 2012:

Sexual abuse as a child changes your brain structure and changes you forever. That is what I am angry about also. Your sadness is anger turned inward. What would I be right now it that never happened? Something much better than what I am now. You are not alone. There are good days and bad days. Accept it is for what it is and work with it, but please talk to someone. A FREE important step would be to call a survivor of abuse hotline. They are volunteers but are trained. They will talk and guide you and listen to your tears. Please if nothing else find a number and call. Around here we have a women's crisis line. Also support groups are free. Those people are going through what you are. Please find them and talk to them. My pain will probably never go away. Maybe others are different. But don't wait until the pain is gone. That's futile. and the abuser won't fess up. Don't focus so much on forgiveness. Focus on healing your wounded child within. Focus on YOU. You are worth it! Work through it. Buy a workbook and go through just one question or assignment a day.. Remember, feel, cry, be angry..........then healing will slowly begin. and healing is not the same as painfree. I will share that I too have lost another job (#4) d/t posttraumatic stress symptoms from early child sexual abuse. Moving on is different for everyone. For me it is waking up above ground. Hopefully that feeling of dread is not there when I rise in the morning. If it is, it's not a good day. Do something that will redirect your focus, go to the gym, read a book, write a poem or article, go on the computer and research a subject you never had time to investigate, find a new hobby, even better take classes on crafts or painting or pottery. You might even have fun and meet a few nice people. Don't go to your ex. Been there, done that, more than once. The last time I resisted and didn't repeat my pattern. I had a new respect for myself. Try it. It is empowering. I too am tired of all this but I hang on, tomorrow is another day. One day at a time. Otherwise it is too overwhelming. I can't stress enough that you have to go through the pain to get past it and it is a daily thing. If you reach out, others will answer. Please do!

nubianess on July 16, 2012:

I was molested as a child 4 or 5. He was a family friend's son. He was about 12 or 13 years older than me and would fondle me and practically dry hump me. I thought it was normal, but deep down something didn't feel right. He told me if I told that he wouldn't be my boyfriend anymore. I obliged and didn't say anything about it. He was in high school. Eventually he graduated and went on to college.

Fast forward 17 years or so later, I'm in college. Failing my classes miserably and feeling depressed over a music producer/singer, who quickly wanted to have sex with me upon the first encounter (I met him online). I became very enamored by him, during and before his failed attempts. Eventually I gave in and tried it to see what the hoopla was all about. Shortly after I began to regret getting physical with him so soon. I called him out on his manipulative ways and for him thinking I was a hoe or something. To this day, I still feel as though he doesn't want to do anything else but sleep with me, especially when time & chance allows our paths to cross.

While in college, I couldn't handle the stress. After graduating #2 in my class and failing courses at a Top 12 university, my self-esteem continued to plummet. The stress brought on depression, which then brought on the dark thoughts and flashbacks. It didn't help that I was (and still am) somewhat of a loner. Eventually, I decided that if I confront my abuser that I would have a lighter heart and mind, and kind of find out why I would go back and forth with my producer/musician friend. I figured that maybe if I get everything out of my system that I would be able to move on.

Of course, you know that was far from the true. The whole thing/event/unnecessary family warfare backfired and was a failure. He denied everything to my face and accused me of confusing him with someone else. Keep in mind, his mother used to babysit me when I was getting molested by her son. She didn't want to believe what I was saying. And continued to question my mind and ability to recollect what happened. That was so devastating to me.

Now at 26, I've left my home town and to this day still feel affected by my past. I know it probably doesn't compare to the pain of those molested or raped by their family members. I still have no experience in the dating field. I'm terrified to even look in a guy's direction. I can't help but think that men essentially want women for sexual satisfaction. And I don't think I'll every be able to enjoy the act until I can move on from my past and ways of thinking. It has been hard for me and it saddens me that I've allowed what happen to me at 5 to paralyze me as I creep near 30.

My first is actually he's in town right now. In the midst of me stressing over my current life, getting fired from one job and wanting to quit the second one. I really want to be with him just for company and no physical acts, but I know he'll just want a quick fix from me. I'm sitting here crying, wondering why I even need validation from someone so far away, mentally, physically and emotionally.

I guess I came on here to sort out my thoughts and see how my story compares to everyone else. I believe there is some truth to the physical affects of childhood sexual abuse on the human brain. I notice that the more stressed I am, the more I forget about things and the more unhappy I feel. I draw blanks when attempting to recall recent things and can't handle being overwhelmed.

To whomever is reading this, I'm just tired of being sad. I don't want to be like this anymore. I don't know where to go in NYC. I have crappy insurance that doesn't cover visits to a psychologist or counselor. Do you have any tips? Know of anywhere that provides support for free?

And finally if you're a victim of childhood sexual abuse, how did/have you managed to move on? I tried the whole forgiving things, but it didn't work for me. I feel like this bastard f**ked me up mentally and I want to f**k up his life up for what he couldn't man up to admit.

buckwheats on July 15, 2012:

ohh okay that is great to have that i'm sure!

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on July 15, 2012:

They meet in Long Beach and we communicate via letters and chatty long phone calls..

buckwheats on July 14, 2012:

Oh really? Is it an online group?

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on July 13, 2012:

Thank you for your comments..I belong to Incest Survivors Anonymous and we write letters of encouragement to one another..what a difference that makes!! Hugs


buckwheats on July 13, 2012:

oh ya i'm clicking away on your adds! ;-)

buckwheats on July 13, 2012:

we do and i look forward to following! hugs!

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on July 13, 2012:

Thank you for your wonderful stories and input. I am honored and pleased you would visit my Hub. We need one another and need to feel safe and secure in our daily lives. Hugs


buckwheats on July 13, 2012:

i am a survivor as well sorry for what you have been through. i am so glad you wrote about needing extra sleep and down time. i never connected that to ptsd and i have always felt guilty for it. i blog about the abuse i have been through and my step by step recovery.

Diane Blanchette from New Hampshire on July 10, 2012:

....and Oh Boy, each day IS a struggle. Some worse than others. The more I talk with my sister and with my counselor, the better I feel and the more I heal. I understand myself so much better with the input of others. Share with an adult or counselor. It is so worth it. I too could have done better with my kids, I too became an alcoholic and did drugs, I couldn't handle the stress of my children who were absolutely Terrible, Wild, Out of Control! They saw me handling stress the wrong ways and they too handled their stress in terrible ways. Yes, my abuse affected me and therefore affected my parenting skills. One day after shutting down and laying on the couch for 3 days without food or water (to punish myself) then cutting I started to wake up to life. I went back to school to save myself. And it did save me. My kids were still running wild but at least I was gaining a little of my sanity back. To make a long story short, I sent, yes I sent , no one took her away, I sent my 14yr old to a group home. I refused to take her back after 3 months, it wasn't enough. She didn't really change enough to make it at home. Well it took 8 1/2 months but it saved her! and I have also kicked my oldest out of the house several times and it forced her to save herself...Please seek counseling, take meds if needed. I will tell you the end of my story and hopefully it will give you the strength to continue on....................my oldest is 31, she is almost done with her Master's Degree in Business Administration. She went to college while working fulltime. She is now pregnant and with a great guy who takes care of her. My youngest just turned 30 and just got engaged. She has had a steady job as a manager of a chain of video game stores for years and is doing well. We get along and love each other. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this could happen. And it WILL happen to You :)

Awake on July 10, 2012:

Thank you south for this... I can't remember much of my childhood because of the abuse that I suffered... I was adopted at age 7 and started to have memories come back. My adopted parents chose to ignore the fact that I needed help. I used to never play, would hide food, charged the little boys at school to teach them how to kiss. I became a stripper, then prostitute, and got into abusive relationships. I had 4 children and struggled to raise them. At one point the state took them away for 18 months because I was drinking and doing drugs. I have tried to kill myself 4 times since the age of 12. I nolonger use drugs and have a relationship with my kids. I struggled with raising them and shut down when they need me the most. They struggle with life themselves now as a result of my in capability of being there for them. I need quite time or I feel insane! I have been thinking of getting help for my negative thinking and other issues that come up. It was refreshing to read that so many others struggle with daily life.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on July 08, 2012:

it is so TRUE!! Healing begins when the event and tragedy is shared and brought to light. As children we are intimidated into silence and fear. It is time that the shame we carry is put back where it belongs--on the person who violated us! THANK you for your input.

Diane Blanchette from New Hampshire on July 07, 2012:

Thank you for this article. It has been almost 45 years ! I am finally accepting that I will never be what I could have been (like maybe a Vet) because of that change in the brain from abuse. and just when you think you have made steps forward, another shocking event happens and the PTSD is magnified to the point where I can hardly function. I will print this out for my husband as a reminder. and please survivors, DO NOT keep it bottled up! Healing begins only after you talk to someone who can help you process it and process life. The ONLY way past the pain is throught it. See how long it is taking me? But if I did nothing I would end up in the nut house, in jail or homeless because I wouldn't be able to handle stress, or even life itself and wouild spiral down.

foreverhaunted on June 25, 2012:

Thank you so much for this article, I too was a victim of incest from my grandfather. I never told a soul in my whole life until i told my boyfriend (who is also the father of my 4 year old daughter). I know the behaviors i had as a child after it happened and sometimes if i see her doing something in approperiate (as in touching herself while im changing her) my brain automattically thinks that she might be being molested. I do not say anything to anyone, its just my mind creates it. I live with my parents, so its hard on my because im so suspicious of my father, could he do it to my little girl, like his dad did to me? i dont know what to do anymore, i used to just repress it and whenver i had a flashback id always think to myself, hes dead and i hope hes buring in hell, get over it, but i am not getting any better. Im 27 now and i feel like its going to haunt me forever.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on June 17, 2012:

I can really feel your pain Tracey..while I was sorting feelings out I would sometimes drive around, raving like a crazy woman. It made me feel more out of control than ever, but perhaps in the long run it is better than keeping things bottled up in denial. HUGS from


Tracey Wilde on June 15, 2012:

Hi, I couldn't lever our any rage. It was silly!! I felt rage in the car on the way to the river and screamed myself hoarse. I screamed the true negative feelings I have about certain people and about my almost completely pathetic life.

I keep hoping that one day I won't have to feel so much but it never seems to happen for very long at all. I get feed up and say I wish I had no kids so that then I'd not be obliged to stay alive. These children are the only reason I stay...them and this hope...

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on June 08, 2012:

Thank you Lynn!!

Lynn -J on June 08, 2012:

Thank you ! I tried to join your "hub" twice so far--I think it's a glitch in our Internet service... I will continue to do so as I am fascinated by your innovative ideas & research....

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on June 07, 2012:

This touches me and reminds me of how far worse other people's hells can be. I am never really bitter due to meeting other survivors and feeling their pain..so many have been through far far worse traumas than what I have weathered. Thank you for sharing. You are always free to post here and I will consider it an honor. Joining a local Incest Survivor's Chapter (a very loving supportive one) saved my emotional life.Sometimes the group sits and just colors together like children, which is good therapy for our "inside kids." Hugs to both of you. You're awesome.

Tracey Wilde on June 07, 2012:

Thanks so much GarnetBird :)It has helped for me to be able to post on your site. It means a lot to have you write back to me as well. I went to my counsellor yesturday and we came to see the anger that is so obviously eating at me. Never being allowed to be angry has my body filled with it. I've been having screaming angry vengeful nightmares which tell me this is true.

I have always grieved and been in pain. This is what happens to the fuming rage I feel inside - I cry. It is the wrong response. Crying does not resolve anger. I am hoping maybe getting this anger out might be what will finally heal me. This is the only thing I have not done yet!!! My counsellor is excited for me. I am too! I will let you know. I plan to write some sarcastic poetry over the weekend to lever it out - at the river where I will pick up the heaviest stones I can manage and drop them into the water, a long, long way from anyone.

Dear Lynn Jane...I am so sorry for your pain. Healing hurts like hell for years. Sounds like you are in the first stage of the process which is painful and terrifying and exhausting and crazy making beyond words. You can get through it. My heart goes out to you. I hurt like a bastard a lot of the time but much less than in the early days. I wasted thirty years being out of it or drunk and deluded...not much different than your intellectual career as a means to get as far away as possible from the pain inside. Five years ago I was just like you. I spent the first four years in an almost always highly emotional state. I freaked everyone out. I could barely handle it and sometimes I didn't. Luckily I survived but it was hell for a long long time.

I guess you have to pray for strength to live through the pain you could never have during your childhood - because that is what is going on. All of those denied feelings are coming up to be freed. They have to be felt. That is the only way to heal.

Go to Arthur Janov's site. This guy saved my life. Good Luck Lynn. It is awful what you have been through and what you have to get through to have another chance at life. I will be thinking of you and I will hurl a rock into the river for you. xo

Lynn J- on June 07, 2012:

I am no longer working-obviously...I seem to be "giving in" to my "mess" and my body has finally given in too. I am going to follow you and find your book. I have often thought of writing a book but though normally I am a great writer, reading my comments, I obviously can't even do this the correct way. Again thank you. Lynn J

Lynn J- on June 07, 2012:

I am so sorry that my comment is so dis-jointed. I just reread it.I HAD my children at age 29 & age 30....they are now only 13 & 10. I am 43 years old.Sorry.. Lynn

Lynn J- on June 07, 2012:

My GOD!!! THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU!! I was raped from age 4-14 by my father,beat,tortured,starved -HATED by my Mother. They raised us in a major controlled " HOLINESS" -skirt to the ankles,Hair not cut,no makeup,TV,Jewelrey,Christmas Tree; TOTALLY CONTROLLED Hell. I graduated from high school one year early from High School, entered Police Training @ age 17(had to get a waiver!). I spent almost 21 years working feverishly in Police, then Social Worker positions, while continually carrying a high GPA while obtaining an AA (Criminal Justice) & two BA's (Criminal Justice & Psychology). Professionally, I was a Work-a-Holic, OverAchiever trying to "Save Everyone"while Personally,I married two Abusive men (chose to have two children @ age 29 & age 33-who Literally are my Angels!). I have major PTSD, Depression, Self-Hate,& deliberately listed my biggest professional achievements because I feel so worthless. My body began to literally fall apart -ruptured appendix, gallbladder etc.I met & Married my Third Husband -the only non-abusive relationship I've ever had. He is a Mensa-Member,Retired Army & the kindest person that I have ever met. The PROBLEM: I have absolutely no clue how to be loved. The past year the Doctors have found that my Thyroid has nodules (no surgery yet), I am on Synthroid for my Thyroid, supplements of B-12, Potassium, Iron, a high dosage of Ativan ( anxiety,body tics) the highest dose of Paxil (Panic Attacks,OCD,Depression,) & seem to progressively getting worse. I am LOVED, (by two amazing children & a good man),I am SAFE, I was successful in a career, I have totally no contact (for several years now) with ANY of my family. I am sometimes totally incapable of leaving my "safe spot" (barricaded behind 4-6 pills-sitting in my bed). I DID IT-I " MADE IT" "I OVERCAME IT".........I SIT IN TERROR, HATING MY VERY EXISTENCE-Mostly waiting for the Blackness to finally take me!!! WHY????? I've tried counseling, I write dark poems,My life is FINALLY SAFE!!! And I can barely function. Memories-Pain-Death are the prevalent factors in my life when I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED NOW!!! Self-Hatrred rules. I try to hope that Tomorrow will be better & sometimes it is....My Husband found this article & I was SHOCKED at how much this makes sense.....I've read all the comments too. Thank you. I needed to write this-to list in black & white that my Life should matter......but I don't really believe I'll ever be able to live with the Darkness. Thank you.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on June 07, 2012:

I can totally relate to everything you've said. I had no mother (she abandoned me to the stepfather) and he was warm and affectionate and unfortunately, incestuous. So many survivors have been through far worse situations than I have. I really feel for you. If you would like a free copy of my book, lake of Shame, I would be happy to mail it to you. Writing about my story helped me with a lot of the conflict and triggers, but it does not always work that way for everyone.

Tracey Wilde on June 06, 2012:

I have spent my entire 44 years in a tyranical emotional pain that I call the haunting. Therapy has taught me to manage but it can't take the pain away that I have to live with almost every day. Life hurts. It always hurts. I am never going to be normal. My father sexually abused me. I loved him because my mother did not have it in her to love me. He was the only source of warmth I had. I feel as much pain was done to me by a cold mother who never held me or let me feel anything. I was damaged even more so by siblings who still refuse to believe me! I am the crazy making up stories. I wish the world would wake uo to the familiy who puts also in the bleeding knife - whom get away scott free!!! I don't trust anymore. I am synical and believe I have every reason in the world to be. I refuse to play Pollyanna. Peole hate peole like me and could care less. My local groups are all keen on the imagining things to be better, Give me a break. I have tried every god dam trick in the freaking book. Incest destroyed my live and it has damaged me beyond repair forever. Full stop, period. I live because I have kids that I love. Without them I'd not bother.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on June 05, 2012:

I am so sorry you are going through this. This may sound silly and lame, but m,any survivors put a string of cheerful Christmas lights in their bedroom at night (As a symbol of comfort for the "inner child) and also leave a radio on low, some soothing music...this helped me and also melatonin. You have to get sleep--it's going to make your symptoms worse if you're sleep deprived. Please keep me posted. I feel for you, and thank you for emailing.

Kathryn L Hill from LA on June 04, 2012:

This is probably the most painful of subjects. Every victim needs to come forward and let the world know how utterly harmful sexual abuse is to a child. This particular type of tyranny must stop! The psyche of the child is SO HURT! it is beyond words.

cdinwv on June 03, 2012:

This article was so enlightening to me. For over 3 decades of my life I have had to fight to survive, thrive, and deal with all the medical diagnosis that I have now because of all I endured as a sexual abuse survivor of child abuse by my father; a ritual abuse religious family who all covered it up; and the state laws not protecting me from the second offense of sexual abuse that my father did to me. I have sought so much therapy, doctors, and paid for medications that I didn't even need when I listened to them. For 16 years I was diagnosed with epilepsy when indeed it was nonepileptic seizures manifested from stressors of the abuse and stress in life. I have PTSD, bipolar, and borderline personality disorder. My nights are filled with terrors and nightmares making sleep fearful for me and deprived because even when my days are great and anxiety under control nothing can stop the night time visions I see and live. My body is physically exhausted upon wakening because a good nite sleep is so unproductive and far and few between. It's horrible the reality that Incest survivors and child abuse survivors have to to go through in working to heal, cope, thrive and get beyond surviving to live and enjoy life as anyone not invaded by abuse would. I knew the brain had to be altered but the doctors were or will not be specific with me. As even my current therapist and past therapists believe in pill resolutions versus alternative therapies and will not advise for physical testings or brain testings because the costs are too astronomical and I couldn't afford them anyways. The cost of helping child abuse survivors and Incest is a financial burden that I think society deserves to invest in, for research, for prevention, and in healing this ugly disease of humanity. Our children are worth the investment to protect them at all cost because they are our future too ya know. I wrote my memoir and published it for free detailing my story of survival to help others understand how many of these generational diseases as Incest can be stopped if only someone would truly do something. It was great healing for me and therapy. It has helped many survivors too. "The I in Me: a young girl's escape to living" details the struggles but also how a person can still rise above even with obstacles, brain damage, and continue to help others and help ourselves. It has really made me very vocal and proactive in working to build awareness, prevention and education surrounding child abuse victims and survivors. It is free too read as a PDF book at: www.authorcynthiacox.com. Thank you for your article. Education is key in our recovery and sharing our truths and our healings. I will always be in recovery because of the damage done in me but now I am relieved to know that it was not ever in my head no matter what people would say, I always listen to my heart first and act upon it even now. Every second I live in healing, I struggle at times because even now, therapy is work that I must do to try to undo the damage. Even if I never completely succeed and my brain can never be repaired, I know I was not crazy then nor never will be. We are our best advocates and all deserve to be heard as the surviving assets we can be in society and not as the stereotyped labels that many would prefer to believe over the facts or truth of Incest and child abuse. Thank you for taking the time to write this. Best wishes and warm thoughts for healing to everyone.

Kathryn L Hill from LA on June 02, 2012:

'Cause "Reggie" has to have it all.

Credit cards and a brand new car.

New cell phone and plane to fly.

"Come on...." he says, "lets go for a ride."

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on June 01, 2012:

Let her know she is safe in telling you..encourage her to join a local Incest Survivors Group, if possible. and possibly start keeping a journal about her experience. Family members very often side with the abuser and refuse to accept the truth. I am hoping this will not be the case in your cousin's circumstances.

latino on May 31, 2012:

I have found out thatMy cousin has been abused by a person that is still in the family and I would like to know what can I tell her or do to help her it's not going on anymore but she has to deal with it. Her family does not believe her.. what can I do to help her.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on May 22, 2012:

I feel for you and your journey of healing..my true healing took place when I wrote about the years I was molested and put the shame back on the perpetrator and off of myself..God bless you..

Still Hurting on May 22, 2012:

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was molested by a friend of the family's son, and I repressed the memory for so long that I only know that it happened sometime between 10 and 12. I believe it probably happened closer to 12 because I had a few unexplained seizures, but I honest have no idea. Because of this, I ended up feeling at the age of 12 that I wanted to be used in almost a sexual slave kind of way, and I never understood why. The molestation made masturbation such an ugly thing to me, and I was very sexually frustrated throughout my teens and early 20s. I've had a lot of self-sabotaging behaviors that I've had to deal with the consequences of, but I've also gotten better and have managed to not self-sabotage in my current relationship as this happens to be the healthiest relationship I've ever had. It scares me because I know that I can completely trust him, but I still in many ways expect to be hurt and will get myself worked into tears and depression over nothing. When I'm especially stressed, I get nauseating visions of sexual encounters happening in my family that never happened, but I can't make them go away as trying to almost makes them worse. There will be times in my life where I don't even think about anything, and other times where it seems to be my daily torture. It took me over 10 years to even say anything to my family because I always blamed myself. I've never even admitted out loud, outside of my head, the fact that these weird encounters invade my brain and harass me. I've always felt really dirty inside because of it because it's not something I want, but it's just an image that will not leave me. I also had to deal with a lot of emotional abuse because my mother was very cruel and one of those screamers who would talk over you. I hate myself because I love my father and brother, but I never let them get too close to me in terms of affection because of these false images I keep getting, even though growing up I never felt threatened. I once almost hurt my brother because of this all by grabbing his arm in a dark room, and I almost made him touch my chest, but then I stopped myself. I don't know if this is just the difference between testing boundaries or if this is because of what happened to me. I feel like if anything, I've been getting worse in some ways. I've never been able to talk to anyone about all of my darkest secrets for the fear of judgment and the lack of means to access the help. This is a lot to dump out on your page, but I feel that by bearing my soul, maybe I'll regain it back. Once again, thank you so much. I don't know if you'll know exactly how much this article meant to me, but it's made me feel less shame.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on May 16, 2012:

Thank you Green art!! I am looking forward to reading it.

Laura Ross on May 16, 2012:

I wrote a hub called "Healing Trauma with EMDR" where I detail my experience with EMDR. Go to EMDR.com for even more information. My feeling is if one person is helped reading what's helped me and others it's worth getting the information out their.

gineale on May 16, 2012:

Reading this made me a little bit better. Thank you. I know I'm not losing my mind but I have trouble explaining myself.

Laura Ross on May 15, 2012:

You are right about insurance being a factor in getting much needed help. The EMDR treatment I referred to in my note above does not take years or even months like talk therapy often can. I was feeling relief after on a few 40-50 minute sessions.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on May 14, 2012:

This is so intense..I am honored that you would share this with me. There are so many tragic cases like this around us. Cognitive therapy worked best for me in the past.{.I am a talker} and also drawing helped. It is sad that without adequate insurance one simply cannot afford a good therapist.

Laura Ross on May 14, 2012:

I was not sexually abused, but physically and mentally abused by my mother growing up. I found out recently that my step-father sexually abused my youngest sister for years. It's so heart wrenching, but she is finding help and healing. My heart goes out to all of you and your family and friends suffering from abuse of any kind.

Dealing with my own abuse issues I was able to share with her the benefits of Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). I no longer have nightmares that I'd wake up screaming from or multiple migraines since doing this form a therapy. She recently started EMDR and is finding help and relief. If our brains can change so drastically from abuse then why can't it change for the better with therapy dealing with reprocessing these memories. I know first hand how it can help. Thank you for writing such an informative and caring hub.

Irish Aunt in-law on May 13, 2012:

My husbands niece of 34 yrs. blew the lid on her Father's incestuous abuse of her since she was a very young child. Her Psychiatrist has brought her back to the age of six but they really don't know when it started, it stopped when she was 16. He also abused my husbands sister from the age of 11 until 16. Our niece would have been 3 yrs when this other abuse finished but this is only speculation to think he was abusing his daughter since so young an age. She was very badly affected but her symptoms only seemed to surface when she gave birth to her one and only son. She can't have any more children as physically she was so damaged they had to remove her womb after childbirth. One Dr. seemed to grasp that all was not right during her labour and eventually put it to her if she had been abused as a child. She kept all of this secret for a further 5 yrs, but it was the trigger to the beginning of prescribed drug abuse, self-harming, drinking, suicide attempts, one almost successful where she was hospitalised for 4 months in a psychiatric hosp. She had finally told her Mom only to be beaten by both of her parents and locked in a bedroom, mobile phone taken away from her until she made a further supposed attempt on her life just to get out, they were forced to call the ambulance. Her Mom denies everything and put her own twist on this awful night. She pretends she does not believe her and has chosen her husband over her daughter. None of her family have contact with her and though they loved her little boy, they also turned their back on him. My husbands sister, on hearing of this story is now bringing a case against him as she feels so guilty for not having spoken up years ago. She now is 46 yrs.

Having read your article has been so enlightening as over the past 4 years I am ashamed to say that while trying to offer support to the younger woman I have of late become impatient with her. I couldn't understand why she won't dress, preferring to slop around in her pj's most of the time. Her husband does all the cooking, despite doing long hours as a policeman, he also does all the entertaining of their young son, taking him bowling, to the cinema etc. I can now understand that more than likely her brain is "different". She constantly ridicules people which I was having difficulty with and had started to distance myself. I now intend to rectify this and change my whole thinking process. Thank you.

Irish Aunt=in=law on May 13, 2012:

Just checking to see if I'm signed up correctly.

kya90210 on April 28, 2012:

thanks @GarnetBird

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on April 28, 2012:

Can you see a doctor or therapist? I totally feel what you're going through as I had similar situations arise. I was diagnosed with PTSD 6 yrs ago and still have days when it is difficult to feel "normal.." Be good to yourself..joining an Incest Survivors Support Group helped me--take care and thank you for your comment.

kya90210 on April 27, 2012:

I was sexually abused as a teen by my step-dad and my mom believed him over me and they're still married. It seems as if I'm regressing. I had severe stuttering problem as a child but got better as a teen but now I'm 21 and it's getting worse and now I can't remember anything, severe memory loss. Also, I feel like I'm losing control of thoughts. I can't seem to put my thoughts together. Like my brain is thinking faster than my mouth can move. I don't understand.

braindamagedat45 on April 19, 2012:

I agree with you aviannovice!

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on April 18, 2012:

So true!!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 17, 2012:

People fear what they don't understand many times.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on April 17, 2012:

THANK YOU for your wonderful comment/I sometimes receive comments that seem to be more related to "hate mail" than hubbing. You made my day!!(I delete the really abusive and harsh comments; had one this morning that really shocked me..)

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 17, 2012:

Voted awesome! The brain has a way to deal with things in order for the survivor to survive in the best way possible. The strongest have done this with DID, but some were not mentally up to the challenge. Keep on doing what you are doing, as support will help a lot, as well as adequate rest vitamins, etc.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on April 17, 2012:

Thank you. I am not a Doctor or therapist, but I have worked with them as a Primary Counselor in a Hospital Setting for many years-many of my patients had oddly shaped brains which showed up on the scans.. they were Schizo-affective..I remember my Program Director, Dr. Sowell, commenting on the fact that many mental diseases are inherited, progressive and tend to cycle up and down.

Eugene S. on April 15, 2012:

P.S. PTDS may cause abnormalities (reduced volume) of the hippocampus. That is not brain "damage" per se. And brain injuries do not imply they are permanent either. Also reduced volume in the hippocampus can be increased back up to 50%. Also, the Yale guy who wrote the article you're referring to seems to be interested in promoting a drug paroxetine. So his article may be beefed up with "alarming" information to serve his pharmaceutical sales agenda. Just something to think about ...

Eugene S. on April 15, 2012:

I think more care is needed to how this information is presented. What I'm hearing is this: sexual abuse *can* cause brain damage and/or scarring. Lots of tricky scientific variables are in the mix that saying it *does* cause brain damage is a little reckless IMO. I know people who survived incest, who received 5 years of therapy on a weekly basis, and now are getting along just fine.

I think it's as tragic as incest itself, for an incest survivor does not make going to therapy regularly, on a weekly basis, until therapy is completed as THE absolute #1 priority of their life. Healing is absolutely possible and achievable.

braindamagedat45 on March 17, 2012:


I hold 2 BA's, was a professional, still am a professional mother. But I AM ANGRY!!!! My life is GONE, everything I worked for, car, house, 32,000, six figure income. Now, I learn that it's because I had the crap knocked out of me as a child. And what an innocent child I was. Blonde hair, Blue Eyes, Adopted and beat by my alcoholic mother - so so so bad. I wished things were different, but their not. WE NEED PROFESSIONALS!!!, Not another idiot Dr to tell us to pop a Prozac. I loved my old life, International Buyer, Computer Administrator, driving, flying, hotels, kids, riding a bike.....W-A-L-K-I-N-G People just don't know how lucky they are. And, now to be treated like a thief because I am hungry.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on March 04, 2012:

I don't think so; I have been trying to locate it myself. Try, Trauma-brain damage-and see what pops up. Sometimes newer studies pop up also. Thank you!!

MichaelJames652 on March 04, 2012:

Thank you. This is very helpful. I was trying to follow the link at the end of the article but am getting a 404 error. It the study still available? Thank you.

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on February 25, 2012:

That is the worst part of it, I think, Shainia..the predators who rob us of our sense of safety and innocence seem to leave us all feeling isolated and crazy. We need to put all of the shame back on the prepretrator and off of ourselves!

Shaina Rodriguez from Wisconsin on February 23, 2012:

I'm feeling a little less crazy now, thank you.

Angela on February 22, 2012:

ALL of you are heroes as my son is who is recovering from terrible incest. My heart goes out to you all, especially Mark Strong who needs urgent help.C.B.T.good and support groups.I saw an add. for rewiring the brain and would love to know more about it.My sonis labelled with a Neurological disease.The medical profession still don't seem to accept that the sexual abuse is the cause of his stress and have him on 2 types of tables, one antipsychotic. My son hasn't the courage at present to report(even though I've proof) and court would be so stressful.He doesn't want to talk about it but he may with therapist. The support he is getting from Health Board is excellent. Good luck all you survivors and stay in the present moment as much as you can. Love and light to GB and all

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on February 09, 2012:

Thank you Keila!!! Your comment made my day. I have very good days and then I'll have kind of a dismal regression day when I feel like a dirty, abused child again. it helps to know your own triggers and avoid things that make you relive the incident. HUGS HUGS to you too!!!

Keila Dion on February 09, 2012:

Thank you so much for this article! It hit home on so many levels that I am just shocked but at the same time I feel vindicated! I am a survivor...but I have to start my survival every morning when I wake up. I am 49 and have just had suppressed memories just pop up out of NO where recently. Hard to explain to your children why you are the way you are. I literally have to just withdraw from my life several times a yr. just to try to cope with feelings and thoughts that I don't understand. Thank you so much!!! Big warm hugs to you and all the others here who are survivors!

SJ on February 04, 2012:

Thank you for sharing this wonderful article. I am an incest survivor and I can relate to the need for "downtime" from life. I use to think if I could heal "physically" it would be over but the reality is that the years of living in constant fear will impact the way my mind will age. So at 40 I make a very conscious and determined effort to strength my mind with exercise, routinely seeing a therapist, taking my medicines and treating myself with love and kindness. We can't let our abusers ever win! Keep on thriving my fellow survivor.

wtf on January 22, 2012:

humans always coming up with somethhing

Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on December 14, 2011:

Thank you and Have a wonderful Christmas--it does get easier..I feel light years better today than I did 5 years ago..

Tony... on December 11, 2011:

There are very possitive effects too although it can take many many years for these to surface. Take heart, be sure and don't give up...:-).

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