Forums Home

Lived Experience Forum

Acceptance, connection, support. Share the journey.

Safe, anonymous discussion for people living with complex mental health issues, moderated 24/7 by mental health professionals.

Read the community guidelines
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Something’s not right

Senior Contributor

Trigger warning - child sexual abuse, shame

Hello All,


first of all I want to say that if you're also a victim/survivor I am sorry you had to go through this. I feel very alone as there are no support groups, where I can understand my feelings of shame, sensations are 'normal', that I'm not disgusting... I have a great therapist and psychiatrist and I do research on the internet, but some questions, even if they have been answered and I understand them intellectually, I do not understand the answers in my heart/body and I hope that by reaching out and knowing I am not alone, I will start to break the cycle of shame.


I was sexually abused for a few years before puberty, by several abusers, including a family member. I've never reported the crimes or disclosed to my family.


I am making progress in therapy, but it is a very rough road and self-harm, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts are a big issue, so often the focus has to be on keeping me safe, continuing to learn and implement new ways to cope. I often get stuck in therapy, sometimes for years. Currently I am stuck on the following and I would really like to know: Did you ever get stuck on this? How did you try or managed to accept it and move forward?


1) Some of my abusers were underage themselves when it happened. There is a lot about the power difference between an abuser and the abused. I intellectually understand that sexual abuse is a crime even if committed by a minor. Stuck in my head are sentences 'they were just kids themselves', 'doctors play' (certainly not!)... and I don't know how to move past that.


2) I loved one of my abusers. I know that children cannot give consent and that child abuse is a crime, but I struggle with the fact that I loved my abuser, and probably still do, and that I did not report the crime, nor am emotionally unable to disclose the abuse and name especially this abuser even to this day. I am also confused what to do about 'the happy memories' that coexisted with the abuse.


3) Shame of physical sensations. Shame in general is a huge issue. This one in particular is one that I find little information about on the internet, but I have discussed in detail with my therapist. I think this is the biggest issue I have at the moment (and for years), to accept that I had physical sensations and that they continue in my adult life. My body reacted and reacts, but it does not mean it gives me pleasure or that I consented. I feel absolutely disgusted with myself when I think about this or when it happens, and it is very hard to write about it.


I have learnt that shame loses its power when a story is shared and I don't know where else to share it. I know shame from the abuse is the most powerful emotion driving my unhelpful coping strategies and keeping me stuck in a victim state.


I am overwhelmed now and will try to do a self-care activity and rest. It is a very hard topic for all of us. Please understand that I might not be checking the forums daily so I can keep myself safe. That does not mean, that I don't read or appreciate your answers. Thank you all and please look after yourselves.


Re: Trigger warning - child sexual abuse, shame

No advice or experience to share @Aeiou, but wanted you to know we're listening and you're heard. Sending love Heart 

Re: Trigger warning - child sexual abuse, shame

It would have been difficult to write your post. I experience a lot of shame too. @Aeiou 

I dont talk about it much, but am thinking of bringing it up with therapist.


I am glad you are clear about the need fo self care.

Smiley Happy



Re: Trigger warning - child sexual abuse, shame

@Aeiou   Our stories are very similar.  I too was abused by several different people at a young age.  I was sexually assaulted by a group of 4 older boys when I was 8,  (there were 5 but only 4 assaulted me) they would be considered underage too, ranging from 14 to 17.  A couple of weeks later I was sexually assaulted by one of the group again.  At 10 I was sexually assaulted by a friend of the family, he too would be considered underage, around 16 or 17 at the time.  When I was 11 I suffered terrible sexual abuse by an old man, friend of the family that lasted almost 2 years.  


I first dissociated during the attack when I was 10, and then more frequently when I was 11 and 12 - so I don’t think I share the same feeling as you as far as my body responding.  All I remember is fear and pain - and shame which I still feel to this day.  


I kept a lid on my abuse for 40years, it’s only in the last couple of years that I have even told my husband, so none of my abusers have ever been held to account.  I have been seeing a councillor for 2 years now, started as marriage counciling but also see him one on one for CSA for the past year.  My family know nothing of my abuse, I haven’t even told my husband the names of my abusers, some of which still live in the same town as me.


I feel stuck too.  I still feel shame,  I hate sex which isn’t doing my marriage any favours and I have a lot of “unjust” moments.  Seeing reports almost daily about CSA cases on the news and the offenders getting away with it and the victims being made out to be liars wanting their 5mins of fame makes me feel like the world is a terribly “unjust” place to live in.  I’m sick of hearing bad people always coming out the winners.


All I can say is you’re not alone, there are a few on this forum that have shared this experience.  I’m glad you have found a way to self care, sometimes that’s all you can do.  ❤️❤️

Re: Trigger warning - child sexual abuse, shame

Hi @Aeiou and @Razzle (waves to @Appleblossom and @Ali11 Heart)


Reading through your posts I remember my own healing journey. I don't think about it much these days as my recovery's in full swing. I do however feel I have much to pass on to those still suffering through the indignity of csa memories.


It's a very complex winding road to navigate so the old adage; one step at a time, is extremely important as each issue tends to blend into the other creating more confusion and distress.


Aeiou; I'm glad you've separated some of your questions for this reason. I'll try to address them as best as I can in the hope you guys can learn something of value.


  1. Focusing on your abusers, their age and the adult concept of power does nothing but cause internal conflict. What you've learned and taught yourself about these experiences (beliefs) is from a child's perspective. Your adult consciousness can't comprehend this so it tries to 'rationalise' reasons. (This is a brain function thing, not about personality) Focusing on the 'external' creates avoidance (an escape if you think about it) of what happened (and is happening) 'inside you'. Your well-being is at the centre of this issue, not 'them'. This is what all adult survivors struggle to let go of, but if successful, ultimately free's them from a fault-finding mindset.
  2. Oh sweetie, I know this one too. When a loved one abuses you it's the ultimate betrayal. If you're a child, the hurt runs as deep as a vast canyon. The answer to this is; kids and the adults they evolve into, love 'unconditionally'. They see parents/care givers as if they're Gods. They can do no wrong unless [we] cause it right? This is in the mind of a child (self centred) because it doesn't make sense that someone who loves you would do something so vile. Love without 'conditions and expectations' like respect, protection, guidance and care, isn't love, it's survival. There's no-one else to trust or turn to. Still loving this person is totally understandable under these circumstances. I mean, what would happen to you if you stopped loving them and walked away? You'd be alone? What would others say/think; you'd have to tell them? Would they stop loving you? All relevant questions. Taking the fall and staying quiet was crucial to survive your little life. It's now that you have 'choice'. That seems to be the fly in the ointment more than anything yeah?
  3. I'm not sure what physical sensations you're referring to, but I can tell you 'my body' enjoyed the experience. I woke to the 'act' from a deep sleep feeling physical pleasure. The guilt and shame of this haunted me until (in my 40's) a counsellor explained how my body and mind separated (dissociated) during this time to survive the shock. (a brain thing) There was no control at all on my part; the primal brain and normal bodily responses took over. Fight, flight or freeze. There was 'no choice involved', so why is it our burden to carry? The sensations you feel now are much more complicated. It's probably (only in my opinion) a result of Complex PTSD. (not ptsd) This relates more to fear of what's going to happen next or thep past controlling the present, more than the events themselves.

I hope my words carry some source of understanding for you. Tag me if you'd like to chat or ask question guys. I'm here...


My best;

Hope xo Heart

Re: Trigger warning - child sexual abuse, shame

Hi @Aeiou 

I’m hearing you and sending you hugs. 

I was sexually abused by three different guys (neighbour uncle snd brother ). I was age between 9-12ys old. I suppressed it for 40 years and then the memories came out. 

My hubby and adult children know of all three. I told my parents but unfortunately they abandoned me and didn’t talk to me for 4 years. They don’t kniw about my brother. 

I still have shame and disgust. I struggle sexually with my hubby. I struggle a lot to be close physically to someone. 

Been abused by a family member or someone so close to us is so terrible. I hate my brother for what he did to me. He was just over the legal age. Actually all three were over the legal age. 

Hugs @Aeiou ❤️❤️


Re: Trigger warning - child sexual abuse, shame

Hi @Aeiou 

I am having difficulty talking lately but needed to reply to you. 

I can relate to so much of what you are saying especially point number 3. I too have physical sensations and feel so much shame and disgust around my feelings and thoughts.

I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

I am sorry you had to go through this. 

You are in my thoughts



Re: Trigger warning - child sexual abuse, shame

I have no words @Aeiou
Just to say I am here listening to you my friend.

Re: Trigger warning - child sexual abuse, shame

@Hamsolo01 @Snowie @BlueBay @Hope4me @Razzle @Appleblossom @Ali11 


Thank you all for your messages and support. I am very overwhelmed at the moment and struggle to write more. Take care

Re: Trigger warning - child sexual abuse, shame

pls take care @Aeiou  

hugs your way HeartHeart

For urgent assistance, call: