A double whammy 


How could she have known? She was up against too much. Yet, like Sysiphus, she blindly persisted, pushing that rock of hypervigilance up each hill, sometimes twice in an instant. 

How was she to know? Know what, he asked. She silently sunk below the surface,  with a secret appetency for dissociative clamoring she could never dismiss.

The dissociative disorders are a group of mental disorders that affect consciousness defined as causing significant interference with the patient’s general functioning, including social relationships and employment.

Now, I must transgress while you undress…

The musty attic taste, the smell of malice hanging in the air, a dread-filled dream she never quite awakes from…

 Sexually traumatized children and adults feel stripped of their dignity and sense of control, and often reenact in feeling, thinking, and behavior the dissociated imprints of horrific, and loathsome memories. These and other untoward effects tend to encroach upon all spheres of victims’ existence—upon their bodies, minds, emotions, faith-based values, relationships, and cultural values. 

The persons being discussed in this article are child sexual abuse (CSA) victims, and sexual assault (SA) victims.

Or in her case, both. Complex & chronic. 

While in SA the trauma wears away and fractures the structure of the personality already fashioned, in CSA repetitive, trauma-on-trauma deforms the personality.

 In CSA the very foundation of the self structure is affected due the experienced battering to the spirit and injury to the soul.

Essentially, the effects of trauma activate and imbed within the survivor a legacy of chronic, unrelenting, inescapable traumatic anxiety. 

Both forms of trauma leave indelible trauma imprints on the mind and body, associated with both classical and operant conditioning and biochemical encoding of fear structures on the substratum of the self.

These trauma effects pervasively influences the way victims (a) process feelings, (b) think about their distress, (c) find a personally purposive theory of healing, (d) shape the quality of communicative interpersonal transactions, and the way they (e) experience personal identity. 


Studies have shown that women who have endured sexual assault are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental condition, such as anxiety, somatic, depressive, and substance abuse disorders, than women who have not experienced this type of psychological trauma. 


revictimization is associated with having been sensitized by the original trauma, and losing the sense of self-protecting acuity essential to accurate appraising of environmental risks…

Scientific findings reveal that sexually assaulted women who were also abused as children have a higher degree of psychopathology than not only nonvictims, but also CSA and SA victims.

These survivors, moreover, are more likely to suffer suicidal attempts, experience sexual dysfunction and general health problems, and a significant minority experience revictimization; that is, being subjected to another assault. 

Studies and clinical experience reveal that CSA victims are more likely to suffer severe mental illness… 

She’d already added revictimization to her stats; having subjected to another much more violent assault. 

How could she ever be hypervigilant again?


…revictimization; that is, being subjected to another assault. 

Depending on the age at the time of the trauma, adult patterns of sexual trauma symptoms differ significantly (e.g., trauma in early childhood vs. at the adolescent years, etc.).

Child sexual abuse and assault victims often respond with numbing of emotions, and avoidance of feelings, people, places, and circumstances that may trigger horrific remembrance. 

CSA victims strongly desire the abuse to end, and have had to adapt to violence and abuse over time-

SA victims eschew mental and behavioral rehearsing of the trauma and struggle to make sense of what has happened, distracting from [pain] to allow them to minimize the anxiety they would experience were they to become fully aware of the meaning of the sexual terrorism they had endured; they engage in denial, avoidance, and numbing. 

This excessive suppression of strong affect contribute to the expression of dissociative vulnerabilities. 

As a consequence of trauma, victims become hypersensitized to “sexual signals” from the opposite sex. They may perceive more “evidence” of sexual interest than non-traumatized women,12 as they scan the environment with high levels of hypervigilant anxiety. 

While one in every six American women have been victims of attempted or completed rapes in their lifetime, on American college campuses one in every five women reported being a rape victim at some time during their lives.

in 2001 there were 249,000 victims of rape, attempted rape, or assault. 

Studies and clinical experience reveal that CSA victims are more likely to suffer severe mental illness, along with acting-out, violence, suspiciousness, and hostility disorganization.

In child sexual abuse and adult sexual victimization the person experiences the traumatic onslaught as a transgression of the self. 

…Traumatizing abusers are often not relatives, but know the child victims they molest (60%). Fewer perpetrators are relatives of the children they abuse (30%).

Denial is particularly strong in victims who knew their assailants.

These survivors, moreover, are more likely to suffer suicidal attempts, experience sexual dysfunction and general health problems, and a significant minority experience revictimization; that is, being subjected to another assault. 

The fabric of her self unraveled at an unprecedented pace these days, ever since the beating, an ambush, the details slipped away with only a phone call from the scene to illuminate the black hole left in her brain by the repeated blunt force trauma, to the chin, each eye, the temples and the chest.

How was it that she had her bag, her phone, car keys and wallet? But no memory save driving down that hill into a hell she can’t even remember. The damage to her brain was permanent. What more could be destroyed? She’d lost everything more than once, never could have kids, lost her career to the whims of a crazymaker, and was told her status as the bastard child was reason enough for the continual abuse she most certainly “deserved,” by some  design, convinced of that meaningless existence that only adopted children know in their  bones.

All that matters is blood in this world. Without that, you are invisible, dissociatied from belonging, given up because you were a  burden, a mistake, not the apple of anyone’s eye, just there, for the taking. The trauma repeats with lupine prowess, until she can take no  more. 

That is where we are today. 

Biochemical encoding of fear structures on the substratum of the self…

They are on edge as they anticipate and evade further assault, take flight away from relationships and from life itself, and into the arms of isolation and stasis which strip them of vitality and of a future of possibilities and personal growth. These victims can benefit from the intervention of well-trained trauma therapists.

People often speak of “spirit” as being a part of the total self, as in the well-known components affirming expression, “mind, body, and spirit.” 

Perhaps the truth is that spirit is not “part” at all, but pervades the whole of the self. Recently, one of the authors saw a training card at a national trauma/substance abuse conference that read: “There is no part of life that does not contain spirit; therefore, spirit is not a part.
Now, what of the lost self that bleeds from erasure of self that comes with adoption?

How am I to ever heal? Each day brings intensified anxiety, skin crawling shame and the burden of blame that hangs on every bloom of joy, withering hope with malingering despair.

When you told me I didn’t matter, I believed you. 



  • Thank you for letting me express this pain 
  • Thank you to the author of this article CSA

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