Flashbacks on Sexual Abuse Still Haunt Adults : Society often looks for other causes for self- destructive behavior, but therapy can help those who were molested when they were children.
..Her father abused her sexually from the time she was 3 until he had a stroke and died when she was 12. She remembers two occasions when she was molested by both her grandmother and her father.
She's 39 now, and the flashbacks are still coming. But she's not hiding anymore because, she told a group of about 300 therapists attending a conference in Mission Viejo Friday: "What I have to say is more important than being silent and safe."
Yeilding and her husband, Fred, were among a number of speakers who participated in an all-day conference called "Treating Adults Molested as Children," which was co-sponsored by the UC Irvine Psychiatry Service and Capistrano by the Sea Hospital.
The conference was needed, speaker John Briere pointed out, because the incidence of sexual abuse is much higher than most of us think, and so little has been written about it that therapists who counsel survivors practically have to start from scratch...
.."There is no lightweight stuff," he added, explaining that a single incident of fondling can be as traumatic as rape. And the pain can last a lifetime, as it has for one 82-year-old woman who still has at least one nightmare a week about an incident that happened when she was 8 years old...
.."During sex the survivor may relive sexual abuse," Briere noted. "A lot of major sexual dysfunctions therapists see in their everyday practice are effects of sexual abuse."
Theresa Thomsen, a social worker who helps families deal with chemical dependency at Capistrano by the Sea Hospital in Dana Point, said many survivors turn to compulsive, addictive, self-destructive behavior that deadens their pain while reinforcing their inner conviction that "I'm not worth anything."
They may find refuge in alcohol or drugs, sex or gambling, shopping or overeating..
..He said incest survivors have difficulty in adult relationships because "the most fundamental trusting relationship has been violated. It's a violation of the most sacred boundary between parent and child--the boundary between sex and love.
"This results in a dreaded terror of intimacy while you're feeling an almost primal, deep craving for it."
He became promiscuous, he said, because sex gave him a feeling of pseudo-intimacy when real closeness was not possible because he was unable to trust.
This survivor, who describes himself as a recovered alcoholic and sex addict, was 48 before he had his first memory of the "ritualistic abuse" he suffered from infancy through adolescence, a victim of his father, two grandparents and a brother.
His message to other survivors: "Don't close the door.
Be willing to accept that it might have happened to you, even if you have no conscious memory of it." http://articles.latimes.com/1990-09-...1_sexual-abuse