The Split

    By Anne Bissell  ( Sexual Abuse Survivors Anonymous ©2002 All Rights Reserved )

    Sex and Love Topics

    Sexual Abuse Victims often times experience the following personal difficulties:

    Pattern of being a victim, especially sexually.  
    We do not believe in our own power and it is difficult, and at times impossible,
    to believe that we have the right to set limits and say no.
    A deep-seated, all-encompassing belief that sex is the solution to all our problems
    and the way to get everything we need
    The need to be in a relationship has a life or death quality to it; there is no black and white
    —we simply “must” maintain the relationship, no matter how destructive it is to our core personal integrity.  
    As a young adult or teen, a pattern of relationships with much older persons who exploit
    our lack of boundaries.  There is a quality of being “an object” in this relationship.  We are their “trophy.”
    As an adult, we might also still feel like an object, or as if we are really just playing a role.  
    Examples might include: sex object, exotic dancer, wife, mistress. Our “role” might be perfectly legitimate
    and authentic, yet we feel jaded, as if we are performers.  
    Codependent behaviors. Instinctively knowing and doing what the other person needs or wants;
    putting others needs first
    A tendency to pick and attempt to “rescue” partners who are a combination of any of the following
    characteristics:  drug addicts and/or alcoholics, sex addicts, avoidance addicts, dealing with mental illness
    issues; habitual criminals who are deeply entrenched in the legal system and have been in various
    “locked-down” situations for many years of their adult (or juvenile) lives.
    Sex and love addictions
    Abandonment issues. Inability to end inappropriate relationships
    Splitting off during the sex act. This is also known as “The Split,” or disassociation
    Trouble integrating sexuality and emotions
    Feeling betrayed by ones own body whenever real desire is experienced
    Aversion to being touched, especially in gynecological exam
    Strong aversion to particular sex acts. Strong aversion to either one’s own or partner’s genitals  
    Compulsive need to control the sex act by such methods as such as having to watch Porn
    while engaging in sex, or the need to impose fantasy role playing onto the activity.
    Such as pretending to be a prostitute in order to “endure” the sex act
    Confusion or overlapping of affection, sex, dominance aggression or violence such as S&M and B&D
    (bondage and discipline).
    Pursuing power in the sexual arena which is actually sexual acting out
    Self Abuse and manipulation (especially among women)
    Abuse of others (especially among men)
    Compulsively “seductive” or compulsively asexuality
    Tendency to attract sexual addicts into our lives who exploit and violate our inability to set sexual boundaries
    Has to be the sexual aggressor or must not be the sexual aggressor
    Impersonal sexual encounters
    Promiscuous sex with strangers while still involved in a “committed” relationship
    where there is an inability to be truly intimate
    Conflicts between sex and caring
    Involvement in the sex industry in any capacity: prostitution, stripping, “sex symbol,” porn actress
    A tendency to sexually act out to meet anger or revenge needs
    Sexaholism: addicted to Lust, or addicted to making others “lust” after us to get that jolt, that hit of excitement
    Avoidance of sexual experiences
    Crying after orgasm
    All pursuit feels like we are being violated
    Sexualizing a relationship where it isn’t appropriate to do so
    Erotic response to abuse or anger
    Sexual fantasies of dominance or rape
    Aversion to making noise during sex.

    Why Recovery?

    We believe recovery is necessary if we are to recognize how the aftereffects of sexual abuse have made our
    lives unmanageable. We have become powerless over a multitude of symptoms and behaviors.

    When you are a survivor of any form of sexual abuse, whether it is incest, date rape, or prostitution, there are
    many aftereffects. These may manifest in your life in any combination of ways. Think of these behaviors as a
    constellation of symptoms that until now you might not have been aware of. Eventually, these symptoms create
    a full-blown syndrome, or disease. Another term for this is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

    We believe that some, if not all of these behaviors served to distract you from your pain regarding the sexual
    abuse. You are not alone.

    There are nearly 100 possible aftereffects that might be related to your personal history as a survivor.

    Aftereffects of Sexual Abuse  (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD)

    Problems with setting boundaries around who you are.

    No belief in one’s own basic human rights; as if we have grown so accustomed to abuse
    that it seems normal to us,

    Difficulty in claiming our own Voice, our right to protect and defend our own best interests.

    Taking dangerous high-risks without concern for consequences.

    Alienation from the body. Not at home in the body.

    Obsessive/compulsive behaviors that serve to medicate our personal pain.

    Trust issues: inability to trust, or trusting indiscriminately.

    High-risk taking, or inability to take risks.

    Guilt, shame, low self-esteem, feeling worthless.

    Feeling of carrying an awful secret. Both a desire to tell this secret, and a concurrent fear of the secret
    being revealed; certainty that no one will listen, or being generally secretive.   

    Pattern of being a victim, especially sexually.

    No sense of own power or right to set limits or say no to sex.

    An all-encompassing belief that sex is the solution to all our problems and the way to get everything
    we need.

    Codependent behaviors. Instinctively knowing and doing what the other person needs or wants;
    putting other's needs first.

    Abandonment issues. Inability to end inappropriate relationships.

    Splitting off during the sex act.  This is also known as “The Split,” or disassociation.

    Aftereffects:
    When you are a survivor of any form of sexual abuse, whether it is incest, date rape, or prostitution,
    there are many aftereffects. These may manifest in your life in any combination of ways.
    Think of these behaviors as a constellation of symptoms that until now you might not have been aware of.
    Eventually, these symptoms create a full-blown syndrome, or disease.  
    This is most commonly referred to: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).    

    We believe that some, if not all of these behaviors served to distract you from your pain
    regarding the sexual abuse.    

    Problems with setting boundaries around who you are___
    It is difficult for you to know what you are feeling___
    No belief in one’s own basic human rights; as if we have grown so accustomed to abuse
    that it seems normal to us___
    Difficulty in claiming our own Voice, our God-given right to protect and defend our own best interests___
    Issues with space such as feeling suddenly claustrophobic, or nervous when someone gets too close___
    Easily startled, or flinching when someone attempts to touch or move towards us___
    Taking dangerous high-risks without concern for consequences___
    Fear of losing control__
    If you were not abused as badly as others, you may experience “survivor guilt"___
    You at times feel guilty for pleasurable emotions such as happiness, as if you somehow do not deserve it___
    Desire to change one’s name (to disassociate from the perpetrator or to take control through self-labeling)___
    Stealing (adults); stealing and starting fires (children)___
    Fear of being along in the dark, of sleeping alone, nightmares, night terrors,
    especially of pursuit, threat, entrapment___
    Swallowing and gagging sensitivity___
    Alienation from the body. Not at  home in body___
    A feeling that our bodies do not belong to us so we do not listen to body signals___
    A failure to take care of our health and/or personal hygiene (lack of self-care)___   
    Poor body image ____
    Wearing a lot of clothing to avoid sexual attention___  
    Eating disorders, (excessive over-eating, or dieting, anorexia, bulimia)___
    Drug or alcohol abuse
    Compulsive shopping and debting; inability to spend or save money appropriately___
    Sex and love addictions
    Obsessive/compulsive behaviors that serve to medicate our personal pain ___
    Self-destructiveness; self-mutilation or self-abuse (banging head against wall)____
    Phobias___
    Need to be invisible; perfect, or perfectly bad___
    Multiple personality disorder___
    Suicidal thoughts, attempts, obsession
    Passive suicide (no real will to live)___
    Depression (sometimes paralyzing)___
    Difficulty with recognizing, owning or expressing anger___
    Rageaholism (constant uncontrolled anger)___
    Splitting (depersonalization) going into shock, shutdown in crisis, numbing___
    Feeling watched___
    Trust issues: inability to trust, or trusting indiscriminately___
    High risk taking, or inability to take risks___
    Boundary issues; control, power, fear of losing control___
    Guilt, shame, low self-esteem, feeling worthless­___
    Blocking out some period of early years (especially 1-12) or a specific person or place__
    Feeling of carrying an awful secret. Both a desire to tell this secret, and a concurrent fear
    of the secret being revealed; certainty that no one will listen; being generally secretive___
    Self-labeling that is a result of feeling marked
    (Everyone knows I’m no-good,” or, “I’m a slut, dirty, worthless…” ____
    Feeling crazy; feeling different___
    Believing that everyone’s existence is valid; however, we are a phony___
    Creating a fantasy world, relationships, or identities___
    Denial: no awareness at all; repression of memories, pretending, minimizing, having dreams
    or memories (maybe it’s my imagination)___
    Strong, deep negative reactions to a person, place, or event, sensory flashes
    (a light, a place, a physical feeling) without a sense of their meaning­­­___
    Being aware of, or remembering the surroundings where abuse occurred, but not the actual event___
    Flashbacks___
    Panic Attacks___

    Sexual and/or Relationship Issues Aftereffects:  

    Pattern of being a victim, especially sexually__
    No sense of own power or right to set limits or say no to sex___
    All pursuit feels like we are being violated___
    Sexualizing a relationship where or when it isn’t appropriate to do so___  
    Erotic response to abuse or anger___
    A deep-seated, all-encompassing belief that sex is the solution to all our problems
    and the way to get everything we need___
    Our desire to be involved in a relationship has a life or death quality to it; there is no black and white
    —we simply “must” maintain the relationship, no matter how destructive__
    As a young adult or teen, a pattern of relationships with much older persons who exploit our
    lack of boundaries.  There is a quality of being “an object” in this relationship. We are their “trophy”  ____
    A need to carry this behavior into adulthood by being seen as the “ultimate sex object.”  
    For example, “the perfect sexually submissive partner with no demands of his or her own,” the “trophy wife,”
    “porn star,” etc. In other words, we are still in a persona playing a role based on our sexuality___
    Codependent behaviors. Instinctively knowing and doing what the other person needs or wants;
    putting others needs first___
    A tendency to pick and attempt to “rescue” partners who exhibit a combination of any of the following
    characteristics: drug addicts and/or alcoholics, sex addicts, avoidance addicts, mentally ill;
    criminals who are entrenched in the legal system and have been for many years
    of their adult (or juvenile) lives__
    Sex and love addictions__
    Abandonment issues. Inability to end inappropriate relationships___
    Splitting off during the sex act. This is also known as “The Split,” or disassociation__
    Trouble integrating sexuality and emotions__
    Feeling betrayed by ones own body whenever real desire is experienced___
    Aversion to being touched, especially in gynecological exam___
    Strong aversion to particular sex acts___
    Avoidance of sexual experiences___
    Crying after orgasm___
    Sexual fantasies of dominance or rape___
    Aversion to making noise during sex___
    Compulsive need to control the sex act. This might involve having to watch hard-core, abusive Porn
    while engaging in sex, or the need to impose fantasy role playing onto the activity___ Example:
    pretending to be a prostitute in order to “endure” the sex act__
    Confusion or overlapping of affection, sex, dominance aggression or violence
    (S&M and B&D (bondage and discipline) are typical expressions of post-sexual abuse syndrome___
    Pursuing power in the sexual arena which is actually sexual acting out___
    Compulsively “seductive” or compulsively asexual__
    Tendency to attract sexual addicts into our lives who exploit and violate our inability to set sexual boundaries__
    Has to be the sexual aggressor or must not be the sexual aggressor___
    Impersonal sexual encounters___
    Promiscuous sex with strangers while still involved in a “committed” relationship where there is an inability
    to be truly intimate___
    Conflicts between sex and caring___
    Involvement in the sex industry in any capacity: prostitution, stripping, “sex symbol,” porn actress__
    A tendency to sexually act out to meet anger or revenge needs___
    Sexaholism: addicted to Lust, or addicted to making others “lust” after us to get that jolt, that hit of excitement

    Affirmations for Sexual Abuse Survivors:

    I cannot manage my pain alone. I must seek help.

    I acknowledge that something terrible happened. I know it is not my imagination; I was a victim of childhood
    and/or adult sexual assault.

    I begin to recognize my feelings. There may be sadness, anger, fear guilt and shame.  
    I allow myself to experience them all.

    I discuss the abuse thoroughly with other survivors. I completely re-experience and begin to deal with feelings
    appropriate for each incident of abuse that I can recall. I share my feelings of shame with other survivors.  

    I begin to realize that I was probably acting appropriately at the time the abuse occurred.  
    (That is, my reactions were appropriate, the abuse was not).

    I perceive the connection between my molestation and my current behavioral patterns and relationships.
    I am beginning to develop some control over that connection.

    I recognize that I have a choice as to whether or not I confront my perpetrators.

    I am beginning to understand what I desire from relationships, as I learn to trust my perceptions.

    I am able to enjoy intimacy.

    I develop a sense of self and my self-esteem has increased.  

    My resistance to talking about the abuse (although not necessarily to details of it) has diminished.  

    I realize that I have a choice as to whether or not I forgive my perpetrator.  

    I have forgiven myself.

    I am in touch with past anger, but detached from it so that it is not a constant part of my feelings
    and a negative influence on my other feelings, my functioning, and my relationships with others.
    I no longer live in the past. I live in the present and welcome the future with all its fears, and uncertainties.
If you are a victim of sexual abuse, rape, molestation or incest know that  Anne Bissell   cares about you!
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Hush I pray you! What if this friend happen to be-God? God teaches us to help each other so-Lending our minds out ( Browning ).
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