If a survivor of child sexual abuse has not been in therapy or been helped along the way to cope with his/her abuse history, there is a range of effects that stem from the abuse. Depending upon each individual survivor’s trauma history, the following list provides the common effects many survivors must deal with as a result of their abuse.
- Complex PTSD
- Eating Disorders
- Impaired self-capacities
- Impaired “self” and “other’ boundaries
- Interpersonal and parenting difficulties
- Memory impairment
- Personality disorder
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Self-harm and suicidal behavior
- Sexual difficulties
- Somatization (conversion of anxiety into physical symptoms)
- Substance abuse
It is important to understand that these effects are the result of a young child or teenager adapting to the unrelenting and out-of-control abuse by his/her parents. They were developed to make some sense of the world and to continue to function the best way they knew how considering the amount of stress they had experienced. These coping skills were developed when the child had few resources or options, and they kept the survivor alive. The work is to find more healthy ways of coping with life stressors as they recover from their abuse.
 “Guidelines for Therapists Working with Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse,” Kim McGregor, 2001