Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Linked To Childhood Trauma

Researchers have found what I have long suspected… a link between obsessive compulsive disorder and childhood trauma.

OCD is expressed in ways that are curiously similar to how child abuse victims behave and feel:

washing_handsExcessive fear of being exposed to germs: For a victim of abuse, this could be rooted in a need to control any harm that might come to the body –control over their body.

  • Unwarranted feelings of being unclean: People who have a history of sexual abuse might feel dirty as a result of shame. They can have a compelling urge to clean the shame and guilt from their body. One OCD sufferer said she especially concentrated on scrubbing her genital areas with a violent action.
  • Anger and rage: These emotions don’t need any explanation with regards to child sexual abuse.
  • Fear of a punishing God: Children who were abused by a parent, step-parent, or religious authority will often have a mental association between God and their abuser. If a child grows up with a punishing parent, then a pattern of association with authority that punishes is established. God is the ultimate authority figure.
  • Sexual Dysfunction: Self-explanatory for sexual abuse survivors.
  • Personality Disorder: People diagnosed with a personality disorder were often sexually abused, and previous sexual abuse victims often display the symptoms of a personality disorder.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety is highly common in survivors of child sexual abuse, and linked to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
  • Relentless and violent thoughts such as choking or stabbing someone close to them: Children who have been sexually violated, abused, and traumatized often grow up with terrible rage. If this is not dealt with in a healthy manner, then unhealthy or dangerous thoughts about the abuser, or anyone who reminds them of their abuser, can occur.
  • One OCD sufferer wrote that she sees tiny dots floating in front of her eyes: I experienced this problem in the weeks preceding the memories of being smacked in the face as a child. I was also choked as a child. The spots disappeared after working through those memories. Spots before the eyes can be experienced just before blacking out or becoming disoriented from being hit.
  • An obsession with things of a sexual nature and avoidance of situations associated with sex. This is consistent with sexual abuse.
  • Repeated checking of the stove, heaters, or electrical appliances; leaving home only to return in order to check doors or windows; repeatedly turning door knobs to make sure the door is shut properly: I used to have an obsessive problem in this area. It has since greatly diminished, but I do retain it to a small degree. I consider this ‘problem’ advantageous because it helps protect my home and family from harm. I also maintain a certain degree of hyper-vigilance which, in this world, keeps me safer. However, when it affects a person’s normal functioning, it can be a huge burden. These actions and fears are related to a need to control –a need to prevent something horrible from happening. The rituals are a way of trying to retain power over what might happen to themselves or people they care about.
  • Compulsive fear of harm or death coming to loved ones: Children who are sexually assaulted often live with the constant fear of death or tragedy being imminent. Perpetrators often threaten to harm pets or family members, or to kill the child if the child doesn’t do what they want, or if the child discloses the abuse. The fear can also be created when the child realizes they have no control over when and how their body will be violated.
  • OCD symptoms typically become worse under stress: People who were sexually abused, and who have moderate or severe PTSD, will over-react to stress.
  • Hypochondriac tendencies: Children who were sexually assaulted, or were threatened with death by an authority figure, could fear that any small problem with their body means they are going to die.
  • Jaw clenching: I clenched my teeth just before I remembered, and dealt with, the severity of being raped. With therapy, the origin was pinpointed. I clenched my teeth during the rape and also when trying to avoid my father’s penis being stuck in my mouth. These violations also produced tension inside me because I was not able to speak or scream. Tension can cause teeth and jaw clenching.
  • Guilt is a common problem with OCD: Guilt is a common sexual abuse symptom.

imagesOn an Internet message board for those suffering with OCD, one woman wrote: “I sometimes imagine that my father used to molest me, but I know he didn’t because I have no memories of this. I don’t have these thoughts constantly, but at least a couple of times a day.”

This woman’s OCD is most likely the result of having been an incest victim, and not that OCD was causing her to imagine her father had molested her. The woman may have repressed an incest experience, and it was subconsciously making itself known through her OCD symptoms and in her daily mental images.

One article, which debated the repressed memory controversy, stated that people who have experienced flashbacks of childhood abuse were later diagnosed with OCD. The patients were then told the flashbacks were not real but a part of the disease.

If mainstream psychiatrists and psychologists continue to suppress and repress previous victims of sexual abuse by assigning “disorders” to everyone, and not exploring the very real possibility of repressed childhood trauma, they will create more serious psychiatric disorders in their patients by suppressing, or denying sexual abuse and trauma out of ignorance, fear of stirring up childhood sexual abuse, or a desire to prescribe RX drugs instead of truly helping people.


Childhood trauma in obsessive-compulsive disorder, trichotillomania, and controls. Lochner C, du Toit PL, Zungu-Dirwayi N, Marais A, van Kradenburg J, Seedat S, Niehaus DJ, Stein DJ Depress Anxiety 2002; 15(2):66-8, Compulsive features in the eating disorders: a role for trauma? Lockwood R, Lawson R, Waller G.,
J Nerv Ment Dis. 2004 Mar; 192(3):247-9. Other source: Dissociative experiences in obsessive-compulsive disorder and trichotillomania: Clinical and genetic findings.
Lochner C, Seedat S, Hemmings SM, Kinnear CJ, Corfield VA, Niehaus DJ, Moolman-Smook JC, Stein DJ. Compr Psychiatry 2004 Sep-Oct; 45(5):384-91.
Debate of Memory Repression of Childhood Sexual Abuse Myra Maple
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Amnesia For Child Sexual Abuse, a Frequent Phenomenon

From Peer-Reviewed Studies:

“The findings suggest that recovery from total amnesia of past traumatic material involving both child sexual abuse and non sexual abuse experiences is by no means an uncommon feature of clinical practice among our highly trained professional members.” “. . .our large-scale survey confirms and extends previous research. . . . Memory recovery appears to be a robust and frequent phenomenon.”

450 adults in clinical study reported sexual abuse histories regarding their repression of sexual abuse incidents. 267 of participants identified some period in their lives, before 18 yrs of age, when they had no memory of their abuse. Variables most predictive of abuse-related amnesia were greater current psychological symptoms, molestation at an early age, extended abuse, and variables reflecting especially violent abuse (e.g., victimization by multiple perpetrators, having been physically injured as a result of the abuse, victim fears of death if she or he disclosed the abuse to others).

memoryQuestions are continually raised about the accuracy and validity of very young children’s memories of traumatic events. Out of 19 children, where the median age was 2 1/2 at time of disclosure, 11 had full verbal memory, five had fragmented verbal memory traces, and three had no memory 5 to 10 years following day care sexual abuse. Data from this clinical study suggest the nature of children’s memory is four-dimensional: somatic, behavioral, verbal, and visual. Efforts need to continue to document the nonverbal components for assessment and treatment purposes.

The accuracy of recovered and continuous memories was investigated in 17 women (average age 29.5 yrs) who had recovered memories of physical or sexual abuse by their fathers while in therapy. Subjects, and their 43-72 yr old fathers, cooperated in gathering physical evidence confirming or refuting these memories. This evidence was analyzed and rated by 6 independent judges recruited for the purpose.

Memories of abuse were found to be equally accurate whether recovered or continuously remembered.

Predictors of number of memory units for which evidence was uncovered included several measures of memory and perceptual accuracy. Recovered memories that were later supported arose in psychotherapy more typically during periods of positive rather than negative feeling toward the therapist, and they were more likely to be held with confidence by the abuse victim.

Delayed recall of childhood sexual abuse was studied in 505 subjects, who completed the Traumatic Events Survey, Trauma Symptom Inventory, Impact of Event Scale, and the Symptom Checklist. Of subjects who reported a history of sexual abuse, 42% described some period of time when they had less memory of the abuse than they did at the time of data collection. No demographic differences were found between subjects with continuous recall and those who reported delayed recall.

memory-laneHowever, delayed recall was associated with the use of threats at the time of the abuse. Subjects who had recently recalled aspects of their abuse reported particularly high levels of post-traumatic symptomatology and self difficulties at the time of data collection compared to other subjects.

A random sample of 724 individuals from across the United States were mailed a questionnaire containing demographic information, an abridged version of the Traumatic Events Survey (DM Elliott, 1992), and questions regarding memory for traumatic events. Of these, 505 (70%) completed the survey. Among respondents who reported some form of trauma (72%), delayed recall of the event was reported by 32%. This phenomenon was most common among individuals who observed the murder or suicide of a family member, sexual abuse survivors, and combat veterans. The severity of the trauma was predictive of memory status, but demographic variables were not.

The most commonly reported trigger to recall of the trauma was some form of media presentation (i.e., television show, movie), whereas psychotherapy was the least commonly reported trigger.

Childhood sexual abuse memories of 52 women was studied in 21-55 year-olds,  who had been hospitalized for treatment of sexual trauma, been sexually abused prior to age 18, and reported a period of amnesia before recalling abuse memories. Subjects completed a questionnaire about their first suspicions of having been sexually abused, their first memories of sexual abuse, other memories of abuse, and details of their abuse history. Subjects were more likely to recall part of an abuse episode, as opposed to an entire abuse episode, following a period of no memory of the abuse. Additionally, first memories tended to be described as vivid rather that vague.

A questionnaire survey of 755 adults sexually abused as children, asking about the circumstances of their disclosure to the first person they told, resulted in 286 responses (228 from female victims of incest). Subjects were asked basic demographic information, details about their abuse, who they told first, the reaction of the first person told, and reasons why they delayed telling or finally did tell. The women telling their parents first were likely to tell in childhood. Those telling friends, other family members, or partners were more likely to tell in early adulthood. Survivors telling therapists revealed the abuse at a later age. Those revealing the incest to parents in childhood received a worse reaction than did those waiting until adulthood. When women disclosed to parents prior to age 18, the incest continued for more than 1 yr after the disclosure in 52% of the cases. Women who disclosed as children were more often met with disbelief or blame.

One hundred twenty-nine women with previously documented histories of sexual victimization in childhood were interviewed and asked detailed questions about their abuse histories to answer the question “Do people actually forget traumatic events such as child sexual abuse, and if so, how common is such forgetting?” A large proportion of the women (38%) did not recall the abuse that had been reported 17 years earlier.

Women who were younger at the time of the abuse and those who were molested by someone they knew were more likely to have no recall of the abuse. The implications for research and practice are discussed.

Long periods with no memory of abuse should not be regarded as evidence that the abuse did not occur.



Self-reported amnesia for abuse in adults molested as children. Briere, John; Conte, Jon R. U Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, US
Journal of Traumatic Stress
1993 Jan Vol 6(1) 21-31
Memory presentations of childhood sexual abuse. Burgess AW; Hartman CR; Baker T University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, Philadelphia 19104, USA.
J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv (UNITED STATES) Sep 1995, Vol 33 (9) 9-16.
Accuracy, timing and circumstances of disclosure in therapy of recovered and continuous memories of abuse. Dalenberg, Constance J. CSPP, Trauma Research Inst, San Diego, CA, US
Journal of Psychiatry & Law
1996 Sum Vol 24(2) 229-275
Posttraumatic stress associated with delayed recall of sexual abuse: A general population study. Special Issue: Research on traumatic memory. Elliott, Diana M.; Briere, John U California-Los Angeles Medical Ctr, Child Abuse Crisis Ctr, Harbor
Campus, Torrance, US
Journal of Traumatic Stress
1995 Oct Vol 8(4) 629-647
Traumatic events: Prevalence and delayed recall in the general population Elliott, Diana M. U California-Los Angeles Medical Ctr, Child Abuse Crisis Ctr, Harbor
Campus, Torrance, US
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
1997 Vol 65, 811-820
Characteristics of previously forgotten memories of sexual abuse: A descriptive study. Roe, Catherine M.; Schwartz, Mark F. Journal of Psychiatry & Law
1996 Sum Vol 24(2) 189-206]
Telling the secret: Adult women describe their disclosures of incest. Roesler, Thomas A.; Wind, Tiffany Weissmann National Jewish Ctr for Immunology & Respiratory Medicine, Denver, CO, US
Journal of Interpersonal Violence
1994 Sep Vol 9(3) 327-338
Recall of childhood trauma: A prospective study of women’s memories of child sexual abuse. Williams, Linda Meyer U New Hampshire, Family Research Lab, Durham, US
Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology
1994 Dec Vol 62(6) 1167-1176
The recovery of memories in clinical practice: Experiences and beliefs of British Psychological Society practitioners Andrews, Bernice; Morton, John; Bekerian, Debra A.; Brewin, Chris R.; Davis, Graham M.; Mollon, Phil The Psychologist
1995 May, Vol. 8, pp. 209-214
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Amnesia for Incest is a Creatively Potent Defense

Some studies suggest that it is not so much the suffering or fear which causes dissociative amnesia (repressed memories) for trauma and child sexual abuse, but the result of the child’s need to continue a relationship of attachment with the perpetrator in order to survive. 1

This was my experience (coupled with many death threats, and terrifying incidents as a child).

Survival attachment is demonstrated in the case of eight year-old Shasta Groene, who, in 2005, along with her nine year-old brother Dylan, were kidnapped by a convicted pedophile.

Joseph Duncan, who was just released from prison, took Shasta and Dylan for sexual purposes.

Duncan kidnapped the two children after murdering Shasta’s 13 year-old brother, her mother, and her mother’s boyfriend by bludgeoning them to death with a hammer. Shasta and Dylan did not witness the murders, but Shasta heard their screams, and Duncan told Shasta what he had done to her family.

Duncan raped both Shasta and her brother repeatedly for seven weeks. Duncan then killed Dylan and kept Shasta under his control. 2

Shasta and Dylan

Shasta and Dylan

Just prior to being rescued, Shasta was caught on camera in a convenience store with her rapist.

The video taped footage was aired on television. I watched the video in amazement as Shasta walked into the store with her tormentor, and saw how she was allowed to wander freely in the store. She did not alert anyone to her situation, nor did she look as if she didn’t belong to her kidnapper. Shasta folded her arms as if she was cold, but no one could tell that the eight year-old was with a man who so violently killed her loved ones, and who was raping her on a constant basis.

Shasta looked at people in the store, but only as if wondering whom to trust. Shasta decided that no one would be trustworthy because she ended up leaving the convenience store with her perpetrator. Shasta felt that her survival depended upon the man who had kidnapped and was raping her.

Joseph Duncan was captured after a waitress recognized the little girl while she was sitting in a restaurant eating food with Duncan.

Shasta displayed the exact behavior of an incest victim who believes that he or she is totally dependent upon the very person who is molesting, raping, or torturing the child.

Like Shasta, the child of incest is forced to bond with the person who is causing them so much pain and terror because the captor—be it the father, mother, or a stranger—is also the person providing food, shelter, and emotional needs for the victim.

Children need affection and they will usually accept it in any form, and for many incest victims –even if it is in the form of the sexual abuse.

Shasta could not reach out for help in that convenience store or in the restaurant, nor can many victims in an incestuous situation. 3

The child who is imprisoned by her rapist father, or step-father, only knows that he is the one whom her survival depends. The child must rely on the person committing the monstrous acts, especially if the mother is a facilitator, if there are threats of death, or if the child doesn’t know if anyone will even believe or help them.

In cases of repressed memories of incest, the disbelieving family members, neighbors, fellow parishioners, and friends of the perpetrator are often heard commenting, “If she was being abused, then why didn’t she tell anyone?”

Shasta provides the answer.

Shasta was with a total stranger –a stranger who had killed her entire family and was raping her every day, yet Shasta had ample opportunity to alert someone in the convenience store and in the restaurant, but she didn’t.

Why would anyone think that a child could easily turn to find help outside the home when they are being sexually abused by the parent that they love, have a blood-tie with, and a familial bond with?

Joseph Duncan

Joseph Duncan

Unlike Shasta, many victims of incest are not believed. This aids in repression.

Shasta was believed because authorities rescued her while in the clutches of a convicted pedophile who confessed to the crime. She was examined by medical technicians and physicians. In addition, trauma counselors and other professional authorities verified that she was raped several times.

In cases of incest, where the memories were long ago shoved aside in order to exist, the adult survivor has a much harder time convincing people that their father raped was a rapist, and that the mother did not stop the abuse, or that the mother also sexually abused the child. In addition, the adult survivor’s memory is frequently up against a well-dressed father and a tidy, polite church-going mother.

Shasta will likely remember that she had been kidnapped, raped, and traumatized. She may not recall all of her trauma and may even block out a portion of the ordeal, but she will retain the knowledge that it happened to her.

Unlike the vast majority of victims who completely repressed being sexually abused in childhood, or as a teenager, Shasta has access to professionals and extended family for her to express her feelings to. People believe her, she has proof on record, and Shasta has been interviewed in recent years.

Shasta was allowed to speak about what happened to her, and she was able to openly grieve, both of which are vital to healing and remembering.

The vast majority of people who suffer from discontinuous memory of childhood sexual abuse, were not rescued. Many were threatened for months, years, or decades to remain silent. For others, it was quietly implied, or outright demanded with threats, that they had to keep the secret. Those who did try and disclose the abuse were largely disbelieved or disregarded. They were unable to express their feelings to anyone, and they carried the secret alone.

People who completely repress memories of sexual abuse usually had no medical records, photos, or other documents to refer to. Some victims had a mother or other family members who told them they must have “misunderstood” what happened. Or they were openly blamed, ridiculed, or scolded for “telling lies.” As they grew into adulthood, these survivors often continued to love their abuser and often heard others praising him. Subsequently, the victim also came to believe that the person who tormented them couldn’t possibly have done such a thing, and the sexual abuse and trauma is wiped out from consciousness.

The child of incest must not only attempt to physically survive, but they also need to create a fantasy world in order to make up for what they are not receiving from their parents.

The need for love is a natural instinct in a child and most victims of incest simultaneously love and hate their perpetrator. If the abuser and his accomplice are the only people available to provide that love, then the child is forced to mentally abandon the ugly side of their abusers and develop amnesia for the trauma being inflicted.


1. Self-Re ported Memory for Abuse Depends Upon Victim-Perpetrator Relation ship Jennifer J. Freyd, PhD Anne P. DePrince, PhD Eileen L. Zurbriggen, PhD Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, Vol. 2 (3) 2001 by The Haworth Press, Inc.
2. Access to secret files on laptop still a bargaining chip for admitted killer Joseph Duncan, Court TV News, Oct. 18 2006
3. Los Angeles Times, July 6 2005, A-17 in Brief) (Good Morning America, July 5, 2005). (Further reference: Los Angeles Times, July 5 2005, Remains Found in Hunt for Idaho Boy, A-13.
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Mother’s Day: Often a Hard Day For Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

(Re-post from last year)


Mother’s Day is one of the hardest days of the year for the millions of people who had a mother who abandoned them, or who chose to protect a child abuser or child rapist, instead of their own child.

For many people, Mother’s Day can be heartbreaking because their mother sexually abused them.

Many adult survivors of child sexual abuse are inwardly angry about Mother’s Day, but they still choose to do the ‘social pleasantries’ in order to get along with, or be accepted by the mother who abused or abandoned them.

Others will not engage in family gatherings, but will betray themselves by buying a Mother’s Day card with all the false fluff about mothers and will sign and send the card anyway, knowing the words are untrue.

I openly admit to having done all of the above in the last twenty years.

There were a number of years where I sent a card to my mother with a nice photo on the outside, with a blank page inside. Those cards are always easiest because you can write anything you want, without being a lie to yourself.

But there were a few years where I completely ignored Mother’s Days, and never sent a thing to my mother, nor called her.

Lately I have been going through some major transformational shifts in my healing. This past Wednesday, I had no intention of calling or sending my mother anything on Mother’s Day. Then, I suddenly had a huge breakthrough in therapy on Thursday, and when I finished my therapy session, I drove straight to my local artistic gift shop and began to look around for some small, but nice gifts, to ship to my mother with a beautiful card (blank inside of course).

As I approached the woman who owns the store (a friend of mine), she looked at me and said, “my gosh Alethea, you look so radiant today!” I knew exactly what she was speaking of because I could feel it in my mind and body. The heavy burden of all the anger that had manifested in my face the day before, had vanished.

This was a new day, a clean day.

I told my store-owner friend what I was doing, and she not only complimented me again, but she shared her own story of making peace with her violent mother.

It was a beautiful experience. After sharing her story, my friend and I briefly held our moment in time in an expression of trust and peace between us. She then boxed up my gifts and we parted ways.

Each and every person can go through periods of healing, and then anger again, and then healing, and then rage. They can feel pity, compassion, hatred, and resentment for their mother abuser on any given day of the week.

But each person has a right to feel however it is they happen to be feeling on or around Mother’s Day.

There is no “right” or “wrong” way of handling the day, just make sure that you are honest with yourself.

Be true to yourself because if you are not, I promise you that your inner child, or your conscience (one or the other) will make itself known in some unpleasant way.

If you can’t fathom sending a card or calling your mother, and you do so anyway, your inner child has the potential to get pretty damn angry and cause physical symptoms or make you angry at the world.

If you feel in your heart that it would be okay to call or send something, and you don’t, then your higher consciousness could have the potential to create a guilt-induced physical problem. Or you might self-punish through self-sabotaging behavior.

So feel your way through Mother’s Day, and trust your instinct. Do what would bring you the most inner peace, and if you don’t have children, then take yourself out on a nature hike. Go for a bike ride, or pack a lunch and visit a State Park.

My dog is my child, and I am her mother, so we are going to go on a beautiful nature hike.

If you are a woman who had a cruel or abusive mother, remember that you are your own mother now, and treat yourself well on Mother’s Day.

If you are a man, Mother Nature can be your mother. Love her as you would love the mother you wished you had gotten as a child. Treat Mother Nature with love, kindness, and respect.

Actually, everyone needs to do this, because animals and nature are truly like our Divine Mother.

Have a beautiful, Blessed Day on Sunday.



Posted in Child Abuse | 3 Comments

Secret Traumas: Fathers and Daughters

You can’t reveal family secrets if you hide them from yourself ~~Alethea

Father/Daughter Incest: Amnesia Makes Sense

(Edited and amended from a 2012 article)

The betrayal, shame, and guilt attached to father/daughter incest is far greater than if another male is sexually molesting a child. When a father is sexually abusing his child there is also a high probability that the victim’s mother is facilitating or ignoring the abuse, which can contribute to amnesia (repressed memories) for sexual abuse.

It is also more likely that the abuse will be covered up and denied by other family members when the father is the perpetrator. This veil of secrecy aids in repression.

~Marilyn Van Derbur

~Marilyn Van Derbur

Father/daughter incest is undeniably linked to deeper emotional pain, guilt, shame, and betrayal —especially if the child enjoyed being touched or having sexual intercourse with her biological father.

The complicated dynamics of a biological father committing incest on his child increases the chances of a woman blocking out the sexual abuse completely, until adulthood.

An adult survivor of father/daughter incest might also be more likely to deny the memories of her father being a sexual perpetrator, once the memories begin to emerge from their subconscious mind.

The number of years that a child is abused, and the age that sexual abuse begins, are two elements that some experts believe contribute to amnesia. Biological fathers usually have access to their children in the early stages of the child’s life. Many step-fathers don’t come into the picture until the children are much older, at an age less likely to repress the abuse. (please note that if a child is sexually abused by a family member at a young age, and blocks it out, and then is sexually abused later on –as a teenager– they will likely also block out any sexual abuse committed against them. It could be rape by a male friend, or rape by a step-father or father figure who comes into the teenager’s life later on)


Many women declare that mothers are usually not aware of father/daughter incest going on in the home but at least 43% of women know, and do nothing to stop the incest between their daughter and their husband (or boyfriend), and deliberate lack of maternal protection is a main contributing factor in cases of repression.

Some women do manage to leave an abusive husband, or at least confront him and force counseling, but this means a minimal system of denial within the family, and therefore, less of a chance of the victim developing dissociative amnesia (repressed memories).

The entire process of dissociative amnesia has to do with repressing trauma. Rape constitutes shock, severe emotional pain, and much more physical suffering than oral sex and fondling. The suffering of molestation victims, who have not experienced rape, is not to be minimized. I know that most all child sexual abuse is terrible and can seriously damage a person, but child rape, and on-going sexual intercourse with one’s father is more likely to repressed.

A study by Elliot found that ninety-four percent of those who reported never-forgotten abuse had not been penetrated by their perpetrator and the predominance of those with full memory loss, had been raped.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is highly associated with repression of trauma, is linked to penetration, and death threats.

I interviewed a woman with continuous memory of being molested by her grandfather. After he fondled her, the memories stop just as her grandfather came at her as if he was about to rape her. She lost all memory at that point, yet she suffers from a sharp pain in her vagina that has plagued her well into adulthood and the affliction has no medical explanation.

There are a multitude of studies which show that prolonged severe trauma is more likely to be repressed. In addition, dissociative amnesia cases involving abuse that lasted months or years, have been corroborated and documented with abuser confessions, witnesses, or court convictions.

The earlier the sexual abuse began, the more frequent and long lasting, then the more traumatic and damaging the child sexual abuse becomes. People who have continuous memory (never-forgotten memories) of only one incident may have been rescued during, or after, the molestation or rape occurred. This significantly lowers the chance of repression and strongly indicates little or no denial within the family. Family denial is a strong contributor to repressed memories.

Some people, especially family members of those who –as adults– recall having been sexually abused as children, will deny memories of sexual abuse in infancy or the toddler years. Studies show that infants and toddlers can remember trauma.


Keep in mind that, whether or not the child remembers the incident, the abuse must be processed within the child’s mind. If an infant or toddler is sexually assaulted, they will still register it as trauma. The child may not be able to verbally express their pain or even understand it, but the trauma is being inflicted on the child’s body and on their emotions. The event has to be recorded in some form. The experience does not just bounce off the child’s brain and fly into the cosmos. So even children who are so young that they do not remember being abused, abandoned, or sexually violated –they will experience psychological and physical problems later in life.

Multiple Abusers is Common

Families with a system of denial, and which harbor inter-generational incest, are likely to have more than one perpetrator living among them. The abuse by one family member can create an entire atmosphere of incest. If everyone is silent about the primordial incest, then other family members –those with a potential towards abusing children, might feel they have been given a green light to also begin molesting the child. The very fact that no one stopped the original abuse, and because the child may be so weak and victimized, the child is automatically set up to be attacked by others, and or, be groomed into a sexual interaction with a sibling.

Sometimes the perpetrator orchestrates sexual acts with other family members that include the victim. The abuser may use threats to initiate the acts, or they may have a willing participant, like an older brother, an uncle, or even an older sister…or the mother.

A sexualized child might learn a pattern of how to gain attention and seek it from other male or female family members. Once the system of repression begins, the child learns how to automatically block out the incest –even if being abused by multiple perpetrators.

Remembering Child Sexual Abuse Can Feel Like the Trauma Just Occurred

Anyone who experiences any kind of trauma for the first time will certainly go through a crisis stage. When a person begins to remember previously repressed memories of child sexual abuse, the person feels as if the sexual assaults just took place. The adult survivor will go through turbulent emotions, physical reactions, and mental changes. When memories surface in adulthood, there is a strong level of emotional trauma because their lives have been shaken to the core. This is why PTSD feels as if the trauma is still happening.

In addition, victims who recall abuse memories as adults, frequently face re-victimization after remembering the trauma. This can be brought on by some or all of the following circumstances:

  • Disbelieving family members
  • Being cut off from the biological family
  • Not being included in family reunions, holidays, or celebrations
  • Being called horrible names by loved ones
  • Threats by family members who don’t like the family secrets being revealed
  • Threats by the perpetrator

There will also be added stress when the survivor has a husband and children who hear about the sexual abuse for the first time, or in some cases, the person remembering the trauma feels they cannot share their pain with their spouse or children, and they are forced to bury their trauma all over again.

People who remember their trauma after years or decades, have lived without such awareness for so long that when the truth comes out, it can be taxing on their belief system. The survivor not only has to deal with their own denial system, but they usually have to face the denial of biological family members, and in some cases, disbelieving friends or co-workers.

Marilyn and her father

Marilyn and her father

I don’t think Marilyn Van Derbur ever questioned herself (at least I do not recall ever reading that she did), but Marilyn’s sister, Gwen, openly admitted that her father had also raped Gwen as a child. Unlike Marilyn, Gwen never forgot. So in Marilyn’s case, she had strong validation from her sister. But this is is unusual.

Death threats have specifically been linked to delayed recall of abuse

It is beyond dispute that dissociative amnesia is associated with extreme abuse and trauma. Abusers often use serious threats to silence the victim into a deliberate dissociation (repression). Threats on the life of a child cause unrelenting trauma, and are congruous with a perpetrator who would do other extreme and deviant things to the child.

The subconscious mind has a system which protects a person from the most difficult memories until deep into the remembering process, and at a point when the person has the strength to come to terms with what is being remembered. Memories of the most severe aspects of child sexual abuse, invariably come toward the end of therapy –or much later in the course of recall.

Bizarre or unusual violations are more likely to be covered up by those involved, which can add to traumatic amnesia.

Repressed memory has been recorded for at least one hundred years prior to 1990, but it was not until the 1980’s that women felt they could finally talk about being sexually assaulted as children. The ancient Egyptians used a form of hypno-analysis in their time. It was used to clean out the subconscious mind of Egyptian Initiates.

Prior to the 1980’s, mental health experts and society in general, did not allow themselves to know that child sexual abuse, much less incest, even existed. Or it was considered rare.

Many judges and law enforcement blamed the victim. Is it any wonder that accusations about child sexual abuse were not heard of in any large numbers until victims and survivors found themselves in an era of refuge?

More women entering the field of psychology contributed to the ability of women to feel comfortable enough to speak with a professional about such sensitive issues. In addition, the first half of the twentieth century harbored a generation that did not believe in seeking help from mental health professionals. It was considered a sign of weakness –airing family problems was usually believed to be shaming and scandalizing to the family.

Speaking Out To Family Members

The word “confront” often implies that the accuser verbally attacks the accused when they first speak of their memories, but the manner in which a person approaches family members, or their abuser, is no indication of how those family members will react. When I spoke openly to my biological family, I did so in private letters, and private emails, and did so from a place of forgiveness and a desire to have truth and a new-formed relationship – based on that truth.

Each and every time, I was personally attacked, insulted, demeaned, denied, ignored, cut off, or threatened.

How I felt when my biological "family" treated me like worthless garbage.

How I felt when my biological “family” treated me like worthless garbage for daring to talk about what happened to me.

I am not alone. Most people experience what I did. This is because those who harm children, or those who protect the abuser, don’t want to hear about their role in serious crimes, or in having neglected to protect a child, or in having sexually abused a child. They hoped that as time wore on, the victim would forget, and that superficial family ‘pleasantries’ would trump the victims need for truth and desire to heal their past.

So when the victim dares to talk openly about the crimes, or ask questions, or tell the family how much they suffered and that they want to deal with the past…the family members, abusers, and those who protected the abusers are forced to deal with themselves, and they do not want to.

People who repress their abuse and speak of the sexual violation when they remember it, are often called terrible names by their family or told they are liars. Sometimes they are threatened or their integrity is attacked, but it is this ugliness -not the truth being spoken- which usually leads to any separation of the relationship.

In some cases siblings who were also sexually abused, will also lash out at the person because they do not want to face their own pain. They simply cannot handle the truth and cannot face what happened to them too.

The family’s multiple and dysfunctional emotional dynamics can largely impact an adult who has spoken openly about child abuse memories. Family members have a powerful emotional bond that therapists, spouses, friends, and lovers do not have.

There is nothing stronger or more potent than the emotional ties one has to their biological family.

Please see my series on revealing the secret to family members. Click here



The Secret Trauma Introduction to the 1999 Edition of the Great Incest War: Moving Beyond Polarization, Diana Russell, Table 1-1 Contrasting Characteristics of Retrieved/Then Retracted Memories and Continuous Memories of Incestuous Abuse
New York, Basic Books/Perseus Press, 1999, xvii-xiii
Healing from the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Journey for Women, Karen A. Duncan, page 12
Williams, L. M. (1995, October). Recovered memories of abuse in women with documented child sexual victimization histories.  Journal of Traumatic Stress, 8(4)
Trauma, dissociation, and post traumatic stress disorder in female borderline patients with and without substance abuse problems. Van Den Bosch LM, Verheul R, Langeland W, Van Den Brink W.
Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2003 Oct; 37(5):549-55.
Traumatic Events: Prevalence and Delayed Recall in the General Population, Diana M. Elliot, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Philip C. Kendall Editor, Volume 65 No. 4, August 1997, page 814, Published by the American Psychological Association
 The Recovered Memory Project, Ross Cheit, http://blogs.brown.edu/recoveredmemory/case-archive/
 Babies Remember Pain, David B. Chamberlain Ph. D., Pre-and Peri-Natal Psychology, Volume 3 Number 4: Pages 297-310, Summer 1989
Dissociations in Infant Memory, Carolyn Rovee-Collier, Ph.D, Spring 1999 issue of Eye on Psi Chi (Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 26-30), published by Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN).
Posttraumatic Stress Associated with Delayed Recall of Sexual Abuse: A General Population Study Diana M. Elliott and John Briere Journal of Traumatic Stress Volume 8, Number 4 October 1995 Special Issue: Research on Traumatic Memory Guest Co-Editor: Jessica Wolfe)
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You Are Not Crazy: It Might Be PTSD

PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is often unrecognized in those who have it, and it affects millions of people.

Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include recurring memories, which can be in flashes, fragments, or partial memory.

Nightmares insomnia, loss of interest in your favorite things, or feeling numb, anger, depression, and irritability are also common.

It is common to avoid anything, anyone, or anywhere that you fear might trigger repressed memories -or events never forgotten- that caused great distress.

Some of the less known symptoms are below:

  • Feeling emotionally cut off from other people, or estranged from others.
  • Thinking that you are always in danger
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Feeling anxious, jittery, or ‘on the edge’
  • Experiencing a sense of panic that something bad is about to happen
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Having trouble keeping your mind on one thing
  • Feeling cold for no reason, or having night sweats, or shaking for no reason
  • Eating disorders
  • Impulsive behavior that is dangerous or harmful
  • Aggression
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Inability to experience positive emotions
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Overwhelming fear for unknown reasons

PTSD_carousel_t770It is common that alcohol or drug abuse, and other self-destructive actions, will begin, or increase during periods in which PTSD is being experienced.

Scattered thoughts, spaciness, forgetfulness, dissociation, and amnesia can also occur.

Familial conflict, or trouble getting along with your spouse or co-workers –conflict that arises out of seemingly benign situations, or an over-reaction to small disagreements is common.

With the current state of the world, PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity –especially by watching news stories, or while reading about a sexual assault, or due to conflict with neighbors or because of money issues.

ptsd-570x200PTSD will increase with stressful situations that would otherwise not have bothered you, or not bothered someone who does not have PTSD.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which severe physical harm occurred or when there was a serious threat.

Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or unnatural disasters, accidents, or military combat.

Anyone who has experienced, or witnessed, a traumtic life-threatening event can develop PTSD, including military personnel, survivors of accidents, or rape, physical or sexual abuse, and other crimes.

PTSD can occur at any age, including childhood. Women are more likely to develop PTSD.

PTSD is usually diagnosed when the symptoms following exposure to trauma persist for a month or more.

In some people, PTSD will not show itself until years after the trauma occurred.

Symptoms of PTSD can arise years, or decades after a person has been raped, threatened, or sexually abused –especially if they were traumatized during childhood.

Loss of a loved one, a divorce, a new abusive home environment, an abusive employer, getting married, having a baby, or any serious life-altering event can trigger PTSD, but these events are NOT the direct cause of the PTSD symptoms. there is an underlying, root (original sensitizing event) cause for the PTSD to arise years after trauma or childhood sexual abuse took place.

Total, or partial amnesia, for childhood terror, sexual abuse, rape, and other trauma is highly common, and associated with PTSD.

There is no other cure for PTSD, than to actually deal with the original trauma –the initial sensitizing event. Prescription medication is not only dangerous, and can kill or harm you…but RX drugs are linked to suicidal behavior, and to the harm or murder of others. Anti-depressants can also kill the empathy gene.

Medical marijuana will never cure you, it only treats certain symptoms. Watch out, because one day, the U.S. Government will probably get a hold of all medical marijuana distribution and will probably lace it with dangerous chemicals that could eventually kill you, or alter your DNA.

It’s better to treat PTSD naturally, through effective psycho-analysis.




Posted in Child Abuse, child molestation, child sexual abuse, Crime, evil, Headlines, Health, News, repressed memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lena Dunham Jumps On Sex Trafficking Victim Bandwagon: Please Help Me Stop This

Variey Magazine Online, is reporting that Lena Dunham is now “helping victims of sex trafficking find hope.”

This is VERY serious. Human trafficking is slavery and the forcible rape of women and children (and men) –it is violent rape, sometimes thirty or more times a day.

human_trafficking_dt1Lena Dunham’s admitted, and with self-enjoyment, sexual abuse of her little sister, automatically disqualifies her to work with any organization which is trying to help sexual assault victims.

“What attracted me so much to the cause is that I’m a feminist and I’m a sexual assault survivor,” says Dunham, the star of HBO’s “Girls.” “I felt that it was important to me to not just call attention to the circumstances (around) which I was assaulted on a college campus, but also to call attention to sexual-abuse survivors who have far less of a public voice.”

May I remind my readers that Lena Dunham’s own account of the “rape” was nothing more than consensual sex with a guy in college. How dare she try, as a PR campaign, to come on board with victims of torture, imprisonment, and daily rapes?

To read Dunham’s own account of her consensual sex act in college, please click here.

I have written an email to the founder of Girls Educational & Mentoring Services, Rachel Lloyd, who was quoted in Variety as saying Dunham has been working with Lloyd to build a library for the organization, and that she is “grateful for Dunham’s voice because she has a platform.”

Clearly, Lloyd has not heard about Dunham’s sexual molestation of her sister, nor read Dunham’s account of consensual sex, nor seen the photo that Dunham posted of her sister on Instagram –a photo, which would disturb any victim of sex trafficking because it looks like a young sex trafficking victim and Lena calls the child “sex property.”

I have copied and pasted my comment to Ms. Llyod, and the link for sending her a comment is provided below that. Please take the small amount of time to write a brief (or not so brief) message to this organization. If you prefer, there is also a phone number, and a FAX number.

Stop-Human-Trafficking-e1312364567119Imagine the horror of being a sex trafficking victim…then picture Lena’s description of consensual sex with “Barry” in her college apartment, where she only stopped the sex because she saw that he took the condom off. She was not being raped, she only did not want to get pregnant. Lena herself called it “fucking” and that she “didn’t come.”

My email:

“As a survivor of rape and incest, and as an advocate against child sexual abuse, rape, and sex-trafficking -I am very concerned and disturbed by reading that Lena Dunham will have anything to do with your organization.

Lena Dunhan is a self-admitted child molester, who wrote about, and spoke openly about (and she used titillating words) the sexual abuse and psychological abuse she perpetrated on her little sister for ten years. This abuse included bribing the child to gratify Lena, and Lena at age 12 or 13 “forcing” her sister to “make-out” with her when the child was FIVE, and included prying open the child’s vagina, as well as masturbation, in bed, next to the ten year-old when Lena was 17 years-old –nearly an adult.

In addition, as an adult, Lena Dunham (about a year ago) posted a photo on Instagram, of her then five year-old sister wearing make-up, and fake breasts. Lena posted the photo with the caption “that time I dressed my 5 year old sister as a Hell’s Angel’s sex property.” Five year-old children are NOT “sex property,” and the Hell’s Angels have been linked to rapes and gang rapes. I bet if one of your sex trafficking victims saw that photo, they would be HIGHLY disturbed by it. You can view that photo here: (link was inserted)

Not only did Lena describe Child-on-Child sexual abuse perpetrated on her sister in her book, but she said she did “basically anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl.”

I cannot fathom that your organization – which demands that victims of sexual abuse and rape feel safe and validated- would allow Lena Dunham to be a spokesperson for you, or to work with you in any way.

Rachel Lloyd was quoted in Variety Magazine (online) as saying she “is grateful for Dunham’s voice because she has has a platform.” I hope you immediately distance yourself from Lena Dunham, because if you keep her associated with your organization because of her being a celebrity, then you will be re-traumatizing many of us who were sexually abused by our sisters, and raped by men. Lena Dunham’s book clearly describes a night of consensual sex with a guy in college. It was NOT rape and Lena Dunham is a child molester by any true standards, morals, and principles.”

I look forward to your response.
Alethea XXXX

I am including the photo of Lena’s little sister here once again so that my readers can look at it, and imagine looking at it as a victim of sex trafficking.

#tbt that time I dressed my 5 year old sister as a Hell's Angel's sex property #1997

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on


Please send them an Email: http://www.gems-girls.org/contact and feel free to use some of my email, or all of it, but make it your own style so they don’t feel like it is a spamming campaign.

Thank you for taking action.





Posted in Child Abuse, child molestation, child sexual abuse, Crime, dissociative amnesia, Headlines, Health, News, rape and abuse, repressed memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments