Childhood Coping with CSA


With DID, my memories are still very much out of my reach, and I'm okay with that.

But, for those who have been through it - how did you cope when you first really understood that you were sexually abused as a young child?

I've kept myself very cut off from allowing that to be part of who I am. I'm not going so well with it sinking in that this is something that happened to me, or even accepting that it's a big deal.


It took me 3 years to talk about the CSA in therapy. Not because I couldn't or wouldn't but because it seemed more like something that happened,something I did that wasn't really a big deal. Tbh I didn't even think or know it was abuse.

It took a long time,with the help of my therapist,to actually grasp/accept that I went through that,17 years of it,that it happened to me. Then it took a long time to start dealing with it and working through it and learning ways to cope with the reality of it.

It did seem like once I was able to grasp/accept it the memories really started coming back and the puzzle pieces started fitting together though. Before that I saw bits and pieces of it in my mind throughout my life but it was like seeing images of some other kid,not me. I had no connection with what I was seeing,no emotions,no thoughts about it. It was no different than finding an old photo album on the side of the road and looking at pictures of strangers,if that makes sense.

Accepting that it all happened was the hard part,accepting that it happened to me was even harder to comprehend.

I had a hard time coping with the magnitude of it, it's a lot to absorb and deal with. My therapist increased/decreased sessions as he felt were needed. Sometimes I needed a break from therapy to be able to process things on my own. Other times I needed more frequent sessions because I was struggling so much.

So I guess to answer your question,I coped with the help of my T.


Mine was and still is very complicated. I have only a few retrieved memories and was ignored and discounted when I would try to tell someone. But I always KNEW.

When I started the healing of that part of my history, I only had 'feelings' to talk about because there were no pictures to go with the feelings. I did have an exceptional therapist at the time and that helped tremendously because she believed me. Especially after I told her of my own experiences that at the time made no sense.

Just having someone finally believe me was healing within itself! I've often wondered how bad it was to not be able to remember and that it is buried so deep. Everything else has surfaced, but not that.

I suffered a lot of self-doubt and that only added to the shame. But not for my T at the time, I don't think I would be here today because being believed and supported was on such a huge scale that I knew I could do what I had to do to heal, even without the memories.


I haven’t come to terms yet. I have no “memories” like as in normal memories.
but I have flashbacks and body memories where I feel and hear everything.
I have honestly never even talked about it in therapy for real. Besides saying “I have flashbacks”. I have been in therapy for five years. And not even close so far. Maybe one day? Good luck to you and I am so sorry this happened to you.


I write this from the view point, still, that *mine wasn't as bad as other people's*. Sigh.

Anyways, I was in denial/disassociation. I had a 'knowing', like @ladee said, but total and utter denial also. So much so: no memories. Until I was 24 and my relationship of 5 years brokedown and I started with nightmares and flashbacks and some memories came back. I tried therapy then. One session. Didn't go back. Stuffed the memories back inside. Carried on. But with a more knowing but a narrative of *it was nothing, it didn't impact you, forget about it*.
Until last year. Aged 41. Bit of a depression. Running out of steam on blocking it all out. And my crap FOO being crap triggered it all again. And it was finally time.
Time to work through this and make peace with it.
Running away from it seemed to be taking more energy than facing it.
I very nearly didn't go to that first therapy session. First thing I told T was that I didn't want to be there and couldn't cope with this.
I felt I would combust talking about it. I haven't.
i felt it would be like reliving it. Which it has been at times.
but also, I'm growing. I'm being reborn. I'm developing this sense of calm and peace at the very core of me that I have never ever in my life ever experienced. It's very odd. But also wonderful.

I still have a long way to go. Still got to accept my truth. Still got to figure loads out.
But I now trust my memories. I now trust my lack of memory. I now trust my feelings of the situations. These aren't constant. I get doubts again. But now it is more trust rather than more doubt.

It's all crap. It's crap it happened. It's crap realising how much it has impacted. It's crap wondering who I would have been if it hadn't happened.
But it's also good to know: I'm safe now. And to help the child parts begin to feel that too (this is what I'm working on now, I think). Feeling safe in the here and now for all my parts.

So I think like you I had this narrative of *it didn't impact me*. And it's scary opening the door to examine that narrative.


I was 7 when it started happening to me and 14 when it ended. I knew it was wrong yet it was so confusing because at times it ‘felt nice’. Sometimes he was kind and more gentle in how he coerced me and other times more agressive and threatening. Although i may not nave known the word ‘abuse’ when i was young , i did know he shouldnt have been doing what he did. As i got older i knew it was abuse but it became ‘my norm’ and i tried and failed to tell people without actually saying the words ..... no one was listening anyway. It was about 12 years before i told someone - it was my first gay relationship and it was her that said id been abused. I told my parents a further few years after and it was ‘swept under the carpet’ - so i tried to put it to the back of my head and lived with years of flashbacks, nightmares , anger , self harm etc etc. 23 years later and i went into Therapy - i remember telling my therapist on the first session that i had been sexually abused and then i totally clammed up and it took me a few months to say the words again and even longer to open up fully. i was fortunate to meet an amazing therapist and working with EMDR and pyschoanalysis was able to work through my experiences. Im still seeing her but i am so much better and nightmare free , anger has gone . Its so complex is CSA , i still have the feelings of guilt and shame etc and i still fight for it not to be what defines who i am - this is what we are currently working on in my therapy .

Rani G2

those who have been through it - how did you cope when you first really understood that you were sexually abused as a young child?

I’ve been thinking about /How Do you cope when you first really understood/ I think understanding or consciously acknowledging hardly ever happend for me, I do not recall that there was a time when the coming to terms took place. Having no beginning point of realization, just trying to work with what’s there, parts arising/impulses and the gradual changes happening with embodied therapy. It’s a failing-successfully integrating- and then again failing to put pieces back together.
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As you said *just work with what's there*. My T is big on not retraumatizing by reliving the memories.

Recently was gifted a portrait of my new dog. Beautiful! But he's looking straight at us.Can't tolerate that. Can't have eyes looking at us. The result of the abuse. As things like this show up in our life and we trace the reason back to the abuse, I can't deny it. And did it all our life without realizing the reason. Thought they were just personal preferences. A color little ones won't let anyone wear...A sound that makes us nervous...the profession we choose etc. Then the anger over how everything seems to go back to the abuse even when we don't remember the precise memory. Then sometimes it does bring the event back.


I had a foggy uncertain memory from around age 20 until I clearly recovered it at age 39. It was so clear that I told my mom and she asked my dad if it was true and he said yes and then I never saw him or talked to him again. It’s been three years. I lived with him all my life, with the exception of the first three years of my marriage.

Coming to terms with the reality that my dad sexually abused me as a baby but pretended like everything was fine caused me to go into deep grief. I stopped eating or drinking anything, only slowly adding those activities back in. I experienced popping through to a reality where I had agency and choice suddenly that had been previously unavailable. I no longer accepted my dad’s physical and emotional abuse as momentary outbursts. I saw my dad as someone who was dangerous for me and my kids to be around. I no longer desired to be a man, and accepted my female body as my own. I stopped having sex with my husband for a year. My marriage crumbled because I was no longer interested in being the enabler.

It has been a long road to where I’m at now, and yet, ironically the further away I get from that realization and rupture the more I find myself dismissing the details (I had other body memories which I never confirmed with him or told my mom about). Almost pretending like it didn’t happen and that I got to this new place through sheer will or enlightenment. On the one hand it’s freeing to be “forgetting” about the csa. On the other hand, blatantly ignoring it will not erase the effects from it nor bring me to a place of peace. I believe I will return to facing it at some point, but lately I want to feel the strength of my growth through focus and decision-making in everyday life.

Hope I don’t get too much internal mental backlash from posting this. If I do I believe I can handle it, but it’s no fun. Coping is hard, but living in fear with my abusers was harder, because I had no sense of self, which made it difficult to progress in life.