Incest Abuse

I had did some research on after talking to a survivor of incest today on a online support group. I felt it was neccesary to post this blog. The emotional and mental effect this has on a child during tis form of abuse is just a bit more exstreme than sexual abuse. This is because for one its ongoing and the other the love and trust of the perpetrator is confusing growing up through this.

INCEST is any use of a minor child to meet the sexual or sexual/emotional needs of one or more older or more powerful persons in ongoing

emotional relationship(s) with that child (parent, step- or grandparent, sibling, babysitter, mother’s boyfriend, teacher, rabbi, priest,

family doctor, etc.). Although incest has traditionally been defined as sex and/or marriage between close relatives, above all, it is

child assault on the child’s sexual boundaries by the very person(s) entrusted with her care. It is a violation of a

dependency bond, not of a blood relationship. And it does not require touch. A child can be violated through inappropriate

photographs, the way she is talked to or by the way she is looked at.

Incest is such a traumatic experience that its victims may forget that it even occurred. But its scars live on, confusing in their

seeming meaninglessness. Problems with sex, trust, touch, addictions, paralyzing depression, memory, shame and guilt can feel

crazy and out of control, especially when the cause is unknown. This Checklist describes the consequences of incest trauma. It

offers a profile of the post-incest experience in women (although many items apply to men as well), or .Post-Incest Syndrome..

It can be used as a guide to help survivors understand that there are legitimate reasons for their unrelenting difficulties.that, in

fact, these .problems. are actually valiant attempts to cope with an impossible situation, and to meet healthy underlying needs.

Many of the items on this list can also apply to survivors of childhood abuses such as battering, or adult children of families where

there is a history of alcoholism. Incest is especially common in alcoholic families, although not all alcohol-involved abuse is

attributable to the disease of alcoholism.

Have you been struggling with problems that nothing seemed to help, for which even therapy could not find a cause? If the

majority of the items of this list apply to you, you might want to consider whether you are a survivor of incest.

If you are a survivor, above all, know this: you are not to blame. And healing is possible; with help, you can break free

from the self-blame, isolation, and the entrapment of Post-Incest Syndrome.

This Checklist is based on an original list by New York Women Against Rape, as well as

extensive observation of and communication with survivors. To all who contributed:

your generous sharing of your experiences and pain is a gift to all survivors. Here are some of emotional and mentals as listed.

This Checklist is based on an original list by New York Women Against Rape, as well as

extensive observation of and communication with survivors. To all who contributed:

your generous sharing of your experiences and pain is a gift to all survivors.

1.  Fear of being alone in the dark, of sleeping alone; nightmares (especially of rape, pursuit, threat, entrapment, blood); night


2.  Swallowing and gagging sensitivity; repugnance to water on face when bathing or swimming (suffocation feelings)

3.  Poor or distorted body image; alienation from, not at home in, failure to heed signals or take care of body; manipulating

body size to avoid sexual attention; compulsive cleanliness, incl. bathing in scalding water; or, total inattention to personal

appearance or hygiene

4.  Somatization, stress-related diseases: gastrointestinal problems, GYN disorders (including spontaneous vaginal infections);

headaches; arthritis/joint pain; fibromyalgia. Also internal scarring.

5.  Wearing a lot of clothing, even in summer; baggy clothes; failure to remove clothing even when appropriate to do so : while

swimming, bathing, sleeping and extreme requirement for privacy when using bathroom

6.  Addictions, eating disorders, drug and or alcohol overuse, abuse or total abstinence; compulsive behaviors

7.  Self-injury, cutting, burning,  physical pain is manageable this is an addictive pattern); self-destructiveness

8.  Phobias, panic, anxiety

9.  Need to be invisible, perfect, or perfectly bad

10.  Suicidal thoughts, attempts, obsession (including .passive suicide.)

11.  Depression (sometimes paralyzing); seemingly baseless crying; sadness

12.  Childhood hiding, hanging on, cowering in corners, adult nervousness over being watched or

surprised; feeling watched; startle response; hypervigilance

13.  Inability to trust (trust is not safe); absolute trust that turns to rage when disappointed; trusting indiscriminately

14.  Control, power, territoriality issues; fear of losing control; obsessive and compulsive behaviors don’t matter, just to control something!); power and sex confusion

15.  Guilt, shame, low self-esteem, feeling worthless, high appreciation of small favors by others

16.  Pattern of being a victim , especially sexually; no sense of own power

or right to set limits or say .no;. pattern of relationships with much older or more powerful persons (onset in adolescence);

OR exaggerated sense of entitlement; revictimization by others

17.  Must .produce. to be loved; instinctively knowing, doing what the others need or want; relationships.

18.  Disturbances in attachment; abandonment issues; desire for relationships with no separateness; avoidance/fear of intimacy

19.  Dissociation: blocking out some period of early years , specific person, place, event; creating fantasy worlds,

identities (incl. women imagining self to be male, = not a victim); Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (was MPD)

20.  Feeling of carrying an awful secret; urge to tell/ fear of its being revealed; certainty that no-one would listen. Being

generally secretive. Feeling .marked.

21.  Feeling crazy; feeling different; feeling oneself to be unreal and everyone else to be real, or cognitive problems

22.  Denial ; repression of memories; pretending; minimizing strong, deep, .inappropriate.

negative reactions to a person, place or event; flashbacks, which may occur as dreams, or sensory flashes with no meaning; or memories of surrounding details but not event or identity of abuser. Memory often begins with

least threatening event or abuser. Details of experience may never be fully or accurately known, but much recovery is

possible without full recall. Your inner guide will release memories at the pace you can handle

23.  Sexual issues: sex feels .dirty;. aversion to being touched; strong aversion to (or need for) particular sex acts; feeling

betrayed by one’s body; trouble integrating sexuality and emotionality; confusion or overlapping of affection/ sex/

dominance/ aggression/ violence; having to pursue power in sexual arena which is actually sexual acting out (self-abuse,

manipulation [esp. women]; abuse of others [esp. men]); compulsively .seductive,. or compulsively asexual; must be sexual

aggressor, or cannot be; impersonal, .promiscuous. sex with strangers concurrent with inability to have sex in intimate

relationship (conflict between sex and caring); prostitute, stripper, .sex symbol, porn actress; sexual

.acting out. to meet anger or revenge needs; sexual addiction; avoidance; shutdown; crying after orgasm; pursuit feels like

violation; sexualizing of all meaningful relationships; erotic response to abuse or anger, sexual fantasies of dominance/ real

rape (results in guilt and confusion); teenage pregnancy. Note: Homosexuality is not an aftereffect!

24  Pattern of ambivalent or intensely conflictual relationships (abuse is familiar; also, in true intimacy, issues are more likely to

surface; in problem relationships, focus can be shifted from real issue of incest). Note: Partner of survivor often suffers

consequences of Post-Incest Syndrome also (especially sex and relationship issues)

25.  Avoidance of mirrors (connected with invisibility, shame/self-esteem issues; distorted perceptions of face or body, DID)

26.  Desire to change one.s name (to dis-associate from the perpetrator or take control through self-labeling)

27.  Limited tolerance for happiness; active withdrawal from/ reluctance to trust happiness (.ice = thin.)

28.  Aversion to noise-making (including during sex, crying, laughing, or other body functions); verbal hypervigilance (careful

monitoring of one’s words); quiet-voiced, especially when needing to be heard

29.  Stealing (adults); fire-starting (children)

30.  Food sensitivities/avoidance based on texture (mayonnaise) or appearance (hot dogs), which remind the survivor of abuse,

or smell/sound which remind survivor of perpetrator; aversion to meat, red foods

31.  Compulsive honesty or compulsive dishonesty (lying)

32  Hypervigilance regarding child abuse, or inability to see child abuse, or avoidance of any awareness or mention of child

abuse; tendency to develop relationships with incest perpetrators

33.  Personality disorders, characteristics; Psychiatric illness

(NOTE: Post-Incest Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as these)


reseached information E. Sue Blume, C.S.W., Diplomate in Clinical Social Work


If you or someone you know is in an incest situation, do not hesitate to ask for help.

You can call Child Protective Services (CPS) for your area.

You can also find the number for Child Protective Services in the Blue Pages of your phone book.

If you believe that the child is in immediate danger, call 911


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