South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence

Long term effects

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In the long term the child may also experience a number of effects as an adult. These may include:

  1. Depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping.
  2. Low self esteem.
  3. "Damaged goods" syndrome. i.e. negative body image due to self-blame. This may be intensified if physical pain was experienced during the abusive incidents.
  4. Dissociation from feeling.
  5. Social isolation.
  6. Relationship problems such as an inability to trust, poor social skills or a reluctance to disclose details about themselves.
  7. Self destructive behaviour such as substance abuse or suicide attempts.
  8. Sexual difficulties such as fear of sex or intimacy, indiscriminate multiple sex partners or difficulty in reaching orgasm.
  9. Parenting problems such as fear of being a bad parent, or fear of abusing the child or being overprotective.
  10. An underlying sense of guilt, anger or loss.
  11. "Flashbacks" and/or panic attacks.

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