Mother’s do sexually abuse their children and as a survivor your experience with it is real. Your fears and discomfort around intimacy, getting close to others, are a very real and profound effect of this type of trauma.

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Do you constantly walk through life feeling disgust, shame, guilt, and embarrassment about your body and who you are as a person?

Does your mother regularly violate your boundaries?

When you were growing up, were there things your mother did that made you feel disgusted, embarrassed and even ashamed? 

Were there things she forced you to do that you feel guilt, shame, and disgust by?

Did your mother share stories about engaging in sex with you growing up and/or did she engage in sexual acts with you present when you were growing up?

Do you believe your mother sexually abused you?

The disgust and shame you feel because you were sexually abused by your mother is a very real consequence of this violation. The very real visceral reaction, to recoil or freeze up in the presence of your mother, is your bodies way of trying to protect you from her. Even if you don’t have memories or there are huge gaps in your memory it doesn’t mean that you weren’t abused. Memory problems are a real consequence of experiencing trauma as a child and mothers do sexually abuse their children. Also it can be incredibly upsetting and dysregulating to think about let alone talk about your mother sexually abusing you, so again to protect yourself you avoid any triggers of sexual abuse. 

Mother’s sexually abuse their daughters and their sons, just like pedophilic fathers sexually abuse their sons and daughters. The biggest difference, and what makes mother child sexual abuse so insidious, is that it often occurs in the context of caretaking whereas fathers often sexually abuse in sneaky ways. I mean this to say they often will sneak into their children bedrooms at night while mother is sleeping, wait for the child to be home alone, or violate boundaries such as in cases of watching their children shower or bathing their children. 

When mothers sexually abuse they often take advantage of social norms regarding caretaking. Bed sharing, breastfeeding, bathing, and toilet training are the most common ways mothers take advantage of care taking to abuse their children.

In our world we don’t see anything wrong with mothers sharing a bed with their children but will look skeptically if a father does. Yet mothers who sexually abuse their children often use sleeping with their children as an excuse to abuse their children. Remember abusers want easy access to those they want to abuse and sharing a bed provides easy access. During these moments they will touch and kiss their children in a sexual way. As a survivor you might have some memories of your mother touching you and/or kissing you while sharing a bed. I know when these memories come up you feel intense shame, disgust, and embarrassment and you try really hard to push them out of your mind. This is a normal response that you use to protect yourself. 

Mothers not only sexually abuse while sharing their beds with their children but also during bath time, when “teaching” their children toilet training, during breastfeeding, and more. Many survivors describe stories in which their mothers touched their private parts or had them touch a siblings private parts. Thats sexual abuse. Survivors have described instances in which they were an older child 4, 5, 6, and even 7 where their mothers “forced” them to continue breastfeeding even though they didn’t want to. This is sexual abuse as well. This is what I mean when I say that mothers who sexually abuse often do it in a context of care taking or “mothering”. So if one is looking on the outside, on it’s face these things don’t seem out of the “norm”. This is often why survivors might question whether what they experienced was abuse. But the fact that you describe feelings of disgust and shame associated with these acts, confirms abuse. 

Remember we have two primary drives. The drive for attachment or connection and the drive for survival (stress response system). We are very adept at perceiving threats and trying to survive in the face of those threats. Even as children we have this ability and when you were a child your body recognized that those acts were not typical nurturing parenting acts but were in acts of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is trauma. Trauma is registered as a threat which activates the stress response system. When repeated abuses happen and the stress response system is constantly activated this changes the survivors neurobiology. The result is trauma adaptions that we later describe as our personality or “just who we are”. 

As a child when your mother was sexually abusing you, your body knew it was wrong. That your mother was hurting you and your body saw her as a threat. (The pain can be felt on a physical, emotional, or even mental level) But she also was the one who took care of you and who wasn’t always harmful. Sometimes she was even nice and this is even more confusing. Many survivors, as a result, question whether their memories are true. This can be incredibly overwhelming and can lead you to feeling stuck or frozen in action. They also enhance your feelings of guilt, disgust, and shame which then turn into internal negative beliefs about who you are as a person.

What Is Mother-Daughter Sexual Abuse & 3 Tips to Cope With It

By Jessica Lang | October 17, 2018

Trigger warning: This article contains very sensitive topics discussing sexual abuse. Please read at your own discretion. I have been working with trauma survivors in various capacities for over a decade but only recently have I been encountering more and more survivors of mother-daughter sexual abuse. Also known as MDSA, mother daughter sexual abuse is…

You can heal and feel unburdened from the effects of mother child sexual abuse

What we believe about ourselves matters. Your feelings of disgust and shame can very quickly turn into the belief that you are damaged and worthless. This may then cause you to feel incredibly insecure in your relationships and to constantly seek out validation from others. Validation from your partner that you are worthy of their love. From your friends you might go out of your way to be overly accommodating and supportive, setting few boundaries because you don’t want them to leave you. At work you have a hard time advocating for yourself with coworkers or even trying to show off your skills to your boss, because you question whether you are any good. All of this is a heavy load, a burden, which makes you feel heavy, slowed down, or even stuck. 

The heaviness of your childhood trauma and the ways in which it shows up in your life as a constant state of anxiety, where you feel like at any more moment something “bad” is going to happen, is your norm. This anxiety and the way your body interprets all the information coming from the outside world as well as what goes on inside you constantly signals threat. A feeling of being unsafe in this world and in your body. Healing is a process where you start to feel safe in your body, maybe for the first time. 

The feeling of safety is essential in that it allows you to have access to all parts of your brain and your body so you no longer react purely on instinct. That is in your trauma adaptions, where everything little thing around you or inside of you signals threat so you thus feel the need to protect yourself. Once you begin to feel safe in your body you then begin to feel more in control and empowered over yourself and your life. Moreover the feeling of safety will allow you to genuinely experience joy, happiness, pleasure without the anxiety, fear, and dread that your brain and body believe is just around the corner. 

It is a process to begin to feel safe in your body. There are times your body feels safe but your so disconnected because of trauma and become so quickly activated (ready to self protect) that you might not even notice it. So this is why I will slow you down. Interrupt you as you start to get activated so you can notice what happens when you are activated and then shift to a place that feels safe for you. By moving between these two spaces you remain connected to your body. Furthermore as you remain connected you can actually notice when the activation begins to move or to shift or to discharge. What your body was never allowed to do as a child because you were constantly being retraumatized. But now your out of that environment and your body and brain wants to feel that the threat has passed. So we move slow and let the body naturally do what it needs to do to release the pent up energy. 

When the energy is released or discharged you will notice changes in how you see yourself and even the world. You will be able to manage heightened states of arousal without fear that you will fall apart. When you have thoughts about your childhood or when you are sharing your story with others you won’t become flooded. You may still have feelings about what happened, which is completely normal and healthy, but instead you won’t be so overwhelmed and debilitated by them. Thats the power of healing. 

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Healing from mother child sexual abuse can feel extremely scary. You feel vulnerable as you open up about sexual abuse from your mother can make you feel worried that you will relive that trauma. But Healing is not about relieving your childhood trauma

The process of healing is about helping you feel safe in your body because that sense of safety can then be extended to how you feel when interacting with others. As we work on having you feel safe in your body we will only go into your past to uncouple the associations that were made from the past to the present. We won’t have to go into details about what happened but what we will work on is how you feel in the present moment when you think about certain things. We do this because your body doesn’t understand time, there is only the present. So when you think about things that have happened in your past your body reacts in the present as if the event is happening again (in that very moment) and so it responds accordingly (trauma adaptations). By slowing things down we give your body the time it needs to process and discharge the activation so that it feels like the trauma is over. We are essentially helping your body and your brain find a sense of resolution. 

Healing from mother child sexual abuse can feel extremely scary. You feel vulnerable as you open up about sexual abuse from your mother can make you feel worried that you will relive that trauma. But Healing is not about relieving your childhood trauma

The process of healing is about helping you feel safe in your body because that sense of safety can then be extended to how you feel when interacting with others. As we work on having you feel safe in your body we will only go into your past to uncouple the associations that were made from the past to the present. We won’t have to go into details about what happened but what we will work on is how you feel in the present moment when you think about certain things. We do this because your body doesn’t understand time, there is only the present. So when you think about things that have happened in your past your body reacts in the present as if the event is happening again (in that very moment) and so it responds accordingly (trauma adaptations). By slowing things down we give your body the time it needs to process and discharge the activation so that it feels like the trauma is over. We are essentially helping your body and your brain find a sense of resolution.