Normal reactions. Abnormal situation


What is normal for a boy being abused?
What is a normal reaction to the abnormal situation

Please help me fill this in.

It is normal for a sexually abused boy too...

1. Question their sexuality.
2. Get an erection.
3. Enjoy some aspects of the abuse.
4. Reenact the abuse with their playmates.
5 Withdraw and shut down emotionally.
6. Be afraid that it is your fault.
7. Feel guilt.
8. Feel shame.
9. Feel angry.
10. Feel nothing.
11. Be affected by it as an adult.
12. Have difficulty maintaining relationships.
13 Think you are messed up / broken

Your turn...
All of the above... though I didn't reenact with playmates. I've little doubt, however, that had my family not moved shortly after I was raped, I would likely have gotten into the sexualized world of older boys who were part of that family of predators who first introduced me to that world. Actually, I might have participated in those four years. I simply don't remember anything except the rape that I re-experienced in an EMDR session 22 years ago. You definitely hit the nail on the head with that list...

Tom E.

I agree, all of the above.I did try to act out with other boys my age. They weren't interested. I couldn't understand why not at first because I thought all boys did what I was exposed to at 12 & 13. Then I became fearful that I was labeled a "queer". I was bullied and traumatized at 14 & 15 and blackmailed into servicing orally two aggressive slightly older kids. I hated myself then. Later came the rapes I experienced as an adult due to me being wasted on booze and drugs at the time. So much fun (not).


All of the above. I started reenacting my abuse on myself at age 11 before I went to bed. (I was abused from 6-9). I remember getting an erection and thus thinking it was my fault. I feel guilt, shame, anger and sometimes nothing. Everything else you listed is true.
14. Cope through addiction. Work, food, alcohol, drugs, praise etc.
Big time FACT, Toad... drugs not so much but all the others you list have been part of my life. Alcohol is gone, blessedly... food is a work in progress... retirement helps but I can still become focused on activities to distract myself... and I always want to be seen as a good little boy, even by mom who is long dead and my first predator. I encountered a lovely book some years ago called Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst, which begins with a scene in a hospital where a small girl with third degree burns on her body is calling for her mother... It was her mother who set her on fire. That tells the story pretty succinctly.
I would classify all 14 as "CSA-Normal" - though some I have not personally experienced (#4, specifically), these have all been reiterated by many here at MS.


15. Remembering everything and wishing you could forget.

16. Forgetting everything and wishing you could remember.

What else is a normal reaction?
Don't know what "normal" is necessarily. But for me, having suffered from abuse during middle school:

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. I don't remember
5 Yes, I must have.
6. Certain that it was
7. Yes
8. Yes
9. Yes, only as an adult.
10. Yes
11. Yes
12. Yes
13. Yes
14. Yes. Alcohol and cutting.
15. Yes, remembering enough.

I hope you don't feel alone at all.


I hope you don't feel alone at all
Hi Big Guy.
Thanks. I do not feel alone.
I haven't faced all of these but they seem to be common "normal" reactions.
But that is the point. I wanted a list that if someone new to facing the abuse sees it,
they will see that they are not alone and are reacting in a common "normal" way.
I've been reflecting on my history that I occasionally refer to as a hell realm with MANY aspects found on your list and realize the obvious. I can't change ANY of it... right up to this very moment. Granted, I wouldn't be here if there hadn't been some healing along the way and I'm actively engaging with this material in the hope I CAN have a life unburdened by the residue of trauma. But nothing I do today erases what I experienced in the past nor changes how my behavior as a traumatized person affected those whose paths crossed mine. That means at this moment, that I not only need to have compassion for myself but also toward others I've hurt. Owning that is finally becoming possible, perhaps because I'm no longer lost in shame and acting out. I can say, "I'm sorry." And I can unpack the wreckage of the past to the extent those I love need to see it all. I won't do it to demean myself but to say honestly, "Yes, this is what happened. This is how trauma affected my life. Yes, it was a hell realm and I'm sorry you've been exposed to it all."

I really appreciate this list Toad. It is a constant reminder of what this life journey has been all about and it is inspiration to find a healthier way of living the remaining years of my life.