Afraid of the the dentist

Iris for with the dentist blogExtreme fear to see the dentist

Today I went for a check-up at the dentist.
You might think: Big Deal.
It is for me!

After 6 years of being too afraid, I finally got up the courage to go.
Lots of sexual abuse survivors experience an extreme and irrational fear for the dentist and I’m one of them.

Loss of control

The loss of control, the pain, the physical invasion: They can all be triggers when you go for your check-up. But today I come prepared. Knowing the triggers that might happen and knowing breathing exercizes that can help me through it. I’m ready

Communicating with the dentist

I booked a double appointment, so I first sit down and talk with him. I explain my struggle with loss of control. I also tell him that the procedure is invading a body cavity and because of my history of childhood sexual abuse, I find that very difficult. I need him to take me seriously in this. I need for him to stop immediately whenever I raise my hand, so I can be somewhat in control. I also ask him to talk me through the treatment, explaining every little detail, every move he makes before he makes them.

Going for the check-up

Then I feel ready to undergo the check-up. When he starts prodding at my lower molars I feel the need to catch my breath. I raise my hand. He immediately stops everything he is doing. Gives me time to recuperate and when I’m ready he finishes the procedure. No cavities and he even cleaned the teeth! I’m so proud of me.

Remembering the last time

The last time I saw a dentist, I bit her finger…
She got upset.
Me too.

I’m proud. I feel I’ve come a long way since then.

Are you afraid to go to the dentist?

  • Does the thought of going make you feel queezy?
  • Are you repulsed by the thought of a dentist sticking her/his fingers in your mouth?

You’re not alone. This is a very common reaction for sexual abuse survivors. Talk to your dentist. I’m glad I finally did. Plus I’m glad with my supportive network of friends who won’t alllow me to wait another 6 years before I see my dentist again.

How about you?


For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to cope, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at

Risks after sexual abuse

0016Physical risks and discomfort (long) after sexual abuse

We tend to focus on the emotional stress after sexual abuse, but there are many physical problems, often related to emotional stress. For instance tension headaches and nausia. Not to mention the risk of selfmutilation, eating disorders etc.

Extremely uncomfortable cramps

We women know all the effects of PMS: Wanting to hide until it’s over. Cramps, headaches, grumpiness. You don’t want to see anybody. Hormones running wild.
I never did any extensive research but I noticed all my female clients complaining about extreme physical discomfort during their periods. Extreme in the sense of extreme bloodloss, extreme cramps and having their periods more often than the regular cycle.

Physical risks after sexual abuse

  • higher risk of cervical cancer
  • STDs
  • higher risk of myoma
  • infertility
  • infection of the genitals
  • damaged and/or numb genitals
  • incontinence
  • stomach or colon cramps

The younger the victim at the time of abuse, the higher the risk.


When I found out about the high risks to my health, I became even more furious at the man who abused me. I had suffered very painful periods for years and only found some relief after quite a few sessions in homeopathy.


All the risks he exposed me to, makes me even more determined to break the silence. I don’t want to be a victim. I know we can all heal from sexual abuse. But it’s time we face all the uncomfortable truths. It’s time to share the physical effects from child abuse with the media as well. It’s too significant and damaging not to.


For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to cope, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at


winter 01-11No boundaries

The lack of respect for your boundaries at an early age can have a big impact on your reactions now. When somebody crosses the line, your basic response is that it’s no use saying NO. Your experience in the past has taught you that the other person is in charge.

Not knowing your own boundaries

It may seem strange, but sometimes you literally don’t know what you want or don’t want. Simply because you haven’t yet developed a will of your own. You’ve never practiced. When someone says we’ll take a left turn, you go left. When someone wants you to go right you will. You obey. You’re a good kid. Your likes and dislikes are very well hidden. You live a robotic life, because you don’t know that you even have a choice.

Not knowing the boundaries of another person

Another result of child molestation and sexual abuse may be not knowing another person’s boundaries. Either consiously: Why should I care about yours when nobody ever respected mine. Or perhaps you just don’t realize that No means No because you’ve never experienced this simple fact.

Continuous abuse

Depending on your environment, you are likely to find a pattern of continuous abuse that suits you. Whether it’s drugs or drinking, violence, sexual abuse or trying to desperately please everybody around you, any of those will serve to prevent you from leading your own life. If you have no experience in protecting your boundaries, you’re hard pressed to enforce them when someone else pushes your buttons.

Healing from sexual abuse

The first step to heal is to stop the abuse. The original sexual abuse often ended years ago. But by not setting your boundaries you’re still allowing yourself to be abused. You’ve become identified with the victim role. The way out is to learn to feel what you want and what you don’t want. Practise setting boundaries, even very small ones. If you don’t, you will continue to be the victim.
Believe me, the first time you’ll say NO is absolutely terrifying AND enormously liberating! You’ve reclaimed your right to say NO.


For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to cope, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at