Survivors of Incest Anonymous
Coming Home Phone Line
for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Call  1.712.432.8808     
Access code 742247#

Press *1 to mute and unmute

Topics List

for Coming Home Phone Line Open-Share Meetings


We ask that moderators on the line either suggest a topic or ask someone to suggest a topic for open share meetings. Please, though, do let the meeting participants know that they do not have to share about the topic. Rather, it’s okay to share about the topic or anything else that a participant wants to share about.


Also, feel free to contribute more topics to this list as they occur to you and others at meetings. This list is also being used as a “Topics List” for SIA’s Book of Survivor Meditations so if you’re moved, feel free to write a meditation and submit it to me at



Abandonment Concepts:

Relationship to codependency

Relationship to inner hole that needs to be filled,

Self Abandonment, Ways/Forms & Reasons we experience

Why abuse survivors experience abandonment responses


Types: overt, covert, mental/physical/emotional/sexual/spiritual/ritual

  SELF ABUSE RELATED (abuse we do to ourselves)

Abuse done to us by others & relationship to self-abuse

definitions & types of abuse survivors do themselves (mental, emotional, sexual, physical, spiritual)

Unmanageability issues as a result of abuse: (body image issues, compulsions,

Abuse has nothing to do with us

Acceptance--the process of acceptance, some of its challenges and issues as they relate to:

Acceptance of abuse & its effects

Acceptance of powerlessness

Acceptance of need to surrender

Acceptance of good in each of us

Acceptance of the process of healing

Acting Out/Forms of Unmanageability

Types & Reasons for

Body image views, physical issues, Compulsions, emotional unmanageability, relationship challenges/reenactments, perpetrator issues/responses, safety issues, self-care difficulties, sexuality difficulties, spiritual challenges, trust issues,

Addiction Types & Forms

Relationship of Addiction to maintenance of victim/false/inauthentic self abuse responses

All or Nothing/Black or White Thinking

Common Types for Abuse Survivors

Relationship to maintenance of victim/false/inauthentic self abuse responses


Making amends

Are amends necessary?

Is forgiveness essential to abuse healing processes

Self-amends versus other amends

Purposes/Rationales for amends process

Anger/Rage Inventory

Relationship of Anger to other emotional states (fear, grief, depression)

Types of Anger

Two Basic Types of  victim/false self/inauthentic responses: Anger anorexics versus Rageaholics

Working with Anger

Why expressing anger and returning it to source is important

Challenges that underlie anger/cannot be dealt with until anger is owned


Role of in meetings & recovery partner/sponsor/group workshop work

 Approval Seeking Inventory



Relationship of approval seeking to maintenance of victim/false self

Sanities to keep in mind in dealing with approval seeking responses from a healthy survivor/true self perspective

Answers Lie Inside Us

Attachment to Outcomes


What is healthy versus unhealthy self-autonomy

Bad Days:

What makes a bad day?

What makes a bad day good?


Belief in Ourselves



Healthy vs. unhealthy responses





Body Awareness/body dysmorphia;

Issues with having a body;

Body image;

Loving our bodies;

Body memories

Reclaiming our bodies

Body/mind/heart/spirit abuse disease model


Affects of abuse on boundary setting

Relationship between boundary setting and mental/emotional health

Consequences/problems associated with not being able to set boundaries

Benefits of boundary setting

Boundaries Inventory: What are my boundaries

Difficulties with setting boundaries

Methods/ways to set boundaries

With others

With self

Between victim/false self & survivor/true self

Between adult and inner children

Between different parts when one is multiple/has DID

Co-dependency—issues surrounding co-dependency in our recoveries

Breaking Silence


Building New Roots;

Building a New Life/Building a Healthy Foundation for Recovery;

Role of Breaking Down Old Boundaries to Build New Boundaries


The victim-victimizer-caretaker/co-dependent dynamic (and similaries &

           differences in motivations)

Consequences/effects of care-taking in maintaining victimage/false/inauthentic self

Methods/ideas that are helpful to remember for lessening care-taking behaviors

Care-taking inventory

Why working with codependency issues is an important part of childhood sexual abuse survivor recovery processes

Nature of codependency: it’s causes and types

How codependency affects family denial processes

How codependency behaviors can trigger PTSD responses & how to work with them

How to create healthy, non-codependent responses with self and others

Codependency as it relates to internal relationships between various adult and child parts


Categories of Codependent Coping Behaviors for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse


Denial Coping Behaviors


Difficulty identifying emotional responses;
Denial or minimizing emotional responses;
Casting oneself as entirely unselfish and only concerned about other’s  well-being;
Lacking compassion for others’ needs;
Turning self-judgments and self-criticisms into judgments and criticisms about others;
Believing that no-else is needed for support of oneself and subsequent isolation;
Covering up grief, shame, terror, abandonment, anger and depression via pretending that everything’s alright/expressing and using emotions other than what one is feeling to hide those feelings;
Not voicing understandable anger or complaints directly;
Attraction to emotionally unavoidable people that mirror our abusers.


Low Self Esteem Coping Behaviors


Decision-making challenges;
Harsh self criticism of one’s thoughts, feelings, words and actions;
An inability to receive compliments, praise or expressions of esteem from others;
An inability to see self-approval as more important than approval by others;
Viewing oneself as undeserving of love and support by others;
Constant need for receiving positive reinforcement by others;
Difficulty owning mistakes and intense self-shaming when mistakes are made;
Telling lies to be accepted by others because approval by others is so important;
Needs and desires cannot be expressed to others;
Seeing oneself as superior to others in spite of profound feelings of low self-esteem;
An inability to provide safety for oneself and a subsequent over reliance on others to provide safety;
Initiating, following through and completing courses of action in timely fashions is difficult
Deciding upon goals, giving oneself a breaking and deciding how to take care of oneself in supportive healthy ways is difficult.


Compliance Coping Behaviors

Change is frightening because it stirs up challenging survivor emotions
Due to unmet childhood needs for support from dysfunctional caregivers there is a tendency to stay in harmful relationships and situations and have difficulty extricating oneself from them; Fears of abandonment, shaming or being hurt in other ways prevents the expression of emotional truth and acting in healthy, self-affirming fashions;
Other’s interests and needs are prioritized over my interests and needs;
Due to a hyper-vigilant need to control against future abuse the feelings of others are constantly and intently monitored and there is a tendency to make their feelings my feelings;
Expression of differences of emotion, opinion, belief from others is frightening because it stirs up memories of abuse pain and is triggering;
Sex often replaces mutual intimacy, support, acceptance and compassion with others;
When making choices reaction, stirred by hypervigilence, replaces thoughtful consideration of consequences and outcomes

Control Coping Behaviors


Believing others are incapable of self-care;

Frequently trying to persuade other how to act, feel and think;

Care-taking others by offering advice when none is solicited;

Becoming hostile or angry when offers of help are not accepted;

Using gifts and favors to create relationships and obligation from others;

Using sex to create connection, control others or push away feelings stemming from abuse;

Blaming, scape-goating, anger, authority, rage, helplessness, abandonment and shaming are used to control or manipulate situations and others;

Placing one’s needs ahead of others to avoid challenging survivor feelings;

Using false agreement to manipulate outcomes;

Overly rigid responses, including an unwillingness to discuss conflicts, compromise in any way or find common ground.


Avoidance Coping Behaviors


Acting in ways that encourage shaming, rejection, anger, minimizing or terrorizing by others;
Harsh judgments of other; judge harshly what others think, say, or do;
I avoid emotional, physical, or sexual intimacy as a means of maintaining distance;
Using “ism” responses to justify to prevent emotional intimacy with others;
Avoiding conflict and expression of needs via the use of triangulation or other indirect communication behaviors;
Fatalism and refusing to seek support or utilize program or other modality healing tools;
Avoiding vulnerability via suppression of feelings, thoughts or helpful actions;
After inviting others to be close, pushing them away and not subsequently honestly owning our survivor reactions;
Refusing to consider that it is possible to receive nurture, compassion and support from others;
Expressing emotions is viewed as a weakness;
Expressing appreciation is avoided in order to create distance or avoid closeness with others.


Change (Fear of)

Common Barriers to change

Healthy versus unhealthy change processes


Victim/false self views of choice/decision-making

Survivor/true self views of choice/decision-making

A healthy decision-making checklist inventory

Common unmanageability behaviors of abuse survivors


Inventory of speaking/support-giving/listening styles

Helpful versus unhealthy methods of communication

With self

With intimate others

With authority figures

With friends/associates

With perceived perpetrators

With actual perpetrators

In public settings


Basic need for

Denial of

Healthy versus unhealthy responses/ways of creating


Why survivors have a need to control others, situations, selves, feelings, thoughts

Problems associated with control & letting go of controlling behaviors

Control inventory


Comparing our insides to others’ outsides

Darkness inside us/fear of Darkness

Defense mechanisms

Types (over adaptability; losing self; holding still/isolating/hiding; hypervigilence; lying; numbness)

Methods of letting go of


Consequences of denial

Feelings & difficulties associated with getting out of denial

Forms/methods of denial

Purposes of denial

Denial Inventory



DID/ Multiplicity

Co-consciousness versus integration as healing paradigms

Coping with traumatic memories and feelings

Creating Alter/Character maps

Ideas to keep in mind when communicating with alters

Disassociation functions in multiples

Host personality—what is, role in system

Recovery contracts between alters

Relationship to ritual abuse

Basic roles of various alters in a personality system

Working with alters


Coping with severe levels of disassociation when one is not multiple


Roles/purposes of disassociation in abused persons’ lives

Similarities & differences between those with severe disassociation and multiplicity/DID

Eight Types of Dissociative Betrayal Trauma Responses (Trauma Reaction/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; Trauma Arousal; Trauma Blocking; Trauma Splitting; Trauma Abstinence; Trauma Shame; Trauma Repetition; Trauma Bonding) 




Dreams and Goals

Difficulties with dreams and goals

Following them

Eating disorders

Relationship to abuse

Working with

Taking eating disorders back to their source



Facing Ourselves: challenges, pain, rewards


in life/in self/in loving Higher Power

leap of

loss of

Faking It


Communicating about abuse to the perpetrating & non-perpetrating family members

Different parent/sibling roles in the abusive family

Dynamic differences & similarities between family of origin and recovery family members


Handling conflict

Dealing with Anger (toward the sexual/physically perpetrating family member & non sexually/physically perpetrating parent)


coping with feelings of abandonment,

Coping with the loneliness of setting healthy boundaries with family of origin

Costs of not setting healthy boundaries with family of origin

Making amends

Are amends necessary?

Is forgiveness essential to abuse healing processes

Fear Of


befriending others/intimate others

feeling emotions (especially anger, grief, shame, abandonment, fear)

of good things/of bad things

of holidays

of hope

of needs

of others

of responsibility

of process


Common Survivor Feelings that are difficult to show up for

Burying Feelings

Facing Feelings

Making space for feelings

Reacting to Feelings

Sharing Feelings

Trusting Feelings


Finding Ourselves/Finding True Self

Following our path/dreams



Projecting past/present into the future

Future Tripping/Freaking out about the future


Good Exists







Hanging on


The Process





Higher Power

Challenges in Finding

What is Higher Power

Why “Loving” Higher Power

Making Higher Power tangible/growing Higher Power

Relationship between growing a Loving Inner Parent & Higher Power

Higher Power for atheists

Negative Higher Power

Parents: the First Higher Power

Higher Power as a value system instead of a Deity

Gifts from

Joy of

Need for

Of our own Understanding

Giving self/turning self over to Higher Power

Higher Power’s will for us





Infinite Possibilities

Inner child(ren)

Acceptance of

Confusions about

Difficulties working with inner child(ren)

Establishing contact with/connecting to inner child(ren)

Growing a Loving Inner Parent to work with inner child(ren)

How to build trust with inner child(ren)

Importance of daily contact

Keeping inner child(ren) safe

Losing touch with

Recovery with


Who or what is/are an inner child(ren)?

Inner guidance


How defense mechanisms from abuse affect

Challenges with

Communication necessities of intimacy


Important inventories for abuse survivors to do in each step

The parts of any inventory

Role of inventories in recovery



Keep Coming Back

Keep Hanging On

Keep Letting Go

Letting Go

Importance of

How to

Challenges with

What needs to be let go of to recover

Letting Others In

Learning to Live

Limits: Discovering; Accepting; Working with; Setting

Living in the Moment


Looking Within

Love: Issues/challenges/rewards

Inner kids


Critical Parts

Higher Power




Managing our Lives

Managing Recovery

Acceptance & Manageability

Managing the effects of childhood sexual abuse


Reliving Memories

Showing up for Memories and their emotional content

How to avoid getting stuck in memories

Disconnecting trauma memories from present tense responses



Taking the load out of mistakes

Finding safety in owning mistakes



Under earning

More Shall Be Revealed

Multiple Personalities



How to get needs met

Issues with owning needs

Difference between needs and wants

Needing others

Speaking our needs

Setting boundaries to protect our needs

New Life


Old Beliefs

One Day

One day at a Time

One Step at a Time

One Day I’ll . . .

Other’s Feelings

Others Reflect Us


Acceptance of Pain

Bringing an end to Pain

Compassion for Pain

Pain of change

The only way out of pain is by going into and through it with support

Pain as a guide or touchstone for recovery








Dealing with

Fusion with/rooting them out of our psyches/in our minds

Not our job to forgive

Responsibility belongs to the perpetrator




Relationship to focus, expressing needs, opening up new possibilities


Present Moment




Positive intensity/negative intensity & high/low dynamics versus love/hate-neglect dynamic in

      friendship, family and intimate other relationships

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Identification & types

Ways to work with/manage generally

Ways to work with in step work

Ways to work with in relationship to others

Ways to work with Inner Kid PTSD responses

Triggers & Hypervigilence

Survivor/true/authentic self : definitions & forms of response/examples

Reaching Out


The many realities survivors live in

What is a healthy reality for survivors to work to live in?

How do survivors make dreams into reality?


It Works!

It’s a Process

A Bridge to new Freedom


Repeating the Past


Difference between resentments and anger

How Resentments are unexpressed needs

Letting go of Resentments in healthy, supportive ways



Ritual Abuse

Different Types

Common Effects

Healing From Ritual Abuse

Run Away


It’s an inside job

Creating Safety

Allowing ourselves to discover safety

What seems unsafe to go into is actually what we need to show up for in order to create inner safety

Safety: Wanting to be Saved




















Working with all of one’s selves


Challenges to serenity

Components of serenity for survivors

Serenity Prayer


Acting Out

Confusion between sex and love

Confusion about sexual orientation

Sex as a means of positive attention

Challenges with sexuality in intimate other relationships


Sharing Ourselves

Simplicity/Keeping it Simple

Sitting Still

Slow down







As Survivors

Seeking support

Strength in weakness


Survival skills


Thinking We are Wrong

Tools of Recovery

The 12-step triangle: Fellowship, Step-work, service

Other Tools:

Acknowledge the trigger

Remind myself that I am not to blame

Check in with inner kid(s) to reassure them

Remind self that it’s normal to have challenging feelings given my life experiences and that it’s okay to feel, express and seek healthy comforting while having challenging feelings

Use (state & apply) recovery slogans and affirmations

Journaling/step work

Create safe space

Prayer and Meditation

Connect with Higher Power

Call trusted friend/therapist/sponsor/recovery partner

Re-set limits, even if temporarily

Remind self that I can’t control others, my feelings, or what life puts on my plate

Discern present from past, including feelings

Remind self of safety in present

Return the feeling to its source

Avoid beating self up for feeling/responding in relapse/victim manner

Remember I can go as slow as I need to

Remember that I’ve survived other PTSD episodes

Remember that as I learn to do deep pain work it becomes easier to do

Remember the freedom I receive by walking in as opposed to running from my truth

Transitions and changes


Hyper-vigilance, role creating/activating triggers

Identification of one’s Triggers

Role of triggers in maintaining victim/false self perspectives

Types of triggers

Ways to work with triggers


How to rebuild

Trusting Inner Kids/Self/Healing Process/Others/Higher Power

How abuse affects one’s capacity to trust

Problems associated with not being able to trust

Benefits of learning to trust again

Ideas, concepts, processes related to learning to trust again



Turning it Over

Victim/false/inauthentic self

Types of Victim Response

Types of false selves

Victim Role

Trained to be victims


We are Amazing!

We are Healing!

Who am I?


World is Ours!



Wreckage of the past