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According to David Finkelhor's model of four traumagenic dynamics, powerlessness occurs when the child's desires, wishes, and sense of productivity are countered by the repeated invasion of the child's body against his or her will, which reinforces the child's self-perception as a victim. Feelings of powerlessness may produce fear and anxiety and an extreme need to control, potentially triggering compensatory responses such as sexually abusing others. Powerlessness may also have a detrimental effect on the victim's coping skills.[1]


  1. David Cantón-Cortés, María Rosario Cortés & José Cantón (2012). European Journal of Developmental Psychology 9 (6): 665-680. doi:10.1080/17405629.2012.660789.