Healing from Sexual Abuse and Trauma

I would like to welcome everyone to this blog for healing from sexual abuse and trauma.  Please remember that no matter what you have been through, and no matter where you are now, you can still heal and have in incredibly wonderful life.  I too, am a survivor of sexual abuse and trauma, who at one point in my life had no specific memories of the abuse but the symptoms of my life showed signs that something was terribly wrong.  I was constantly running away from everyone, the only place that I found solace was to travel.  That way I could meet people and leave before they could get to know me too much, I was scared that to know me was to hate me.

Then finally, after so many unexplainable pieces of my memories of the abuse had come to me, that I refused to belief, the very last piece came to me.  This helped me to believe myself.  I was listening to an audio recording where other survivors spoke about their experiences being abused by their parents and at that moment, I realized that I was not crazy thinking that my father had sexually abused me because he had.  I took my father out to lunch and confronted him about the abuse.  He never directly admitted it but instead said that the household help had done things to him and he thinks that his mother did things to him as well.  (His mother, my grandmother used to kiss me in such an awful way, that at the age of six years old, I had to tell my grandma, “no kisses, only hugs”.  It was that bad.)

My father then said that he did not want to talk about it, and offered me a new car.

Since that date many other memories and incidents from my childhood began to make sense for me.  Although I had forgotten the abuse, I had never forgotten the incidents that surrounded the abuse.  Such as why I had symptoms of PTSD including the startle response, which I displayed when someone walked into a room and I was concentrating on something else, I would frequently jump, startled.  I rarely do that now.  It also answered the question why so many people in high school and college mentioned that I acted like I had been molested and why I was misdiagnosed with proctitis around the age of 9 years old.

As I have gotten my memories back and allowed my body to detox from the trauma of sexual abuse, my life has gotten so much better.  I have less drama in my life (except onstage, I am an actress) and that gives me more time to do things that I love and enjoy them.  Before I got my memories back, I may be doing something that I loved such as hiking but would be thinking of the drama in my life or problem of the day, so I was not loving what I was doing.  I get my needs met from a more grounded place rather than by being a victim (playing needy) and it feels so much more dignified and takes much less energy.  If I don’t have tons of money, I realize it will come rather than freaking out and I know that the size of my bank account has nothing to do with who I am or how awesome my day will be. And as I heal my finances are getting better as well.

I am grateful to be healing and grateful to have regained my joy.

Please feel free to post your experiences in the comment box at the bottom of this page. Sometimes it may take a while to get your comment approved.

  • Please DO NOT include any sexual details about the abuse.
  • Please DO NOT include any sexual details at all.
  • Feel free to write “…” when excluding those details.  Thanks so much.

932 thoughts on “Healing from Sexual Abuse and Trauma

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  1. I am writing this because I feel that I have a lot of trust issues with my father. I was abused as a child, about 3 years old. My problem is that my family has denied my sexual abuse so much that it has made me feel like an alien in my own life. I have vivid accounts of my father molesting me at an early age. Since I have angels and a God, my memories of my trauma and abuse were blacked out. I can only remember my father taking me in the shower with him, and me having to go to the bathroom in front of my dresser on the shag carpet in my room. The ongoing trauma or symptoms that I have from being abused are: after I eat a meal, then I feel that someone is going to do something to me sexually. I have fears when I hear my fathers voice, I still feel that he is trying to control me and dominate my life. I have detached from my father, but I still feel that he makes me feel a lot of guilt, shame, and blame because the abuse has been denied for so long. I have worked on forgiving my father, but I feel that he owes me a great deal. Part of me has forgiven him, but part of me has not. The part of me that does not forgive him is because he has carried the sexual abuse into my life by sexually molesting my daughter, Ann. I want him to be held accountable for the sexual abuse that occurred when I was a child and is now occurring now that Ann is a teenager. I am in a good relationship now, but something inside me still feels that my inner child is being attacked and questioned by my father. I feel that he does not want me or my daughter to have our personal space. He has kissed my daughter on several occasions, and one time she came home kissing on McDonalds french fries and talking very quickly, which was unlike her. My question is how can I learn to forgive my father, but not forget. How can I protect my baby without feeling that I am judging my father? I want the abuse to go away and go back where it came from. I do not want the sexual abuse to travel along from generation to generation. How can I protect my daughter, Ann, from my father? Right now I do not trust my father, and I feel that he should be in jail for the incidents that he helped to create. My daughter has also suffered abuse from two other men that were around her, but I am finding that the abuse suffered with my father is the hardest to let go of because it keeps going on. Please give me some feedback on how I can live a peaceful life away from my father, and how I can better protect my daughter from her own grandfather.

    1. You should not trust your dad. So it is appropriate to have trust issues with him. Shame on him. Your family denying your abuse shows that your family is sick. Shame on them for not believing you. My belief is that neither angels nor God make you black out the abuse. Athiest, etc. have also blacked out their abuse. Abuse gets blacked out when it is extreme and the child has nowhere else to go but to black out the abuse. It happens frequently when the abuse is of a sadistic nature. Your thinking someone will sexually assault you after you eat is probably a memory of being sexually assault after you eat, maybe even frequently sexually assaulted after you eat.

      I recommend the best way not to here your father’s voice is to not speak with him. Since he raped and abused you (the shower and peeing memory and there is probably much more) he does not deserve to have you in his life. He was not a father to you, so his rights to talk to you does not exist. Have you detached from your father but still talk with him? He cannot make you feel guilt shame or blame if you do not allow him in your life. I told my dad that he had to be honest about raping me, honest about his being raped and he couldn’t talk to me sexually if he wanted to be in my life. After that he left one message for me that when I played it for a friend of mine she said that he sounded like I was his girlfriend and I had just brocken up with him, not like I was his daughter and that was the last time my father ever tried to talk to me. So by puuting down boundaries, that I never should of had to put down with my father, I found out that of I wasn’t sexual to him then he did not want me in his life. It;s terribly sad but the truth. It seems to me from what you have said that your father only wants you in his life to make you feel bad about yourself, so that he will not have to feel bad about himself. He owes you love and respect but it appears that he is not capable of either of those. Every baby and child deserves love and respect.

      Please read my post “Do I Need to Forgive to Heal?” It will answer all of your forgiveness questions.
      http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/do-i-need-to-forgive-to-heal-from-abuse/

      It is your responsibilty to keep your father away from your daughter. You can and must stop the sexual assault of your daughter today. As soon as you read this pick up the phone and call 1-800-656-HOPE. Tell them that your father is sexually assaulting your daughter and they will help you to hold your father accountable for his actions. Now that you are the adult it is your responsibilty to protect your daughter. You can be the protective mother for your daughter that you never had.

      How can I protect my baby without feeling that I am judging my father?
      You need to judge your father to protect your daughter. You cannot let this sexual assault go on another minute.

      I want the abuse to go away and go back where it came from.
      You need to instead remember the abuse and listen to the emotions that are screaming your memories behind them. Also read my post “What to Do When You Feel Triggered” It has tools to help you to heal.
      http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      I do not want the sexual abuse to travel along from generation to generation. How can I protect my daughter, Ann, from my father?
      It already has traveled from generation to generation, your father molested you and now he is molesting your daughter.
      Call 1-800-656-HOPE and they can help you to work out a plan to keep your daughter safe. She must not be allowed to see him ever again. People who assault children do not stop, they find their next victim, which if you do nothing will be your grandchildren but instead you can show your daughter how to stop this abuse by getting her away from your father who is a sexual preditor. It’s not going to be easy because I assume that your mother never protected you.

      Right now I do not trust my father, and I feel that he should be in jail for the incidents that he helped to create.
      You have the power to put your father in jail and you should use it. At the very least prosecuting him, he will realize that it is not as easy to rape children as it used to be when noone said anything. I am sure that your family will be angry but it really sounds like the best thing for you to do is to get away from your sick family. Your sick family is protecting a pedophile. Your father because he rapes children is a pedophile.

      My daughter has also suffered abuse from two other men that were around her, but I am finding that the abuse suffered with my father is the hardest to let go of because it keeps going on.
      You might also consider prosecuting the other two men if they also sexually assaulted your daughter.

      Please give me some feedback on how I can live a peaceful life away from my father, and how I can better protect my daughter from her own grandfather.

      As I stated earlier the only way to protect your daughter is to keep her away from your father. You will feel better also. Start a new life that the rule is “no pedophiles or pro-pedophile people (such as your family) allowed in my life”. It is a first very important step to healing.

      Please call 1-800-656-hope now if you haven’t called already. If the person you talk to is not helpful call another hotline or even call the police and tell them you need to help your daughter.

    2. Hi, I’m Alicia. I’ve never really done anything like this before so it’s kind of scary and I don’t really know how to work this site. But when I was 15 years old I came to visit my family from tennessee and i started modeling through one of my moms friends. This guy, Matt, was my manager. After so long of trips to Chicago for photo shoots my mom said you might as well just go stay with Matt cause I am sick of driving you to his house at 5 in the morning. After about the second week I was staying there he kept feeding me alchohol. Not to long after I completely blacked out. Then this happened a couple more times before i started to realize what was going on. After I figured it out and confronted him, he threatened my life. It took me a couple months to call my dad and confess what was going on. It was the worst break down I have ever had in my life. I went to the police and while I was at the police department he called and text me probably around 15 times. He showed up at my house and dropped off everything i had at his house. Without even telling anyone. From the moment i met this man I knew something was off. I was just terrified to lose my life. Right now I’m still dealing with the court and trying to lock him up for good. I have to start prepping for trial very soon and I’m seriously so stressed. A couple weeks ago I got diagnosed with clinical depression. (I don’t have the money to get on the medicine) I have a hard time sleeping at night. When I actually do fall asleep, I wake up gasping for air. I just don’t know what to do and I need help. I have my family to turn to but it’s hard to talk to them when in reality they don’t know how I feel. I’ve tried counselors and such but it just doesn’t seem to help. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Please help me find something that can make my life just a little easier.

      1. Hi Alicia,

        I am so sorry to hear your story, unfortunately it is not uncommon. I had a friend get drugged at a photographer’s house in Los Angeles when he was suppose to be part of a photo shoot. What could be very helpful is to find a victims advocate in the city that you are going through the court case. A good victms advocte will help you to cope with the trauma of going through this. They should be able to even accompany you on a lot of legal visits and possibly be in court with you also. Call the 800-656-HOPE 24/7 and they should be able to help you with that. As always, if they are not helpful, hang up and try again or go to http://centers.rainn.org/ and find another counselor. Listen to your intuition, you are the victim and you derserve support. It is excellent that you don’t have money for medication because it often does far more harm than good. If your counselor is recommending medication, then I would recommend a different counselor. Unfortunately many counselors are miseducated when it comes to medicine and do not realize the harm that it does. A great article about problems with medicine is at http://motherjones.com/politics/2003/11/it-prozac-or-placebo

        If you call a local rape crisis center, they are likely to also have free counseling for you also. You should also be able to get funding for thearpy through a crine vistim compensation program. The rape crisis centers and victims advocates specialize in helping survivors just like you. If you can’t sleep, call then and you can always talk about what you need to (unless the parson you are talking with is not helpful then, of course, hang up and try another hotline), you can call the 800-656-HOPE right now. Another thing that might be helpful is reading and doing the execises from “What to Do When You Feel Triggered” http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

        Please post and update what you have done that has been helpful and what yo have done that was not helpful. I would also like to commend you on your courage to stand up and take the person who abused you to court. That takes strength.

        1. I forgot to mention that your waking up grasping for air, is a body memory. It’s your body trying to detox from the trauma of being abused. I would also definitely go to a counselor who will diagnose you more as a reaction to the abuse such as PTSD than clinical depression, you are having a healthy reaction to some very unhealthy circumstances. Clinical depression is usually a therapist’s way of getting you om drugs rather than doing anything to help you to heal you. Again you are having a healthy reaction to unhealthy circumstances. These are just my opinions.

  2. Hi,
    I was sexually abused (details omited by blogger) repeatedly by my girlfriend’s brother at a very early age. My earliest memory was when I was about 7 or 8. It ended when I was in high school. He is 4 years older, therefore, would have been in college. Our families actually go back 3 generations (our grandparents were friends/our parents were friends) and we were brought up to be family. I remember vividly being 10 and wishing I could run away or kill myself.
    Fortunately being 10 I had no money and was excited to become an aunt so killing myself would have been really a stretch.
    Over the years I did keep the ‘big bad secret’ – at one point maybe about 25 years ago I did approach the scum bag and ask why he did what he did. He said I deserved everything I got.
    I am in my 50’s now. Have a decent life. Unfortunately due to the circumstances of my childhood, I am severely claustrophobic, I have trust issues and really, really cannot stand being touch intimately. I am claustrophobic because he used to do weird stuff like put me in a sleeping bag upside down and do whatever he was going to do, close me in a closet, back me up in a corner or hold me down face first on the bed with my head in a pillow.
    I am at a loss (of sorts) because now I am ‘all grown up’ – I am the one of all my friends/family that is single. People think it’s by choice. It’s really not. Although my life seems pretty wonderful from the outside, it’s a personal daily hell on the inside. I have received counseling. It helped. Unfortunately it doesn’t help from the fact I’ve always wondered if it would be best that the ‘secret’ was just put out in the open and skeletons let out of the closet.
    I am no longer close to my abusers siblings. His sister, once my best friend, actually has a problem with being a bully and verbally abusive. One day I just got tired of it and walked away due to the fact it was the equivalent of being verbally raped every time she opened her mouth. There is another brother involved who has actually tried to be a good friend over the years. Unfortunately he is in the middle of the situation and has gotten lost in the scenario.
    About 8 years ago, prior to their father’s passing away we were all at his house, he made a comment about the happenings that occurred during my childhood and spending time in his basement. He pointblank said he hoped I liked everything I got there. The comment alone lead me to be believe he KNEW what had happened and did nothing. (Important to note, the mother in this family passed away very suddenly when we were very young, asshole father never remarried).
    Due to circumstances in my own life, very near death experience about 7 months ago, I am reflecting on where I have been and where I want to go. Although things are in the past I can honestly say the love aspect of my life has never been there. I feel cheated. Any relationships in my life have always ended because of my childhood abuse. Those relationships I have chosen to talk about the abuse have ended because the parties don’t want damaged goods. I have also been in other abusive relationships because I felt safe and knew what was going to happen.
    I am wondering – after all this time, how do I bring everything to the table now?For me, I know I will be able to walk away from the situation and perhaps finally heal and go on to possibly find love and a true relationship. I know that in my heart.
    I do wonder what it will do to everyone else. I don’t care what does to my abuser. I really don’t. He has a lovely wife and children he really does not and never did deserve.
    I believe his sister (who also has a wonderful husband and family she doesn’t appreciate) and brother do know something happened. I don’t know if they
    know the extent of the abuse.
    I’m truly torn. I don’t know which way to go. The bottom line is that I did have a near death experience. It has taken 7 months for me to fight back for my life. Every second, every day. I believe that God gave me a new chance and I need to use every day to be useful and not to dwell on the past. It’s hard because everyday I feel some kind of memory that brings me back.
    My mom (when she was alive) had one ‘rule’ in regards to the abusers family. That absolutely nothing be done to ever break the ties that bound the family together. She treasured the fact that we were fortunate to have such family ties that stretched generations. Abuse excluded there were some wonderful memories. She is not here any longer. I struggle with breaking ties that were so important to her (and my dad). It just seems one sided though (in an adult’s mind). The ties that were so important to them, were not as important to the dad in this situation. I can’t imagine what kind of dad would be proud of his son for tormenting a little girl.
    On the flip side. My mom when I was younger did ask questions about the situation. I always denied anything going on because I was afraid (he said he would hurt me more). Being older now and my mom not being here I truly understand the greatness of the lie. She wanted to know. I know in my heart she would be crushed if my answer was yes. There’s a certain part of me that knows this would put things right and the lie and secret would be done.
    I am open to suggestions as how to go forward.
    Thank you for your time.

    1. Writing your story is the first step in telling the secret and this will help you to heal. First of all this is not our secret, it is your girlfriend’s brother’s secret. But telling his secret, you no longer allow him to has access to other children to molest and judging by his response to you when you confronted him, chances are that he is still and active pedophile.

      I am so glad that you did not kill yourself, you are too important.

      What he did to you sounds like torture in addition to being sexually assaulted. I am so sorry that you went through that.

      Please think of about telling your counsellor his secret, from what you wrote I am interpreting that you have not, though I could be wrong. If your counsellor is anything other than very supportive of you, you need to change counsellors. Trying to get you to forgive the rapist, is also not very helpful. You need to heal your wounds. Trying to get a person to forgive the abuser does not heal the wounds. Remembering and comforting yourself does heal the wounds. Also no prescription anti-depressants or other numbering and liver harming drugs, in my experience those drugs just push down further the feelings you need to release and detox from.

      Good for you for getting away from your abusive family, that takes a ton of strength and courage. And for not taking being abused by a so called friend. Real friends do not bully their friends.

      I hope that your brother who has tried to be a good friend believes that you were abused and supports your healing.

      (About 8 years ago, prior to their father’s passing away we were all at his house, he made a comment about the happenings that occurred during my childhood and spending time in his basement. He pointblank said he hoped I liked everything I got there.) This solves the mystery about who sexually assaulted your friend’s brother and shows how sick her family is. I would bet that her father also assaulted your friend as well. It is possible that the father never married because he was satisfied raping little girls and boys.

      It’s not too late to heal and bring into your love deep self love which can frequently bring into your love deep love of another person as well. (Those relationships I have chosen to talk about the abuse have ended because the parties don’t want damaged goods.) You picked the wrong people. If your lover thought that you were damaged goods because you were raped, that is a predator mentality and it is good that you are not with those people. It is very common for abuse survivors to wind up in abusive relationships and good thing you got out of those relationships, you deserve much better than that.

      For healing a great exercise is written in the post “What to Do When You Feel Triggered”
      http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      Also try calling 1-800-656-HOPE 24/7 (If the person you talk with is not helpful, hang up and try again.) They can help you find counsellors familiar with helping sexual assault survivors. Be picky in choosing a counsellor, make sure they are helpful and make you feel supported. I also always recommend not going to pro antidepressant therapists, to me what they are saying is that they do not have the tools to help you to heal. You will feel bad sometimes because those emotions have been stuffed inside you for a very long time. For more information about drug issues and other healing ideas please click on the hotlines & resources link.

      (He has a lovely wife and children…) If you go public with his secret, you can protect his children.

      (I believe that God gave me a new chance and I need to use every day to be useful and not to dwell on the past. It’s hard because everyday I feel some kind of memory that brings me back.) The memories are coming up to be healed, I would not try to stuff them back down. Perpetrators would like you to forgive and forget, but that is not possible, memories and emotions must be allowed to be heard and detox from the body. It does not have to feel intense to you, the emotions and memories may come up like someone else’s movie. But if you stuff them back down, they will scream to be heard.

      (My mom (when she was alive) had one ‘rule’ in regards to the abusers family. That absolutely nothing be done to ever break the ties that bound the family together.) Your mom’s rule is typical of a perpetrator’s enabler. It is a very sick rule. Let me put it this way, what your mother is saying is that is is fine to rape children, it is okay if children suffer, letting pedophiles stay in the family is more important than protecting kids. To me that is very sick. I am glad that you had good family memories but that does not negate the abuse.

      (I struggle with breaking ties that were so important to her (and my dad).) But it is important if you want to heal and be happy. (I can’t imagine what kind of dad would be proud of his son for tormenting a little girl.) A dad that is abusing his kids would feel proud, that’s how sick some of these people are.

      (My mom when I was younger did ask questions about the situation. I always denied anything going on because I was afraid (he said he would hurt me more).) Do not blame yourself for not saying anything, you were little and frightened. I just finished reading “Silent No More: Victim 1’s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky” and it talks about how the mother kept asking and he kept denying the abuse because he was also too scared. It wasn’t until Sandusky started basically harassing him that he finally spoke up. It was a healing book.

      You will heal, try calling the hotline and when you are ready, do the friend test. Real friends will support you in your truth, people who do not support you were never real friends. I am open to suggestions as how to go forward.
      Thank you for your time.

  3. What can I say? I got out, this is probably a surprise but I’m 14 years old. I was continuously raped by my brother, who is two years older than me, from when I was 10 or 11 until I was 13, in April of 2012 I told my principal who I was close family friends. After I told I was afraid to go home and so were my sisters who were 9 and 12 and had also been abused. Why? My father is abusive and I was afraid he would make fun or me and or rape me too. He called me a slut from when I was 10 years old although I was overweight and overly modest and self conscience. We ended up staying at the principals house for the weekend, and enjoyed relaxing with her kids and family, comparing them to my family I was stunned how peaceful it was.

    Back to my point, I got out of the sexual abuse from my brother and physical abuse from my father due to me reaching rock bottom. I never told anyone about my brother because I was scared I would get in trouble, I kept the secret, therefore it was my secret too and if I told he had a million more things to tell my parents about me. I told because I decided I would rather be in prison than stay in the hell hole that was my life. It wasn’t worth it. Beat up, raped, verbally abused, the list goes on and on.

    I know I was abused, that’s clear to me through therapy and common sense. But my question is: is there any way my father could have sexually abused me? I feel like he has, every time I think of it my stomach hurts. I know the flood gates will open eventually but until then this is what I have as my basis:
    1. I have memories or showering with him when I was 3 or 4 multiple times.
    2. I have blurry memories of his bringing his comforter into my room and sleeping in there when I had nightmares, when I was 3 or 4 as well. The problem here is I don’t know where he slept. I had an extra mattress in my room but it was the top bunk bed, he couldn’t have slept there. and he wouldn’t have slept on the floor.
    3. I’ve always been tall and shapely, now, at 14, I’m 160 lbs, 5’10. That’s thick for me. My mom is African American and my father is white so I am very curvy and I have quite a good mix of genes looks wise.~ This adds to the problem that he started commenting on my body at the young age of 9 when people thought I was 14, now people think I’m 17-19.
    4. He kept his clothes in a closet in my room for my entire life, he never failed to come in to get clothes and lecture me as soon as I got out of the shower. I never got dressed in the bathroom because there were 7 of us in the house and only 2 bathroom, one of which didn’t work for the first 12 years of my life.
    5. The bathroom lock was constantly breaking and if I was taking a bath he would walk in a pee while I was in there.
    6. After disclosing the sexual abuse from my brother I was scared he would rape me.

    Luckily, due to my community, they saw my fear and the fear of my sisters and they ordered him to move out so we could heal with our mother, I continued to be afraid of him. My mother is a battered woman although she never experienced physical abuse and she was lost without him although she took care of us. Eventually through therapy and my encouragement she decided to divorce him. I haven’t spoken to him in the 9 months since this started. Therefore I was never forced to find out whether or not he would have molested or sexually abused me as well.
    Was I abused by my father as a child? I feel like there’s more and I’ve been told that anything that makes me sexually uncomfortable is sexual abuse but is that true?

    *I forgot to say that for the last 4 months he lived with me, I didn’t have a bedroom door, he took it off “because my room was too messy”

    1. Your story shows your courage and strength to stand up for yourself and your sisters. Shame on your brother and shame on your father. A real father would never be abusive or call his daughter names. That is awful.

      I am very glad to hear that your principal was supportive. Do you and your sisters have a safe place to sleep now? Every human being deserves a truly safe place to sleep. Is your brother out of the house? And who do you think sexually assaulted your brother. I truly believe that people rarely become sexual predators unless they were sexually assaulted. Though there are many survivors of sexual assault who never become predators.

      Yes there is a good chance that your father could have sexually abused you, especially because you had as fear that he would rape you for telling. Also your stomach hurting may be trying to tell you of repressed memories of abuse.

      Believe what your unconscious mind is trying to tell you. It is not appropriate for a father to comment sexually on his daughter’s body. It is also inappropriate for your father to walk in and use the bathroom while you were showering, especially if it felt inappropriate to you. Do you think he may have messed with the bathroom lock so that it would not work?

      I am glad to hear that your community is supportive. So did the community also order your brother to leave the house or just our father? If you feel like you are being inappropriately sexualized that could be sexual abuse. Such as being called a slut or having your body sexually commented on that could be considered sexual abuse.

      Him taking the door off of your room is invasive and abusive.

      You might also want to try the excecise in this post, it’s been very helpful to other survivors. http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      Also if you need extra support 24/7 you can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE, some advocates are great and others not so helpful, so if you get one who is not helpful hand up and try later or try another hotline from http://centers.rainn.org/ Keep trying until someone is helpful.

      1. My brother was put in prison after everything was reported. He was there for two months before they gave me the decision, to testify on trial or to let him go. Letting him go would mean he was put in a treatment center for sexual predators and get therapy daily. I chose the second option. I sometimes regret it but only when I look at him as my big brother, when I look at him as a predator I get scared that now that he’s out he’ll come after me and seek revenge. He was let out of there earlier this month and he now lives with my paternal grandparents an hour away from me. I haven’t said a word to him since I reported him although sometimes I want to.

        My family is safe now, my mom figured out what she had to do to step up to the plate and we moved out of the family house because part of my father’s abuse was allowing it to rot so it was unhealthy for us to live there.

        My problem is honestly wondering whether or not I was abused by my father too. I can’t look up symptoms of sexual abuse. I have so many of those. How do I know if there were multiple perpetrators throughout my short life?

        I also forgot to add before that when everything was reported my father did everything in his power, which wasn’t much since he couldn’t control anyone anymore, to get me arrested. He decided the abuse my fault for trying to be seductive and I should take the fall not my brother. That isn’t very logical in my opinion because I wasn’t the only one abused. It wasn’t a love affair, it was multiple victim incest. Anyway, I’m just trying to figure out if there’s more. How do I do that?

  4. I wanted your opinion. I am now 50 and grew up in an alcoholic home, one of my first memories is my mom kicking me in the face, I was molested at 12 by a minister (all day although some of the day escapes me), and married a man who was physically abusive with me and demanded sex all of the time. In fact, my doctor at the time would notice some tears.
    I entered therapy about a year ago and realize I don’t remember a lot of my childhood. Is it possible more happened to me than I remember? My emotions are thru the roof, my therapist often has to use grounding techniques to bring me back. He NEVER suggests anything but I am curious. Also, I went to a prophetess one night a few months ago and she “saw” the incident with my mom abusing me at 4 years of age but she also told me I suffered abuse in the crib but didn’t tell me what it was and I don’t remember that at all.
    I don’t know if I am just recovering from those few things that I lived through or if there is more I can’t remember but I also don’t want to be incorrect either. I just can’t imagine how I get so out of control with my emotions over the few things that have happened. Does that make sense? Thank you!

    1. Hi Catherine,

      Yes, there it is very common to forget memories when they are traumatic. Unfortunately, the “False Memory Syndrome Foundation”* (a group of people, many accused of being perpetrators) did a huge misinformation campaign about how memories cannot be repressed but this is not true at all. Also unfortunate that many therapist picked up on that theory without even realizing the group that it originated from. The way a person may deal with extreme trauma is to forget it. Like many soldiers coming back from Vietnam did not remember some of the horrors that they experienced. But your unconscious mind always remembers the incidents, its just that your conscious mind has yet to remember. The emotions that you are feeling are most likely emotions from the past abuse. Try reading “What to Do when You Feel Triggered” http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      It is great that you are healing.

      Amy

      This looks like an interesting article “False Memory Syndrome vs. Lying Perpetrator Syndrome: The Big Lie” http://www.angelfire.com/folk/amber000/false.html

  5. I’m 37 and have recently been working through these brain games to help create and fine tune new neural pathways. In the last few months, I’ve uncovered some unusual memories (verified as true) as well as other memories that are completely blocked. It seems significant that I have zero memories of my older brother Ken. I also didn’t realize I have the startle response until someone pointed it out to me that I need to be more aware of my surroundings. As I tell my folks about these memories coming through, their response is silence or quickly changing the subject. What I have remembered is that situations that are emotionally and visually overwhelming are literally blacked out (like a black shade pulled down over my eyes). It took a couple recent family events for me to make the connection all the way back to my childhood. What I have recollected is that there were two bullies in my immediate family who bullied me. I was bullied in elementary school (with blackouts occurring frequently), and as a a teenager and college student I had terrifying experiences – one of attempted murder, one of simple assault and sexual bullying (is that even a term?). My father told me each time how I asked for it, deserved it and got what was coming to me. I do not have any mental illnesses and am pretty much an introvert with just a couple friends – at that time. I don’t know if I was sexually abused, although my night terrors and flashbacks are pretty awful and include my father. I also have pretty bad panic attacks around my brother – no one else in the family has this effect on me. Whatever the break through is, I want it to just come so I can heal and move on. When I read your website, I was further impacted by hearing about PTSD, startle response – I hope to be learning more from you and your website. Thank you for sharing your story and helping the rest of us learn how to empower ourselves.

    1. It might be a good thing to distance yourself from your father and brother. A real dad, who acts like a real father would never tell his daughter he deserved such atrocities. Believe yourself. I will write more later in the week.

    2. Hi

      I am an adult survivor of incest. I was violently abused by my Father when I was around 8 (not sure of this) and also abused by my Mother. I am now in my 50s and I am still going round in circles. I can’t talk to my parents about it – it wouldn’t do any good anyway. I am off work on stress leave as I wasn’t coping – not sure how long that can go on before I am made redundant – but my health is the priority at the moment. Every day I am screaming, crying and angry. I have digestion and acid reflux problems. I am terribly anxious about just about everything. I have a counsellor – I think he is quite good but I am not sure I feel safe with him – probably need to talk about that. I have thought about killing myself, but I don’t want to do that. I do love myself but my parents have made my life almost impossible. I have had some good periods in my life when abuse was more or less suppressed. I want to get better but at the moment I don’t see how. Any suggestions would be good?

    3. It sounds like you have been talking to people about your memories who are not supportive people. I believe you. People do not make these kind of things up. Shame on your father for saying that you asked for it. What a horrible thing to do to your child. Your panic attacks sound like your body having emotional memories and trying to detox the trauma and warn you about your brother and your father.

      Again, I would like to support you in not being around your brother or father when they abused you, they lost the privilege to be around you. It is much easier to heal if you do not hang around people who abused you and it will most likely help your memories to detox as well.

      I would read the post “What to Do When You Feel Triggered” http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      Also try calling 1-800-656-HOPE. They should be validating, if they are not helpful try calling back or call another line until someone is helpful.

      It is awesome that you are remembering and beginning to heal and I am sorry that that happened to you. Always believe yourself.

      Also I am curious, what brain games are you doing? These games could help other survivors to remember and heal.

      Thank you for being empowered to share your story.

      Amy

  6. I don’t even know if I should talk about this because I am one of the lucky ones who didn’t really suffer from child abuse. I did have an episode in my life where something wasn’t right. I think I was 11 years old. I was home from school with my brothers because of a snow day. Dad stayed home with us that day. My dad decided he needed to talk to me about the birds and the bees. He asked me to come into his bedroom and he talked about everything in pretty awkward detail. Then he dropped his pants and sat next to me as he explained how the male penis worked. He took my hand…(Blogger edited out explicit parts) I am not sure 100% if he molested me or not, but it didn’t seem right. I think there are other ways more proper to teach one’s daughter the birds and the bees story. I am kind of embarrassed to share this since I wasn’t molested, but I just had to get that off my chest.

      1. Hi Lindsey,
        Yes, your father did molest you, that is what you just described in your story. He is the person who should be humiliated, embarrassed and ashamed, not you. It could be healthy to call a rape crisis hotline usually they are helpful to talk to about child sexual assault, which is what happened to you. If you are in the States you can call 1-800-656-HOPE. If the person is helpful that is great if not hang up and try again later or try another rape crisis line. The way to heal is to acknowledge that you were sexually assaulted.
        Amy

  7. I am now in my 30’s and it has taken me almost half my life to seek help from sexual abuse…and attempted rape from my brother (for almost 10 years), and another incident of…rape when I was 15. I became a mother when I was 28 and it was then that I had to stop running. I too traveled a lot and moved on every 6 months to a year, never really enjoying it or relaxing as I should have been. I was running from my family home as I could not deal with being around any of them. My relationship is strained with my parents and I can’t tell them about either incidents as I am scared to tear the family apart, although it is already broken. My brother has chosen a life of drugs and my Mum goes on about how he and his fiance are always asking for a food shop (they no longer give him money) and use their kids as a guilt trip for food but they can afford drugs and cigarettes. He causes my parents stress and if I told them what he used to do to me I am scared of their reaction. He has 2 girls and his oldest is almost 3 and she doesn’t speak and I am worried he is doing stuff to her and that is why. I am not sure if I should report him or not. (I am in the UK). I have just recently found the courage to speak to my fiance about it as my anger was tearing our relationship apart. I am waiting to see a therapist and I have had just 1 session from ‘Rape Crisis’ which has helped but has made me feel super teary and very sensitive. I have a lot of work ahead of me to heal and I am glad I have found you.
    Sorry for the blurt out I am still finding it difficult to talk/write about after keeping silent for so long.

    1. It shows your bravery to tell your story. Sorry it took me so long to respond, I have been out of town. (I inserted “…” instead of the details of the rape so as not to traumatize other survivors. I have decided to start doing that.) Of course you never relaxed or enjoyed the travel because your body was in the survival and hyper vigilant mode. If your family is truly strong then telling your truth cannot tear it apart. However if your family is stick together with illusions of closeness and weak love then nothing can really hold it together and telling your truth will only show the truth of your family.

      The other question to once again ask is “Who molested your brother?” People do not usually molest unless they have been molested and did that same person also have access to you? Around 85% of all drug addicts and alcoholics were molested as children.

      Because child molesters rarely stop molesting children on their own, there is a very good chance that he is molesting his children. Often when you start dealing with the abuse you will feel more sensitive and teary at first but this is good because you are allowing your feelings that have been stuck inside, the ones you have been running from to begin to detox from your body.

      It is great that you are no longer keeping your brother’s secret. It is powerful that you are breaking the silence. If you are tempted to take prescription drugs for this I would recommend continuing to allow your emotions to detox instead. Those drugs push those feelings back into your body as well as have other devastating side effects such as liver damage.

      You are strong. Keep listening to your inner knowledge.

  8. Hi There –

    So I was abused by my brother between the ages of 6 and 12. My brother admitted to the abuse and then my family pushed it under the rug and never said anything. My middle brother knows nothing about the abuse as we chose at that time not to say anything. My brother who abused lives up the street as I have wanted to make the relationship work. I hit rock bottom about a week ago and ended up in the hospital. I was convinced my parents would be the same way they were before and not be supportive. I received the opposite and they have been open to everything. I have been transferring all the hurt over to my mom, dad and brother. My question is how do you know that you have forgiven and is this the step that needed to be taken or are there other painful things I will need to work through?

    Rachel

    1. It shows that your family is not very healthy that they will push the abuse and your pain under the rug, in the first place. That is wrong. You need to be heard and understood and a healthy family would support you in that before you became desperate. Sometimes when things become more public, such as hospitalizations, families want to look good. You should be hurt from your mother and father not supporting you in the first place. And it is healthy to be angry at your brother who chose to rape you. By pushing the feelings inside, it only hurts yourself. Your middle brother though he may consciously know nothing about the abuse, on a subconscious level probably is aware of all of the abuse.

      Also as always, I need to ask who molested your brother and did the person who molested your brother have access to you as well? People rarely start sexually abusing others if they were not abused themselves first.

      When it comes to forgiveness please read “Do I Need to Forgive to Heal From Abuse?” http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/do-i-need-to-forgive-to-heal-from-abuse/

  9. What if you can’t remember the abuse, as I can not? I have gone to therapists. I have gone to a hypnotist. The last one I went to said there was no reason to remember the events, that it was irrelevant and harmful to remember, that if I still felt bad because of sexual abuse I suffered, it was because I chose to hang on to that for some reason and I should just let go. I thought, really? Is this what you tell women rape victims, that they just need to get over it? You seem to say that the toxic memories need to surface and be remembered, but I have honestly tried to remember and I can’t. I’m sure it’s because some part of my brain doesn’t want to, and that is why they were repressed in the first place. I just want to finally be free from this awful horrible grip of what was done to me. I know logically it wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t right, But why is there still pain and anguish and depression, and what can make it go away? My fear is that what you said is true, that one has to remember to heal, and I can’t make myself remember.

    1. I believe you. The likelihood of you thinking you were abused and not being abused is almost non-existent. I have also been to terrible therapist and a bad hypnotherapist. The hypnotherapist told me to picture a blank screen and when I said that I saw my dad raping me and then I asked how can i be so sick. She told me we could stop. She never bothered to validate me that what I saw could have been real. She instead let me feel like I was sick to think about being sexual with my dad (even though it turned out to be a real memory).

      It is good that you no longer go to the therapist that told you it is harmful to remember because that person sounds like a bad therapist. The therapist was using the “blame the victim” strategy by saying it is your fault that you are hanging onto the abuse and that is why you are feeling bad. The therapist was taking the side of the perpetrator and not your side. Shame on that therapist. If you feel like it, write a review for that therapist so that you can warn others about what a terrible therapist he/she is.

      How can you let go of something you have yet to remember? Yes, toxic memories do need to surface to heal because the emotions that you are feeling are part of the memories screaming to be heard. The more you stuff them down the more they scream to be heard. How can you let go of an emotion that is attached to a memory that as been repressed? Even though you have yet to remember the abuse you are feeling the emotions that are linked to the repressed memories. When you remember the events of the rape you can begin to release the traumatic emotions that you are holding onto. The book “Artist’s Way” by Julia Camerom, helped me begin to remember and so did listening to “The Courage to Heal” on tape. (Unfortunately it is only on cassette but it is worth getting a cassette player for it, I like the tape much better than the book.)

      Another tool that can help to remember is http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      Do not force yourself to remember but instead, allow yourself to feel how you feel and know that you will remember, there is an unconscious part of you that never forgot. Also if there are some people in your life that you feel may have been perpetrators, ask yourself if you want to distance yourself from them for a little bit, just as you begin to remember.

      Of course, a part of you does not want to remember the abuse, which is why you forgot it in the first place. But a part of you knows the truth. Also feel to call the rainn hotline at 800-656-hope, if the counsellor is helpful that is great, some are not, so if you are not being helped, hang up and try again later or try another hotline.

      Also try http://www.malesurvivor.org/ You are not alone, so many others have been abused and they have healed and so will you.

  10. My mom divorced my father when I was 8 years old, leaving him for a man who sexually abused me for nearly 2 years between the ages of 9 and 11. The main thing I remember was sitting out at the bus stop with him in the winter time. He would explain to me in detail how he made love to my mom that night, all while I held his erect penis to “keep my hands warm.” He also would touch my body, which I hated so much that every chance I could spend with my real dad I did. By the time I was 12 I had more of a say with who I stayed with. My mom didn’t care much about me anyways, she was just worried about finances so much. My dad never remarried, and as I grew older his eyes and hands began focusing on my body. I began thinking this is just what happens between fathers and daughters, since both my step dad and real dad were touching me. Then, December 26, 2000, the night that changed my life forever happened. I was 12 years old. We had opened gifts and sat down for a movie together. His hands were all over me, and soon found his way into my pants. This was the furthest my dad had ever gone with me. I was scared, but accepted it. By the end of the movie he had my clothes off and eventually had sex with me, right there on the couch. I thought my step dad was awful! He only molested me for 2 years. My biological dad raped me for 6!

    1. Hi Morgan,

      What happened to you from your “dads” is not normal or ok. A healthy father would love his daughter so deeply that he would want to beat the crap out of anyone that would ever do what your “dads” did to you or at least make sure that they were arrested.

      It is your mother that is the common denominator in this situation. She was a sick person not to care about you mother instinctively love their children and want to protect them, your mother buried her instincts and love long ago. She also was attracted to pedophiles, as she married both your “dad” and your stepdad. It is brave for you to tell your story and shame on your family. How dare they assault a child.

      I highly recommend that you call 800-656-hope and talk with someone about the abuse and you can talk with them to help you to plan what steps you would like to take to heal from the abuse and how you would like your life to look after you heal. If they are not helpful, hang up and try again later. Some counselors are great and others are terrible.

      Amy

  11. hi.. im Arif and im from Indonesia..
    recently my girlfriend confess to me that she was sexually harassment by her childhood neighbour n her friend. that was happened in her very young age, around 7 yo and no one knows it until now she told me, her age is 30 now. i feel so helpless and dont know what to do, because i dont have any knowledge about this matter and im sure she has some traumatic memories. i love very much and i want her to be my future wife.. please tell what to do..

    im sorry for my bad grammar..

    1. Hi Arif,

      First I would like to commend you for your compassion and reaching out. She will be ok and she will heal from this, the first step is her being able to tell her story which she told you. You are not helpless, the fact that you listened to her and believed her is very supportive to her. It is also very important that you take care of yourself because it is not easy hearing that horrible things happened to a person that you love.

      I will write more later but I wanted to also tell you that there is are hotlines that you and/or your girlfriend can reach out for help, since the one in Indonesia seems to be disconnected I would go to http://www.rainn.org/get-help/sexual-assault-and-rape-international-resources and start calling numbers, they can be very helpful in dealing with abuse. If the person who is the talking to you is not helpful, I would hang up and try another number.

      I will write more later.

      Amy

      1. Hi Arif,

        Sorry that it took me so long to get back to you. You are right that there are most likely traumatic memories but those when released should eventually heal. I personally would make sure that no matter how harsh the emotions are to not take any prescription drugs because they push down the feeling that need to detox and the side effects of all drugs on the market are depression and suicide.

        I just spoke to the Rifka Annisa Women’s Crisis Center and she said you can try calling 0274-553333 extension 22 or 23. I have not used their services so I do not know how helpful they are but it is a good start. If they feel helpful, then I would work with them if not keep looking. Please keep me posted if the Center was helpful or not. If not I will see if I can locate another resource.

        But please remember that she will heal as long as she can release the traumatic memories and there is no reason why she cannot release the traumatic memories.

        Amy

  12. i too have a story like everyone else. i find it hard to get past where i am – depression cycles, but anger as well. i have young children so i then punish myself with guilt as i think i am a negative parent. the worst self esteem ever.

    ohhh well. such is life. i have not told my family about my abuse. it was my mothers father – i am more than thinking, i know i have to tell her so i can move on, but ? then i am having pre guilt feelings about how she will react. oh well, i will build up the courage to do it. i have tried therapists a few times but obviously not ready, this time hopefully i can jump that hurdle and make it to the other side. i have had my first session a couple weeks ago. like most, i want the problem gone yesterday.

    i too tried antidepressants and reacted straight away with more an ever panic attacks and took myself to the hospital. i thought i would kill myself although did not want to hurt myself, if that makes sense… most medication is out for me. i cant even take the pill, that makes me even more depressed. i opted to try st johns wort this time, but huhh, dullness.

    i am still a victim on my quest to becoming a survivor. am scared of the process and sometimes wish i did not start it but know i would be in a darker place if i didnt. i just want to be happy.

      1. Because you are healing and are conscious of the abuse, I have a very hard time believing that you are the worst parent ever. Your mother and father, however, sound like they qualify being the some of the worst parents, ever.

        Your depression and anger are your emotions from the past abuse popping up in the present. These will detox out of your body the more you work on healing from the abuse. Try reading http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

        It is your choice whether or not to confront your mother or father. If you need to do it for yourself, then go for it but do not expect your parents to admit that they abused you because statistically speaking the chances are very slim that they will admit it. But if you need to confront them for yourself and you can live with any response that they have to you, including trying to make you look like your are crazy, then do it. Perpetrators frequently try to make their victims look crazy. You can tell the truth and listen to their most likely sick response. Their response, although most likely will not be admitting any guilt may give you more clues about them and your history.

        It may not be that you are not ready for a therapist, it could be that you have picked a therapist that has not done enough healing on themselves to be ready to help you. There are tons of messed up therapists out there. Of course, everyone wants to be healed now but it is a process, I do not believe that it has to take your whole life but it does take some time. Listen to your intuition, does this therapist feel like a good fit to you? In my healing process, for every therapist I have ever gone to, I have probably interviewed and rejected around 25. I am very picky but that has helped my healing, a bad therapist can make you feel worse not better and a good therapist is invaluable. But even if you have an excellent therapist, keep listening to your intuition because no one is perfect and not every suggestion will be right for you.

        Panic attacks are a side effect of all anti depressants and anti psychotics on the market. This is because these drugs are doing physical damage to your body. Other known side effects are liver damage, depression, suicidal ideation, brain damage which can cause tardive dyskinesia (involuntary facial movements), just to name a few and SSRIs can also cause homicidal ideation. A great article about the problems with drugs is at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/11/it-prozac-or-placebo

        I would take all medicine out. The worst part is that while you are detoxing off of the medicine, you can feel worse then when you are taking the full doses. Which is why many people are re-diagnosed with “chemical imbalance” while going off of the drugs. Therapists mistake the detoxing for “chemical imbalance”, even though drugs such as Paxil, have “severe discontinuation syndrome” (withdrawals) even written as a side effect. It frequently looks the same when a alcoholic detoxes, even though they looked awful drinking, they look worse detoxing and these drugs are far more toxic than alcohol. I would recommend not even using St. John’s Wort, your body wants to detox from the emotions of your trauma, St. John’s Wort stuffs those feelings back down, and then the feelings scream louder to be heard. Part of my interview process when looking for a therapist, is asking if they believe in using those drugs and if they do, I do not go to them. To me that means that they do not have the tools to help me to heal but that eliminates most therapists.

        The fact that you wrote this shows that you are a survivor and not a victim, you will be happy. Keep allowing your body to detox the emotions, even in a way like it is someone else’s movie.

        If you need to talk with anyone 24/7 and you are in Australia, you can call 1800 737 732 and if for any reason the person on the hotline is not helpful, hang up and try again or try another hotline. There are Australian helpful links at http://www.aifs.gov.au/acssa/crisis.html

        1. I thank you for your reply.

          I didnt not even think about refusing some therapists! But it makes sense. Sorry if it was worded incorrectly, it was my grandfater – mothers, father.

          I believe the medicine is not good… I will try your ideas when i feel a trigger. One day at a time and yes – i am a survivor, need to transition my thoughts from being the victim.

          I will keep the ph numbers if i need them and think that just your reply gives acknowledgement, esp having such low self image.

          Thank you…

          1. I was also told that the ‘medicine’ is to help while u heal and all the garbage is regurgitated as ur body reacts, it doesnt feel it – then u ween off them….

            1. Yes, unfortunately, they tell a ton of people that the “medicine” will help, but usually it is not the case. When it does help, it is the placebo effect as shown by the FDA studies themselves. It is sad that most doctors and therapists are extremely miseducated r=when it comes to pharmaceuticals, probable because the pharmaceutical industry are the people who educate them and tell them how great their product is.

              This is an interesting clip about the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry that is in charge of whether or not the drugs that they will profit from will be approved. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f56-7qB08cA

          2. Your welcome. With those phone numbers, you don’t need to be in a super bad place to call them. If you need help healing or advise on confronting your grandfather, they can help you to work out a plan. Many of them also have therapists that specialize in abuse that they can connect you with but again, listen to your intuition. Even if other people say they are the best therapists ever, they may or may not be the best therapists for you.

    1. I do the same thing with my feelings about my parenting. I lie in bed at night and the guilt hits, I remember every sharp word, every missed opportunity to praise, notice them etc. I “confess” my list of “sins” to my husband and I feel so sorry for my kids, but maybe I should feel sorry for myself. I never thought of it as a punishment before, but it seems exactly that, I feel that since I have been “bad” I need to tell on myself and be punished( by feeling guilty, bad ) just for having regular human flaws I feel so guilty

  13. Hey, am 22, from india. My dad is the best dad in the world. I love him a lot. But by the time i was twenty i get flash backs of some terrible things. . I aways felt he was partial, he doesnt love me the way he loves my brother. I tried to point out but was always called narrow minded, selfish, demanding by my brother and mom. Those nights seemed to have been edited or removed from my memory but recently they come to the surface. Its so hard and horrible, to realise that something lik that had happened, and that may be am right about the way i feel. As a teenager whenever i confided of how my family doctor, a stranger on the road was inappropriate towards me, my dad would make me give all details, he would even question me and finally conclude that i was lying. My mom always has been dr for me but if my dad said somethin it was out of her reach to go beyond him. I never felt protected, cared for ever in my life. The way my dad would conclude that i was lying had an adverse effect on my esteem, dignity, and today when someone makes an inappropriate approach, i question myself. Is it really the way i think it or am i making up things, i trusted my dad more than myself, so may be when he said i was lying somethin inside me twisted. Then one night of abuse with my mom sleeping in between, i was so naive i dint even know tat it was wrong. But today i cant stop from thinkin what a Slut i was. Everything is messed up. . I feel cheated, decieved . . Trapped in my own world of secrets. He did all these things to me because he hated me or because its the reason of his hatred. He is a drunkard.my family seperated twice, the trauma in itself was immense. I dont hold any GRUDGEs against him, i explaini to myself that its not the way i see. . Psychologically i am in the middle of nowhere. Wandering between two diff roles, of being a victim , then a daughter who loves her dad misses him every day, yearns for his presence. Its been more than a year since i last talked to him. My mum has no idea my complex mind. I smile make everyone laugh, but inside i am blank, have no identity, my dad abused my mom because he thinks am a bastard. Such accusations, acts of cruelty and my own thought of myself , give me no reason to be alive. . It burns my soul to be where i am. I am hurting, overweight, as my brother says”useless, incapable of nothin”. I never had any man hug me, protect me, have never had boyfriends infact i feel all boys repel me. I am so desperate to be consoled, to be once told that its not my fault because from morning to evening my insides scream. . Help me. Pls.

    1. Hi Rini,

      I am so sorry about the technical delay, it’s been very frustrating for me trying to fix everything.

      It can be really hard when you also have great memories with your father. It is so healthy that you are remembering and believing yourself. You also need to ask yourself if it is truly loving for your mother and brother to call you selfish and demanding for only wanting something every child should have which is health unconditional love from their parents. And it is so important to healing and also shows your strength that you realized you edited part of your memories. In order to survive in an unhealthy family, it was a coping mechanism to edit out your memories. But it is important to realize that by allowing your memories to come to the surface it is your body’s way of detoxing from the trauma.

      You are right about the way you feel and no child should ever be treated horribly, all children deserve to be loved. That is very violating, inappropriate and voyeuristic that your father wanted details of the assault. A healthy father would have been outraged that this happened to his daughter and would want justice not details. A healthy father would also believe his daughter and do anything that he could to protect his daughter.

      You deserved to be cared for, protected and loved. Your father sounds like a vey sick man but the little girl inside of you had to lie to yourself, telling yourself that your dad was the best dad in the world but unfortunately he is not. Your father is very sick, ant father who does not love and protect his children is sick.

      When your dad said that you were a liar, he was projecting onto you who he was, your dad is a liar. It is now time to take back your esteem, your dignity and listen to your intuition. Your father had no right to take any of that away from you. A healthy dad would want his daughter to have great self esteem and dignity. When someone is inappropriate to you again you can say to yourself (if this helps) this person is being just as inappropriate as my dad.

      It is common for survivors to think that they are making these things up. No one wants to acknowledge that our parents who are suppose to protect us instead caused us such harm but in order to heal we must listen to the memories that want to come up to be heard, so that these memories can detox out of our bodies. You were taught to trust your dad more than yourself, children are taught to do that, but it is now time to trust yourself more than your dad. You dad is twisted not you. I am so sorry your mother did not stop the abuse. Shame on your mother. You are not a slut, your dad is a pedophile and he preyed on you.

      By writing this post, you are leaving the world of secrets. Perpetrators quite often blame their victims and hate their victims but that is your dad’s sickness not yours. Alcoholics also blame everyone but themselves for their problems.

      I think it could be very healthy that you let yourself feel the anger and grief that you have from the abuse rather than running to not hold a grudge right now. reading my post “Do I Need to Forgive to Heal” http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/do-i-need-to-forgive-to-heal-from-abuse/ might be helpful. It is so important to allow yourself to be angry or grief or whatever you feel rather than not holding a grudge, because if you don’t detox those emotions they will keep popping out at other times when you get triggered.

      You also may want to read “What to do When You Feel Triggered” http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      It will help you to acknowledge and detox your emotions from the abuse and begin to regain your core being.

      Of course you miss your dad, but he was never a real dad because real dads do not abuse their children. Good for you for not talking with your dad, that also takes a ton of strength and courage. We are taught that no matter what we should speak with our parents but frequently, if we were abused it is healthier not to talk with our parents. From what I understand, it would take even more strength if you are in India because of all of the cultural pressure to be with your family. I commend you for your strength.

      You are not blank inside, it just may feel that way because you have been stuffing down who you are to live how other wanted you to live. There is so much reason for you to be alive, you matter. You will heal. (As I read the end of your post just now, I feel terrible that it took me so long to respond, I was working on technical issues and had not read your entire post until now) You will inspire others to heal also. Shane on your dad for also abusing your mother, it is hard to see so much abuse but you have already been through the worst of it. Now is time to detox and you will inspire others but now take care of yourself. What type of loving human being like your brother calls their sister useless? Please do what you need to do to also stop talking with your brother and also possibly your mother, you only deserve people in your life who love and respect you. Your brother sounds like he is also saying about you what he actually feels about himself. Stop listening to people who do not support you. At first it may seem lonely but soon you will find loving people in your life. You will have a man love, hug and protect you but first you need to heal. Boys repel you right now because they are triggering your memories and emotions from the abuse.

      What you can do right now is go to this link for private online help http://apps.rainn.org/ohl-bridge/
      I tried to find rape crisis hotlines in India but could not find any but if you have a long distance calling card or even Skype on your computer cellphone that you can use you can go to http://www.rainn.org/get-help/sexual-assault-and-rape-international-resources and just keep calling until yo find someone who is helpful. These people can console you and listen to you, if one person on the hotline, keep calling until you get help that is helpful to you.

      You have come this far and the abuse was the worst of it, although it feels horrible now, it is the emotional memories from the abuse that you already survived that is coming up now. Any time you hear a lie about yourself, which would be anytime that you tell yourself something bad about you, stop and say, “This is a lie that I was taught about myself, it’s not true I am (then put in something nice about yourself).

    2. Hi rini, I can relate to a lot of what you feel…. When I started remembering it was so hard because I had been so close to my dad, he really did so much for me in my life but hey he also raped me in bed at night and unlike him I can’t ignore that…. A lot of confusion, but now I don’t talk to him and I don’t miss it one bit. Don’t miss any of his advice which I now see as a way to keep me under his control. I miss the feeling of having a normal happy family but it was an illusion, it was never real.

  14. I so impressed with the fact that your reaching out to other survivors. I am a survivor of sexual abuse and I feel so alone. I don’t feel like other people really understand the struggles I’m going thru. I’m really struggling with depression and it makes it really hard for me. But anyways I’m just want to tell you keep up ur great work.

    1. Sorry about the delayed response, I was going through some technical issues. There are so many other people who are survivors of abuse and the ones who are healing or have healed will understand. People not i=understanding shows their sickness not yours. People who do not want to acknowledge sexual abuse probably have a bunch of their own problems and are probably not the healthiest people to be around. Depression can be the repressed sadness from the abuse trying to be heard, it keeps screaming louder until it is heard. (Depression is also a known side effect of all prescription anti depressants and anti psychotics on the market, so for people who are depressed drugs can be a double whammy).

      Please reach out and call a 1-800-656-hope and as always if the person answering the phone is not helpful hang up and try another hotline. There are also rape crisis counselling centers that give free counselling (again counselling is only good is the person is helpful, even if it is free, keep looking around until you find helpful help) You will not have to live with your past emotions being triggered in the present forever.

      Thanks for your post and your compliment, it is greatly appreciated.

      1. Thanx for the response. I am seeing a therapist right now and let me tell you it’s no picnic dealing with the trauma but I’m working hard. Maybe you could set up a group for survivors online were we can come to get stregth. Thanx.

        1. Good for you, for doing the work, it takes a lot of strength. I think that there has got to be some online forum that is already out there. I’ll look around. If anyone has one that they like please post it.

      1. Also, if you feel the urge to talk with or be around unsupportive people in your family, you can make the choice to call 800-656-hope instead and hopefully talk with supportive volunteers instead. If they are not supportive hang up and try another hotline or try again later seeing if you will get a more supportive person.

  15. Yesterday was a better day and then bam it hit me..my dad called and i had to go take him sumwhere. Part of me dont want to hav n e thing to do wit him but then its my dad. Im scared tht when all the memories cum up tht i wont b able to hav any kind of relationship wit him. Its gettn harder to pretend. And now when making lov to my husband im having flash backs and not able to giv my husband what he needs becuz of the memories. I knw it was my dad who done it. And then my two cousins as well. I hate trying to force the memories away when for sum reason they are trying to resurface and i jus want them to go away.

    1. I would highly recommend not speaking with your dad for a while, a person who is a real dad does not sexually assault his children. Pretending only helps the perpetrator and not the victim. It is not your job to take your dad anywhere. He violated you. You need to fire yourself from the job of taking care of your dad. It is not your job to take care of him. Even if you agreed to take care of him, you need to unagree. If after the memories have come up and you have detoxed from them, then you can make a conscious choice of whether or not you want your dad back in your life. You deserve to have great days, it seems that right now having your dad in your life is an act of self sabatoge. It is normal to have flashbacks triggered from many things. Forcing the memories away only makes the memories scream louder to be heard, you need to allow your memories to detox.

  16. Hi Amy,
    You have given very supportive advice and good ideas for healing in your comments.
    I started recovering memories about two years ago and had a very intense frightening, ’emergency stage’ where I couldnt shower alone, left the light on for sleeping. My husband took off from work to care for our children.
    Now, the progress is much slower… My question is about disgust, as opposed to fear. Disgust is what I am most afraid of feeling, and often. Won’t let a memory come up because I am afraid it will be disgusting and I won’t tolerate it. There is some connection here to bugs, cockroaches etc, I have huge reactions to them, and they come up in my thoughts, the disgust about them is unbearable. Is the something most people experience, or something tels me it may be connected to my abuse but in what way??
    So far, I remember being abused by my father and grandfather, unfortunately I know there is still more to remember. My mothe doesn’t believe me, my siblings do but have not cut off contc with m dad as I have.

    1. Hi Cathy,

      My guess would be that there is a second layer of memories that you need to remember that deals with bugs. The good news is that once you remember those memories, that is most likely the reason for your progress slowing down. Remembering those memories should help your progress in detoxing those memories. The reason that I believe that they are repressed memories is that the extreme disgust is actually the emotions from the memory that you are still repressing.

      This set of memories may be very odd and you will need to believe yourself as they come up. You may want to separate the extreme emotions by having yourself feel like it is someone else’s movie that you are watching as they come up. You can try the exercise at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ when the feelings of disgust come up. Or you can even think about bugs and then do that exercise.

      And I would like to commend you for cutting off contact with the people in your family who do not support you. That takes courage and shows your strength.

      If you need additional support and you are in Australia, you may want to try calling 1-800-424-017. If for any reason the volunteer is not helpful, DO NOT take it personally, hang up and try again or go to http://rainn.org/get-help/sexual-assault-and-rape-international-resources and try to talk with another hotline. The problem usually is with a specific volunteer and not the entire organization.

      1. Thanks Amy. The problem is that I just can’t let the memories come up . I am too afraid of what they will be. Also I am afraid that I will be like stuck forever in that event/memory, likeits forever happening, if you know what I mean, I had that once whe I tried to do a really bad one (bugs again), and it didn’t process at all, just kept on coming up indifferent ways always horrible, Never ending… It’s like I put myself through the horror of reliving it and it didn’t help anything.

        1. Can you help me with this? Has anyone else experienced a memory that won’t process… Feels ongoing, like a part of me is eternally experiencing that horror?

          1. Hi Cathy,

            People have had that experience of being stuck in a memory. But there are reasons for that, that may have to do with the original abuse and how you were abused. I will write more later but I did want to leave a short response.

          2. What I am about to post, may sound very strange but unfortunately I have heard of cases where this has occurred. Sometimes the perpetrator can purposely condition the survivor, so that if they remember the abuse, they will get stuck in an emotional memory. This is done to hurt the survivor and also keep them from remembering more abuse. This is rare but it does occasionally occur.

            The reason that I believe that this could be a possibility in your case, is being stuck in the emotion and the bug memories that you have yet to remember. If you can find a person who is good at working with survivors with a lot of abuse and who is not a prescription drug pusher, I believe that could be very helpful. They are rare as well but they do exist.

            The hotline may be a start to possibly find a good counselor. On your quest to find a good counselor always listen to your intuition. Unfortunately, not all people in the helping proffessions are good people.

            There is a book that I think may be helpful. Post if you would like the title.

            1. Yes I do want the title, thanks. I once bought safe passage to healing but the stories were too awful to bear, had to get it out of the house. How would that type of conditioning have been done? How do i recover from that? I have had one bad experience with a therapist who was very supportive but not skilled or professional enough. Had a lot of transference which was embarrassing, confusing, painful. Now I on off see someone who is free, which is great because I dont feel they are using me, but a few things make me uncomfortable. It’s my only option bc therapy is so expensive and I don’t know anyone else

              1. Hi Cathy,

                Sorry for my delayed response, I am having technical issues with my website and I did not want my response to vanish.

                I was going to recommend that book, the second half where it talks about healing has been helpful to many survivors that I spoke with.

                The emotion flooding could have been done with the use of extreme abuse. So that every time that you start to remember, which is usually a good way to heal, the memories of extreme abuse and emotions that come up with it flood the body.

                This abuse to you would have been done to prevent you from healing, which is why having “Safe Passage to Healing” could also have been more of a trigger, then helpful. Though some of the stories in the book are terrifying, many survivors have been able to just read the parts of the book that are not terrifying and are healing.

                You also may have been conditioned through the abuse to have transference in therapy. The people who abused you, did not want you to remember the extreme abuse but people have remembered and have healed but it takes working with a person who is a really good at working with abuse survivors and who knows how to deal with this type of abuse. And also a therapist who is not as I said before a prescription drug pusher.

                I would see if there is a way to, when you feel the emotional flooding, try to separate yourself from the extreme flooding of emotions, like you are putting yourself into another person’s movie and seeing it from a distance. That way the emotions and experiences can come up and detox without being as triggering. There may be all sorts of conditioning that you went through to make remembering and detoxing, trigger other bad feelings, so if one comes up after you think you have detoxed from something else, remember that this may have been conditioned during your extreme abuse.

                Do not blame yourself for being triggered in therapy, a really great therapist should know how to handle the transference, so who you went to was obviously not a really great therapist, if they made you feel bad about it or did not help you to heal. Problem is that most therapists have not idea how to help ritual abuse survivors.

    1. You can say whatever you want to tell him. Most likely, even if he did abuse you, he will deny it. So if you want to confront him to figure out if he abused you, he will most likely not tell you. However, I did ask my dad a few times if he molested me, and how he responded, did help give me clues to the fact that my dad was the perpetrator. One time that I asked him if he molested me, he told me about how the kids down the street molested him in great detail but he refused to call what the kids did to him molestation. Another time he responded that he would not do that because he always loved me and another time he screamed at me.

      You may want to figure out what you would like to get out of confronting your dad? You can call the 1-800-656-hope and talk with them to help you figure out what you want to get out of confronting your dad and if you still want to confront him, they can listen to you and help you to figure out exactly how you want to confront him. As always, if the person who answers the phone is not helpful, hang up and try again or call a different sexual assault hotline, you can find a list at http://centers.rainn.org/ or you can call the same hotline and ask when someone else will be on call.

  17. I hate tha days when the memories come like a flood and make u sick to ur stomach. U think u ha. Remembered it all and then bam…u remember somethng brand new. At 30 it dont get no easier…y now? Y is it bothering me after all these years?

    1. I think it can get better. If you think of the memories coming up as a detox. Also distancing yourself from the memories, viewing them like they are another person’s movie. If the memories start to take you with too many emotions, what I have found helpful is to breath deeply and reach out for help. The other problem is that sometimes people that we are seeking counseling from are not as good as they should be and they trigger more memories and make us, as survivors, feel more out of control rather than in control of our lives. The raimn.org hotline could be a great resource hen you are triggered. It is 1-800-656-hope. If the volunteer who answers is helpful that is great, if not hang up and try again.

  18. When I was 11 I went into a changing room after boating and my dad was changing his clothes. I saw everything, wanted to leave but he told me it was okay and to change while he waited outside. I did, then when I got outside he talked about me seeing him naked. He asked me to describe what I saw and asked me if I ever saw a penis before. I didn’t want to talk about it and finally he dropped the subject. About a day later while alone in the car with him he asked me if I wanted to touch his penis. I said no. He encouraged me a few more times then dropped the subject again. About a week later I was in the car again, talking to my dad. He again brought up the incident from the week before and told me if I didn’t touch him he would ask me everyday until I did. He took my hand and wrapped it around his penis for about 10 seconds. I wanted to die from embarrassment. Finally he let go of my hand and asked what I thought. I didn’t think about it at the time but I know now I was molested.

    1. I am so sorry to hear that your dad molested you. He was the person who was suppose to protect you. It shows that you are healing to acknowlledge that your dad violated your trust and violated you. No child deserves that. All children are suppose to be protected and cherised by their parents. If you ever need to talk with someone 1-800-hope has volunteers there to listen to survivors 24/7. Some of the hotline volunteers are very supportive and others are not. So if you happen to feel that you are not getting what you need from the call, hang up and try again, or go to RANN.org and try another hotline. If it is not in your area and they ask you where you live you may want to say that you prefer not to say, you just really want to talk with someone.

  19. I have to say, that NOT all perpetrators have been victims. When I confronted my brother about abusing me and my younger sister, and specifically asked if he had ever been molested, he said “NO,” that he had just been a horny guy, and that is why he molested me and my younger sister. Some people are wired to not feel empathy and guilt, so they just do whatever they want, with no regard to how it affects others. Narcissists are highly likely to commit sexual abuse, for example.

    1. Just because he said “NO” does not mean that he was not abused. He may not remeber it or not want to acknowllegde it. My dad told that that he was not sexually abused but then told me a story in great detail of being molested when he was a little boy. He again repeated that he was not moloested because he did nat want to call his sexual assault molestation. He was in denial, which many perpetraitors are in denial. He would not call his raping sexual assault or rape either.

    2. Dear Anne -I also ripped out the arcitle in People Magazine tracked down a local training in Washinton DC. I attended a Stewards For Children training this morning. The presenter was Michele Booth Cole, Executive Director of Safe Shores at the DC Childrens Advocacy Center. She facilitated a great training, that had me both concerned and inspired.I am hoping to take it one step further and become a trainer myself for Stewards For Children. I just wanted to say Thank You, Anne for your mission, and for all you are doing to keep children safe. Count me in, to join you on this journey!Sincerely,-Hilary Boboshko, LGSWSilver Spring, Md

  20. Hi, thank you for providing a place for survivors to post.

    My brother, 8 years older than me, started molesting me when I was 9 years old. The abuse continued, until I was old enough and strong enough to tell him to leave me alone, around age 19. When someone is routinely molested, from a young age, they become conditioned to think it is normal, even though it felt “icky” and wrong, and was extremely damaging to me, in the short-term, and the very long-term. My brother had gotten me to keep his secret, for decades.

    When my younger sister and I were in our 20s, we confessed to each other. Our brother had started in on her, when she was only 7, and it continued until she was at least 20. I have suffered from PTSD, GAD (General Anxiety Disorder,) panic attacks and depression, since I was around the age the abuse started. My dad once made me take a shower, with him, when I was about 8, and no one else was home. (He died when I was 11.) He did not touch me, but the shower was ostensibly so he could teach me how to wash myself properly. I was terrified of my dad, as he was physically, emotionally and verbally abusive, and an alcoholic. The experience felt like sexual abuse, as well, because it was secretive, and very inappropriate.

    My younger sister has never been able to work through her abuse and damage, and she is a licensed psychologist, MFCC. She has hardly ever admitted the abuse to anyone, including me, only 2 other people, and had never confronted her abuse, in the required therapy, to get her license, and she finally had a major PTSD experience, and sought some help, but I don’t know for how long, probably only for a short time. Our relationship has deteriorated so much, she has admitted a self diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, which thankfully helped me to understand a lot about her behavior. She feels safe to blame me for all of her childhood pain, a projection, because she can’t process the real source of the major damage to her life, and she knows I am safe, as a scapegoat. She is also an alcoholic, and very unpredictable, and has a hair trigger temper.

    I have two siblings that most certainly suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The molester brother, and my older sister. They are both wretched people, and people I will not continue to allow in my life. My mom, whom I was very close to just passed away, this summer. I am grieving, not only my mom, but my whole family. Now that my mom is gone, I will be letting go of at least these 2 siblings, but possibly all four, including my younger sister, who I really do love, in spite of her disordered behavior and alcoholism.

    I told the other, non-molesting brother, the facts of my abuse, and my sister’s abuse, so as to explain some of her behavior. I feel she doesn’t deserve for me to keep her abuse secret, given how she projects all of her issues on to me, and has not faced her real damage. I am her scapegoat, for life, and I am tired of it. It actually doubles the harm my brother did me, as my sister is abusive and very unstable, and she has not done her work, even though she is a therapist. I spent 4 years in therapy, and have worked hard to overcome the tremendous damage, to who I am, and what I can cope with, in the world.

    I told my older sister, just about my brother abusing me, but not about my younger sister. Both the siblings I told have had unacceptable responses, and I do NOT feel supported, at all. They treat my brother like nothing ever happened. Well, my perpetrator brother threatened suicide, if I told, so I did not, for a very long time. So, I did tell my other brother, and my older sister, that the perpetrator had threatened suicide, if I told, so I guess THEY will now be keeping his secret.

    Now, I really do not care if he were to off himself, actually not a high risk, for a Narcissist, and if he did actually do it, that is on him, not me. I continue to carry the effects of the deep damage, and I will be 52, this year. I am working to let go, and become stronger and stronger, in my life. All of my closest friends know my history. It IS healing to unbottle the secret, but I am careful with who I tell, anyway.

    I wish I could do something to get some kind of pay-back, from my brother. The statutes-of-limitation for civil suits for sexual abuse, when there is proof, (the years of therapy, from age 32, for example, too many years ago to have plotted a false accusation,) should be completely open, for at least 50 years following the abuse. It can take a survivor YEARS and DECADES, to face the damage, and to open up their truth, meanwhile, the years of suffering and lack of ability to reach full life potential, due to the damage, is so far, endless.

    Anyway, thanks for reading my story. It is a relief that we can talk about these things, now. When I was around 29, a total stranger confessed being an incest survivor, and I admired her courage, but did not admit any of my experience, as I was just not ready to face how much it had harmed me. So glad I don’t have to keep my brother’s sick secrets, anymore. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for posting your story and your excellent comments. It shows your strength and all of the healing you have already done. I will reply with more later.

    2. Hi Sarah,

      Good for you for no longer keeping the secret. It is so important because it is not your secret to keep. Keeping the secret only keeps your brother’s shame held inside of you. And that’s his shame not yours. I once met a lady who was in her 90s and when I told her about the play that I was doing, my story of healing from incest, she told me that he same thing had happened to her. I was the first person she told. She had kept it secret for 80 years.

      I am glad that you and your sister were able to talk about it. In your family situation, it is not appropriate for a dad to force his daughter to take a shower with him. That is a violation. You already knew how to wash yourself at that time, so the shower was an abuse of you as a little kid. And it is great and shows how conscious you are by saying that it was inappropriate because you are right.

      It is totally normal to have PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks and depression because those are some of the horrible emotions that you felt when you were being abused and you had to stuff those back down. These emotions are coming up because they want to heal and detox out of your body. As long as you allow yourself to release those emotions and see which memories of abuse that they are from you will not have to live with those emotions forever. I used to suffer from the startle response nearly daily from PTSD, I cannot even remember the last time I had that response. I also used to have anxiety, panic attacks and depression but as I allow my emotions and memories to detox from my body, those symptoms left over from my abuse rarely occur but it is a process. You may find my post helpful http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      Judging by how you stated your emotions, including GAD, it would seem like you have had a “professional” diagnose you and probably recommend drugs to suppress those emotions. I highly recommend against those drugs because they push down the emotions that you need to release plus their side effects also cause anxiety, depression and much more. If you are already taking them though, you need to find a really good doctor or really good chinese herbalist, who can help you to detox from the drugs because going off of the drugs is like detoxing fro alcohol only much worse because the drugs are so toxic. You may feel much worse from detoxing them being on them. (Also, from what I have heard from other survivors, there is a good chance that the person or persons who recommended the drugs hears that you want to go off of them, many survivors have reported extremely hostile responses from the practitioners, including being screamed at.)

      I regards to your younger sister, even if she got help, it nay not have been good help. There are a lot of very messed up therapists, social workers, psychiatrists, etc. (also some very good ones). I am sorry to hear that she has blamed you for her problems but in a family that is so unhealthy unfortunately wrongly being blamed frequently happens. You may want to read the book “Family” by John Bradshaw, where he explains the structure and sick coping mechanisms of a dysfunctional family.

      I also must ask who abused your brother. When children sexually assault other children, they are acting out their abuse. Even if you ask your brother and he says he was not abused, that does not mean that he has not blocked out his own abuse. It is such an important question to ask, because the person who abused your brother could have also abused you. Also when you can see that everyone in your family has issues including Narcissistic Personality Disorder, really points to there is a very good chance that the perpetrator who molested your brother molested everyone in your family. It could be a memory that you have yet to remember. It could also be a memory that you do not want to remember. But it is really important to remember in order to heal. You can also allow yourself to remember in a more gentle way, like remembering your past distant from yourself, like you are watching a movie.

      I am sorry to hear about your mother’s death, it is hard to loose a loving mother. And again it shows your health that you are grieving for not just your mother, but the family that you never had. It is fine and sometimes healthier to love dysfunctional people from a distance. Just because you choose to not talk to them, does not mean that you do not love them.

      Good for you for telling about all of the abuse, secrets keep perpetrators safe. It is never ok for a person to be used as a scapegoat. It is not surprising that your sister is not working, it seems, from what you wrote that she has a hard time functioning. It is probably also good that she does not work, because until she heals, she would probably not be a very good therapist.

      It is very common for the entire family to be sick, so your sibling not be supportive is not unusual. It is very sad not to have a real family. But it is great that you can see your siblings for who they really are and not subject yourself to further abuse. Threatening suicide is a very common and manipulative thing that perpetrators threaten. But that is your brother’s problem, not yours. It shows how sick your brother is. Again it is great that you do not keep secrets.

      From reading your post, I can tell that you are strong and are doing a great job of healing. You are very conscious of who is healthy and not healthy and that you only deserve healthy people in your life. Good for you.

      Each state has a different statute of limitations for prosecuting child sexual abuse. For example Nebraska just ended its statute of limitations for child sexual abuse in 2004. If it turns out that you can still prosecute in your state, I would recommend, taking some time to decide, what outcome you want from prosecuting your brother. Victims advocates frequently have a lot of experience in what it can be like to prosecute a perpetrator. You can find your local victim advocate by calling 800-656-hope and that hotline should connect you to a local resource center. (As I have mentioned before, some people who volunteer on the hotline are great others are not, so if you get one who is not great, hang up and try again. Also different volunteers work on different days, so one day you may talk with someone great and the next day someone terrible.

      It sounds like there is a possibility that some or all of your siblings may testify on behalf of your brother or they may not. But if it would feel empowering then you should. It’s all about what is empowering and healing to you. I once heard, that the best revenge is living well. You will reach your potential and you will have a great life. While you cannot get back the years of suffering you can have great years in the future. When you are healed and present, even walking down the street can be amazing because you are present, in your body and there are so many amazing things to see and experience.

      When you were 29 maybe the stranger gave you a gift by telling her story, you were told that you were not alone. And now by posting your story you are giving the same gift to others. You are telling the people who read your story, that they are not alone.

      1. Thank you, Amy,
        for taking the time to write such a caring and thoughtful response, to my story. You are providing an important service, here. That is amazing about the lady you met in her 90s who had kept her secret, all of her life. She must have felt relieved, to finally speak her truth. I am on a low dose of anti-anxiety medicine. It has helped me to feel “normal,” (not like a nerve-ball, spaz, that I’ve always felt like,) for the first since I practically can even remember. In the future, I do hope to function very well, without it. When the time is right.
        Blessings, Sarah

  21. all these comments and this blog have inspired me to write my story. I am currently trying to heal and need to speak of this, at least to somebody, and first i feel the need to remain slightly anonymous. When i was 14 i was abused by my mothers boyfriend/fiancee. It went from the beginning of her first pregnancy to the middle of her second with him, and by then i was 16. During that time period i had had two pregnancies myself by him, the first a miscarriage and the second i aborted by an overdose of vitamin c(10,000 mgs) ..the fascinating thing here is that he would listen to my plea to remain a virgin, and we never had sex. Just close enough tht i got pregnant anyway. At the beginning of this i developed a lump in my right breast..and many thanks do i give to the book womans bodies, womens wisdom, because after reading it and applying it to my life i started healing, and while doing so the bothersome lump went away. I am now 18, and healing from cutting, abuse, depression and the sadness and strange feeling i aquired from the miscarriages. I thank all who stop to read this, and all who have posted their own stories.
    Blessed be.

    1. Hi Katrina,

      It is great that you are reaching out and it is fine to remain slightly anonymous or even totally anonymous. And it shows your strength that you were able to heal your body and are healing from cutting, abuse, depression and the sadness. The strange feeling that you have from the miscarriages, could have been made worse by keeping all of the awful feeling about the abuse stuffed inside. HIw dare he do that to you. It was his job to protect you.

      I highly recommend calling the RAINN hotline 800-656-hope. It is a great resource and you can call anytime of the day or night, even really late at night. It is for when you need to talk. The number will connect you to the rape crisis center nearest to you. (Or nearest to your cellphone number.) They can help you to process feelings from the abuse even though it happened in the past. Also most of the hotlines are connected to centers that also have free counselling.

      The people who answer the hotline are all volunteers, some are great, some are awful, if you do not feel like you are getting help, hang up and go to RAINN.org and pick a hotline anywhere and call that, keep calling until you find a person who is helpful. Some places only want to help survivors in their area, if they say that, you can either say you prefer not say where you are located, or tell them that you called someone in your area who was not helpful and you need to talk. If anyone is not helpful, do not take it personally, its about them not you.

      Also if you do decide to go into counselling, some counsellors, therapist, social workers, etc, are excellent and others are awful, alway listen to your intuition. Sometimes it will be great for a while and then not so great and others times it will be exactly what you need to get the help that you need.

  22. Hi Everyone,
    You are all so brave and inspiring. Thank you for sharing. I too was sexually abused as a child. I believe around 8/0 years old based on the memories I do have. My older brother who is about 6 years older than I am was the one who abused me. I went to counseling about 11 years ago when I was a freshman in college because I finally felt I was safe to open it up, not living at home and all anymore. I am now 30 and lately I feel like I need to revisit the trauma. I think about it all the time, I am not depressed or unable to function but it does distract me and is always on the back of my mind. I am not quite sure what my body and mind are trying to tell me what to do. Because he is family and most people I am close with know my family, I have always felt I had to keep it secret and hidden. A few of my best friends do know and I suppose I could open up to them about it again. The hardest part is that my brother is in my life, we have family dinners every week at my mom’s and it’s not like I hate my brother. It’s so confusing. We aren’t super close, I’d say we have a neutral relationship. I do have a very hard time trusting people, especially men and have a very hard time maintaining intimate relationships. I recently broke up with someone that I really thought I was going to go somewhere with and it left me very discouraged like I will never find love. I think it also brought the abuse to my attention again, not sure why it would have done that. Sometimes I think of confronting my brother and seeing what happens. I am just scared of the worst that could happen. I did tell my mom about the abuse those 11 years ago, only because I got concerned there may be a chance he was abusing my younger sibling. I know my mom asked my little brother if anything happened and he said no (he was only 9 though at the time). My mom told my stepdad and when he talked to me later that night, he said that we shouldn’t mention this to my brother because he has his “own demons” that he deals with and that I need to move on. I didn’t argue it at the time I was shaken up from having told them, but now when I look back I am angry at that. After that night I think I just stuffed it back down because I was so emotional drained after that first year of college dealing with all of this. To make matters worse, my best friend (who is a guy and gay) had revealed to me that he had been sleeping with my brother. It had started when we were in high school and he had told me then when I was 15 and that was when I first told about my abuse to my friend, to hopefully stop him from having sex with my brother. So that year was made even worse when I found out that it had never stopped for 4 years!!! I felt betrayed by my friend and it took me awhile to come to terms with the fact that my friend was pressured into all this from my brother and didn’t know how to stop it. He even went to therapy about it. Wow, I just wrote a lot more than I intended. Thank you all for reading…any thoughts would be appreciated.

    xxooErica

    1. Hi Erica,

      You are very brave for writing your story. Many people will read this blog but are too scared to write their stories. It is possible that you are thinking about the abuse a lot now because your body is ready to process the abuse and detox from it.

      It is not your job to keep your brother’s secret, keeping his abuse a secret only helps keep the perpetrator safe, but it does not help you to heal. It sounds like a great idea to share what you need to say to your friends. Your real friends will support you and if you have some friends that do not support you, then it means that they are not really your friends. Stop keeping the secret.

      You can also call the RAINN hotline 800-656-hope. They are all volunteers, some are great, some are awful, if you do not feel like you are getting help, hang up and go to RAINN.org and pick a hotline anywhere and call that, keep calling until you find a person who is helpful. Some places only want to help survivors in their area, if they say that, you can either say you prefer not say where you are located, or tell them that you called someone in your area who was not helpful and you need to talk. If anyone is not helpful, do not take it personally, its about them not you.

      It may also be time, if you feel comfortable to do so, to bring it up to your family. Before doing this, I would make a plan and know that your family may not be as supportive as you think they are.

      Your feeling towards your brother are normal. Sexual assault in a family is very confusing, you may have also had a great time with your brother at other times at family events but he still is a perpetrator. However you feel, makes sense.

      Your stepdad telling you to keep it a secret and move on, is sick. He and your mother were supposed to protect you. But as I have mentioned to others, the very important question to ask is who molested your brother. Siblings do not start sexually assaulting others unless they have been abused. And did the person who molested your brother also have access to you and has that memory been forgotten? I have no idea if that person had access to you but your stepfather’s response to the abuse is very troubling. Just imagine if you had a child who disclosed that they had been sexually abused by your other child, wouldn’t you want to protect both children and find out what happened to cause the one child to assault the other? And you would not do whatever you could to protect both children, helping to figure out who assaulted your son and protect your daughter?

      It is also your choice whether or not to keep your brother in your life. You may tell your mother, that you will no longer come over to family dinners if your brother is there. He molested you and you do not have to be around him if you do not want to. Your family may react badly to this, but if so, then it would show an illusion of a close family, that is not really close. She should have protected you and your brother. If you do that your family may want to blame you, if so, it shows that your entire family is sick. But it is time to stop keeping your brother’s secret.

      Of course you may have a hard time trusting people, the people closest to you betrayed you. Your brother betrayed you and your mother and stepdad did as well, for not protecting you as a child.

      You are healing and you will find love but now is time to love yourself and take care of yourself. Please remember that even people who have had close to perfect childhoods ask the question if they will ever find love when someone breaks up with them. It is a normal reaction to a breakup, so you are having a healthy response.

      It is a good question to ask yourself, “why is the abuse coming up now”? You can even ask yourself that question and then write down whatever comes up, whether or not what comes up makes sense. But keep asking yourself the question, “why is the abuse coming up now”? And keep writing down anything that comes to mind, even if it makes no sense. Some people also like to try writing what comes up with their non-dominant hand. When you are finished, breath deeply and read what you wrote. It may make sense right away or it may take a while for it to make sense but your unconscious mind is very smart, it remembers events that you do not remember.

      You can confront your brother, if you feel it would be helpful to you but do not expect him to even admit it or validate you. But confront him if you need to do it for yourself. It was very helpful for me to confront my dad and mom about the sexual abuse but neither were validating of me. My dad who repeatedly raped me told me about people who sexually assaulted him as a child, then screamed at me that he did not want to talk about it and then right afterwards offered me a new car. To me his reaction was validating but not appropriate. My mom told me not to talk about the sexual abuse because I was standing outside in the front yard and the neighbors could hear me. This to me was very validating because that is exactly what a perpetrator’s enabler would do but also not an appropriate response for a mother who should have been horrified that I was sexually assaulted by her husband.

      It shows your strength that you told your mother to protect your younger siblings and it is awful that so little was done to follow up on your concern. Once again shame on your stepdad for telling you to keep it a secret and move on. And good for you for being angry at your stepdad’s response, he is definitely in the wrong.

      It is time to stop stuffing your emotions, keeping your emotions stuffed inside is very draining. It must have felt terrible to perceive that your best friend chose your brother over you. It also may be validating, in some way, to realize that in a sense your best friend was also abused by your brother. No one should ever be pressured into a relationship, a healthy relationship should be one of mutual love not pressure.

      Your story shows your strength and also that you are ready to heal more. No more secrets but choose to tell whomever you wish to tell. It is your choice. Also, if you do choose to work with a professional, pick one who you feel is the best, not the first one you meet with (unless they are the best). There are a bunch of great therapist and a bunch of awful ones. And I highly advise against taking drugs to heal from abuse, it stuffs those feeling that are ready to come up and detox straight back down. Also look at the side effects label (all of the drugs on the market today have terrible side effects).

  23. Hi Amy
    My name is Ami am 36 year old. I was abused by my big brother when I was a child, I can’t remember when it’s started but I know that when I was a teenager it happened I don’t know how many time exactly. I remember it clearly it happening once in the toilet, in the bathroom when I was taking shower…(edited by blogger)…My mum that day told me to locked the door from now on. she did asked me what happened and stupid has I was I said nothing. Why did I said that. It had also happened in my room I remember not being able to sleep because I was scared that he would try to come in but no matter what I did he always find a way to get in. once I heard my big sister telling him to leave me alone. i was happy but really confused how could she have know what was happening and not say anything at all. Now I have four children with my fiance, I feel happy and blessed but I am…(edited by blogger) block and always have been I cannot…(edited by blogger) he would think that i was a slut, a wore it is ruining my life.
    I am so an happy and I know my fiance is to.

    He knows what happened to me from the beginning but he tells me know that I should put it behind me and move one as if it is easy. He actually made me tell my mum about it that is now between 4-5 years that she knows but she has never talk to me about it or said anything at all when I told her pat from she couldn’t talk as she had people with her. she rang up and that was it until today she has never said a word about it to me.
    She told one of my big sister about it who told me that she knew and gave me some advises but when she called I was surprise that she knew and did not feel like talking about it.

    What I don’t understand is that even after that she still talks to me about him and what happen in his life. Which honestly I don’t care about. I never ask about him when I call home. I use to hate him after not caring and now he just doesn’t exist to me.

    When I was a child well around 12 years old I started to smoke cigarettes then weed when I reach 14-15 I started to drink beer mostly but from 16-17 i started to drink spirit until I was around 20 years old. I also try to kill myself once before by taking some pills from my mum.
    At 20 years old I moved out of my house and out of my country and settle in the UK that was the best move ever for me. I stop drinking and smoking when I was pregnant of my first child at the age of 22.

    What hurt me the most is that even tho have told my mother about what had happened to me by my brother she is still clearly talking to him which shows me that she doesn’t believe me or simply do care.

    I also don’t understand why i have no memory of my life before the age of 9 years and the only thing that I remember is one of my big brother dying and having a fight with one of my class mate who lived above me because he was telling people about seeing my brother taking away as he died in the house in is sleep those are the only memory I remember at that aged. the year after my other big brother died in an accident I can see my mum crying, the police in the house telling her the bad news and again now i was 10 and that is the only memory I have. I remember my last year in primary school I was 11 I had to repeat my last year and everything from that age to now I can remember.

    Why can’t I remember my life before 9 years old? and what can I do to remember?

    One other thing most of my life I knew that I am not supposed to be happy so in my head when anything happen to me I know that It is OK and that it is supposed to be my life.

    Do you think that maybe in my past life I was so terrible and did terrible thing to others; that I actually deserve my life?

    I thank you so very much for taking the time to read my story

    1. Hi Ami,

      It’s pretty late but I did want to write a quick response. No, I DO NOT believe that this is a punishment for a previous life, though I do believe that the people who abused you would like you to think that you are being punished for a previous life. By saying it is punishment from a previous life puts the blame back on you (the victim of the crime) and leaves the perpetrator in the right because he is doing a just punishment.

      I will post a bigger response later. If you are in England you can call 0845 303 0900 (I believe that is the right number) or go to http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/, if you are anywhere else you can go to http://rainn.org/get-help/sexual-assault-and-rape-international-resources to find the best hotline.

      Always remember when you are speaking to the volunteers, even if it is the middle of the night and they are not helpful say thank you and hang up and try another rape crisis center from anywhere in the country. (You can get a list of rape crisis centers across America and internationally at http://centers.rainn.org/) If they ask you what are you live in, you can always say that you prefer not to say. Some centers care if you are local others do not, but all that matters is that you can talk with someone who is helpful at that moment. You can also tell them, if you choose, that you spoke with someone in your area who was not helpful so you needed to talk to someone.

      Remember that you are strong for reaching out.

      1. Thank you so much for getting back to me.
        I appreciate you taking the time for answering me and will be waiting for you reply.

        1. Hi Ami,

          It is not unusual for a person who has been sexually abused, to not remember some of the abuse. Sometimes, like myself, I did not remember any of the abuse at first. You were not stupid for not saying to your mother about your brother when she asked because, you had just been traumatized. People who are traumatized quite often get the deer in headlights response, they freeze inside. That is a normal reaction to the abuse. Everyone reacts to abuse in their own ways.

          It was your mother’s job to keep asking you what happened but she may not have realized the severity of the abuse or that anything was happening at all. Quite often other people in the family realize it is happening or it may have even have happened to then. Frequently one sibling thinks that they are the only one being abused only to find out later that the perpetrator abused others.

          The other questions that I must ask is, who abused your brother? Sexual assault is almost always a reenactment of the perpetrator’s victimization. This still does not in any way make your brother innocent. What he did to you is horrific. Unfortunately in a family where there is sexual assault, there may also be an atmosphere of “we need to keep this secret in the family” attitude.

          As you remember and heal from your childhood abuse, your life and relationships will become fuller and happier in every way, physically, emotionally, spiritually. It won’t happen immediately and maybe the people around you will notice before you do that you are healing and you are getting better.

          Your brother or possible other perpetrators may have literally told you that you were a slut or made you to feel that that was all that you would good for. This is a lie. It is normal for a person healing from sexual assault to feel the shame that the perpetrators placed on them. But it is the perpetrators shame not yours, so you can send it back to him. That shame does not belong to you.

          You cannot put the abuse behind you now, because you are still remembering the abuse and healing from it. There will be a time when the abuse is not in the forefront of your life but now is time to heal. The emotions that were stuffed down in the past are popping up in the present, so it is impossible to put it behind you now. These emotions must be allowed to detox from your body and come out, not be stuffed back inside with the “put it behind you” statement. Stuffing it back inside will only cause you to be superficial because then you will be lying to yourself.

          But I truly believe that there will be a time when you will be deeply happy and have released all of the emotions that have been stuffed down from the abuse but it takes time.

          It sounds like you mother not talking about the abuse is using the “we need to keep it a secret in the family” attitude. That is not healthy or validating. She should be talking with you about the abuse and not your sister. A mother who deeply cares about her children should be horrified to have found out about the sexual assault and want to know what she can do to help you to heal. Also she should be grieving deeply that such a thing happened to her daughter. Your mother’s attitude is not very motherly.
          If you want, you can set boundaries with your mother saying that you do not want to hear about your brother and if she talks about him, you will hang up or leave and if she emails you about him, you will mark her email as spam. These are only suggestions. You are in charge of your life now, you can have as much or as little contact with your mother.

          And please make sure that your kids are never put in the position to ever be alone with your brother. Perpetrators rarely stop abusing.

          It is not unusual for children who have been sexually assaulted to abuse drugs and alcohol and even try suicide. Good for you for moving out and taking care of yourself.

          Your mother may be talking to your brother because she may not want to believe it happened or wants to keep it a secret. But again the question to ask is who sexually assaulted your brother? I have no idea who but as I said before, I do believe that someone did.
          It is very normal, when there is child sexual abuse, to forget big parts of your childhood. This may also be a sign that there are other abusive memories that you have repressed.

          It is also common for abuse survivors, to have been taught or through their experiences to be scared of being happy because you never know when the abuse will occur.

          Again I do not believe it is a past life, you just had the misfortune to not be born into a healthy family.
          You will heal, the fact that you wrote this shows that you are beginning to heal. Think of the millions of survivors of sexual assault who keep it stuffed inside their entire life and die with this burden that you have taken the first step to heal. You are strong.

          1. Hi Amy

            I don’t know anything about my brother or if he was abused before I do know that he went to jail once before for raping a girl, I don’t know who she was it was about the time he was still abusing me.
            My children never meet him and I want to keep it that way.

            I thank you so much for your advises which mean a lot to me.

            1. Hi Ami,
              You’re very welcome. The reason that I bring up the question about who abused your brother, is that that same person, may or may not have access to you. And since much of your childhood memories are temporarily forgotten, that same person may or may not be in those repressed memories. The good thing is that as you heal the memories will come up and be released. The memories do not have to come up will all of the pain pushed down with them, they can come up in a more distant movie like way and still be released.

              That shows your strength and that you are a good and caring mother that you know to keep your children away from your brother.

              1. Hi Amy

                I wanted to know how likely do you think that my brother could do again
                ( abuse)? the reason why i’m asking is that he himself has a daughter who is know 11 or 12 years old and have got 3 nieces aged of 10,14 and 18 years old. I know that he doesn’t live with his daughter but don’t know how often he sees my nieces.

                I myself am thinking of a family confrontation, I feel like it might put me at ease and also make my other sibling understand what have been through and the reason why I did all the things I did when I was a teenager.

                But I don’t know what to expect from them , I mean what reaction I would receive from them. I don’t how I would take a rejection of the fact/ not believing me.

                Can you please help me by telling me what you think about my decision and what I should expect.

                I am so very grateful for you taking the time to read my story and for your help.

                I also wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what your are doing.
                I so very much appreciated your comment.
                I wish you a very good life for all the good that you are doing.

                1. Hi Ami,

                  Extremely likely. Perpetrators rarely stop abusing. There is a possibility that he has gotten help to heal from the abuse that happened to him and for what he did to you, in which case it would be less likely that he would still be abusing. But if he has gotten no help and done nothing to heal then there is a good chance he is abusing girls and possibly boys as well. You will probably be able to judge if he has healed by his response when and if you confront him. But even if his response is supportive, listen to your gut to see, if you think he is being real.

                  It only takes a moment to sexually assault a child, so you would want to keep all perpetrators away from children.

                  If you choose to confront, you must prepare yourself for the possibility that you may be made to look like the crazy person in the family, even though you are not crazy. Or if the rest of your family is healthy, other than your stepdad, then you will be supported. A healthy reaction would be your mother feeling awful about what happened and wanting to support you. (As long as she is being authentic.) You can also confront them in whatever way you want to. For example, I took my dad out to eat so that I would be alone with him in a public place. And although he was horrible to me, the waitress came up to me while he was in the bathroom and asked me if I was ok.

                  I also chose to confront my mother alone, immediately after I confronted my dad, so that they would not be able to have too much time to talk with each other before I confronted my mother. (It was during my dad’s workday, so my mother was at home, while my dad was a few miles away at his office.) I did not want to confront the two of then together because I did not want two against one (the one being me), as it was my entire childhood.

                  For myself, I am glad that I confronted my family, their response although they were not nice to me, was very validating. I realized that they acted exactly like a family where sexual abuse was happening should act. It was like they had read a textbook on how families where incest happens should act and then they played their roles perfectly.

                  I listened to the “Courage to Heal” on tape a bunch and their suggestions on confrontation before I confronted them. You can also bring supportive friends with you, just talk with your friends first and see if they really are supportive. You can also see if a victim’s advocate will be there with you to confront them. What “Courage to Heal” basically says is that you can confront your abusers however you want to confront them. And you should only confront them if you want to.

                  “Courage to Heal” was such a successful book in helping survivors, that it got many perpetrators very angry about being held accountable for their abuse. So if you Google it, you will see many perpetrator sites trying to debunk it. I really like the “Courage to Heal” on tape much better than the book.

                  Your are so strong to be writing what you have written about your circumstances.

          2. Hi Amy

            I don’t know what to think, if it mean something or not but a couple of days ago I had a weird dream.
            In my dream my husband was saying to me that ” you’re mum abused you” hearing that I felt completely sick ,like the world was falling on me .I just don’t know how to explain but it felt like something that was real and ever since I can’t stop thinking about it.
            Could my mum had abusing me? is it real or was it just a dream?
            The fact that I can not remember my life when I was younger is really not helping at all.
            I am going out of my mind I have the felling that something is wrong but just don’t know what.
            How can I move on and live the past behind me?
            Please help me.

            1. Hi Ami,

              Quite often survivors of child sexual abuse forget their childhood abuse and also forget big parts of their childhood as well. In order to heal you need to allow whatever your subconscious is trying to tell you about your forgotten past to come up, so that you can remember and release the repressed memories and the emotions that were stuffed down with the memories.

              These emotions could be experienced in your present life as depression (sadness from the past that is screaming to be heard), panic attacks (fear from the past that os screaming to be heard), or rage (anger from the past also literally screaming to be heard). It can be many other extreme emotions, including feeling initially yucky (which is a lie, you are a great person but repressed memories of abuse can feel yucky).

              If in your dream you heard your husband say that and you felt suddenly ill, that means that most likely here’s something repressed there. Listen to yourself, believe yourself. The past will be strongly attached to you until you acknowledge what was forgotten in your childhood and listen to the story that your inner child is trying to tell you. Listen and believe yourself. Even if the memories seem totally bizarre and unbelievable. Your unconsciousness remembers everything.

              Some things may turn out to be cover memories, such as thinking it is the babysitter who abused you when in fact you were abused by your mother but continue to listen to yourself and believe. You will get you childhood memories back, release the emotions and after that you can live your life fully.

              If you go to a therapist, check in with yourself to see if they are helping you or taking out their problems on you. And as I have mentioned many times, don’t do antidepressants or antipsychotics, they push down your emotions and the side effects of everyone of them on the market today is depression, suicidal ideation, etc (the side effect label tells most of the body damage it can do, even taken short term).

              In England, I would try calling the 0808 802 9999 12-2:30pm and 7-9:30pm, if you need to call another rape crisis center when yours is not open, (most rape crisis line in the US are 24 hours) I would go to http://centers.rainn.org/ and put in random states. If ever you are talking to a hotline counsellor who is not helpful, hang up and call another hotline. Some in the US will only help local survivors, but the good ones will help any survivors of sexual assault. You can talk with them about your memories and trying to sort them out. You can also go to http://apps.rainn.org/ohl-bridge/ and anonymously chat anytime.

              You will remember if you let yourself remember and you will heal. Be gentle with yourself.

              Amy

    1. I want to make sure that I posted correctly, you do not want me to post the post starting with “I have been trying to deal with the problems I have by myself as I desperately don’t want anyone else to know, but I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve been doing research on the computer and I have the symptoms for a lot of disorders. So here is what happening:…”

      And please call a friend or the hotline that I mentioned before, you need to take care of you. That means remembering that you were abused and not minimizing the abuse. It is horrible that you were not protected as a child and that your brother who was suppose to love instead sexually assualted you. And that your parents should have noticed that something was going wrong and did not notice. But just because you were not protected from serious harnm as a child, does not mean that you do not deserve to be listened to now. Please make a phone call to someone and if that person is not helpful call someone else. You do not need to suffer alone. Things will get better as you detox these memories and emotions and you will heal. You will feel better, not immediately but soon if you reach out and stop minimizing the abuse and stuffing it back inside.

  24. I have been trying to deal with the problems I have by myself as I desperately don’t want anyone else to know, but I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve been doing research on the computer and I have the symptoms for a lot of disorders. So here is what happening:

    I binge eat… consuming awful amounts of food in a pretty short time. I do this on a regular basis. The longest I haven’t binged for in 4 years is a month apart from that one time where I thought I was starting to recover, I’ve binged roughly from 2-6 days a week. In between I try to eat healthy, so according to statistics I’m still well within my healthy weight range, but I feel absolutely terrible.

    I can’t stand my body or my face. I feel literally sick when I look in the mirror. Yet I’m absolutely obsessed with checking my appearance. Every time I go past a mirror I have to look at myself and my mind always keeps screaming how worthless I am. Other people tell me I only get very mild pimples, but it’s like an obsession. I look in the mirror, I turn the light on, I turn the extra bright light on, I turn from every angle, I tough my face constantly and if you can even see a pimple I feel literally paralyzed. I ask my mum (God who knows how many times a day!) if I look fat or if she can see my pimples. She gets frustrated because she thinks I’m just being vain. And then the worst part. I have this ritual I cannot break. I squeeze pick and pretty much destroy my face. I don’t know why I do it, but it kind of feels like it releases the pressure I feel, although it makes me look a hell of a lot worse. And then I scratch my body, sometimes till I bleed. I cake myself in make-up but it doesn’t do anything. I literally spend most of my day worrying about my appearance. When I go out in public, I feel like everybody is looking at me, watching me, thinking how horrible I am. I won’t go out in public unless I have to. I’ve withdrawn from all my friends and stay in my house all the time. Having to face other people literally makes me feel sick.

    Bedtime is my favourite time of the day… I can curl up and escape reality…. morning is the worst time… because I have to live through this another day….

    You may ask why I feel all this and why I haven’t got previous professional help? Good question. Well, I know where some of it stems from…. I was sexually abused by my brother and not at a particularly young age. I was already around 11, just an extremely naive 11…. Fact is… he didn’t rape me or anything… according to others sexual abuse it was quite minimal… but having to keep it a secret and live with him every day… Why didn’t I tell my parents? Because, I love my brother. I know he’s changed. Sometimes he tries to do extra nice things for me and I know he’s trying to make up for it, he’s just too humiliated to actually confront the issue. Telling my parents would destroy their relationship with my brother for ever. See my mother was abused as a child and so she’s been extremely protective over me, and so happy that she was able to protect me from what her mother could not. Telling her would not only kill her…. but it would destroy my brother for ever. And I guess since I’ve had to keep that a secret these 8 years, I’ve clammed up. I can’t talk at all about my feelings or emotions… only online to a person I can’t see and will never meet.

    My depression and feelings of worthlessness and the above mentioned symptoms and getting worse a lot worse. I am trying to manage study uni as well, but I’m getting behind because I just can’t concentrate on anything anymore. I think about death a lot… and have even some extremely crazy thoughts especially whilst driving. Many times I’ve almost purposely driven into the opposite lane of traffic, partially so I might die and otherwise I would looked after and not have to pretend everyday that life is so dandy! Or I’ve thought of seriously running away. The only things that’s stopping me… is my parents. I don’t want to hurt them! My idea right now would be to be on a deserted island somewhere, where I’m finally allowed to show what I’m feeling. If I’m so depressed that I don’t want to get out of bed, then I can. If I want to literally cry all day I can. The worst part of it is, I’m still pretending that I’m ok. And I’m not…

  25. I was sexually abused by my brother when I was around 11. I grew through the early teens with so many self-esteem issues but still managed to have a normal life. It was around my 16th year when I was doing a unit on sexual abuse for a childcare course that all of a sudden it hit me that I had been abused. Most of the memories are still extremely foggy. I remember somethings, but other things are just too painful to try to remember.

    I’m 19 now and I’ve still kept the secret. Why? Because I love my brother (in a not creepy way). If I told my parents, who I am very close to, they would never speak to my brother again. My mum was abused as a child and it has literally meant the world to her that she was able to protect me, from what her mother couldn’t protect her. I would destroy my family by speaking out. So I’ve kept it all in and told no one these long 8 years. I can’t even tell any friends because they all know my brother and like him as well. He’s a lovely person and I know that he hates himself for what happened. He tries now to do extra nice things for me, and I know he’s trying to make it up to me. Having to harden myself and keep it all in has made me not able to communicate at all in any area. I keep all my emotions and feelings in unless it all escapes and comes pouring out.

    The trouble is I’m not getting so good at pretending that life is all good anymore. I’ve had an binge eating disorder (at least all the symptoms) for 4 years, although I’m still in a healthy weight range so nobody really suspects. It’s getting so much worse… I self harm scratching my skin till it bleeds. I feel voices screaming at me all the time that I’m worthless and that I’d be better of dead or at least significantly hurting myself. It feels like hell to get up out of bed in the morning. I’ve completely isolated myself from all my friends and family. I haven’t been outside the house (unless to buy food) for over a month now. I border on a social disorder, as I feel when I am out that people are looking at me, and hating me, and thinking horrible things about me when they see me. I feel literally crippled in public, I can’t even keep eye-contact.

    And then the body dysphormic symptoms started… other people tell me I have minor skin problem with an occasional pimple. But I feel literally obsessed. I feel repulsed with looks especially my face and my body shape. I cannot go passed a mirror without examining my face, checking for spots, turning the light on and off, trying different angles; and if I can see any spots, I hack at my face squeezing, pricking, even using a pin on it. Of course then I really look terrible and I hide away even longer. It literally consumes most of my day and the only way I can get relief is by binge eating.

    So there you go.. the ‘altogether girl’ who can get through this on her own can’t. I want to get help. I’m afraid I’m going to do something stupid. The thing is I will not and cannot tell my parents. I need to secretly get therapist treatment; but… all my money is in college funds and I couldn’t possibly hold a job at the moment so I need to find a free option. Trying to look at what salvos or other church organizations have to offer. I just hope I can sort out some help before it’s too late. I’ve managed all these issues for years but the last month things have been going down so fast I’m really scared…

    1. Hi Jess,

      It is a good chance that your mother already intuitively knows about the abuse, whether or not she wants to acknowledge it is something else. If you have a strong loving family, speaking the truth will NOT destroy your family. But if there are other things that have been hidden, in your family, then those could be revealed also. I have no idea about your family, but I do know that keeping the abuse a secret, only helps the perpetrators to not have to deal will or take ownership for what they did wrong. The secret only helps the perpetrator.

      The other question that comes to mind, in my experience, children do NOT sexually assault another child unless they were sexually assaulted. So who assaulted your brother? From everything that I have seen, sexual assault is a behaviour that is learned from being sexually assaulted.

      You need to tell someone who you think you can trust or you can also call in the Australia, if that is where you are 1800 737 732 (24 hour a day), if that is not helpful you or you are not in Australia, you can go to http://www.hotpeachpages.net/ and click on your country and then click on your area and you will get list to click on to get some crisis line numbers, even in the middle of the night.

      Always remember when you are speaking to the volunteers, even if it is the middle of the night and they are not helpful say thank you and hang up and try another rape crisis center from anywhere in the country. (You can get a list of rape crisis centers across America and internationally at http://centers.rainn.org/) If they ask you what are you live in, you can always say that you prefer not to say. Some centers care if you are local others do not, but all that matters is that you can talk with someone who is helpful at that moment. You can also tell them, if you choose, that you spoke with someone in your area who was not helpful so you needed to talk to someone. The hotline is confidential and you are worth reaching out for help as much as you need to, even if it is 3am.

      Keeping secrets, keeps you a victim. You do not need to tell everyone, just someone. Posting this is a great first step and you should be acknowledge yourself for the strength that you have to be able to post this.

      I believe that everything that you are suffering from are common side effects of sexual assault because you are keeping it to yourself and unconsciously blaming yourself. Also know that the people who you choose to tell may be very supportive or may not be supportive at all. But real friends are always supportive but some of your friends may or may not turn out to be real friends. Please DO NOT label yourself with “psychological” disorders, what I believe is happening is that you have turned the abuse inside and blamed yourself. There may also be more things that you have yet to remember. You may not remember but may have been repeatedly lied to and told that you were ugly maybe even while you were being abused (those words often turn into the body dysphormic symptoms) or you may have been telling that to yourself while you were being abused.

      Right now between the eating, self harm and body dysphormic symptoms, it appears to me that you are unconscious doing everything you can to push those repressed memories and repressed emotions back down but I believe that it is all coming up be cause you are ready to heal and detox from the abuse. The rape crisis centers often also has free counselling, but always ask your gut if the person you are speaking with seems helpful, even if they are free, unless it is helpful its not worth it. I also personally try to avoid any people who like anti-depressants or anti-psychotics because they push the memories back down and also (as written on their side effect labels) can cause depression and suicidal ideation. Also I find that people who believe in these drugs quite often do not have as many skills to help with the root causes of symptoms that occur from sexual assault.

      When you feel bad remind yourself that these emotions are detoxing out of your body and there is nothing wrong with you, there is something terribly wrong with the person who abused you. Even though your brother is going out of his way, he still assaulted you and that is his fault not yours.

      1. My brother wouldn’t be hurting other people because he’s a good person and a Christian. I think he was just experimenting and didn’t really understand what he was doing. I’m not even sure if it’s considered abuse because he was only a year older than me… after doing research today I’m confused now… maybe it’s not considered abuse.

        When I get suicidal I decided to get help, but I always change my mind when I feel better. I’m feeling better then I did this morning so I don’t want to get help anymore… arghh I’m so confused. And I’m terrified a doctor will just tell me that I don’t have abuse or disorders and I just need to suck it up.

        1. Your brother hurt you. What he did was not experimentation, what he did was sexual assault. What he did was not Christian and I am sure that he did it because someone had sexually assaulted him. You are putting the pain inside of you instead of blaming your brother for the sexual assault. Stop hurting yourself. Do not wait till you feel suicidal to get help, reach out now so that you do not put yourself back in that pain. Make that phone call, make as many as you need until you get real help.

          I DO NOT recommend calling a doctor, they do not seem to know how to help assault survivors to heal, your problem is not chemical, you were abused, call a hotline or a friend. Stop stuffing the guilt and shame from the abuse inside, it was not your fault, it was your brother’s fault. Stop blaming yourself for his issues and DO NOT go straight to forgiveness of your brother, you need to release the long held anger and shame first. Feel free to work on forgiving yourself by being good to yourself.

          You will heal but make the phone call, please.

        2. Being a Christian does NOT mean he won’t do this to someone else. If he can experiment on someone who’s close to him, his sister, without getting caught he will be more likely to hurt someone else who’s close to him. He’s learned he can do it safely and be forgiven.

          I was molested by my Christian brother, he used his Christianity to make me trust him, but the opposite was true. It just made it that much more of a shock when he did it.

          (Religion can be used)… as a front so people will look good to others and deny their darker urges. We all have urges, and following a sex-denying religion like Christianity just makes those darker and more likely to spill out on those closest and most vulnerable.

          This is also backed up in stories of others I’ve heard and in the literature. Christian men are just as likely,… to abuse, but they will do it to a good Christian girl who won’t tell.

          (This post has been slightly edited)

    2. Hi Jess,

      thank you for sharing your story. I understand, first-hand, your pain and fear. Please go to a community mental health center, that allows sliding scale pay, from almost free, to reasonable, in cost. That is how I got my start, in therapy, my therapist was an intern, but she was just great. I had to go through a couple of therapists, till I found her, and felt that she was a good click, for me to bare my soul to.

      You will feel worse, before you feel better, but it is the only way to claim your life back. Please, stop hurting yourself, and find a good affordable therapy program. You don’t have to hate your brother, but you can still hate what he did to you. The truth does set you free, over time, and with patience, with yourself.

      You should wait before telling your family, if that feels safer, and better for you, right now. Just speak to someone you feel safe and accepted by. Everything you are feeling is okay, and normal, for the harm you have suffered. But it will be essential for you to get help coping with your pain, in order to begin the path (endless as it may seem,) toward healing.

      Bless you, and know that as weak as you feel, YOU are a very strong person. When you help yourself, you will be able to help others, too, just by becoming a more healed, and conscious person, you help the world around you. Good luck and may you find the peace, in your heart and mind, that you are craving.

      Best, Sarah

  26. I don’t really even know where to begin as I myself don’t completly know my whole story yet. I have been depressed all my life and never really knew why. I have great family and friends and I thought maybe something was wrong with me for always being so down. It wasn’t until six days ago that I figured out something that would dramatically change my life forever. I was sexually abused as a child. I’m 18 years old now and will probablly be dealing with the effects of this my whole life. It wasn’t until six days ago that I realized this had happened to me. Deep down I always knew that something had happened I just didn’t know what. I’m still having a hard time believing myself as I don’t have much memory of the event. I’m not sure how old I was but I know it happened before I was 12. I have no memory of my childhood which is apparently “normal” when something like this happens to people. But sure enough, little by little is coming back. It’s scary because I never know when I’m going to have a flashback or a memory. I don’t know how to deal with re-living this nightmare. I have probablly gotten 7 hours of sleep in the last 6 days because every time I close my eyes I start to remember and see things. I’m not exactly sure how I’m still functioning with this little amount of sleep but I am. My stomach has had butterflies ever since I found out about this and I don’t know how to make it stop. Every time I think about what happened to me I end up throwing up! I just feel so broken and I don’t know if I will ever heal from this. If you have any suggestions on how I can distract myself or deal with this in a better way please let me know. Thanks <3

    1. Hi Alexandra,

      The fact that you can write this and that you are beginning to remember shows your strength. You will NOT have to live with flashbacks forever, your life will get better. These are my beliefs from my experiences. You will also not be depressed for the rest of your life, I believe that the depression was your body’s way of telling you that you have been repressing your sadness for a very long time. You have been feeling the emotions that go along with the abuse all of your life, when you allow yourself to get your memories back, you will understand all of the emotions that you have been experiencing and you will begin to feel better. The emotions and memories will detox out of your body. I would allow yourself to sleep and let the memories come to the surface and let yourself feel the feelings that come up with those memories. You have been feeling these same emotions all of your life, just without the memories. Do NOT EVER allow yourself to blame yourself for the abuse that was done to you. It is the perpetrators fault not yours. It may also be that you do not want to remember who the perpetrator is, but by remembering this, you can take care of yourself. (The perpetrator may or may not be a person that you are still very close to now. But in remembering, you can take care of yourself and make conscious choices.)

      I believe that the butterflies will stop, when you allow yourself to remember and let your body detox from the traumatic events. The butterflies may not stop all at once but slowly you will notice they are getting less and less. If I were you, I would NOT take drugs to help you to sleep, because your body is trying to remember and detox, and the drugs may help to stuff those memories back down but the emotional memories, such as depression, panic attacks, etc will still be felt and they will most likely scream to you to be heard and felt even more intensely. I believe, that the more you allow yourself to get your memories, the emotions such as depression, etc, will also slowly lift.

      Throwing up is a normal reaction to getting memories back, it will not go on forever. You can also call the RAINN hotline 800-656-hope. They are all volunteers, some are great, some are awful, if you do not feel like you are getting help, hang up and go to RAINN.org and pick a hotline anywhere and call that, keep calling until you find a person who is helpful. Many people may try to get you to take anti-depressants or anti-psychotics, in my experience, these only make things much worse, even temporarily, and (as seen on the side effect label) can cause permanent problems.

      You will get through this and your life will get better.

      1. Thank you so much Amy for your reply. It has helped me a lot. I have just been trying not to dwell on what has happened because it puts me into a deep dark pit that I can’t seem to climb out of no matter how hard I try. As I believe it’s important for me to accept and deal with it, I don’t want to live in the past anymore than I have been. It feels good to have a reason for why I’ve been angry and depressed my whole life but at the same time it doesn’t help knowing that this is the reason. I have been on anti depressants since I was 12 and lots of other medications as well because I have many health problems. I have been to many different therapists because of my depression but none of them have ever really helped me. I guess it’s because I had to figure it out for myself. On Tuesday night while I was in a session with my therapist I figured it out. I figured out what had happened to me. What had caused my anger, depression, and low self esteem my whole life. As it turns out, my therapist who I am seeing now (& have been for only 2 months) told me that the first day she met me knew that I had been abused. I asked her how she knew and she told me that she specializes in trauma and victims of sexual abuse and that I had all of the warning signs. I just feel like that was a total God thing because there are probablly 9 or 10 therapists there and out of all of them I ended up with her when I didn’t even know that this was going to be an issue that I was going to have to face. This past week has been hell for me. It got so bad that I called my therapist and she made me promise to come in and see her every day so that we could get started working on this journey and healing process. Every day I would go and meet her but would have to lie to my parents about where I was going because if I told them that I was going to see my therapist they would wonder what was going on and ask questions and I just wasn’t ready to tell them what had happened. I don’t know, I guess I was scared that they wouldn’t believe me. But anyway, on Thursday afternoon I couldn’t take lying to my parents anymore so while I was at my therapist I asked her to call my mom and tell her that something had happened and that we needed to have a family session in the morning. She wrote a letter to my mom explaining that I could not and would not talk about what had happened until our session in the morning with my therapist present. That was probablly not the best way that I could have handled the situation but at the time I wasn’t sure how to do it any other way and that 24 hours with my parents was horrible because of course they were upset and worried and they wanted to know what was going on! Anyway, the morning came and I was so nervous but I ended up telling my parents everything and they believed me. I guess I’m just having a hard time allowing myself time to figure things out. Because I want to know who my abuser is, not later, but now! I don’t want to wait for my memory to reveal these things to me. I feel like in order to heal completly I need to know who did this to me and right now I don’t ever know if I will. Because I will have flashbacks and dreams but I can’t see a face. And I feel like its going to be a mystery my whole life. I feel like I can’t move on because every day I see somebody and I hear myself in my head saying, “Was that the person who hurt me?” I just don’t know how to function during all of this.I don’t know how to go to school and hang out with friends and act like nothing is wrong when I feel like my whole world is falling apart. Help!

        1. I believe that the way to get out of the deep dark pit is to allow yourself to feel what is coming up. Sometimes, you can help yourself to remember in an easier way by putting yourself is a space where you are sheltered, protected and try to allow your mind to go to the memories more like a movie. This works for some people but not everyone. Be gentle with yourself. It is awesome that you are able to see your therapist every day for now and that you were able to ask for what you needed and you are starting on your healing journey. So many survivors take a long time to have the internal strength to get to that point and ask for what they need to take care of themselves. It is great that your parents believe you, my mom did at first but then she changed her mind. But in spite of her no longer believing me, I was strong because I knew the truth and by remembering, I have been able to heal.

          You will not be living in the past forever but you need to honour the time that it takes to remember, I like to think of this process of remembering and letting the emotions out as a detox. And your body and mind seem to be telling you that you are ready to detox the trauma. You need to be gentle with yourself, you just remembered last week, you will get through this, it will take time but not be your entire life or even close to your entire life. You don’t have to act like everything is ok, your real friends will be there for you and your fake friends will not. You can also choose you want to tell and who you do not want to tell. You are in charge.

          You unconsciousness knows who the perpetrator is and when you are ready, you will remember who the perpetrator or perpetrators were. Until then, listen to your gut, who do you feel comfortable around and who gives you a bad feeling. Do not push away your gut feelings. Just because you feel bad around someone, does not mean that they are the perpetrator but it does mean that maybe you should not be hanging out with them.

          You world is not falling apart, you are simply in the process of detoxing and releasing old memories and emotions attached to those memories. It can feel awful at first but soon you will begin to notice healthier and healthier behaviours in your life. It will be gradual. Your friends and therapist may notice the new healthier behaviours before you do but know that it will get better.

          If you ever have trouble sleeping you can always call the RAINN hotline, even in the middle of the night 1-800-656-hope. Always remember when you are speaking to the volunteers, even if it is the middle of the night and they are not helpful say thank you and hang up and try another rape crisis center from anywhere in the country. (You can get a list of rape crisis centers across America and internationally at http://centers.rainn.org/) If they ask you what are you live in, you can always say that you prefer not to say. Some centers care if you are local others do not, but all that matters is that you can talk with someone who is helpful at that moment. You can also tell them, if you choose, that you spoke with someone in your area who was not helpful so you needed to talk to someone.

  27. I am recovering for the first time from childhood and Adult sexual abuse. Can someone please tell me what to expect because I feel like I am going crazy!!!!

    1. First of all, I would change the word “crazy” to your body is detoxing (releasing) old emotions that you have held onto for a long time. So if you are really sad, depressed, angry, etc, these are healthy emotions. They may not feel appropriate at the time you are feeling them but be gentle with yourself. If you are crying uncontrollably or extremely angry or depressed ask yourself, “What is the memory behind the emotion?” And believe yourself, with whatever memory comes up. Your body wants to release these emotions. Feeling emotions is not crazy, keeping them inside is what hurts us. Sadness turns to depression, anger turns to rage because all of these feelings want to be heard and released.

      The more that you normalize the emotions that are coming up, the better you will feel and the less you will get triggered. Also if you haven’t already you may want to read “What to Do When You Feel Triggered” http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      Another helpful resource is the Rainn hotline 1-800-656-hope. They are volunteers, so if they are listening and helping that is great, if they are not helpful says thank you, hang up and go to RAINN.org and find another hotline anywhere in America. Some will not want to help you if you are not local but you can always say that you do not want to say exactly where you are but still need to talk with someone. If the person makes you feel heard and empowered that is good, if they do not or do not seem to be listening or are only interested in getting you to a therapist with out hearing you, probably not good. Listen to your intuition, it has gotten you this far.

      Feel free to post again and update how you are feeling.

  28. Thanks for this blog. I’m 14 and I come with a disclaimer. I’ve been sexually abused as child from the ages 5 to 11. I’ve forgiven my abuser, but I can’t forgive myself.

    I don’t know how to reach out. I have no one to talk to. I have an on-off eating disorder and social anxiety because of it. I’ve lost faith in God. Most of the time I feel like I’m not even here. I’m sure no one will ever love me. I mean, why would anyone want something that doesn’t work when they could easily get something that does? I have no reason to give people to make them stay. I would heal if I knew how to.

    It terrifies me that I will never know what it’s like to be normal – that’s probably the worst thing about childhood abuse. I don’t know who that child was. All I am now is a product of sexual abuse. I’m crying as I write this. I’m broken.

    1. You are not broken! People do heal from sexual abuse and you can still have a great life. It may not seem possible now but many other survivors have been where you are now and are now having a really great life. But you need to be gentle with yourself. The most important person to forgive is yourself because you did nothing wrong. Religious and non religious people who say that you have to forgive your abuser are often the people who do not want to hear about what you are going through and they can not really help you to heal by focusing on the abuser. It is time to let the abuser feel as awful as they deserve to feel and focus on what you need to do to help you.

      The abuser has had enough attention, it is time to focus on you and what you need.

      You have made a great start reaching out online, so you have the strength to do that when many people cannot even write about their abuse. Reaching out online is such a great start and it shows tremendous strength. Another great place to talk to victims advocates is at 800-656-hope. It is a hotline that will conect you to a victims advocate group near you. If they are not helpful (sometimes they are and somestimes they are not) hang up and go to the RAINN.org website and pick any location and try that number and repeat until you get someone who is really helpful, someone who makes you feel empowered and is listenning to you. The hotline is also international, so if you are outside the US, you can find a number on their website for your country or there is also an online hotline.

      Eating disorders and social anxiety are normal reactions to sexual abuse and they will heal as you heal. Do not believe that there is a chemical imbalance, which many mis-educated therapists will tell you. There are no studies to prove that and many times drugs can actually case depression and many other side effects that mis-educated therapists often mistake for chemical imbalance (the chemical imbalance is actually being creatted by the drugs. You must be careful if you are on the drugs though because withdrawing must be done slowly). See more resources at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/hotlines-and-resources/ I am only mentioning drugs in case someone recommends them, so that you will have information on why not to use them.

      I do not believe that God has lost faith in you, it sure can feel that way sometimes though. I believe that all of these feelings are coming up for you because your body is releasing the old thoughts you mis-learned about yourself from the abuse and when you are ready you can replace these old feelings about yourself with new feelings about who you are, and what an incredible person you are. You may not be able to see that you are an incredible person now, but you are.

      Of course people will love you but the most important person who needs to love you is you. It is time to discard the lie that you are not lovable. And you are not broken, a broken person abused you. That broken person wants you to belive the lie that you are broken. The abuser wants you to belive the lie that it was your fault. The abuse is not your fault, no matter how much the abuser wants you to believe that. The abuse is the abuser’s fault, they are sick people.

      You are normal, in the United States 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they turn 18. Many people will go on to have great lives. You are not broken and you will heal and can go on to have a great life.

  29. Amy, I stumbled upon your blog this morning and have thoroughly enjoyed it. As a fellow survivor of childhood abuse, I can relate to so much of what you and your readers have written. I recently started a blog to help with my healing and processing as well. It has been an amazing addition to my therapy. Your play sounds incredible! It must be so healing for everyone involved -the actors, the directors, the audience…and for you each time you see and hear it. What a great idea! Wishing you all the best… I’ll be back to visit again soon. 🙂

  30. It has been helpful in healing to read others posts. It is amazing how well a perpetrator can tell who to manipulate.
    I was a sexually abused by neighbors at eight, others at thirteen, and a group of men at sixteen. I married an abusive man who sought to be a pastor. It also occurred when I had started drinking while trying to escape my ex-husband and the abuse memories that were raging. After I got out of the marriage, I was then raped by a coworker. I went into a help group seeking solace, some place to be where I could start to heal as I didn’t want to use drugs to cope. I was then manipulated by the sponsor to the coworker that raped me.
    I am so glad to be out of those situations. It hurts and I am angry about it, but I am healing to where it doesn’t effect all aspects of my life. The coworker rape was particularly traumatizing and is the one that lingers. Its been two years and I still have flashbacks. I struggle with staying grounded and believing in myself, but I do. I listen to myself and value each and every thought and feeling that I have. Being perp’ed on is very painful.
    I feel so disappointed in myself for being manipulated by the last man. It feels disgusting, nauseating that I was so blinded by hope while in some very deep turmoil that I had a relationship that might work out. At first he was sensitive, caring, and would not push any physical act, then it changed to where he was knowingly triggering me. I despise the shame, rage, hurt, humiliation, and sorrow that comes with being sexually abused. That victimization from not being able to defend myself, from being overpowered. The 12 steps of rape survivors is very helpful.
    I have a lot of hope and things to look forward too. Closing the door on unhealthy relationships has been the first step to healing myself. I matter and surrounding myself with people who can see that and treat me with the dignity, who operate without manipulation is key.
    I know that I can trust myself and make decisions.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, I know that it will help others to not feel so alone. I believe that the average survivor of sexual assault will remember seven perpetraitors. When a child is sexually assaulted, it sets them up to be repeatedly assaulted because that is how they were trained to be. This does not have to happen to a victimized child but frequently revictimiztion does unfortunately occur. It shows that you have strength and power to have gotten away and do not blame yourself for the sleezieness of your coworker and your sponsor. How dare they act as they did. Perpetraitors quite often lure their victims by being kind. If you choose and it is entirely your choice, you can press charges against your coworker, if the statute of limitations has not run out. Only do this if you feel that it would be healing to you. Here is a link to a website that lists all of the states statute of limitations, if you are in the United States. http://www.theforensicnurse.com/Rape_And_Sexual_Assault_Statute_Of_Limitations_By_State.cfm

      It sounds like you have done a ton of healing and I am sure that your post will inspire others to do the same.

  31. I am 29. This past December I started to remember being raped by my father. I had forgotten for so long and thought I was going crazy when I started to remember after reading a book about fathers parenting their children. Since then I keep remembering places and things. My best friend always said my obsession with cartoons and kids things wasn’t normal and it was a deeper issue. I have cartoon tattoos and wear cartoon characters all the time on my clothes. People always called me weird and I just thought it was a quirk. I can’t believe this happened. I admitted it out loud for the first time tonight. It is almost intimidating to admit and want to heal. I feel it is so huge.. like a huge bolder and if I was so good at blocking it out for so many years why do I have to remember it now. My super clingy behavior and need for constant male attention and then anger towards them all makes sense now. My anorexia, my self hurt all began in elementary school. I tried to kill myself several times and there would be my dad at the hospital saying it was because of what he and my mom had done to me. Was that his admission of guilt every time? Why would someone do that to their baby? How can you go in front of a church as a leader and then go home and molest a 2 year old?????? I don’t blame God. No Never. It wasn’t his fault. He gives free will and the man made the choice to do it. I just can’t believe a gifted, intelligent man of God did this. Well, I’m lucky I have God. I pray to Him and ask Him to help me. I am so scared and I don’t know what to do. I am really hurting and scared. I am thankful I will be able to help people. Now when I look back so much makes sense. I would know instinctively when someone had been molested. I knew. I could see it in their eyes or their abusers. I always thought “At least I haven’t gone through that.” Well crap. lol what the math… (see that’s a quote I got from my cartoons 🙂
    I can’t believe this. It hurts and disgust me so bad. No wonder I was always scared when he touched me… even for a hug. I was so relieved when he got a woman pregnant accidentally and I had to sleep in a room with her daughter. There was protection in numbers. I can’t believe this. How do I face him now that I know? If anyone can help me or talk to me please … I would really appreciate it. I don’t know what to do. This random site is where I came tonight b/c as usual I can’t sleep… and no I guess the insomnia makes sense. This freaking sucks. I’m so sorry to tell all you random strangers this stuff but I just admitted it tonight and I need help.
    Thank you all. good luck to everyone on their road to recovery and healing 🙂 we can and will get through this. it’s a relief in a way remembering and knowing why you have never felt stable… but it effing sucks too 🙂 my friends call me kfab (as a joke.. i feel weird putting my real name) and my email is hope03_2003@yahoo.com if anyone wants to talk

    1. It is really healthy that you are remembering, it shows that you have great strength to admit to yourself what really happened to you. You would not be remembering if you were not ready to do so. Blocking the memories can only cause problems, like you stated, the anorexia, self harm and suidcide attempts all can be caused by you keeping the memories blocked and a part of you unconsciuosly blaming yourself for the assaults. But they were not your fault, it was the fault of your perpetraitors. Yes, unfortunately some sick people sexually assault babies, children, teenagers and sometimes these sick people even continue to assault their children after they grow up.

      If you keep asking yourself what the cartoons symbolize, you will firgure out the answers and why you were obssessed with these particular cartoons. My belief is that if your father was molesting children, then he was not really a man of God. But that is my belief. What he said to you at the hospital could have been his way of admitting guilt. Perpetrators rarely come out and fully admit that they are raping children, but my dad also alluded to guilt without ever saying he raped or molested me. A few years later when I confronted him, he said that he thought his mom and the household help had done things to him then he angrily chamged the subject and offered me a new car.

      Remembering can hurt but the truth is that most likely you have been feeling those feelings all of your life but just stuffing them back down. When you remember, those feelings can be felt and eventually they will be released from the body. Because the feelings were trying to tell you about the repressed memories and when they re not heard those feelings can become more and more intense.

      It takes time to really believe that it happened, that parents would actually commit such atrocities, but from everything that you wrote, it sounds like it really did happen to you and you are healing from it. I personally do not believe that healing has to be a life long process. A great resource that you can call 24 hours a day is the RAINN (Rape Abuse Natinal Network Hotline) is 1-800-656-HOPE. They are even fine if you call in the middle of the night. (Many times you can get a ton of help from talking with them, though they are volunteers and sometimes they are not at all helpful, it just depends who answers. If the person you get is not helpful, hang up and try a hotline in another area which you can get off their website rainn.org. It’s a confidential call.)

      Always rember that you are strong and you are not weird, what was done to you was weird and wrong. Also, you do not have to talk to your parents or see them if you don’t want to. It can be a hard choice to make butlisten to yourself and see what you really want to do not what you feel you should do.

    2. I am so glade i was able to express myself here my cousin did it to me as well and i forgave her but now i learning how to forgive mtself can you help me out.But I know God is with me and i am glad i can release it and she did it to one of my other cousin so i am praying the this curse be broken off this family

  32. thank you for sharing and starting a blog. I was sexually abused by 3 differ people in my life, off and on from age 5 into my early 20s. then an uncle who knew about my abuse, used it as a way to get close to me, and convince me briefly out was ok as an adult for him and I tobe together in my late 20s… I’m still struggling with the wrongness of that and what he did to me, especially as an adult.
    my stepfather was one of my abusers, and raped me as well. he and my mom divorced a few years ago, and sadly he did it to another girl, but this time she was believed and he us in prison. but I don’t feel any better for it. I had to movin with my mom, bringing my children with me. I dont sleep, even though he isn’t here.. I an always depressed.. I struggle everyday. she even asked me to put fathersday card from her and my brother in the mail for her! and reads out the letters he sends her!! I can’t believe I’m still subjected to him.
    sorry to ramble..
    what caught my eye was you said you detoxed your body.. how?
    thank you and sorry again for the rambling.

    1. First I wanted to say that I did not feel that you were rambling but instead, I would say that you are telling your story. Telling yourself that you are rambling seems like a way to minimize your experiences. You had some really horrible things happen to you as a child and an adult. Your uncle purposely took advantage of you and it is not at all your fault. He knew what happened to you and because he is a perpetrator, he knew exactly what to do to use your passed conditioning from being abused to perpetrate against you. He is an expert abuser and expert abusers make you think that you are consenting when in truth they have manipulated you.

      Allowing your body to detox from trauma, can happen in so many ways. Our bodies naturally want to release the trauma that has happened to us but being survivors of abuse as children, we are taught to keep the trauma inside. Our bodies learn to stuff those emotions of terror and sadness inside rather than releasing those emotions. But those stuffed emotions want to be heard, so frequently stuffed sadness screams at us and becomes stronger and stronger trying to be heard and it eventually becomes extreme sadness (depression), anxiety, rage, etc. To help detox that sadness (or any emotion), we need to listen to when the sadness or depression comes up, and ask what has triggered it? Is it the lights in the room, something great happened to us and we are now scared that it will be taken away, it could be a TV show, a sound, smell or taste. And if we can allow ourselves to feel the sadness without stuffing it down and listen to what is the memory that has caused the sadness, eventually the sadness with start to dissipate. (You have to also keep in mind that if you are taking prescription drugs for emotional issues, those drugs and withdrawing from the drugs can cause depression, anxiety and even suicidal ideation. So those drugs can cause the emotional issues and if that is happening you need to figure out if those emotions are being caused by the drugs or your past.)

      If your mother is reading letters from a perpetrator, that is not healthy nor respectful to you. If it is not possible at this time to move to out, then while you are staying with you mother you could consider putting down boundaries, such as saying that your uncle is a perpetrator and you do not want to hear any letters from him and you will not mail out any letters to him or from him. There is a good chance that your mother will not respect that and if so, she may be in denial as well. Her subjecting you to your uncles letters is cruel and you deserve better than that. She may minimize or not believe you but that is her being sick not you. It does not sound like a healthy place for you or your child.

      Not being able to sleep is your body remembering the abuse and when you are having a hard time sleeping you can ask yourself what is the memory? Are you safe now? You may or may not currently be safe at your mother’s house, so listen to your intuition. If you are safe then you can remind yourself that you are safe today. Do not berate yourself for not sleeping because that will only keep you awake. Also all sleeping pills that I know of make you skip REM sleep, so although you are sleeping, you will not be rested.

      Healing is all about listening to your intuition and allowing your emotions to get unstuck and released from your body.

      I would like to commend you for your strength and courage because it took both to write what you wrote and speak your truth.

  33. Hi all. I have been sexually abused at the age of 5 years old and chronically until I was 10 years old. During those years, I would be under so much fear that I never told anyone and I tried to repress what happened to me. It’s such a temptation for me to do so and not speak up about it. It still seems like a dream to me. Even as I am typing, it hasn’t sunken in that it actually happened to me. But it did. My abuser is extremely violent and I have not confronted him yet about it. I would love for the opportunity to do so but am afraid if he doesn’t give the right response. I would love to just accept it as is and move on with my life. I still fear of his return and his visits to my home. He is my cousin. I am currently 19 years old and seeking for help and healing for my life. I appreciate your work and this blog. Please reply with any comments, suggestions, support, guidance, and words. Thanks.

    1. Linda,

      Good for you for writing this and reaching out. That shows your strength. Of course you want to repress it, it was your body’s way of coping with the horrible abuse. It feeling like it was a dream is also a way that your body dealt with the abuse. But the memories of the abuse are ready to be really heard and believed. Sometimes as you work through the abuse, you will have times where it feels like someone else’s movie and that is normal. You do not have to confront the abuser to heal. But you do need to confront where the memories of the abuse are happening in your life today and it can be subtle. Memories of the abuse can pop up as feelings such as suddenly feeling depressed, angry or even having a panic attack. These feelings can be triggered by the lighting in a room or watching TV or really anything. So that anytime that you have an extreme emotion or one that does not make sense for the situation ask yourself “What did I see, hear, smell, taste or feel that triggered this emotion?” And then take a moment to listen and believe whatever comes up whether or not it makes sense (it will eventually make sense).

      Also make sure that you take time to nurture and take care of yourself.

    2. Linda, You are so brave to reach out for help on how to deal with your cousin. It is wise to be cautious about confrontation. You may want to seriously consider seeing a counselor or therapist for awhile to gather strength before any confrontation. The victim often becomes the family scape goat when the truth is exposed because people don’t want to believe. This can be devastating.

  34. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. As an adult I would recall something and tell a friend and then something would upset me and I would totally forget the incident or speaking to anyone about it. The again later have the same memory again like it was a brand new realization. I been in therapy for 2 years for was to go hand in hand with my depression. An illness brought me back to my parents home where I again abused in different ways and unable to defend myself due to my chronic pain and spinal issue’s.
    2 years later I recalled that my mother was involved and knew about the abuse. Since that memory and piece of the puzzle I am having flash backs and more bowel movements associated with a very very deep emotional pain and a few tears or unable to breath. I am looking for information on the bowel, emotional pain and abuse or what this all means or what I can expect. Thanks so much, V

    1. It could be possibly be body memories of being anally abused. Meaning that your body is remembering something that your mind has yet to remember. You are not alone unfortunately many people have been abused and repressed their memories. It shows that you have tons of strength that you are remembering and reaching out.

  35. I am also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and trauma. I repressed my abuse and remembered it in my forties. I offer retreats for survivors using art. My next retreat is described in a post on my blog (blogher.com/member/barbarahughes. I related to what you said very much. How wonderful that you have touring play. I have a touring show of paintings and poetry and narrative about my story, and am in the process of turning it into a book. I really want to be in contact with you. Your healing is being put to good use, besides being life for you. Many blessings, Barbara

    1. Yes, I wrote the Supreme Court last month to consider life in prison for child abusers, with no parole or probation. I am waiting for a answer.

      I asked to be heard along with other survivors to hear our stories and make them understand how painful it is still as adults.

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