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.

928 thoughts on “Healing from Sexual Abuse and Trauma

  1. I was abused at a very early age by my step dad who raised me. I was younger than 3 and had repressed it all until early last year. Growing up he was an alcoholic and was abusive to me and my mother and committed suicide when I was 16. I am now 23.
    I was then again abused by a friend when I was 12. Then was sexually abused by my ex husband for 4 of our 5 year relationship. He left me last year and in February I was raped by someone I knew through mutual friends… I never reported it due to my experience reporting my abuse when I was 12.

    I’ve never really coped or dealt with what has happened to me and I am just now starting to realize the true effects it is having on my life. I am in a new relationship with a man I love more than I have ever loved anyone before in my life. But I am starting the see my past wearing on our relationship.

    I’m ready to heal. I want to be able to marry him and have children. I want to be able to get rid of this filth I can’t seem to wash off. I want my inner child back, I want to comfort her and let her know everything is okay. I want to save her. I just don’t know where to begin. I’m scared of what going through the memories might bring up or do to me. I can hardly think about it without completely breaking down. I’ve always just left it in the past and pretended it never happened…. but I guess you can’t run forever.

    1. Hi Anne,

      I am sorry that all of those awful things happened to you. None of that is at all ok. And you can heal and detox all of those horrible memories from your body. It shows that you are already beginning the healing process by recognizing that you cannot run from your past because those memories will scream louder and louder to be heard. Their screams can be felt as emotions swelling up from inside.

      It is very helpful to find an excellent therapist who can help you to work through all of those feelings and memories. Notice that I did say excellent, there are plenty of bad and mediocre therapists around so make sure that you find one who has the tools to help you to heal without recommending that you need to take drugs, herbal remedies or vitamins to control your emotions. You need a therapist who knows how to help your body to truly detox from the memories. One place you can start is to call 1-800-656-HOPE and they may be able to help you and may even have free counselling for survivors. But if ever you are on the phone and the person seems unsupportive or even interviewing a therapist and they do not seem helpful (even if it is free) feel free to hang up or leave the therapist and keep looking. If the hotline is not supportive, hang up and try again later. If they are repeatedly not supportive try another hotline or try searching for therapists until you find help that is helpful.

      I have written about other tools you can use to help to detox from the trauma and emotions that pop up from that at “What to Do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ and you might also want to read my other two posts “Do I Need to Forgive to Heal” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/do-i-need-to-forgive-to-heal-from-abuse/ (the short answer is no) and “Surviving Mother’s Day and the Holidays at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ (which gives ideas on how to be a parent your inner child).

      You can even try talking to your inner child and tell her that she will be ok.

      It’s fine that when you think about it you are “breaking down” what happened to you is very sad and it’s ok to be really sad about that. You can also try to do things that comfort you whatever that is.

      You absolutely can heal if you take action and find a great therapists that has the tools to help you to heal. So keep looking until you find the right person.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates give survivors hope that even though your progress might seem small to you it can be huge to others survivors and give them hope.

  2. I was sexually abused by my father when he was “looking after me” in our family while my mom was working when I was a really small child (1,5 -2,5 years old) and maybe later on as well I’m still not sure (and I also think by my uncle and a man at my after school activity as a tween). The repressed memories started appearing about two and a half weeks ago so everything is new for me and turned upside down. I have only told my sister and she told me that my mom within the last couple of year had mentioned to her that she thought that maybe I was abused.

    I’ve already visited a therapist once and that was a total relief. I always believed myself to me rational and I thought that I new myself but all along something was not right deep down. Everything make sense know. All of the weird thoughts and feelings that I’ve been feeling my whole life was not because I was crazy or mentally ill it was reactions to being sexually abused. I feel very ashamed of the way that I’ve acted as a child. I was so “sexually” and flirtatious with people.

    I have always tried to be in control and not show people how I feel. I never identified myself with “victim”. I always thought that I was a really bad person. That everything bad that happened to me was a punishment because I was just plain horrible. I know that that this is not true. My sociopath regressive pedophile of a father installed those thoughts in my head. When I’m writing this I can feel that I still don’t believe a 100 percent that it actually happened. I wish it has never happened but it did. I know with my rational brain when I look at the way that I’ve been and the way I was behaving all along. But I still cannot understand it with my heart. How can a father do such a terrible thing? It’s beyond my ability to grasp….but I guess that makes me not insane.

    I still feel like something is wrong with me and I’m afraid that I will never have a family because I’m so damaged that no man will ever want to be with me if he finds out what a mess I am. Also I’m terrified of having kids but also I really want to be a mother. It is so hard because I’m approaching 30 and a lot of my friends are in relationships and having babies.

    Ambivalent is in everything that I do at the moment and it sucks. But also I’ve been hit by a sudden happiness that I’ve never felt in my life before. I finally figured out what is wrong “with me” and it was not me that was wrong at all. It was my messed up abusive parents. I always felt that something was wrong.

    1. Hi Tanja,

      I am so sorry to hear that happened to you. No child should ever have to go through something like that, it is not ok. Your story shows so much hope to other survivors that just believing themselves is a huge part of the healing process. I understand, it is hard to believe such an atrocity happened. It does not make any sense that a parent would abuse a child, in any way, but unfortunately that happens more than is ever even reported.

      Even though repressed memories can turn your life upside down, as you stated, it makes your life make more sense. There is nothing wrong with you. I had such a huge sense of relief when I realized the abuse that I had suffered. Now all that you need to do is find a way that works for you to detox from the abuse. It is fantastic that it sounds like the therapist you visited was helpful (though some time in your healing process you may or may not outgrow them.

      If you keep working on your healing, you can heal and fall in love and have a family, that could be possible. It is the perpetrator and not you who is damaged. Any man who does not love you because you were abused, is not a healthy man to be with to begin with. You are not damaged, you were abused. Who you innately are is still there and as you heal, you can feel more and more who you really are. And you might even find that you have a ton more energy because it takes a ton of energy to keep memories repressed.

      As for almost being 30 years old, even though a ton of your friends are already married, the average age for a woman’s first marriage in Denmark is 32 years old which means that tons of other women in Denmark married much older than 32 years old. Don’t let that be an excuse to beat yourself up. Also realize that once you heal, you have a much better chance of attracting a healthy guy to spend the rest of your life with and have a family with. Give yourself time, you have plenty of time. Healing from the abuse is one of the most important things you can do, as well as living life.

      Take each moment as it comes. Things will work out, if you keep taking action to heal. Everyone deserves to have an awesome life, it’s the abusers who do not want to stop are the only ones who give up that right. And by abusing others, I do not see how they can ever truly be happy anyway.

      If you need more resources to help with healing from the abuse, you can try this website http://www.rcne.com/contact/countries/denmark/ . Those resources may or not be helpful. If someone is not helpful (or recommends drugs, herbs or vitamins rather than tools to help you to detox from the trauma) I would choose to go else where. Ideas on my post “What To Do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ may be helpful to you when intense emotions come up.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates even if they may not seem like what you have done towards healing is a huge deal to you, can be very helpful to other survivors.

    2. Hi Tanja Berg,

      I want to start of by saying how deeply sorry I am that you had to suffer through this atrocity.
      While I was reading your post I couldn’t help to think how eerily similar we felt and reacted to the abuse. My father sexually abused me at the age of 11mos to about 2 yrs. A part of me still doubts and says maybe it didn’t happen but I think that’s what we had to tell ourselves as a mechanism to survive the abuse, live in denial.

      It is definitely Not your fault and just because we doubt it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I started getting dreams of my father but deep down b4 that there was always something that did feel wrong and being around him creeped me out. I also like you want children, I love kids so much and want to protect them but I am terrified of having any or a relationship for that matter. It doesn’t mean in the future you still can’t have all these things but I think the fear comes from feeling trapped and helpless. There is hope, continue seeing a therapist and check out a few inner child healing vids on youtube they really do help getting in touch with your child within.

      …(edited by blogger) You are not alone in this…(edited by blogger)

  3. I was constantly sexually abused as a child from 5 the earliest age I can remember up until about 10 years old, I came from a very violent domestic home constantly watching my dad physically abuse my mother and my brother and dad physically assaulting eachother. The sexual abuse started with my brother then started with other children around the same age as me at the time. I didn’t even know how wrong it was I just knew it had to stay a secret. I could never understand why..why this was happening but became an awful pattern. I now have my own children and get so paranoid about sexual behaviour to the point it gives me anxiety! Which anxiety is something I now suffer with in adult life. I have so much resentment towards my parents, I was deprived of having a healthy childhood but I have moved on from the past. Our family does not speak about it. We all just act like nothing happened. I don’t talk to anyone about it for the fact that I feel ashamed, embarrest and feel that people won’t believe me. I’m just so hurt by the fact that my innocence was taken away from me at such a young age!

    1. Hi Sarah,

      It is awful that you never had a childhood, that is so not ok. Every child deserves to be protected and have a healthy childhood, unfortunately not every child has one and that is really unacceptable. Hopefully as people heal this will become more of a reality in our world.

      If people do not believe that you were abused, then those are people that you do not want to be in your life. They are not healthy. Even if they are family members. Telling people can actually be a test to see if those people are healthy enough to be in your life. As you do more healing, you will attract healthier people into your life, though this process can take a while. I am concerned that if your family simply does not speak about it and has not healed from it if they are healthy to be around. I would also want to make sure that your children are not around unhealthy people, especially those who have sexually assaulted others in the past. You and your children deserve better.

      As a survivor, we sometimes can be blinded and be around people who are inappropriately sexual, the best thing to do in those cases is to stay away and keep your kids away from sexually inappropriate people. Those people are gross to be around.

      It is understandable, your hyper vigilance around your children and making sure they are others to protect them. But as you heal you will have a better idea about who is a good person and who is not and some of your hyper vigilance may dissipate. The anxiety will also dissipate as you heal and detox from the past.

      Keeping the perpetrators secret is never a healthy thing. It is their secret and their shame and it belongs to them.

      So it may be a great time to reach out and find excellent help to heal from the abuse. You can start by contacting 1-800-424-017 if the person you speak with is helpful, that is great, if not hang up and try again later, volunteers change shifts. Also if you go to their website http://www.nswrapecrisis.com.au/ there are a bunch of Australia resources for survivors. But if those are not supportive you can try and find an excellent therapist to help you to heal. Meaning they have great tools to help to heal from the abuse and detox those memories and emotions stuck in your body from the abuse. An excellent therapist should not try to get you to take drugs, herbs or vitamins but instead should focus on detoxing not retoxing your body. Those drugs have terrible side effects and I just found out that some one I know got nerve damage from I think it was B6. The great news is that you can fully heal, you just need to be vigilant to find an excellent person to work with.

      Please feel free to write any questions or updates. Updates give other survivors hope that things can get better.

  4. I am a survivor of sexual an physical abuse. I am youngest of three. My mother only wanted two kids first to be a boy 2nd to be girl then I came along. She hated me she tild me the fist time sge ever help me was when I was 2. That’s when she started to physical abuse me.My mothers brother did it the first time I was 4. Mom an grandma locked me away until I said I dreamed it. My mother got with step day at age 5 when he started an went until 13. Friends dad did it at age 11 cops got call they let him go. I told my mother about stepdad several tines threw out the year. He admitted to her an made him swear on bible it would happen again he lied. My mother started hurting real bad now because he wanted me not her. I told my friendd mom my real dad. They would confront my mother an she convince them I was a lier. When that happen she almost beat me to death my stepdad saved my life. Finally someone listened an took us away.if they hadnt my sister would of been sold to a guy in Mexico. So now we live with dad. But dad started physically abusing me because he did think I was his. So was cheating on him when she go pregnant with me. So I became a runaway. Disappeared for 6 months. Landed in a teen pretty much prison for 3 years. They didnt know how to help me so they gave me books to read thought that might help me. So time for me to go home but night before I go have to have a fimaly therapy session I trusted her I told her everything. I have 2 young half sister an in middle of session she told my family not to trust me aroud my sister because I might hurt them. That destroyed my to think I could put someone thew that pain no I was very protective of my sisters. So I no longer trusted therapist. Got out 2 months later got married because dad started hitting me an if I ranaway I was locked up until I was 21. So getting married made it were that state and parants had no rights on my I am an adult. I been married to the same man for 18 years an have a 16 year old son. I put him threw hell at first my son strighten me out quick. My huband is metal abusive to me. Iraise our son myself an worked 80 hours a week an still got my two days off to spend with my son. He was my complete world. My husband never did nothing with him so our son started seeking his aproval so now my son teats me how his father does.Now my older sister who was my mother lost her mind an no longer knows who I an. Her husband beat her pretty bad an started giving her drug in her food an I found out to late. I just feel cursed.lost .hurt an so alone. Please tell me it will get better. I dont know what to do anymore. So I just keep going an hope for better days to come.

    1. Please know that you are not alone, others have felt how you feel and after finding an excellent person to help them or even reading some validating books things slowly got better. Tons of therapists are awful but there are a few good ones. Will write more later but it could take a while, if you look down the page you can see I am quite behind on my responding.

    2. Hello to you…I don’t want to call you “cursed”, because you are NOT cursed, you are a survivor…you are obviously a caring , good person it is clear from the great love you have given your sisters and your son…
      What happened to you occurred when you were a small child just looking for love and comfort from your parents…I am so sorry that instead you received abuse and hardship instead of love…and what the therapist said to you in jail about your sisters was so wrong and hurtful…I’m so sorry she was so unkind…
      I was also sexually abused as a child by my parents and recovery has been hard for me too…such abuse can make you feel worthless and very much alone and as you get older fear of trusting others becomes a big issue…
      it is a hard journey back, but you can make it…try to reach that little girl in you who is still hiding and scared and let her know that she is loved and deserves love…
      take another chance and try to get help sorting things out you can contact RAINN ( rape , abuse, incest national network ) they have a hotline and can help you talk through some things and recommend a counseling service where you live…or call the rape crisis center in your city and they also may help guide you to the right person who can help you…
      you are not alone, remember that… and remember things happened to you when you were just a little girl none of it was your fault, believe me…that’s the past, it’s awful and hurtful, but this is now and know you are not alone… you can get help..people care what happens to you…I care and so many others do too…please take of yourself, be kind to yourself…you deserve it…Joseph

    3. I was “groomed” and eventually molested by teenage boys that were neighbors for a few years from 5-7 yrs old. It stopped when one of abusers mom walked in on mark, the abuser , in his underwear w/ me. I was glad and relieved. My mom, also unstable and perhaps psychologically incapacitated to see the grooming of these teen neighbors gaining her trust to exploit me, had no clue she claims. I worked hard to recover In my 30’s. I Did therapy, but really really came past the depression, confusion, anxiety, using SMART recovery program. It’s free and online. In just one year, I started making such better decisions, I got successful in business, dated more, enjoyed sex w/o guilt, got in the best physical shape of my life at 40, and continue to find the real me. I highly suggest smart recovery and REBT from Al Ellis psychologist. I am currently getting closer to managing a very promising opportunity in healthy dating. I have never married and have no kids as of now… Because I seemed to know I am best to get whole first, that I may respect and treat love right when it may come along

      1. Hi Max,

        It is awesome to read your story and hear that your life is getting better. That gives other survivors hope. I hope that other survivors will write their stories to help create more hope.

        It looks like the SMART recovery has some great tools. (My only concern is that in the video they support the use of psychiatric and addiction medication, though I have no idea if you chose those. I would like to caution survivors against their use because of their harmful side effects, such as suicidal thought, brain damage, liver damage, etc but do your own research of side effects.) But you can always use the tools that are helpful because it does look like there are quite a few helpful tools and skip the parts that are not.

        1. Hi,
          How are you doing now? Did you try calling RAINN 1-800-656-HOPE? Was it helpful? Please remember that there are a ton of great and awful people who are volunteers at hotlines, therapists, etc. If you ever find yourself in a non-helpful situation, leave or hang up. Remind yourself that there are great people out there and that person does not happen to be one of them. But do not say it is because you are cursed. It is really statistical. There may have been many bad people in the jail you were put in. Sometimes bad people like that therapist pretend to be good. It is not ok that you have been scapegoated in your life. It’s time to no longer allow people who are not kind to you in your life. If your husband is not good to you then maybe it’s time for a divorce. You can put down boundaries with your son that he must be kind to you and if not there is an appropriate punishment. Such as you will need to make your own dinner or no car or no allowance, etc. If it’s super bad the way he treats you, you can possibly help him to be emancipated. But you may want to try a healthy family therapist’s first. See where are his hurt feelings and what could be done to mend your relationship but again there are excellent therapists but also mediocre and bad ones. So be picky, and you might make a mistake choosing but that’s ok, keep trying. Are there any amends that you need to make to your son? Did your mom, dad or step dad ever see him? If so, that was not healthy but you can always make a new choice to not enable that relationship any more but since he is 16 he may make another choice. If he was around them, they may have abused him without your knowledge. They may have threatened him. If your husband is abusive to you, there is also a great chance that he is abusive to your son. Do not beat yourself up for any of those things but knowing about it can give you tools to mend your relationship with your son.

          It is not surprising that your sister after coming from an abusive family met a person who is bad to her, like your husband is not good to you. Victims can attract bad people and people who are bad like your mother also can attract bad people. Your mother attracted bad people to her like your dad and step dad because she was a bad person, so it’s time that known bad people are out of your life completely. But there are also great people out there, as you heal, it might take a while but you’ll find that you attract better and better people in your life. You are not cursed, you just came from a family that was a crappy person magnet. You as a victim, also unconsciously became a crappy person magnet, like with you husband. Abusers can sense victimy people and they are attracted to them.

          So next step is to keep reaching out until you find excellent help, don’t quit, even if you find crappy help and don’t realize it at first. Keep looking until you are helped. Did you try SMART and was that helpful? Please stay away from people whose tools to help you are things like drugs, herbs, vitamins, electroshock (none of those are helpful and they can do harm). Even if the people who recommend them are kind. There is so much miseducation because the medical industry miseducates doctors, therapists, etc. To make matters worse the FDA is frequently approving unsafe drugs and medical devices because there are people paid by the medical industry in the FDA who are also in charge of approving the drugs and medical devices that their companies will profit from.

          You can heal, do not give up on yourself. Keep reaching out until you find a person with excellent tools to help you to heal and if you make a mistake in selecting a person or outgrow them, keep looking. You deserve an awesome life so never give up until you are healed and then you can have that awesome life. It does take time but it does not have to take a lifetime.

          Please feel free to comment back with the answers to any of those questions, any questions you have or any updates.

  5. My step dad had done the same from when i was 5yrs till i was 15. Used to tell me it was ok and i should let him because it was a normal thing to do as i got older i started thinking this doesnt feel right and everytime i told my sis (her dad) she wouldnt believe me. I brought it up to my mom but was called a liar i had no one so i ran away when i was 16 and was told i didnt have to go back there ever again and i didnt but because that was dine to me i had no self worth or love for myself so i drank to hide the pain then that pain turned into recklessness where i would sleep with anyone when i was drunk. I smoked weed to escape the reality and i carried on this way till i met my first boyfriend i was 17 we were together for 2 yrs and he physically abused me for about 1yr and a half i learned how to fight from him i left him. Then i met my 2nd boyfriend/fiance not too long after we were togther for 3 years and just about got married but he too was abusive and cheated on me left and right i left him. Then i met my husband when i was 23 and were still together but i have done so much to hurt this man when all he did was love me i dont know how to be a good wife and mother i keep thinking about being with some one else i wont do it and i wrote about it on a confessions page and my husband saw it now i feel like the worst person ever i know i am. My question is because of what had happened to me did it really mess me up or am i just a awful individual?

    1. Hi Verlynn,
      I am super busy but will write a response in the next few weeks. If any other survivors would like to give their support, please feel free to write responses and support to other survivors.

    2. Hi Verlynn,
      I have read your post and it saddens me deeply to read how you were so terribly abused. In no way are you an awful person…you were just a small child when this happened to you …the people who are awful is your stepfather and mother who didn’t defend her child…
      I was also sexually abused by my parents starting as a little boy through my teenage years too and recover is a long trail , but worth the fight…because you are worth it…

      It’s difficult to fully grasp how devastating abuse to a young child can be…you are being hurt by someone who you are supposed to trust and is supposed to take care of you and sometimes a child will end up blaming themselves “there must be something wrong with me if I’m being treated this way.” this sense of self-blame can turn into a feeling of worthlessness which is often carried into adulthood…the abuse is complicated because it is wrapped up with fear, anger, shame,. loneliness and sadness…

      Verlynn i really don’t have all the answers…it might be good to talk to a professional who is trained in helping adults deal with such abuse…I have been in therapy for five years now…it’s a safe place for me to feel some of the emotions i mentioned…there may be a time …maybe in a session together ( if you have not as yet ) to let your husband know what has happened to you …I’m sure his heart will go out to you…I have also been reading a good book Getting Through the Day strategies for adults Hurt as Children by Nancy J. Napier…it’s been helpful to me…

      The bottom line here is that I know you are a good person with a good heart…learning to care and love yourself is one of the hardest things to understand and feel for a person who has been abused.

      And always remember what happened to you wasn’t your fault…you were just a little child…please, you take care of yourself…be kind to yourself, you’re worth it. my heart goes out to you…

      1. Thank you for your kind words joesph I appreciate it very much. I’ve always felt like I’m worthless I hate myself and the effects this has had on my relationship I will seek out the help I need and once again thank you for you kind encourging words ment a lot.

        1. Hi Verilynn,

          As Joseph said, as a child, you were innocent. No one is an innately an awful person, we are all born amazing people. If a person chooses to abuse a child or not believe an abused child they become people who are awful, but even they can heal if they choose to heal and make real amends to the children they abused. But most of those people never make the choice to heal. Did you find an excellent therapist? Some therapists are great, others are terrible and the terrible and mediocre ones are not at all helpful but the excellent ones can help you to change your life and detox from the abuse if you take the action to heal.

          Did you try that book Joseph recommended and if so, was it helpful?

          If you are not like your parents and you truly care about your children and do the best you can to protect them, then you are a much better parent than you had and that is something to feel great about. Wanting to cheat could be your little hurt girl inside being scared of intimacy or being hurt again. It could be the urge to run away because when you were a little girl there were a bunch of places where there were bad people and no one protected you or believed you.

          It’s time to practice saying nice things about yourself. What do you like about yourself or if you cannot think of what you like about yourself then ask someone who is your friend, coworker, husband or anyone who will say truthfully kind things about you and is not a sarcastic person. Write them down even and look at them. Tell yourself and your hurt inner child this is who I really am.

          Be the mother you wanted your mother to be. And if you can start to be the friend to yourself you always wanted that could help your relationship with your husband. Also learning to be the parents to yourself that you never had, should help not only you but all of your healthy relationships. You can try reading my post “Surviving Mother’s Day and the Holidays” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/

          Also when you feel intense self hate you can try some of the tools that I wrote about in “What To Do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

          When you want to hurt your husband, take a moment and go inside, see if inside you feel scared or repressed anger from the abuse. Then you can ask yourself how can I express these feelings in a way that is healthy and will not hurt anyone? Maybe try even writing a letter (and not mailing it unless you want to) to the person who made you feel angry, scared or whatever feeling you are feeling. Keep doing that every time those extreme feelings come up and that might help it to dissipate.

          Did your husband seeing you write this help start a healthy discussion?

          It’s also time every time you feel shame or bad about yourself, tell yourself that those feelings belong to perpetrators and not to you. So say something like this shame, anger, fear, etc. belongs to my dad, stepdad or mom and not to me.

          Here’s the rape crisis centre in Edmonton https://www.sace.ab.ca/ . They also have a 24/7 crisis line that you can call ay 780-423-4121. If the person is helpful, that is great, if not hang up and call back later, volunteers change shifts. I think they have free counselling also. If the person is helpful, thats awesome, if not leave and keep looking until you do find an excellent therapists, mediocre and bad therapists are not helpful and can make you feel worse. Keep reaching out for help until you get excellent help.

          Also do not shame yourself because you drank to numb out, many survivors will do that.

          Please feel free to write back with those answers and any updates you may have. Updates help make survivors not feel as alone and can give them hope.

  6. My family is the poster for screwed up. My mom as much as she loved us had no strength and battled depression as long as i ever knew. My father was a veteran and I have no idea what happen to him in the war but what I know for facts is what I have been thru. I m the youngest of 6. All have died very early deaths except myself and eldest sister.We all battled addiction to escape the memories- of mental, physical, sexual abuse.  One brother committed suicide from it. I thought I escaped. I thought if I left it behind and concentrated on the pure love of my life (my beautiful children) that I could pass it. It worked for awhile. But a couple months ago my father died. Everyone outside acting as if he was a hero. a good man. NO, this was the man who hurt us everyday who never did anything for us because he was too busy at the bar spending our food money on woman. Bringing home who knows what to my angelic mother and beating the hell out of us if she didn’t comply. Everyday I remember more of the childhood I never could remember before. I pushed it so far back its driving me crazy. Things that come to me in the middle of the night that were better off forgotten, But in the end HE IS GONE NOW and I will get past it and my babies will NEVER KNOW THE HORRIBLE THINGS and this time HE CANT CONTROL ME. He took everything from me already- my brothers, my mother, my innocence- i thought fathers were suppose to love his children….

    1. Hi Lost,

      Yes, fathers are suppose to love and care for their children and your father was not like a real father, ever. As you have found pushing back those memories does not help at all, it only causes those memories to scream louder to be heard. Things that are forgotten can still control and effect your life, however if you remember the incidents and allow them to detox from your body, then you can truly heal and be free of those events forever. Until they are detoxed from your body, they can have negative effects on your life. Some tools that may help can be found on my post “What to Do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      It also may be helpful to find an excellent therapist to help you to detox from the abuse. When I say excellent therapist, I mean a therapist that is excellent for you. Meaning they help you the way you want to be helped. Some one who is an excellent therapist for another person, may not be an excellent therapist for you. Listen to how you feel around them, do they help you to feel like you have control of your life or do they make you feel like they have control over you. Do they have have great tools to help you to heal or do they want you to take drugs, herbs or vitamins (to help with “chemical imbalance”). You can read a ton about the “myth of chemical imbalance” if you google it. But you were abused and never felt safe, so of course, you have side effects from the abuse you suffered but remember you can heal. You do not need to live with that for the rest of your life if you take action and find an excellent therapist. (If you are on prescription drugs and would like to go off of them, the side effects are really bad, make sure that you do it under the supervision of an excellent medical or alternative healthcare professional).

      It is not uncommon for survivors to remember more of the abuse after one of their perpetrators dies. It is hard to hear that a person who was so nasty have others say how great he was but do not ever doubt your own truth. He was nasty.

      It is possible as well that your mother was also an unhealed survivor of child sexual assault which explains why she was depressed most of her life. Since many survivors will wind up with perpetrators, it sometimes looks like depression is hereditary but the truth is that frequently the abuse keeps happening generation after generation until someone puts a stop to it and depression is a symptom of having been abused.

      You can also try calling 1-800-656-HOPE who will connect you with the local sexual assault rape crisis center, the people you speak with may or may not be helpful. If they are not helpful hang up and try again later volunteers change shifts. If they are repeatedly unhelpful try another rape crisis center at centers.rainn.org or work on finding an excellent therapist. Remember that if you work on healing and have great tools you can heal. Abuse was in your past but as long as you heal, it does not have to be in the future.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates give other survivors hope that they too can make progress and heal.

  7. i was sexually abused by my brother when I was younger and it never use to effect me until now (10 years later) reading about everyone telling their stories and stuff made me want to let it out as well.

    how do I get rid of the memories and horrible falling feeling inside me that makes me want to die? I never use to get memories until recently when I have dreams and flash backs and stuff. it horrible!

    does anyone have any suggestions?

    1. Hi Lara,

      What may have happened is that your body was spending tons of energy suppressing the memories and emotions from the abuse. Something may have changed, maybe now you have more free time or something in your life, possibly a steady partner or moving away from the abuser or tons of other things could also have occurred to make you feel like it is now a good time to deal with the abuse and heal. Reading other people’s stories could also have allowed you not to feel as alone but it is great that you are ready to deal with the abuse and let it predominately detox from your body rather than being stuffed down.

      Though if you are in the area that your IP address shows a bunch of survivors have found that that particular rape crisis center is not very helpful but still try them and check in to see if they are helpful or not. But even if they are not helpful there are tons of other places and therapists that you can contact. Keep reaching out until you find a great person who can help you t heal and detox from the trauma. Keep in mind that if your therapists is talking about you having chemical imbalance I would run, that means that they don’t have the tools to help you and will recommend drugs, herbs or vitamins, none of which are very helpful. You can google the “myth of chemical imbalance” you can see a bunch of articles written on that, but the drug companies are getting very rich from that myth. If you are already taking those drugs then that could also be the cause of your terrible feelings inside (that is a side effect of those drugs). If you are taking drugs for emotions be very careful if you choose to go off of them and only do it under the supervision of an excellent medical or alternative health care practitioner. But that feeling is also a feeling that can be left over from sexual abuse and is curable.

      My post “What to do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ Also if you keep reassuring yourself that your body is having the emotions and flashbacks as a way to detox from the trauma of the past, that may also help.

      You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE but that may connect you to the unhelpful rape crisis center. Keep looking until you find great help. You are not alone, others have had flashbacks and terrible feelings and they too have healed and so can you.

  8. I was sexually abused by my brother about 50 years ago. Never told my parents, husband, children, etc. NOBODY! This past year my life has Changed dramatically and things will never be the same! My mom is in her 80’s and I am afraid it would kill her, if I tell Her tell her now but she wants to know why I can not be closer to my brother? My dad is deceased. what should I do?

    1. Hi Karen,

      The decision is up to you. We as survivors are often lied to and told that telling the truth will kill someone, that lie only benefits the perpetrator. People don’t die from being told the truth but it does the secret does fester in the person who was abused. If you want to know who your mother really is and if she would support you or the perpetrator, then if you tell her you will know the truth. It may make her very sad, that is healthy. She may not believe you or blame you. If you want a real relationship with her, you can tell her. If your mother really loves you, she may really want to know. A part of her may already know. The other question to ask is who molested your brother and did they have access to you?

      Also if your brother has kids and has not healed, his kids are at risk for being sexually abused. Have you confronted or wanted to confront your brother also?

      You may want to try calling 1-800-656-HOPE to get support but they may or may not be helpful. If they tell you it will kill your mother or to keep it a secret, hang up and try again later or call around until you find a great therapist to work with. It time for you to stop keeping your brother’s secret.

      1. Karen I can so relate to you. I too am, in my 50’s and was abused by my brother as a child. I tried to tell my Mother but she chose to ignore it. Years later during a discussion with her she couldn’t understand why I dislike my brother and I blew my top. She denied me ever telling her! She also said didn’t I think that she would have done something about it if I had? She all but called me a liar. She always has adored my brother and in her eyes he can do no wrong. I feel so angry, let down by her and am full of bitterness.

    2. …continuing from my last post, my Mum too is now in her 80s and my Dad died years ago. Think about what I have said. Would it really make a difference to you to tell her? Is it worth it? I have hoped for some sort of recognition, admission or apology all of my adult life but I know now that it will NEVER come. I hope that it works out ok for you. At least you are married, have kids, a new family. All of my relationships have been disasters and I partly blame my experience for that.

      1. Hi SueUK,

        Thanks for taking the time to reach out and help others survivors. I also wanted to mention that it’s never too late to heal so that you can have awesome relationships. Have you tried reaching out to the national rape crisis line in the UK at 0808 802 9999 noon – 2.30pm and 7:00pm – 9.30pm 365 days a year? They may have great resources that can help you to heal so that you can have healthy relationships. There is also the website http://rapecrisis.org.uk/centres.php that lists local rape crisis centres in the UK. If they are helpful, that’s great and if not hang up and try again later or look at other options to help you to detox from the sexual abuse that you suffered and having a very unsupportive mom both are very hard for a child and both can be healed. But please keep in mind that you need a therapist that can help you to heal and not try to get you to take drugs or herbal remedies which only cover up the real issues and have some pretty severe side effects.

  9. Hi, I just came across this website and I am struggling with an idea and would love your opinion. It’s a bit long so just bare with me. So I grew up in a very religious (Jewish) environment and town and a big family. My sister started abusing me when I was very young. At the age of 14 she got married and moved out. I then started reading articles and realized what she did to me wasn’t right. At that point a lot of stuff went on in my life and I decided to go away from my religion. At age 18 I left my religion and lived with my non Jewish boyfriend. For my parents it came out if the blue I was always a good girl. They didn’t know I even didn’t want to be religious. One of the main reason I left was because of my sister molesting me. Almost 4 years later my parents still don’t understand and they don’t know what ever happened. I am struggling if I should tell them, maybe they will understand me and be more okay with my decision. My other sister who I’m very close with thinks they won’t meet my boyfriend ever but that maybe they will be okay with me. I don’t want to press charges on my sister. I just want my parents to meet my boyfriend of 3+ years and to understand where I’m coming from. Sorry it was so long any feedback would be much appreciated!

    1. Hi Katelyn,

      Sorry for my delay in responding. There really are two issues here, the extremely religious family and the sexual assault. Sometimes when people are extremely religious they will not understand anyone who has left the religion for any reason because they feel that all of the answers that a person will ever need are in that religion. It does not matter which religion it is, Judaism, Christianity, Muslim as long as they are extremely religious. But they may understand and be compassionate about the fact that your sister molested you or they may be totally in denial and say that you made it up or exaggerated. It is also important to realize that whoever molested your sister may have also had access to you or may have been in your family. Children don;t just start abusing other children unless they were sexually assaulted. This is not to remove blame from your sister because what she did was horrific but it is to help you to better understand the family you grew up in. If your parents are supportive and want to support you in your healing process then that is a good sign. Unfortunately their support may not be very supportive if they want you to talk to the Rabbi as part of your healing process because that does not support the decisions you made. A friend of mine from high school grew up with orthodox mother and aunt who basically did not accept that she was with a non-Jew but once she had kids, they accepted her back into their lives, so you never know.

      But the most important thing you can do is to take care of yourself and reach out and find ways to heal. Sexual assault does happen to children in all religions (some people think it does not happen to Jews, I am a Jewish survivor and have heard that one before) others have a hard time believing that woman sexually assault children but that also happens and because of people’s unwillingness to believe that less survivors will come out and tell their stories. There was a rabbi caught on the show “To Catch a Predictor”.

      Also I wanted to mention that in the book “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots” she was assaulted by a lady at the Mikvah and if you google “leaving orthodox judaism” or “leaving hassidic judaism” you will find tons of others who have left.

      You may want to reach out to Footsteps http://footstepsorg.org/# it’s an organization that helps religious Jews begin a new life in the secular world. It’s normally for ultra-orthodox Jews but I bet they would help you with that part of your life and I also would think that there are others there who left for the same reason that you did. They are in Manhattan and they have an open “Food and Schmooze” this Thursday, August 27 http://footstepsorg.org/calendar/. And they may also have resources to help you to heal from the sexual assault. If not you can try the 1-800-656-hope hotline which helps survivors to heal from sexual assault. If neither of those help keep reaching out until you get help that is supportive and helpful. I personally would stay away from anyone trying to get you to take drugs or herbal remedies as part of the solution their side effects are terrible and they cover up the real issues that you must detox from the abuse that you suffered.

      You can heal and have a great life. If you keep taking action and find great people to help you to heal.

      Please write back with any questions or updates. I am curious if you go to Footsteps if you find it helpful.

      1. Hi Amy thanks for your response. So I have looked into footsteps before but my non-religious yet Jewish friends tell me the wouldn’t helps because I’m with a non Jew. I have actually already went to therapy for a while and I came to be at peace with what happened. I just want my family to understand. And the sexual abuse went from sister to sister. And one of my sisters know how it started and won’t tell me and it drives me crazy.

        1. Hi Katelyn,

          That is not true about Footsteps, it is for people moving into the secular world, your friends are incorrect. If you want, try going to the event tonight and see if it works for you. These two quotes are taken from their website “Footsteps serves men and women who are coming from ultra-Orthodox Jewish backgrounds, including people coming from Hassidic and Yeshivish communities. People who come to Footsteps generally come because they are questioning the beliefs or practices they grew up with and they are looking for a space to explore and to connect with others”. “Footsteps primarily works with people coming from Jewish ultra-Orthodox communities, but those coming from other insular religious communities are welcome to call for resources and referrals. There are also events open to non-members.” These are their core values http://footstepsorg.org/core-values/ (the event tonight is an open event http://footstepsorg.org/calendar/) I think it could be very helpful to go there. They do not have their September calendar up yet.

          It is great that you have done a ton of healing, there may be some more healing to do around your family.

          Your family may never understand, it’s your job to take care of yourself and work with a therapist who can help you to take care of yourself no matter what your family does. And if you still have other sisters or brothers who have contact with the perpetrating sister, you may want to say something to protect them. Your parents may help protect them or they may side with the perpetrator so be ready for either response. You may also want to bring a person to support you. There is also a community called http://www.jewishcommunitywatch.org/ that helps to deal with sexual assault in the Jewish community. They may be able to help you protect other children who may be assaulted by your sister. I have never spoken with them so I do not know.

          By your sister not telling you, she is protecting a perpetrator and not supporting you. It is time for no longer keeping perpetrator secrets.

          Keep taking action and finding great people to work with when it comes to your family and things will get even better.

  10. Hi my name is Sophia. I’m 17. I remember when I was 5 or 6 my brother touched me. I’m not going to go into details. But it really affected me while I was growing up. I am quiet ever since. I feel if I tell my parents I betray my brother.

    1. Hi Sophia, I’m Perla. When I was little my brother touched me. I have forgotten most of it, but since I’ve been living with him, I started remembering. I’ve been shy and reserved, and scared, and quiet, and I’m actually a reserved person, but lately I came to understand that being reserved had nothing to do with being scared of people, of not trusting them. A lot of my actions had been based upon the fact of what happened to me. And I’m done with that. The world is beautiful, you are beautiful and worth it, and certaintly don’t deserve what happened to you, it is not your fault.
      I confronted my brother about it, I was expecting any response but him calling me a liar. I felt invalidated. But you know what I felt too? Relieved. As if the package I’m always carrying around wasn’t so heavy anymore, as if I could actually get better, I told my parents too, I was so scared they wouldn’t believe me, but thank God they did, I’m just so grateful to have them as parents. And talking to them about it, about the whole thing felt like I was cleaning inside. It took me a long way to accept that muy brother did touch me, and that ever since lots of my actions where bases upon that fact. And that I was done with that. It took me another long time to come to the point of confronting him, and telling mom and dad. I hear you, you shouldn’t be going through this alone, no one should. I believe you, and you will heal. We all will.

      1. Hi Sophia,

        Sorry for my delayed response.

        What your brother did was wrong, telling when someone does a horrific thing is not a betrayal of your brother. He betrayed you by violating you. Your parents however may or may not be supportive of you. If they are not supportive then you need to remind yourself that they are supporting a person who violated their child over the victim. That is not ok for them not to support you. Parents who truly care about their children, help their children to heal. Hopefully your parents will be supportive of you and help you to heal. Did you already tell them and if so, what was their response?

        Remember that no matter what, you can heal. It is very helpful to reach out. This is a resource page for Saskatchewan http://www.casac.ca/node/48 . The Regina 24/7 hotline is 1-306-352-0434. If they are helpful that is great, if not hang up and try again later and see if you get a more helpful volunteer. If not try another hotline in your area. The hotline should also have a free counselling center that may or may not be helpful. There is good help out there but always listen to how you feel, are they helpful, do they have good tools to help you to heal (meaning ways to help you to detox from the abuse not recommending drugs or herbs who can cause more problems then they solve, but suggestions that help you to feel better about who you are and really get that it was not your fault.) If none of the hotlines are very good, you can try your school counsellor or a trusted teacher. Do not give up. Through this process, you will find out who are the really great people those who believe you and support you in healing and who are the not so great people, those who do not believe you or minimize your abuse. Do not stop until you have found people who can help you to heal. They re out there, just keep looking.

        Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates can help other survivors to see that they too can progress and eventually heal also.

  11. I was sexually abused by my father for years but I didn’t realize it until about a month ago when my sister came out about her abuse. The cops will do nothing because they don’t have any evidence and I don’t know what to do. I’ve been coping with this as best as I can but my main question is what do I do in regards to my father? Should I confront him in a message (I live in another country) and then block him. It makes me sick every time I see his face. What do other people do? I don’t think I can keep him in my life. Not only did he sexually abuse us but he’s done it to multiple people and he is just a very bad person in general. Should I let the community know about him? Any advice would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Anna,

      Sorry about my delayed response. It sounds like the most important thing that you can do at this point is when it comes to your dad is to cut him out of your life. You can confront him first if you want to, but if you do do not expect him to admit that he has done anything wrong or apologize. He may even call you crazy or do a fake insincere apology. The good thing is that you realize who he really is so you can take care of yourself and help yourself to heal. Blocking him sounds like a great idea. The most important thing you can do in your life is to focus on your healing. If other people in your family support your dad, it may be time to also distance yourself from them. You never need to talk or be in contact with any unhealthy person, even if they are family, no matter what others may say to you. Also people who think you should stay in contact with someone who abused you, are probably also not very healthy people to be in contact with either.

      When it comes to telling the community, you can warn people who may be in the position where their kids may have contact with him that he is a perpetrator, if they are good people they will keep their kids away, others may not really care about their kids and be willing to subject their kids to your dad. It’s sad but unfortunately true.

      When it comes to the police, sometimes one officer will not help when another officer will help or sometimes an entire police department is unwilling to help survivors, there likely are perpetrators in some police forces. It sounds like between you and your sister and the others he has abused, you may have enough evidence. It also depends on the statute of limitations where your dad committed the crimes (meaning the time you are allowed to prosecute after the crime has been committed which in the United States varies state to state with some states I believe having no time limit for child sexual abuse).

      Keep reminding yourself that now it is all about helping yourself to heal. If you are in the San Francisco area, there are a bunch of resources who help survivors to heal from sexual abuse. You can call 1-800-656-hope and they will connect you to the nearest rape crisis center that should have free counselling. You need to remember that when you reach out sometimes people are really helpful and other times not at all. Also sometimes an organization may be helpful when you start to heal but you may outgrow your need to work with them. Or one person will be really helpful and another person at the same organization will be mean. So start looking for a person who can help you to heal, keep looking around until you get the help you need.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates can give other survivors hope that people can heal, even if slowly.

  12. Hi Amy, I was abused by a family member, at a young age that totally traumatized .
    My family did not understand this condition and attributed it all to naughtiness, and as such deserved to be punished by being sent away to a boarding school.
    I was constantly bullied and felt powerless in defending myself.
    I became Kleptomaniac, stealing, and lying.
    I am 50+ years now and still suffer flight syndrome, not able to logically think a way out of a confrontation, but would rather lie or back down even though I know I am right.
    Needless to say this has affected my relationships.
    Are you able to offer some advise?

    1. Hi Kevin,
      i too was sexually abused as a young boy by my parents…I am probably close to your age and understand how hard recovery can be…but don’t give up hope, be good to yourself you deserve it…I am a member of Malesurvivor.org and highly recommend it to you …once you join there is a “Healing circle” every wed and sun nights a 9pm it is a safe place where you can share your feelings and get real support from other men who care about you and what happens to you and check out their library…there are some really fine books which helped me a great deal …i know recovery it’s a tough road but you can make it you can learn to trust again…take care of yourself…please Joseph

        1. Hi Kevin Jackson,

          Sorry about my delayed response. Have you been able to try the healing circle or other resources on malesurvivor.org and if so was it helpful? It is so sad to hear that you were punished for being victimized. That is so not ok. That is terrible that your parents did that to you. Under symptoms of child sexual abuse lying and stealing are often listed, so you are not alone. It makes sense that you might lie because when you told the truth and tried to get help you were punished, that injured boy inside is probably trying desperately to take control of his life. The fight or flight syndrome makes sense also, that little boy inside is still scared of all of those big people who hurt him, but as you heal so will all of the symptoms of trauma. And your relationships can get better also. Here is a link for male survivors in New Zealand http://survivor.org.nz/ and this is the contact person in Christchurch, NZ http://survivor.org.nz/mssat-in-new-zealand/mssat-christchurch/ these people may or may not be helpful. When reaching out for help always check in with yourself to see how you feel about that person and if they or the group or conference that you are attending is truly helpful. Malesurvivor.org is also having weekends of recovery in the United States in September and October 2015 more information is at http://malesurvivor.org/weekends/2015/schedule.html. It is sometimes helpful to be around other people who have been through what you went through no matter how the speakers turn out to be. And others might also have great resources that worked for them that will help you to heal also.

          You can also find some local resources in New Zealand at http://rpe.co.nz/find-a-sexual-assault-support-centre-near-you/ but again always check in with yourself to see if you feel comfortable and are being supported whenever you reach out for help. If you do not feel supported, you can always either hang up the phone or leave the appointment. Taking care of yourself is the biggest priority.

          You might also want to read my post at “What to do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ to help with feeling that came up that feel intense.

          I would also recommend that unless your parents have gone through a ton of healing and apologized for punishing you for being sexually assaulted, you might want to distance yourself from them. It is important to be around healthy people and from what your parents did by punishing you shows that they are not healthy, unless they have healed. It is possibly that the little boy inside of you may still be trying to get the love he never had from parents who are unable to give it. It is time to learn to be the loving parent to yourself you never had. You can get some ideas about how to do that at my post “Surviving Mother’s Day and the Holidays” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/

          Please feel free to write back with any questions and updates. Updates help give other survivors hope that they too can see progress.

  13. 6 weeks into what I want to be my last divorce

    20 years of sexual addiction (…edited by blogger)

    Vague memories of molestation. I have good reason to
    Trust they are real.

    Longing to trust my ex-wife but now accepting that is not going to happen

    My core wound was always about family and the bible

    1. Hi Andrew,

      I am sorry to hear about your divorce. It may be time to start to heal from the abuse. It’s not about trusting your ex-wife but instead it’s about focusing on healing yourself. As you heal you’ll learn to trust yourself and when to trust others. You’ll also be putting yourself in a situation where others will trust you more and that could help you to get over your sexual addiction. You might want to start by reaching out to the 1-800-656-HOPE hotline and see if they have resources to help you with your healing from the child sexual abuse. Also it might be helpful for you to go to malesurvivor.org they have conferences for male survivors that may help you to feel less alone. Whenever you reach out for help, listen to how you feel, if you feel supported like the person really hears you then great, if not hang up, walk out, or whatever is appropriate to keep yourself around supportive people and supportive help. You never need to be around non-helpful people.

      It is time for healing. On your journey I recommend that you do not work on “forgiveness” it is very perpetrator focused rather than working on helping your inner child who has been wounded. Just picture a helpless wounded little child and telling them the only way to heal is to forgive the person who hurt them. Look at that little child’s eyes, what that child really needs is to be loved, held, listened to comforted and be understood. They need their hurt to be nurtured and healed. It is cruel to tell that child to forgive the person who abused him, it is instead appropriate to do everything that you can to tell that child they did nothing wrong but instead that mean man or woman (even if it was mom or dad) did something terribly wrong to them. That is also what you need to do to help the wounded part of you.

      If your core wound was about family and bible, it’s ok to not be around religion or the bible (even if you live around a bunch of extremely religious people). It’s all about doing whatever you need to do to take care of you. If your family was not loving, it’s ok to not be around them or talk to them. It’s about taking care of yourself.

      You might want to read my posts about “What to Do When You Feel Triggered” http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ , “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/ and “Surviving Mother’s Day and the Holidays” (which is about self parenting) http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ .

      Take action to heal and things should get better. Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates and if you do go to a malesurvivor.org conference I would be interested to hear how you felt about it.

  14. Hey Amy.

    My abuse started when I was 16 yrs old. It started out as an mental abuse where that family friend…(edited by blogger). I had no prior experience with men and was thrown off balance by my own sexuality. I felt betrayed when this man approached me, I trusted him. He was very tactical with me and before he attempted to do anything he became my friend and asked me questions…(edited by blogger). My parents don’t share a very good bond so for the first time I felt like I had someone I could talk to. He kept flirting with me until one day he sent me an email in which he wrote about kissing me. This was the first time he was mentioning something straight forward so I got alarmed and informed my sister. She confronted him and everything should have been over but I keep going back to him. I don’t trust that man and it hurts that he treated me like a piece of meat but I cannot understand why I keep going back to him. I hated myself for that and I have been very hard on myself. Because I went back to him on my own I never went to anyone for help again, as I thought that now I was going to him on my own and it is my mistake. He has agreed to the fact that he has groomed and does not feel sorry about it. I want to cut off ties with this man and lead a healthy life. Staying in touch with him makes me sick. That man has indulged with me physically too and I have slept with him but to take control of my sexuality…(edited blogger) a boy my age but he was abusive so I had to bail out. For a period of time I also became promiscuous and lost self respect but since I have started healing I have things under control. There is just one issue that I find myself thinking about him and I keep going back to him. I am 22 now and I would be very thankful if you can give some suggestion to overcome this problem of mine (or grooming if that is why this is happening). And yes he talks of keeping me and having kids with me. I have no such intentions.

    1. Hi Ess,

      Yes, you were groomed and what this man did to you was not ok. As you said you’re parents do not share a very good bond so when this man acted like he cared about you, you used that to fill that space that every child and every teenager yearns for. I would not be surprised if the grooming started subtly before you were 16. Was he “super kind” to you when you wee younger? Even if that is not the case, he had no right to do what he did to you.

      Your yearning to return to him could be you trying to fill in the wanting to have a parental loving bond that you did not have. But the good news is that you can become that loving parent to yourself. Also if you think that your sister would be support, you can talk with her about this situation and tell her that you may need to reach out to her instead of calling him or whenever you have the urge to call him. You might want to read my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ which has ideas on how to self parent yourself.

      Your first step in healing is to not call him or be around him ever. If you ever feel like calling him maybe call your sister or someone who is supportive instead. You can also say to yourself, this is not a healthy person, what am I really yearning for right now? How can I give that to myself? If he is invited to a family gathering, don’t go. You may also want to tell your parents if you think they would be supportive of you but it is possible if they were not very loving they may not be supportive. If they are not supportive, it may be time to distance yourself from them. I do understand that it is a different culture but it is still very important to surround yourself with healthy people.

      Also it could be very helpful to find an excellent therapist. Call around until you find a great therapist. If you are in India you may also want to call hotlines that may be helpful at 23370597, 23379181 and 2337 0557 (the last one is 24/7) and see if they are helpful. They should be supportive and give you tools to help heal from the abuse and help you to have healthier relationships also as you heal from the abuse. But always listen to your gut feelings. If they are helpful that is great and if not then hang up or if you are in a counselling session politely leave.

      If you take action, you can heal and be in relationships with healthy people. So reach out for excellent help and be kind to yourself, you will slowly see things getting better.

      Feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

      1. Please, help me Im trying to survive but I cant, the memories are killing me, when I read Ur blog I started to think that my eating disorder is just a reflection of the sexual abuse when I was around, in my childhood ive been abused by my mother and her brother, after my father died my mother start to…(edited by blogger), this memories from more than a decade and I remember it every day like it was yesterday, I still see her and I couldn’t talk to any one we still in a community that didnt accept this kind of abuse, but im soooooo miserable…. Plz help me out, let me know how to help myself, I can’t go to a psychologist or any one I have never told this to any one before.

        Plz plz plz plzzzzzzz help me.

        1. Hi Mmm,

          I will reply in the next few weeks, until then you can read other survivor’s stories and other comments and go to the “Ideas for Healing” tab to get other ideas on things you can do to heal.

          Also I cannot tell which country you are located in, I could give you more ideas on things you could do if you wanted to tell me that. And you said in your community, what kind of community do you live in, is it a cultural community or a religious community or both?

  15. OK what can I do if statute of limiatations says victim can’t report after age 31.. Is their anything I could get my mother orhalf brother for I was moleastes every summer from 4 yr to 16. My mother didn’t see it or stop it we lives like normal.. And I never told anyone until 2 yrs ago before my dad died I told him. I’m just wondering ..

    1. Hi Winter,

      I am not sue which state you are located in. If you are in Florida, according to this website http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/floridas-statute-of-limitations-of-sexual-abuse.html there is no statute of limitaions on criminal case “Florida’s current statute of limitations for sexual battery on a minor is also unlimited, a drastic change from it’s previous limit of 4 years but there is a statute of limitations on a civil suit.

      But just because you cannot take legal action does not mean that you cannot heal yourself. That is the most important thing to do is work on healing from the abuse and if your mom is unhealthy and ok with the sexual abuse then the best thing you can do for your healing is to not be around her or talk with her but instead to be the parent to yourself, you never had.

      You can read my post about that at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/

      Feel free to write back with any updates.

  16. I am trying to find an answer to this question:
    Can I charge my mother with physical abuse 35 years after it happen? I am slowly going through the process of getting sober from alcohol addiction. I drank because I wanted to forget the beatings…(edited by blogger).. I feel that charging her for this will help me in my healing process.

    1. Hi Bill,

      I am not sure about the statue of limitations in New Brunswick for child abuse. Here is an article about filing suit for sexual assault. http://www.sexassault.ca/lawsuit.htm or you might want to go to this link and try calling them http://www.legal-info-legale.nb.ca/en/index.php?page=child_abuse_recognize_report_prevent remember when seeking legal advise even attorneys do not always know the answers and will sometimes give you incorrect advice. So I would call a bunch of them, possibly ask for where the statue of limitations law for child abuse is written both federal and in New Brunswick because you would like to read it. (This should not be construed as legal advise.)

      Even if you cannot bring legal suit, there are so many other ways to help yourself to heal from the abuse. One way is to be the parent to yourself that you never had. You can read my post about that at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/

      Feel free to write back with any updates.

  17. Amy I see that you often mention Toronto in your replies. Are you based in Toronto? If so, have you ever heard of Focusing therapy, by Eugene Gendlin? What do you think of it?
    I think there must be a Focusing centre in Toronto because I have read a very interesting book titled “Confessions of a Trauma Therapist” by Mary K. Armstrong, about childhood sexual abuse and healing through listening to the wisdom of the body. I think the Focusing centre in Toronto is lead by this lady.
    I hope this information is somehow useful to you. Best wishes and my compliments again for your blog. V.

  18. I am currently seeing a therapist (psychoanalyst), who after hearing many details about my personal history, believes that I am suffering from the effects of the sexual abuse that my mother went through (intergenerational trauma).

    It happened when she was 4 by a family friend and also when she was “older” (I didn’t ask, but I guessed around puberty) by one of her father’s employees. She has never had therapy. She and I have talked about it a few times, but we end up having to stop because her throat closes up and she can’t breathe, so we don’t talk about it anymore. I am 36 years old, and I did not know about this aspect of her history until about 4 years ago.

    My mother blames herself, because after the first time it happened she kept going back. She says that because he gave her what she wanted (stories, or books, I forget) and she gave him what he wanted, she was a prostitute.

    I have told her that it can’t possibly be her fault:
    – this man gave her what she loved (stories and books) to “groom” her, which her parents didn’t do, so how could she be expected to say no to this kind of intellectual nurturing that she wasn’t getting elsewhere, at age 4
    – The power dynamic between an adult man and a 4 year old is….I can’t even think of a word for it. The adult can plan and manipulate. The child doesn’t remotely have the mental capacity to make the kinds of decisions such that the abuse can be considered her fault.

    Anyways, my therapist thinks that because my mother was going through this alone, she didn’t tell her parents because she thought (probably rightly) that they wouldn’t believe her, that she had to find a way to contain the intense energy of the trauma and that is why she has such exacting standards in life (e.g. manners and kindness to a fault, and I had to be the same).

    So what my therapist is saying is that it has to do with attunement: what my mother was able to “be present with” when I was experiencing it, and what she wasn’t. What she was there to help me with in my life, and what she wasn’t. Seemingly insignificant things like she didn’t want me to wear makeup and shave my legs when the other girls in my class were starting to do so….she said it was because she didn’t want me to get caught up in consumerist culture but at the time I thought it was because she didn’t want me to grow up, and I just may have been picking up on the real message there.

    And when I was 13 and asking her about dating and boys, she thought she didn’t know how to help, and she had heard on the radio someone saying that “‘The Rules’ is a good guide for women”. She did not read the book before she gave it to me, despite the fact that it had wedding rings on the cover and referred to “Mr. Right”. Now, how does an intelligent, educated person like her not question whether such a book is appropriate or useful for a 13 year old?! Anyways I was young and impressionable and left with the belief that if I showed interest in a boy, he would find it repellant and be scared off. And I was friends with the other quiet “bookworm” girls who didn’t date either, so I didn’t get to witness them disproving the theory.

    Although I am reasonably attractive, intelligent and those who know me well find me personable, I have never been in a long-term relationship, and I have had a series of career failures (around which I feel nearly debilitating shame: “I was given everything, all the opportunities, and still screwed it up so I must be a defective person”).

    I was bullied from grades 3-5 which I know had an effect on my self-esteem – I was quiet after that and through high school although I’d been outgoing before. So, I had always thought the reason I haven’t been in a relationship is because I am afraid I am not “cool” or socially high-status enough to be with an attractive, intelligent man with a good personality. However, I am starting to take more seriously the idea of my mother’s life constraints (I didn’t mention her unhappy, and to my knowledge sexless, marriage of nearly 46 years) also being an influence on me.

    There seems to be a pattern for me around constraint of spontaneous expression of life energy (e.g. sexuality, anger, working single-mindedly towards goals). For example, I go to a conscious dance (otherwise known as ecstatic dance or movement meditation) event sometimes, and more often than not I start off the night feeling free and expressive, but then a backlash of anxiety occurs, like a reflex I can’t stop.

    Well, I hadn’t intended on writing such a long, detailed message, and you need not respond to the specific content if you don’t feel it necessary, but what I do want to know is, do you know of any resources for someone like me? Who did not go through sexual abuse herself but is most likely suffering the 2nd generation effects?

    1. Hi Emma,

      My understanding is that children can pick up on their parent’s or caretaker’s unresolved emotional issues. I have heard from war veteran’s that their PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome) deeply effected their children and their families if they did not heal from it. Parents teach their children how to deal with life by example, so if a parent drinks to deal with an emotion the are silently teaching their children to do the same, which is why alcoholism and drug addiction can look like it is hereditary. But the great news is that you can heal from what you experienced.

      From your story it also sounds like your mother had some really unhealthy parents, which is really sad. Always remember that it is not your job to fix your mother but only to heal yourself.

      People who are abuse survivors can be very educated in other ways, yet still checked out in things that have anything to do with the abuse and how it effected others.

      Do not beat yourself up, because in truth you were not given all of the opportunities to succeed because part of that would have been having a healthy loving mother, which you did not have and having that is part of having all of the opportunities. And also a very caring dad is important to a healthy childhood and adulthood.

      Sometimes children feel and hold onto the feelings that their parents never felt.

      I googled “affected by parents ptsd” and a bunch of articles came up. Some of those may be helpful. Remember anyone who wants you to take drugs or herbs to heal is not helping you get to the root cause of the problem and taking those things can have horrific side effects. Though eating well and excersizing can always help us to live more balanced. My favorite health book lately is “Beyond Broccoli” by Susan Schenck LAc.

      Also to deal with emotions that are popping up you might want to read my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ even though it talks about what survivors can do, this might also have some tools that are helpful for you.

      Please feel free to write any updates or questions.

      1. Amy,

        Thanks for your response. I find it very interesting that I have said very little about my history, and in fact was afraid I would be perceived as “whining” when so many others here have been through far worse, but you have made an educated guess about some aspects.

        I am not close with my father. After about age 10 I couldn’t talk to him for more than 5 minutes without both of us shouting. Now we are just civil and polite and go through the practical motions when I visit my parents on holidays, but otherwise avoid each other. I don’t know a lot about my father’s parents (I only met them twice while they were alive) but they sound dysfunctional to me. My father had to repeat his final year of high school because his parents would wake him up in the middle of the night to referee their fights. Six years ago a psychiatrist wrote on an assessment letter back to my family doctor that I had experienced “emotional abuse at the hands of my father” and I thought, well that’s awfully dramatic! I guess I never thought it was emotional abuse because he never told me I was worthless or good for nothing. He did shout at me at the top of his lungs when I made mistakes like breaking, dropping, losing something, spilling a cup of water (that one I was too young to remember), not holding something that was expensive “carefully” enough. I guess I just thought I was not good enough for his love and respect, I was not the daughter he wanted.

        I really thought I was not good enough to earn a father’s love.

        My mother’s father fought in WWII, and her mother was taken from her family in Russia at age 17 by the Nazis to work in a vegetable canning factory, so unresolved trauma and consequent dysfunction, likely. I think my mom’s father had narcissistic traits if not NPD. More than just Old World chauvinism. She says he would say things like “I know everything and you know nothing” and “all of you (his wife and 3 daughters) are sinners and need to pray” and the only things he found humourous were when someone got tricked including his own children.)

        I had a reaction when you said I didn’t have a “loving, healthy” mother. The party line was that I was loved, and cared for, and I was being given what I needed to succeed in life. When I was a teenager, I thought my mother was overprotective, but she was almost proud of that, like it was positive and good for her to keep me close to her rather than the “bad” influences of society.

        I think that my mother’s parents did not attune to her, and so she doesn’t love herself, so what she thinks is giving me “love” I sometimes experience as cloying, and restriction. I think things were pretty good up until I was age 4 or 5….I always thought that was because at that age I began to interact with more people in the community, including other, less socially progressive adults, and she thought she needed to teach me to restrain myself (eg. not correct adults, even when I was factually correct) in order to “protect myself”. But I now realize just as I wrote that was the age of her trauma. the age after which she couldn’t be free anymore.

        It’s really hard for me to accept the idea that I was not given everything I needed to succeed, when so many people were envious of me, arguably to the point of thinking they needed to take something away from me to “even the score”. I was bullied at school because I was gifted. Among many other far more hurtful comments, my “best friends” told me “Oh so-and-so went to the gifted program and she *hated* it!” I never really understood that comment until many years later speculating that it was sour grapes.

        So the interesting thing here is that so many times before when I have gone for help I have been told things like
        – why are you choosing to act like a victim
        – you can give yourself what they didn’t give you
        – the only person who is going to rescue you is yourself (i had asked to be heard, not to be rescued?!)
        – if you don’t [change your posture and behaviour and feelings of loneliness] you are going to be like the sick animal that the herd leaves behind
        – (this woman told me this was what her “empath, psychic” abilities told her I was doing) you throw energy at people, and they react, and then you throw more at them, and then they go away
        – you are choosing to be unhappy
        – as long as you keep thinking that negative thought, that’s what you’re going to attract to you

        ….So the clear indication here to me is that I am simply not a member of humanity, I am not entitled to rely on the support of others when I experience difficulty!! (I have gone so far as to feel that I must be evolutionarily inferior because they did not think my well-being was worth preserving when I was being bullied)

        I appreciate your opinion about medication. I have tried a few SSRIs over several months each and none seemed to do much for me. I really don’t feel I can function in life, though, and so I am somewhat divided in my opinion. What do you think of the idea, in the abstract, that a person can take meds, not as a long term solution, but to tone down symptoms that are so intense that the “alarm going off in your head alerting you that something is off course in your life” is, in and of itself, so LOUD that you aren’t able to function, let alone work on the symptoms at all? Our society simply does not care for and love traumatized people, provide them with enough of a sense of belonging so that they don’t need to take meds.

        I have been unemployed for a few years now, I happen to have financial support from my family but I feel so guilty because in our culture, financial responsibility is seen as a sign of maturity, responsibility and good character. I have not dated because I figure no man is going to want to be with a woman who isn’t working and doesn’t seem to be making efforts towards it. (Fear of him shouting at me and verbally abusing me, and then ceremoniously rejecting me making it well known that the reason he’s doing it is because I’m a lazy spoiled brat, even though nobody has ever done that to me.)

        1. Hi Emma,

          What happened with your dad could definitely be experienced as traumatic for a child. Children learn by making mistakes and healthy parenting allows for this and supports this. Being yelled at for not being perfect can be horrifying and can make you feel stuck when it comes to making any decisions even little decisions in your life today. Being yelled at by a person who is suppose to protect you is scary. It also sounds like there was a bit of religious abuse in your dad’s side of the family. The “I am great and you are a sinner and need to pray” is also very abusive but does not excuse how your dad treated you. As you heal you may recover some things you have forgotten. Doing the exercise on my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ can help you to detox the trauma from your past.

          It is time to acknowledge that you are good enough. Acknowledge the great things about you. Know that you can heal. Do NOT listen to the lies that your dad told you about you, try and tell yourself that what he tells you about you is actually reflection of how he feels about himself.

          A healthy loving mother is someone who can take care of and protect their child, she did not protect you from your dad’s rage. She did not do enough healing from her own abuse to be able to be a healthy mom to you. If she had you would not be dealing with her repressed emotions and her PTSD. And an overprotective mother does not help her child to grow instead it stunts their emotional growth. Being overprotective says to a child that I do not trust you that you will make good decisions, rather it teaches them that you need me (mom) to survive.

          Were you told by your parents that people bullied you because they were envious of you or is that what the kids said to you? Let yourself remember which one it is if you can. And please remember there are tons of gifted children that do not get bullied and may even be popular, so that may not have been the whole story. And also the way you were treated at home, you may not have been the best at picking out real friends. If a healthy parent sees that their child is hanging out with a friend that is not really a friend then it is their job to guide the child that real friends would not say such mean things to their children. And maybe have the other child explain and apologize.

          When it comes to what other therapists have said to you, here are my thoughts. It is healthy to go to a therapist that makes you feel great about who you are. A great therapist helps you to make decisions that are life giving and figure out how to make healthy decisions on your own. Also a great therapist will listen to what you need and want out of life and help you to get there. That sick animal analogy does not sound helpful or supportive. I also would avoid empathic and psychic therapists, when they tell you they are saying that they know something about you that you do not know, it can be very disempowering. It can also put them in a position of power over you. Such as I know better than you about you because I am psychic, so you are wrong about you. It is a therapist’s job to help you to turn your thinking around and give you the tools to think more positive not just tell you to think more positive. But I do believe that given the right training, you can learn to be the parent to yourself that you never had.

          I am very opposed to medication even in the short term. The problem with it is that all anti-depressants and anti-psychotics on the market cause brain damage, sometimes temporary, sometimes permanent which is why you see some people who are taking them display symptoms of tardive dyskinesia (involuntary body movements. They all also have the side effects of liver damage, depression, suicidal ideation, and extreme anxiousness. So when you take them and you feel let’s say depressed, you then have to figure out which is causing the depression, the drugs or your past. Because these drugs are so toxic, your liver tries to clean them out of your body which is why all of these drugs an cause liver damage. Also these drugs can have the side effects occur very quickly. I highly recommend a therapist that has the tools to help you to heal so that they do not even recommend drugs.

          To heal, your body needs to detox from the secondary PTSD which cannot be do on drugs. The problem is that there are very few really great therapists out there, so to make up for them not being able to help you, they drug you instead. Here is one of many articles on about depression and the myth of chemical imbalance http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/04/06/frightening-story-behind-the-drug-companies-creation-of-medical-lobotomies.aspx You can also look at Dr. Loren Mosher’s work who actually cured people of schizophrenic symptoms without drugs at his Soteria House. Here is a great article he wrote about his experiences in psychiatry in general and why people suffer and how to help them http://www.moshersoteria.com/articles/soteria-associates/ (I am not suggesting that you have schizophrenia but I am using that as an example because that is far more extreme that what you said you are going through and even they could be healed without drugs.)

          It is extremely important that if you are on drugs that you go off them very slowly and with a doctor or really great alternative health care practitioner’s supervision. When you go off the drugs you may feel even worse but it is the body detoxing from the drug’s toxin’s not chemical imbalance and it may depending on your body and what you are taking take a while to detox from those drugs. Interesting article and video http://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/side-effects-can-persist/

          If you find a great therapist and take actions to heal then you can heal and detox from the trauma and live a great life. Do not give up until you find a great therapist.

          You do not have to feel guilty about getting help from your family, if they had been more supportive in your childhood, you might not be in this situation. What may be helpful is to pretend that you are a friend who has a person in your situation. What would you tell your friend if they said that they felt bad about taking money from their family? I bet you would be kinder to them then you are to yourself. Also if you feel the need to get some clarity and distance yourself from your family, you can also look into http://www.cleo.on.ca/en/publications/disabben which you could temporarily go on disability until you do more work to put you in the position to work again.

          Another option that from the website looks like it could be a great program to get out of work women back to work is at https://www.ywcatoronto.org/page.asp?pid=99 . This program mentions that it gives participants “opportunities to reconnect with personal interests, values, skills and abilities through self-testing and reflection” That sounds great to me. I am assuming you are in Toronto.

          You can have a great life as long as you keep taking action to heal. Feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

  19. Hello everyone,
    I wish the best of days for all of you. I’m a 63 year old woman who has been working my healing quest for over 50 years. To give you a very condensed summary of the sexual, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and mental abuse I suffered I will say started when I was 3 years old. My step-father was the sexual abuser. My mother knew, did not protect me and even engaged the same behavior for a short time. Eventually her role changed to beating me with belts, much verbal abuse as well.

    With all honesty I can say that over the years I have faced the trauma my childhood inflicted on me. I had a tenacious need to understand and to overcome, to heal. From 3 years old until I turned 13 this retched man sought to molest me, and did. I had lost my virginity to him as well.

    Then the morning came that I made a stand. He came in my bedroom and tried to climb into my bed. I started kicking him, and kept kicking him telling him to get out and never come back. That was truly the beginning of my healing quest. I’ve been married twice, never cheated on my husbands, nor entered into promiscuous behaviors. My healing quest is not complete, and I realize I have yet dealt with everything and will continue to confront and heal. After 50 years of front on healing I am now presented with another problem that I cannot seem to find much information or help on… Online anyway.

    I have been in a relationship with a man for 8 months, to whom I have been totally honest and open with. He has a desire to understand me, wants to know my experiences. I believe his heart is true in this. But, as we go through my life he has a hard time believing that I have reached the level of healing that I have. You all know there are thousands of websites dealing with sexual abuse, all the symptoms, all the problems, how very difficult the road of recovery is, and how the abuse can effect you your entire lifetime. There is the problem. He does not think I could possibly not suffer most of what the symptoms and dysfunctional behaviors anymore. He has been reading many of the websites available… And since most info is about beginning the healing process, he thinks I must have those issues. There is a saying, when you are a babe you drink milk, when when you are grown you eat meat. He is looking at me as though I still need to drink milk, when I’ve been eating the meat of recovery for a very long time.

    Do any of you have insight, thoughts, ponderings on how I may convince him of the true level of my healing? I love him dearly and wish our relationship to work. I want him to see the beauty that I am today, and accept me as I am today. Thank you for your time.

    1. Hi Mia,

      It is sad that many survivors do not heal but others do. Healing does not have to be a lifelong process but if you go to the wrong therapists or keep the feelings and memories stuffed inside, it can be. It seems very strange to me that he does not want to believe that you have done the healing that you have. I suppose it would be helpful to know in what context does he think that you have not healed. Is it because he wants to be there to help you or is it that he wants to break up with you because he feels that you could not have healed. Does he actually want you to not have really healed so he can take care of you. I think I need more details on what he situations connects you not really healing to. If you have a moment please explain.

      1. Hi Amy,
        He takes all the possible symptoms that he learns via the internet and tries to apply them to me. He is trying to fix parts of me that are not broken. When I tell him that I have healed in that area he then tells me I’m in denial. I am becoming frustrated with him because it seems he cannot let go of my past, and I do not want to have my childhood abuse the main subject of conversation.

        He has it in his mind that I somehow am thinking about my stepfather when we are being intimate. That can’t be further from the truth. I have tried many times to explain that I do not think of my stepfather. He just does not accept it. He is also trying to connect the dots from my childhood abuse to every facet of who I am today to somehow tell me I do this because, and I do that because… Blah blah blah. I have not been lax in my healing by any means. My college major was child psychology in an effort to learn more about what it was I needed to address to heal myself. I’ve had counseling, and took a course called “self directed, self motivated behavior change”. That was about 40 years ago, but that book is most excellent in helping people overcome multiple traumas in their life.

        I am thinking if he cannot accept me as I am, the relationship is going to fail which is too bad because outside of this foible he as a good human being. We all have baggage, even him. I can accept him with his perfect imperfections, and would appreciate the same in return.

        1. Hi Mia,
          It sounds like you found a guy that needs you to be sick, so that he can fix you. It is a position of control. It sounds like he cannot accept you as being healthy because the only way he knows how to be with a lover is to fix them. He does not believe that you could have healed, because he does not want you to be healed. It is a pretty huge foible. I have to wonder what pain in his life does he not want to feel so badly that he needs to focus on yours, even if it is healed and no longer present. If he does not accept that you have healed, he does not see you for who you really are, instead he only sees who he wants you to be. A person he can fix and by being able to “fix” you, you can be dependent on him. If he is unwilling to see you as having healed, I do not see how you can have a healthy relationship with him.

          Please feel free to write back with any updates or questions.

          1. Good Morning Amy…
            That makes total sense. It was within the last few weeks that he has become intent on saying I am broken in various ways (in his opinion). You are correct Amy ~ if he cannot accept that I have healed when I say I have… there is no way for us to have a healthy relationship. It will hurt my heart to break away from him, but better that then to let him try to undermine me and my healing, my happiness.

            You would think that after all my years of healing I could have seen his real need a mile away. Hmmmm, I have some checks and balances to work on. Thank you for your time, and your straight up approach to my question. (hugs) to you Amy.

              1. Hi Amy,
                I’ve spent the better part of my morning thinking about how my relationship with *** developed. I want to know what I missed, the danger signs and cues that I should have been aware of. We had talked on the phone for almost 3 weeks before we agreed to meet. During that time we talked for hours upon hours. I thought I had a fair feel for who and what he was.

                I am 63, healthy physically, active and have a great love for life. My life is full in that I care for my 4 year old grandson about 60 hours a week, also take him and my 8 year old grandson to juijitsu class. I was open with him about my past. Several times in my life I have tried to open up about it, but most all the time even a small portion of it could not be handled and I was alienated from those I chose to share with. With *** I felt I could share, open up, let my walls down.

                Unfortunately ~~~ my trust has been misplaced. My heart is quite broken, but my spirit will remain strong. What he did with my truths is not my responsibility, but I am however responsible for my actions. Self health must come first if recovery is to be sustained, and continued.

                Victims, survivors, those who overcome the seemingly unsurmountable trauma in life should try to always embrace themselves with healthy self love and acceptance because we are our own heroes.

                I am happy to find you Amy. You’ve been more help than you know.

  20. My preteen daughters were molested by there grandfather, my step father of almost 40 years. Although I was not aware and my sister had suppressed the memory, he had done this to her 30 years ago. Back then, my mom forgave him and thought he was “cured”. Soon he will face the legal consequences of his actions towards my precious daughters. Though she agrees he needs to see punishment, my mom clearly doesn’t understand the impact this will have on these two young girls. She continues to “enable” him as she can’t throw him to the Wolves as she’d say. She continues to show him compassion and my family (husband and children) have become the bad guys for not forgiving and remembering all the “good” he otherwise did. It’s a shame that people do not understand how his actions will influence there lives. My girls are suffering and I’ll protect them from her trying to share her attitude with them, even though it will cost me a relationship with my mom. Kids first! Just so kind boggling and sad that people could show him the compassion that these kids need. They deserve to be commended for there bravery and stopping his sexual abuse. She fails to realize that she is hurting my kids almost as much as he did. Frustrating at the least for my moms insensitivity, but proud of my kids! He was NOT cured and though not necessarily her fault, she never should’ve allowed my children to be alone with him giving his history..

    1. Hi Tammy,

      I am so sorry to hear that happened but I need to commend you and tell you that you are an awesome mom. It is so important to protect your children rather than the perpetrator. It is too bad that your mother did not lean to be a real mom/grandmother like you are. What your mother did is almost as bad as what your dad did. You might want to read my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/do-i-need-to-forgive-to-heal-from-abuse/ that talks about people’s misguided ideas about forgiveness. Getting your children the right kind of help can also be very important but be very picky when choosing a counsellor, you’re kids do not need drugs or herbs but instead need to emotionally detox from the trauma. If you have not yet found a great counsellor you can try calling 800-656-HOPE they may or may not have great counsellors. You can also talk with them about your feelings about the abuse, they may or may not be helpful, it all depends on the person you speak with. The fact that you are standing up for your children rather than trying to forgive the perpetrator will inspire many other survivors and show them that great moms do exist.

      Please write back with any questions or updates, i believe that your story will help many others going through the same thing.

      1. Thank for the prompt response! It’s definitely been hard ESP for these young girls. I try to keep my focus solely on them. My mom and I were very close before this and so it’s been devastating all around. Once he, hopefully, goes to jail for an extended period of time, I’m sure her choice will change ; though she certainly doesn’t feel she’s made a choice today against us. I do hope that someday we can be civil with her.. As i often ponder how id feel if we didn’t reconcile ever and she died or something tragic happened . Again I have to focus on girls and there well being and this will never be about me or her, but it is definitely hard. My girls have found very competent counselors that deal with sexual abuse. I hope they in time will find peace and heal, but regardless of what others may not recognize, it will take considerable time and have an impact on future relationships too. Thank you again for your reponse.

        1. Your very welcome. You still need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your children. I am glad they found great counsellors, that is really important. You need to know that even if he goes to jail, your mother may not change, she has supported a perpetrator for this long. There is a very good chance she may continue to support him, whether or not he gets convicted. As sad as it is, that may really be who your mother is (a pro-pedophile, the victim must forgive the perpetrator person).

          Feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

  21. Last night my 15yr old daughter told me her older brother had been sexually abusing her from the time she was 7 until she was 13. He is 3 years older than her so that would have made him 10 through 16. Our talk was painful but good. I assured her she had done nothing wrong and that I was sorry that happened to her. We are looking for a councillor for her and the brother no longer lives at home. I have not yet confronted him and am not sure about reporting it…I believe my daughter but at the same time this is my son and could ruin his life as he is now an adult in the eyes of the law. Hurt, angry, confused…I know what I need to do to help my daughter…but what do I do to help my son? Caught between abused and abuser.

    1. Hi Marie,

      It is an awful thing to hear that happened to your daughter and your son was the perpetrator. It is so important that you believed your daughter, that will be very helpful in her healing process. It is also important to find an excellent therapist that can help her to heal and have a great life. If you want to see if the rape crisis centre in your area is helpful and has great therapists you can try googling your province with the words “rape crisis centre”. Please keep in mind that a great therapists can truly make a difference but a mediocre therapists or bad therapist can cause more problems than be helpful. And I would not take drugs or herbs such as St. John’s Wort, etc to help with this situation, it only pushes down the feelings that need to come out and detox from her body and can have horrific side effects.

      When it comes to your son, if possible I would arrange to speak with him in person. Since he sexually assaulted someone, it is a sign that he was also sexually assaulted, though it does not excuse what he did to her. He may be feeling terrible guilt about what he did and want to make amends. He may also deny what he did or minimize it or even blame your daughter. If he does the first behaviour then there is a ton of hope that he can heal from what he did and is no longer an active perpetrator, he will then also need to get some help. If, however, he denies or minimizes it, there still may be a possibility he feels shame and is afraid to tell you and he may disclose later. If he does that behavior, I would give him a few weeks and speak with him about it again. But if he minimizes it in a very ugly way or blames your daughter, there is a much bigger issue going on and I would report him. No matter what he says, he needs to get help to heal.

      If you approach him in a way that you do not want to blame him but want to know what happened, then it will be easier for him to be truthful with you. So if he will not as much feel the need to hide what happened. He definitely needs to get help to heal from what he did and what happened to him. If he is very stuck in the ways of being a perpetrator, then it will be a lot harder to get him to heal and he could very well abuse others but I believe that everyone can heal, it will just be a much bigger challenge and since he is only 18 there still is a chance he can change his ways even if he is caught it that now and your talking with him could make a huge difference.

      Please write back with what you decided to do and how it turned out.

    2. When I was A 6 y old little girl (1974) my 16 year old brother molested me. I never told my parents. With both of my parents deceased in 2013, I told my aunts and uncles. For those 39 years that passed, he stole, embezzled, sold items and committed fraud With my parents money and possessions and businesses. Was fired multiple times, was evicted from apartments and storage units. Yesterday he stole from me again and now my children are living it. Two years ago he was accused of inappropriately touching a teen. I filed a police report last night and saw a lawyer today. TURN YOUR SON IN. THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH HIM AND HE NEEDS HELP. YOU STOP THIS. HE WONT.

      1. I would still recommend speaking with your son first, I believe there are cases when children have sexually assaulted others when they were that young and felt terrible and not abused again.

        1. After talking to him and seeing/hearing his response, we decided to inform the authorities and allow a formal investigation as there are other children he grew up around and we need to ensure everyone is safe. As for the outcome…only time will tell and it depends on what is discovered during the investigation.

          1. It sounds like you did the right thing. Who knows how many children you have protected by doing that. Though some authorities really do investigate, while others do not.

            Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

  22. Sexually and physically abused in childhood. Therapist knows. But can’t talk about it with much emotion till 3 weeks ago. Was supposed to go tonight but it was cancelled because of snow. I have a note of all the memories I have. I want to throw it at her and hide. Not because I don’t trust her because I do. We have a good relationship. She’s empathetic, never judges and always recaps at end. May not get in for another 3 weeks. Don’t know how long I can contain the emotions from my last session and wanting to get those feelings out in the open. I started feeling as if abuse was happening again and started to cry and couldn’t keep it going because I feel too old to cry. It’s embarassing. It’s like I’m a kid again. But she got inside a bit. It only took 9 months. I only see her twice a month. Just want all the pain and hurt to go away. No more flashbacks wanted

      1. Hi Emotional,

        Since your therapist is helpful, would it be possible to schedule sessions once to twice a week for now that you are going through such an intense part of your healing? Have you tried to contact Avalon Centre for additional support if you are unable to see your therapist more frequently? (Only if they have great counselling at Avalon because no counselling is better that mediocre or bad counselling). Maybe they have additional funding to help pay for more sessions. If the therapists wants to see you and not do phone stuff then maybe Skype would be a great compromise. Because she can then see you on video, if you have a camera in your computer or one you could attach.

        It is not unusual to be triggered by events like not being able to get help when you need or were expecting it. It is also possible that the counselling can bring up those feelings. So do not beat yourself up about that. You are never too old to cry, who told you that you can be too old to cry? Mom? Dad? Those are lies crying, smiling, laughing are all healthy emotions. When you cut yourself off from sadness, you also cut yourself off from deep happiness. Also you might want to talk with your therapist about helpful hints on how to deal with the emotions from previous sessions when you are alone. My post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ has some ideas on things you can do when you feel old emotions come up.

        If you continue healing the pain, hurt and flashback will eventually go away. It takes time but if you are working with an excellent therapist, it should not be a lifelong process.

        Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

  23. My abused started when i was really small may be 2 or 3 years old and it continue till i was 20. It won’t happen on regular basis but whenever my father get chance he abuse me. My mother doesn’t believe me and beat me for telling lies about my father. In India, we never talk about these things. We never disrespect our parents. But after reading all your stories I start thinking about my life and what i want out of it. Many of you don’t remember your abuse but i do because it never stop until i take initiative and stop it.All you survivor have given me courage to stop it to speak against it though no one in my country want to hear it. But I made myself promise that I accept it and I won’t let it ruin my life. I am 25 and i already started my healing process.I want to tell every person who ever been abuse (do not) accept it. Don’t let anyone or anything ruin your life. (edited by blogger to not trigger other survivors) Being in a conservative society, if i can do it there is no way you can’t do it. My only regret is there is no law in my country against these things else I can also put my abuser in prison.

    1. My writing “accept it ” doesn’t mean accept the abuse. No never accept it, it is wrong at all levels.Never let anyone hurt you, speak against it.
      I always knew i was being abused and it was wrong. I am the one who stop it. But I never accept it. I live 24 years in utter denial. It was a part of my life which doesn’t exist and I always believe that my life is perfect and nothing wrong with me. I never thought that my father can hurt me. But something is missing in my life and i know that.I am not as carefree as others are. I was angry all the time. Whenever i had anger outburst I break things and called name to everyone and say nasty things.I was bitter. I am more sexually active than other girls.Why? The answer to this why is because i was abused and i never deal with it.I never accept that my sexual abuse can hurt me in so many levels. But when I accept my abuse and problems caused by it, It pained me so much that I want to die. It took me 4 month to contact a therapist. For first time in my life i feel free.

      1. Hi Swati,

        Sorry it took me a while to respond. Thank you for your courage to speak out and inspire other survivors to do the same. I just read this article http://www.hindustantimes.com/newdelhi/capital-shame-incest-rapes-on-rise-in-delhi-fathers-among-offenders/article1-1287696.aspx it spoke about people being able to report those crimes, I do not know if that applies to the area where you live or if it is still difficult or the crime happened too long ago. We need to live in a world where all children have parents who love and protect them. It is so unacceptable that not only did your mother not believe you but she also beat you. That is terrible that she did that and reflects that she is not a real parent, so in truth you had no real parents and must learn how to be the mother and father to yourself that you never had. My post on surviving mother’s day and that holidays at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ has some tools that can help you with that. I am glad that you are not in denial anymore about the abuse because it is impossible to heal from the abuse when you are denying it.

        It is also awesome that you found a therapist to help you to heal from the abuse, great therapists are hard to find. All of your anger, bitterness, being more sexual than you want to be, loss of being care free and other symptoms of the abuse can go away when you work with the right therapist in healing. It can take time but certainly not a lifetime to heal.

        Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

        1. Hi Amy,
          Thank you for writing me back. Also thank you for the articles they are really helpful. Its been 7-8 years since my abuse stop. So I have no idea if Police will consider my testimony or not. But thanks anyway.
          I have been seeing my therapist for past 2 months and i don’t know how to tell if she is really good or not. Few weeks back, my friends offer me drink which is first time for me but after drinking i get very aggressive and start yelling and throwing things my friends calm me down. At 15 min before midnight I sent message through Whatsapp (its an mobile app to send message to other) that i want to talk to her whether now or in the morning. This was the first time I message her like this and She block me. Next day she call me and I couldn’t tell her why i am calling because i am outside so she tell me if my life doesn’t depend on it then we can talk about it in our net session which is after 3 days and in session she told me that i have to make other support system besides her. I don’t know what to make out of it but It was really awkward for me.

          1. Hi Swati,

            That does not sound very supportive, it sounds a bit blame like. What it also sounds like to me is that the only way she will help you is if you are suicidal, which conditions you to be a victim to get your needs met. But I would tell her how you feel about that incident and see what she SAYS TO YOU. Is your life getting slowly better by seeing her or not. When you leave do you feel like something heavy inside of you has been slightly lifted? A great therapist can be hard to find but a mediocre therapist or bad therapist can make your life worse. You can look into the online hotline for survivors at https://ohl.rainn.org/online/ or even get a calling card and call any crisis center in the United States at http://centers.rainn.org/ but keep in mind that calling a rape crisis center may or may not be helpful and if they try to get you only to come in for help, that does not help, but if they are kind and helpful, then it can be a resource. Sometimes they are neither kind nor helpful, if you are not being helped, hang up, try another hotline. (You may want to avoid answering the question where you live, by saying I really need to talk about this now, I need to be heard and listened to. Some places will not even talk with you if you are not in the area, but they do not need to know.

            I also have a zero tolerance for the theory of chemical imbalance (when it comes to our brains), it has yet to be proven, though people talk about it so much, especially the drug companies, who pay doctors a ton of money to write favourable articles about the theory of chemical imbalance, so if she wants you to take drugs or herbs to control your emotions, that os not healthy and could cause permanent bad side effects. What therapists need is great tools to help you to detox from the abuse.

            1. Hi Amy,
              Thanks for the advice. I will definitely ask her on my next session. I find myself much better than at the time of start of my healing process. I do feel like something heavy inside me has been lifted after every session.
              I feel like I am making progress but it is very slow. Before beginning my healing process I read a lot about child abuse and all the related things. Now she requested me to stop reading about it.
              In every session she encourage me and she already suggested me to be my own mother and take care of myself.She refuse to give me drugs even though it was me who suggested it when I first came to her. It became so painful at that time that all I want is to numb it any way. But all she do is told me that we will work on that as we go further. Now that pain is gone and I feel much better. Everything she said and suggested me has helped me but it was just this one incident which is make me question whether she is a good therapist or not?

              1. Hi Swati,

                From everything you have said, she sounds like she could be a great therapist, except that incident (but even great therapists are not perfect). I would talk with her about that incident and how you felt and what she will do to support you in between sessions or if she cannot then what does she recommend.

                1. Hi Amy,
                  Its been long time since I reply to you. You will be happy to know that I took your advice and talk to my therapist about the incident and we sort out the matter. Everything is going great till today when I found out that my abuser going on holiday with his/my family.It still few days for my appointment. And I am getting mad, feeling hurt and betrayed. I am so angry at everyone. How could my mother do this to me, how could she go out on holiday with that person who hurt her baby.She carry me for 9 months and now I am nobody to her.I am hurt why my abuser get to live his life without any guilt. Why I am being punished for being a victim. I didn’t do those things, he did then why I am the one who is getting punished.I am losing my mind.I don’t know what to do. I feel so betrayed that I don’t know who to trust, who to tell these things. I am losing control and not thinking clearly. I know I should not think about it but I am losing my control. I don’t know what to do. How to stop this pain.Please reply soon.

                  1. Hi Swati,

                    It’s because your mom is not a real mom. Real moms would never do that. If your abuser does that to children, he is not living a great life, he is very sick. But the objective is that you keep asking yourself what you can do to take care of yourself. Stop punishing yourself for your mother and the perpetraitor’s behavior. Keep reminding yourself that you have yourself and what would be a good thing to take care of yourself right now. Also try calling your therapist and see if you can talk with them about this incident. You can also read my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ to get ideas on self-care.

                    1. Hi Amy,

                      Thanks for your support. I finally get to see my therapist and she explain me that if I wait for my perpetrator to feel guilty about what he did or get punish then there are chances that it might not happen. By being vulnerable I am giving him power. I am not going to let him ruin my life and I only focus on myself. It good to know someone is out there who know exactly how you feel and support you. Thanks for everything.

  24. There is this girl I have been involved with who got sexually abused by a family member when she was 14 or so. She is now 21. She lives at home, dropped out of college after about a month and only goes back to hang out with friends. She doesn’t have a job and is doing drugs daily now. In the past two years she has 3 episodes where she sold herself to get drugged out for days. Her excuse is because she’s trying to numb the pain of the abuse. She says she is taking drugs and not doing any responsible things like going to college or getting a job cause of the abuse. We all are trying to help her and begging her to see counseling with no avail. I don’t know what to do. Maybe some of you here who has gone thru abuse can give me some advice. I’m about to give up and walk away from her cause it seems like she just wants to use this as an excuse for partying and having a great time. Each time I Tell her Im leaving if she doesn’t do counseling and try to get it together she says all the right things but the next day its back to usual. Please help

    1. Hi John,

      This is just my opinion but it sounds like she has no interest in healing at this time, as sad and terrible as that is. I believe that you staying with her only enables her to continue this destructive behaviour. But that does not mean if you leave her she will get help. You can offer to take her to a great in-patient rehab (you will need to research some in your area), but if she does not agree to get help and take action to do so, you cannot force her to heal. It sounds from what you wrote that she needs in-patient not out-patient rehab. And some rehabs are great others awful and it is important that she does not get put on anti-depressants or anti-psychotics in the rehab process. That would include not doing things like St. John’ Wort. But if she is not really willing to do anything to heal, it is time to possibly tell her, that if she changes her mind and is willing to get sober, you will be there to take her but if not, it sounds like it could be time for you to take care of yourself and heal from what brought you into this relationship. You might want to try going to some Al-Anon meetings (some are great, others are not). You can find a list of Al-Anon meetings at http://alanonla.org/html2/index.html (if you are in Los Angeles area, if not google “Al-Anon and then your city,)

      You need to remember that you can only help someone who wants to heal and is willing to take action. Please feel free to write back with any questions, comments or updates.

      1. Thank you for your time and information. I was afraid thats what you are going to say. I think I knew the answer just wanted someone to tell me. I will keep you updated on what happens.

  25. Hi

    I’m 16 years old and I’ve been sexually abused from 6 to 12 years old. It made me really sick and tired of it. My uncle always invited me over and at night he would put his kids to bed and pull me out. My parents didn’t know obviously. Until I was brave enough. When I turned 14 I decided enough is enough so I told parents about. Very shocking to hear that. They immediately called the police and I was giving my statement story to them. Afterwards I went to the lowest court, I was going through court through a video cam that way he wouldn’t see me. Then they said I had to go to court again which would be Supreme Court and I was terrified. I had to stand in the court room this time. All the pain I had to go through I wish I had died and this would all be over. But then I thought to myself I should let people know what he could do. Anyway the court session had ended and I lost. He won and I felt really upset. I felt that he got away with it. Nowadays my parents go out for bingo all the time and whenever im alone I feel like he’s going to come after me and kill me because he use to say “you better not tell anyone or else”… So ever since im scared and I freeze whenever there’s a male close to me I need help

    1. Even though you lost the court case, you won in the sense that you know that it was not your fault. You no longer kept your uncle’s secret and that shows your strength. If you are in the United States, try calling 1-800-656-HOPE 24/7 rape crisis hotline and see if they are helpful, if the person you speak with is not helpdful hang up and try again later (volunteers change shifts). If you are in Canada you might want to try going tohttp://www.casac.ca/content/anti-violence-centres and click on your province and it will list rape crisis lines in your area. You can try calling those. Remember that if someone is not helpful, hang up and try again later, the people answering the phones usually change shifts. If one centre is repeatedly not helpful, try another one. All centres should have free counselling. Or if you are in school you can try reaching out to the counsellors there. If none of those are helpful, try calling therapists in your area and find one who is helpful and has the tools to help you. I will write more in the next few weeks.

    2. Hi Marceline,

      Another thing about the court case is that just because your uncle “won” does not mean that him being taken to court had bad consequences for him. There will be others who believe you even though he was set free. Were there no victim’s advocates in the court to help you to heal from the abuse? It sounds like they were not there but you can call and see if there are some who will help you to heal. In most cases in the United States there are victim’s advocates who go with the victim, especially a minor to help them through the court case and to help them to heal. Some are great others may not be great, I am very surprised that you did not have an advocate to help you through this process and to help you to heal. I cannot imagine that Canada does not do the same. But I can imagine not not all advocates are helpful and some can even be bad. You can also remind yourself that anytime there is doubt, “I am innocent, he is guilty”. There may also be victims funding to help you to pay for therapy even though you lost the case.

      Have you told your parents how you feel when they leave you alone? Please remember that you do not have a chemical imbalance, so neither drugs nor herbs will help you to heal, what you most likely have is post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and it is curable, with a great therapist. Always look for a therapist that has the tools to help you to heal and makes you feel good about being you and does not make you feel disempowered. Did you try any people athttp://www.casac.ca/content/anti-violence-centres? Have you spoken with a school counsellor or anyone else and have they been helpful or not? Also if you read my post athttp://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ it has tools to help you to heal from the being scared and freezing feelings.

      The fear of being killed is probably also a symptom of PTSD because he threatened you before, I would check and see if any of those resource centres has ideas on what to do to protect yourself or if that is necessary and if there needs to be something like a restraining order filed against him or what they recommend. Many pedophiles threaten to kill the victim if they ever tell, I am not familiar with any that have done that though, it is usually just a threat.

      Definitely find a person to help you to heal. In the future, if you want to, you may be able to file a civil suite against your uncle for financial damages, such as therapy and pain and suffering. I think this could be possible and only if you want to and I would consult an attorney to see if that is really possible. My understanding is that it takes less to win a civil case and you could possibly have a jury but again, I am not sure and this should by no means be construed as legal advise. But a great attorney could tell you. Again with attorneys there are great ones, ok ones and bad ones, so you need to shop around if you choose to do that.

      The most important thing that you can do is to heal, so make some calls or ask your mom to help you to find a great therapist (if you think she would be helpful with that) reach out and keep reaching out until you find a great therapist.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

  26. I’m at a loss as to what should be done now that my boyfriend of 5 years told me all about the sexual abuse and incest that was done to him by his older sister (five years older than him – like me). She too was molested and/or raped as a child and teen. As a victim myself, although I don’t remember any overt sexual abuse, I can still relate to his pain and shame. But I’m different in that I’ve fully healed and even confronted my father. My boyfriend on the other hand, is very close and loyal to his sister and his entire family. Now that his sister is married and has a daughter I feel it necessary to confront her and demand that she reconcile with him. I don’t know how to go about it or if it’s even wise to do so but sure could use any advice…

    1. Hi Amy,

      I am sorry to hear about the abuse that you and your boyfriend went through. I do not believe that it is at all healthy to be around a person who sexually assaulted you. Sometimes, as part of the denial system, survivors remain close to the people who violated them. I do not believe that it is healthy or being kind to yourself to be around people who abused you unless they have healed and made amends and even then it is up to the survivor if they want to be around those people. I also am concerned that his sister has a child whom she and the person who molested her could also abuse. Your boyfriend being loyal to a perpetrator is also concerning to me because it could put him back into a state of subservience to the perpetrator. But he has to be ready to be kind and truthful to himself in order to take a look at this situation. The good sign is that he admitted that his sister abused him, so that is a start.

You could tell him how you feel about the situation and that it is hard for you to see him being loyal to a person who sexually assaulted him and that you would support him in confronting her or if he felt better just cutting them (his family out of his life you would also support him in doing that). It sounds like his family is a unit that supports the abuse of children, as his sister was also abused. It really is his job to confront them if he wants to. The advantage to confronting the abuser is that you can see who they really are, what kind of people they are. His sister might say that she has felt horrible about that and wanted to make amends for a long time but was concerned that bringing it up could cause him harm or she might say it never happened or he forced her but by confronting them, he will know the truth of what kind of person that she really is. Also there could be temporary amends and then blaming him after that. A sign of a person he needs to get away from.

It is really hard to see a person that you love be around a person who abused him but to confront her for him would be taking away his opportunity to take back control of his life. If he does confront, she might just call him crazy, saying he always makes things up, which would mean that her daughter is not safe being around her either because that is an active perpetrator’s response, unless she blacked it out and truly does not consciously remember it.

      I think the best thing to do is tell your boyfriend how hard it is to see him around a person who abused him and ask if there is anything that you can do to support him to heal? And see what he says. It is important to let him be in charge of his own healing process.

You can also support him in getting a great therapists (not a mediocre or bad therapist but one that has the tools to help him to heal if he does not already have a great therapists) to help him to heal from the abuse.

Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

      1. Thank you Amy for your kind words of support and advice! I have always had an…(edited by blogger to not trigger other survivors) knew all along that there was some theme of incest going on when we first dated a few years ago – he was fondly talking about his sisters and how close he was to them and his childhood and upbringing. He said that it wasn’t unusual to see his sisters, or at least Lili, walking around naked from the shower to her room – that they were all very close and always had to share rooms, him with his youngest sister and his middle sister (who was molested by his mother’s brother) with Lilli (the eldest) until they were all teens and Lili demanded her own room. Anyways, I started to have vivid dreams of when they were younger and I could see the incest and abuse happening as young children although I didn’t know what it meant… The very difficult thing is that he recently told me, with much compassion and love for her, that she has always been very guilty and has always been there for him more than anyone else. He says she herself was raped and abused countless times and was still a child even when she was 15,16,17 years old – her most vulnerable, he says. She was as much a victim doing what was done to her unknowingly to her beloved little brother…. It’s so sad and so aggrivating too. I feel I need to expose this secret to someone in this family before I sever ties with them forever. You see, we are relocating to Hawaii to continue our healing journey and create a new family for ourselves. I have nothing here that is sane or healthy or positive. They can visit me on my own turf some day, when they’re ready. I am intent on first my own healing and that of my daughter’s and then setting out to be an alternative energy medicine and lifestyle coach healer!…(edited by blogger to not trigger other survivors)…Thanks again!

        1. Hi Amy,

It is not ok for your to confront his sister, that is his choice. It is not ok for you to take away his choice.

If you truly care about another person, it is extremely important to support him in how he wants to handle the situation and not do what you think needs to be done for him.

My other concern is that if she is an active perpetrator, then her daughter is in a bad situation. Also if she is an active perpetrator, it is not ok for her to be around your daughter or any other child or baby you may have, even if it is where you live. Active perpetrators should never be allowed around children, ever.

          The other issue about telling her family is that it seems possibly like they may already know and not care. In order to help the children who could be exposed to her and the other perpetrators that we know about in her family, I do support you in supporting your boyfriend to do what could expose that. But if the family knows and does not care, it could be frustrating and I am not sure on what advise to say in that case. If your boyfriend does choose to confront his family, it would help him to see the truth of who is pro-perpetrator and who supports children. But again, it is for him to decide, not you.

          1. Maybe I didn’t explain my situation clearly enough so I’ll start from the beginning…
I lost everything when I got cancer last year and moved in with my boyfriend and his parents while doing chemo. I was pronounced cancer-free
this last June but my finances were depleted so I had to wait until I got my refund to make any major changes. He “partially” molested my 11 year old daughter in her sleep and has always been a bully, manipulative and very controlling. He is also somewhat of an alcoholic. Recently, after confronting him of his molesting my daughter, he broke down and confessed, explaining that it was his oldest sister that molested him from age 8-13. When he was very drunk one particular time, he grabbed my face and sneered, “stop laughing!!” He also brought my daughter to tears while “teaching” her math. She was so distraught that she had a fever all of a sudden for two days… My own abuse and neglect from both of my parents made me feel powerless against him. Now that I am financially stable, I purchased one-way tickets to Hawaii and plan to heal and start over again. I am doing the Emotion Code and highly recommend it!! We are supported and loved by his mother and his younger sisters. I don’t think it’s right to tell them that he molested my daughter but I do feel that they should be aware of the fact that he is an abuser in general. I agree that it should be him that confronts his sister and not me. *** I would appreciate hearing from another mom with similar experiences and issues – many thanks (edited by blogger)!!

            1. Hi Amy,

Your last explains a bunch that I did not know before. I am not clear, did your boyfriend try to molest your daughter in her sleep or was that someone else? It sounds like from your post that it was your boyfriend but I want to make sure.

And are you moving to Hawaii with or without him?

              1. It was him who molested her,…(edited by blogger) told him she didn’t trust him anymore. She’s not afraid to stand up for herself, something that I feel I could never do. My psychic mentor and friend says reporting him is optional as it would definitely destroy his life. When we are safely away in Hawaii I think I may meet with a low cost lawyer to see if it’s possible to anonymously report him. His previous girlfriend would be willing to state that he also was abusive to her. My daughter and I hope to start all over and find a new healthy family once we have both healed and undergone therapy. She will not admit, because we still live with him, any of the abuse. The only thing she admitted was that she caught him looking at her bottom. It was HE who confessed to the molestation after I had confronted him…. I wonder if my daughter has to actually say that he molested her in order for him to be put in jail???

                1. Hi Amy,

                  Your daughter was molested, there is nothing partial about what he did to her, she was violated and that is not ok. It is fine and appropriate to report him, he will not stop trying to molest other children, unless he is reported. Also if possible I would try to move out, even to a safe-house, because having your daughter living in the same house with the man who molested her is not ok. So if you are not going to Hawaii in the next few days, it’s time to leave. There is something terribly wrong with his family system, such as who molested his sister, so there are other perpetrators around and you may not know who they are. Your daughter deserves to live a in a place safe from all molesters.

I used to have a huge urge to frequently speak with psychics, but this was not healthy for me because of the reaching outside of myself for what I needed, it became almost addictive. I feel that finding an excellent therapist, one who can help you to reach within for your own answers is really helpful and it can you to heal as well.

And it’s not about destroying his life, whether or not that will happen, it’s about protecting your daughter and other children.

As soon as your boyfriend said that, it was time to leave his house no matter what that takes, even if he was only looking at your daughter inappropriately, protecting your daughter is number one priority, even if it means living in a safe-house for abused women. The time to leave is now.

It did take me a few days to write this so maybe you are already in Hawaii.

Feel free to write back with and clarifications, questions or updates.

                  1. I wish you could see the situation through my eyes… he never has the opportunity to even so much as look at her in an inappropriate way because I don’t allow her to be alone with him for even a second. I really the need the money so I have to be working as much as possible and I work from home and my daughter is home schooled so right now, she only has classes at the local Homeschooling Resource center which is kind of like a school of formal classes for home schooled kids and it’s only twice a week so on the other days she stays home with me and then we usually try to get out and go to the park or the library… His youngest sister is the most ‘healthy’ and her and her husband just moved here. I’m very close to everyone but I feel the most safe around his youngest sister. Perhaps I should briefly explain to her that Patrick is and has always been abusive and I feel we need a safe place to live until we leave which is in two weeks…??? I do feel that reporting him is necessary but I also feel that it shouldn’t be done while I’m still here and haven’t had healing or therapy. I need to feel safe and secure before confronting him in a legal more open manner. I should note that I don’t feel reporting him would prevent any future abuse because most women or single moms look at or check on a boyfriend to see if he has a record! What would be more effective would be to contact his uncle who is a police officer and his brother-in-law (Annie’s husband, the one I feel safest with) about the abuse so that if they hear about him dating again or getting a job involving children, they could do whatever necessary; i.e., having a private conversation with the woman or the manager about his past and then it’s up to them to do what they feel is necessary. Telling his family directly would most likely cause them to be in a state of denial and they most likely will not believe me. I don’t want my daughter to be put through the traumatic experience of going to court and having to say what he did – he’s already in his own hell: he’ll never get married nor have children, never hold down a job and will probably live with his parents or his siblings for the rest of his life – he may even act careless and then die tragically because of his own self-abuse and addiction to alcohol and to a lesser degree, marijuana. The focus should be on protecting myself and my child and the HEALING that has to take place and NOT about revenge or getting him to say “sorry” – an apology won’t change anything!

                    1. Hi Amy,

                      I never recommended that you try to get an apology from him or revenge on him, perpetrators rarely apologize, so wanting an apology would be wishful thinking. It seems from your comment that your mind is made up. When you say that you never leave her alone for a moment does that mean that she sleeps in a hard to pick locked room with her own bathroom, and no one could climb in the windows from the outside? If not, then he or other perpetrators can still get to her. And reporting perpetrators has helped others and prevented future abuse in some cases.

                    2. amy I am so angry and disappoInted at your response to your daughter being.molested by YOUR boyfriend.. I think you really need to consider whether you are ready for motherhood as it seems you are putting yours/your partners feelings ahead of your daughters… remember you daughter is the innocent in all this and your job is as a mother is to protect your child… exposing your child to her abuser every day is not putting her needs first… get a grip amd do whats right for your daughter.

                    3. Indeed I did and continue to protect her and provide a safe environment for us to fully heal. I assume by your reply, that you did not read about how we have relocated off the mainland to Hawaii. We’ve been here since March 8th and things have turned around and are rapidly changing for the better- we are literally starting over and also are doing deep transformative healing on all levels!

  27. Hi,

    I am a survivor of sexual abuse by my older brother. I have kept this inside of me for years. I am now 46 and it happened to me when I was 8 till I was 12.

    I have allot of anger inside of me. Feeling ashamed and dirty. I have tried seeking counselling but every time the subject of my abuse came up I started getting nightmares and stopped going. I know it wasn’t my fault I just have a hard time talking about it. The anger, the hurt has affected me in all my relationships. I have suicidal thoughts only cause I just want the nightmares and the hurt gone.

    I keep thinking I have mental issues, not sure if it’s because of the sexual abuse or cause I’ve kept it in for so long. I keep hoping things will get better for me so I can get stronger again and be able to talk to someone who can help me get past this and live a happy life.

    1. Hi Kathy,

      I am sorry to hear what happened to you, that is not ok. The feeling that you have of anger are justified, but you may try allowing them to be released by possibly writing a letter to your brother (that you do not have to send) and I recommend handwriting it, so if you want you can really press your anger into the paper. (Pounding on a computer keyboard might not be as healthy, especially for your computer.) When you feel the anger come up in situations that should not have such a strong response (things like road rage) say this anger is justified when it comes to what my brother did to me, not the (in road rage example: “the other driver”). I am not saying you have road rage, that is only an example.

      The feelings of shamed (ashamed) and dirty, really belong to your brother and not you. So when they come up you might say my brother’s not mine” or something like that. The shame, guilt and keeping a secret stuff really always belongs to the perpetrator.

      When it comes to your hurt, it is time to be the parent to yourself that you may not have had, be kind to yourself and take care of yourself.

      Suicide is not a way t get rid of either nightmares or hurt, healing yourself is. If nightmares come up when you talk about it, you might want to try, putting the memories that come up in a imaginary box or put them on an imaginary DVD or whatever image works for you to contain them, keep trying things until one works.

      Some other tools that might help with what is happening is parts of my post http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ has ideas on how to self parent.

      Also if you have a nightmare and need to talk with someone even in the middle of the night you can go to http://www.casac.ca/content/anti-violence-centres and click on your province and it will list rape crisis lines in your area. You can try calling those. Remember that if someone is not helpful, hang up and try again later, the people answering the phones usually change shifts. If one centre is repeatedly not helpful, try another one. All centres should also have free counselling. You may want to tell your counsellor that counselling in the past has caused nightmares, an excellent therapist should be able to help you with that, the problem is that there are not a ton of excellent counsellors or therapists, so do not get discouraged and keep looking until you find a therapists that has the tools to help you to heal.

      Remember that it is abuse that you need to heal from not chemical imbalance so you do not need drugs or herbs to heal, you instead need to detox the abuse and it’s memories and emotions from your body.

      Feel free to write back with any updates or questions.

  28. hi,
    when I was 13 my cousin sexually (abused) (edited by blogger) me and he told me not to tell anyone,so I haven’t, but im in big trouble right now, I don’t trust anyone anymore, I get angry its to that point that I want to hurt someone else but I know that I wont cause I’m not like that, I push people away, i think I need help but I don’t know where to go, have any ideas where I can go

    1. Hi Val,

      It takes courage to tell your story and ask for help and you have taken the first step.

      By not telling anyone you are keeping the abuser’s (your cousins secret and shame) it does not belong to you. If he did not want you to tell on him he never should have assaulted you then there would be nothing to tell anyone. But since he did abuse you, it is healthy to tell the people you want to tell and to reach out for help.

      All of the reactions that you are having to the abuse are normal reactions to being abused. But remember that healing from sexual abuse is possible so you do not need to feel this way forever. As you heal you will figure out who you can trust and who you cannot trust. The anger that you feel is appropriate on how you should feel about being abused. As you heal you will learn how to not push away healthy people and stay away from unhealthy people. It might be helpful to read my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ which has some ideas on how to deal with anger and other emotions when they come up with extreme intensity.

      If you are in Canada you might want to try going to http://www.casac.ca/content/anti-violence-centres and click on your province and it will list rape crisis lines in your area. You can try calling those. Remember that if someone is not helpful, hang up and try again later, the people answering the phones usually change shifts. If one centre is repeatedly not helpful, try another one. All centres should have free counselling. Or if you are in school you can try reaching out to the counsellors there. Keep reaching out until you find a person who is helpful and has the tools to help you to heal and create real change in your life. Please know that therapists who recommend drugs (like anti-depressants or anti-psychotics) or herbs (like St. John’s Wort) or other harmful things like ECT and MST do not have the tools to help you to heal and could make things worse. There are some great therapists out there but not everyone is so keep looking until you find an excellent therapist or social worker. Some ways to find them are to interview them first over the phone and in person. Ask yourself are they kind, do they know helpful ways to help me to detox from the trauma that I suffered. If your provincial plan does not cover it all great therapists should have a free in person consultation to see if they would be helpful for you to work with. You can google around or ask around for recommendation of great therapists. remember that even if a person is a great therapists for someone else they may or may not be great for you.

      Ask yourself when you interview therapists, do they make you feel comfortable and at ease or do they play blame the patient game for their shortcomings? Do they empower or disempower you? Do they seem kind or mean? And you can make up a whole list of things you would like from the person you are working with.

      You can heal from all of the side effects of being abused if you keep taking action to heal and find a great therapists to work with.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions, thoughts or updates.

  29. I am a girl and when I was 4 or 5 I met my male cousin, who is six weeks younger than me, for the first time since I was a baby because there had been a rift in the family and our families had had very little contact with each other. We were both curious about each other’s bodies and whenever we met up (three or four times a year, sometimes more)…(edited by blogger). This carried on until we were 11, when we had a sex ed class at school and we decided to try out what we had learned…(edited by blogger).

    Up until this point, we both wanted to do what we were doing and I would categorise our experiences as exploration and not abuse. After that, however, things became different. My cousin started saying that he wouldn’t have sex with me, which is what I wanted, unless I did other stuff for him first…(edited by blogger) which I didn’t want to do. I blocked out a lot of these memories until I was about 18 and some of the details are still a bit hazy (I can’t remember how many times the abuse happened or exactly what happened) but I can remember the first time he got me to do something that I didn’t want to do…(edited by blogger) I told him to stop but he wouldn’t and I can still remember the complete humiliation I felt from not being able to stop him.

    The last time I was with him I told him we had to stop what we were doing. I was 13 and had started my period and I realised that what we were doing was wrong and that I could get pregnant. I was also staring to figure out that I was a lesbian – I was a long way from getting to that word but I was realising that I wasn’t being turned on by him, when a lot of girls would have been (he was really popular at my school and most of the girls fancied him). But he told me that I had to do what he wanted, or he would tell my parents what we had been doing….(edited by blogger)

    After that I tried to stay away from him but only a few months after he came round my house unexpectedly. I went to the toilet and he tried to force his way in. I had to use all my strength to keep the door shut but I just about managed it. I’m 25 now but I still have flashbacks of the fear when I thought he was going to break into the toilet and rape me.

    I am a lesbian but I do not believe that the abuse has caused me to be gay – I can actually remember having a crush on my female teacher at age 4, before I had ever met my cousin. However, I have never had a girlfriend and the only sexual experiences I have ever had were with my cousin…(edited by blogger)

    I really want to tell my two close friends about the abuse but I can never bring myself to do it. I don’t want them to feel sorry for me, or to feel weird around me, or even to feel like I have lied to them, as, in their eyes, I have always been the virgin who has never even had a girlfriend! I also find it hard to relate to friends in a non-sexual way and I have regular sexual fantasies about anyone who I like lot, male or female. It’s like I can’t accept that anyone could like me just for being me, without me doing them any ‘favours’. Anyway, thank you to anyone who has bothered to read this and thank you to everyone who has written about their one experiences – it really helps to know that I am not alone.

    1. Hi Kahicra,

      Thank you for writing your story, it takes courage every time a survivor tells their story whether it is written or told, as long as it is done in an effort to heal and/or help others to heal which seems like where you are coming from. And that shows your strength.

      A healthy four or five year old child should not be acting out sexually with other children.

      Below is taken from: http://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/warning_signs.htm

      Pre-school children (0-5) years commonly:
      • Use childish ‘sexual’ language to talk about body parts 
      • Ask how babies are made and where they come from
      • Touch or rub their own genitals
      • Show and look at private parts

      They rarely:
      • Discuss sexual acts or use sexually explicit language
      • Have physical sexual contact with other children
      • Show adult-like sexual behaviour or knowledge  

      Below is taken from: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/protecting-child-sex-abuse?page=4

      1. A sudden onset of sexualized behavior; the younger the child is when this occurs, the more likely it is linked to sexual abuse.”This includes a sudden desire to touch their body, to touch the bodies of other children or even adults, to want their parents to touch them,” says Amaranth. This, she says, is often done in an attempt to “normalize” the behavior they have experienced with the abuser. Sometimes it can be a sign the child has been exposed to pornography.scary
      (There is a huge list after that)

      It is also horrifying being forced to do things that you do not want to do and that is not ok. It is really not ok that your parents did not catch that you were being abused. And very scary as well to have someone so intent to assault you that they are trying to force the door open.

      Flashbacks are one of the ways that our bodies deal with trauma. I believe that it is the body trying to release the trauma from the body. You can try reading my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ that gives you some tools to deal with emotions and things from the past trying to be heard and could help to release them. The more that you heal from the past, the closer you will become to being ready to have a girlfriend. When past abuse is so close to the surface, it is hard to become close to others, but rather than push the abuse back down (which never really works) it is healthier to release the emotions and memories you’ve been holding onto for so long and allow them to detox from your body. It could also be helpful to find a great therapist, one who has the tools to help you to permanently heal (without drugs or herbal assistance because that just pushes down the trauma that needs to be released and can cause some really bad side effects). You could start by going to http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/ or calling 0808 802 9999 between 12 – 2.30pm and 7 – 9.30pm. See if they are helpful, if so that is great, if not hang up and try again later (volunteers change shifts). If you repeatedly do not find a great person at the hotline, try shopping around for a great therapist. Ok therapists and bad therapists can cause more problems rather than help. Healing does not need to be a lifelong process, if you work with a person that has the tools to help you to heal.

      It is also normal for a person who was sexualized at such a young age to sexualize everyone around, because that is what you were taught but you can heal that as well with a great therapist. You were also taught at a young age that being sexual was your purpose in life but that is a lie, real friends, lovers and family will love and accept you for who you are. And remember that just because someone is family does not mean that they are “real family”. Real family loves, accepts and supports you, including when it comes to healing from sexual assault.

      Keep taking action and find a great therapists or great advocate to help with your healing from the abuse and your life will get better.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions, thoughts or updates.

  30. I am 41 years old. I was molested by my brother at age 10 until the age of 12. The first person I told was a psychologist I went to when I was 16 because I tried to kill myself. My psychologist asked if I wanted to tell my parents. I didn’t. He told me I could write a letter to my brother and send it to him in college, or never send it at all. I finally told my mother after the last session. Her first words were: oh, my brothers did that to me too. What do you want me to do?

    I told her I wasn’t ready to talk to my dad about it, I was very uncomfortable and in my mind I felt I would get in trouble. I certainly wasn’t ready to confront my brother. I kept it in for 25 years until I finally told my husband. I finally got the courage to confront my brother, and write that letter, which I still haven’t sent. All these years I kept it inside, for fear he would deny, when an epiphany came over me that it didn’t matter if he denied, because we both knew it happened.

    What I didn’t expect is the abandonment from my mother. I didn’t realize that her support had an expiration date. That she was only willing to do something 25 years ago when I told her, and only if I asked her to. Being a parent myself of two beautiful children, if one of them told me that the other abused him/her, I don’t think I could keep quiet, even at the request of the other child. My mom has even tried to guilt me into not sending the letter, “you have two beautiful children, your brother is going through a lot, I wish you would have done this 25 years ago, why now, this will rip my family apart, etc.

    I really feel lost, depressed, tossed aside, and hopeless. I finally am ready to confront him because he continually bullies me which is symbolic of the abuse that took place when I was younger, he thinks he can do whatever he wants and get away with it. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, and I’ve been through a lot, my father died when I was 21 of a heart attack in front of my mother and I, my first husband cheated on me and we divorced. I really don’t know what to do. If I don’t send the letter this all has been for nothing, and I would have a “fake” relationship with my mother, brother, and sister. If I send it I will be on the outskirts, a loner, and cast away. In most ways I am leaning towards sending it, because I am realizing that I didn’t have much of a family to lose in the first place. So confused, can you shed any light on this?

    1. Hi Tina,

      That is awful that that happened to you.

      Of course you did not want to tell your dad, your mother was mean in how she responded to you. The way she responded is not how real moms treat their children. She should have been horrified that that happened to you and try to figure out what happened to your brother to cause him to do that to you. It makes me wonder, who molested your brother and who molested her brother, etc. It sounds like there may be more perpetrators in your family than is known at this point. I am sorry to say that your mother was not a real mom to you. And that is really sad.

      It sounds like from your story, your mother was not really willing to do anything 25 years ago either. And her advise to rip up the letter is not helpful at all. It may be time instead to cut off communication with your mother, who does not seem supportive or like a mother at all.

      It also sounds like you are a great mom, being willing to protect your children, no matter what. Another way to protect your children is to cut unsupportive people out of their lives, I do not believe that it is healthy to expose children to people who are supportive of child sexual assault, such as your mom and your brother. Your brother sounds like he still is an abuser, so your children are not safe around him. People who support pedophiles do not know how to love and protect children and your kids deserve better. Even if they say how much they miss their grandma and uncle, it is your job as a parent to protect them from those people. You will not be alone because you have your kids and husband and friends.

      It is very healthy and shows your strength that you came to the conclusion that it does not matter whether your brother admits it or not. It also shows your strength that you mentioned that the relationship is fake anyway. It’s time to listen to yourself and protect yourself and your children from your fake family and celebrate and have fun with your real family.

      It also might be time to reach out for help and support and try calling the 1-800-656-HOPE hotline and see if they are helpful, if so great, if not you can try hanging up and trying again later. If not you might want to try looking for an excellent therapist who can help you to heal. Be picky and never let a specialists talk you out of your gut feelings.

      Keep going with you gut feelings and I think you will do great, though it’s not easy, I also think you will find your life getting easier if you cut off all contact with your mom and brother (and sister if she is not kind).

      Feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

  31. I don’t think I will ever get over being sexually abused. My mother’s boyfriend molested me from the age of 9 till 16. He did this to me daily. Even when my mother was home. It was horrible, I tried to take on after school activities in order to stay away but he would convince my mother I shouldn’t be allowed to and she made me quit and go straight home after school and then he would abuse me. I used to hurt myself, but never told. I did bad in school but my mother allowed him to discipline me. I threatened to tell my mother but he convinced me that she would not believe me. He would take photos of me and said if I said anything he would show her them and she would not believe anything I said.

    I am 45 now and I cry daily about this. I finally told my mother about 6 years ago.  I wrote her a letter and never spoke about it with her. Some where deep I believe she may have known this was happening to me. I have been married for 22 years and have 3 daughters

    My experience has caused me to be on “watch” with children.  My husband knows what happened and tells me to let it go. I can’t.  I am now wanting to press charges against thus man. I know it’s been a long time, I never told as a child.  The crazy thing is I am friends with his sister and with the rest of his family.  I wanted to visit his mom but she would not take me because he was living in the same house. I would always be angry with her but I wish she had so that he could see me and feel regret.  He probably will never feel that. I have recently located him and now I want to contact the police department,  I also want to send him a letter letting him know that all the things that he has done to me has negatively affected my life.

    1. Hi Brooklyn,

      I am very sorry to hear about what happened to you. It was not ok. Your mother’s job was to protect you and instead she let you be abused and took the abuser’s side. Has she apologized for not protecting you? That is so awful.

      Your husband’s advice to let go, does not really work when it comes to being sexually assaulted or any other instances when a person has been traumatized. Because the body holds onto the trauma unless it has been able to be released and detoxed from the body. I have some ideas for helping to hear the trauma and release it on my post called “What To Do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      It is also helpful to work with an excellent therapist or counsellor to release the trauma but it is really important that they are really good therapists and kind people because working with a bad or mediocre therapist can make things worse. Always listen to your intuition when reaching out for help and feel free to walk away or hang up on people who are not kind or not helping you how you want to be helped. A place that you can start looking for help is by calling 800-656-HOPE 24/7 hotline and they may be helpful and they may not be helpful. Keep looking for help until you find excellent help. Then you will be able to release the trauma and let go of some of the hypervigilance that came from the trauma.

      If you want to press charges, this is a website that states the statute of limitations (how long you can file after the crime has been committed) for the states when it comes to child sexual assault: http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/state-civil-statutes-of-limitations-in-child-sexua.aspx (This is not meant to be taken as legal advise, please consult an attorney when it comes to all legal matters and as with therapists there are excellent attorneys and awful attorneys, ones who will tell you that you do not have a case when you have a case and visa versa)

      If you send him a letter realize that he might not care, even if you spoke with him in person he might still not care, he may even be so sick that he might even get joy from your suffering or he might be sorry but perpetrators are rarely sorry, though some may be.

      If he has contact with any children, you can always report him to the authorities that way because pedophiles rarely stop abusing children. Calling the police would only help, I believe but could be wrong, if he has contact with children now, or if in the state you were abused the statute of limitations has not run out. But again please do your own research and consult an attorney, If his mom is protecting him, that is not a good sign and you do not need a person who protects pedophiles in your life today. Also know that you may or may not win the case even though it happened so prepare yourself for both outcomes and keep reminding yourself how strong you are to speak your truth no matter the outcome, if you take it to court.

      Keep taking action to heal and if you can find a person with the tools to help you to heal, your life will get better. Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

  32. So i need some help im not a survivor but i need help so that d is my initial and the s is my ex gfs initial so me and her got to know each other very well and she told me that her dad had been sexually abusing her since she was 5 and he finally raped her at age 11 or 12 and then she put a stop to it since then now i was told this before we started dating so i knew that i was going to have to put in an effort to make things easier on her and i was aware on how she felt and was willing to help her see past what happened and start to trust guys again and note she still lives with this man so she right now is 15 and im 16 we started dating and at first things were good and i would always go to her house and watch movies and normal things but she never told her parents we were dating because her dad would start to get very protective which is ok i see that being normal after all he is the parent but even though we would try to play it off like we weren’t dating her parents kinda caught on and her dad tried touching her again and was trying to hurt her and he would try to make it that he’s the only guy she can touch when it comes to having a boyfriend and her dad is one fucked up guy she would always tell me how perverted he still is and that she doesn’t know if she can still be dating me because of how traumatized she still is from what happened to her and what me being her boyfriend was doing to her dad and how it affected her she told her mom a long time ago but her mom blames her and her father says she’s trying to seduce him so her mom hasn’t been a great help so we really liked each other and we tried hard to make it work i even said we can go to an adult or i can talk to your dad but she never wanted me to try and get into the problem i cared about her alot and she cared about me to but after a while things changed it got really bad she could barely look at me because it affected her so much and she kept getting flashbacks of what happened and alot of pain and trauma kept coming back to her she wanted to breakup and i told her we need help, i told her she needs help i was willing to do whatever to fix this problem so we ended up breaking up on good terms and we still liked each other but we couldn’t date her dad and her past hit her too hard after a while so recently she got raped again this time it wasn’t by her dad…(edited by blogger) since she got hurt again she isolated herself from everyone she knows at school except for her female friends things got terribly bad she can’t stand near me she doesn’t wanna talk to me because i’m a guy and literally every guy terrifies her now still till this day she doesn’t want to get any help, i told her go to a guidance counselor or i’ll help you, i remember before it happened again to her and even before we started dating and even after we broke up she said that i would date a guy but…if anyone is willing to wait that long for me to get over my past problems to do so i told her i would i wanted her to know that i’m different, that its not the end of the world, i always told her that we really liked each other and cared for each other, still till this day she lives with her dad and doesn’t want to try and get help she’s too afraid of her dad and note that even after…(the second incident (edited by blogger)) again her parents still blame her and she did go to a hospital and got checked up for it her parents knew…(about the second incident (edited by blogger)) and all of that i want to help her, i need advice even though were not dating anymore and she doesn’t want me around because of how bad things got i need help finding a way to help her, i need advice she only told 4 people about her dad raping her ever her 2 best friends me and her ex gf yeah she dated a girl before me and she left that girl for me and still till this day after we broke up we both been single and their was no other reason why we broke up, i am the only person to try as hard to make things easier on her and help with this problem, since it happened i need help or advice on what to do should i even come clean and tell someone am in in the position to do that? help

    1. Hi D,

      I am so sorry to hear about what happened to you and your girlfriend.

      Her father and mother are both very sick people. Sexually violating his daughter and acting as if he is dating her, that is horrible and so very wrong. And his mother being so sick that instead of protecting her daughter from being sexually assaulted, she blames her for it. That is so wrong.

      From what you wrote, it appears that there are a ton of people who are legally responsible for doing things that they are not doing. Her counsellor is legally responsible to report sexual assault of a minor and the counsellor is not. The hospital is also legally responsible to report sexual assault of a minor and it sounds like they did not. It sounds like neither are helping her to heal either. Her mother also sounds like a horrible person, blaming her daughter for being raped both by her husband and the other people who raped her. She is not a real mom, real moms and dads protect their children. You cannot force the hospital and the school to do what they are suppose to do, which is protect a minor from sexual assault but you can try and find people who care enough to help your girlfriend. The huge problem is that the perpetrator (her dad) has scared her so badly, she believes that she has no options but to cower under his control. She is brainwashed, in a sense, by her dad and mom who is also part of the brainwashing that she deserves to be abused. If she is close to turning 16, then she might want to try being emancipated, meaning going through legal proceedings to live independently of her parents (who seem to be parents in genetics only, because real parents take care of their children).

      What her dad has done is also in violation of Virginia Code Child abuse/neglect is defined in Code of Virginia § 16.1-228.

      Part of the code states: “An abused or neglected child is defined as any child under 18 years of age whose parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s care:
…(edited by blogger) 6. commits or allows to be committed any illegal sexual act upon a child including incest, rape, fondling, indecent exposure, or prostitution, or allows a child to be used in any sexually explicit visual material;”

      I am surprised that the hospital did nothing to support her or report the rape. Her mother may have acted as if she cared or the hospital may not have cared at all.

      Would your parents be willing to let her live in your house? The problem is her fear is keeping her stuck with the person who is molesting her and the mom who is not kind.

      You could also try calling the 800-656-HOPE 24 hour hotline and ask their advise. Sometimes the people on the hotlines are helpful, other times they are not at all helpful, if they are not helpful, just hang up. You can also try in Virginia calling 1-800-838-8238 (It may or may not connect to the same people as the 1-800-656-hope hotline). Again if they are not helpful, just hang up.

      You could consider reporting it to Child Protective Services, but the problem with that is that studies show that tons of those children taken from their homes will be abused in their foster care or other temporary settings. Which could be why neither her counsellor nor the hospital reported it, but they both should have provided free counselling to help her to heal. I think the best option could be to reach out to an adult who is kind and willing to help or if she can live with you but she has to want to get help. Don’t give up. At the very least do things to support yourself. A person has to want help to get help. But you can keep telling her that you are there for her when she is ready for a real friend and you want to support her in healing and hold the space for her to have a better life.

      A safe house against domestic violence may be an option depending if the safe house is kind and supportive. I just thought of that. That could be a good option, if at the very least, she can get counselling there but some are helpful and others may not be helpful. You could try calling 703-237-0881 24/7 and see if they have any ideas also. Just remember to hang up if someone is not kind. They might also not want to help her because she is a minor.

      Those are my ideas for now. Please feel free to write back with any questions, updates or ideas. And no matter what, take care of yourself. Do things that are fun and make you feel happy, because you can only do so much for someone else but what you can do for yourself is huge because you are the person who knows yourself the best.

  33. I have three younger sisters. I am 23 years old, my sisters are 18, 16, and 10. Im haunted by a comment my sister made to me last year while we were in a heated argument. I used to babysit her when we were younger all the time, and during those times I admit that I would tease her a lot. I would play tricks on her to make her mad, and thought it was funny. I feel so guilty now for doing those things.. because I know I bullied her… . & I have said sorry to her many times for those things. But I’m really afraid that I have damaged her 🙁 what she said to me during our argument was earth shattering. It was last year, I had just moved back in with my parents after living on my own for a while. My sister and I have always been close, and we were getting coffee when we got into an argument over something so silly i dont remember. But it escalated to her blwoing up and calling me many names. To the point where my 17 year old sister had me balling like a baby. I decided to turn around and take her home. after I pulled in and walked inside in tears, of course my mom asked what was wrong. In the midst of her mediating the fight she got in trouble for being so hurtful and mean to me for virtually no reason.

    After she was grounded- for calling me a bitch and telling me she hates me- (we never talk to each other like that and this is literally the first real fight weve ever been in)She asked in tears if i remembered sexually abusing her… and I died inside. My sister suffers with severe ADHD and behavioral problems, so many times outburst like this our taken with a grain of salt by me and my parents, but I took this accusation extremely seriously.

    I do remember when we were kids that we have “played house ” two or three times that I can remember. during those times we would kiss, or “make out” at least what we thought was making out at the time with her on top of me. I never ever touched her inappropriately, and I remember feeling “icky” about it and us agreeing we would never do it again. I was 12 or 13 and she was 8 or 9. Ive never even given it real thought, but It literally haunts me that she could have considered what happened abuse. Did I abuse my sister? I didn’t know that at the time what was going on! I didn’t even know what sex was.

    After the accusations we talked about everything and I apologized fervently with her. Saying that i had no idea that it was abuse or that effected her so much. I thought we were just kids experimenting and never thought anything of it.

    However, because of her reaction, I insisted that we go to consoling. My mother was involved and told me that she had previously mentioned the abuse to her and she had written her statements off bc it was normal behavior to experiment. But after it was brought to my attention (which Im really upset it wasn’t brought to my attention earlier) i insisted That we see someone about what happened when we were kids because it obviously bothered her so much. I scheduled the appointment and begged for my mothers support in her going. When the appointment time came- she said she felt better because we talked about it, and refused to go to consuling.

    It still troubles me every day. I see an article about sexual abuse and now it disgust me even more that I could be put in the same category as an offender.

    I love kids- I have worked with them for 7 years. Im currently a nanny and cannot imagine abusing a child. I am not a predator or an abuser but my sisters accusations haunt me with shame and guilt. Help me please.

    1. Hi Amy,

      Yes, that was sexual abuse. The icky feeling that you got was from that. You most likely learned it from someone else who sexually assaulted you. It was not ok. Please do not minimize what happened to your sister. Imagine being your little sister, and being laid on top of and kissed, that must have been horrifying to her. She probably coped with it by disassociating and getting symptoms of ADHD which are the same symptoms of trauma. The question is where did you learn to do that? It is time for you to heal from whatever caused you to do that to your sister and to heal from what you did to your sister.

      But if you would not ever do that now, then you were acting out the abuse that you may have forgotten that happened to you. You were a little girl. It is time for you to find an excellent therapist who can help you to heal from the abuse but not with your sister. She does not want to go to therapy with the person who abused her, would you? And you can still ask what amends that your sister wants you to make to her for the assault. You need to realize it’s severity but still keeping in mind that you were a little girl who was also abuse but you do need to make amends to your sister.

      If what you did to your sister when you were little is not something you would want to force on someone else today, then you are not an offender but you still need to heal from what happened to you and what you did to your sister.

      You can try calling 800-656-HOPE and see if they will help you but if not keep reaching out to get the help that you need to heal.

  34. I am just amazed at the different ways that parents abuse children.

    The first time for me was when I was five years old. My mom and dad were having a party in their home (everyone was drunk) and he snuck away and took me into their bedroom and molested me for the first time – I can’t specifically recall any other times.

    Then, in these past ten years, out of five children, I have been the sole care-giver of both of them. That in and of itself has been very difficult. I won’t completely go into the difficulties I ran into but suffice it to say that any concern I expressed about the mental capacity of these 80 some year old folks was immediately shut down by my brothers and sisters. They didn’t want to be bothered – mom and dad sounded fine to them.

    My mother had several strokes and was hospitalized and he tried to rape me again. At first my brothers and sisters were concerned but the bottom line was that they were more concerned about how to contain this and not “tarnish” my fathers’ reputation. I have been on my own since.

    Sure, my sister wants to explain how dad, at his age, didn’t have a full realization of what he was doing – but when I was five? Oh, well he was drunk – it doesn’t count.

    PS – my dad had a FULL memory of what he did to me this past year, his only concern was whether any one else in the family knew.

    But, my family keeps explaining it away He died August 28, 2014 and will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on the 8th of January. I will not be there. I have a good reason, I have neuropathy In my feet and can not stand such weather conditions without suffering further damage to my feet. But my brothers and sisters don’t want to hear that, they are only angry with the “way things will look” if I don’t attend. They have never told their spouses what happened.

    Mom lives in a Nursing Home with deep dementia and, with exception to my little brother, I have lost my entire family as of January 2014 when this incident occurred.

    I am isolated and depressed and I cannot see anything getting better.

    1. Hi Carla,

      Know that things can get better if you take action to heal. Funerals are for the living not the dead, so it is great that you are taking care of yourself and not going to the funeral. It is not your job to take care of your family or make them “look good” it is your job to heal from the abuse. It is a great thing to be getting away from a family that does not care about you and only cares about how things look. A “family” that does not care that you were raped and excuses the perpetrator for raping their daughter, a family that is very sick. Even if you did not have neuropathy, it is not healthy to go to that funeral but it is healthy for your inner child to mourn not having a dad who protected you and sisters and brothers who care about you.

      How did your mother respond when she found out, since she stayed with the man who raped you, it is not your job to take care of her unless, she never knew, because if she knew and stayed with a child molester, then she was not a real mom to you.

      It is time to take action to heal and detox from the abuse and you have taken the first step by speaking your truth and writing your story. It also is a great step to no longer interact with your family. Your family does not sound kind. But if your little brother is kind then he is your real family and it is healthy to hang out with him.

      You may also want to reach out for help detox from the abuse that you went through, you can try calling 800-656-HOPE which is a 24/7 hotline that will connect you to the local rape crisis center. Hopefully the people that you speak with will help you to heal and they also should have free counselling. If the person that you speak with is not helpful, helping you how you want to be helped, hang up and try again later, if that happens repeatedly, try another nearby hotline at centers.rainn.org

      Keep reaching out for help until you find someone who is helpful. If the rape crisis centers are not helpful then try and find a great therapist or social worker who can help. Do not stop until you get the help you need. You do not need to be isolated, as you heal, you will find that you are getting real friends that process can take some time but it dies not need to take forever.

      And if you have a good relationship with your brother and he is kind then you can reach out to him when you feel isolated (unless he wants you to be around the other family members) because you need someone who supports your choices.

      Keep taking action and find a healthy person to help you in the healing process and things should get better.

      Feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

      1. Thank you so much for your response.  I have thought long and hard about this and have not made any decisions immediately or simply from bruised feelings.
        I did email my sister, the main antagonist, that I chose no contact.  She would occasionally send me “gushy” emails about her love for me (in whatever moment – a few beers too many, not that I don’t like my drinks too) and then would just drop me.  No contact.  I lived 10 minutes from her home and she would invite my brother, who was in town, for “Superball Sunday” but not me.  My brother would later ask me why I was not there – it was a lot more than foot ball, it was a family get together.  Dave would never believe me when I told him that I was not invited.  “Since when do you need an invitation to Norma’s?”  He will never understand.  Norma did not want me there and would not have been happy at all to see me there.  This is a pattern with her.
        When she lived with me after college, rent free, (didn’t want to live with our too restrictive father) she did the same.  I co-signed her first car, got her first job where she met her now wealthy, wonderful husband and she just resents me and I don’t know why.  I was shunned in my own home by her.
        And then after Dad tried for a second time to rape me, Dave would see me apart from everyone else. But Dad was feted by Norma and her husband (who was not told about this – but I doubt that matters) and Dave and the rest of the family and I was excluded.  I felt shunned.
        This is what no one seems to be able to understand, or maybe they don’t want to, that makes me so angry and depressed.  How is it that you give all of your attention and love to this man who you know is a child rapist?  I would even settle for their normal excuse “Carla, he is 88 years old, how do we just leave him on his own” if only they paid a bit of attention to me.  I sound like a big baby – but imagine – he did the awful thing and I was paying for it – I would no longer be invited (the few times that there were) to attend family functions because it might be “upsetting”.  So, they just ignored me and expected me to understand that “of course you can’t be at the same venue as your father”, so what are you bitching about?
        To this day, I see the leer on his face when he did what he did, I just can’t seem to get it out of my mind.  I became a near “shut-in” out of fear that I would run into him in Virginia and even though he is dead and I have moved a world away from there, the “shut-in” part of it persists.  i am sad all of the time and have absolutely no enthusiasm for anything.  So unlike me before this happened.  And I also keep reeling back to when I was 5.
        Can they really be that dense or are they just selfish and cruel?

        1. Hi Carla,

          The act of abuse and the abuser are not kind. But the question that needs to be asked here, is what do you need to do to take care of yourself? Being around family, if the family does not want to believe you or is not treating you the way you would like to be treated, is not being kind to yourself.

          What makes you feel happy that does not rely on another person or situation that you cannot control? Instead, what makes you happy that you can control? Is it reading, going for a walk, taking yourself out to eat, being in nature, being in the city, shopping (though not to an extreme), trying to change others keeps you stuck. Taking care of yourself can help you to heal. Can you be the sister to yourself that you always wanted (or be a great dad to yourself that you never had).

          The other thing that could help is finding an excellent therapist. If they are truly an excellent therapist, they should be able to help you with the shut in issue and the no enthusiasm, if you are willing to do the work it takes to heal (and an excellent therapist should be able to help you using real ways of looking at things that you feel stuck differently (not with drugs such as anti depressants or herbs like Saint John’s Wort) but help you to detox the trauma and live well.

          You can also try reading my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ which has tools to help with feelings sadness from the past coming up in the present.

  35. Lisa,

    I don’t know where to start as such but here goes..

    When I was young, I can’t pinpoint a specific age but I must’ve been around 4 – 6 at the time. My older brother who is 5 years older than me would molester me (if that’s the correct term). I don’t remember the first time, all I remember for sure is that I didn’t understand fully what was going on as I was so young. He would create scenarios or games to play and then use this as an excuse to ‘use’ me…(edited by blogger) I remember that after ‘it’ he would tell me that I must not tell anyone, ever and that if I did, mum and dad would not be happy with me and that I’d get shouted at. So I kept quiet. I remember feeling so scared whenever we did anything and always so guilty afterwards.

    I remember that these experiences would stick with me and made me sick in a way I suppose. I would take my best friend aside at some points when she came round and tell her to ‘do stuff’ with me and I now that I am older, I hate myself for it, and I despise my brother for it as if he’d never have touched me, I would never have done that. She moved away when I was young and then when I found my other best friend when I was still very young (and the memories are very unclear so I couldn’t tell you if my brother was still touching me or not) but we used to hide away and kiss. I wish that my memories were clearer as I don’t know where one starts and the other ends. I remember that my brother was still doing this when I did something with my first best friend, but I don’t know if this was the case with my second best friend.

    I also remember that my brother used to say that if I did ‘stuff’ with him then he would show me this picture, a dirty picture. I can’t clearly remember if I ever said yes just to see this picture but I remember that it poisoned my brain and I started to search things up on the internet and look at things I should not be looking at (and I was still very young).

    I can’t say just how long the molesting went on for but I don’t think it was any longer than 6 months but I can say that during it, maybe a couple of months after, I started watching things on the internet every-now-and-then and would look at pictures. It would only be very rarely, until I got my own laptop and figured out that I could look at these in private. I would start watching them lots and find it satisfying, and I think for a long time I was addicted. I knew it was bad because I felt very bad after I did it. When I got a little older, say around 8  – 11 and I started learning about these things, knowing what it all meant and that these kinds of things should never happen. I was still watching these videos and hated myself for it and cried at night, cried after I watched them and used to pray for forgiveness for watching them and pray that I could stop.

    I hate the fact that I knew everything when I should have been an innocent, young girl. I hate the fact that instead of enjoying this innocence and going out and playing with friends, that I would always be haunted by this and would stay in and go on my laptop, for one thing only. I hate that my brother made me addicted, to a certain extent. It makes me feel sick that even when I grew up and I knew that it was wrong, I still looked at them.

    I know that these sites are legal and watching them is very common but I can’t help feeling guilty for watching them so much, from such a young age. I feel horrible that sometimes I still watch them because I know about them and know that sometimes it feels good to watch them and do things. I realise that doing things is healthy and many, many people do it to themselves, but I guess that my past with these kinds of videos makes me feel so crappy for watching them.

    One of the worst things is, my brother and I have always been so close and deep down, I think we both know what happened but just try to push it aside. We have such a great relationship and can laugh and joke around. He moved away about 5 years ago for university and then moved out with his girlfriend. I see him rarely and I do love him and miss him but deep down, there is always the knowledge of what happened. I just wish I could wipe it all from my memory. It jumps up out of nowhere sometimes and I’ll sit and it’ll be on my mind for ages and I’ll lie awake at night and wish that it never happened at all and it hurts me so much. Everyone loves my brother and it’s scary to think that they never even found out anything and he’s the golden boy to each and every one of them.

    I am 16 now and I still haven’t ever told anyone. I have thought about going to talk to a therapist about it sometimes but never know where to look and how to start. I also think that talking about it to someone face-to-face scared me a little as then, as soon as I tell someone for real, it all becomes real and there’s no going back.

    I am in a healthy relationship an I love him very much. We have done stuff and he was my first and I was his. It’s horrible though because I know that even though he was my first for ‘that’, he wasn’t for all the other stuff and the person who was, was my brother. I would love, more than anything is to have the courage to tell him and have him still love me just as much and not treat me any different and not treat ‘doing it’ any different, but reality is, is that it will always be in his mind and then maybe he’ll feel weird doing stuff with me as I went through it with my brother. I also don’t want him to hate my brother, even though they have never met, and probably won’t for a while. I am so happy in this relationship and am in so much love it’s actually unreal as I never thought I would ever be able to commit to someone like that, due to my past in that department. We have shared basically everything with each other and I have no secrets from him except this one and it makes me feel sort of bad for keeping something from him.

    I would just love someone to talk to and someone to tell me how I can get help, without having to talk to someone I know right now, as I don’t think I am ready. It took so much for me to actually consider posting this at all. If you could help, I would be so grateful.

    Thank you, Lisa.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      I am sorry to hear what happened to you, that is awful. I also want to commend you on your bravery that it took to tell your story. It is time to forgive yourself for what you did to your friends, watching those videos and to get help. By the way that you write feeling awful about it shows that that is not who you are but instead what you were taught to do. It also sounds like your brother also manipulated you to make it seem like you wanted to look at that picture but I bet if he did not manipulate you to do that, you would not have wanted to look at that picture on your own. It could be that your natural curiosity as a child was manipulated which could have caused you to search things online. I think it could be debatable if watching those videos are healthy for anyone, because it objectifies people and makes us purely sex objects instead of people who have compassion and real love for one and other. I do understand that you were taught to be addicted to them, and it is possible to heal from that also.

      What your brother did was a betrayal of your trust. Rather than stuff it down, so that those memories can fester and scream to be heard, I recommend considering talking with him about it. Find out if he feels as terrible the same way you feel awful for what you did to your friends. If so, then it is time for him to make amends, if not then the closeness of you and your brother is possibly an illusion or a fantasy, but any person that does not feel bad about manipulating and molesting their siblings, is not a healthy person to be around. You may want to plan with a supportive person, the best way to talk with your brother about this, if you choose to do this.

      Your memory keeps jumping out because it is trying to be heard, so that you can detox from the experience of what happened to you rather than stuff it back down which ever really works anyway. It is scary to think that they never found out or suspected anything. I wonder why. That is really sad.

      A place to start to look for a great therapist, could be through your school counsellor but if you do not want anyone you know then keep reading further. You need to know that as you tell your story, there are people who are kind and will help you to heal and there are unkind people who although they are in a position to help, are not at all helpful and sometimes hurtful. You might find that people who you thought were kind are actually supportive of perpetrators. But others may surprise you as being more supportive than you thought. If you want to try the phone thing and you are in England, you can try calling 0808 802 9999 between 12 – 2.30pm and 7pm – 9.30pm (while is a hotline for survivors). Their website is http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/ The people who you speak with may or may not be helpful. If they are helpful, that is great if you find you are not getting help or people are helpful at first but not later, keep looking. When you tell your story at first, you may want to leave out what you did to the other girl, just in case you are working with someone who turns out not to be a kind person. Any kind person, would not blame you for what you did because it is obviously stemming from the abuse and you feel horrible about it. If you want to be super anonymous, you can try the rainn online hotline at https://ohl.rainn.org/online/?gclid=CLDZ65P4psMCFdc7gQodfh4AyA . Always remember when reaching out for help that you can hang up, disconnect a chat or leave a place that is not supporting you. More hotlines in the US can be found at centers.rainn.org and I think if you use Skype calling and disable caller ID that should keep your number anonymous but I am not sure.

      Talking with a great therapist can be helpful but it is important that they are a great therapists because there are great therapists and not so great therapists and awful therapists. Working with any therapist or social worker that is not great, is not helpful and can sometimes make you feel worse. So listen to your intuition.

      If you keep taking action things and find helpful people to work with, things should get better. Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

      1. Amy,

        Thank you so much for your response. That alone has helped me (through just telling someone).

        I do not know if I should tell any member of my family due to the fact that I was young when it happened and I’m scared that they may think I am lying or imagining it. This is also because my brother hasn’t really done anything wrong in their eyes. I am no longer very close with my mum and I cannot talk to my dad very easily about intimate things and to me I find it very awkward. I think for me it would be easier to talk to a friend or to my boyfriend but I am afraid of what they will say or think of me and if they will look at me and treat me differently. I do not want to lose any of them obviously. I have come so close in the past to telling them but can never find the words to start. Could you help me on this? Do you think I should tell any of them or just muster up the courage to talk to my mum?

        As for therapy, I have thought on multiple occasions to speak to a school therapist/ nurse but I don’t know how well that would go down. I can now forgive myself for all the things that I have done because I now have another person’s insight to the situation and understand that it is what I learned, not wanted (thank you for that). So that means I do not have to seek guidance from them on that matter but rather the original abuse that happened to me. I know that I cannot find therapy through my local doctors as they do not offer this but I can seek help from the sources that you mentioned and similar ones. I will keep in mind that I need to find a good therapist and not everyone is helpful and can be judgement etc.

        Thank you again for your help, I can now start to heal and forgive myself.


        1. Hi Lisa,

          It is great that you are forgiving yourself. It shows your strength.

          Tell the people that you want to tell. If a person thinks badly of you for telling them, it is a reflection on them not you. Anyone who does not support the victim over the perpetrator is supporting child sexual assault. If anyone thinks that you are lying or making it up, they are not being kind and I would consider only having people who are kind to you in your life. I think it would be helpful to tell the friends you want to tell and your boyfriend, if they are supportive, them most likely they are real friends. If they are not supportive then they are not real friends. And if it turns out that your boyfriend is not supportive then that is not a loving person to be around. By telling the truth of what happened to you, you will find out who really is kind and who supports perpetrators. Anyone telling you to forgive and forget is also not being kind or even worse, it probably did not happen or you need to forgive your perpetrators to heal. (see my post on forgiveness at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/do-i-need-to-forgive-to-heal-from-abuse/)

          Tell your mother if you want to and not if you don;t. If she or anyone does not believe you then it speaks badly of them and not of you. You can use telling as a way to find out who is kind and who is not kind. But only tell the people that you want to tell.

          The shame and the secret that you are holding onto is your brother’s shame and secret, not yours.

          You can try telling the school therapist if you want to but I would first ask her about mandatory reporting because you are a minor, I am not sure of the rules there.

          Also when it comes to what you have done because of what you were taught to do through the abuse, after you have a good relationship with a therapist that you trust, you can bring that up if you feel the need to, but I would wait to make sure that they are trustworthy.

          If you do go to a doctor, you need to go to one that has tools to help to detox from the abuse rather than drug you, Many doctors just focus on drugging rather than getting to the cause of the core issue.

          It is great that you are thinking about calling the hotline and looking around for a great therapist.

          Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

          1. I would just like to revisit this page as I posted my story on this blog nearly a year ago now and would just like to say a massive thank you for giving me the strength to get me to where I am today.

            A little while after posted my story here, and receiving the comments back about opening up and finding help I came forward to my boyfriend, who was the only one who knew for about three months and was – and still is – so supportive of me and what I am going through. He also showed me that I needed to come forward to someone who could really help me out; whether that be through just talking or seeking further help through a therapist. He said that there was no rush and that I didn’t have to tell my parents straight away but should aim to tell them before the end of college (June 2016). Of course, at the time it seemed so unlikely for me to be able to tell them any time soon, until unexpectedly one evening it just came out to my mum. I had been having a real bad day and she had had an argument with my brother the previous week and was telling me about it and it just pushed me to speak up. At first she just stayed quiet and looked rather terrified but she hugged me straight away and asked me if it would be okay to tell my dad and I said that it would be too hard for me to do it in person so she called him to come over and she told him. They are both very supportive of me and all of my family are there for me throughout this time. I am now seeing a therapist every week and talking about my experiences and going about the healing process.

            I would also like to say that as of now, the people I have mentioned above do not know about what I had done with regards to my friends and I only intend to tell my therapist if and when the time is right. Though I do feel like I still have a weight on my shoulders because of this small thing that I am keeping inside, it is not unbearable.

            I would not have been able to achieve any of this without this blog that I just happened to stumble across when reaching out for help over google. It really kick-started the process of finding peace in myself over my past and I’m so grateful. If anyone is in my position and is just reading through this blog wondering what to do; starting off anonymously like this is a great way to get a confidence boost to tell someone face to face.


            1. Hi Lisa,

              Thank you so much for following up and sharing your experiences in your healing process. It is great to read about your successes in healing from the abuse and it is also great to know that your parents supported you also. I am sure that this will give hope to other survivors. I also want to support you when the time is right releasing all of what you are holding inside and telling the right person. A good trained professional will understand what happened with your friends was not your fault but it instead was a result of what happened to you but as I have said before not all professionals are as trained or as helpful as they should be so I support you’re waiting until you feel it is the right time.

  36. There are so many comments here, I hope you all are healing well.

    My story might be a little bit different, I don’t know but I’m going to share it because my world has been crumbling ever since. I am only 18 now and I was like 5-8 when I was being molested and abused by my older brother. Hes about years older, 25 now and lives with me. It is so hard to heal from abuse when the abuser lives with you still. The abuse stopped before I got old enough to even realize something horrific had been happening to me all those years. He said he had realized it was sick and I brushed it off, not knowing the pain I was in for when I, like many others on this forum, remembered and realized those events a few years later. I was about 14 when I even told anyone and it was only friends. That is also when I began having intense anxiety. Since then I have been sexually assaulted by 2 other boys.

    Fast forward to now, my brother is schizophrenic. He is so delusional that his brain turns anyone into an enemy. I have the best relationship I could imagine after having lots of abusive ones. The boy I’m with now is caring, understanding, patient and knows about many of the horrors I lived through.
    The past few weeks, my brother has seemed to turn against my boyfriend. He has punched him in the back, tried to scare him multiple times. I think this abuse toward my boyfriend is his fucked up way of compensating for molesting me when I was little because the voices in his damn head tell him my boyfriend is an enemy.

    My mom has acute leukemia and knows nothing about this whole incident. Growing up, I never had the emotional guidance and support I needed from my parents. I got arrested last week because of weed and I feel a bit like a loose cannon. I feel like my life just wasn’t meant to be good and I cross my fingers for the second half to be better.

    I don’t know how to end this other than saying today I’m going to try to talk to my crazy brother about leaving my boyfriend alone because I care about him.

    1. Hi Marissa,

      If it’s your place then you need to throw your brother out. There is absolutely no reason that you have to live with a perpetrator. Your brother needs help but it is not your job to do anything to care for him. Even if your mother says that it is. You can also be living in a dangerous situation with your brother thinking that your boyfriend it the enemy and hearing voices. It also can be that he is still feeling like he is dating you which is why he perceives your brother as an enemy.

      He needs to leave today. If it is not your place, you need to leave and get one. Stay at a domestic violence shelter if you need to because what you are living with is domestic violence or if your boyfriend has place, maybe stay with him.

      Make a commitment that your brother will not be in the same living situation with you ever again. If you are throwing him out, you may need some authorities there to help you. You may want to call mental health facilities or assisted living. I would probably look into holistic psychiatry or even Christian Science places to send your brother to so that he will not be drugged or electroshocked. I do not know what to do about your brother other than he should not under any circumstance be living with you. I know I said it is not your job to take care of your brother but if he has a place to go it may be easier to get him out of where you are living.

      Here are lists of places you can call for help in your area wit a place to stay, if you are in Maimi-Dade http://www.fcadv.org/centers/local-centers

      For emotional support for yourself you may want to call the 800-656-HOPE 24/7 hotline that should connect you with the local rape crisis center. If they are not helpful, call back later or try another local rape crisis center at centers.rainn.org

      Keep reaching out until you get the help you need.

      Hope this helps. Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

      1. I told my brother that my boyfriend is nice to me and not to mess with him anymore, he seemed to understand.
        I wish that would work but me and my 2 brothers live under my mom and stepdad’s roof. My crazy brother was living with my real dad until he threatened and hurt him and got kicked out. Everyone here knows he’s toxic and dangerous, we’ve been trying to get him psychiatric help or baker acted but he needs to have done something that shows he’s a danger to himself and others in the last 20 days. I’m stuck in this situation until something really bad happens. I’m not suicidal but I feel like I just wasn’t meant to live.

        1. Hi Marissa,

          It is time for you to give yourself a chance. When you get away from your abusive brother, I think you may feel more hope. Talk to your boyfriend about how you feel about not wanting to live, see if together you can come up with a plan for the two of you to move. If he is not supportive than reach out for help to the 800-656-HOPE 24/7 hotline that should connect you with the local rape crisis center. If they are not helpful, call back later or try another local rape crisis center at centers.rainn.org which is probably a good thing to do even if he is supportive. Living with an abuser is not an option, you need to leave.

          Again, here are lists of places you can call for help in your area wit a place to stay, if you are in Maimi-Dade http://www.fcadv.org/centers/local-centers.

          Take action now, now taking action tells the little girl inside who was raped that you do not care about her. Also if anyone in your family living there is under the age if 18 if you call child protection services and they do what they are suppose to do (which they do not always) your brother will be forced to leave the house but I really think that it is healthiest for you to leave but because from the situation it sounds like there could be other unhealthy things in your house that are not good for you.

          Wanting not to be here is sometimes substituted for the real feeling which is that “I want an answer to my problems that feels good.” Suicide or the desperation that leads to wanting to die does not feel at all good, so the next time you fee like you do not want to be here, say to yourself loudly “NO, I do not want to die, what I do want is a solution to my problems that feels good. What would be a solution to my problems that feels good?”

          Also know that if there was abuse that you do not remember from other people, it frequently occurs around this time of year, often misdiagnosed at “Seasonal affective disorder” which is really repressed abuse memories that happen around lat December to many people.

          So take action now. Get out of your unhealthy house, reach out for great help to deal with the abuse and your wanting to give up.

          Keep reaching out until you get the help you need.

          Hope this helps. Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

  37. When I was three or four years old, I was molested by my brother. I don’t remember everything, because memories don’t always form as easily at that age, and that is most likely a time that my own brain has worked hard to forget. My father caught him one day and almost beat him. As it was, he spanked him severely and all I can remember was hoping that I wouldn’t get the same punishment.

    At the time, I didn’t realize how wrong it was in what he’d done to me. He told me not to tell anyone and he kept me feeling guilty saying that I would get in trouble, and he would get in trouble, and surely I didn’t want to get my big brother in trouble. So he kept me silent through guilt, and said, ‘I’ve done you a favor, now you need to return it.’

    As is often the case, I didn’t remember it until I was older. My world metaphorically came crashing down when I was in college, taking Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing and my teacher stood at the front of the class describing the abuser and the abused for an entire hour.

    Now, I have a FANTASTIC sibling relationship with the brother who molested me, partly because he turned his life to God and is 100% a different person. He is a very sensitive, caring, and compassionate man who beats himself up for the little things he does wrong in life. I can’t imagine how much he destroys himself inside if he thinks about all this. I think that’s why everything hit me so hard.

    I sat for an entire 50min as my teacher described me and the brother I loved. I had a silent, but terrifying anxiety attack in the middle of the classroom, feeling like everyone was looking at me, like everyone could see right through me. I was having flashbacks of the fear he’d put into me of someone discovering what he was doing, flashbacks of the experiences, little details that made me feel like a child all over again. I sat in that classroom trying to remember how to breathe and trying to slow my heart down again.

    At first, I told myself that I was imagining things. I berated myself for imagining such atrocious things about my big brother. After trying in vain to repress it once more, I called my mom that week and dropped subtle hints, hoping she’d have no idea what I was talking about. But she knew immediately and said that they had all hoped I’d been too young to remember.

    I struggled with depression from an early age and what I now know to be “startling attacks” or some such, where when concentrating on something intently I become extremely scared by subtle things, like someone nudging me. I never attributed that to abuse, but apparently others are experiencing it too.

    As well, I’m repulsed by physical contact sometimes…(Edited by blogger) However, I’m not disgusted by men or the idea of sex. From a young age, I knew what sex was, intimate details (as is expected), and actually desired it, more than can be described. I craved it and still crave it, but the minute a man touches me, I get sick to my stomach, my heart races, and I shut down. I thought, ‘Maybe I like girls’, which brought its own weight of guilt, but even thinking about women in that way repulsed me more than a man touching me.

    How is there a way to detox my body of this? Because I’ve tried everything. I gain an escape through music. Whenever I’m struggling with it, I shut everyone out with music. But in the end I can’t just live my life with earbuds in. I’ve prayed and prayed, asking God help me deal with it, but now the flashbacks, anxiety, and shutting myself (and others) out is affecting not only my relationships with family and friends, but it’s affecting my grades. I have a hard time studying because studying doesn’t keep my brain occupied enough to shut out my own thoughts. I need music going in the background to keep myself occupied, and I know that’s not the best way to study, because my grades are getting worse and worse and I need to pass my college classes.

    Long story short, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who to turn to. My mom offered to let me talk to her about this, but she doesn’t deal with stress very well and that’s going to be stressful to say the least.

    Sorry for such a long post. Thank you so much for making this website. Even reading about others makes me feel less alone and hurt.

    1. Hi Kari,

      I want to commend you for recognizing and acknowledging that the abuse happened, that is a huge step towards healing. It is great that your mother acknowledged what happened to you and it would have been even healthier had she gotten you and your brother help when you were little. If each of you had gotten your own therapist. But the great news is that you still can find a person who can help you to heal from the abuse. It also would be great if your brother apologizes and makes amends for what he did to you but that may or may not occur. If he is not willing to acknowledge how awful it was or thinks that you should be over it or minimizes it in any way, that is really a bad sign. However there is chance that he repressed the memory of abusing you as well as who ever abused him. If a person seems religious and kind but yet is not apologetic and taking action to make amends for sexual assault, then they are not authentically a kind and compassionate person. But if he has repressed the memories, he may sincerely have no idea what you are talking about.

      As you heal it may be helpful to take a step back from your brother for a little bit, because a part of you, that little girl who was abused who lives inside of you, may still feel traumatized by being around him. Also if he remembers and does not feel horrible about what he did to you and want to make amends then the relationship that you have with him has some superficialness to it. There are many people who may seem very kind and very religious but if they are supportive of child sexual assault victims in truth there is no authentic kindness to them. The only way to know the truth is to talk with your brother about what happened. He should be horrified, feel terrible and ask what he can do to make amends. You do not have to do this and if you want to talk with him about it, it should only be when you are ready to talk with him and able to hear any response he may have to you, supportive or unsupportive.

      It sounds like the way you are using music is a way to stuff those feeling inside that are trying to come out and be heard. Your flashbacks sounds like your body trying to release the trauma that you have held inside for so long and the anxiety, is how your little girl inside feels from the abuse. Keep reassuring yourself that you are detoxing from the abuse. Tell that little girl inside that you hear her and you are taking action to get help. I think that it could be really helpful for you to find a really great therapist or social worker to help you to detox from the abuse. Be extremely weary of any therapists or specialist who tells you that you need to forgive your brother in order to heal, that never works, it only stuffs the trauma deeper inside and tells that little girl inside you to “shut up” and go hide. As an expert who works with survivors said, “Healing may result in forgiveness but forgiveness does not bring healing, it only covers over the wounds allowing them to fester.”

      It is great that your mother is saying that you can talk with her about it at anytime but it really is best to get a person who is great at working with survivors and has the tools to help you to heal without healing being a lifelong process. On my post called “What to do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ I have some tools that can help you when you feel extreme emotions, like anxiety, depression, etc. to help release then. If the flashbacks and anxiety are interfering with school and keeping you triggered then a huge gift to yourself may be to take some time off to heal. Whatever you do I highly recommend NOT taking any drugs or herbs like St. John’s Wort to control your feeling, they can be very damaging and the instead of detoxing you are once again telling the little girl inside of you to “shut up”.

      A great step to take towards looking for a therapist or social worker who can help you to heal could be to call 1-800-656-HOPE and that will connect you to the nearest rape crisis center, who should have free counsellors. But make sure that the people you are working with have the tools to help you to succeed in healing. If the hotline is not helpful then hang up and try again later. If you repeatedly find that the different volunteers are not helpful you may want to try going to centers.rainn.org and find another rape crisis center near you. If you feel comfortable you may also, talk with the teacher who presented that material but even if they recommend drugs, I highly recommend staying away from them. All anti-depressants and anti-psychotics on the market have side effect of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation, but if you are already taking them you need to find qualified doctor or qualified alternative health practitioner to help you get off of them really slowly.

      Keep reaching out until you get the help that you need. Do not give up no matter how hard it seems to work through this or find a great therapist because once you detox from the abuse, your life will be so much better. So keep taking action to heal.

      Please feel free to post updates, or questions.

  38. hi my name is Nicole and I was abused by my father for seven years till i got the courage to actually tell my mum and ii was wondering why is so hard to deal with it now that i have spoken up abut everything like you cant even talk about it other wise i start having an anxiety attack but i don’t know why i’m only writing this because i’m hoping that someone who has been what i went through could help me out please I really need to know why this all happens.

  39. I am a mom of a 15 year old teenage daughter. I also have had an amazing marriage for the last 11 years. I spent the day with my husband, was a great day. That night, my daughter told me that he had been touching her for the last 2 weeks. She didn’t want to tell me because she didn’t think I would believe her. I was in shock. I had a great marriage, a great life. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe her, it was I couldn’t believe he would do that. I confronted him that night, after I took my daughter to a safe place. He admitted to most of what she said. I know this sounds horrible but all I could think about was what was going to happen to our family? My kids? My marriage? I knew my daughter was trusting me and relying on me. I kicked him out of the house and asked him to get counseling. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t have a personal connection to the incident or what it is because I keep thinking about how I can fix this and bring him back to the house eventually. In my heart, I know he can’t be trusted. Why can’t I let go of it? I slept with this man for 11 years and no reason to divorce him, other then this. If he would have cheated on me, I could have dealt with this easier. I feel like the decision is not mine anymore, it is my daughters. I don’t like not being in control of my life. I don’t why I feel so selfish about this? Is this normal? How do I deal with this?

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Good for you for kicking him out of the house. By this incident you just found out who your husband really is, a pedophile who was willing to sexually assault a little girl that he raised. It is hard to believe that a man you trusted could do something that horrific but he did.

      What will happen to your family, is really your choice and not your daughter’s choice and the only healthy choice is to kick your husband out predominately, even if he says he will never do it again, even if he is “going to heal”, he still violated your daughter and now he can never be trusted ever again. No matter what, he not your daughter is the person who needs to leave predominately and it would be healthiest if you brake off all ties with him, other than possibly pressing criminal charges. What he did was worse than having an affair, he molested your daughter. None of your children will be safe around him. So to protect all of your children he must never return or have contact with any of your kids, boys or girls, pedophiles can molest and abuse both sexes. There is also a possibility of a civil suite against him which could help you with costs of things.

      It is also really important that your daughter gets help to heal from this abuse, so that it will not be a lifelong hardship.

      You do have a personal connection, he abused your daughter. You will need to look at why you are distant from this connection and why you are not more upset by it. You may be holding onto a myth of who you thought he was and this is a huge reason to divorce him, he is a pedophile.

      Pedophiles often seem like great guys, perfect husbands, loving dads, people you can trust so it is common to have a hard a time believing that this person could be this great husband and yet do such a horrible thing. But the truth is he did and your daughter will need to feel your support 100% through all of this.

      The decision is yours to make and NOT your daughter’s decision, and as I said before the only decision is that he must never have any contact with anyone in the family, including you. I think the only way that you can deal with your feeling distant from this horrific thing that happened to your daughter is to get therapy, from an excellent therapists that has the tools to help you to figure out and heal from why you are feeling so distant from this betrayal by your husband.

      A place to start that can be helpful for both you and your daughter is the 24/7 hotline at 800-656-HOPE. But it is all volunteers, so if when you are talking with them or your daughter is talking with then if they are not helpful, try hanging up and calling back later, the volunteers change shifts. If that continually does not help, try going to centers.rainn.org and find other centers near you or start researching really great therapists in your area. People with the tools to help you and your daughter to heal but I do recommend that you each get your own therapists.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions, comments or updates.

    2. please support yr daughter… I was too by my father when I was 15, and my mother stood by him…didn’t confront didn’t convict, and for the past 12 years I have been continually molested… Ive been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and when I talk out, they call me a lunatic and the abuse is ongoing… only now I have come to deal with it…if you get back with this monster, yr daughetr’s life will be hell she will go through so much trauma,

      its not about you or yr marriage.. its about yr daughters; life, her dignity.. she wil carry shame and guilt.. and if you turn against her she will have no one to stand by her

      think what you will feel if yr father did ths to you and your mother stood by him, and you had to go thprugh the trauma…

      save yr daughetrs life..please..

    3. So I’m 26 now the abuse started when I was 5 or 6 in a lot happened in my life that it’s just too much to write about but here is a preview of the terror I went through as a child. When my memory kicked in it I would say about 5 my mom is married to a monster that sexually abused me and my sisters when we were kids I was 5 my sisters were 10 when the abuse hit the fan I was 8, my real dad had found out about the abuse and reported it. So CPs. Showed up at my house and talked to me and they asked what happens I told them what had happen then my mind goes blurry cause from there I’m heading to another city I didn’t understand what was going on. so I stayed there for 3 months and then I was heading to another city for like a month then in went back to my mothers house the man was still there. So when I turned 10 CPs went to my moms house and talk to me again and my mom had told me to tell them that I made everything up so I can stay home with her. So I did CPs didn’t buy it so she took me to my dad’s and while I was a my dad’s he used to physically abuse me for any little or big thing. When it was time to go to court to see if I can go back to my mothers I was excited to go back. Well all I can remember is the court said to my mother if you leave your husband you can take your daughter back. My mother said no so I was doomed to stay with my father. So when I turned 13 I moved with my sister she was 18 at the time. I’m dealing with a lot of silence pain when I need to talk to someone about woman issues I don’t talk to my mother I feel that since in betrayal that she caused. I don’t really visit my mom I ignore her calls sometimes or most times. she is still married to the man that did that to us, now from what I hear he cheats on her. She looks missable at times I don’t hate her but I just don’t care to have a bond with her, if she needs me I don’t want to go.

      1. Hi Veronica,

        I am so sorry that this happened to you. Every child needs to be loved and protected and neither parent did that for you. It is so ironic and very sad that parents who abuse their children with violence cannot see that it is as awful as sexually assaulting a child. I would like to commend you for your strength to write this and to do what you need to do to heal. It also takes a ton of courage in our society to nit talk with your parents and not talking with your mother is very healthy in your case. You owe her nothing. She was not a real mother to you, she never protected you and chose a perpetrator over protecting her daughter. You do not need to go to her ever, you needed her and she was not there for you. If you google “block a phone number” it will show you ways to block numbers from your phone and they could make it easier for you to not be triggered by your mother calling you because you won’t know when she has called you and you can get on with your life and work on healing. Any person that thinks that you need to have a relationship or talk with your mother is not a supportive person to be around. You need friends who support you in not having any contact with your mother. It might be helpful to read my post http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ which has ideas on how to be a parent to yourself to make up for never having a real mom or non-abusive dad.

        Can you talk with your sister about woman issues?

        It will also be very helpful to reach out and get counselling to heal from the abuse that you went through. You can try calling 800-656-HOPE 24/7 hotline that will connect you to the local rape crisis center. They may have free counselling available for survivors of sexual abuse. If the people on the hotline are helpful, that is great, if not try again later, volunteers always change shifts. If they are repeatedly not helpful, try looking around for a great therapist that has tools to help you to heal from sexual assault without using drugs or herbs which mask the abuse and it’s symptoms that need to detox from your body (and of course never use ECT which causes permanent brain damage). Tools that therapists have should help the body to naturally release and detox from the abuse. Keep looking until you find a great therapist. You may also want to read my post http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ which has tools to help you if you are triggered or feel an extreme emotion.

        If you take action to heal and are working with a great counsellor or therapists you will heal and it does not have to be a lifelong process. Please feel free to write back with any questions, comments or updates.

    4. All I can say is if you bring your husband back into the home, your daughter may never heal. He needs to pay his debt to her and to society for what he is done for her healing to take place. She will see it as you standing by your man and minimizine what happened to her and that you are not really supporting her. She will always feel victimized by him, even well into her forties. This is my perspective, because this is what is happening to me. I’m 48 and my memories are as clear as yesterday, and the pain comes back everytime I go back home and visit. He always wants a hug and it’s hard to hug anyone let alone him. My visits are becoming less and less frequent, so if you want her in your life don’t bring him back home.

  40. I am a survivor of sexual abuse. My daughter who is 24 now told us that when she was 10 or 11 she and her brother who is 4 years older played truth or dare. He dared her to put a “toy” in her mouth. SHe then admitted that she felt the need to ….. herself. The news was more shocking than I ever thought all these years of thinking I was keeping my children safe, not knowing that they had a secret. I dont think I responded very well to the confession probably more from shock and it was said during an argument. She stated this only happened once and never again. I did tell her to speak to her brother they have always been close. Little did I know why she was angry, she had also been raped by her friends boyfriend at the age of 15…she said she was drugged and only remembered being dragged in the bushes and not the actual rape. I dont know what to do. She did talk to her brother she called him a child molester. He said he was sorry if he hurt her, her never touched her. I dont know what to do about it after all these years. The man who raped her is in jail for other things. How do I help my daughter heal. How do I help my son heal. I thought I was a good parent. I just dont know if what I told her even helped. I did tell her that people make mistakes. I am so hurt for them both. I am angry and not sure how to help my adult children get through this we have always been close. This news is still new. only days since it all came out. It was my idea to have her confront her brother he is 28 and has a family now. He hasnt admitted to being abused himself. So confused and terrified.

    1. Hi Danielle,

      Thank you for asking these questions, that shows that you are a caring mom. You are concerned about all of the right things and wanting to help both your children to heal shows that your love for them. The fact that you are supporting your daughter and acknowledging what happened is so powerful and will help her to heal. You may want to try calling the 800-656-HOPE 24/7 hotline and they should have resources in your area to help, you to support your children and to help your daughter and son to heal. Sometimes hotlines are helpful and others times they are not helpful, if the person you are talking with is not helpful, hang up and try again later (the volunteers change shifts) if they are repeatedly not helpful, then I would start looking around for great therapists, not just ones who specialize in helping survivors and their families but also ones who are really good and get results, so that no one has to be in therapy for the rest of their lives.

      Having a mother believe you and be in shock and horrified that this happened to your daughter is very helpful and validating to a survivor. As hard as it must be to hear that as a parent, it is healthy that your daughter called her brother a child molester because what he did to her was a sexual violation, it was what she needed to say. She will also need to get help to heal from the other assault because even though she might not consciously remember it, her unconsciousness and her body still carry the memory of the abuse.

      Your son definitely needs to get help to. The good sign is that he admitted it, the bad sign is that he put in “if it hurt her” not realizing that this type of assault is awful. I understand that he did this as a child but my concern is that he is minimizing this sexual assault as an adult and a father and that is not a good sign. Children who have assaulted another sibling should feel terrible about it, that is the healthy response. The other thing is that he did touch her, though not with his hands and he also abused his power as an older sibling and abused his trust as an older brother. He controlled the situation to get his little sister to do this against her will. Feeling terrible about what he did is helpful to get him to a place where he could heal from what he did and what happened to him that made him feel like doing this to his sister. And since he has his own family, he must heal in order to protect his own children. I’m not saying that he will do something to them (I have no idea), but to be a healthy dad, he needs to take action to heal from what he did to his sister and anything that may have caused him to do that to his sister such as possible repressed memories of his own abuse.

      It is time for you, your daughter and son to get help. And really take time to look for help for yourself to help deal with this incident, then you will be in a better position to help everyone else around you. You can tell your daughter that you will be there to help her to get the help that she needs to heal from all of the abuse that she suffered. You may also want to talk to your son and tell him that he needs to get help to heal from whatever happened to him and also to help him to realize that what he did to his sister was horrible and he needs to feel terrible about it, so that he can get to a place where he can reach out for help to heal. He does not need to feel terrible forever but he does need to realize how terrifying what he did was for his sister. He also needs to remember what caused him to make him feel like it was ok to sexually assault his little sister, so that he too can heal.

      Possible look into family therapy with just you and your daughter but only if your daughter wants you to be there with her. If you want to do family therapy with your son as well that is fine but it should not be with your son and daughter at the same therapist. Your daughter needs a therapist that is not also your son’s therapist. And your son should not be coming to your daughter’s therapy sessions unless she wants to confront him again about what happened. She really needs support in healing and feeling like you and the therapist are 100% on her side.

      If you need it there may be financial assistance for your daughter and possibly also yourself from the victims of crime even if she never pressed charges when she was 15 the overview is at (with links to each state) http://www.nacvcb.org/index.asp?bid=14

      Please know that everyone in your family can heal and have a great life if they take action to heal and find a great therapist or counsellor. Please feel free to write any updates or questions.

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