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 am 49 I was molested by my Uncle. My Grandfather and great uncle and whatever men that came in and out of my house . And male Babysitters!! JUST tonight my uncle’s wife is telling me she hopes I get help. She said that nothing occurs between he and I, she s out of her mind I was 8! Like really? I ages 8-14 so they are in denial I have. Ptsd…(edited by blogger) I gained weight…(edited by blogger) I gained all the weight not realizing it. Was protecting myself…(edited by blogger) since I have lost weight my flashbacks. Are all the time now. I have to try not to let it run my life as it has for the last. 41 year’s I need to find a way to expose him he’s still around kids, my sister’s don’t believe me the family keeps telling me I’m hurting the family, what about me they are mad as I DIDN’T keep the family SECRET

    1. Hi Holly,

      I am sorry about the huge delay in my response. What happened to you as a child was not ok. How your aunt is responding now is also not ok; denying that a child was assaulted is what enablers perpetrators to continue to assault children. Your whole family sounds crazy. They are sick if they say that by you talking about what happened is hurting the family, what that really means is that your family, including your sisters do not care if children are sexually assaulted. They are very sick people and I think it is best to not be around or even have contact with sick people. They are not supportive of you or your healing and do not care if other children get abused.

      You can try calling child protective services on your grandfather and uncle. They my or may not do anything about them. Unfortunately sometimes perpetrators and enablers can work at those organizations, so it all depends on who you speak with.

      I find it highly unlikely that your sisters escaped being abused by your uncle and grandfather unless they had no access to your sisters when they were 8-14 years old. So it is possible that they have chose to deal with it by forgetting it and when you talk about it, it triggers them. But even a person who has repressed their memories of sexual assault should still know right from wrong and it is wrong to support a person who has assaulted anyone, including children.

      It might be a great time to reach out and get help to heal from the abuse. You can try calling 1-800-HOPE and that should connect you with the local rape crisis hotline 24/7, and your local crisis center may have free counselling. You can also reach out to them to simply talk. Sometimes they are very helpful and other times not at all helpful, it all depends on who answers the phone. If the person that you are talking with is not helpful, hang up the phone or excuse yourself and leave their office. You can try calling back later, the people answering change shifts, so you can ask when they change shifts. You can also try interviewing different social workers and psychologists. I always recommend staying away from drugs, herbs and vitamins when it comes to healing from abuse because they all can have terrible side effects and cover up the memories that need to be detoxed.

      For more ideas on tools for healing, you can read my posts at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ which has tools for when you feel triggered and http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ which has tools for self parenting. When you are having flashbacks you can also try to put those memories in a container and seal it, if releasing it does not help.

      If you keep reaching out for help and get great help and do what you need to do to heal, you can have a great life. So keep taking action to do what you need to do to heal.

      Please feel free to write back with any comments, questions or updates. Updates can give other survivors hope.

      1. Thank you, Your response was very nice, I am in counseling with a very awesome therapist, I do not choose drugs to self medicate. I refuse to let those bastards continue to make me a victim. Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much for being brave enough and strong enough to share your story with us. I was groomed for several years by my aunts husband before he decided to actually physically touch me. I had no idea that I was being groomed. I thought he was a good christian man and that it was normal for him to talk about sexual things with me. I was in therapy for 8 years….I am 30 now. I am just now starting to not blame myself and daily I struggle with feeling dirty about the whole thing. When I finally told my aunt when I was 24 about what happened she quit talking to me.

    They were already divorced because she had found out about other young girls at the church that he was grooming and having relationships with. My aunt still doesn’t talk to me, I feel like she blames me and it hurts honestly. And its like no one in my family gets it or cares. They all still talk to her as if how she is treating me acceptable. It’s hard for me to have successful relationships, It’s hard to be intimate in a healthy way, I am always struggling with self esteem. It’s been a hard journey…(edited by blogger) I am currently writing a book on grooming and hoping very soon that I will be teaching a class on it to children and adults. Again that you for this…(edited by blogger).

    1. Hi Beth,

      Sorry for the long delay in my response to your comment. It shows your strength that you were able to distance yourself from an unhealthy aunt and now may be the right time to also distance yourself from the people in your family who are not supportive. If they do not care that you were sexually assaulted, that shows that they are very unhealthy people. A healthy person would get that what you aunt’s husband did to you was wrong and support you in your healing from the abuse and even possibly turn in the perpetrator.

      You might want to try and reach out and find excellent help in healing from the abuse. You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE and see if they are helpful, it’s a free 24/7 hotline for survivors of sexual assault and should connect you with the local rape crisis center who also may have free counselling. Whenever you reach out for help, you should always check in with yourself. See if the person you are talking with is listening to you and being helpful or trying to force you to do what they want you to do. It is best to work with people who help you discover what is best for you to do rather than people who try to take control of your life. If you ever feel that the person you are speaking with is not helpful, feel free to hang up the phone or excuse yourself from their office. You have a right to get great help to heal, though it can take a while. Keep reaching out for help until you get great help, don’t give up on finding great help.

      As you heal, you will attract healthier people in your life, people who support you and people who do not support perpetrators or perpetrator’s enablers.

      Your book can be helpful to survivors but you also want to make sure that in writing your book and teaching your classes you do not give any new ideas to perpetrators on how to groom victims.

      Keep reaching out for help and healing and you can regain your self esteem and other things that were taken by the abuse. Healing can take a while but it does not have to take a lifetime.

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

      1. Thank you so much for responding. ….and thank you for what you said about grooming. I never thought about it like the perpetrators could read it and use it. Thats something i didn’t think about.

  3. My stepfather sexually abused me from the time I was 12 until you stepsister pulled him off me when I was 15 as I had been physically restrained every time it happened. Being restrained and unable to move or defend yourself when you’re an adolescent at the beginning of sexual awareness is devasting and terrifying. My stepsister was completely aware of what he was doing and told him it would stop. She spent the remainder of our teens following me around and saved my life. I had to remove myself from the relationship with my Mother & my Stepfather when I was 42 as he made it clear any financial “inheritance” from him would involve a sexual relational with him. I moved across the country (CA to Florida) and ceased contact. It has taken 30 years and the right person to get beyond the flashbacks so I can have some sort of a healthy relationship. It was a crime then and I am grateful kids are protected now.

    1. Hi Carole Gregg,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am glad to hear that your stepsister stopped it from continuing and am sorry to hear that it happened to you at all.

      It shows a ton of strength and dedication to your being healthy that you were able to remove those sick people from your life. Shame on your stepfather for trying to manipulate you with an inheritance, he is a very sick man. And your mother is very sick to enable a pedophile and stay with him despite him being a perpetrator.

      If you would like to share some of the things that helped you to heal, that could be helpful to other survivors. Unfortunately, there are still children who are being victimized but hopefully because it has become less acceptable to assault children we may someday live in a world where every child can have an awesome childhood.

  4. I am a victim of abuse and was molested for years- not by a family member, but by a supposed friend of the family. It was a terrible experience and I have suffered for many years long after the abuse as well. Unfortunately the abuse messed up my mind and when I got married and had kids, I molested my boys. One son reported me years later and I was imprisoned, had to give my wife a divorce, and have lost the family I once loved and who have once loved me.

    At the time, (this may sound crazy- I know), I thought what I was doing was out of the love I had for them. I know what I did was absolutely terrible, and I am devastated, having ruined their lives, and they now hate me, which is justified, but it leaves me totally devastated.

    I have severe anxiety attacks and crying episodes from all that I’ve been through, being molested myself and from destroying my own family- myself. I have attempted suicide a few times and spent time in psych-wards, and I know that my son too, tried to kill himself because of what I did to him. Where do I go from here? Can I feel terrible and say I’m sorry- or can I ever be forgiven? Is there room for me to heal? Ever?

    1. Hi F,

      Everyone can heal, if you are truly sorry and willing to make the amends that are necessary, you can heal too. Children deeply want their parents who abused them to apologize (but it is up to your children and your wife if they want to have any contact with you). I am pretty sure that many survivors reading your story, would want their parents to write a post like you wrote to them.

      How did you come to the realization that what you did was awful? Was there a therapist that helped you come to that realization? That person might also be able to help you to heal more. I have been to conferences that have special therapists that help perpetrators to heal. Most perpetrators were victims themselves but chose a terrible way to deal with their own abuse. Your saying that you feel terrible about what happened is a great sign that you can heal, if you authentically feel terrible about the abuse.

      It is not for you to get anyone to forgive you, though if you take every action that you can to make amends to your family (not self harm but amends) you can forgive yourself, that is the only forgiveness that you have control over. And it is important to make the amends that they want you to make and not the amends that you want to make. As victims of assault they need to be in control of the amends process. They may never want to see you again or they may want to see you again. They need to be 100% in control of their lives.

      Here is an article from called “Perpetrators are People Too” from Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-out-your-mind/201410/perpetrators-are-people-too it is about domestic violence but I think the points are valid for sexual assault also. It also does not talk about how woman can also be perpetrators of domestic violence.

      Here is an http://www.stopitnow.org/help-guidance/faqs/faqs-on-sex-offender-treatment about how people who have sexually assaulted children can heal. And there is a hotline that is M-F 12pm – 6pm EST at 1.888.PREVENT as always when reaching out for help, if the people are not helpful, hang up and try again later. They might even be mean, which is not OK or they may be very helpful or somewhere in between. If they are continually not helpful, keep searching until you find help. You need to only work with people who believe you can heal. And there will be professionals who do not believe that you can heal and those are the people you need to stay away from. Even if you have friends or relatives that do not support you in healing, you need to stay away from them. Be vigilant until you get the help that you need and take all of the actions that you need to do to heal.

      You might also look into http://www.malesurvivor.org they have a bunch of resources on their page and workshops. So look around that site and see if there are helpful resources there. IIf that is helpful great, if not keep looking. Do not give up even though there will be people and organizations who will not help you because you perpetrated against another, keep looking until you find great help. Great help should not be shame based, but instead getting to core issues, though you will feel horrible about what you did, keep healing.

      Anyone can heal, if they take the actions they need to to heal, healing can take a while but it does not have to be a lifetime process. Feel free to write back with any questions, answers to my questions or updates. Updates give other survivors hope.

  5. My mother was a sociopath that repeatedly sexually and emotionally abused me when I was a young child.  The constant and significant emotional abuse and undermining any sense of self-worth continued through high school.  After a near-death experience…(edited by blogger) I am only now focused on healing.
    Outwardly I am very high functioning and successful but inside I feel so horrible and sad.   I have started therapy and am determined to heal.  Any suggestions, including workshops, would be welcomed. I am a male survivor and see much of the resources are directed to females.

    1. Hi Aryeh,

      Sorry it has taken me so much time to respond. How is therapy going? Was the person that you found helpful and giving you tools that are helpful in healing from the abuse? Have they helped you to feel better about yourself or at least given you the space where you realize that you can heal and feel better about yourself in the future? Or are they not very helpful and makes you feel disempowered or says you have sone type of mental illness because of the abuse and/or recommended drugs? If you found a great therapist, that is awesome, if not, keep looking, you can find one but it can sometimes take a while. Do not stop looking until you get great help.

      Because you are determined to heal, that will help you to heal.

      There are so many men that are in your situation, who have been abused by their mothers, you are not alone. Unfortunately, it is an under reported statistic, I believe that men are less likely to talk about their abuse because of society pressure. We as a society seem also less likely to want to believe that women sexually assault others, but it happens and more often then our society would like to believe.

      Have you found http://www.malesurvivor.org ? They have online support and meetings that I have heard from other survivors was very helpful for them. They also have upcoming weekend conferences on their website. I have not heard from anyone who has gone to their conferences, so if you do go I and others who read this blog would be interested in your thoughts on it.

      Here is a list of books that might be helpful, I have not read them so I cannot say from experience at http://survivor.org.nz/resources-for-survivors/books-other-media/

      I also recommend the book “Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, which can help you get in touch with your inner child and live a more balanced life.

      The feeling horrible and sadness can go away as you heal, it is only symptoms of the abuse that you went through. It can be detoxed as you heal and you can feel great. If you have not yet done so, if you go to my blog section http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/category/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/ those posts may be helpful also.

      Please feel free to write back with an update on how everything is going for you or with any questions or comments.

  6. Hello,
    I was molested 8 years ago when I was 9 years old by my neighbor who was 17 at that time. Now I’m 17, all the trauma started to come back more vividly. I have trouble making relationships with people, especially boys and it is really hard for me to socialize as I do not trust anyone anymore. Every…(edited by blogger) night and if there were a group of boys my age walked by, I would shudder and my brain would panic. I don’t have confidence in myself either. Thank you for reading my story.

    1. Hi Lyanna,

      I am so sorry to hear that happened to you and I need to apologize for it taking me so long to respond. That is not ok. It can be a trigger turning the age of your abuser, so many things can be a trigger, it’s different for every survivor. But know that you can heal if you take action. You might want to try talking with your school counsellor about this and see if they can help, unfortunately as with everyone that you reach out to they may or may not be helpful, they may or may not even be nice. If they are not helpful or not nice, politely excuse yourself and leave or if you are on the phone just hang up. A helpful person with validate that you have done nothing wrong, that you were a victim and can heal from the abuse. A non helpful person will tell you that you need to forgive the perpetrator or blame you for the abuse or say you made up the abuse or it wasn’t that bad or tell you it caused a chemical imbalance, etc (or any number of non-supportive things) or try to give you prescription drugs saying that you are mentally ill or need ECT. Walk away from those people, it is not ok but there are some really awful people whose job it is to help survivors and people in need but they don’t do their job. But there are also great people who are in the helping professions, who can help you to detox from the abuse.

      Always remember that the abuse was the abusers fault not your fault. You do not need to keep the abusers secret, that they abused you. If your parents seem supportive you can try telling them but if anyone tries to blame you walk away from that person.

      Any person who is not supportive of helping you to heal and validate that what the neighbor did was awful, is not a person that you want to be around, even if that person is a parent, relative, friend, teacher, etc. If the person who is not supportive is someone that you are living with such as a parent or sibling then it is best to leave that situation as soon as it is possible to leave, such as by going to college early or getting a job that may include housing away from where you live and possibly going to a safe house (where again maybe the people will be super helpful or not at all nice) Always listen to how you feel around people though sometimes the feeling you gat can be fear of looking at the abuse, other times it could be that they are not nice.

      Another resource when looking for help to heal and you can do this anonymously is calling 1-800-656-HOPE or go to their online helpline at https://ohl.rainn.org/online/ which is 100% anonymous, if you tell the hotline that you are 17 they may have to report it but if you say that you are the same age as the abuser was when he abused you then they will not have to report it, though I think the online hotline cannot report because they set it up to be 100% anonymous, though you might want to report your neighbor, it is up to you.

      If you do the work to heal you will be able to socialize and have a normal life again, just keep looking for great people to help you to heal and don’t let then give you prescription drugs, which have horrible side effects or even herbs, such as St. John’s Wart because those will stuff down the feelings that you need to detox.

      Also when you see a group of guys walking by or about to approach it can sometimes be helpful to warn yourself that you might be triggered and that the feeling is from the past and you are big enough to protect yourself now, so you will be ok. And also allow yourself to breath. You might also try reading and trying the exercises 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/

      You can heal, if you take action to heal and find a great person to help you to heal. Also stay away from self proclaimed, guru’s and other “healers” who act self-important. The emphasis should be on you feeling better about yourself and you should also be in charge of your own healing, do not let even a person that you are going to for help take that away from you.

      Do not stop until you get the help you need. Please feel free to write back with any thoughts, questions, comments or updates.

  7. I often search the Internet for comfort and just assurance that I’m not alone and I found this place. Very few people know my story. The sexual abuse started when I was about 8 with my uncle when my family would visit. My brother and I would stay at his house while my parents would stay in the house next door. It stopped with my uncle when I was about 11 but when I turned 12 I would be at my grandparents during the summers and it started with my grandpa. It went until I was 17, and I feel stupid for allowing it to go on that long but even though I was that old I still felt like a little helpless child. I’m 19 now and I told my mom about it though she doesn’t seem to care and still expects me to have thanksgiving with my uncle even though she knows. It makes me so angry about how selfish she is that she would even have the nerve to tell me that. Even when I was a kid she claimed that she didn’t know but I think she did and just ignored it. Despite my anger, I’m learning to forgive. Even though facing this has been the hardest thing in my life I feel so much better than I did when I was holding it in. I still have a long ways in my healing process but I know that one day I will be free from this burden. I want you all to know that there is hope for healing and that it’s possible to have freedom. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

    1. Hi JoAnnah,

      It is great that you were able to write your story, that is a great step in the healing process.

      I am sorry to hear that happened to you, none if that was at all ok. It is normal for adults even to go back to that child place after they have been abused and not be able to say no to abuse, so do not blame yourself, it is your uncle and your grandparents fault. You are right to be angry at your mother for saying that you have to spend Thanksgiving your uncle or any perpetrator. That is not what a real mom should say. Real moms should be horrified that their child was abused and want to confront the perpetrator(s) and get their child help. So by saying what your mother said, it shows that she is a very sick person. Also since she has not treated you like a real mom, that also lets you off the hook for mother’s day. You do not need to spend mother’s day with her pretending that she is this great lady and mother, because she is not. You may want to spend mother’s day with friends or if that is not possible then do something that you love to do, I’ve gone hiking. A post that might be helpful for tools to help deal with not having a real mom is at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/

      In order for you to heal it is really helpful not to be around perpetrators or their enablers, like your mom, because that little child inside who was abused, will not feel safe to heal around people like that.

      It is healthy that you are facing the abuse because that is part of the healing process. My concern when people try to cut to forgiveness, it usually has a cost on them and is something that is pushed on survivors but it still put the focus on the perpetrators and their enablers (like your mom) rather than on what a survivor needs to do to heal. An advocate for abuse survivors said, “Healing may result in forgiveness but forgiveness does not bring healing, it only covers over the wounds allowing them to fester.” So your job is to take care of yourself and to heal, it is fine to work on forgiving yourself because none of the abuse was your fault but that is the only forgiveness that you need to do. A bigger post on forgiveness is at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/do-i-need-to-forgive-to-heal-from-abuse/

      Something that might be helpful in healing from the abuse, is to get help from an excellent therapist or counsellor. You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE a 24/7 hotline that should connect you to a rape crisis center in your area. If they are helpful, that is great and they may also have free counselling. If the person you are speaking with is not helpful, hang up and try your call again later (volunteers answering the phone change shifts) if they are repeatedly not helpful, you can try another hotline at centers.rainn.org or try the anonymous online hotline at https://ohl.rainn.org/online/ It can also happen that at the same place some people are very helpful while others are not at all helpful. You can also try reaching out to therapists or counsellors, always interview them first, and see if they have tools to help you to heal without referring you for prescription drugs, vitamins or herbs, and of course not ECT, all which can have terrible side effects and do not get to the root cause of the problem. Antidepressants and antipsychotics, actually can cause depression, suicidal ideation, liver damage, brain damage and much more so even using them as a temporary “bandaid” can cause more harm than good. A great therapist, counsellor, social worker, etc can help you to heal, an awful or mediocre one can make you feel worse, so if you ever feel unsupported or even if they seem mean, it is fine to excuse yourself or if you are on the phone say I need to go now and hang up. Keep looking until you find an excellent therapist, counsellor, social worker, etc.

      You are right that if you do the work to heal, one day you will be free from this burden, so keep taking action. Please feel free to write back with any comments, questions or updates.

      1. Thank you for reading my story. I started facing all of this about a year and a half ago because for a long time I was in denial. When I was a kid I never did anything for Mother’s Day and it wasn’t necessarily because I was angry, I just didn’t want to be fake and only celebrate it because I felt like I had to. But I’ve found so much healing since I started facing things…(edited by blogger) this year is the first year I will be celebrating Mother’s Day. My mom definitely isn’t the best mother and the fact that she still associates with those men is definitely not okay. But at the same time being angry and bitter because she didn’t do a good job protecting me and because I suffered the loss of my childhood only harms me. I’m not going to give in and associate with those men just because she thinks I should but also it’s important to have compassion. Because she was abused as a kid and never sought healing and is now in an abusive relationship with her husband…(edited by blogger) That’s not to say that they shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of their actions or that I will reconcile with them because forgiveness and reconciliation aren’t the same thing and reconciliation in cases like this is usually not a wise decision.

        1. Hi JoAnnah,

          It’s your choice to be with a person who supports child sexual abuse, I still do not think it is the best choice for healing and I don’t see how you can do that without there being some denial and stuffing your feelings down. And it is not healthy for your inner child who was sexually assaulted. If you have a chance I think it could be helpful to read the post, which maybe you did, http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/do-i-need-to-forgive-to-heal-from-abuse/

          I have yet to see, even among religious survivors, who forced themselves to forgive, not putting themselves in a position of being fake or at the very least in denial about the abusers and the people who supported the abusers. Being abused as a child is no excuse to not protect your own child, tons of parents were abused but broke the cycle of abuse by protecting their own children.

  8. I was molested by my father and my mother was aware of it. She walked in and she knew what was going on, but did not want to accept it. Years have passed and now im grown with my family. I have learn to be strong even though at times, i tried taking my own life twice. My mother wants me to hate my dad, but not her. I hate the fact that she is in denial, like if she did not do anything wrong. I tell her, mom you hurt me as well. how? well by staying with my dad and marrying, oh no to mention getting pregnant after what he had done to me. Over the years i have learn to forgive my dad and my mother, yet she still wants me to hate him not her. I have learn to move on, but now she has some kind of guilt trip and expects me to understand her. I don’t!!! Where was she when i needed to be understood and deal with my emotions. I tell her that i do not want to remember and she needs to deal with her own emotions. My dad accepts that he did wrong, but not her. My parents are still together and the thing is that i ask my self why is it that when my parents and siblings are together everything is fine, but when i come around its not ok. My mother contradicts her self and confuses me, she wants me to hate my dad yet take family pics. I really don’t know what to think anymore. I feel lost!!

    1. Hi Josie Torres,

      Did your father make amends or just apologize? If so what were his amends? Did he get help to heal from being a perpetrator and what caused him to apologize?

      The reason that I am asking those questions, is that unless there was a huge shift in who your father was to who he is right now, it would be extremely important to keep your children away from your father and your mother. Your mother is a person who does not protect children and is ok with them being sexually assaulted and unless your father has done a ton of healing then I would not feel comfortable that he would not do the same thing to your children. And to have a person who is ok with sexual assault like your mother be around your children can also cause harm and in addition to that your mother sounds like a very sick person.

      It would also be healthy for you to stay away from anyone in your family that is not supportive of you. Supportive of you means that they are horrified about what your father did to you and also horrified by your mother’s behaviour of walking in on the abuse and doing nothing to stop it.

      It is also wrong for your mother to dump her emotional garbage on you, not ok.

      In order for you to fully heal, you need to not be around perpetrators (your father unless he has done tons of healing and made real amends to you) and perpetrators enablers (your mother and anyone else that tries to minimize the abuse, blame you for the abuse, say you are making it up or anything else that is unsupportive of you).

      It is time for you to take action to heal from the abuse. I know that people and certain religious leaders push survivors to forgive but forgiveness is still focusing on the perpetrator, not focusing on what you need to do to detox from the abuse and have an awesome life. Cutting straight to forgiveness also frequently stuffs down feelings and memories from the abuse that need to be released and detoxed from the body.  A strong advocate for abuse survivors has said, “Healing may result in forgiveness but forgiveness does not bring healing, it only covers over the wounds allowing them to fester.” You might want to read more about “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/

      As you take time away from your crazy mother and father who abused you, it will help your inner child who suffered the abuse to heal. I also recommend reaching out for help. You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE a 24/7 hotline and see if they are helpful. They may even have free counselling. But whenever you reach out for help, the people you are talking to should never recommend that you are around active perpetrators or people who are supportive of perpetrators, like your mother who ignored the abuse. They also should say things that are supportive of you and never minimize you or the abuse. Make sure when you do reach out for help that you don’t see therapists or social workers who want you to take antidepressants or other drugs, herbs or even vitamins. Prescription drugs can cause extreme anxiety, depression, liver damage and even suicidal thoughts which are all written on the side effects warning along with tons of other horrific side effects. A great article about drugs is at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/11/it-prozac-or-placebo also if you look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnryFXxl7yU (he successfully treated people with ‪Schizophrenia‬ without drugs, if people suffering from ‪Schizophrenia‬ can heal without drugs, you can heal as well.) Herbs and vitamins (some overdose of certain vitamin Bs can cause nerve damage, etc) can also have bad side effects.

      If you choose to stay away from your family for now, there are some helpful ideas in my post “Surviving Mother’s Day and the Holidays” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ and my other post “What to Do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ can be helpful whenever extreme emotions such as depression, anxiety, anger, etc come up.

      You can heal, if you take action to heal and get away from the unhealthy people in your life.

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

  9. I was sexually assaulted by a boyfriend, and by a cousin. Told my parents recently, finally, and their response? Threatening to bar me from FREE counseling, telling me I led them on and so I cannot be trusted, my cousin has “good heart” and I am not allowed to call him messed up, and demanding that I take 100% responsibility or they will not allow me to go to medical school. And by that I mean, they actually are trying to prevent me from getting to a crisis center for counseling, are attempting to bar me from the school, will not help pay, and would even make it impossible for me to get a loan. I took responsibility simply so I can get to medical school this fall, but it is crushing. My own parents. I don’t understand, even though they’ve hurt me so much through the years, how they cannot draw the line at incest…

    1. Hi AK,

      It’s not you who has the problem, it is your parents who have a major problem and I am glad that you will be getting away from them. I will write more in the next few weeks.

    2. Hi AK,
      You’re parents are beyond sick. I would try and spent as little time around them as possible, if you still live with them, possibly take a job away from home, maybe in the medical field. I would not talk with them anymore about the abuse or about anything of substance because your parents are awful people. Anyone who can say things like that to you, should be kept at a distance.. They do not need to know that you are going to counselling. But if it is a small town that your parents live in, you might want to drive to a bigger town nearby to get counselling, if you don’t get a job out if town.
      You may want to look into if your medical school has merit scholarships or you can even try a go-fund-me page with your story. If you get counselling, there are some scholarships for victims of crime that they may know about. I also looked up free medical schools and got this article http://www.cbsnews.com/news/faced-with-too-few-physicians-california-offers-free-medical-school/ . I think that there are also some free medical schools or cheaper abroad but some places might not be great for a survivor of assault.
      This is a scholarship because of the affordable care act that may be available to you if you are willing to serve in an underserved community for two years for each year they paid for medical school http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/scholarships/ in addition to your scholarship, you will also be paid at the market rate for your services. There is also the question if you would want to study alternative medicine that might be cheaper and has all sorts of ways to help patients to heal that are not studied in medical school?
      By how your parents reacted, you found out who they really are, terrible people. What they said is horrific. It is never the victim’s fault. Healthy parents would have been horrified and very sad that this happened to their daughter. Healthy parents would have wanted you to get excellent counselling to help you to heal from the abuse, they would have done everything they could to help you find a great therapist or counsellor. It’s amazing how horrible some parents can be. Your boyfriend and your cousin are also very sick people, I would try to have no contact with any of them. As I write this I really think the best thing you can do is get a job for the summer as far away from your family as possible and where you can get help to heal from the assaults. If you can get a scholarship or loans, then you can get away from your parents permanently.
      And there are ways to get around your parents claiming you as a dependent if they are emotionally abusive (which what they did to you was emotionally abusive). “Financial aid administrators have the authority, through Section 480(d)(7) of the Higher Education Act, to change a student’s status from dependent to independent in cases involving unusual circumstances.…” you can read more at http://www.finaid.org/educators/pj/dependencyoverrides.phtml also know that when you reach out for help there are helpful people and there are people who should be helping that are instead perpetrator’s enablers, so if you bump into unhelpful people, look for others to help you who are truly helpful. This applies to financial aid, counselling, etc.
      If you need to find counselling further from home or if you get a summer job you can try going to centers.rainn.org or calling 1-800-656-HOPE (which will connect you with the local rape crisis 24/7 hotline). As always if they are not being supportive, hang up and try again later or try another hotline. Most centers have free counselling and if you are not going to a local center you can try to avoid the question about where you live, you can say you want to keep that private. But even if it’s free counselling or expensive counselling you want to try to make sure it is excellent counselling. Bad or mediocre counselling can create more problems than it solves, with therapists not knowing how to deal with certain situations or even some blaming you for their issues, or saying the abuse did not happen or it was your fault. If you ever find yourself in bad or mediocre therapy, you can politely excuse yourself. But don’t give up find a great therapist or counsellor.
      Make sure when you do reach out for help that you don’t see therapists or counsellors who want you to take antidepressants or other drugs, herbs or even vitamins. Antidepressants and antipsychotics can cause extreme anxiety, depression, liver damage and even suicidal ideation (you can read the complete list of side effects online). A great article about drugs is at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/11/it-prozac-or-placebo also if you look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnryFXxl7yU (he successfully treated people with ‪Schizophrenia‬ without drugs, if people suffering from ‪Schizophrenia‬ can heal without drugs, you can heal as well.) Herbs and vitamins can also have bad side effects (such as an overdose of certain B vitamins can cause nerve damage, etc).

      The sooner you can get away from your family and get great help the better. You can have a great life and heal from the abuse. Healing can take a while but it does not have to take a lifetime if you get the right kind of help.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or comments and also because you did not leave an email address that looked real, if you have a moment please write back to show that you were able to read this post.

  10. I was sexually abused at age 6 & even now I can’t accept it , it’s been 10 years now , I’ve tried so hard to not hurt myself , but I don’t have the strength because even myself I don’t understand what happened. Although it’s been years my mind hides away pieces , it doesn’t want to remember. I’ve told people & no one believes me they think I’m making it up or it was just a bad dream. Im so hurt & so alone & I just needed to put this out there.

    1. I will reply more in the next few weeks, until then you can try reaching out to 1-800-HOPE, but you might not want to tell them how old you are for right now. If the person who answers the phone is helpful, then awesome, if not then hang up and try again later. If they are continually not helpful try going to centers.rainn.org, keep reaching out till you get great help and are believed, I’ll write more later.

    2. Its ok. I was the same. I felt as if theres no escaping the feeling, until suddenly i just accepted it. It comes to me from time to time but i just push it back. I recovered a lot and feel as if im a changed person. I wish you the best and i hope you can deal with this much better. Remember you are strong and powerful in many ways. Never feel alone.

      1. Hi Rez,

        Thanks so much for your supportive comment, it really helps other survivors. I did have one suggestion though. When you mentioned pushing back the feeling or memory when it comes up, I would recommend that you might try and continue to accept and release the feeling or memory rather than push it back, so that it will detox. Also if you needed help with the detox process for the residual feelings and memories, my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ has some ideas. But if those are not helpful suggestions, then please ignore them.

        Please feel free to write more supportive comments to other survivors and also if you like to write back with any updates.

        1. Thank you so much for the kind words. I’ve started to recover more and accept to leave what happened in the past. Your website helped me to express myself comfortably. I still have a problem with guilt which i think i can surpass soon enough.

          Again thank you and I wish you the best.

          1. Hi Rez,

            Unfortunately, the past cannot be kept in the past, it will keep popping up, screaming to be heard until you hear it and release the trauma and emotions. I am glad that my website helped. The more you can deal with the past without running away or “keeping it in the past” the more you can get clarity that it was not your fault and the guilt belongs to the abuser and not to you.

            1. Hello Amy,
              I just wanted to ask you for some help. The memories are starting to fade but i have a strong feeling of guilt for what happened. I keep felling as if what happened was my fault and that im in someway responsible for it. I’ve had this feeling for so long and it keeps distracting me during my day to day activities. I know its not my fault and that im not the criminal but i keep feeling this guilt. Do you think it may be caused by something else other than the repressed memories.
              Thank you again and your site helped me so much and gave me so much more hope.

              1. Hi Rez,

                I do not know if you have repressed memories but what it sounds like is that because you have been pushing the feelings and memories down, they need to be released and detoxed from the traumatic events. The feelings of guilt could be saying that you are not done with the work that you need to do to heal. How you talked about accepting the feeling(s) rather than trying to escape it, could still be helpful to do. If you are at work or another public situation, you can make a time when it is better to allow yourself to detox rather than at that time. You can also try calling your rape crisis line at 0808 802 9999 (between 12 noon – 2.30pm and 7 – 9.30pm any day of the year and also between 3 – 5.30pm on weekday) or click here to find your local center http://rapecrisis.org.uk/centres.php they may or may not be helpful, if the person you are speaking with is not helpful, feel free to hang up and try again later, if they are repeatedly not helpful, try another center, they also may have free or low cost counselling but it needs to be really good counselling to be helpful. Another resource that is 24/7 is the rainn online hotline at https://ohl.rainn.org/online/

                It might be helpful for you to find an excellent therapist or counsellor to work with who really has the tools to help you to heal from the guilt, it also might be helpful for you to do some type of work with a group of other survivors or read other’s stories to help yourself get perspective that it was not their fault the abuse happened and it’s not your fault either. Always make sure that the therapist is excellent and not mediocre or bad, those therapists, counsellors if they are so so or worse can be more harmful than helpful. And as I always write don’t take antidepressants, antipsychotics, vitamins or herbs to work with your emotions, that can also do more harm than help which you can see by researching their side effects..

                Did you try the ideas in “What To Do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ post? If so, were they helpful?

                Feel free to write back with any answers to my questions, updates, comments or questions.

                1. Hello Amy,
                  I just personally wanted to say thank you for your story and the way you allow people to express themselves on your website. I can say I’ve improved a lot since I first came. I don’t have nightmares anymore and the feeling of responsibility and guilt has gone. My memories from ages 7 and 10 don’t bother me anymore but empower me to be a better person.

                  Thank you for all your help.

    3. Please don’t hurt yourself. You’re not alone. I’ve been there…(edited by blogger) Be strong. Be encouraged. We’re in this together.

    4. Hi Anonymous,

      The people around you who do not believe you and think that you are making it up are actually the sick and crazy ones, not you. It makes sense that you do not understand what happened to you because sexual assault makes no sense. Why would a person who is suppose to protect a child or be “friends” with that child abuse them? Six year olds are little innocent kids, what sick person would want to assault a child or assault anyone for that matter? It is also common to suppress the emotions and even the events of the abuse as the body’s way of coping with trauma. Do not believe anyone that tries to say you are crazy or made it up because survivors don’t make up the abuse but perpetrators and those who support perpetrators would like you to believe that you made it all up because then none of them need to deal with anything.

      If you tell someone, even if it is a relative, teacher, social worker, friend, psychologist, person whose job (professionally or parents) it is to protect children from abuse, or anyone at all and they do not believe you, as horrible as it is that they do not believe you, it is your job to take care of yourself and try to have as little contact with that person as possible. But if you keep reaching out for help, you will find people who do believe you and anyone who does not, you can tell yourself that they did not pass the test of being a decent person. When you see people’s reactions at least you now know who they really are.

      As you begin to heal, more memories and emotions from the abuse may come up, and by remembering and allowing those to come up and out, it may help you to detox from the abuse.

      Wanting to hurt yourself, is a normal reaction to the abuse, so do not beat yourself up for having those feelings. Instead, you may try saying to yourself, “This is a normal thought to have because I was abused, what do I really need or want right now and what can I do for myself that would be life giving for me to get my needs met. For example, sometimes when people are suicidal, what they really want is an answer to their problems that feels like a relief, so they can instead say I am feeling pain from this, what would be a healthy way to deal with this pain, surprisingly enough, sometimes even a brisk walk or other forms of exercise can be helpful because it changes the person’s state. Sometimes just leaving your house or even jumping in some brisk water changes your state and can put you in a much better mood.

      Know that you are not alone, this abuse unfortunately happens to many men and women. I have heard statistics that say that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they reach 18.

      You might find my posts at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/category/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/ helpful. I would start with http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ which gives ideas on things you can do whenever you feel extreme emotions, such as depression or extreme anxiety. Make sure when you do reach out for help that you don’t see therapists or social workers who want you to take antidepressants or other drugs, herbs or even vitamins. Prescription drugs can cause extreme anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts, I know it’s weird because they are suppose to cure that stuff but those side effects are also written on the side effects warning. A great article about drugs is at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/11/it-prozac-or-placebo also if you look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnryFXxl7yU (he successfully treated people with ‪Schizophrenia‬ without drugs, if people suffering from ‪Schizophrenia‬ can heal without drugs, so can you.)

      Were you able to find a helpful person to talk with at 1-800-656-HOPE? If not, did you find someone at centers.rainn.org ? You can also try online at https://ohl.rainn.org/online/ . You might, if you haven’t already want to try talking with a trusted teacher, though they are mandatory reporters, so they will have to report it to the authorities (though some may not anyway). If you are near a big city there may be more resources for you there. You can also look for excellent therapists or social workers to help to detox and heal from the abuse. You can even interview them first to see if they make you feel comfortable and don’t try to be in control of your life but instead help you to feel better about yourself and realize that you are an awesome person.

      Also it is important to realize that there are also mediocre and awful therapists and social workers and they can actually do more harm than good, so listen to yourself and feel if they seem like the right person for you to work with. As you heal, you might realize it is time for a new therapist.

      You can heal and have a great life if you take action to heal.

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

  11. My daughter is a victim of sexual abuse. Her father’s mother was abusing her when she would go over for overnight weekend stays. The court ordered the visits so I stopped them once she stated what was being done to her. It is now four years later and I am still in court to stop him for getting any over night visits. My daughter is now ten and states if she goes back over there she will kill herself. I do not know what else to do because the court does not believe her. They think that I have just made this whole story up. My daughter has been diagnosed with PTSD and is currently on three different medications. Her therapist believes that my daughter has to accept what has happened to her.

    1. Hi Fighting For Justice,

      I am so sorry to hear that happened to your daughter. When I read your post one of my concerns is that your daughter has been put on medication. When a therapist puts someone on medication or refers out to get them put on medication, what they are saying is that they do not have tools to help that person to heal. All anti-depressants and anti-psychotics on the market have side effects of liver damage, suicidal ideation, brain damage and a huge list of other problems that come along with them. If you read the side effect label on all of her drugs, you will find other side effects as well. A child who has been sexually assaulted needs to detox from the abuse, those drugs can stuff down the experience and then when she’s feeling awful or depressed or extreme anxiety, you don’t know if it’s the side effects from the drugs or from the abuse. Though in order to get off then she needs excellent medical or excellent alternative heath supervision. Going off those drugs must also be done slowly. And a person’s withdrawals can sometimes look worse than when they were on the medication but that still does not mean they have chemical imbalance, it means that they are having withdrawals which can sometimes last for a while after they are off the drugs because that is how toxic those drugs are. An excellent alternative health care practitioner may be able to help mitigate that problem which might nesesitate a temporary use of foods, vitamins or herbs to help with the detox.

      A great article about drugs is at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/11/it-prozac-or-placebo also if you look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnryFXxl7yU (he successfully treated people with ‪Schizophrenia‬ without drugs, if people suffering from ‪Schizophrenia‬ can heal without drugs, so can your daughter but it is your choice).

      If it were my child, I would not talk with the therapist who recommended the drugs about taking her off them because from stories that I have heard therapist’s can get extremely defensive about that and that is not a fight I would recommend. Instead, I would recommend searching for an excellent therapist who has the tools to help your daughter to heal without prescription drugs, herbs, vitamins or electro-shock (which the medical industry has put propaganda out about it being better now, but it is still horrific). If the therapist she is seeing is not much help, I would consider cancelling her upcoming visits or simply not make new appointments, without giving the therapist an explanation because as mentioned before they can become hyper defensive and even ugly, some therapists and social workers are really messed up. Healing can take a while but it does not have to take a lifetime. When you look around for a great therapist or social worker for your daughter, you may find tons who are pro-drug, unfortunately many and curriculum have been financed by big Pharma and thus many therapist have been miseducated. And you also need to find a person who can help your daughter to safely get off those drugs.

      When it comes to visitation with their dad, you can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE, they may or may not be helpful. When I hear that the court does not believe her, that is hugely concerning, I am not saying that it is true in your case, but there are active perpetrators in the court system too. You may need to get a lawyer to help you with this situation. I am not an attorney. It could be interesting to look at other judgements by that judge and see if he/she has a history or not believing children which could possibly get them in trouble or possibly allow you to change judges if a history on conflict of a child’s best interest has been violates but again I am not an attorney. When looking for an attorney know that even attorneys do not always know the answers and will sometimes give you incorrect advice. I would keep searching for one until you can find an attorney who believes that he/she will be able to take away custody from her dad. When I was googling I found these two resources.

      http://nydivorcefirm.com/child-visitation/ http://www.justfamilies.org/childs-right-to-end-visitation-with-non-custodial-parent/ Also the 1-800-656-HOPE or 1-800-942-6906 may also have resources to help you find legal help and possibly free therapeutic help for your daughter and maybe even hep for you in coping with the situation. But it is super important that it is excellent counselling, bad help is worse than no help.

      If you keep looking for great help for your daughter, she can heal and have a great life.

      The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of an attorney or your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

      1. Thank you for the resources that you listed. Medication was a last resource for my daughter she was sucidial before I even put her on medicine. Prior to the medication she has been in therapy. She has not reached the healing process that is what I am told. Her therapist is now trying to make her accept what has happened to her. The therapist claims my daughter is indifferent. She is only ten so how can she accept that she was being touched by someone she trusted and her father didn’t protect her.

        1. From everything you write, it really seems like she needs a new therapist. I may be missing something but it sounds like some possible patient blaming going on. If she is not getting to healing process or at least starting that process, it could be her therapist is not right for her. Therapists can have tons of education and referrals that does not mean that they are any good at therapy (or right for a particular patient), they still can be awful, a great therapist can help your daughter to heal. Those drugs can have a side effect of indifference, so it’s kind of cruel to blame your daughter for the indifference when she is being prescribed drugs that can cause that problem (indifference can also be a way to cope with the abuse and a great therapists can help her get to that point). Here are two scientific articles about prescription drug induced apathy https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mad-in-america/201106/now-antidepressant-induced-chronic-depression-has-name-tardive-dysphoria and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989833/ . It is also hard for me to hear therapist blame their patients, especially when they are children for not healing but some therapists blame their patients a ton for their own inabilities to help them. A bad or mediocre therapist can make a patient worse. Also when it comes to being suicidal, did she have a plan that she was going to carry out or did she just say that she wanted to kill herself (an expression of frustration) therapists can be so quick to put people on drugs, it’s scary. And do we know that the “treatments” (sessions with her therapist) were not triggering your daughter more than helping?

          A great article about a newly released study that shows that antidepressants increase the risk of suicide and aggressive behaviour by 50% in people under 18 years old http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/14/antidepressants-can-raise-the-risk-of-suicide-biggest-ever-revie/ It also talks about pharmaceutical companies not reporting when people were suicidal and some studies caught them in their omissions.

          I recommend to keep looking for an excellent therapist that has the tools to really help your daughter to heal and another expert to get her off those drugs. But DO NOT have your daughter go off drugs without proper supervision, but also know that withdrawals (the body detoxing from those drugs) can cause tons of strange emotions, feelings and thoughts to come out (the terrible side effects of the drugs may be heightened during the withdrawal process) but it is not chemical imbalance, it is the body detoxing from extremely toxic drugs.

          The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of an attorney or your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

  12. I don’t remember precisely but I was very young, maybe 7 years old, when my older cousin would…(edited by blogger) I don’t remember when it stopped and my older brother started sexually abusing me, maybe I was 11 years old…(edited by blogger) I was more sexually aware at the age…(edited by blogger). I don’t remember how long it went for and when did it stopped. My older sister came to know about it and maybe she told my parents because my mother awkwardly asked me once if my brother had done something to me. I don’t know why but I said ‘no’. I know that my sister knew because I secretly read her diary because I wanted to know why she was acting strange around me. But she never tried to talk to me and ask me if I was okay even though we are still very close. Immediately afterwards our house servant also…(edited by blogger). Maybe I was more mature then or because I had had enough or because I could not stomach the fact that a servant…(edited by blogger) that I told my mother while crying. I still remember she said that I need to be brave and stop crying over such small matters but she did fire the servant. In between all this I also experienced some instances of public groping during my teen years. Flash forward some years and my cousin has become a religious and respectable person. My family adores my older brother and he is the life of every family gathering. Sometimes it feels that it was all just a dream as only I seem to remember it. Not my parents, sister, brother or cousin.

    All of these incidences have messed up my mind horribly. There are feelings of guilt, hatred, loneliness, helplessness, anger, contempt and distrust. I have holes in my memory, sometimes it feels like my learning and thinking ability and sharpness of memory are affected by the traumas. Maybe this is my mind’s defensive mechanism. I am a 25 year old girl. I have kept many feelings inside me for a very long time and just want to chuck the garbage out. I have not forgiven but I have managed to ignore and move on. My question is if I do not tell my future partner about my past will it affect my…(edited by blogger) and emotional life and how?

    1. Hi Amma,

      It is horrible that that happened to you and that your mother had the nerve to call sexual assault a small matter. That is not ok. Sexual assault is a huge issue that should not be minimized. When your mother asked you the first time you may have said no because you were scared to tell the truth or you had taken on the shame of the abuse, But the shame of the abuse belongs the abusers, your brother, cousin and the servant, also to those who groped you. The shame of the abuse also belongs to those who did not protect you or minimized the abuse like your mother. It may be time to distance yourself from people who do not support or protect you, such as your mother, brother and cousin. It is hard to really heal from the abuse when you are around the people who abused you and minimized your abuse. Ignoring the abuse and pretending it did not happen will not allow you to heal from the abuse. But healing from the abuse is possible, if you take action to do so. When you stuff down the trauma and feelings from the abuse, it may scream louder and louder to be heard. So it is a better idea to get help and allow yourself to detox from the abuse, then you can truly heal and allow yourself to have an awesome life, your mind can heal also. A book that might be helpful for you to read “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge, M.D, it has helped many other survivors and given them hope. Other ideas for healing can be found on my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ which gives you some ideas on dealing with all of those feelings of guilt, hatred, loneliness, helplessness, anger, contempt and distrust and other extreme feeling when they come up.

      Another important thing to do is to get help. When you are looking for help, always listen to yourself to see if the person you are speaking with on the phone or in person seems helpful. There are great people out there who are really helpful and unfortunately there are also people out there in the helping field who are not helpful and sometimes not even nice, so always listen to how you feel. Being scared to confront your past, can come up but listen to yourself to see if you want to run from scarey stuff of your past or you feel the need to get away from someone who is not being helpful. If you find yourself with a person, therapist, counsellor who is not helpful, if you are on the phone hang up, in their office feel free to excuse yourself and leave. I also recommend going to a person who actually has the tools to help you to heal, so if they are recommending drugs, herbs or vitamins (all can have really bad side effects) I recommend going somewhere else where they can actually help you to heal and have the tools to really help you to heal. Healing does not have to be a lifelong process but it can take a while.

      You do not need to forgive to heal, forcing yourself to forgive does not work. As an advocate for abuse survivors once said, “Healing may result in forgiveness but forgiveness does not bring healing,
      it only covers over the wounds allowing them to fester.”  

      Some places that I found online in Pakistan are:
      http://sahil.org/free-counseling-services/ 0800-13518
      War Against Rape +92 2135373008 http://www.war.org.pk
      http://shirkatgah.org/shirkat/?page_id=86
      http://pakistan.wecanglobal.org/ 0092-051-2855001
      An online helpline at https://ohl.rainn.org/online/ and click on the “Get live help now” button

      I just found them online so I cannot say anything about them but they look like a good place to state looking for help and if they cannot help then maybe they know people who can help.

      Getting great counselling will help to to permanently chuck the garbage out.

      On the question that you asked about telling your partner, I think it could be very important to tell them about what happened to you. By telling them and seeing their reaction, it will tell you who they really are. If they are supportive in you detoxing from the abuse and are compassionate to you about the abuse that is a good sign. But if instead, they blame you, or tell you to forgive and forget or think you are defective because of the abuse then that says that they are supportive of perpetrators and child sexual abuse and it is better to know that now then later on. Because if they are like that and you wind up having children with them, then your children would not be safe. Also in order to be truly close to someone, you need to share those types of things that are part of your past along with great things, like your dreams, hopes and goals and, of course, it is always great to share a good laugh at the appropriate time with your significant other.

      When you ask how the past trauma can affect your life together, when trauma is repressed different ordinary non-significant things, can trigger memories and repressed emotions from the past to come out in the present, which is why it is so important to heal. All of the feeling that you mentioned before coming up in your life today, can be from the abuse. But as I said before you can heal from it.

      So reach out and take action to heal and share it with you partner. If the resources I mentioned are not helpful, keep looking and searching until you find great help. Remember having an awesome life free from trauma of the past is doable if you keep taking action to heal and work with a person who has tools to help you to heal.

      Feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates give other survivors hope.

  13. I was wondering if anyone had some suggestions
    in a nut shell I was abused and tortured by my father when I was young
    I am ok after many years of discovering what had happened but It has
    come to my attention that my father has also molested my sister through
    my own memories and I see signs that it went on for a much longer time
    and might be going on now my sister is 50 years old but I still think it
    could be happening. they live 3000 miles away from me but I am looking
    for a way to break it up, my sister gets very defensive when the subject
    comes up
    how do you stop something when no one is cooperating

    1. Hi Sam,

      I am not sure if there is anything that you can do to help her if she does not want help. Maybe tell her your concern and that you are there if she wants help and you are not ignoring what is happening. She may not even be conscious that she is currently being abused if that is happening, she may have tons of denial about everything.

      If you have done everything that you can and have healed from all of the abuse and torture that you went through, on some level that may inspire her to get help, or she may feel “comfortable” where she is at and not even want to heal, as incredible as that might sound. If there is more that you need to do to heal from the abuse and torture that you went through then try and focus on that. Some people do not want to get better, others are too stuck and scared to move away from the abuse.

      There is only so much you can do for others but you can heal yourself. Focus on your life and what makes you happy and try and do that every day, if you can. Do not let what is going on with your sister, take away from your life. Just as you made the choice to heal, she cam also make that choice, even if she is being abused today at 50 years old, she can always make that choice to get away and heal.

      If you do want to get more help you can also try reaching out to 1-800-656-HOPE which is a 24/7 that connects with your local rape crisis center. The person you speak with may or may not be helpful, if they’re not helpful, you can always try hanging up and calling back later, if they are repeatedly not helpful, you can try another hotline at centers.rainn.org or look for a great therapist or keep working with your therapist or counsellor if they are helpful. You also may want to try doing the workbook “Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, which can have helpful tools for living a more balanced and awesome life.

      Also I have heard that other men have found malesurvivor.org to be a useful resource.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates (updates give other survivors hope).

      1. Hi Amy

        I really appreciate the response especially in a world today
        where no one bothers

        definitely very sound words which is the truth of reality
        something I cant avoid even though I feel a need to help

        thanks

        1. Please know that you are not alone, this has happened to many men and women, it’s just frequently not talked about and sometimes never consciously known or remembered.

  14. Some times its not a good thing to suppress your memories i was 11 when it started i was sexually abused by both of my brothers until i was 15 i had blocked out these memories for 20 plus years until i started having flash backs it didn’t make sense at first of what my oldest brother was doing in the flash backs and had moved away but more flash backs came when my father passed away and my oldest brother had turned up for the funeral i told my daughters that if he made them feel uncomfortable to tell me a few months went by and i notice a difference in my daughters i asked them what was wrong they wouldn’t tell me straight away but when they did my whole life fell apart they had told me that my other brother had sexually abused them that was when the last piece of the flash backs fell into place i feel if i hadn’t suppress these memories this would not happened to my daughters i blame myself every day i don’t speak to my family as they took there side the brother that abused my daughter got 7 years he is due out this year the oldest brother that abused me got away with it due to lack of evidence i live with this every day i put a brave face on for everyone but thats not how i feel

    1. Hi Sharon,

      What happened to you and your daughters is not ok and you cannot blame yourself for your repressed memories, your daughters being sexually assaulted. It is your brother’s fault, not your fault. He is the perpetrator and you sound like a great mother who believed your daughters and helped get the perpetrator put away in prison. Your body’s reaction to trauma was to repress the memories, so you can blame your brother for that as well. Both you and your daughters can heal from this abuse.

      It is really a great thing that you do not speak with your family, a family that supports perpetrators and does not protect children, is a family that you do not want to be a part of. Seeing them take your brother’s side shows who your family really is and it shows your health to have broken away from your family.

      It maybe a time for you and your daughters to detox from the assaults. You can try going to http://thesurvivorstrust.org/find-support/ and see if any of those resources in your area are helpful. You can also try calling 0808 801 0818 (not sure their hours) and there are more resources at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/22VVM5LPrf3pjYdKqctmMXn/information-and-support . Some of those resources, I believe, have free or low cost counselling and can also have hotlines that be called if you are going through emotional triggers. If you are ever talking with a person on the phone or in person and do not feel supported, it is ok to hang about or excuse yourself from the room. There are some great therapists and social workers out there but there are also some ones who are not very good, mediocre and awful. Keep looking for a great therapist or social worker until you find one who has the tools to help you and your daughters to heal, without the use of drugs, herbs or vitamins, which can have really bad side effects and does not get to the core issues of detoxing from the abuse and healing your wounded inner child.

      If you start to get down on yourself for what happened, you can say, what can I do right now to help myself and my daughters to heal? And then take action, to heal. Also don’t forget to go outside, smell the amazing smells, the flowers, ocean, etc. Go by a bakery, unless you are gluten intolerant or diabetic and smell the fresh smells there and maybe buy a cake or pastry. Do things, that you and your daughters enjoy doing. If you like, see a humorous movie and keep working on detoxing from the abuse but don’t forget to live life also and as you and your daughters heal, it will get easier too. Though it can take some time but it does not have to take a lifetime to heal, if you get great help and take action.

      You might want to read my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ to help you to deal with extreme emotions when they come up. You all might also want to try doing the workbook “Artists Way” by Julia Cameron (your daughters might like doing the workbook also depending on their age.

      Keep reaching out for help for you and your daughters and doing what is needed to detox from the abuse and you all can heal and have a great life.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates help other survivors to feel more hopeful.

  15. I am saddened to see so many people have suffered from what I call true sexual abuse and my heart goes out to you all. My story seems to pale in comparison with everyone else. Therein lies the problem. I, like my mother, trivialized it. Two abusers (visitors to our home) and maybe three incidents (that I recall) …(edited by blogger). I told my mother about him. Sure, she threatened to tell my dad if he ever tried anything like that again. But he never came to the house again and dad was never told.

    When my dad wanted to visit this man once, I had to tag along. This really messes with your head when it comes to trusting that your parents will keep you from harm AND teach you self respect . There is obviously some residual resentment for sweeping it under the rug. Pain that I cover up by being extremely positive, outgoing and enthusiastic. It sparked precociousness and an unhealthy curiosity about sex. It’s a theory I have experienced, for I experimented at an early age and came close to becoming a molester myself! Luckily I have a conscience and even apologized later to relatives for my inappropriate behaviour.

    So I do understand where molesters are coming from. Later in my teens, I was promiscuous and naturally the odds were against me finding a decent guy who would respect me, since I didn’t respect myself. At that age hormones are raging and a few guys gave me a few scares, regarding “no” but luckily they realized I was serious and I got away. But it took its toll. Throughout life, promises were broken, I was taken advantage of and it’s only now at 59 that I see how these acts reinforced my mistrust and negative view of men and sex. Today, I feel guilty when I say no to my wonderful partner’s advances (#4)…(edited by blogger) the low self esteem, and “cherished belief” that all men are pigs and only think of themselves. I don’t want to be that angry mistrustful child any more.

    So my question to you is, what books are out there to help me shake this awful attitude and to feel good about myself? What exercises such as mirror work, journalling, affirmations etc., can I use to fix this?

    Thanks for listening,
    Rolande

    1. Hi Rolande,

      Every form of abuse is traumatizing and should not be minimized. As you can see the effects it has had on your life. Every child deserves to be protected and it is sad to see that you did not have that experience as a child. But you can learn to be the parent to yourself that you never had. If you read my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ it has ideas for self parenting and self care. As you take care of your child within they can begin to heal and no longer have to be angry.

      I recommend finding an excellent therapist or social worker who can help you to heal, though they can be very hard to find or you might be lucky and find one quickly. If you are in Ontario you can try http://www.draw-the-line.ca/gethelp.html and scroll down the page for the hotlines to help sexual assault victims and if you are in the United States you can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE which is a 24/7 hotline that connects with your local rape crisis center. If those resources are helpful that is great but if you ever feel like you are not being helped, just hang up or if you are interviewing a therapist, thank then and leave. If you were calling a hotline and they were not helpful, try calling back in a few hours or ask when they change shifts, then call back after the shift change. If you repeatedly get bad help from a hotline, try another one or call around and interview therapists. Most hotlines also have free in person counselling, so you can ask about that also. On the Canadian page they recommend if it’s an emergency call 911 and if you are being attacked or have just been attacked that can be helpful. But if you are having an emotional “emergency” I would recommend instead getting help another way or having a healthy “emergency” plan like being around people you trust, committing to not cause self harm, etc because emergency rooms normally only know how to drug people and not help them. Which is super unfortunate. And those drugs can often make you feel worse than before you ever took the drug. But it’s your choice.

      Keep looking for great help until you find it and then do what is needed to heal.

      You may also want to try going to get light therapy at http://sensorylearning.com/locations.php . The light should be gently going lighter and dimmer and no harsh flashing, that could also be helpful. It has helped other survivors but again see how you feel.

      When it comes to what you call “cherished belief” it might be helpful for you to read Joseph’s story of abuse and healing from it at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/success-stories/a-success-story-in-healing-from-abuseby-joseph/ to read for yourself that men can be victims and women can be perpetrators, this happens much more frequently than you might think, but society likes to label men as perpetrators and woman as victims. You might also want to learn about more stories of male survivors at malesurvivor.org , reading their stories can help you to realize that being a victim or victimizer is only about choices that a person makes and has nothing to do with gender (as you also realized when you stopped yourself).

      I think that the workbook “Artists Way” by Julia Cameron if you do the exercises in the book can be super helpful in detoxing and healing from the abuse. Also if you want to read my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ it also has exercises to help detox stuck emotions from the abuse.

      If you keep taking action to heal and find great help you can heal from the abuse and have an awesome life.

      1. Wow! Thanks for your thorough and detailed response! Looks like I’ve got lots of homework!

        Thanks!
        Rolande

  16. My uncle abused me and is very sheltered by my aunts. I finally…(edited by blogger). Not sure if he gets it. My family instead of validated what he did, minimize it.
    I’m angry because none of the adults protected me.

    1. Hi Bonnie,

      Most likely he will never get that what he did was wrong and most of the time it’s not possible to convince a perpetrator that they are wrong in what they did. But what you can do is stay away from having any contact with your uncle or anyone in your family who minimizes it, even if it means giving up your entire family. Families that minimize and protect perpetrators are not real families, only by DNA but nit in the sense of what a real family is suppose to be. Real families protect their children from perpetrators. I get that you are angry and you have every right to be angry about how you were abused and not protected but I do recommend in the future not sending anything to any perpetrators or those in your family who did not protect you and also not sending videos of people killing other people to anyone.

      It is about helping yourself to heal from the abuse not getting sick people to understand things they don’t want to understand. The perpetrator and the people in your family who validate and minimize the abuse don’t want to care about what happened to you.

      One thing you can do to start the healing process is to call the 1-800-HOPE 24/7 hotline that will connect you with the local rape crisis center volunteers who you can talk with and also they may have free counselling. But if you talk with a person who is not helpful on the hotline, then just hang up and try again later, volunteers change shifts and if they are repeatedly not helpful try going to centers.rainn.org and try another hotline. If you go to counselling and the person you are working with does not seem to have the tools to help you keep looking for great help. Prescription drugs, vitamins and herbs usually have much worse side effects than they ever help, so look for a person who can really help you. You can also reach out and interview therapists and social workers. Keep reaching out until you get great help.

      You might also want to read my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ for some ideas on how to deal with feelings that pop up like strong anger or sadness.

      If you keep reaching out for help and do what you need to do to heal, you can have a great life, just remember to keep the focus on your healing and not trying to fix the perpetrators and your sick family.

      1. My parents left me with my grandparents because they didn’t want me. My father was abusive to my mother. My uncle sexually abused me.
        I’ve been in and out of relationships. I never look at other person’s shortcomings but focus on mine. I don’t reach for better because I don’t think I deserve it. I’ve struggled with this all of my life.

        1. Hi Bonnie,

          It’s time to take action to heal. Focus on what you need to do to heal. Read my suggestions and see if you can get help, don’t quit until you find great help. Feel free to write back with an action plan abut what your going to do to get help or simply start reaching out. Have something pre-written that you can tell yourself to keep yourself going if the help you reach out for is not helpful. Don’t quit until you have healed from the abuse.

  17. I am 56 yrs old and was sexually abused by both parents. I didn’t realize it until I was 24. I had repressed it but was suffering from depression since I was 13. I have been hospitalized many times and just thought I was crazy. I confronted my parents by mail and in person in front of my siblings. My sister and brother say that nothing happened. I moved cross country to cut off from my ‘family” with out telling them.

    It’s no wonder that I have had paranoid ideations when my family has denied my reality. I tried to have a relationship with my brother but when I refused to see my mother last Jan he lashed out at me and shamed me. I then had a flashback and felt suicidal. So I had to cut off from him again. I haven’t seen my mother in over 17 yrs!

    I have been in therapy for over 30 yrs and feel like I just am surviving; getting by, suffering and coping. Nobody told me I could HEAL from this. I’m on a lot of meds and calling the suicide hotline is not a way to live! My abusers are not suffering every day! I did not do anything wrong and I will continue telling my ‘family secret’.

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      You can heal from this. It does not have to be a lifelong process. The issue is that it can be hard to find a great therapist. If the person you are working with has you on drugs, it’s time to get a new therapists who has the tools to help you. Many times therapists and social workers will blame chemical imbalance because they do not have tools to help people to fully heal.

      Drugs have their own issues and all anti-depressants and anti-psychotics on the market have really awful side effects, such suicidal ideation, depression, extreme anxiety and liver damage. Not to mention brain damage (that can be repairable). So some of your suicidal thoughts could be because of the drugs you are taking. That being said, NEVER go off drugs all at once. If you do choose to go off drugs you need to do it very slowly and with the supervision of a supportive an excellent healthcare or alternative healthcare provider.

      The trauma that you suffered as a child you need to allow your body to detox from it, not stuff it back down with prescription drugs, herbs or vitamins. Even read the side effects label on your medications, even they will tell you how bad the drugs you are taking are. A great article about drugs is at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/11/it-prozac-or-placebo also if you look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnryFXxl7yU (he successfully treated people with ‪Schizophrenia‬ without drugs, if people suffering from ‪Schizophrenia‬ can heal without drugs, so can you but it is your choice).

      It may also be a great time to fully cut your entire family out of your life. None of them seem at all supportive. That means, no communication with them of any kind, block their phone numbers, etc. Your family sounds abusive, so they in truth, are not what a real family is about. Real families support each other, they don’t shame people for not being around abusers.

      It is not about if your abusers are suffering, it’s about focusing on your own healing, that is important. Though a person who does horrible things, though they may pretend to be happy, I do not see how they cannot be suffering inside. But it is time to keep a strong commitment to do what ever it takes to fully heal from the abuse. And there will be people, “professionals” who will tell you it cannot be done, but your job is to find the therapist or social worker who knows that you can heal and has the tools to help you to heal.

      Keep looking for great help and don’t give up until you find great help. You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE 24/7 hotline and they should connect you with the local rape crisis center, who may or may not be helpful. It looks like you may be between two different victim advocate places and it looks like they are both hospital based. just be cautious of the people who want to convince you to take drugs, herbs and vitamins. You can go to centers.rainn.org and look on the map for which one you want to try, or try a bunch of them. If you don’t find helpful people there just google and call until you find a great therapist or social worker. You might also want to try going to a practitioner at http://sensorylearning.com/locations.php#Intl . It’s a form of light therapy that is gentle and has been very helpful to some people. Do not quit the process of finding help until you have healed and then you can have a great life.

      And feel free to tell the “family secret”, which really is only the perpetrator’s secret. You were the victim.

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

  18. I am a 55 year old survivor of sexual abuse by my sister’s husband. My sister has been married to him for 47 years. I was between the ages of 8-16 when the abuse took place. I was ashamed and never told anyone until I was 16. What makes matters worse, is that my brother-in-law was a well known evangelist that held revivals and Christian rallies in the US & abroad. He holds a doctorate degree in Theology. I grew up in a Christian home and felt so full of guilt and shame and was sure that the abuse was somehow my fault. He even told me that if I ever told anyone, who did I think they would believe, me or him? It felt it must of been the way I was dressed or something I said to lead him own…At the age of 16, I told my other two sisters about what had happened to find out that he had also unsuccessfully tried the same thing with one of them. They told my father what had happened to me and he went to my brother-in-law but never spoke a word to me about what happened. My brother-in-law, while away at a revival, called me and asked why I had told on him…it was our little secret. I later found out after I was married with a child of my own that he had also molested his own two daughters, my two nieces, and all he got was a slap on the wrist from Child Protective Services, some family counseling for their family, but the children were never removed from the home. My niece who was 13 at the time she told a friend at school, who in turn told the school counselor, told me years later that she was about 4 years old when the abuse started and continued on until she left home around age 16. He did lose his church which he had started and was pastoring at the time. Since then our family has never spoken of it. My nieces both have children of their own (all girls) and visit their parents regularly. Before it came out about my nieces I was still in so much deception and denial that I attended his church and allowed my sister (his wife) to babysit my own daughter in their home when she was an infant. Over the last 10 years or so, I have managed a relationship with my three sisters (including the wife of my abuser) and we meet or go on “sister trips” and husbands are never allowed. Though, I am never around my brother-in-law anymore, I recently lost my Grandmother and another one of my sisters and he preached at both of their funerals. It has brought back a lot of anger, disbelief, and pain for me but also the reality that my family has been living most of my life in a state of denial and that my sister actually chose to stay with him all those years even after finding out about me and her own daughters years ago. This sin goes deep and is forever twisted and my family has remained in bondage because of it.

    1. Hi Jill,

      It may be time to break away from the sister who is married to the pedophile. By marrying him and staying with him, she has become a perpetrators enabler. She is not healthy. It is also horrible that your nieces who were molested are allowing their children to be in a situation where they can also be molested. It sounds like there is a ton of denial in your family. You can feel free to speak your truth and tell each person your concerns about him being a pedophile and if they choose to be around him, it is probably time for you to walk away from those people. Also you might want to check in with your sister who is not married to the pedophile, in order to heal, you want to surround yourself with people who stand up against pedophiles, even if it means walking away from some or all people in your family. When you confront people with the truth, you will find out where they are really at and who they really are.

      You can also tell CPS your concerns, they may be more responsive now or they may not. You can always keep reaching out until you find a person at CPS who will be responsive. You can also write a review for his church mentioning that he molested you and already has been reported to CPS in the past, though you might want to check with an excellent lawyer before doing that.

      All of those feelings that are coming up for you are healthy feelings of anger, disbelief and pain, it is hard to acknowledge that your family supported a pedophile and did not and still does not protect children. But by recognizing it, you can heal from the abuse and protect your children and it is important to remember that pedophiles may abuse children of both genders. So all children should be kept away from this person.

      It shows that you are coming out of denial by writing your story and healing. The more you heal the more you will no longer tolerate being around perpetrators or perpetrator’s enablers.

      It may be time to find excellent counselling if you are not doing so already. You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE that number should connect you with the local rape crisis center who should provide free or cheap counselling and maybe even legal advice. Though when it comes to finding lawyers and counselling you may need to search a bunch until you find people who are helpful and have the tools to help you in both cases. I have frequently been told by lawyers (in the few cases that I have needed them, that I did not have a case when I knew that I did and found a lawyer who felt strongly that I had a case, though two times I had to make a ton of calls to find excellent lawyers).

      Though it would be great if the center near you has excellent counselling for you but if you do not feel they have the tools or if the counsellor or therapist starts to recommend things like prescription drugs, vitamins or herbs to deal with emotions, its time to keep looking. They are not good even temporary bandaids and all can have bad side effects.

      Keep searching and interviewing therapists and counsellors until you find one with the tools to help you to heal. If you are ever talking on the hotline or to an unhelpful person either hang up or excuse yourself from the room and keep looking.

      You can heal and get the unhealthy people out of your life if you keep taking action and doing what you need to do to heal.

      Did you find my play helpful?

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

  19. hello. I am a 24yr old woman. I was molested by my biological father for years. I remember things that happened as a preteen-teen… sneaking into my room…(edited by blogger) him “installing” a lock on my door that ended up broken and never worked… it actually kept my door from fully closing…(edited by blogger) However I now feel that there are events I have blocked out. I remember knowing about a certain sexual act at around 4 or 5 and acting it out with my cousin. I feel guilty about that and I wonder if I was an abuser although they are 2 yrs older than me. Why would I know how to do those things and why can’t I remember where I saw or learned it from? How do I remember? My dad is a pastor. My mom didn’t leave him after I told, she just left him over a yr ago after many affairs on his end. I know of 2 women my age he has hit on or approached in an inappropriate manner. I have seen him with my nephew years ago in a questionable position (…edited by blogger) but I couldn’t confirm something definitely happened and my sister claims her kids deny being touched anyway. My family is still associated with him and I was attempting to but it is too damaging for me. He lives 5mins away from me and calls/texts me often.he was verbally and physical abusive as well. I have had bruises and been called a slut for form fitting clothes… The first time I had sex (at 15) he found us in the car, chased us in his vehicle, pistol whipped the guy and slapped me and called me a whore. He claims he is sorry for what he did but I don’t believe it. He only apologized because I removed him from my and my son’s life and he didn’t want to lose his grandkid. I am afraid if given the chance he would abuse my son after reading that pedophiles like both sexes. I have extreme anxiety and intrusive thoughts about bad things happening to my loved ones. I had anorexia at the time of abuse and I currently overeat. deep depression spells, flashbacks, nightmares. I self medicate with alcohol and weed just to function daily without these thoughts overtaking me. I am seeing a therapist for the first time later this month and I am so afraid it will only make things worse. I don’t know what else to do to keep from drowning.

    1. Hi Preacherskid,

      I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you. It is so not ok. Acting out abuse is a symptom of being abused and it’s ok to forgive yourself for doing that.

      You do not need to associate with your father at all. He is a very sick person and it is healthier for you if you have absolutely no contact with him. He lost his right to be around you and your children or have any contact with you at all, ever, when he chose to abuse you. You’re mother should have left him immediately after you told her about the abuse, that was your mom’s job. To protect her children and not allow abusers to ever, talk, write or be around her children, ever. As for your nephew, sometimes children deny that they were abused because they repress the memory or others tell them not to talk about it.

      I would block his number on your phone so you never have to read a text or receive a call from him. You can also try to get a restraining order against him, which is legitimate to do because he is a pedophile and you need to protect your son. You can also send a letter to him certified return receipt stating that he is not to contact you or your son or husband (if applicable) ever again and if he tries to contact any of you because he is abusive, you will file a straining order (ask an attorney about if you can and how, pretty sure you can). I am not a lawyer and if you do contact one sometimes you need to shop around, there are awesome attorneys and ones who will tell you that you cannot legally do things that you actually cam legally do.

      Also if your family chooses to be around a pedophile, it may be time to distance yourself from them also. What they are doing is not supportive at all, and you need supportive people in your life. It is so important when you are healing from abuse to have no contact with the perpetrator and people who support the perpetrator and after you have healed then you have no reason to be around people who are emotionally ill (such as perpetrators and the people who support them).

      A dad who calls his daughter names like “whore” is frequently a pedophile.

      Like the other survivor wrote a great therapist is really helpful and bad ones are not. So listen to how you feel around that therapist. And never take prescription drugs or herbs for emotional issues, they have terrible side effects and are not even a good temporary bandaid. Don’t let them sell you on the myth of chemical imbalance (great article about that at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/11/it-prozac-or-placebo). If that’s what the therapist wants you to do fix a chemical imbalance or take drugs, keep looking for an excellent therapist. If you are in the United States, you can also try calling 1-800-656-HOPE a 24/7 hotline for survivors. I the person on the phone is helpful, that is great, if not hang up and try again later (volunteers change shifts). If they are repeatedly not helpful you can try another hotline at centers.rainn.org. The people answering the phone frequently have centers that offer free therapy. But again even if it’s free or low cost unless the therapist is great, it’s probably not helpful and bad therapy can be hurtful, so never hesitate if you need to walk away.

      For more ideas on tools for healing, you can read my posts at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ which has tools for when you feel triggered to eat to stuff feelings and depression and http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ which has tools for self parenting. When you are having flashbacks you can also try to put those memories in a container and seal it, if releasing it does not help. Nightmares can be a way of the body processing the trauma or it can be other things.

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

    2. Therapy can be scary but with a good therapist it is liberating. It can feel like things get worse because you are facing those things, trying to process experiences and feelings that your mind could not at a younger age, and reframing your world. It is hard to claim your life. But it is yours to claim and it is your right to not be suffocated by the anxiety and abuse. You will get there. Keep going and don’t quit. If your therapist does not feel like a good fit, ask to try someone else! You are in control of your survival.

  20. I was sexually abused by my father as a very small child. The effects have been so far reaching in my life. I constantly feel like I don’t deserve anything good in my life. The worst part is that I think my brother was abused as well, but he has repressed it and I feel responsible for saving him. Also my father is still in my life and because I have really bad PTSD he is financially supporting me and it feels wrong, because he keeps denying that he sexually abused me as child and I think he’s trying to keep me silent by feeding me money.

    I’m confused and I don’t know what to do. I just started group therapy for sexual abuse but I’m afraid that the people their won’t understand my situation.

    1. Hi Shawn,

      Please know that you are not alone. You can heal from the abuse and detox from it so that you can have an amazing life. You deserve a great life. It is not your fault that your brother was abused, it is entirely your father’s fault that he abused your brother and you. Do not hold onto your father’s shame, it belongs to your father not you. Parents are suppose to protect their children from abuse not abuse their children. Your father as never a real dad, real dads do not abuse their kids. A real dad would have done what ever it took to protect his children.

      You can heal from the PTSD also. For ideas on helping to detox from the PTSD and the abuse you might want to read my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      Your taking money from him is not wrong, what he did was wrong. The fact that he is lying that he did not abuse you is wrong. I found this support site for male survivors in Ontario at https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/ovss/male_support_services/ (it is an unsecured website so you may have to click that you accept the risks depending on your browser, not sure why some government websites have that problem) They also list this 24/7 hotline number on that page 1-866-887-0015. They also may be able to help you to find other resources so that you do not need to take money from your dad and you can cut off all ties with him. While you still need money from him, try to speak with him as little as possible and once you no longer need any money from him, I would not speak with him or have any contact with him at all, you owe him nothing, he abused you.

      You might want to also reach out to malesurvivor.org, they have a bunch of weekend retreats where you can meet and hear other survivors experiences. If you need to, they might be able to give you a scholarship for the weekend. They also have a bunch of chat rooms and forums.

      Every child deserves to be loved and protected from harm, I am sorry to hear that neither you nor your brother experienced that.

      Is the group therapy helpful? If not keep looking, there are understanding people and great therapists and counsellors and also really bad and mediocre ones, so if you ever reach out for help and it’s not helpful, keep looking. That applies to calling hotlines and meeting with therapists and counsellors. Keep reaching out until you get helpful help.

      You can heal and have an awesome life, just keep reaching out for help and once you get great help you can work on detoxing from the abuse. Please feel free to write back with answers to the question or questions, updates or comments.

    2. omigosh Shawn…MY DAD TOO. i understand because i also have ptsd and the f**ker supports me cuz my brain is all f**ked. I’m so sorry and i completely have the same issues.

  21. From a very early age, my mother would have sex with multiple men in front of me, or loud enough for me to hear. I have also been through my own situations with other people throughout the years and have confronted, overcame and moved on to live in peace with all of this.
    A few months ago, my boyfriends step sibling told me that he had molested her starting when she was 11 and he was 12 and it went on for about 4-5 years. Her concern was for my daughter living in the same home as him. I spoke to all of my children extensively and all seem to be uneasy or uncomfortable with him… Again, due to my own experiences, I know what to look for, and my kids defiantly don’t show the signs of even being unhappy at all. However, I don’t know if what she told me has triggered my own past experiences, but its her experience with my significant other that keeps replaying over in my head, literally making me sick. I told her to confront him, and she won’t. She asked me to confront him and I did and he denied it of course, and said it was consentual, and they were both young kids experimenting
    Her account is much different. No body wants to comfront the other and now I’m stuck here in the middle not knowing which way to turn. I feel like she should confront him, for her own peace of mind, whether he admits it or not. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi JLM,

      If it was a one time thing and your boyfriend felt remorse about it and was trying to make amends to his step sibling, that is possible he would want to heal, but this situation does not sound very good to me. Many times a perpetrator will say something is consensual, when it is not consensual. It is not a victim’s job to confront the perpetrator, if they don’t want to confront them. Survivors need to do different things to heal. If she is concerned for your daughter that is a sign that there could be a problem.

      You can ask him why he thought it was consensual when she felt she was being molested? Listen closely to how he answers the question. How would a person who is innocent respond to this questions versus how would a person who is not innocent respond to this question?

      When you first wrote “all seem to be uneasy or uncomfortable with him” I am curious why that came out. Was that coming from an unconscious place or where did that come from because there is some reason you wrote that first?

      Sounds like you are in the space where you do not want to believe it is true but it is time to open the space to that possibility because you have kids that are around him. And you need to make sure that there is not even slightest possibility that he can abuse your children because that is the most important thing.

      How old are your children? Often perpetrators rape children around the same age so they may not be old enough. Also all kids will react to abuse differently so there are no single signs but clusters that can show you. Other kids may block abuse out and act as if nothing happened, though all are traumatized by it. Also perpetrators may violate children of both sexes, which is important to remember.

      You can also try reaching out to 1-800-656-HOPE a 24/7 hotline and talk to them about it, though you may need to be anonymous about it. The people who answer may or may not be helpful, if they are not helpful hang up and try again and keep trying until you get helpful help even if you need to reach out to a counsellor or therapist. But no matter who you reach out to hang up or walk away if they are not helpful.

      Please feel free to write back with answers the those questions and with any questions or updates.

  22. Something has always been wrong. I’ve punished myself for the unknown for a long time by masking the pain in addiction, promiscuity, and depression. I need help out of this depression, which has followed me my entire life. I remember some things, not so much others. I am a 35 year old mother of two girls, divorced and trying to finally heal with a twelve step program and abstinence. When I was very young I remember sexual instances with two male cousins, not too many details. I had a flashback when I was fourteen of something transpiring with my father when I was very young. I was molested at a friend’s party by her uncle when I was left alone in her bedroom at the age of 13. I told a friend of the family and they didn’t believe me so I didn’t bother telling anyone else, including my family. I drink to get drunk occasionally, and on one occasion lost memory and woke up knowing I had been raped. This happened recently, which broke up my family. I then went to alcohol to mask the pain and almost lost my children completely, while sinking in an addictive spiral that only encouraged more abuse with frequent blackouts. I have had relationships with much older men, I am very promiscuous. I am in a twelve step program and seeing a wonderful counsellor once a week. It is hard for me to keep a job, be on time, keep lasting and meaningful friendships. It is hard to wake up and get out of bed in the morning, depression paralyzing me on a daily basis. I travel as well, and have no job or income at the moment. I have dreams and goals that I have no idea how to accomplish. I need and want help and to help others once I am able. I would like to finally start living my life, I don’t feel I have been, there have been moments of clarity and peace, but they never stay for long. I have carried a heavy weight that my mother passed away when I was 5 days old. My stepmother was never a replacement as she had her own addiction and depression struggles and never treated me in a loving way. I have tried to commit suicide twice in my adult life, and threatened it once when I was only seven. My ex-husband is a beautiful soul with a wonderful family that have my two daughters full time and has protected them against my self-destruction for the past two years. My last two relationships turned out to be emotionally and physically abusive, one seemed perfect and then he almost killed me. I need to change, I need help. Real help, like articles and resources that can explain all this to me so that it makes sense and I can get out of this hole. I want to study the psychology of it and how to heal so I can live an authentic life. So that I don’t have to be the victim anymore. Please help me.

    1. I will write a response in the next few weeks, but I do want to acknowlledge you for getting sober and reaching out for help, that is a great start in the process of detoxing from the abuse.

    2. Hi Paralyzed…I read your comment and it was like someone had put my fears into writing for me.  Something has always been wrong.  Those words are mine.  I am a 36 year old mom of two boys.  My mother’s brother molested me as a child.  I don’t know if I remember everything, but I remember enough.  I remember that my mom was aware.  While she did not in any way condone it, she did not stop it either.  I was then molested by my friend’s uncle, my older cousins and then  raped by my older sister’s boyfriend as a teenager.  I went on to get pregnant at the age of 15 by a 20 year old and have self-medicated all of my life I think.  I am not divorced, but close.  I am unemployed and going through my 2nd battle with Grave’s Disease.  I am also searching for a way to get through this.   I know that my adult life is a mess because of my childhood abuse and subsequent neglect of my now deceased mother.  But what do I do?  How can I be big enough to overcome all the years of trying not to deal?  I just had to tell you that you are not alone in your search.  I also wanted to share with you a couple of things I have found today.  I have found an online support group at http://www.pandys.org.  I also found these things that may help you as they have given me some insight.

      …(Edited by blogger)

      And a book that I am hoping to use in my journey.  http://www.ascasupport.org/_downloads/survivor_to_thriver.pdf

      Good luck and thank you for sharing.

      1. Hi Luluro,

        Your life can get better, if you keep taking action and find the right people who can help you to heal and you truly want to heal. Just because a person is abused as a child does not mean that their adult life has to be awful and terrible things will happen to them. Your life can change and it can be awesome.

        You can also try calling 1-800-656-HOPE and talk with a person on the hotline. If they are helpful great, if not you can hang up and try again later. They also may have some free counselling services. But again if they are helpful great and if not keep looking for help. Do not stop until you get great help.

        If you find great help and truly want to heal and take action you can have an awesome life. Your past does not have to create your future.

        You can write back with any questions, comments or updates.

    3. Hi Paralyzed,

      I am very sorry to hear that all of those things happened to you, that is not ok. It is not your fault that your mother died when you were 5 years old, you were only a little girl. Look at how small a 5 year old child is.

      It is a parent’s and step parent’s job to protect their children from abuse and not abuse them. There is a great chance that you learned from your step-mother subconsciously that the way to handle emotions is to drink and stuff them down. But you can unlearn anything that you learned from her and the others around you who were not healthy people. I know that a huge percentage of alcoholics and drug addicts were abused as children, I also know that many people who are sober will go out and drink or use when those memories start coming back up, but that does not have to occur. Sometimes in twelve step programs people can be very supportive when sexual assault is brought up and other times people do not want to hear about it, don’t worry about those who do not want to hear about it, and say what you need to say to continue to heal from the abuse. Statistically when you look deeper both men and women are survivors of childhood sexual assault (last I checked the official statistic was 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of 18 which I do not believe even takes into account the under reporting of sexual assault.

      It seems like your full time job right now should be to heal from the abuse and staying sober, the rest should fall into place. That is great if your counsellor is helpful, maybe you can even see then twice a week, if that is a possibility. See what kind of support is available for you at the moment, so that you can focus on healing. If you and your ex-husband are still good friends, maybe you can talk with him about a plan or with your counsellor. Also important to note that some parts of psychology are helpful while the parts that talk about chemical imbalance are not in the least bit helpful and actually are harmful because chemical imbalance is an unproven theory that the pharmaceutical industry continues to pay “experts” to write about. A couple of great articles about the myth of chemical imbalance https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/curious/201403/what-causes-depression-myths-about-chemical-imbalances and http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/11/it-prozac-or-placebo

      The more you heal, the less you will be a victim, it can take time but with the right help it does not need to take a lifetime. I tried googling rape crisis centers in Mexico but in English, and not sure if there are any but if you google it in Spanish, you may find some that could also help. Frequently they have free counselling also for survivors at least in the US. But if ever someone is not helpful, you can always leave the session or hang up the phone. listen to how you feel and go by that.

      Keep detoxing from the abuse and you will find that your life is getting better. Also you can try the tools on my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ may be helpful to detox from the abuse.

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

      1. Thank you for your response. I am mostly working on my twelve step program right now, staying abstinent for stability. I have put reading and working in the book, “Courage to Heal” on hold, and just focusing on sobriety. The rest will come. I am working now, too, and getting to spend time with my daughters. That relationship is unstable, so I am a little depressed, but I am not dead yet.

    4. Your first sentence says it all “I’ve been punishing myself”. That is your problem right there. You have to practice loving yourself. Stop condemning yourself. All you need is a good friend to show you that you are worth it. As an adult, you have the resources to find friends who will love you unconditionally. Every time you feel unable or weak is the time you forgive yourself and love yourself unconditionally. You will make it.

  23. My father molested me from an early age until I was 12 or 13.  I was a very quiet child, stayed to myself, buried myself in books and had few friends.  In our house, you always wanted him to work late, to work the weekend and you never, EVER, wanted it to rain. If it rained or snowed, that meant he would be home all day. And if he was home all day, that meant a lot of hollering, cussing and anger would be on tap.  Not the best childhood for sure.

    I was in my tenth grade psychology class when the stark realization hit me that my father had molested my just a few short years earlier. It hit me like a brick wall. All of these ‘mind’ pictures started playing thru my head over and over and over. I was terrified and didn’t know what to do.

    I tried to tell mom. In a ‘hypothetical’ conversation, she told me she would be mad if she found out her kids had been abused and they hadn’t told her about it. I felt I couldn’t tell her. I pushed all the memories down. Way down, and chose to ignore them.

    It wasn’t until I met my future husband that the memories started popping back up.  Once we got married and had a child, the ‘mind pictures’ became so prevalent and non-stop until I thought I was honestly going to die. No matter what did, they kept pounding me…I couldn’t breathe, I was suffocating.. I hadn’t shared my dark secret with my husband and had no one to help me. After months and months of suffering, I finally reached out and started seeing a counselor. My first visit was horrible. I cried incessantly. He was a good therapist though-after several weeks of twice weekly appointments, I felt somewhat more human.

    It’s been 14 years since my last session and I find myself replaying those mind pictures again. I find myself interrupting my day to day life with these awful, awful memories. I try to power through them, but I manage only to get quiet, get alone and cry.

    How do you make the pictures go away? How do you keep the memories from sabotaging an otherwise normal day? I am sinking again and even though my head is staying above ground, it’s a constant struggle. When does all of this stop?

    1. Hi Maddie,

      I am sorry to hear that this happened to you, it is not in the least bit ok. What are your thoughts on going back to the therapist you saw? Several weeks is not a ton of time to heal from child abuse, though I am not clear if you saw him longer than that, either way, if things are coming up, it’s time to get more help. If you do not feel a detox after crying, you might want to try putting those mind pictures in some type of container and closing that container. That can help when they keep popping up. The memories can stop, you just need to find great help, someone who can help you to detox all of the trauma from your body. There are people who can help, but they are not always easy to find and unfortunately, there are a ton of unhelpful people out there also. You are not alone and you can fully heal from the abuse, you just gave to find the right person to help you. And drugs and herbs for emotional problems can have tons of terrible side effects and do not help the problem at all, while causing problems of their own, so stay away from those.

      Sometimes getting married and other significant events can trigger memories also.

      If you do choose to get help from someone else, you can start by calling 1-800-656-HOPE 24/7 and they will connect you with a local rape crisis center, who may or may not be helpful. If you are on the phone with a person who is not helpful, hang up and try again later (volunteers who answer the phone change shifts, but if they are repeatedly not helpful, you can try another hotline from centers.rainn.org website, the online hotline https://ohl.rainn.org/online/ or try finding great therapist. Keep reaching out until you get great help and you can heal.

      You also may want to try reading 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/ but on the bottom where it says “Summary and action steps:” you can try the first three steps but skip the step that starts with “Then ask yourself what is something in my life that it would be appropriate for me to have such an extreme emotional response?…” and the next two steps and go straight to the last step.

      I would be interested to know if putting the mind pictures in a container worked and your thoughts on seeing your old therapist again. Also feel free to write back with any questions or comments.

      1. Thanks. I kinda dropped out for a while. The pictures continue. Not so often though. I did my usual ignore it. My daughter graduated high school. An awesome accomplishment. My father decided to show up for two hot minutes & leave 1/2 way through. I was so angry. A million things ran through my head. Since then I’ve said less than 12 sentences to him. I took your suggestion and I wrote down a few of the awful memories and put them individual Ziploc bags. I threw them away. It was hard to write them down. I think it helped to throw them out, but I think just allowing myself to be angry at him over the graduation helped a lot too. I appreciate what you do. Thank you. It’s an ugly thing to go through.

        1. Hi Maddie,

          I’m glad to hear that helped. Your next step is to get your father out of your life completely, he has no business being around you or your daughter. And if your mother’s not supportive and horrified by what your dad did to you, she needs to be out of your life also. Perpetrators and those who support perpetrators are very sick people. With the holidays coming up you might want to also read my post http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ It’s best to celebrate the holidays with only healthy people even if it means not being around the sick people in your family.

          1. You are completely right. I made it through the holidays and managed to do so with some peace of mind. My dad’s sister passed away right after the holidays. She was always so sweet & kind to me growing up. It was hard to let her go. But watching him go through the loss of his sister taught me something. Well sort of, I suppose. I mean  I know he’s my father & there are all these things I SHOULD feel for him, but the only constant thing I feel is anger. Even at the funeral, I was still so angry. I’m even kinda angry with my mom. I can’t imagine she was completely unaware of what he was doing to me all those years. I mean I have memories of sitting at the dining room table while she was across the table IN THE KITCHEN cooking and was he was…(edited by blogger) How could she not see?? I will never understand turning a blind eye to the molestation of your own daughter. I know at some point I gotta let things go and move forward. Maybe soon. It’s nice to have this anonymous outlet. I appreciate it. Thank you.

            1. Hi Maddie,

              It’s fine to feel angry at your dad, that’s a normal response to having bee abused by him. It’s also fine to feel angry at your mom, also a normal response. Mothers should be paying attention to protect all of their children and dads need to pay attention to protect their children as well. Though your dad did not want to protect you, only abuse you. And it sounds like your mom also did nothing to protect you.

              Funerals are for the living not the dead. If abusive family members like your dad or mom are going to be around, it is fine to not attend the funeral and mourn in your own way, maybe have your own thing you do to mourn. When I found out my dad had died, I did a rock climb with some other people to mourn not only his death but the fact that I never really had a dad, only a man who wanted to rape me. And a mother who did not care and was willing to call me crazy rather than protect her child from abuse.

              As you heal from the abuse a you will find yourself thinking about the abuse less and less and living your life more and more. Though you cannot force yourself to let go, that will only lead to stuffing your emotions down and that is never helpful because your feelings will scream to be heard, sadness can become depression when it screams to be heard anger, can become rage, etc.

              Did you find a great therapist? You might also want to look into the book “Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, has helped other survivors to heal from some of the abuse.

              Feel free to write back with any questions, comments or updates. Updates give other survivors hope.

              1. Thanks. I kinda dropped out for a while. The pictures continue. Not so often though. I did my usual ignore it. My daughter graduated high school. An awesome accomplishment. My father decided to show up for two hot minutes & leave 1/2 way through. I was so angry. A million things ran through my head. Since then I’ve said less than 12 sentences to him. I took your suggestion and I wrote down a few of the awful memories and put them individual Ziploc bags. I threw them away. It was hard to write them down. I think it helped to throw them out, but I think just allowing myself to be angry at him over the graduation helped a lot too. I appreciate what you do. Thank you. It’s an ugly thing to go through.

                1. Thank you. I’m still at a point of unexplainable anger. It’s been that way with me it seems my whole freaking life. I go through these peaks and valleys of anger/hatred and irrational….rage, for lack of a better word. I keep hyper-focused on the mind-pictures that keep popping up in my head. On the sounds around me that always puts,me right back to my 9 year old self. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to keep it under control at times. I seem to do better if I keep him on ignore, but there always seems to be SOMETHING that forces me to pay attention to him again. And then the cycle starts all over again.

                  It’s his birthday this weekend. My brother has planned a party for him. Of course it’s expected I be there. I mean what kind of daughter doesn’t show up to her dad’s birthday celebration? I would get grief from my whole family and be made to feel lower than dirt. As usual. Obligation. Responsibility. I want learn how to give myself permission to bail on family functions I don’t want to attend. I know I must drive my husband insane but he is so patiently supportive.

                  I have called several local places to find a therapist but am having difficulty finding a female counselor accepting new clients in my area. I do have an appointment with a male counselor, his 1st available is August 17. I hope he’s worth the wait.

                  1. Hi Maddie,

                    No matter what, you do not need to go to your brother’s party. It’s about taking care of yourself. You might want to try practicing and exercise saying “no”. Have someone you trust pretend to be other people and practice saying no in all situations. The ideal would be to cut off all contact so “no” is not even necessary. A daughter who wants to take care of herself and heal does not need to show up at her dad’s birthday party.

                    When it comes to therapists I would recommend having a bunch you are interviewing so there is no pressure to get yourself to use a therapist that is not excellent. Did you already try the 1-800-656-HOPE number? It should connect you to the local rape crisis center, which may or may not be helpful. Also driving further to get help or Skype could be a possibility also.

  24. Thank you for your web site. I suffered incest at the hands of my older brother from age 6 to 17. It was extreme, frequent and horrible. I recently in the past 6 months been remembering most of this. The thing is i can’t get these horrific memories out of my mind. I am still remembering things I’d “forgotten”. These memories are so visual and vivid. I don’t know if I can take much more. Its like seeing a XXX movie in my head staring me. Its too much. Too extreme. i do go to therapy several times per week. I know telling my therapist the memories is the thing to do. I just feel I’ll never be free from them. These horrific memories are too hard to have.

    1. Hi Barb,

      I am very sorry to hear that happened to you, that is not ok. You might want to try and see if you can put those memories in some kind of container and see of that helps. If talking about your memories is causing them to be so vivid and too extreme it may not be the best thing to do right now to help you to heal. And if what you are doing in therapy is not working you might want to look to see if there are other things you can do that would be more helpful.

      You also may want to try reading 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/ but on the bottom where it says “Summary and action steps:” you can try the first three steps but skip the step that starts with “Then ask yourself what is something in my life that it would be appropriate for me to have such an extreme emotional response?…” and the next two steps and go straight to the last step.

      Being kind to yourself is the best thing you can do to heal. You might also want to look 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/ which has some ideas about self parenting which can help with healing from the abuse even if you were not abused by your parents.

      I would be interested to know if the container for the memories helped. You can heal from the abuse and the images just keep trying different things until it works (not including anti-depressants, anti-psychotics or herbs because they have so many side effects that can cause more problems than you started with) and also feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

  25. I find it very hard to admit what happened to me. I’m trying hard just to call myself an incest survivor. I watched the video of your play. It made me cry. Thank you. I don’t feel so alone.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Sorry it took me a while to respond. I am grateful to hear that my play helped.

      It can be hard to admit that it is real but by saying it and admitting it to yourself, things in your life that may have not made sense before will make more sense. Like why you feel a certain way or do certain things that seemed like they came from no where but actually they came from the abuse. I am glad that my play helped you. Sexual abuse happens to so many boys and girls, so you are not alone. A statistic that I have heard frequently is 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted before they are 18. I think that it is much higher than that because men are less likely to report it because of societal pressures. It shows your strength to have watched my play and be willing to start to admit that it happened to you.

      By admitting it, it can help you to start to heal from the abuse. You might want to go to http://www.malesurvivor.org there you will find a ton of resources for male survivors. They even have a bunch of weekend retreats all over the United States. I have never attended one or know of anyone who has but they do look interesting but I cannot endorse it personally.

      Another thing that could be helpful is to call 1-800-656-HOPE which is a 24/7 hotline that connects you with the local rape crisis hotline. Sometimes the people who answer the hotline are really helpful and other times they are not at all helpful. But if you ever need to talk about the abuse or things that are coming up in your life now that you think are there because of the abuse that could be a resource. The center in your area says they have free services for survivors but also says that their therapy is sliding scale which usually centers provide for free. But it still may be helpful and the hotline is always free. Always hang up the phone or leave the room (if you are interviewing a therapist) if you are not getting helpful help. If you are calling the hotline and they are not helpful, you can try back in a few hours because the volunteers change shifts or if that repeatedly does not work you can try another hotline anywhere in the country. The reason that I recommend reaching out and getting help is because having a therapist or counsellor can help you to detox from the abuse. You can also try to make a bunch of calls and reach out to find a great therapist separate from the hotline if they are not helpful. When looking for a therapist you want to find one who has the tools to help you to heal from the abuse. Those recommending, anti-depressants and other mood altering drugs, herbs and vitamins, do not have the tools to help you, which is why they are blaming your trauma on your brain. The brain needs to detox from the trauma not get toxified and harmed because of the trauma. Plus all of those drugs have really bad side effects.

      You can also try reading 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/

      Thanks for reaching out and feel free to write back with any questions, comments or updates. And if you do contact malesurvivor.org I would be interested to hear your thoughts on that.

      1. Hi Steve,
        i read your post this morning. I too was sexually abused as a boy within my family My memories were boxed away for years and it has been a long road back, but i’m making it…Amy mentioned malesurvivor.org….i am a member and it really can be a helpful site for you. It is safe and secure ( the men on it have all been abused and do not use their real name…they use a “handle” ) Every Wed and sun eves at 9 pm there is what is called the healing circle run by a truly wonderful, insightful man…there a member may take the floor and talk about anything that is troubling him: having been sexually abused , trying to find a therapist his family, etc…the other men in the circle will respond and give advice and support…i have been doing it for over a year and it’s been very helpful in my own recovery…give it a try…in the beginning you don’t have to speak up you can just come and listen…there’s no pressure …
        Amy’s play is very powerful i have seen it too…i’d love to have her come to the New England area so i can see it in person…
        i guess i just want to let you know you are not alone and what happened to you was in no way your fault…you were just a trusting kid…there are many, many people who care about what happens to you…just know you are not alone…
        please, take care of yourself, Joseph

  26. I need help with a situation I’m dealing with…. I got molested by a relative at a young age.. I am extremely embarrassed by the situation … but here’s the problem, I can’t seem to delete him out of my life… I once recently talked to him about some problems I was having and he started getting weird so I stopped talking to him… but I can’t seem to x him out…I’m almost afraid that if I don’t keep him close enough to watch him, something bad will happen. I know that’s silly because I am a grown woman with my own life…but I can’t shake the feeling. It’s becoming an issue between my spouse and I because he feels like I should cut him completely out of my life… I want to but for some reason I just can’t. Am I crazy?

    1. Hi Confused,

      Being a victim of abuse is nothing to be embarrassed about, the embarrassment, the shame, it all belongs to the person who abused you and not to you. Everyone can react differently to abuse, so wanting to keep an eye on him may be an old protection mechanism that you felt as a child and that the abused child within still feels. It is not silly, it is a reaction to abuse. When you heal more from the abuse there is a great chance that you will then be able to cut him out of your life. It can be hard for a person who loves you to see you around the person who abused you, so that can be where your spouse is coming from. It is healthier to get away from the abuser, when you are ready to do so. When a child is being abused, knowing where the abuser is can help a child feel safer. That can be how a child can try to protect themselves when the adults around them fail to protect their child who they are suppose to protect. You can try doing some exercises from 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/ whenever you feel the urge to talk with your cousin or be around him. And you can reassure yourself that you are an adult now, that you have the tools to protect yourself and you no longer need to keep your cousin where you can see him. It can take some time because the abused child inside is still probably very scared.

      You are not crazy, it is how you coped with being abused a a little child. That is not crazy, it is what kids do when they are in survival mode.

      It may also be helpful to reach out for help. You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE a 24/7 hotline that should connect you with your local rape crisis center. Most rape crisis centers also have free counselling. But just because people are suppose to help does not mean that they will or are helpful, so if you are ever talking with a person who is not helpful, you can always hang up the phone or politely leave the meeting with that person. Getting great help can help you to heal from the abuse and live a great life. Getting bad or mediocre help, is not at all helpful and can make you feel worse or even doubt yourself. I recommend staying away from therapists that think you should take anti-depressants, anti-psychotics or herbs like St. John’s Wort or Valerian Root because they are not helping you to detox from the abuse, instead they are recommending things that have really bad side effects, especially the pharmaceuticals and can even cause brain and liver damage (which creates new problems). A great therapist will have the tools to help you to detox from the abuse, not stuff those feelings back down or try to chemically erase them.

      Keep calling around until you get great help and as you heal things will get easier and easier. You might not even notice it at first, but the people who care about you will most likely notice and then you will notice. So reach out for help and don’t stop until you get excellent help. Do not be discouraged if people who are suppose to help are not helpful, it only means that you need to talk with someone else. If a hotline that you call is not helpful, then you can hang up and try again later, volunteers change shifts.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates give other survivors hope even if they may seem like small things to you.

  27. I had been molested by a cousin she was probably 14 when I was 8-10 whom I believe had been the victim previously but didn’t realize what she was doing. I had forgotten about it all and then one day remembered and I get flash backs and feel a lot of shame and guilt about it. I didn’t realize that it would have so much to do with the way I am now but I have no self esteem, I have anxiety, and I’m constantly trying to do right by others and when I feel like I can’t I am always upset. I have seen a therapist recently but I don’t have the courage to tell her about it even though I know I should. Should I confront my cousin about it? I wouldn’t

    1. Hi Victoria,

      It is not your shame or guilt because you were the victim, the shame and guilt that you are feeling belongs to your cousin. She violated you. Memories many times come up when we are ready to remember them. Our bodies often cope with abuse by forgetting it ever happened to us but we still feel the effects of having been abused whether we remember the abuse or not. The emotional effects such as how you feel that you have no esteem, anxiety and trying desperately to do right by others and the always being upset. When we remember our abuse it can often help us to understand parts of our life that did not quite make any sense before (parts that unknowing people could be tempted to label as chemical imbalance, but it is not chemical imbalance it is instead the body responding to being abused).

      I would also argue that some where inside you do have some self esteem which is why you were able to write this and are reaching out for help. A part of you realizes that you deserve and can have an awesome life.

      You might want to try reading 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/ which has some tools that can help you when you feel anxiety and upset.

      Does your therapist seem to be supportive and have helpful hints on how to deal with the problems you are talking with them about or do they recommend that you take drugs or herbs to cope with your issues? If they are giving you helpful hints and really listening to you then that is a good sign but if instead they are recommending drugs, herbs, etc it is usually a sign that they really don’t have many tools that will help you to heal, so they just do superficial counselling and drugs and herbs (that cause more problems and have really bad side effects).

      If you therapist seems supportive then you can try telling them about the abuse, if they still are supportive and help you to detox from the trauma and the emotions from the trauma that is great. If instead they tell you to forgive the abuser, or forgive and forget, or that because you remembered it maybe it did not happen or other non-supportive things then it is time to immediately find a new therapist.

      By telling your therapist, it is like a test to see if s/he is a good therapist or at the very least a good person, a good person would be supportive and believe you. But if your therapist is not supportive to begin with there is no reason to tell them about the abuse, what you really need to do in that case is immediately find a great therapist. If you are in Ontario you can try http://www.draw-the-line.ca/gethelp.html and scroll down the page for the hotlines to help sexual assault victims (they should be there to help people victimized as children and as adults) the only one I found in New Brunswick is (506) 454-0437 and it’s 24/7. If you are somewhere else in Canada you can go to http://www.casac.ca/node/53 Though please remember when you are reaching out for help, if the help is not helpful, hang up or walk away. Unfortunately not everyone who is suppose to help survivors is helpful or even nice, so always listen to how you feel around them. That is also true of therapists. If you are on a hotline, you can hang up and try again later, the volunteers change shifts but if you are repeatedly not helped, change hotlines or therapists depending which applies to you. Most rape crisis centres also provide free counselling but again help is only helpful, if they are great therapists and have the tools to help you. A great therapist for one person might not be a great therapist for another person.

      It’s your choice whether or not to confront your cousin. It also depends on what you expect to get out of confronting her. You need to know that she might deny it, call you crazy, say that you made a pass at her or many other things. There is a slim chance that she might admit it and even slimmer that she might apologize. She may have even forgotten that it ever happened. But you can still confront her if you want to speak your truth, so long as you do not expect a specific response from her. But if you are doing so that she will validate that it happened, probably not the best idea because she may deny that it happened or even have no memory. Though sometimes the way they deny it can be validating if it infers that it really did happen. Like when my dad denied it but said that the household help and maybe his mom molested him, then he screamed that he did not want to talk about it and offered me a new car. Though he never admitted it, his response was validating. But you can never know what their response will be, so it is entirely up to you whether or not you want to confront your cousin.

      So keep taking action to heal and work with a person who has the tools to help you to heal from the abuse and you will notice that slowly your life is getting easier. Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates give survivors hope.

  28. I am 18 years old and I was molested for 8 years by my older brother (ages 3 to 11) and I am only now finding out that time can not heal these wounds
    But can actually make them worse. I wet the bed up until I was 10 or 11 and still struggle with anxiety and shyness and high stress levels about everything. There isn’t a day that goes by it seems that I don’t think about this lately. I never got any help to heal these wounds and I never told anyone because I do not wish this burden on anyone else. I feel hopeless and have no idea how to get help for myself

    1. Hi Caity,

      Time may not heal those wounds but detoxing from the trauma and the emotions surrounding the trauma does heal trauma related wounds.

      What I believe happens is that when you stuff down the trauma and the emotions surrounding the trauma, it screams louder and louder to be heard. The more you try to stuff it away, the louder it screams. It wants to be heard so it can detox.

      For some ideas for when you get a bunch of extreme emotions coming out, such as depression (sadness screaming to be heard), anxiety, etc you can try reading my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ which has ideas that may help you to deal with those emotions that pop up in your life.

      Maybe you are thinking about it lately because you are ready to begin the healing process. By writing this shows that you took a great first step.

      You may want to try reaching out to 1-800-656-HOPE. It is a 24/7 hotline that should connect you with the local rape crisis center. They are suppose to help survivors to heal from past abuse and have free counseling. Sometimes they are helpful and sometimes they are not at all helpful and sometimes you have to ask yourself why they are working there. So if you get someone who is helpful that is great, if not hang up and try again later (people answering the phones change shifts). If you are talking with someone and they turn out not to be helpful politely excuse yourself and then keep searching for a helpful person who has the tools to help you to heal. Those could be changing how you look at things, detoxing from the trauma, etc. They should not be anything that can cause damage to your body such as drugs, herbs, ECT, vitamin therapy, etc. Do not let any therapist sell you on those as a way to help you or “take the edge off”, those have way too many harmful side effects and can make it harder for you to detox from the trauma.

      Also anyone who thinks you are burdening them by telling what happened to you is not a healthy person for you to be around. Even if you find that your parents are not supportive, then they are pro-perpetrator and not supportive of you as a victim to get the help you need. Non-supportive people can interfere with the healing process. They can make you doubt yourself, even doubt the truth or just be overall not supportive such as give excuses for the perpetrator or even tell you to forgive and forget (that never works because it stuffs the trauma back down). If they try to blame you for “tearing the family apart” then they are very sick. It was the abuser, who chose to abuse your repeatedly, that tore the family apart. It is also unsupportive parents that protect a perpetrator that tear the family apart but it is never the victim for speaking out about what happened that “tears the family apart”. That would be a huge lie.

      So it is time to stop keeping your brother’s secret and his shame and go get help. If the hotline is not helpful, you can try a trusted teacher or counsellor. If any people who you thought you trusted turn out to not support you, or tell you to get over it, keep it a secret, or anything else not supportive then you have just found out that they are not the people you thought they were. You can think of this as a test to see who is really an authentic awesome person and who is not really good to be around at all. You can also try and call around to therapists and counsellor if nothing above is helpful. Keep reaching out until you get helpful help.

      You can heal start to the wounds now. It’s never too late, it’s just time reach out for help.

      Please feel free to write back with and questions or updates. Updates give other survivors hope.things, detoxing from the trauma, etc. They should not be anything that can cause damage to your body such as drugs, herbs, ECT, vitamin therapy, etc. Do not let any theraoist sell you on those as a way to help you or “take the edge off”, those have way too many harmful side effects and can make it harder for you to detox from the trauma.

  29. I’m 19 I was molested for 5 years by my step dad I remember everything unfortunately lately I’ve been dying on the inside I can’t help but to think about it I need some help because being alone in this really sucks to not have anyone by your side I’ve only told a few people but they never really know what to say or how to handle it I want to talk with someone who has the same experience as me who’s been there before because it’s so much simpler that way . I keep trying to get up the nerve to tell my mom btw I live with my abuser and I absolutely hate him I’ve never had a father figure and I’m envious of females who do and get to actually have a father my real dad is a complete pathetic asshole he let people molest me for money when I was 5-6 so all of my life I’ve dealt with this and I feel like why me why is this my life I can’t focus or be happy or do anything anymore because of my pain and it’s killing me inside I have nothing to live for at all my life doesn’t seem valuable at all I have nothing going for me I’m at my lowest point in life and I can’t keep doing this to myself beating myself up drinking having sex with guys who don’t give a “f ” about me not caring about anything because on the inside I am completely dying and it really hurts please anyone just help me I can’t do this anymore

    1. Hi Ashley,

      I am so sorry to hear that happened to you. That is horrible. Living with the abuser is traumatizing, so it is time to find a way to leave your home and get away from your step-dad, you can also try telling your mom first to see if she will kick him out, which is the appropriate thing to do, but unfortunately, some parents do not protect and support their children, while others do. Hopefully your mother will be a real mom and throw him out and possibly report him to the authorities. Until you get away from the abuser it will be hard to heal, because there is always that looming threat. How can you sleep with a perpetrator in the same house? It has to be hard. You can trying buying a portable door lock but I think it would be much healthier to either have a great mom who kicks out your step-dad out or leave. If she does not kick him out quickly then your mother is not a real mom, no matter what excuse she might give for not throwing him out. But you can still begin the healing process and strengthen yourself and also reach out for more help.

      You have done the first step by telling your story online, that probably took a bunch of strength. So now it may be time to make a call to 1-800-656-HOPE or if you are in school to try talking to the school counsellor. The problem you may find when reaching out for help is that there are great people and not so great people who work as therapists, counsellors and rape crisis centers. But do not let unhelpful or even mean people stop you from getting help. Keep reaching out for help until you find great help, with great tools to help you to heal (people talking about “chemical imbalance” will be not be able to help you because they will not have the tool that will help you to heal. Instead they will only have drugs and herbs, which do not help but do cover up the trauma you need to detox from. Those drugs herbs and even vitamins can also have really bad side effects.)

      If the rape crisis center is helpful and your mom is not, they may even be able to help you get a place to live away from the abuser but at the very least they should have free counselling that is helpful. (If it’s not helpful, politely leave or hang up. But it is also important to discern between being scared from the past and dealing with those feelings and a person or center that is not helpful.)

      If you need a place sooner, you can look at possibly working at a place that has employee housing or if you are not ready to work you can also look into subsidized housing and possibly getting temporary social security or assistance with living expenses while you heal. Because you are a survivor of human trafficking (because your dad was paid for your abuse) you can also call 1-888-3737-888 and see if they are helpful. If ever you reach out for help anywhere and the people are not helpful or mean, remind yourself that it has nothing to do with you and that there are perpetrators and pro-perpetrators that sometimes work at places meant to help survivors. If you do find yourself in that situation, hang up or walk away. Though hopefully you will not have that happen to you. The Florida human trafficking website is http://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/human-trafficking

      If those places are not helpful, you can also try calling http://www.fcadv.org/ which is for domestic violence and because you still live with the abuser, they might be able to help you and get you shelter, if your mom turns out to not be a real mother. Real moms protect their children and so do real dads.

      If you still need to find help, you can try calling around to different therapists and counsellors. You can also see about college scholarships to help you get away but I’m not sure how easy they are to get.

      When you feel the urge to drink or do things that are not helpful, you can go inside and ask, what is it that I am trying not to feel? What is it that I am running away from? I have found that when I allow myself to feel the feeling I am trying to stuff down or avoid, sometimes they dissipate quite quickly. The pain from the abuse is not permanent, it is screaming to allow yourself to feel it and detox from the pain. It may or may not be helpful to go to Alcoholic’s Anonymous. I think they have some great tools but I also think that constantly repeating that you are always very close to your next drink and that you are always an alcoholic may not be helpful. If you were doing hypnosis on someone to get them to stop drinking that would be the last messages you would want to tell them.

      You can heal and have an amazing life. Do not give up. Take action until you get the help you need and you will find if you take the action that you need to to heal, your life will get better. Maybe slowly at first but it will get better.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates can give other survivors hope.

    2. Hi Ashley…My name is Lisa…I am also a survivor…I read your story and it really touched me…I was sexually abused by my monster of an uncle(which was my mother’s brother) from the age of 4 to 7…I don’t know how old you are right now but I am 45 years old and i was 34 years old when it finally come out because finally something triggered it…And I’m gonna tell u it was the best thing that happened just letting it out…Mind u, my mom and dad got divorced when i was 12…I’m gonna be honest with you, when i tried talking to my mom, she blew me off! She did not wanna hear it…Ohh but she went to buy me a book to read and that’s the best thing she coulda done cuz it help me tremendously…My dad on the other hand ( god rest his soul) was there for me.. And girl when i told him, it was not pretty site…Listen, i was were u are…I’m still not fully healed…Some scars are still there but your first step hon is to LET IT OUT!! Do not bottle your feelings up! They will affect your physiological health and don’t allow it!! The thought of anyone using a child to gratify their own perverse sexual desires in an incomprehensible evil! It is an evil that has disgraced, destroyed,and devalued the human race! But it’s real…DON’T YOU EVER FEEL SHAMED OR TO BLAME. ANIMALS LIKE THAT TRY TO MANIPULATE AND VIOLATE YOU, MAKE U THINK IT’S YOUR FAULT. JUST REMEMBER IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT..THOSE SICK PEOPLE ARE FULL OF EVIL LIES..Hon i can sit here and write u a book. I am Serious, if u ever need to talk…(edited by blogger, if you want to talk with Lisa please write a comment below I did not want to publish her address) or if u wanna talk on the phone i will give u my number! Kit Baby doll! It does get better and “F” HIM!!!

    3. Hi Ashley
      I just read your story. I am also dealing with low self esteem stemming from abuse and have beat myself up for a long time using men who don’t care about me to first feel loved and then help me to feel bad about myself. I’ve masked myself with addiction and denial for a long time. I now, that I am in a 12 step program, feel so much freedom from the pain, and am constructing my life, little by little, one happy moment at a time, sometimes it isn’t so happy, but at least I am trying and it is better than not dealing with it. I want to suggest and urge you to go to a shelter. I know it sounds daunting, but I recently have gone through a wonderful program with amazing women who are now an encouraging support that I would have never thought, and I was in a safe place with them while I learned about my issues. There are many programs available, I encourage you, so much, to reach out and leave, that is necessary to heal. And to heal now, and work on healing, will save you from so much more self-inflicted abuse and self destruction, something I have suffered since I was your age and I am now 35. You are not alone, there are many out there that can not only help and support you, but that can turn into friends and family and be a network for healing and living your life to the fullest. There are completely free programs for this, that will get you out of your house today. I am here, I support you. There have been weeks where I have only had a dollar in my pocket, and I have survived. You will survive, I hope you will and learn how to live and love yourself. You are not alone. Be strong, be safe, be good to you.

  30. Hi my name is Marci I was molested by one of my uncle’s it started when I was real small can’t really remember what age I know under 7 until I was 15 I finally told because I was raped and pregnant my parents did nothing to either and now my whole family says I’m a lier about the molesting and no one speaks to me my molester has died so I can’t prove it I just feel so lost

    1. Hi Marci,

      I am very sorry to hear that happened to you. It is not ok. I think the first thing that you need to do to heal, is to not healthy to be around the people who are so pro-pedophile, that they are willing to call the victim a liar. Even if those people are your parents, they are very sick and being around sick will interfere with your ability to heal. You can learn to be the parent to inner child that you never had. If you do have any kids, it is extremely important to not allow them to be around your family who calls you a liar. They do not protect children and may even be abusers themselves but at the very least they are pro-pedophiles and pro-pedophiles should be kept away from children.

      The good news is that you do not need the perpetrator to be alive to heal. The perpetrator most likely would never have admitted what he did you you, they rarely do. They usually lie, call the victim crazy or other things like that.

      It is great that no one in your family speaks to you because they are terrible people to be around. I have written about ideas for self parenting at “Surviving Mother’s Day and the Holidays” http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/

      Do not even try to reach out to your family to get then to speak with you because their not speaking with you is actually very helpful of them. If they call, hang up and tell your inner child that the mean people called and you are taking care of her so that she does not need to be around the mean people.

      The only person who needs to believe that it really happened is you, any therapist or counsellor that you will be working with and the people in your life. Anyone who does not believe that it happened to you should not be in your life. It is a way to test who should be in your life and who should not. The sick people will not believe you and it is time to not have any sick people in your life. If you speak to a therapist or counsellor who does not believe you or tells you to forgive and forget or anything close to those things or you should be over it, run.

      A way to find s therapist could be to try calling the 1-800-656-HOPE 24/7 hotline which will connect you to the nearest rape crisis center if you are in the United States. If they are helpful, that is great, most of those centers also have free counselling. But if the hotline is not helpful, hang up and try again later. (The people on the phones change shifts.) Keep reaching out until you get great help, people who believe you and have the tools to help you to heal. If anyone tries to label you with chemical imbalance also leave, they will not have any tools to help you to heal from the abuse. You can read more about the myth of chemical imbalance and how drugs do not help at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/11/it-prozac-or-placebo and you can read a ton about the “myth of chemical imbalance” if you google it.

      If the hotlines are not helpful, you can try finding a great therapist or social worker. That are hard to find a great one but it is doable.

      Keep looking until you find great help, no matter how long it takes to find great help.

      If you do the work, you can heal and have an awesome life and you no longer will feel lost.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates give other survivors hope.

      1. Thank you so much it’s a great feeling when someone says they believe you yes I have children and I have never taking them around any of them I will take your advice.

  31. When I was sixteen my mum moved us all to a different state away from my dad who was an emotionally and physically abusive to us all.
    We moved in with my uncle and aunty. I had known my uncle sense I was about 9 years old and he had become like a father figure to me, he was their when I was sad, when I was missing my friends, when I rang up because Dad was acting out he would be the one to make me laugh he knew everything about me, he remembered my birthday and every school event. I trusted him more then anyone else in my life.
    When we moved into his place I was so happy to have someone I could finally trust. I could finally have a father. Then 6 months into living there my mum moved back home with my dad and I stayed behind.
    And then it all started.
    It happened every night for two years. I become distant from him and acted out and would get drunk every night in an attempt to block it out. And my Aunty got mad she didn’t understand why i was changing and I didn’t want to tell her. I was terrified she wouldn’t believe me. She kicked me out and I was homeless for awhile and then I got some money to move back to my mums. None of my family know.
    I was just so scared.
    Now I am twenty two years old nearly twenty three and the only people I have told is my partner and my best friend who are very supportive.
    But I just cant stop thinking about it, every day and I try to get past it and I cant I don’t want to be like this but for almost 7 years now I have been sleeping bad and having nightmares and some days it just replays over over in my minds eyes. I just want to get past it! I just want to be able to be normal!
    It hurts he broke my trust, broke my heart. He was supposed to be my second dad. Someone I could trust. Someone I could rely on!

    1. Hi Aliesha,

      It is so horrible that your uncle would do that to you and that no one protected you. You can have a normal life after you detox from the trauma that happened to you. It is a normal reaction to trauma to have nightmares, it can be the body trying to process the trauma.

      What kind os adult kicks out a child rather than getting then help, from your post it seems that you were only eleven or twelve years old. That is crazy that you aunt would just throw you out. Some adult in your life, at the time, should have paid for you to get home or get help. What irresponsible adults.

      It is not your secret to keep. It is your uncles secret and that along with his shame belongs to him not you. It is not uncommon that sexual assault survivors to turn to alcohol to numb the pain of the trauma, that being said neither drinking or even taking anti-depressant, herbal remedies, etc will help to cure the trauma or even make it better. It makes it harder to cure and comes with it’s own very difficult side effect such as side effects of depression, suicide, severe agitation which can get worse during the withdrawal process which is one of the many reasons that anyone taking the drugs needs to be under the supervision of an excellent healthcare practitioner (regular or alternative health).

      It is great that you have a friend and a partner who support you. That is a great start to have that support as you go through the healing process. Also if you choose to tell what happened to you to your aunt and parents, they may or may not be supportive, they may or may not even believe you but by doing that (if you choose) it releases the burden of keeping it a secret. It also will show you if they are good people. Any adult who will negate a survivor or say such things like “forgive and forget”, “let the past stay in the past” and not support the survivor are people who you do not want to be in your life. By telling your truth you will find out who these people really are. But it is important that you are ready for the possibility that they are bad people.

      What could be very helpful is to find an excellent therapist or counsellor who has the tools to help you to heal. They are hard to find but not impossible. In Western Australia you can start your search by going to http://www.kemh.health.wa.gov.au/services/sarc/have_you.htm#past or try calling (08) 9340 1828 or (free call) 1800 199 888 between 8:30am and 5pm M-f and they can arrange free counselling. If they are helpful, and seem to have the tools to help you to heal, that is great, if not, keep looking. Do not give up on finding excellent help. Keep looking until you find them.

      When you detox from the trauma of the past, you will feel normal and you can have a great life. Do not give up on finding the right help.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates give survivors hope.

  32. I am the adoptive mother of a daughter (14 at adoption) who was molested by her father at age 9 and before.  She is almost 18 now and wants to go see him in jail.  When she came to us, she was struggling with self esteem and value.  She got much better.  About 6 months ago, she started talking about seeing her father (in jail for sexually abusing her) and she is spiralling out of control.  Her bio mother lost custody of her at 14 and is not a good influence on her.  They still have contact.  In many of their messages to one another, the bio mom brings up the father, and missing him and wanting to go see him with my daughter.  I am sickened by this woman and her uncaring attitude about what happened to A. A is now smoking pot, drinking, having sex with men she just met.  She has really taken a step back…she wanted to go to college and help others who had been in her position…now she is sabotaging all of that.  What can I do?  I am scared for her, but I will not allow her to live her as an adult if she is doing drugs.  I have two small children we also adopted and I do not want them negatively affected by her decisions.  🙁

    1. Hi Dana,

      I am very sorry to hear about that and am glad to she that she has a caring adoptive mother. It’s hard because it could be that she is longing for the love from her biological mom and dad that she never had from them. Maybe she is thinking that if she visits her dad with her mom, her hurt little child inside will have her biological family back. She may be torn inside from the part of her that knows her biological family is awful and the part that wants them to be real parents to her. I am not sure. Some survivors use drugs, alcohol and acting out sexually with others as a kind of drug to help cover up the feelings of trauma from the abuse. It can be hard to be around but she needs to realize that she is worth it. She is worth healing and no one had the right to do anything to her and that the shame from the abuse belongs to her dad not to her. He is a bad person.

      If you have been able to talk with her about her concerns, what were her answers? Or did she not want to talk about it?

      Some thoughts I had, though maybe you have already thought of it. If you have not been able to yet, maybe sit down with her and ask her how she is feeling? What she is hoping to get out of visiting her dad in jail with her mom? What emotionally hurts that it feels helpful to her to drink and do those other things that help keep those feelings in check? And maybe even ask her what advice do you think that the A thirty years from now would give to the A who is 18 years old now? Maybe ask her what does she want from you that would be helpful to her to heal. Maybe ask her again about her dreams.

      She may be doing this because she is blaming herself for what happened to her. She really needs to get that it wasn’t her fault.

      If she is willing to it might be helpful for her to read 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/

      If she is willing to get help from the 1-800-656-HOPE 24/7 hotline that could be helpful, if the person who answers is helpful. The hotline connects you with the local rape crisis center. They also should have free counselling. Sometimes people at those hotlines and rape crisis centers are very helpful other times they are not helpful at all. Sometimes calling back later helps because volunteers change shifts other times looking somewhere else for help is better. If she is willing and you can find an excellent counsellor, that could be helpful but bad and mediocre therapists, counsellors, etc can be worse than no therapist. But there are great people, you just have to keep looking.

      I don’t know if it will help her but the book “Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron really helped me.

      She can get through it if she is willing to actions to heal, she may not be willing to take action right now, it may take some time. What she is doing right now is coping and it is s normal thing to for what she has been through. It can be really hard to see that happening to a person you care about. But keep the communication open and keep listening to what she needs to say when it is a sincere dialogue.

      Feel free to write back with any answers, updates or questions.

    1. Hi Loriedney,

      I am really sad to hear that. A person should not be defined by their abuse and abuse can make a person feel ugly or have self hate. But every human being is amazing. We should not allow the abuse that happened to us to define us, we should instead ask ourselves, “What is amazing about me?” If the answer comes back as nothing that is a lie. If you are a good person and you care about others that you are beautiful. It is our actions not our past that defines who we are. And if because of your past you have done some things that you are not proud of, you can always heal and become the person who you want to be. It’s never to late to make a great choice. So what can you do right now that is kind to you. What did you love to do as a child? Is it a beautiful day outside there and maybe you could step outside and get some fresh air?

      Every human being has amazing potential and that includes you. You do not need to hold onto the ugliness of the abuse that happened. You can try reaching out to 1-800-656-HOPE 24/7 and they will connect you to the local rape crisis center who may have free counselling. If they are not helpful, hang up and try again later (volunteers change shifts). If they are not helpful try calling around to find a great counsellor. And you deserve someone who has the tools to help you to heal without prescription drugs, herbs or vitamins. Keep looking until you find great help.

      Every person is awesome and you deserve to live up to your awesomeness.

      Feel free to write back with any updates or questions. Updates help give other survivors hope.

  33. I’m a boyfriend of a girlfriend who was sexually abused during her high schools years by her step dad.  We have been dating for about a year and a half and she shared her story fairly early on in our relationship.  She was able to tell her mother about the abuse when she left for college in another state.  When the secret was out she explained that they all went to counseling, church based i believe.  The step dad was kicked out then about 3-6 months later the mother let him back in.  The timeline between counseling and him back in the house is vague.  Now, her mother and her step dad are very involved in the church and my girlfriend speak of forgiveness towards him.  She feels that she has forgiven him and he his still part of her life.  I have a daughter that is during 3 soon in a divorced situation and the thought of her step dad abusing her and my ex-wife letting him back into their lives will just kill me.  I have been struggling to come to terms with how their family has come to their point of forgiveness and healing.  I never want her step dad to be in the same area code as my daughter and I’m struggling with how my girlfriend’s mother let this child molester back into my girlfriend’s life.  My girlfriend is very out going; well liked; is the life of the party and of my life; and just started her MBA.  She seems to have accepted that she lived through abuse and made her peace and is moving on.  I just have all these feelings that I never thought I would be experiencing.  I find it hard in the earlier morning hours to try to be intimate as I’m in a head space of ‘am I being perverted’.  I know that sounds crazy but it has become a hang up.

    My girlfriend has come to a point where she would no longer answer my questions of how their family has come to accept this man back in their lives and I feel emotionally trapped.

    A lot of blogs tell me I should just be supportive of her and I feel that I am, but I’m trying to wrap my mind around how her mom allowed him back in.  She and her mother are very close and I’m not trying to drive a wedge between them.  If my girlfriend and I are to move to the next stage and marry I have to be okay with her mother.  Please help me to find the way how to reach that point.

    1. Hi SBMD,

      You are extremely correct in being concerned about your daughter being near her step dad. Pedophiles rarely ever heal, so it is very likely that given the chance he would abuse your daughter. I would keep your daughter away from her mother as well. Anyone who will support a pedophile should not be near a child. Many times the forgiveness has really nothing to do with healing and it is not even really forgiveness. It does make the abuse once again abuser focused rather than survivor focused. The thought that if only you “forgive” the abuser then you will be healed, is actually very sick. I have more on my post “Do I Need To Forgive To Heal from Abuse?” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/do-i-need-to-forgive-to-heal-from-abuse/ the short answer is “no” you do not need to forgive the abuser to heal. An Advocate for Abuse Survivors says, ““Healing may result in forgiveness but forgiveness does not bring healing, it only covers over the wounds allowing them to fester.”

      You could ask her why she thinks that her step dad is healed? If she says something like he admitted everything he did to me and to another person he abused that no one knew about and says and has done many other things to heal and make real amends, then it is slimly possible that he has healed. But if he says something like he has turned his heart over to god or something like that then most likely he is still sexually assaulting children any chance he gets. Most likely it is the later because if it were the former, he would have admitted what he did because he wants to stop and not just because he was caught.

      I do not think that you girlfriend has truly healed from the abuse. Her allowing a perpetrator to be in her life is not in the least bit healthy and by her not letting you ask questions about it is not healthy either. It seems that she is her shutting herself down by not answering your questions and not really dealing with the abuse. There is a bit of denial going on in her family. If she is ok with your daughter or any child of yours even having contact with her step dad, that is unacceptable because she is choosing a perpetrator over the safety of children.

      She needs to deal with the fact that she is allowing herself to be supportive of a perpetrator. She needs to get help, maybe outside of the church. Maybe you can ask her what what is her suggestion to make sure that your daughter is safe from her step dad. If she says some answer like he couldn’t do anything to her because he has turned his life over to god, that is a lie. Look at all of the priests who had supposedly “turned their lives over to god”. She needs help to heal and help to be away from her dad and frankly I do not trust her mom either if she is willing to let a pedophile back in her life. Now very occasionally pedophiles do heal but not by just turning their lives over to god. That is how the church got in so much trouble thinking the priests were healed and they just kept abusing children. Other times the higher ups even knew they were abusing children and did nothing.

      I want to commend you for putting your daughter’s safety first. Your girlfriend needs to get help, real help. If she is willing to get real help then there could be change where she will be able to protect herself and children, but denial is what allows perpetrators to get away with the abuse. You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE 24/7 and see if they have some good resources to help you and your girlfriend but always listen to see if they are helping you and her how you need to be helped. The hotline should connect you with the local rape crisis center. If you or her does not feel supported, hang up and try again later (volunteers change shifts). If you are repeatedly not getting help you can try another hotline at centers.rainn.org or call around and help her to find a great counsellor.

      It might be helpful to have her read parts of my blog to help get her out of denial. But she may not want to be out of denial. If she does not want to get real help and is willing to allow any children around her dad ever (supervised or not) then you need to ask yourself if you are willing to be with a person who allows denial to endanger children?

      It is time to listen to your gut. Help your girlfriend if you can but always keep the safety of children first. I hope this helps.

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

      1. Hi Amy,

        Thanks for your reply. It has really helped. My girlfriend read your post and became angry. ‘She doesn’t know what healing we went through as a family.’ ect… Since your reply we got pregnant unexpectedly and then a miscarriage. I still go for counseling from my divorce and we have gone to couples counseling together with the same counselor. When we became pregnant we went to counseling and she voluntarily brought up the abuse and how she wanted to heal so she can be a whole person. I was so very proud of her at that very moment. she was strong enough to earnestly want to heal. She is now going to counseling twice monthly. she can afford the 75$ for one session but not two. I asked her to ask her parents for the second amount as it is a family issue and they said that they are going through a rough financial spot and that they could not afford the second session. Really?!?! Needless to say I was very upset when I heard that. Her mother was concerned that he will go to jail because he is a sickly guy with a liver transplant. Whatever… So I am paying for one session. I feel she pays for one session so that she feels that she too has control over her healing.

        We have grown in our relationship and I’m planning to get engaged. Possibly later next year. I told my mom this and about the abuse of my girlfriend by her step dad and she proceeded to say that she too is a sexual abuse survivor. This floored me big time. She didn’t go into details but, she eluded in a previous conversation that she may be a product of rape and it may have been her grandfather or relative. I’m very sad at our human condition. This also explained why we were so very protected growing up.

        So, I just wanted to give you an update as you have played an important part in our healing process and I am grateful.

        SBMD

        1. Hi SBMD,

          I am glad to hear that your girlfriend is getting help. She may also want to see if her therapists would be willing to do a sliding scale charge for therapy, so that she can afford to go weekly, maybe $40 per week. Also because she is a survivor or rape there could be funding from victim’s assistance in your area, even if she did not report it to the police. The 1-800-656-HOPE should also connect you to the local rape crisis center which should have free counselling but it is always important to feel that anyone who you or your girlfriend is going to has the tools to help to detox from the trauma. Help her to look at it differently. The rape crisis center might also have free counselling for people who are close to the survivors. You gut instinct sounds really spot on when you were talking about the family not helping with therapy which also is a sign of a sick family, a perpetrator wanting to heal and make amends would try to pitch in for therapy.

          I am sorry to hear about what happened to your mother and others in her family. I am glad to hear that it sounds like your mother ended the cycle by being very protective, to make sure that her children were safe from abuse. But by people being able to talk about child sexual abuse and heal, it may seem like it is more frequent but I think it is less frequent now, we are just hearing about it more. But the more men and woman survivors of sexual assault can come out about their abuse, the more people will heal and it will occur less and less.

          I am glad I could help and please feel free to write back with any other questions or updates.

  34. I don’t no what to say. Yet I can say I have been though this with my step dad for many years. I never new it was wrong I just new I never wanted my children to get caught up in this. I can say it would always happen when i was alone. I have flashbacks where Im afraid to go to sleep. Or I can be watching tv and freeze up. I find myself in the shower 7_9 times a day.

    1. I will write more later (in the next few weeks) but you need to know that even if it happened to you as an adult, you were set up for it as a child. It is still your stepdad’s fault and not your fault.

      1. Hi Brenda,

        I am so sorry that happened to you and I am glad to hear that you do not want your children to get caught up in this. To make sure of that it is important to make sure that they have no contact with him, not even phone calls. Because people can speak sexually inappropriately on the phone also or just have a sexual inappropriate tone to their voices. Besides, there is no reason to keep a pedophile in your life at all even if they are family.

        It is important not to blame yourself, even if it continued into your adult life, you were set up and groomed to be a victim. But even if it continued into your adult life, you can still heal from it.

        Pedophiles often will prey on children when they are alone. Being a victim of child sexual assault sets you up and messes with a person’s life which is probably why you had the flashbacks of being afraid to go to sleep. It makes sense that you would to want to take a bunch of showers, when you think about it, you are probably trying to get rid of what you never wanted. And it also sounds like there is a good chance that either he abused you when you were watching TV or what you saw on TV triggered memories of abuse.

        You may want to read 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/ which has ideas on things that can help you when you feel extreme emotions or you can even substitute in the urge to shower for extreme triggered emotions because it sounds like that came from your past.

        Another thing that could be very helpful would be to call !-800-656-HOPE. It is a 24/7 hotline in the United States that connects you to your local rape crisis center. They might be helpful, or they might not be. It is sad that not every volunteer or even therapist is there for the right reasons (to help people) but there are some great and helpful volunteers and therapists also. So you want to hang up if you are not being helped and try again later or try another hotline at centers.rainn.org . Most rape crisis centers have free counselling also and you do qualify even if you are an adult and it only happened when you were a child. If you repeatedly are not getting help you you can try reaching out to therapists. Again, do not let their title interfere with if you think they can help you or not. If they seem helpful and you feel comfortable, that is a good sign. Always check in with yourself to see if you feel like you are being treated well by the people you are reaching out for help from. Keep looking for help until you get great help. And stay away from drugs, vitamins and herbs, they are not helpful and can cause extreme harm. If a person wants to label you as OCD (they might because of the shower thing), I would run because they are not going to have the tools to help you to heal but instead probably want to put you on drugs which is not helpful and can cause brain damage.

        You can heal, just keep looking around until you get great help.

        Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates can give others hope.

        1. Hello Amy
          I actually did go to see a counselor last week. I started to shake and she talked about happy things such as what I like to do and my children. Once I was ready I was able to talk a little an it went fine but she told me I needed more help. She really made me feel like I was someone.
          I am the type of person that really does not like to be touch at all. But she put me in touch with someone and asked me if I would try it so I’m going to try. Yet I really want to thank you for your advice. I hope it’s ok to let you know how I did.

          1. Hi Brenda,

            I am glad to hear that you took that step and saw a counsellor, that is a huge success that you were able to do that. When you go to that new person, I hope that they will be very helpful.

            But if they try and label you with some disease and then recommend anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, herbs or any supplements to “help” you, please keep looking to another place for help. Taking those things (no matter how convincing the prescribers are) can cause horrible problems. But if that does happen, remind yourself that there are excellent people who have the tools to help you to truly heal and if you had the strength to go to that one therapist, you also have the strength to find an excellent therapist. If the person is a psychiatrist be cautious because they like are more likely to want to “fix” you with drugs rather than anything that will really help you to fully heal. Though there are some psychiatrist that can help you without trying to put you on drugs. If they are not helpful or want to put you on drugs, I would thank them for their time and tell them that you need to think about because if not they can be really pushy.

            Hopefully though they recommended a person who has tools that can help you. With the right help you can heal and have an awesome life. You should feel really great about the progress that you have made so far by writing in, telling your story and going to a counsellor. That is huge.

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

            1. Hi
              This has been a really rough week. I went to see the therapist and all I have been doing is sleeping and no energy. Though I don’t think I want to go back I feel that I am failing my self n I feel like I stuck. Not wanting to talk. Any suggestions.

              1. Hi Brenda,

                There could be tons of conditioning for you not to talk about the abuse, so that could possibly explain the wanting to sleep and no energy. If the person that you spoke with seemed helpful, you can try seeing if they have good ideas on how to help you reframe the situation. It hard because there could be a ton of conditioning that you are not aware of. THe feeling stuck could also be the fear of knowing and getting to the trauma of all that happened. But it is so important to detox from that trauma.

                If the therapist has some great ideas without blaming your body chemistry (like recommending drugs or herbs or talking about the myth of chemical imbalance) that could be helpful. Maybe even some brisk walks or more exercise can help. Also if you become aware of how you are holding your body. It is hard to be sad while standing tall with your hands in the air loudly screaming in a yes I did it voice. How ever if you slightly slouch and kind of put your hands in the air or anywhere, you are holding your body in such a way that it is easy to be depressed or sad. So if the therapist has great ideas, I recommend continuing to see them. The challenge is that so few therapists are excellent but they do exist.

                If the therapist is not excellent keep looking for a great one, even if you get tired when you talk about it.

                You may also want to try going to get light therapy at http://sensorylearning.com/locations.php . The light should be gently going lighter and dimmer and no harsh flashing, that could also be helpful. But again see how you feel.

                You can also remind yourself that your body getting tired, is how you were possibly conditioned to respond, so that you would never remember but it can be such a relief, to start to release the trauma. So keep doing whatever it takes.

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

                1. Hello Amy
                  I actually thought that if I went to see therapist it would be easy to tell. Well it’s not. I understand that I have to do the work but it is hard. I plan to say what is bothering me and I have to leave. I am living more in the shower every time I either have a flash back or think now it is messing with my schooling. I sit and think that maybe I M not ready. I ready can use some advice as how to handle this and I will just walk away. Shrugs I no it’s too farm hard

                  1. Hi Brenda,

                    It is doable. Your therapist should be able to make you feel comfortable and have tools to help you to deal with the emotions that come up. So that the therapist does not just leave you with memories going everywhere. Their office should be like a contaimer where you can release emotions and they should have tools to help you to deal with what is coming up. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Listen to yourself, does the therapist have what you think they may need to help you to tell your story and detox those feelings. You can also try reading 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/ when you feel the urge to take a shower, that post has some ideas that may help. It is very important to keep in mind that you may have some very strong conditioning to not tell anyone about what happened to you. Did your try calling the 1-800-656-HOPE 24/7 hotline? They may also be able to help you if you catch yourself feeling the need to shower. People at those hotlines may or may not be helpful or may or may not be kind. You can also see if they have free counselling but when ever you reach out for help, if they are not supportive, hang up or if in a session politely say this does not feel right for me and leave.

                    You can do it. You can detox from the trauma.

                    1. Hello again I know that I must be a pain always asking but I need some more advice if possible. I have been going to therapy but I feel that what I have to say seems to make me choke up. I have taken your advice but only a hour goes by once I start. When I leave I feel like people no where I have come from and they seem like their laughing at me. I begin to not wanting to go back an I feel that I am slipping backwards. It is very scary for me. Yesterday I sat in the corner of my room all day just feeling horrible and not wanting to me seen, touched. Or talked to. What can I do. I thought that if I write to you since you suggest and have given me information to help out before maybe you can help with something or have more things to read to help me deal with this issue. Thank you

                    2. Hi Brenda,

                      Have you tried reading 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/ and used some of those ideas when all of those feelings come up? If that has not been helpful, what might be helpful is to work on coping mechanisms for your life today with your therapist. Your therapist should have the tools to help you to detox from the past without getting more triggered. Does your therapist feel like they have the tools to help you? Even if it is just with coping with trauma from today. Unfortunately few really are trained to really help survivors fully heal, which is why so many say that healing can be a lifelong process. It does not have to be if you find an excellent therapist.

                      It sounds like it is time to get a therapist that id better for you. What do you like about this therapist? I almost feel like, if it is legal in your state you might want to tape a phone conversation and listen to it afterwards. By listening to a taped conversation, it can help you to distance yourself from them and hear if they are really kind and helpful or even if they are mean and you did not notice it before. Some states it is legal to tape a conversation if only one person in the conversation knows (which could be you) other states it is not legal.

                      I normally would not recommend this but it sounds like there could be stuff you might be able to catch if you listen to a recording of it or maybe there is nothing bad there.

                      I found this out because once I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. I did not notice but this boyfriend was helping me to film a documentary. I had accidentally left the camera on and recorded him talking to me. When I listened to the tape, it was only then that I could here that he was abusive to me. I think it was because the recording gave the distance from the situation to hear it as though I was listening to someone else rather than being there.

                      Either way you need a therapist who can help you to really heal from the abuse and this one may be able to help you with daily coping but does not have the tools to help you to heal from the abuse. Or may not have the tools to help you at all.

                      Did you get them from the local rape crisis center? If not you can try them, if so you can either try another therapist at the center or start calling around. It can take a bit to find an excellent therapist, so do not stop looking.

                      Feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

                    3. Hello Amy,

                      I have been doing a lot better lately.

                      You always say find a therapist who will help not put you on meds. So I did. I was feeling good at times. I finally stated talking then boom it happens again. This has set me back tremendously and now I have been doing not good. I can’t face anything all I do is stay to myself. So do you have any advice that you can give me I read a lot but shrugs or shall I just do nothing and tuck it away?

                    4. Hi Brenda,

                      I am not sure I understand what you have written. Are you saying that taking the drugs set you back? Are you asking what else to do to get help with healing or detoxing from the drugs?

                    5. Hello Amy,
                      I found a good therapist that did not put me on drugs. I was doing a lot better then I went through it again with my dad. I was doing so well but that incident took me back. Do you have any more advice. Or books where I can read that may help me not to give up because I am giving up now. I feel like I am failing myself and children because they if anything deserve a mother that is strong not weak. I am sorry about the confusion.

                    6. I am only now letting things come out. I feel like I’m going crazy. So much emotion and anger!

                    7. Hi Brenda,

                      My first word of advise is to stay away from your dad (which I am assuming is your step-dad). It is very important in the healing process to not be around perpetrators. He abused you, he has no right to be in your life at all. It is time to be to parent to yourself that you never had. When it comes to perpetrators, protect yourself from them and do not talk, email, text, write letters or see them. They lost the right to be around you when they abused you. No person is ever the perfect parent, the way your children see you handle problems is how they learn how to handle their problems. So take care of yourself, it’s ok to cry, just do not use substances (prescriptions, alcohol, etc) to stuff those problems down, instead allow those emotions and trauma to detox from your body. If the therapist is helpful, keep going to see them, maybe more often.

                      You are not going crazy, you are detoxing from crazy experiences. Look at your life in a way that validates detoxing from trauma. I really liked the older “Courage to Heal” on cassette tapes http://www.amazon.com/The-Courage-Heal-Ellen-Bass/dp/0898458331 and Courage to Heal Part 2 was excellent and it’s cheaper than one http://www.amazon.com/Courage-Heal-Part-Changing-Patterns/dp/1559947896/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453098405&sr=1-1&keywords=the+courage+to+heal+part+2+changing+patterns (you just need to go to a thrift store or amazon and buy a cassette player if you don’t have one) but a newer one that I have not listened to is at http://www.audible.com/pd/Self-Development/The-Courage-to-Heal-Audiobook/B009PAN0VM . For me it was helpful to hear people talk about it. You might also want to read my post “Surviving Mother’s Day and the Holidays” which talks about ideas for self-parenting at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/

                      What could be helpful is to just go to the bookstore or library and page through books in that section where “Courage to Heal” is and pick up the books that you like. Of course, much cheaper if you do it at the library. When I started healing, I would spend a ton of time at bookstores paging through books about healing from sexual abuse, some were very helpful, others not at all.

                      Did you try calling the 1-800-656-HOPE and were they helpful if you did?

                      Just keep re-enforcing to yourself that you are not going crazy, you are detoxing from the abuse. Make sure that your kids have no communication with your dad either, perpetrators do not deserve to have any contact with your kids and it is unsafe for your kids to be around him.

                      Feel free to write back with any questions or updates.

  35. I am broken. I had my daughter at the age of 26 and I quit working so I could always be with her. I was molested by my maternal grandfather so I did everything I could to keep my baby safe. Once I started working I worked in daycares so I could keep an eye on her. Once she started school I was able to work for real money. A couple of months ago my daughter got sick and she is 9 now and she went to lie down away from everyone else. There were at least 4 other adults in the room but nobody saw this family member abusing my baby. I asked if anybody wanted to go to the store and she popped up and ran to me. When we got outside she told me what was happening. My worst nightmare. I couldn’t see it coming. Now we are dealing with PTSD and family members trying to find blame. I am broken because something I tried to do her entire life I failed at.

    1. Hi Veronica,

      I am so sorry to hear that this happened. What happened is not ok but you need to make sure that you do not blame yourself. You did everything that you could, the blame for all of this must go to the person who abused your daughter. The blame goes straight to the abuser and no one else and your family should see that. No one has the right to blame you. You did not fail as a mother because it sounds like you deeply love your daughter and are a caring mother and you need to keep reminding yourself of that. So you need to be gentle with yourself as you look for places to get your daughter help to heal from this abuse. And you can heal from PTSD. And it does not need to be a lifelong process. You also need to allow yourself time to grieve that such an atrocity happened.

      Your nuclear family needs to support each other to heal from this trauma. One place you can start to look for help for your daughter is http://www.hawc.org/en/counseling-services/ if you are in the Houston area. They also have groups for family members who have gone through what you did and a 24/7 hotline. If they are not helpful or you are not near Houston then you can try 1-800-656-HOPE. Keep reaching out until you get the help you need and really listen to see if the counsellors and/or therapists have the tools you need to help your daughter to heal. And please keep you and your daughter away from taking prescription drugs, herbs or vitamins to help with this situation, they do not help people to detox from trauma and can have some pretty bad side effects. Also if you need help in healing from the abuse that you went through, because what happened to your daughter can bring up those feelings too you can also see about help at those places. If no counselling centers work then you can try calling various therapists and/or counsellors but never settle for a mediocre or bad therapist, instead keep looking.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. And keep reminding yourself that your daughter and your family can heal from this trauma and if you still have healing that you need to do from your past abuse, you can heal also.

    2. I thank you. My concern is now all of my children are grown except for two. I So confused but I do have a appoint to talk with someone but I can’t face people in person or I freeze up. I begin to shake when I think but I know I have to get past this but I So scared to talk. It took a while to write this.

      1. Hi Brenda,

        You can do it. A great start was that you wrote this and responded back. The shaking may be conditioning from the past. Try the 1-800-656-HOPE first if it is helpful to have a friend support you as you make the calls, then you can try that or even if it is helpful to have a stuffed animal or pet to be there with you. You can do this. Any negative feelings that you experience could be conditioning that bad things would happen to you from when you were abused. Make one call at a time, reminding yourself that it make take a bunch of calls to find the right person who can help you but they are out there somewhere. If a person is not helpful you can try the hotline later, the volunteers change shifts. But you might find a helpful person right away. And most rape crisis centers have free counselling for survivors. You can also try finding the right therapist. Remember when you start to healing it is not only helping you, but it will help your kids. The right person can help you to heal. By healing you are ending the cycle of abuse.

        Please write back with any updates and do not give up til you find great help. You can do it, believe in yourself.

  36. We adopted our kids six years ago from another country, when my daughter was almost 9 and her brother 6. Ever since she came she was acting weird around men (it took forever for her to become comfortable with my husband). She got her period when she was 9. So, when at age 13 she was caught going to the neighborhood business to the older guy when he molested (not raped) her I was shocked, but thought it might be the hormones. We reported the incident to the NYPD, but since she was not actually raped nothing was done. Everything was fine until the last week when we caught her doing the same thing (different place and person). She is 15 now. I always asked her if she was abused in any sort of way. I always encouraged her to tell me everything and assured that I will be by her side. But last night she finally opened up and told me that when she was still with her biological mother (when she was around 6), several teenage boys raped her on regular basis. She made me promise that I will not tell anyone in the family. I promised, but I told her that I will look for help elsewhere and the she is the bravest girl in the world. So…… I know that I cannot go after the morons (I wish I could). But my concern is her well being. Where do we go? She does not want to talk about it with anyone else, but I know that she needs help. How do I convince her to actually get help. I would appreciate any suggestion.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Anna,

      I am so sorry to hear that happened to her. That is awful. The authorities that you spoke with are incorrect, being molested IS something that is illegal and charges can be pressed. Any form of unwanted sexual touching is illegal. plus her being 13 years old at the time of the crime could be Second degree sexual abuse or Third degree criminal sexual act depending on what the perpetrator did (Though I am not attorney but the link that I read was at http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/new-york-statutory-rape-laws.htm) Unfortunately there are people who support perpetrators and perpetrators even when it comes to the authorities but there are great people also who do want to help. You can even find perpetrators and people who support perpetrators in “therapeutic” places unfortunately but there are also really helpful people there. So that is why a person must be picky when it comes to reaching out for help.

      I found this on a New York website “Promotion or use of sexual performances by a child: prosecutable for sexual conduct involving victims under the age of 17 (PL Section 263)” http://www.svfreenyc.org/survivors_legal.html

      I really think that the top priority needs to be to get her help in healing rather than going to court at this moment. Sometimes court cases work out great, other times the perpetrators are not found guilty even if there is a ton of evidence that they are guilty. You have to have a strong resolve that no matter what the outcome is, that you were strong for pressing charges and telling the truth.

      I also want to say that you sound like a mom who really cares and that is so important when it comes to helping children who have been abused.

      By keeping the abuse to herself and a secret, it is her holding on to the perpetrator’s shame and keeping the abuser’s secret. By not talking about it she is keeping the abusers safe from prosecution while literally carrying their burden. When you talk about the abuse, the blame can be released from her, the victim and the perpetrator needs to carry their burden then. It is not her secret or shame, it is their secret and their shame.

      Whether or not you choose to press charges, the most important thing is that she gets help to heal from all of the abuse that she went through and to help her to stop carrying the perpetrator’s secret. By telling her what I said in this and the paragraph above, that may help.

      It is important to note that the perpetrators may have threatened her what they would do to her or other people if she told, so that needs to be addressed also. Perpetrators rarely follow through on their threats, they are instead spoken to keep the victim silent and carrying the perpetrator’s shame. It needs to be reenforced that she did nothing wrong, even if she at times appeared “willing”. Appearing “willing” is a way that victims cope with the abuse.

      What can also help her to reach out for help is telling her that the intense emotions that she is experiencing and/or emotional numbness that she is feeling is from her holding the trauma and emotions fro the trauma inside. A great therapist or counsellor can help her to release the stuck emotions and trauma. If she goes to an excellent therapist or counsellor, she can have a great life despite all of the trauma that she suffered. But as I caution people a mediocre or bad therapist or counsellor is not helpful and could cause further problems. And not matter what she does not want to go to someone who lacks the tools to really help her so that they will recommend such harmful treatments such as drugs or herbs or some therapists are so out there they believe in electroshock. All of those things can cause permanent problems. But there is hope and great therapists. You can also try calling 1-800-621-4673 if you are in the New York City area and see if they are helpful. They do have a child advocacy center but I have never really worked with them. If they are helpful, that is great, if not you can try 1-800-656-HOPE which may or may not connect back to that same place depending where you are calling from. They can also give you ideas on how to help her get into therapy. But if ever a hotline, therapist or counsellor is not helpful, hang up and try again later (volunteers change shifts). If that does not work finding a great person to help her there you can start calling around to different places that may be able to help. Also make sure that she knows that if she does not feel comfortable, that you can set it up with the counsellor or therapist prior that she can always leave. Because of all of the abuse, she may have a hard time setting boundaries that are healthy, so you can help her to reclaim her boundaries and her “no”.

      She 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 give her ideas on how to handle when extreme emotions come up.

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

      1. Dear Amy,

        Thank you for your encouraging words and a lot of useful information.

        She has agreed to see counselor and last week we had a first session. I am very happy about it. She also agreed to tell everything to my mom, but still wants to keep it from everybody else (including her father). Hopefully soon she will be able to share her past with the rest of the world knowing that nothing was her fault.

        Best regards,

        Anna

  37. I was molested by my uncle and my stepfather at it young age maybe kindergarten anyway my uncle we could have been lusting for 50 years when we told our parents me and my cousin I was young and they tell me what would happen and I declined so he goes ahead and molest his granddaughters bad enough his nieces to his granddaughters now I felt responsible I should have done something so anyway he dies no closer I can go to his grave not my father he molested me the same time frame not talking one year to year were talking years he tells me he’s sorry for 9:30 and crime in my 50’s he tells me they deserved it my mom gets too hot for me now he’s dead and they want me to say something nice what do I say

    1. Hi Ann,

      If you are talking about the funeral, it may have already occurred by the time you are reading this. Funerals are for the living. When I found out that my dad who molested me died, I eventually decided that I was not going to the funeral because, it would do nothing to help with my healing or to help me at all. My mom is not a nice person and she would be there and I was not at all close to my family. So there was no reason for me to go other than to keep social norms. If no one in your family protected you and supported a pedophile who is in such a sick person that he could say that the children he raped “deserved it”, I do not think it is healthy to be around those people at all. Who needs a family that supports pedophiles and not innocent children? It is not only time to not be around your family, it is time to heal and surround yourself with only healthy people.

      Who is the person who said you need to say something nice? You do not need to say anything nice about a pedophile. You can tell your truth or choose not to be around those people at all. When you start your healing process part of that is being honest with yourself. Stay away from that person who demands that you say something nice about a perpetrator.

      It is also may be a good time to reach out for help with healing from the abuse. You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE 24/7 and they will connect you to a local rape crisis center. If the first people that you speak with are not helpful, then try again later, the people on the phone often change shifts. If you repeatedly get people who are not helpful, you can go to centers.rainn.org and try another center in your area. Many of the rape crisis centers have free counselling. But free is only good if they are helpful, sometimes therapists that you pay can also not be helpful, so it has nothing to do with whether you pay for it. Always remove yourself from a situation that is not helpful. You may also find that after you are healing for a bit that you outgrow the therapist or counsellor and they are no longer helpful. It is fine and healthy at that point to move on.

      You can also interview other therapist in your area to see if they are a person that has the tools to help you to heal. I always recommend not going to a person that thinks that things like drugs, herbs electroshock are options to help survivors to heal, they are all very bad ideas. You ned to work with a person that believes that you can heal without harming your body. You may also want to look at the book “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge if you need inspiration on your ability to heal after being abused.

      The other very important thing to do is to get help for your grandchildren who have been abused, so they can immediately start to heal from the abuse. You can also try the rape crisis centers for that help. What you do need to know is that when you reach out for help for them (if they are under 18 years old) the perpetrator will be reported but since he is already dead, I don’t know if anything else will happen with that.

      The great thing is that you and your grandchildren can heal if you all take action and are willing to do what is needed to heal. Please feel free to write any updates and/or respond to this comment.

  38. Today my younger brother told me that my dad sexually abused him. He didn’t give me a lot of details but he did say that it hasn’t happened since he was in eight grade (he’s 17 now) so I know he’s not in immediate danger, which is good. A lot of things make sense now because my little brother has a lot of behavioral problems, has attempted suicide, used to cut himself, is fairly anti-social, and is constantly at war with my brother. He has not told many people. He had a therapist and told her and when she said she would have to report it he left therapy. I don’t think I would be capable of reporting it and destroying my family. I know he did not abuse me or my older brother (this is probably coming out all disjointed but I’m really overwhelmed right now). The hardest thing right now is that I love my dad. My dad was a great dad to me. But how can I ever look at him the same now? I don’t want this to be real. Now I feel guilty for even thinking those things because it’s nothing compared to what my brother went through and continues to go through. Also he told me about 2 hours before I got on a plane with both my parents to leave for my second attempt at college (I’m 22) because my first attempt at college led to a lot of emotional and academic strife. My mind is exploding with thoughts and I don’t know what to do. I really need support and I need answers for how to continue my life, for how to function in this new world where my dad is not just my dad but the man who sexually abused my little brother. Someone please tell me what to do. someone plz help me.

    1. I will write more within the next few weeks. If you need support before then try calling 1-800-656-HOPE, they should connect you to a local rape crisis hotline. If they are supportive that is great, if not hang up and try again later or when they ask you to put in you area code or zipcode, try putting in one from another area. Do not give up, keep reaching out for help.

      And your dad is not really a great dad because great dads protect all of their children. Your brother telling what happened can help you to see your dad for who he really is You may or may not want to confront him, you may want to wait until you have more support for yourself. At college, there is probably also a counselling center. Who like all services may or may not be helpful.

    2. How was your flight? Did you say anything to your parents? There is no way to know for sure that your father did not assault your other brother and it would be quite rare if he did not assault him. Pedophiles rarely only assault one child. And even if you ask your brother, he may have forgotten the abuse or may not want to admit that it happened to him if he did not forget. Your brother is not safe around your dad because whether or not he is still assaulting him (even though your brother is older, it does not mean that he is not being assaulted, it really depends on what age range the pedophile wants to assault children at). But even if he is not actively assaulting him imagine how awful it would be to be in the same room as a person who raped you let alone live in the same house as him. You could never feel safe when you sleep or really anytime at all. It is like living with your own personal monster and no one is acknowledging that a person called dad is your monster.

      I would reach out for help at college. It is also important to figure out where the emotional and academic strife came from the first time you tried to go to college. Where in your past did you learn those ways to make yourself stressed out and feeling strife and what are some great coping mechanisms that you can use so that you can succeed in college and life. And are there other things from your past that you need to deal with?

      It is also really important to see your dad for who he really is, a pedophile and to support your brother in his healing. A man who will willingly rape his child was not a good dad at all. He would have to have some fakeness to him. What might be helpful for your brother is if he wants to get a therapist, at this point, to say that he is eighteen, so that he can have the choice when he wants to report your dad and not have the choice taken from him. He could also try to call the RAINN hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE and only talk with them if they are being supportive, knowing that there are excellent and helpful people out there and also people who are not at all helpful out there. So always hang up or walk out if you are not being helped.

      I would work on creating a healthy support system at college and keep reaching out for help so that you do not go to the stress place or if you wind up in the stressful state, you have the tools to get back to a healthy place.

      Please feel free to wrote back with the answers to the question (if you want to) and with any updates.

  39. When I was in maybe 4th grade my older brother sexually abused my best friend while she was sleeping over. I was laying next to her and he claimed to be sleep walking. When I told my mom she said I was being dramatic and she is a therapist and conselour so I believed she was right. I hadn’t technically seen anything but what I did see was enough for me to be angry. I have push back this memory along with another similar moment between my brother and my other friends when I was in middle school and an even earlier one from when I was in early elementary school where I was the victim. I am now 18 and up until this point had virtually blocked these memories out of my head. My best friend stayed my best friend and kept coming over to the house. My parents never called my brother out. I have a great relationship with all my family members despite this because we have all blocked it out. Now I am realizing how this has all really messed me up in terms of relationships and trust with any sexual partners or even just regular friendships. Is it too late to discuss this again with my parents? My mom was sexually abused as a young teenager and told me she never told her mom because by the time she realized she should it was too late….. advice?

    1. Hi M,

      It’s never too late but do not expect your mother to be in the least bit supportive. If she called you dramatic as a child and did not believe you, the chance that she will believe you now and be supportive is not very good. Please know that just because your mother is a therapist does not mean that she knows what is best or is even a emotionally healthy person. There are tons of extremely emotionally messed up people who are therapists. There are very healthy ones too but a healthy therapist would have been horrified that her son had done such a thing and taken action to get him help and protect you and your friends. Not call you dramatic to stop you from talking about the experience and healing from it.

      Blocking out memories takes a ton of energy, so it is now time that you can allow the memories and emotions that have been stuffed down inside to be released and heal. I would also caution you that if you do tell your mother to first have people who support you and believe that what happened to you and your friends was horrific. Have that support before you confront her and your dad. Because she is a therapist (who does not sound emotionally stable from the story that you wrote) she could try to get you to see a colleague of hers who will likely not be supportive either or recommend you take prescription drugs or other non-helpful things.

      It may be time for you to distance yourself from your very unhealthy relatives such as your mother and brother. You do not really have a great relationship with your family because healthy families protect children and if you have to block the memories of sexual assault to be around them, then the relationship is a fake relationship.

      The other question that needs to be asked, is who sexually assaulted your brother and did they also have access to assault you and was that memory also blocked out? Children do not sexually assault other children unless they were assaulted. If your mother or any person tries to give you books about “False Memory Syndrome” walk away. When you research the people who began that movement, you will discover that one of the founders was Ralph Underwager a psychologist who came out publicly and said that pedophilia was god’s will.

      It may be really helpful for you to find a healthy therapist to help you to heal from your past. I would again recommend that you do NOT ask your mother for a recommendation because the people that she may recommend would most likely be very emotionally sick people, like your mother was when she called you dramatic. That is such incredibly sick behaviour on her part. Even if at first they are kind, you need to remember that there are perpetrators and people who support perpetrators who can be therapist. But it is time to look for a great therapist.

      You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE 24/7 and they will connect you with a local rape crisis hotline. If they are helpful, that is great, if not hang up and try again later. (Volunteers change shifts.) If they are repeatedly not helpful then try another hotline at centers.rainn.org . Most hotlines are connected with rape crisis centers that have free counselling. Again, if they are supportive, that is great but if you do not feel supported, excuse yourself and leave. When finding a great therapist, they should have tools to help you to heal, not drugs, herbs, supplements, or surgeries. Talking with them should make you feel like there is hope and you can heal from the abuse and not that you are permanently damaged from the abuse. Keep looking until you find a healthy and great therapist to help.

      If you keep looking until you find a great therapist or counsellor to work with and do the work to heal, you can have a great life and the abuse you suffered will no longer interfere with relationships. Just be persistent. You can also try reading my post at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/category/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/ which will give you ideas and tools for healing from the abuse.

      Please feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates give other survivors hope even if they seem to you like they are only small things you have done.

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