What to do When You Feel Triggered

As survivors, we can get easily triggered by present day events.  It is easy to want to run and hide behind our televisions, cell phones and computers, etc.  But since we most likely already survived the worst of the abuse, it is okay, in fact great, to get back into our bodies to feel and fully live our lives.  That includes bringing real laughter and not just stress laughter back into our lives.

So lets say that a feeling of panic comes up, without realizing it, when we walked into the room the light was exactly the same as the light we saw when we were abused.  We feel anxious, we want to run, get away and our heart is pounding.

What should we do?  First of all, anytime that we notice an emotion that is way out there, we need to ask ourselves what was the thing that triggered that feeling.  It is easy to say, well we have a panic disorder but that is most likely not the truth.  The truth is most likely, that we are unconsciously remembering a trauma.

For example, one time I was living on a boat in Seattle and in order to have running water on the boat, I would have to fill it from a spigot on my dock.  It had been dripping for a while, so my neighbor trying to help out put a cap on my spigot, which would not have been an issue except when I went to fill the holding tank with water, so that I could take a shower, I could not get the cap off.  I was livid, ready to explode and go over to my neighbors and scream at them, “what the !?#%!  How dare you touch my spigot!  MY SPIGOT!  Who the hell do you think you are?”, but before I did that I took a moment and noticed that I was experiencing and extreme emotion.

I took a breath and asked myself if that really was an appropriate emotion for the situation.  And of course, I screamed back inside my head “YES!”

This is the problem with triggered emotions, we always feel like it is justified.  It most likely does not seem justified to the people watching us, but it does to us.  That is why if any time we experience an extreme emotion we should ask ourselves what triggered this response and what is something that I should have such an extreme emotional response to.

For me the trigger was the spigot cover being stuck and because I needed this water to take a shower, I realized that it reminded me of not having control over my body.  It reminded me of being grabbed, held down and raped.  My emotional response was appropriate for that.

Summary and action steps:

  • If you feel an EXTREME EMOTION stop and take a deep breath into your stomach.
  • If you are not driving get out a piece of paper.
  • Ask yourself what was the triggered.  (If you are not sure ask yourself what is the triggered and write down whatever thought come to you.  Let the pen flow without judgement or editing what you are writing.) Remember a trigger can be a word, lighting, a facial expression, scene from a TV show or movie, even the temperature of a room or things that occur when you are driving.  It can really be anything.
  • Then ask yourself what is something in my life that it would be appropriate for me to have such an extreme emotional response?  Then write down that answer without editing and keep asking yourself that question and writing down whatever comes to you.  It can be something that makes no sense to you such as “Mickey Mouse” or “wallpaper” but trust your unconscious mind and write it down anyway.  It may be a piece to your puzzle that was buried a long time ago for your survival.
  • When you are finished writing breath deep into your stomach and slowly read what you wrote, allowing yourself to feel any emotions that may or may not come up.
  • Read it at least three times slowly
  • Keep breathing deeply and congratulate yourself for becoming more and more conscious.

Every time you do this you are healing and you are taking action.  You may not notice at first but the more you heal, the happier and better you will feel.

35 thoughts on “What to do When You Feel Triggered

  1. Most of my triggers were…(edited by blogger) with my spouse. Stopping and talking about it with him helped reduce occuances.

  2. Hey,

    I’ve been using this exercise, and it’s definitely brought some memories back. Some of my bodily pains have gone down, and certain automatic reactions. I admit that the memories I have gotten back are pretty troubling. Some have definitely cleared up, thank god, and others are just really disturbing fragments that just make me wonder what I should do. I’ve actually been getting a bit panicky, and wondering where to go with my mother from here.

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I needed a clarification before I respond. Below is your comment. When you said “wondering where to go with my mother from here.” Did you mean that your mother abused you or did you mean something else? Mothers do frequently sexually abuse children, though it is under reported but I wanted to make sure I understood before I respond. Sorry it has taken a while to get to your comment.

      1. It’s definitely all right. It’s good to hear from you, it really is. I currently feel like I’m stuck.

        In all honesty, I fear that my mother did it to me. My memories are still admittedly foggy, but I am afraid nonetheless. What really makes it a lot worse is that previously, we were very close. She was always very supportive of me when I was a child (I have learning disabilities I struggle with to this day), and she encouraged me in my writing (I’ve been writing since I was a girl. By the way, thank you for The Artist’s Way recommendation. It’s really helping me get unblocked). Still, there were always some elements of her behaviours that struck me as too close, or just gave me a feeling of being inappropriate. And one…well, one is pretty foggy and confusing but I’m actually terrified that I was assaulted.

        So I’m basically worried that my mother abused me. My dad and my aunt were pretty horrified by that and my dad said he always kept an eye on me, that he never would have let anything happen to me while my mom was in his sight. But I am worried about my memories. (I hope I made sense here)

        I still currently live at home with them (I’m in college) and thankfully, nothing bad’s going on right now, but I am worried about what my memories mean and where to go from there. I’ve been having quite a lot of anxiety attacks and such. Is there any way I can navigate the terrain of living at home with my parents until I can move out?

        Like I said, I hope I made sense.


        1. Hi Anonymous,

          Yes, it is definitely possible that your mother abused you, also the validation that your aunt and dad were concerned about leaving you with your mother and felt the need to keep an eye on you when your mom was around, is very validating to your suspicions. There had to have been some behaviour from your mother that made them concerned. Unless that behaviour was there, your dad and aunt would not be concerned.

          It may be difficult to allow your memories to surface while living with your family, I recommend taking action to get housing, if your dad really is concerned and has the means maybe he can pay for it. Also see if you can be a RA at your college dorms. You can also talk to a counsellor and tell them that you need to move out of your house ASAP. It is not healthy to live with a person who most likely assaulted you. You can also see if you can get into internship housing possibly. You can also check out http://covenanthousedc.org/ and http://dcsafe.org/contact/ or google “safe house” along with the name of the town or area you live in. This organization helps with housing for survivors http://www.nvrdc.org/ . Keep looking at options until you find a way to get out of your house. The most important thing that you can do right now is to move out of your house. It is rarely OK to live with a perpetrator, the only time it could possibly be OK is if they had done tons of things to heal, they had made amends, then possible it would be OK to live with them but in your situation, you need to leave your house, unless your dad is willing to throw your mother out of your house but still to live in the home you were abused in, in not a great idea. I understand that in your area housing can be crazy expensive but keep looking at options. Is there a job that you can get that comes with housing? Does your school have special grants you can use for housing? Does your school have a rape crisis center that may be able to help you? Whenever you reach out for help know that some people might be very helpful, while others may not be helpful at all. Some sick people who are suppose to help might even negate that you could have repressed memories, even though there are tons of scientific evidence for repressed memories. You do not need to argue with unhelpful people, instead try to remove yourself from being around them, hang up the phone or if you are in the room with them excuse yourself or ask to talk with someone else (who may or may not be helpful). Keep looking until you find a great place to live and then keep looking until you get the help and support you need. You can also try calling 800-656-HOPE a 24/7 hotline that should connect you with the local rape crisis center. Again if they are helpful, great, if not hang up and try again later or try another hotline at https://centers.rainn.org/ You want a place to live where you have your own room ideally and feel very comfortable.

          Once you have left your house, then you can work on allowing your memories to come up. Do not give up, keep looking for a place to live. Then once you move out. you can focus on healing. Of course you feel anxiety living there, you are living with a person who most likely abused you. Abuser can sometimes be nice, like with your mom supporting your writing but that does not mea that she did not abuse you.

          Feel free to write back once you found a place to live, please write back and update what has helped you accomplish that. And do not take prescription drugs to deal with your anxiety attacks, the anxiety attacks are telling you that you need to move, so move. And prescription drug side effects for antidepressants and antipsychotic can be anxiety, depression, liver damage, brain damage, etc, they are not at all safe to use, you can see more about drug problems at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnryFXxl7yU (he treated schizophrenics without using drugs). But if you are taking drugs, do not go off them until you have a excellent doctor or alternative healthcare practitioner to supervise your withdrawals and you need to go off them very slowly. Though you still may get triggered after you move but as you heal that should get better also.

  3. I am 29 and I feel like I have always been able to just not think about, or not let the abuse bother me. I tell myself it’s in the past I can’t change it or just get over it and move on, that I turned out “ok” so what does it matter.  But recently it’s been harder to do that, I don’t know if it’s because I’m starting to realize how much it has impacted my life or if it’s because I realize I’m scared to start a family of my own. Sometimes I just feel overwhelmed by the emotions it brings up. Both of my parents were physically and emotionally abusive at times, mostly emotionally abusive. What has been keeping me up at night is that I know my father was sexually abusive but there are memories that make me question my mother as well. I spend most of my time alone and I have a hard time connecting with other people. I feel like I can’t relax around men but I also hate it when a women hugs me or shows me affection. I feel lost and tired. I want to try therapy but I don’t think I would even know what to say. Is it weird to say that I don’t feel like I deserve to complain about this, every time I think about mentioning it to someone I just think I am betraying my parents especially my mother who is still in my life. I have talked with my sister about this and we found we had similar memories. I know it’s rambling but honestly it’s just feels nice to put this somewhere other than my own head. Thank you for your blog, it’s truly helpful.

    1. Hi Tired,

      I am sorry to hear that this happened to you. Abuse is not ok. As you have noticed, it is impossible to put the past in the past, if you still need to detox the trauma and heal from it. Your past will keep popping up in the present until you have detoxed from the trauma. I do not know what happened in your situation but mothers as well as fathers unfortunately also can be perpetrators of sexual assault. Many people in our society do not want to acknowledge that mothers can be perpetrators. Listen to how you feel, you will figure out what you need to figure out.

      By going to therapy, you are not betraying your parents, they betrayed you by being abusive towards you. And if you go to an excellent therapist, they can guide your therapy, so you can detox from your past, you should not need to figure out what would be helpful to talk about, it is your therapist’s job to figure out what is helpful, though if you feel that there is something that it would be helpful for you to talk about in therapy, it is your therapist’s job to listen to you talk about what you feel you need to talk about or work on things that you feel you need to work on.

      It is very helpful seeing an excellent therapist or counsellor, who is helpful to you and has tools to help you to heal. That being said bad therapists or counsellors are not helpful at all and can make you feel worse sometimes too, so listen to how you feel when you are talking with a therapist or counsellor and see if it is helpful. See if they have the tools to help you to heal, recommendations of drugs, vitamins, herbs, etc or other things that insinuate that you need to fix some time of chemical imbalance are not helpful, and those thing all can have really bad side effects, plus the person recommending them is telling you that they do not have the tools to help you to heal, only a temporary bandaid (a bandaid that can cause more harm than help).

      If you feel uncomfortable with someone hugging you, you can say no before they hug you. Anyone insisting on hugging you after you say no, can be a possible red flag of a person you might not want to be around.

      Every survivor deserves to be able to tell their story especially if they are telling it so that they can heal from the abuse. Keep reminding yourself when you go to tell your story that your parents betrayed you, not the other way around and it is healthy to tell your story. There may be some people who do not want to hear your story, those people may not be your real friends or the right people to tell.

      It is can be validating to you that your sister and you have similar memories. Keep reaching out for great help until you find it. You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE (it’s a 24/7 hotline that should connect you to the nearest rape crisis center) and see if the person you speak with is helpful. They may also have free counselling for survivors which may or may not be helpful. If the person you are speaking with is not helpful, hang up and try again later (volunteers change shifts) and if you are talking or meeting with a person who is not helpful, feel free to excuse yourself and leave. If that place is not helpful, you can try interviewing therapists or counsellors until you find a person who is helpful. Do not give up until you find great help.

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

  4. I wasnt raped at least I don’t think so, i just remember my dad … (edited by blogger) I was 10 years old.  I didnt think it was wrong at that time and as disgusting as it sounds I think I actually enjoyed it.  He told me not to tell anyone.  That’s all I remember.  I’ve ignored it my whole life I’m 33 now.  I’ve recently told my sister, close friends, and boyfriend for 10 years.  I’ve always had trust issues, never liked being around older men because they made me feel uncomfortable.  I don’t know what I’m getting at or where I’m going with this..  I feel compared to what others have experienced mine is minute.  I just know I hate my dad and when he moved back to his country last year I felt relieved.  That I wouldn’t be around him and pretend anymore.  I have problems trusting my boyfriend partner who has nothing but been loving I drive crazy w/ my jealousy and crazy thoughts.  I dont know I just wanted to put something out there.  I saw a therapist twice last month but stopped.  However, I can’t live this way always untrusting, but I can’t keep blaming what happened back then can I? My dad always cheated on my mom, they are getting a divorce because she found out he has another child.  She knows about my trust issues and attributes it to his cheating, she’s very supportive, but she doesnt know why I hate my dad.  She tells me to forgive him because he always provided for us.  I can’t tell her about what happened because I feel it will destroy her.  Sometimes I feel it didnt really happen.

    1. Hi Faith,

      You may think that you “enjoyed it” but in a house devoid of real love children will look for anything or even if you had a really loving mother kids yearn for love from both parents. And bodies respond to being abused, neither of which mean that you really “enjoyed it”. Once a child is violated their world changes. When they heal things can get better but until then you as a child and now as an adult are affected by the abuse.

      You have every right to not like your dad. You have every right to be relieved when he left this country. And it is great that you are done with pretending. It is normal for a person who has been abused to want to control the situation and can lead to trust issues because your parents are suppose to keep you safe from harm so that you can learn to trust and that was not your experience.

      You do not need to forgive him. Though she may not have known what happened to you, so that could be why she told you to forgive him. It is different to tell your child to forgive someone for cheating on your mom than to tell someone to forgive them for raping you. If after you tell her what he did she tells you to forgive him, that would not be ok.

      Telling your truth will not destroy her, though if she is truly a great mom, it will make her very sad. But by no longer keeping your dad’s secret, you are letting go of a burden that is not yours to hold onto. It is your dad’s secret not yours. I would encourage you to tell her, then you will truly know who she is. If she is a truly caring mom, she will be very upset and if she is not who you thought she was (a caring mother) she may say you are lying, or you need to forgive him, or get over it it happened a long time ago or keep it a secret or anything not really caring or even say that you are making it up. By her response you will know who your mom really is.

      You truly can be having all of the problems from what happened to you in the past, so it is time to get excellent help to heal from the abuse. Was the therapist not very helpful or even cold towards you or did you quit going because you were scared to deal with the abuse. A therapist should help you to feel better about yourself, help you to realize that you are in charge of your life and also help you to detox emotionally from the abuse. I believe that if a therapists recommends drugs, herbs or vitamins because they are talking about “chemical imbalance” it is time to find another therapist. You have trauma that you need to heal from using the myth of “chemical imbalance” will keep you reliant on outside drugs, herbs or vitamins and will cover up the core issues of the trauma that you need to detox from while possibly giving you some very bad side effects. More information at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/11/it-prozac-or-placebo

      I feel it is important to get great help to heal from abuse but mediocre and bad help can make things worse so listen to your gut when seeking help and ask yourself if you feel supported in healing or not. Some people who become therapists are very emotionally ill people where others are amazing. You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE and that 24/7 hotline will connect you will the local rape crisis center. If the volunteer that you speak with is not helpful, try calling back later (volunteers change shifts). If they are repeatedly not helpful, try going to centers.rainn.org and try other hotlines. Most rape crisis centers have free counselling but free counselling is only helpful if the people are helpful. So feel free to hang up or politely excuse yourself from any situation that you do not feel is helpful or supportive. If the hotline repeatedly does not work try calling and interviewing different therapists and counsellors until you find a person who can help you to detox the trauma. Do not stop until you find a great person to work with and then do the work it takes to heal. Healing does not have to be a lifelong process if you can find excellent help and be willing to believe yourself and release the trauma.

      Please feel free to comment back with any questions, answers to my question or updates. Updates give survivors hope.

  5. I was sexually abused for 12 years by my farther and I now my mom knew but she won’t admit it she makes my sisters think they are mad I am 22 now it all started when I was very little my sisters even younger, I find it hard to live day to day I can’t live with it in my head I need it all out but no matter how many times I talk to someone about it its still always there they have now let my dad out of prison now he only got six years its a joke and I’m so scared his gunna find me. I hide my feelings from people and they don’t know how I feel but how do I just come out with how I feel. I feel trapped in the abuse even though it’s stopped. I don’t know what to do I hate my mom deep down because I now she knew she caught him and my sister told her a few times and she didn’t do anything and now she still Denys it but I have to live with her because she blackmails me because if I move out she will loose her house. She always plays the victim like she tells people what’s she’s been through so they feel sorry for her she don’t care what we went through. My life is so complicated my head is so messed up I just don’t know what to do 🙁

    1. Hi CaseyEllaJade,

      It is time to move out of your mother’s house and let her suffer the consequences of her actions. She supported a pedophile and is willing make you and your sisters feel crazy. It is horrifying that your mother is happy to make you and your sisters feel crazy. When she should have protected you. If she looses her house that is her problem not your problem. Your mother sounds like a very sick and twisted person. It is time for you to get as away from her and the best thing that you can do to help to heal yourself is to cut all ties with her. She is very abusive and she was never a real mother to you. Real moms protect their children from perpetrators even if the perpetrator is their dad. Also people who try to get their needs met by playing the victim role are very sick. When I say that playing the victim, I am not talking about allowing yourself to heal and realize that you are a victim, I am instead talking about the people who shove it in your face and keep proudly telling poor me stories. Not reaching out for help but shoving the poor me attitude onto others to manipulate them. Often these type of “victims” are very sick people, sometimes even perpetrators themselves.

      You may feel much better once you get away from your mother, unless you need to get over the guilt she has shoved into you. Even if your mother looses her home, it is not in the least bit your fault. It is her fault. You owe her nothing.

      Once you get space from her, because she is you abuser as well (a person who tries to make you feel crazy, plays victim in the way she is and supports a pedophile is an abuser), it will be much easier you heal. Also, she does not care what you went through, it is not your job to care about what she is doing to herself.

      It might be helpful to have a friend help you to move out or even to try and get all of your stuff out when she is not around. You can simply leave her a note stating something “I do not want you to contact me ever again”. You can block her number on your cellphone. She just sounds like a terrible person. If she tries to call you hang up if you accidentally answer it. If you need to listen to her messages, you might want to do it around a friend who supports you in getting away from your mother or if you have a healthy therapist.

      There is a little girl inside of you that probably feels abused just being around such a mean person even though she is your mother.

      You need to surround yourself with people who support your decision to leave your mother and not be around abusive people even if they are related. You may need to let go of some unsupportive friends also or maybe you just have supportive friends already. Anyone who tells you that you must forgive them, is not being supportive. What you must do is forgive yourself and not at all hard on yourself.

      If you need to find help in healing from abuse you can try calling 0808 802 9999 between 12 noon – 2.30pm and between 7 – 9.30pm any day of the year and to find a local rape crisis centre you can try going to http://rapecrisis.org.uk/centres.php and click on the appropriate part of the UK that you are in. I am a bit concerned that it seems that many organizations in the UK want to only help female survivors and not male survivors and that is not at all ok. It makes it seem like rape is only a female issue and that is very wrong and not appropriate. The West Midlands one supports both men and women, so that is a good sign. Though they still may or may not be helpful. If they are not helpful, you can try another UK organization or try calling therapists or counsellors until you find someone who can help you to heal. A person who treats you well and makes you feel comfortable and does not try to take away your right to make choices.

      I would not recommend taking drugs, herbs or vitamins for what you are gong through, they can have terrible side effects and in the end only numb out what you need to deal with. Keep looking for great help until you find it.

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

  6. Almost a year ago we discovered my daughters were being sexually abused by they’re paternal grandmother . Unfortunately it seems Mishima is more co weed with protecting the “potential” abusers than the children . I may skip around a bit trying to get my point across. How ashamed the children are the behaviors they continue to display throughout there life . It’s all so sad . Looking for answers in how to help my oldest daughter who endured the abuse for 6+years from 18 months to 7 1/2 .. She is in a tremendous amount of pain . Self mutilation , hair pulling, ripping skin from face, having toileting troubles . And the behavior and issues with me (mom) are pretty bad . I’m assuming because of the” woman” aspect of the abuse . My four year old is who told us . She/ they had both been told young those are your personal parts and nobody touches those.  I “knew something was wrong ” but everybody treated me like I was crazy . Almost made me believe it . It seems a sexual predator will do anything to uphold they’re pretty little image . I’m realizing that my partners family must of been a functioning cult like incest based house. Sick .. All the details add up . Even with me genuine concern for the best outcome .the state dropped our charges . This “woman ” worked/ works at an elemnatery school . Just attempted suicide, to gather her scapegoats and golden children for her narsasistic family party . My partner had lost his whole family being cast out as the bad guy . Because her charges didn’t stick . The things my children told me will never leave my concious . I can barely live with myself knowing I almost allowed it . I say that because I “thought ” it was happening I literally had no proof . My daughter said no no no it didn’t happen . But that’s loyally to the offender. She was threatened she would kill mommy ,daddy ,little sister ,and baby sister, if she told . Until we moved to an unknown location , she kept quiet . Then when she knew we could tell something was wrong we asked her again she got all upset and let it all out . Worse part is when we got to the children center and talked to the police she pretended nothing happened again . Then of course we’ve been treated as we made this up . I can’t make up my nightmares . I can’t make up the anxiety I feel knowing exactly what happened to my children . The whole way try treated us was bass ackwards . It was christmas vacation for the world so they put our case on hold for a week n a half . Then accused me of talking too much with my daughter . Oh I’m sorry for being there and letting her get it out ! Since nobody was calling me back . If I try to explain every detail of what was wrong with this situation I would type for days . With my discovery of my children’s Abuse . I realize that I was also abused ,I only see quick visions and they are unclear . I’m not sure if I want to know . My whole life not knowing I was hurt as a young child . Now I need to question who it was I saw . And what really happened . But it explains my promiscuity as a teen . My dependency for love acceptance. Luckily my partner and I have worked through all of this . And gotten stronger our family is getting Stronger . But interact I see my daughters suffering . My middle daughter freaks out often . But doesn’t act violently towards herself or others . Now that we see with our third daughter how exactly a toddler should act were heartbroken along with our joy of how wonderful a average toddler is . Watching our toddler express herself with control (in most cases, she is 2) then it again it breaks our hearts to know that’s exactly what I knew was wrong .why did nobody believe me/us .. So we have all these cases of parents not beloved the children In these posts . That’s horrific and I feel deepest sympathies for those that endured that . My mother was mentally ill and abused me in different ways (not sexually as far as I know ) but then there is this perspective when the parent and children are not believed. I wonder of sate is trying to let go as many as possible because they just don’t care . This world is full of evil . The us makes it worse with being obsessed about making everything sexual . Everything is perverted . There needs to be a way to raise awareness ! Save children . Do whatever it takes . Legally I can not blast this @&@?! On the internet and make people ware she’s sick demented and I can pin point several other victims  . But I want to I want to tell the world about this all being hush hush ! Kids deserve better ! Sexual abuse awareness day at school ,maybe a flyer with warning signs . Free baby cams for people suspecting of abuse . If we could have afforded a nanny can at the time we would have caught the sicko. Instead I cried out for help asked every person I knew want to do what was wrong . Nobody knew . So that’s means the public is so brainwashed  it’s like that didn’t happen. Just keep swimming it will go away. No it’s getting worse . This country is getting worse everyday . I want to help the kids . I want to be the difference . And really want to share our story . It’s deep twisted and like a lifetime movie drama . I ant believe people like this exist it was beyond sexual abuse it was torture also . I can’t stand she walks free while my daughters are fighting for they’re childhoods . Fighting to stop hurting . Fighting me cause I know deep down they blame me . I never wanted them to go there . I just thought she didn’t like my one daughter . But the whole family would call why won’t you let her see her grand kids .. Blah blah court orders if you don’t blah blah blah .. Then to keep family peace would let them go there . Please mind you of I would have thought it was sexual or abuse they would not have ever gone there ! Detailed stories of ,my children hiding in the woods . My middle describing how when she was 2 she remembered sitting in sissies lap hiding in the woods from grandma  . She felt it start to rain then took a nap in her sisters lap waiting for her to get lost or go back inside . I see those babies sitting in the woods alone in the rain and I feel my heart crumble. I feel they’re pain ..:( please anybody help us ! This is so unfair unjust . I keep feeling like it’s my fault for being young when I had my first daughter I was 21 .. Just being young and uninformed .. I just want my children’s innocence back they’re sweet little selves . Thank God I only allowed my middle daughter over there few times .the grandmother wouldn’t leave me alone she always wanted my oldest would cause hell to get her . Now I am upset and rambling forgive me . I found this is my trigger . For what happened to me . I just want justice . I have helped catch a rapist /murderer after he attacked my mother . Funny thing Is the cops were just going to let him wander off and not post info on the news . I made sure they did he was caught in a at as the special aired thanks to me ! I am here to help in the great cause of riding the world of hatred and dark or negative energy . Thank you so much for your time .I am a flake, I know this . Especially when I am passionate about something it doesn’t always come out right .

    1. Heartbroken Mother,

      I am so sorry to hear that this happened to your children and that you were not believed. None of that is ok. But your children do have parents that care about them, love them and believe them and that is so important and can deeply help in the healing process. Children, when they are scared and have been taught not to tell about the abuse, can become scared to tell authorities the truth and the police should have known that and dug deeper. But unfortunately there are police who are not trained enough in this area and other police who simply do not care. There are good police who do care and are actively working to arrest perpetrators and end sexual abuse, but that does not sound like the ones who you talked with. The other issue is that many people in our society do not want to believe that women can be perpetrators, it is changing but there still are people who do not want to believe that.

      Your partner lost a family, that was not a family at all. A family that does not protect children or believe is a sick group of people not a real family. It is healthy that your partner got away from those people.

      It is good that you are speaking out and yes, all children deserve a childhood, where they can be kids. There are people and organizations who help children and adults to heal from child sexual abuse. To start your search, if you have not tried to call them already, you can try calling 800-656-HOPE, which should connect you to the local rape crisis center in your area. You can tell them what happened to your children and see what resources that they have to help. Some rape crisis centers are very helpful while others may not be as helpful or at all helpful. Also some volunteers are helpful while other volunteers are not at all helpful even at the same rape crisis center. If they are not helpful, you can try to call back later when another volunteer is working and if that doesn’t work you can try another rape crisis centers nearby or research great social workers and therapists who can help your children to heal from the horrible abuse that happened to them. Children can fully heal from abuse and go on to be healthy children, if you can find a good therapist or social worker to help with their healing, so keep looking, they can be very hard to find. Remember that your children know on a deep level that you love and care for them and that can help tremendously.

      It shows so much love and strength that you spoke out and wrote your story and by sharing that it can gives others the strength to do the same. Your story also shows how pushy and victimy the perpetrators and perpetrator’s enablers can be and how horrible abuse is. No child should ever have to go through any of that.

      I hope that soon we will live in a world where all abusers get separated from society, so that no person will ever have to be abused again, ever.

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

  7. For me, my male bio. …(the perteptrator) decided to be sexual with me all of my life but in time periods, not daily.I blacked out the stuff he did when I was a baby, toddler, and little. When I was 14, he tried to groom me to be second wife. I confronted the parents and my mother did the most damage, she didn’t believe me. My dad suggested I go to a therapist. The therapists believed me. They called CPS, they talked to my mom, but she later came home and told me I was destroying the family. One therapist suggested I move out, I did. My mother came and got me, told me to forget about the abuse. When I was a teen, he only…and verbally harassed me, but I was terrified of it escalating into him wanting me for the deed. My mom said I couldn’t work, only go to school. I was 16 and in college. My grandma came to live with us a few months after and I helped care for her. She was my mother’s mother.

    Now, it’s 20 years later. I’m just now furious at my mother. She might have divorced her mate but she sacraficed me as a teen and she didn’t believe me at all stating, he just kissed you… What do I do with this rage? I want to punish her and cut her off. I want to confont her. I want to hurt her feelings. I hate her for what she did.

    She’s a narcissist and verbally abusive even now….I hate her…I feel like an orphan.

    1. Hi Getting Through,

      I am so sorry to hear that this happened. I do not quite understand what you mean by my male bio (do you mean yourself or the bio of the perpetrator?). Men are frequently sexually assaulted statistics say that 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they are 18 years old. But women are also frequently assaulted, statistics say that 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted by the time they are 18 years old.

      Both woman and men can be sexual predators, society does not want to believe that women sexually assault children but they do. The man who perpetrated against you sounds like a horrible person and so does your mother.

      Your mother at the very least supports children being raped, but honesty from your description she also sounds like a pedophile. There may be more memories yet to come up they may include your mother or not. She actively went out of her way to keep another pedophile safe and to do everything that she could to make sure that you were not able to be either independent or get help. It sounds extremely fishy. I absolutely support you in not speaking with your mother at all, she sounds like a horrible person. Just because she is your mother, does not mean that you have to talk with her or have anything to do with her, because in truth a real mother would have protected her child and done everything that she could to get you help to heal and prosecute the man who raped you. It is not being kind to yourself to keep a verbally abusive person in your life, even if that verbally abusive person happens to be your mother. From what you wrote it sounds like your father was on your side. Is he still supportive of you?

      You did not tear apart your family, shame on your mother, not only did she protect a pedophile, she also tore apart her own family by protecting him over her own child. She blamed you for what she had done to the family.

      You can feel free to confront your mother but please keep in mind, if you are doing because you want to speak your truth, that is great. But if you are trying to have her admit that what she did was wrong, and apologize, that will most likely not happen. She will most likely blame you but it still could feel empowering to confront her, so long as you do not expect her to be in the least bit kind to you. You will most likely not hurt her feelings because she would have to care to have her feelings her and she sounds like too mean of a person to care for anyone other than herself.

      Try allowing yourself to feel the anger towards you mother and every time that it gets triggered (and you want to feel the anger towards another situation) allow yourself to remember and focus the anger back on your mother and step-dad. Try continuing to work with the exercises on this page. It is your opportunity to allow yourself to be the parent to yourself that you never had. A few suggestions about being your own parent can be found at my entry “Surviving Mother’s Day and the Holidays” http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ Though it talks quite a bit about the holidays, I think it still has some helpful tips for being your own parent every day and taking care of yourself when society tells you to spend time with your mother, etc.

      Try calling 800-656-HOPE hotline to get some additional support. If the hotline that you are calling is not helpful, hang up and try again later, there should be new volunteers at all different times. You can also try going to centers.rainn.org and try calling other hotlines in your area. But always keep in mind, that even great hotlines can have awful volunteers. They also should have free counselling centers that you can go to to help heal from the past. Even when seeing therapists, social workers, etc, always listen to your intuition to see if the person is helpful, if not request another person or go somewhere else. Keep reaching out for help until you get great help. Everyone deserves to heal and have a great life, so keep taking action until you are living the life you want to live.

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

  8. I was only 6yrs old when my mother meet a new guy. She had been a single mom for 3yrs. She decided to start dating n going out to clubs n meeting new guys… the last guy she brought home. She was with him for a few weeks maybe a month?. When he came to our house the 1st few day he was a “good, caring” step father aftert that moth he begin to touch me n come into the shower with me. My “mom” though it was sweet how much attention s he would give me… till the day I saw my “mother” by the window while I was being touched n abuse. I cried for her to help me I saw her face through the window looking at me like it was my fault… I cried n cried for my “mom” to help me I was scared all she did was walk away n was gone for hrs. After she came back she was upset with me n told me it was my faul and that I had ask for it because I wore a dress… to her it was easy to blame me than to admit it was really her fault… he showed me a gun and 3bullets telling me if I told anybody my mom n my brother would die.. I didn’t say anything because I was so scared to loose my “mom” n brothers. He would also make me n my cousin do things he would tell us what to do n if we didn’t he would show us his gun with bullets telling us both if we didn’t do what he said both of our families would die n it would be our fault for not “playing” I ran away from home. When I was 10yrs old Ioved to texas where I knew he couldn’t find me… im 26yrs old n only a few people know about it. I know my so called “mother” knew but she did nothing as long as it wasn’t her getting beat n abused. .. she picked the guy and decided. To stay with him. After everything he has done to me*(her only daughter from 9boys) she failed to protect me and allowed him to abused me while she watched (SICK) I moved to texas when I ran away from her n him. I have never… told anybanybody about my cousin being involved. I have a daughter when I found out I was having a girl I felt like my world had ended… im still scared of any older guy being around from my adopted dad (he has protected me) but I feel guilty that to this day im terrified of being around older man…. I know talking about it will make me feel better in a way but at the same time im scared what he could do to my younger brothers… in mexico specially Juarez cops don’t care as long as u give them $ they don’t see anything wrong…. that’s y people immigrate to the u.s.a we r scared n we have no help in mexico (juarez) the cops r the ones killing innocent girls n dropping them off in the desert if it was someone else doing this crimes they would have been caught long time ago. The mexican government doesn’t care about there people as long as they get paid for arresting American tourists give them a few dollars n ull b free in no time… that’s all they care about is there paycheck…my younger brother was kidnapped. 2yrs ago by the mexican cartel we have no idea where his at. We contacted the mexican police n they said there was NOTHING they could do to help us find him…. sorry im getting into a different subject. O just want people to know the reason so many people immigrate to the u.s.a because the mexican government doesn’t care about our kids. Onces u have been abused n u have a child u know how hard it is to trust anybody… how can anybody hurt a child n b okay with it. Makes me sick how people can b. My email is ginalmd@gmail.com if anyone wants to chat or needs anyone to talk to. Im here im no counselor just a regular young lady trying to find my place.

    1. I am working on a response, in the meantime try calling 800-656-HOPE and if that person is helpful, write down their name, if not try again later or try calling another center from centers.rainn.org. You do not need to be alone, what your mother and her boyfriend did was horrible. You are different than your mother because you want to protect your daughter, you are innately good, your mother never cared about protecting anyone other than herself.

    2. What happened to you as a child is so very wrong. You are so very right to put the word “mom” in quotes because real mothers, who are truly moms would protect their children. Your “mom’ never protected you so she does not deserve to be a real mother. She is also a criminal because by watching and not saying anything, she was also perpetrating against you. Also by blaming what you wore also makes her a perpetrator. Shame on your “mom”. It must have been horrifying to have a man like your stepfather live in the same house as you. Being threatened by gun violence is terrible and you probably had to be hypervigilant your entire life could not be easy and probably made the PTSD that you suffered from the incidents even worse. (This is not to minimize other children who were threatened with death for telling, all abuse and threats are horrifying.) Is your cousin who was abused with you an ally against your stepfather or are they now in denial or on your “mom’s” side?

      It shows your strength that at only ten years old that you got away from this horrifying situation. (Though every survivor deals with abuse in different ways and just because someone was not able to escape does not mean that they are weak.)

      Frequently pregnancy, marriage, loving relationships, childbirth even your child turning the age that you were when you first were abused can bring up abuse memories. And so many other things as are stated in this post can bring up abuse memories and emotions.

      But you must remember that your daughter will have something that you never had, a mom who will protect her from abusers and a mom who deeply loves her and that is why your daughter will be so much better off than you ever were.

      You should not feel guilty about being around older men making you feel bad, because it is a memory from the abuse that you suffered, feeling guilt from it only causes you suffering and it is time to learn to be gentle with yourself. You deserve to be gentle, loving and kind to yourself and that will teach your daughter by your example to be gentle, loving and kind to herself.

      Since your stepfather is a pedophile and your “mom” is a very sick woman, there is a chance that your brothers may be abused. What is going on in Juarez is horrifying, it shows what extreme corruption can do.

      As you learn to be more gentle and loving to yourself and heal more from the abuse, you will start listening more to your intuition and knowing who you can trust and who you cannot trust. Please start by calling the 800-656-hope number and reaching out for help. If the person you speak with is not helpful, try calling another phone number. If the person that you speak with is helpful, write down their name, I guess you should probably also keep a list of non-helpful people, so that if you call and get connected to them, you can hang up. If you need to try another number, go to centers.rainn.org or google a nearby town using the words “insert town rape crisis” or “insert town domestic violence”. Always listen to your intuition when looking for help with healing and I would highly recommend staying away from people who support your using antidepressants or antipsychotics for healing, they can cause liver damage and the side effects include depression, suicidal ideation, and brain damage which is seen when people develop tardive dyskinesia.

      You are a string person, you got away when you were ten, now it is time to continue to reach out for help. I believe that you can have a great life, but you must take action to continue to heal.

  9. I have been sexually abused twice. Once was when I was very young. Maybe 3, 4, or 5. I cannot remember anything specific except for…(edited by blogger) I cannot remember who did it, where it happened, how old I was, it basically anything about it, but I know it happened. I think that I was so young that I just accepted it and blocked it out. Then, many years later when I was in the fourth grade, another kid started touching me…(edited by blogger) It was awful…(edited by blogger) This went on until I finally made her stop in the sixth grade. Two years later. I was asymptomatic for the most part until I was 17. I finally allowed myself to admit what she did to me was sexual abuse. This is when I started remember the abuse from when I was very little. I panic all the time because I feel betrayed by my own mind because it won’t let me remember what exactly happened to me. I deserve to know. I can’t even tell my family because I’m so ashamed. I don’t know how to tell them and I don’t know who to turn to for help.

    1. Hi Courtney,

      I am so sorry to hear about the abuse that happened to you. It is not uncommon for people to repress memories of the abuse, it is the brain’s way of protecting us. Your brain is only trying to protect you, it is not betraying you. Have you tried any of the exercises in this post and if so were they helpful? Sometimes it takes a while to remember all of the abuse.

      You should not feel ashamed that you were sexually assaulted, it is not your shame, it is the people who assaulted you, it is their shame. A healthy family will support you and help you to heal and be furious that such atrocities could have happened to you. A sick family will tell you that it was your fault or that you were making it up or that you are crazy or ask what the big deal is. If your family is not supportive, it could be a sign that the person who assaulted you when you were 3, 4 or 5 may have been in your family.

      Try calling the 1-800-656-HOPE number and they may have resources to help you with healing. Many rape crisis lines have free counseling. But always remember to listen to your intuition, if the person you are talking with feels supportive, then write down their name, if not hang up and try again later or try another crisis line at centers.rainn.org, keep calling until you get the support that you need. Keep asking for resources until you find a person that feels like a good person to work with. Always listen to your intuition. As you heal, you may need to find new people to help you as you my outgrow the people you are working with. As as I always recommend, do not use antidepressants or antipsychotics to help you to heal even as a temporary fix, many experts agree that they cause more problems that they solve.

      If you take action, you will heal. The counselors on the hotline can also help you to make a plan to tell your family. No matter what your family says, whether they are supportive or unsupportive, you are right, you are a survivor of sexual assault and you deserve to heal.

      Please feel free to write an update or ask any more questions.

  10. I was molested as a child from age of 5 years to 13 years old by a family friend who lived with us and was 7 years older it started when he was 12 years old with playing doctor or house. As well as my twin sister at the same time (details edited out by blogger) I would tell my sister not to tell because it would kill my mom to find out what was going on being that she was a victim herself from her father and stepfather. When my sister was 13 years old she had enough and finally told our mom. My mom went to the police but they said it was experimentation and there was nothing they could do. My mom could not afford to live on her own and told him if he ever touches us again he will be arrested and that was the end of it. He never touched us again and when I talked to him he said he thought it was mutual and that he didn’t think he did anything wrong. To this day I will not go to sleep without underware on and do not like my husband trying to have sex while I am sleeping but will give in. I could never say no and don’t know why. I know later that he would look in my window while I slept and probably (you know what) while I slept. Only knew that because there would be a paint bucket outside my window. My mom choose not to notify his mom and asked us not to tell my dad in fear of losing us to my father, being that she didn’t get us out of the situation. I finally was able to move out of my mom’s house when I was 19 years old to go live with my dad and my mom was devisated. I was actually really happy to be out of that house. I have repressed many memories for many years and never talked about what happened in detail to anyone. I felt that if I don’t talk about it I can forget it and move on with my life. I wanted the past to be the past. When I had my first child everything surfaced. I guess I had post partum depression and actually did not feel love for my child the first month of his life. I really had the sense of how it felt for someone to give a child up when there was no attachment. I prayed to God to help me feel love and I did. From that day on I was healed from post partum. When my mom died in 2009 another gust of emotions came over me. I was overwhelmed. Today I am better but need much more healing. I have been feeling as though these emotions are a reaction to my past that I have not dealt with. Lately, I have been having memories of the abuse and wanting details so that I can move past it and heal from it. When I was a child I felt as though the abuse was my fault and that is why I suppressed it and wanted to forget about it. I feel as though God wants me to get past this and remember so that I can move on.

    1. Hi Leanna,

      It is so sad that the police did not understand that it was not experimenting, it was sexual assault. I am glad that your mother realized it was wrong but it is awful that you had to continue to live with a person who sexually assaulted you. It does not make it right but he had obviously been sexually assaulted also. Only a sick person would think that a little 7 year old would want to be assaulted. But who assaulted him? Why did he move in your house when he was twelve?

      The scary thing is that if he thinks that he did nothing wrong, what would stop him from continuing to assault little children now?

      It seems normal that you would want to wear your underwear as a way to protect yourself.

      If he is trying to have sex with you while you are asleep, how can you truly give your consent? You have told him you do not like that, so I feel that what he is doing is wrong. It feels violating. Sex should only be consensual. You’re not being able to say no, probably comes from your conditioning of being assaulted but try telling him no before you go to sleep or even have him read this response if you feel comfortable doing so. In order to take care of yourself, you must stop him from having nonconsensual sex. Even though you are married, a spouse still legally needs your consent to be sexual.

      It is so sad that your mother did not stand up and say no. It is terrible that she did not tell your dad.

      As you may have noticed, pushing your memories and emotions from assault down, only cause those repressed emotions to scream louder and become more intense in order for them to be heard.

      It is not unusual for people who have repressed emotions or memories to have them come up after giving birth or getting married, even to a person that they deeply love.

      Have you tried the exercises in this post? Have they helped at all?

      It shows your strength and your wisdom that you know that you need to deal with the past abuse to live in the present. It is so terrible that perpetrators not only assault the child but also lead them to believe that it is their fault. It is never a child’s fault. Your next step in healing is to try calling the 1-800-656-HOPE hotline, and see if the volunteers there can help you to get in touch with people who specialize in healing from sexual assault. They can also talk with you when you feel triggered. But please know that some volunteers are great and others are awful. If you do not feel like you are getting what you need, hang up and try again later or try another hotline from centers.rainn.org.

      Same thing when looking for a therapist or counselor, interview them first and see if they are a good fit. Some places in your area probably have free or sliding scale counseling for survivors and the hotline should know about these people but even if it is free, do not go unless it is truly helpful, so always interview first. You will completely heal if you continue to take action.

  11. i’m turning 30 in a few days and i think to myself, 15 years is enough time to heal from the abuse i experienced for 5ish years (i really am forgetting about it) – i count the time from the inappropriate hug lying on the couch to when he (my ‘dad’ – like he deserves the word) made me touch…(him). after which i went a little crazy when me and my friends drank some whiskey which he let us have, his own downfall as all my problems came out and police were called to see what was happening and that was that. but, living in australia there is now a huge inquiry into child abuse from the government and it brings up the anger and frustration and self hate insecurities i held in my early 20s. i want to thank you for this blog because you believe and talk about it. it was so hard when my own family on both sides didn’t comfort me after he had the restraining order put on him and it was just me, my mum and my sister, and i thought i could talk openly about it to my extended family, and be victorious even, that he got his just desserts of humiliation. but no one seemed to think so. how can one heal and live freely and normally again? i know i am ‘damaged’ and i wonder if i will ever physically heal but my heart has healed now. maybe i have been accepted. 🙂

    1. You will heal. But remembering and releasing is so important. You are right to say that your “dad” does not deserve to be called dad. Getting you drunk could have also been a way to get to you. I am glad to hear that the police arrested him, is that correct?

      It is normal that when child abuse cases come out in the news, it can bring up memoroes for survivors. Those feelings of anger and frustration and self hate may be other memories coming up to be heal. The fact that your family did not comfort you shows that you have a sick family. A real family is there for each other, yours was not.

      Try doing the ideas recommended in this article. You can live a normal life and live freely. You are NOT damaged, you had something terrible happen to you. You can be totally healed from these incidents. Please believe that. You can also try calling 1-800-737-732 or 1-800-424-017 24/7 if you are in Austrailia. If they are helpful great, if you do not feel supported hang up and try the other number.

      Please realize how much strength it took you to write this.

  12. I’m 29 and I know that the abuse I suffered as a child and young adult pales in comparison to what others survivors have been through, but it has still caused me immense pain, anguish and distress even as I write this. I have triggers and flashbacks. I feel so much anger and rage that sometimes I feel like it’s eating away at me. I worry I may develop an ulcer and sometimes I just break down crying in pain and frustration. Afterwards I often just feel so drained. The abuse I went through did not involve full out molestation or penetration. But there were wrong and inapproriate acts that still disgust me and leave me feeling betrayed and violated to this day. I have never taken drugs or become promiscuous, but I have struggled with my confidence and self-esteem my entire life. I have allowed people to disrespect me and cross my personal boundaries (an issue that I understand is common among abuse survivors.) The abuse has had such a destructive effect on nearly every aspect of my life. I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression and attempted suicide in my teens and continued feeling suicidal until my mid-20s. I had tried therapy in my teens, but the experience was very negative and the so-called doctor was negligent in the way he prescribed me anti-depressant medication, which I stopped taking more than a decade ago. I’ve heard many of many of his former patients who have had the same issue with him. I’ve read his mostly negative reviews on the rate my doctor website he appears on and have read the mostly negative reviews detailing his lack of professionalism and ethics. I don’t feel like I have a lot of support from my family. Their reaction seems to have been a combination of anger towards me,dimissiveness,trivializing and generally either being in denial about it or not believing me. This has caused me to doubt myself and feel shame and guilt (ironically for the f*cked up things that happened to me!) I feel this is such a heavy burden on my mind, body and soul. I feel alone and wonder how I can go about healing so I can find some happiness and peace.

    1. Hi Lily,

      I am glad that you are reaching out, it shows your strength. Please do not minimize the abuse you suffered by comparing it to other’s abuse. What you suffered was horrible and it still effects you today. You will not suffer from this for the rest of your life if you reframe your emotions and keep telling yourself that your body is detoxing from the traumas by releasing the emotions.

      Inappropriate sexualization of a child, young adult or adult is harmful, no matter what the exact abuse was. You may want to listen to the pain, distress, anger and anguish that you are feeling and ask yourself, “When I was little, what happened to me that I should feel this much (pick one of your strong emotions such as “anger”) anger?” And then write whatever comes up. And ask yourself the same questions and write again. Even if the answer does not make sense keep writing. (If nothing comes to you keep writing anything, you can even write “I don’t know what to write”.) Then after you have asked yourself at least four times for that one emotion, breath deeply and read what you just wrote. Keep breathing as you read what you wrote. This will help you to unstick the stuck emotions.

      Also with the flashbacks, if you feel one is about to happen, you can try to breath deeply and feel the bottoms of your feet touching the inside of your shoes. You can also try to remind yourself that this is a past event coming up because my body is ready to detox from the trauma. Another thing that can be helpful, is to put yourself in a space to watch the triggering event as if it was someone else’s movie.

      I would like to commend you for getting off the anti-depressants, they are so harmful and can cause, suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety. (These side effects are just a few that are on the side effects list.) They can also be a huge challenge to withdraw from. There are a lot of bad therapists out there, so it is great that you had the strength and intuition to stop doing therapy with him.

      From your description of your family, it appears that they have all of the symptoms of a family where sexual assault could occur. Families, where children are sexually assaulted are frequently abusive to the person who tells the truth about the sexual abuse. I am sorry to hear that your family seems to fit that description. A family like that is not healthy to be around. You need people around you who are supportive to you, not dismissive.

      Do not doubt yourself, you have made some really good choices. You chose to reach out with your post. You chose to get off the drugs that your therapist prescribed. You chose to stop seeing a therapist that was not supportive. And you can see that your family is unfortunately not supportive.

      Here is a link to some hotlines in Canada. I am not sure if this number works in Canada, 1-800-656-HOPE. It should be a confidential call. If that does not work try, http://rainn.org/get-help/sexual-assault-and-rape-international-resources
      Note that the people who answer are volunteers, so if someone is not helpful on the hotline hang up and another hotline. Keep reaching out and keep seeing who is helpful and who is not helpful. Work with people who you feel are helpful and leave when you feel they are not helpful. You will get your life back, you will heal.

  13. I feel for every victim that has sufferd in silence as i did for a long time i had to come to my own decition that i was nolonger taking on the victim role i was going to take on the sirvivor role i felt that as long as i held it in and never delt with it i was giving my perpatrator controle of me and he had taken enough from me . not comming forward doesnt make you week there were so many people i didnt want to make feel my pain however i have spoken out about my pain and talking helps you heal i chose to become a victims advocate and through the traing i went through i was able to understand my feelings and it helped me heal , i feel that you have to choose on your own when its time for you to becomethe survivor and cut the ties that the perp has on you and the hold and controle he has on you ,you have to make the choice to heal and recover there are so many programs out there now that helps victims of abuse when you are ready there will be help for you good luck in your healing process 🙂

  14. Barb,
    I strongly feel that you cannot truly start to heal until you confront your abuser. I had to do this with my father who abused me as a child. I didn’t tell anyone until I was 16 and then I let go of this horrible secret. I confronted him in a letter as it was not possible at the time to do it face to face. I cannot say that I am totally “healed” however I can say that I have been on the road to healing since I decided to let go of the secret. Good Luck.

    1. Some people find it healing to confront their abuser, while I have heard that others find it not so healing. Sometimes it is not even possible to confront the abuser, because they are dead or extremely violent. I agree with you that it is very important not to keep the secret because it is the abuser’s secret not yours and keeping it a secret, only helps the abuser and not the person who was abused.

  15. I was abused by a family member. I have never spoken to him about it. I think I would ruin his life if I brought it up this late in life. I have been on antideprescents for well over 25 years and anti anxiety medicine as well. I can’t fall asleep at night and have frequent panic attacks when I go to sleep at night. I’ve had breast cancer and am now working from home so I take naps during the day if I need to. I can’t get my life together. How does one heal when one has to face this person and everyone else in the family thinks he is so wonderful. I am a very angry person as I was hoping my mother would have protected me, but how could she as I was afraid
    to tell her as she adored the person. She is with God now but I feel guilty for all the anger I kept inside. This happened so long ago I should be over it by now. Any advise? I’ve prayed to God for healing and the Holy Spirit for Wisdom but as yet peace/happiness has alluded me and I just hate myself for being so weak and never speaking up or taking action when it was appropriate and always being upset later so I’m always on the defensive so I protect myself from not just physical but emotional abuse. I can only go out and be with people for short periods of time as I frequently panic. If you have time, please advise. Thank you.

    1. Abusers rarely stop abusing. If you choose, you can stop taking care of the abuser and do everything that you can possibly do to take care of yourself. What I mean by that is that his abuse has been living inside of you because you are scared of ruining his life but holding this abuse in and keeping the secret is ruining your life. It does not have to ruin your life. It is not your responsibility as to whether speaking the truth hurts him. It is your responsibility to take car of you. There is also an extremely good chance that he is still abusing others. Speaking out, if you choose to can give others who are being abused a chance to speak out also.

      Whether or not you choose to speak out and how is entirely up to you. But I would do everything possible to not ever see him again, even if he is your father, brother etc. A healthy family will support a victim of sexual assault, a sick family will blame a survivor of sexual assault and say such obnoxious things such as “get over it”. If you speak out it will be a true test as to whether you have a sick family or a healthy family. Your anger is justified.

      It is hard to get over it because you have not given yourself the opportunity to mourn it or even get away from the abuser. Do not blame yourself, many survivors have gone through this. Also from what I have seen antidepressant and anti anxiety medicine tend to make things worse for survivors and also as seen on the side effect labels these drugs can cause anxiety, depression, liver damage, tardive dyskinesia extreme anxiousness, insomnia and suicidal ideation (only to name a few of the horrible side effects). I am not a doctor but these are known side effects many of then are written on the warning label and experienced by other people who have taken these drugs. But do not go off these drugs without good medical oversight. Also these drugs are so toxic that withdrawals can look like chemical imbalance but its the body getting rid of the toxins and it can take a while. A great book on this is called “Your Drug May Be Your Problem” by Peter Breggin.

      The fact that you chose to reach out and write this shows that you are strong. A great resource is the RAINN hotline if you are in the United States 800-656-hope, they will talk with you 24/7. Note that the people who answer are volunteers, so if someone is not helpful on the hotline hang up and try again.

      Do not beat yourself up for not speaking out, you were trained during the abuse to never tell, being assaulted is very scary. Know that you will heal and have healthy relationships but now might be a great time to get rid of the unsupportive ones. Keep in mind that I am only speaking from personal experience, I an not a doctor or therapist, I am a survivor and these are things that I have done to heal.

    2. Oh Barb….I understand your pain all too well. It took me a very long time to estrange myself from my family for the very reasons you describe. It was the only way I could get better.

      You say ‘it would ruin his life if I brought it up”. That is exactly what he has done to you by abusing you. You bringing it up is speaking truth, not abusing him. We all have consequences for our actions. His consequence should be accountability.

      I encourage you to continue taking care of yourself by setting firm boundaries with your family even if you choose not to say why. The abuser is often highly regarded and this makes truth even harder to speak. It is part of the cycle. He probably abused others, too, and maybe continues to do so.

    3. Barb
      My adopted mother has breast cancer and its so hard n scary to and to add more stress to ur heart it’s not good for u… take care ofburself please… just remember that theres people that care about u… I dont know u but I know how hard it is to b dealing with sexual abused n an illness that’s u have no control over. u have made it this far don’t give up try to enjoy the good things in ur life. Cancer is a bitch but if u can survive the sexual abuse u can kick cancers ass!!! Ur a brave women stay positive don’t let ur past get on the way of ur future. =0). Take good care
      ♡Will keep u in my prayers♡ be strong n remember even people that don’t know u we still care. Im grateful that u shared ur story.

      ♥Gina from pampa texas♡

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