The 16 Signs of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Posted by in Louise Behiel, Sexual Abuse | 1,411 comments

Over many years of working with survivors of childhood abuse, in all of its many permutations and combinations, I’ve come to believe that there is a constellation of symptoms or behaviors in adults which suggest they might have been abused as children. While these are more applicable to sexual abuse, some apply to physical abuse victims and a few apply to the other types of abuse we put children through.

Disclosure: the most exhaustive list I’ve ever found is in the book Secret Survivors, by E. Sue Blume. It’s an old one (1998) but it is still worth reading if any of this feels like it might be your truth.

It is not my place as a therapist, in my opinion, to diagnose or make decisions about your past.  It is my job to help you discover it for yourself.  So while the items on this list are common in the people I’ve worked with, I do NOT use it as a tool to tell clients they’ve been abused. I use it for my information only. It provides a possible underlying reason that my client chose to come to therapy at this time. The same is true for you — you must NOT read this list and say to yourself “I ticked off most of these characteristics, so I must have been abused”. That’s not the way this stuff works. {Sorry}

Abuse survivors often:

1. Have a very sensitive gag reflex

2. Can’t tolerate having water hit them in the face (in the shower or pool)

3. May not enjoy bathing; personal hygiene can be a challenge; alternately they may shower fastidiously and too often

4. Dressing inappropriately (either very modestly or very immodestly) for the weather and their size

5. Obesity (in my clients about 1/3 of the obese women were sexually abused)

6. Have eating disorders, alcoholism andor/ virtually every form of addiction, including sex

7. Abuse themselves – cutting, picking at the skin, burning (usually from cigarettes)

8. Lack boundaries, physically, emotionally and spiritually

9. Have ‘dead zones’ on the body (for example, may not know body has wet spots after toweling off after a shower, or she may not know how she got a bruise)

10. Are unable to make love in certain positions

11. Can’t remember periods during childhood or realize that everything happened at ‘8 or 9 or…’

12. Feel crazy, or different, or alone; also feel dirty and unworthy

13. Regularly see double entendres in ordinary conversation

14. Not trust the body (to be strong, graceful, reliable, healthy)

15. Suffer emotional abreactions: reliving the emotions of the abuse when confronted with specific stimuli, e.g. smells (aftershave or cooked cabbage like Grandma always made) or sounds (a footstep in the hall at night) or images (a type of bed or a sofa in the basement) or touch (the hair, or lack of, on a man’s chest) or taste (slimy, tart, or spicy). This is usually part of PTSD, but that deserves a post of its own, because of the complexity of the topic.

16. Arousal when reading about a child who’s been victimized. This is the body’s response to the victim’s sexual ‘education’ and is particularly prevalent if the victim was groomed over a period of time.  But it is the most shameful reaction for victims and one that is the hardest to talk about. It is also the only item on this list that makes me mad.  I’m not talking about the arousal of a perpetrator here, but the reaction of my client who feels ashamed because “Something is wrong with me if I feel this way”. It reinforces the message they were given during the abuse that said “this is your fault” or “you like it”. This message is incredibly complicated if the victim experienced arousal during the abuse. (Yes it happens – it’s natural and it’s normal).This isn’t a person who is aroused looking at a child but only when reading about the abuse done to children. (All my women clients who report this symptom admit it only comes when reading, but I have a small sample.)

It should be clear that the effects of childhood sexual abuse are long term and insidious. They don’t go away unless treated and resolved. They vary in complexity and how they interact. They are always impacted by the role the client has adopted to handle the stress of her family of origin.

And they are always treatable. They can be resolved, diminished or made manageable. The important thing is to accept that if ‘something doesn’t feel right’, it probably isn’t. And that there is no shame for what was done to you.


If you doubt that, please go and watch children playing at a park or in a yard or in their home.  Preferably watch children who are about the age you were at the time of your abuse or when it began. Watch them carefully. Then tell me what is sexual about their behavior.

Little kids love to run around without clothes.  It’s natural for them.  Tell me what is sexual about a 2 or 3 year old running and giggling because she got out of the bathroom after her bath and is enjoying the escape.

Kids are not sexual – unless a perpetrator has taught them to be.


  1. I have this nagging feelinging that my own adoptive mother crossed the line sexually with me on many different occasions.

    My first vivid memory of me as a child was suckling her nipple around age 4 when she clearly had no reason to nurse me.

    She was always to open and honest when it came conversation about any subject matter. Which looking back £ guess she lacked the ability to filter what appropriate and inato dicuss with a child.

    I can recall going on a road trip with her and she told me that she was wearing no underwear. Her reason because she needed for her vagina to breathe due to the hot weather. During the same trip I remember reaching in between her crotch to grab a banana peel. I got the impression she was excited by this.

    As I enteted puberty that is where things became more strange .she would talk about how my body was developing. Would watch we bathe or deliberately use the washroom as I was naked in the tub. There never seemed to be any clear boundaries with her or any sense gain privacy.

    The worst memory I have is when I got my period. I was quite young when I got my period. By the time I was in the 5th grade I had already had it for over a year.

    My mom knew I was wearing pads and asked if I wanted to start using tampons. I thought hey why not, but it never occured how this would happen.

    She essentially had me sit on a toilet watch me try and insert a tampon in. With my legs spread open I struggled, she than took her finger and it pushed the tampon in. I can recall feeling violated and disgusted. She NEVER washed her hands after. I even asked her why she didn’t wash her hand afterward and she told me there was no need too.

    Whenever we would go shopping for clothes she was always a tad bit too eager to go in the change room with me. Constantly asking me go turn around and make sure the clothes fit right.

    Sonce being raised by a single, she was my entire world. During her moments of being sexual inappropriate I never saw it that way.

    It reached the point where kind of joked with eacher other sexually. I can recall once where she washing my hair in the kitchen sink. She never wore any bras and hear breast kept on grazing my face and mouth. I began to suckle her nipple and of course she became aroused and laughed it off. I have no I idea why I would have done such a thing? When I think about it now I shudder. I was 13 and should have known better.

    It was continuous cycle of one perverted comments after another. How my nipples were showing through my top…etc.

    She once saw explicit images on my personal parts and she went out of her way too look at them. I specifically asked her not too but she made it her obligation to do so.

    As I entered my late teens, and having been raised by an adult with zero boundaries about personal space or privacy; I would share far too much personal details about my sex life. I would talk about how I were too groom my vagina area or how I would get dressed and she would watch me. There times she would deliberately sit at dinner room table with her night gown hiked up so I could see her vagina. She demonstrated zero recognition about how her behavior was vile.

    I know I was sexually molested by my mother. The strong emotions of embrassant and guild crept back up in my conscious when I became pregnant.

    Its been hard to fully discuss it with anyone because my children would not be able to spend time with their grandma. I also would not want to ruin my olders son relationship with her. Deep down I try and convince my self she won’t harm my children, but I honestly don’t know?

    I get really angry at her as too why she always blurred the lines sexually with me?She made the choice to adopt a child older in life without a partner. But what I am trying to figure is why did she has to molest me? She use to also come into my room when I was between tge ages ogmf 6 or 7 lie on top of me and make out with me. Full on kissingon my mouth. She would get really excited, giggle make out with me than leave. It stopped once I got to be about 9 or so.

    8 years ago, I told her the tampon story and she denied all of it.

    I am at the point where I fucking despise her. I can never utter the words ‘I love you” to her because I don’t. I am patiently waiting for her to die.

    I doubt she will ever acknowledge all the pain she has caused in my life. Its hard to cut her out of my life due to financially needing her help. My immediate family consists of her and my 2 sons.

    I want to be able to reach a point where I cut off all communication and contact with her!

    • i would encourage you to look at the symptoms you live from your experience and work with a therapist to heal those. perpetrators are totally self-serving. if she did this to you, what is she doing to your kids? watch carefully and pay attention because perps aren’t choosy about their victims.

      i understand about your situation but she’ll never admit what she did. that’s not possible for her. get the help you need and get we. that’s the best thing you can do for you and your kids.

      good luck

  2. When I was 5-6, my mom, who would often go out drinking,(and stay in drinking, and who would get wasted almost constantly, etc.), left my older brother and I at the house of a friend named Cathy. During the day I don’t really remember the woman being present, but on the nights we stayed there, my brother would sleep on her couch, and I had to sleep in her bed. Since I never had any extra clothes while I was there, I was always told to strip down to my panties because ‘you aren’t supposed to go to sleep in your day clothes’. She would wear this nightgown that came down to mid-thigh, with no shorts or panties or anything underneath, and basically spoon me when we slept. This happened every time she baby sat us over night. I just want to know, is that considered sexual abuse? Other than her arms being around me, I can’t remember her touching me or anything. And as for my brother, when I was around the same age, up until I was about eight, he would make me touch him and make me let him touch me. My mom made it stop, or at least thought she did, when I was six and he was eight, because she caught us doing it. I don’t really know if that’s considered sexual abuse either, because he’s only two years older than me. As is, he’s still physically and verbally abusive, even though I’m eighteen and he’s twenty. I guess what I want to know, is what he did considered sexual abuse too? He was a kid too when it happened, so I just don’t know. I’m afraid to talk to my therapist about this stuff, even though I know I should. It’s just embarrassing, I guess.

    • Talk to your therapist about these situations. They’re part of your past experiences. from what you’ve described they don’t sound like sexual abuse but I can’t really tell over the web. remember that a therapist has heard it all. there’s nothing under the sun that you’re going to say that’s going to be new or shocking or surprising. so share your concerns and let her help you resolve the feelings around them.

      good luck

      • I have been haunted my a memory of the moment before I believe I was abused, I don’t remember quite how old I was, 6 or seven probably. I was at home alone with my mother’s then boyfriend, going to the bathroom. all I can remember is him coming in and asking if he could help me… I can’t remember anything else. I feel like I must have repressed the memory of being molested, I am 18 years old now and have been homosexual ever since I can remember, I’m wondering if these things could be related. I don’t know I’m just curious. I have lived an otherwise happy and stable life. But this has always troubled me

        • you may or may not have been abused. there’s no way to be certain without some deep therapy whether you’ve blacked out what happened next or if nothing happened. that’s why I always recommend therapy. It’s my opinion that abuse does not make one homosexual but that’s just my opinion and I do’t claim any expertise about the development of homosexuality. I do believe it’s normal for some people but again, I can’t discuss it intelligently since i have very limited knowledge.

          if you’re not having symptoms of abuse then continue living your life. if the memory really bothers you, then get to a qualified, experienced sexual abuse therapist who can help you figure it out.

          good luck

  3. Thank you for this, I felt like I was the only one who didn’t have a clear image of my abuser until now. I’ve experienced the things listed except 1,2,5, & 16. I think, it was around July of 2011 when my parents took me to a psychiatrist at BC Children’s Hospital (Canada) because of my anxiety issues. My psychiatrist was working with a clinician at that time, who was a FEMALE. Then, the clinician got my psychiatrist’s permission to take me into a room alone with her. I didn’t exactly know why, but me and my parents shrugged it off and went on with it. When I was in the room, at first things were normal when she was talking about her past with OCD, until she came to the floor with me when I was playing toys, and, yeah, she touched me. Out of embarrassment I did not tell my parents, and soon I forgot about it. Four years later, it was 2015, when I had a sudden flashback and remember it, and started hating myself for not telling my parents as if this whole thing was my fault. I’ve been thinking of reporting it to the police for a long time but I’m scared that no one’s going to believe me. I’m scared that she is going to find out and attack me for it and make me look like a liar. Help, what do I do?

    • I don’t know if you’ll be believed or not. it’s been a while and if there are no other reports, then there’s a problem. It would be interesting to know why the psychiatrist wanted you alone with her. I don’t have your answer since I don’t think there’s one right answer, and you have to do what suits you but I would suggest you ask yourself “what will I gain if I tell the police and my parents?” the question is meant to help you sort out your motives behind the desire. so many victims think they will miraculously heal and all their problems will go away if they publicly name their abuser but that’s not true. Healing takes lots of work and lots of time and lots of emotional investment. For many people, disclosing the abuse causes more trauma which has to be resolved before the other issues can be confronted and allowed to heal. I’d suggest you do the work to get over the symptoms you’ve got. at a minimum, start the healing journey. then decide if and who you want to tell about what happened.

      we are not in an enlightened age about child abuse and its long term effects. Many people will blow off your story because “It was ONLY touching and it was only once!” that’s not right, nor is it fair but starting your healing work will better equip you to do what you have to do.

      good luck

      • Thank you Louise.

  4. I am 35 years old and when i was growing up as a young child i could not stand my dad at all….I hated him all through my child hood I did not want him to hug me kiss me tuck me in for bed….I wanted nothing to do with him….and I have no idea why. Why did I hate him so much….still till this day I dont know. Well with in the last few years Ive been living with my dad and he has been say sexual remarks to me…like about my nipples and he said to me…hey I bet you would like this vibrsating tooth brush up inside you wouldnt you…and he holding this tooth brush of his in his hand….hes came up from behind me and grab my boobs and ewhen i pushed his hands away he did it again…hes given me a hug and wouldnt let go then tells me i can feel your nipples real well against my chest….now mind you he is my real blood dad….well I have a five year old daughter now who reminds me of me when i was younger and how i was towards my dad. She wants nothing to do with him when he trys to hug, kiss or get close to her….hes always buying her gifts and thats not like him. My five year old daughter is acting sexual things out naked with her stuffred animals….DO YOU THINK IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE REASON I HATED MY DAD SO MUCH WHEN I WAS YOUNG IS BECAUSE HE COULD OF MOLESTED ME? COULD HE BE DOING THAT TO MY DAUGHTER TOO? I cant remember a lot of childhood and i dont remember anything about him doing anything to me….so I am confused. Now when I took my daughter in to have an exam before i left my house i said to my dad…he were gong to the doctors so my daughter could get her exam and my dads first thing that came out of him mouth was…” FOR WHAT TO TELL IF A FINGER HAS BEEN UP INSIDE HER?” then he said ” ARE THEY GOING TO BE ABLE TO KNOW WHO IT IS AND WILL THEY PUT HIM IN JAIL?” Now what do you think about that?? Please get back to me…thank you

    • of course it’s possible he molested you. at a minimum his current behavior is totally unacceptable. and his comments about your daughter suggest ugly bad things. I can’t say if he’s done that but would recommend you work with your daughter and a child therapist to find out what’s going on with her. If he’s abusing her, the effects will last a lifetime, and you can put a stop to it right now. for her sake, I urge you to see a professional. If he abused you, he’s abusing her. if he didn’t abuse you, he might be abusing her. certainly his comments would lead me to think that.

      good luck

  5. Hi, I”m 14 and I’ve been fighting the thought that it’s possible for me to have been sexually abused. I want to speak with my therapist about these issues but I’m terrified about what he might say. I don’t want to kid myself into thinking I’ve been abused but I don’t want to ignore this either. Do you have any suggestions to help me get to the bottom of this?

    • In my experience the uncertainty is resolved by working through the issue with a therapist What might he say that you find so terrifying? No, I don’t think you were? Okay, then you can deal with whatever brought you to therapy from a different perspective. Yes, I think you were? then you will deal with whatever brought you to therapy from that perspective.

      always remember that knowing if you were abused doesn’t take the repercussions away from you…it simply puts an explanation around them. In either case, you still have to work to heal and recover.


  6. I think I was molested when I was younger by my great uncle.My mum told me I idolised him when I was younger but all feel towards him is hate. I’ve started having dreams of him molesting me.I don’t like going near him. I I don’t like males touching me. I struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts.

    • you may or may not have been molested by him or someone else. the only way to know for sure is to work with a qualified professional therapist to see what else, if anything comes out.

      good luck

      • Thanks for posting this. I have known for many years that I was molested by my father. It started when I was young but I’m not sure what age. I do know that it finally stopped when I was 16. The water thing, in the face, has always bugged me. It bugged me worse that I have trouble swimming, even though I can swim very well. I have trouble hanging out with kids in the pool because I don’t want to be surprised by water in the face. So it’s good to have a connection. I can talk about it with my therapist and we can work on it.

        Also, thanks for the comments about watching kids play. Never have I watched a child and thought about it being sexual. Not even when my own kids ran naked in the yard in the swimming pools and such.

        I have a lot of stuff to work on yet but having these signs is a good way to bring it up and get them worked on.

        • thank you. I’m glad you found it helpful.

      • Can you elaborate on the dislike of water in the face? My wife exhibts this and other utems on the list.

        • many survivors do not like the shower hitting them in the face. often swimming with her face in the water can also be difficult. there are multiple possible reasons for this reaction but it’s often from being forced to fellate adult men. However, there are also many other reasons for this reaction, not related to sexual abuse.

          just a word…it does not help us to get too deeply into opinion about whether a person was abused as a child. if we don’t remember, mentioning your opinion can create a variety of problems, including planting an idea that isn’t real or setting a cause for emotions and behavior that isn’t accurate. Or flat out denial of something that did happen. so anything beyond a single, simple question can do more damage than good.

  7. Hello,
    I am a young adult and recently I have been questioning some things that have happened in the past. Many of my family members are not especially close to my father, more so now that he has married a woman near the age of my oldest sister. My mother has told me that my father was “Sexually strange”. He did some things to her that I will not mention. I learned about 6 months ago from my mom that my dad would throw me down the stairs as a baby. She did not know he did this until he did it in front of her. He also would get very aggressive with me. My father at the time did not have a job for over two years. He would coddle my younger baby sister and I would feel jealous. I would release my anger on my younger sister in a violent way. This startled my mom and I would be punished accordingly. From my mother I remember she would put me in the bathroom for timeouts and she would talk to me. Although I cannot remember the punishments I received from my father. In fact I have no memory of my father at home…. I only remember him after the divorce. I don’t understand why I have faint memories of my mother but none of my father. I did not think about any of this until I began learning in class about a coping technique called repression. I did have extreme trust issues with men. I would be flirtatious, but every time a guy tried to kiss me I would get very cold feet. I remember that once I had these people in a office building ask me if my dad ever touched me inappropriately. I said that he did not. My mother has told me that during the divorce at a time he pushed to have only full custody of me. He had 4 other daughters…..A few times while trying to fall asleep I got these shutters. I don’t know why….. It happened once next to my boyfriend on a car ride. He tried to shake me but I felt this, well um this dark feeling inside….. I can’t explain it. After the divorce I would bawl leaving from my dads house. I wanted to stay according to my mother. I was the most affected child after the divorce. My mother placed me therapy but the only therapy that worked was “Play Therapy”. I believe my dad is a narcissist and while visiting him for the weekends I feel caged. I know the relationship with my father is toxic. I am a good student and I study my assignments while at his house, this kind of agitates him because he thinks that I need to be spending quality time with only him…. I recently told my boyfriend that I think my dad could have inappropriately touched me. He said that he didn’t think that my dad would do such a thing. I do sometimes have fantasies about rape. I feel incredibly guilty for this I haven’t told my boyfriend nor do I intent to ever tell him this…. I don’t think this is normal. I am extremely sensitive especially when someone touches my neck or sides. Boys at my school used to tease me because I would spas so much when they would poke my sides. As a child I was always fantasizing about having a boyfriend. I have a lot of anxiety and I try to cope with it by taking hot baths and some meditation. I don’t want to sound like I’m looking for pity….. I just want to know what I can do to try and cope in a healthier way… And to understand what is going on internally…

    • there is no way to know what happened before, if it was anything or nothing. you’ll have to work with a qualified, experienced therapist to determine what are the repercussions from your childhood and the parents divorce.

      • Hi my adult daughter has recently said her father abused her when she was younger there was no sex it was him touching her never her touching him . She has always lived at home she is 25 always got on with him never showed any signs of being unhappy or strange towards him she has a 1 yr old daughter who she brought home to our house and was quite happy for her father to take the baby out and strip her for bathing etc she has allowed him to take her out on his own she has always worked enjoyed going out with friends she lives a happy life in my opinion I am lost heartbroken and don’t know which way to turn any advice would be appreciated thanks

        • if I were you, I’d work with a qualified therapist who can help you pick through what was told to you and why. you don’t mention the circumstances of her reveal. and if she’s allowing her dad to bathe her daughter it is one of two things: the revealing was for some reason other than getting help or it really happened and your daughter is minimizing the trauma.

          doesn’t sound like you’re convinced it happened, given her current behavior. yet, you don’t want to ignore her claims either. do your work to figure out where you stand on what was told. perhaps there’s something in this relationship with your daughter that is causing either her words or your confusion.

          good luck

  8. I don’t know if I’ve been sexually abused by my dad, but I saw the symptoms and I have most of them. My Dad and I used to be really close, then at one point I started to hate him. I know that he physically beat my siblings and me, but I’ve never known for sure if he raped me. I member seeing flashes of him full naked, and then I can’t remember anything else. As a child, I knew what sex was before my mother gave me “the talk,” and the first thing that I asked her about was rape when she did tell me. Ever since then, I’ve hated my dad and don’t trust him alone with kids, but I felt sexually attracted to other boys at the young age of seven, but scared of all men that were older than 20. I got paranoid as a child about my siblings, being the oldest of five, and never letting them out of my sight. I also remember waking up at night and checking everyone’s bedrooms at night to make sure that they were safe. I had a constant fear of people, unless they were women, and when ever I brought up people being molested or raped around my dad, even if I wasn’t talking to him, he would quickly change the subject. But that might only be because he was molested as a child. His dad would beat him and my dad used the same methods on us, so he might of raped me because he was raped, but he did molest me, I don’t remember. I only remember seeing him fully naked on occasion.

    • As always, I can’t provide the solution to your dilemma. Memories are not snapshots of moments in time, but pieces of data that our brains process, depending on a bunch of criteria. so as always, I recommend that you work with a trained, qualified experienced therapist who can help you figure it out.

      good luck

  9. I was physically abused by Dad. From what I recall the physical abuse took place between kindergarten and about 5th grade. He was an alcoholic. He never beat my younger brother and sister. I have very vivid memories as a child of coming home anxious after school around 3 pm because I would have to wait until about 6 – 9 pm (depending upon how late he stayed at the bars) to hear his car pull in the driveway and then I wouldn’t know if he was in a rage or not. There was no justification for the beatings as compared to other kids (in my family, in the neighborhood and at school), I was a respectful, kind well-behaved kid. My youngest sister, Michelle, at a young age, would manipulate Dad to beat me. She would often cry to Mom or Dad and lie that I was being “mean” to her and that achieved a tremendous result for her. She would then have Dad to use as her thug to beat me and then whenever he beat me, he would show her lots of favor such as her getting to watch her TV programs or other favor. She later revealed that he sexually abused her. Therefore, I then understood why that dynamic took place. She later revealed he sexually abused her son at a young age as well. Back then she called the police on him and the police took him to the police station. There was a time as an adult where I did not find Dad “in the act” but found all the signs that he sexually abused my nephew (Michelle’s son) when he was about 3 years old.

    He regularly beat me with his thick leather belts that he would “whip” out of his beltloops.would At 50 years old that sound still makes me cringe due to PTSD. He would use wooden hangars to beat me but those often broke because he hit me so hard with them so instead he would get 3-5 me metal wire hangars to beat and whip me. He would use his fist and open hand as well. What is crazy is that I was a quiet, shy, reserved, well-behaved, great student and athlete. For example, I recall my grade school electing me president of my class nearly year in grade school. I recall being a star athlete as well as a child being selected for team lead positions and being selected for the “all-star” teams.

    As much as the physical beatings hurt, what hurt more was the humiliation from my father forcing me to walk downstairs immediately after the beatings to sit down at the dinner table with my family of 3 other siblings along with Mom and Dad the alcoholic, monster abuser. I would obviously be sobbing but trying to be quiet after the horrific beatings and Dad would point his finger at me and yell at me saying, “if I didn’t shut-up he would take me upstairs and beat me even harder…” And he actually did that several times because at times because I was in so much pain that I couldn’t help but sob. Those were physically the most painful times when I would get beat twice.

    I could honestly say that my monster Dad treated me far worse than any other person in his life and treated me far worse than his dog.

    Nearly every night I would stare out of my window at night fantasizing about running away and going through over and over where I could go and live to be away from the monster. It was routine I recall doing nearly every night. I thought of neighbors, friends, relatives but everyone I came up with I assumed they would turn me back over to the monster and then I thought he would probably break my bones or murder me. I seriously thought he might murder me.

    Where was Mom? She was downstairs in the kitchen during the beatings. She “never” interrupted the beatings. I saw him acting aggressively towards her back then so maybe she was afraid. She was 17 and he was 21 when they married. Neither were college educated although Dad did have a tennis scholarship to Long Beach State Univ but he dropped out after a semester. He never talked about it. I believe he was kicked out of school because he was a partier and drank a lot back then in school (he used to brag about such).

    In my junior high school years I continued to be a high-achiever in sports and I started to lift weights and “bulk-up” with tremendous motivation to protect myself from my abusive dad. I recall him coming home from work drinking beer sitting at the kitchen table and I would work out for 2-3 hours after school with weights and then go into the kitchen drinking lots of milk and protein powder. Dad would not say a word to me and he tried to take my weight set away (which I saved up for and purchased from Paper route money) because he told Mom the weights were going to “ruin” my body. So I told Mom if she took them then I would work out at my friends’ homes so it didn’t matter to me if they took them. They did not take them. I then enrolled myself in karate at a young age all with the intent to protect myself from my abusive father. He stopped hitting me around this age. I felt like it was because I was working out.

    The abuse did not stop though. This is when the abuse changed from physical abuse to mental, emotional and verbal abuse. He would often make fun of me and laugh. He never gave me advice about things. He would manipulate me instead. Mom and Dad owned some retail businesses and he made me work the most hours out of the siblings. I rarely was paid by him. And he would make me the “graveyard” shift at the 7-11’s as early as my high school years even when there were police reports of a murderer going around during the early morning hours to rob and in various situations either tie up, beat the clerk and in a couple extreme cases, murdered graveyard clerk. That did not matter to mom and dad though. They still made me work that shift.

    Dad would often talk badly about me my whole life. He talked badly about all of the girlfriends I would bring home to visit and meet my family. I would eventually stop bringing them over because he was often an embarrassment. Very often, he was so drunk, I would walk in the home and he would be passed out in random places in the home, drunk in the middle of the day passed out on the floor of the entry way in the home of just off the entry way in the living room.

    As an adult, we found him having affairs. I caught him having an affair with one of his employees early on in my life. And the entire family knew he was having an affair with one of his employees, Connie.

    As adults, we were civil to each other but I always felt like he did not want to be close to me. He was a lot closer to my younger brother which always confused me growing up because I was the son that worked far more hours for him in his businesses and I was the son that was the better athlete and he loved sports.

    There were times as an adult when he would still abuse me (on an emotional or verbal level). For example, he would call me faggot, queer and tell people I was gay either behind my back or in front of me and the others. Once he even did that in front of his pastors parents whom were his friends. Mom was their too. I asked him why he would say that and he did not have an answer. He would not reply to me.

    I recall another time when his pastor’s wife wanted to set me up with one of her friends. Mom told me such. I recall seeing the girl and not finding her attractive and with all due respect she was not at my professional or educational level and I was looking for more of a match in those areas. Anyway, when I was along with Dad, he told me that his Pastor’s wife wanted me to her girlfriend and then Dad further told me, “I don’t know what she would see in you, you don’t deserve somebody as good as her, you have nothing going on in your and your worthless compared to her…this was at a time when I had years earlier graduated President of my Class at a top MBA program in the country on full scholarship, had owned several properties and had just recently purchased an ocean view home on my own two blocks from the beach in the most exclusive beach and expensive community in LA County. I kindly told him that I saw the girl and did not find her attractive.

    I recall other times when he had very odd behavior towards me. At 23 years old I had purchased my first home and took him for a tour through it. It was newer and nicer construction than his home so there may have been some jealousy but regardless, I toured him through the home and he had the strangest look on his face and would not say a word about the home. Walked out of the home and we drove back to his business in his car and he did not say one single word to me. I simply wanted to get his opinion on the home and he would not say anything.

    Another time, I had just purchased a new, expensive, luxury sedan that I needed for clients in business. I was about 30. Mom made him drive in the car with me to see it and he drove with me and didn’t say one word about the car. Instead he brought a cassette tape to play of his pastor that he was obsessed with and during the drive he only commented on the pastors’s words.

    There were three different times when I approached him to talk about his abuse of me and he denied ever abusing me and instead told me that he would never, ever touch me in an inappropriate way or do anything bad to me. I cried at the first two times when he replied that way. The third time, I just told him, ok, let’s not talk about this since you don’t want to admit what you did to me.

    He was diagnosed with cancer in hist late 60’s and died at 72 with stomach cancer. I recall my last conversation I had with him. I was going to ask him once more about why he chose me to abuse so much and I gained the initiative to walk in the hospice room to discuss with him but he was lying there so weak and frail. He actually asked me to pick him and move him on his bed. And I thought, wow, the roles have certainly reversed here. He went from a 200+ lb strong husky man who used to beat me when I was about a 30-60 pound kid to me now being a 230 lb strong young fit man and was probably about 140 lbs or less. So I lovingly picked him up and moved him and when I placed him down he was barely able to speak. So I thought, I missed my window to ask him a fourth time about why he beat me so much. So instead, I thanked him for working hard for the family and told him I loved him and was going on and on and then he interrupted me and said, “Son, I am sorry for all of the bad things I did to you in your life…”

    Obviously he was being introspectively confronted with his bad deeds to me and probably felt overwhelmed with me telling him how much I loved him still so he just burst out with that and probably to get right with God too.

    I often think about “what could have been” in my life if I had a healthy father. Overall Mom was sad because she said she really didn’t have a loving husband so she lived as good of a life as she could without him. My older sister was beat too but not as bad as me. She has an adorable daughter. My younger sister and brother became alcoholics like Dad. I felt like he did a great job brainwashing them to hate as they both confessed dad used to say a lot of negative things about me to them.

    I still life with a lot of open questions about why he was so evil and ugly to me. Mom told me he was jealous of me. My sister, a psychologist, told me that he was an extreme narcissist. I believe they are both correct compounded by the fact that he was an alcoholic as well.

    I believe due to the unstable family life my siblings and I never married (all 4 of us around in our late 40s and early 50s are still not married)…

    What bothers me is that many people at Dad’s church and at his businesses talk about him like he was the greatest person that ever lived…I feel like writing all of my thoughts to tell his circle how he really was…I feel like I need some redemption like that.

    I have a cousin that is like a big brother to me. He is a great family man and I look up to him for a lot of reasons. He knew my father very well as he grew up and was close to dad. When I confessed the abuse to my cousin, his response was, “Well…all of that abuse didn’t seem to harm you too much as you managed to be very successful in all areas of your life…”…

    • you’ve certainly had a lot to deal with, from a very young age. Unfortunately, we can speculate forever about why your dad did those things, but you’ll never know for sure. I’ll bet, if you asked him ‘why’ and he was rational and sane and calm, he’d say he doesn’t know either. family relationships are complicated, even abusive ones. he was definitely a narcissist. and an alcoholic. and maybe jealous. or perhaps he didn’t like the color of your hair or eyes or perhaps you reminded him of a bully he put up with as a child. You will never know.

      so a better question to ask yourself is “why does it matter?” You’re a successful adult. It hurt like hell, all of it. Every lousy stinking stupid minute of it. but it is over. Yes, maybe you could have been a lot more successful without the abuse. But maybe not. we’ll never know because this is your life.

      I hope that doesn’t sound harsh but looking for an answer you’ll never find is not productive. it’s confusing and frustrating and ugly.

      Start with where you are. Be good to you. Treat yourself as you wish you’d been treated as a child. Treat others in that same kind way.

      and LIVE. Happiness is your best result. The rest is just stuff.

      good luck and thanks for sharing.

      • Thank you for reading my post and for your profound words Louise.

        It’s hard to just completely leave it behind as I have triggers of his antagonistic and abusive ways everyday.

        I recall going to him for his marriage approval when I was going to propose to my college sweetheart. He gave me about a 2-hour lecture about how women are evil, nasty, ugly and nagging people who were created to ruin the lives of men by taking their time and freedom. He told me to get married if I wanted my life ruined or to stay single if I wanted a satisfying and happy life. It was bizarre he said that because Mom was a sweetheart and an amazing woman.

        I recall as well (when I worked in commercial real estate) advising him “against” an investment where he wanted to risk / leverage his and Mom’s entire net worth on a commercial property investment that was (by what my research indicated) very expensive (I was a commercial real estate broker at the time and would have been quite thrilled for the transaction to happen because I would have made a big commission). When that investment was purchased by somebody else, I visited my parents and Dad (in his 60’s) was hysterical in tears because he heard he just lost the investment. Mom had advised him against it as well. However, I was the “bad one” in the family because he told everyone that “I made him lose” a large amount of money. My parents told me to leave their home during that visit and not visit for awhile. It turned out 6 months later the real estate market crashed. I visited the new owner of the property and he had complained to me that he lost a large amount of money because he purchased the investment at the very top of the market. I never received credit from them for saving them from that investment. I just recall at the time, it being a very expensive investment. I also recall Dad telling family, friends, his pastor and even my 5 year-old niece that I was a “bad person” because I made him “lose” so much money. I vividly recall my niece asking me “why I made Grandpa lose a lot of money and why he called me bad and weird.”

        I recall as well when I was in the 8th grade, I had a bicycle accident where my head cracked open and was bleeding profusely. I was with friends and we stopped at a local convenience store where I called my Dad because my bike broke and I could barely walk due to the accident. I had to tie my shirt around my skull to contain the bleeding. Dad was 5 miles away and told me he would be right there. However, he didn’t show up right away so I kept calling and he was still at his business telling me he was about to leave. 5 hours later Mom showed up and was yelling at me for getting in an accident and interrupting Dad and her during their busy day at the business. I later learned Dad left the business and drove around looking for Mom for about 3 hours before he finally found her to have her pick me up and take me to the hospital. I later heard she was upset that he did not handle it and that I could have died. It was a serious accident as I was in intensive care for a week and the hospital for two weeks.

        I never understood him. I recall him asking me to visit with his pastor, his church board and himself for a board meeting where they were discussing the possible sale of one of the church properties for $10M. I was working in commercial real estate at the time. I recall at the board they had a very competent team and the meeting ended with them not knowing if they were going to keep or sell the property but I invited to contact me at anytime if they needed me for advisory needs. Fast forward one year later, the family went on a cruise together. In the back of my mind, I wanted to make sure I went on the cruise as I was thinking it may have been the family’s last vacation with Dad since we did not vacation that often together. Dad and I were at breakfast outside on the deck one morning having breakfast and I was thinking wow this is beautiful and great being with Dad. Mom had warned me on the cruise that Dad was “angry” with me and he was going to to talk to me about it. So at breakfast, Dad said, “Son, we are going to have a man-to-man talk right now…I want to know why you “refused and failed” to sell the pastor’s church. You are an embarrassment to me, I brought you to the board meeting and you embarrassed me among my friends by not selling the church. So I kindly replied, Dad you don’t understand or remember, I followed up with the pastor and a couple on his staff and invited them to contact me at anytime for free advisory and they followed up twice and told me they were likely going to keep it. However, my Dad persisted that the church was in bad financial shape due to me and my failure to sell the property…so I kindly told him no Dad you don’t understand my business and you are wrong. He got up from the table crying like a little baby and later Mom approached me and asked me why I made Dad cry. He was such a pathetic manipulator like that.

        I recall another time he was paying my 20 year old high school dropout sister, $60k/year to work part time for him plus she received a lot of other perks from him. I was 23, working on my own making about half that (after graduating from college). So one day, I didn’t need the money but was more curious, I asked him for a one hundred dollar loan telling him I would pay him back in one week when I was paid from the bank I was working for at the time. He told me no because that was a lot of money…he obviously had the money but for some reason would lend me. And again I didn’t need it but was just testing him to see if he would show me just a small amount of favor compared to my sister.

        In my 30’s due to hard work I had built up a real estate portfolio bigger than what he had at his age then. My brother used to tell me that Dad would criticize me though to my brother telling him that I was less of a man than him (dad) because I had to take loans out to buy my properties. What was bizarre then is that dad had loans on all of his properties he owned but I guess dad couldn’t find anything better to put me down behind my back.

        I recall another time I was 23 years old and I had been moved out of my parents home for two years (I lived with them my final two years in college at 20 and 21). I had not visited in a few months and then my antagonizing younger sister was there who regularly manipulated my dad against me. Anyway, dad came in the home from work after talking with my sister Michelle outside. He walked in the home and was raising his voice at me telling me that Michelle just told him that I did not take out the trash yesterday and therefore the trash cans were going to be full for a week. It was quite an absurd moment as I told dad…dad, don’t you realize I have not lived here in nearly two years. I live 40 miles away…

        I am 50 years old and to this day I still lock my bedroom door at night when I sleep. My girlfriend asked why I always lock my door at night and my reply was I lock it to keep dad out just in case he is raging and wants to beat me. She said, but your dad is dead. Any my reply was, I know but I grew up doing that feeling more safe that he can not come in if the door is locked…

        My younger brother and sister looked at my dad like he was a superhero. They used to be party buddies together though. They both became alcoholics like him. He taught them to be quite disrespectful to me as well. My younger sister labeled me with a very ugly nickname with the f-word. Her son revealed how she taught him to hate me. When he was around more, he used to call me very ugly names and even verbally and physically attacked me during a drug-use episode. My brother has been quite disrespectful to me for the past 30 years. It was interesting because one day he humbly called me up and asked me out to lunch. He commented that I had gone on to become successful in life in my career, grad school and owning properties. He complained to me that the only thing he had was a car on loan and $800 in the bank. He asked if I could help him buy a property because he said he asked dad but dad refused to help him. So having real estate experience I helped my brother buy a duplex fixer-upper. I gave him a $20k gift, lent him a lot more money and then bought him tools, art, furniture, etc for his home. I even quit working for several months to do the majority of the work on the property, while he worked. Looking back, it was bad life management to give and donate so much of me and my time to help him but regardless, I did it wanting to help with a giving and loving heart hoping to kick-start his life. What is interesting is after I finished his project for him, he went back to his disrespectful ways towards me. I was shocked he could behave that way to me and use me but I just put it behind me as a learning lesson.

        I wish I could say I could just leave these things behind but I often have triggers for them.

        I am dating a clinical therapist at the moment and it’s I thought that would be great because we could talk about these things and she would understand me. But she has told me that she does not like to talk about it because she does therapy all day and wants to take a break after work. I guess she is not passionate about her work perhaps. It’s interesting as well because when we do talk about it, she brings up what she thinks are “more abusive” stories from her clients basically trying to minimize my stories…

        I can go on and on with stories about my abusive father…

        I have had multiple therapists over the years and we talk about these things but I find that the memories and triggers never leave me. And yes, I believe I could have been more successful if I had a healthy father that did not abuse me.

        After I had my bicycle accident in 8th grade, I was not able to play football, baseball and basketball any longer because my neurologist told me my skull was too sensitive and repairing itself. He recommended I learn golf and / or tennis. I did very well in sports and so when I could not play sports any longer it was very hard on my life. So I begged my father to put me into golf and tennis lessons. He instead would make me work in the family businesses. I recall begging him every day to stop by the local golf course and / or city hall to take tennis lessons. His reply would always be, “ok if we have time today but if not let’s definitely go tomorrow to do that…” Tomorrow never came so after begging him for 4 years from 8th grade to Junior year in high school, I just gave up because my senior year it did not matter any longer. I later took tennis lessons and golf lessons as a young adult and did very well. I did so well in golf, my golf instructor said I was born with a gift to play the game and wanted me to become a student with the local most successful golf professional in the area but I was not able to afford it since I had just finished college and was not making much money and needed the money for student loans and rent, etc. I went on to play as a hobby in and out of state tournaments and received a lot of awards over the years.

        I agree that my father was a narcissist and an alcoholic. I have concluded that he was jealous of me as well. He was a mentally ill individual. I recall Mom finding child porn pictures in his car one time. She broke down cried and approached him about it and he lied telling her that those pictures were a friend’s pictures.

        Mom revealed to me when I was an adult that she used to be so very excited watching me grow and excel in academics, leadership and in sports. She told me that I was her little super star excelling in everything I did…she told me that she would excitingly bring up my accomplishments to dad to discuss them but she said he would always quiet her saying things like, yes, he is doing well but we can’t give him any compliments because we don’t want him getting a big ego.

        Mom later revealed as well that when my older sister was a young girl, dad would have mom dress her up in a cute dress on Sundays and he would take her out on his own and leave Mom at home because he told her Sundays were Daddy-daughter day and that Mom was not allowed to join them. Mom confessed that he would often come home late at night with her after leaving first thing in the morning on Sundays. Mom said she would cry a lot on those Sundays over not being allowed to join dad and my sister on daddy-daughter day.

        • Again, this will sound harsh, Brandon, but try to stop yourself every time you start ‘remembering’ the past. Say to yourself “Stop”. and choose another thought. The single most freeing thing I learned about my mind and that of my clients (and all people) is that we can train ourselves about what to think about. Every time you allow your mind to go into the past, you bring up all kinds of evidence that you were abused. you feel bad, naturally enough. But if you train your brain to leave all that bad stuff in the past and think of good things – all your successes which have been many – then you don’t feel bad. Over time and with hours and hours and hours of practice, your mind will no longer go down that path into the past and then you won’t feel bad.

          you can’t change what happened to you. You’ll never know why. but you can choose to make sure you don’t suffer another moment from the past. Make a different choice. You can do it. I did it. My dad was a violent vicious pedophile. But I learned this technique of choosing another thought and I have to tell you, it doesn’t cross my mind any more except in instances like this where it can help someone else. I am who I am. I’m as successful as i allow myself to be. so let it go and live your best life.

          it’s your turn.

          • Thanks for your note Louise. I can appreciate your advice. I trained my mind like that to put it behind me at an early age. I was a teenager, when I decided to convince myself that I was “blessed” that I was abused. I would explain that whenever it came up in conversation that I was physically abused. I would explain to others that I was blessed because being physically abused gave me a tremendous of benefits over my siblings that were not abused. I would explain it gave me:
            – intuitiveness and common sense because these skills were valuable to take care of myself since I knew my parents were not looking out for me
            – heightened awareness in all situations as I was always aware around home if dad was going to abuse me or not
            – an increased ability to read others (as I was constantly reading Dad’s non-verbal communication to attempt to predict how he would behave towards me)
            – inspiration to finish school early and buy my first home early (at 23 years old) because I wanted to be on my own away from Dad permanently in my own home
            – it taught me physical fitness and self-defense because due to his abuse in my early teen years I became an avid weight-lifter and self-defense enthusiast because I wanted to be able to defend myself against his beatings

            Dad passed 7 years ago and Mom passed 3 years ago. When Mom passed, a lot of the memories of the abuse surfaced and I have been battling it more than when they were alive. When Mom and Dad were alive, it was a dark ugly secret that even Mom denied as she said when Dad was beating me she did not know that was taking place and she stressed that she did not hear it which was an absolute lie because she was one room over hearing it all and then saw me at the dinner table when I was sobbing and hurting so much I was not able to eat.

            Training my mind to convince myself that I was blessed did actually do me good. I guess I have become more introspective because since Mom died, there was a period when I went through old pictures and spent time at their home to help handle estate items.

            Thank you for reading my posts and for your feedback.

        • This is for Brandon – you have PTSD and just can’t stop yourself and train your brain to turn off ugly memories.

          • thank you for your comment Theresa. I have edited it because I don’t publish recommendations that I can’t personally verify. what’s great for one person can be toxic for another. and comments here last forever.

  10. Thank you for publishing this comprehensive list. I’m a male survivor of childhood abuse by my grandfather and it helped me understand some of my own behaviors, and I have seen a counselor in college to heal and be able to form intimate relationships.
    However, I am experiencing PTSD since my partner works at a daycare and she is often around the little ones. Preschools and before, kids in diapers. I keep thinking about her changing males (and only males) and seeing their privates, and having this strong emotion that I don’t want her to, even though I trust her as a person to not view them in any sexual way and she’s explained to me multiple times how she doesn’t look, gives them a toy to play with, etc. The only thing that helps me is reading about daycare procedures around toileting and if whether people ensure the privacy of children during it. I feel as though with my own children I would have less of a fear, because I’m the one changing them and would have the “control” to where I know that the time they are “exposed” is minimal.
    This is because my grandfather would often drag me in his room after I went to the bathroom, and even gave my penis a nickname which was the Hungarian word for Merchandise. So as I’d run to the bathroom he’d shout it across the house, and then catch me after. I feel as though from that pattern this is normal reaction but I can’t help feel crappy for maybe not trusting my girlfriend even though I know she would never view kids this way. Questions like the one you asked after point 16 help a lot, I somehow need to even trust care centers as safe. I must also point out that I am fully blind, so my experience relies on touch alone, and for that reason when a person “touches” a child while diapering them and wiping them off, it may feel more personal to me in the context of it being the only sense which is my primary one. Sighted people use their eyes first, then their hands. These are just some of my own strategies for coping I came up with.
    I’m starting counseling again and feel as though the effects of my childhood abuse will be a life-long thing. Is this true? Will I always have little issues like this popping up even after I solve this one? That alone makes me more sad as well.
    Thanks again for the articles and posts. 🙂

    • I’m glad you found the list helpful. I am so pleased to see that you are working with a therapist again. Trauma from childhood abuse comes back in different ways and from different stimulus (like your gf working at a day care) but as we resolve these issues, fewer and fewer come back. The process works like this:
      1. we are a victim of child sexual abuse, whether we know it happened or not
      2. we are survivors of CSA (usually we’re working on these issues)
      3. We are adults that happened to.
      4. It’s just ‘stuff’.

      so recovery is totally possible. it’s happened for me and many of my clients.

      Child Sexual Abuse is so damaging, in part, because it affects so many parts of our lives and can keep coming back for a long time. but you’re doing the right thing, dealing with it and healing. good for you. I promise, with continued attendance to the issues, and your time and effort to heal things as they pop up, you will be healed and those trauma will NOT return all the time – they will become ‘just stuff’.

      good luck

      • Thanks Louise for such a prompt response, I respect your tenacity for replying to a post you published already a few years back. I’ve been reading the thread and will continue doing so.
        I know male survivors are more rare (and also stigmatized differently in society.) My family denies the abuse and would just say “oh, he’s taking him in his room to play with some radios. ha ha how funny.,” even though I know when I was 6 or 7 my sister developed a stutter (she’s my twin, fully sighted, and often would be scared by him and run away, so I got more of the abuse time-wise.) Is this common also? My mother then told her to never see him again because I think she suspected or even knew something felt off. (+he’s an alcoholic, of course.)
        I don’t want to take much more of your time and the story stuff I can deal with a counselor too, so a few other questions from a professional level:
        -Are there ways to accept rational thought during such a PTSD moment or techniques for letting rationality enter your mind easier? I don’t want my girlfriend to lose trust – she knows that I am experiencing this PTSD over my childhood abuse and that her work can impact this, but in no way do I want her to blame herself or to feel like I don’t trust her to be safe with kids.
        -When dealing with my own children, how common is it to transpose your own abuse experiences on them? I know I will face some trust issues around babysitters (whether they bathe my child, etc) and will probably be more forward about their needs in specific toileting or changing. I guess part of me is afraid that I will always have this lingering sense of unease and I don’t want them to ever develop any unhealthy or even be sheltered as a result.
        -Finally, you mentioned some books from male survivors, written by them. What might these be? I don’t know how common this specific type of reaction to abuse is (the toileting/changing / privacy of children and their dignity), since most just talk of the sexual difficulties abuse can create. Again, a topic which needs more literature for sure.
        Thanks once more, this will be my last reply as I know how insightful your answers can be. Take care and stay well.

        • Denying the abuse is very common by the family. and even more so when the victim is male. Unfortunately, I’m not an expert on PTSD, so I won’t say too much except that some of my clients have had success using a simple process:
          1. recognize your thoughts are not rational.
          2. Consciously move your eyes and focus on something else and choose another thought. could be a thought about the weather, or your apartment, or your next appointment or anything but choose a different unrelated thought.
          3. at the same time as you’re choosing a different thought, make a gesture to physically indicate you’re stopping the thought. Put your hand out in front of your face, or tug your ear, or …the movement isn’t as important as the conscious physical movement. This gives your brain something else to think about and will begin creating a new neural pathway.
          4. know before you start that this is a slow process. You are training your brain to think differently and it’s used this neural pathway for a long time, so it will take time to change it. But it does work – if you’re patient.

          Parents often over-react to their kids when the parents are dealing with their abuse stuff. one of my clients was terrified about her son because his penis was red. she was sure she was abusing him. turned out he had diaper rash. over-reaction is common because we’re determined to protect them. It’s good and it’s not good.

          I don’t have the names of any books specifically to deal with your issue, sorry. I’ve mentioned a couple for men. what you’re dealing with is very common in survivors. we are all super vigilant and super aware of the potential for abuse. that’s good, in one way. but in another, it’s a burden because we become hooked into our own stuff and are reacting to that but focusing on someone else’s behavior.

          the Desiderata says “beyond a gentle discipline, go easy on yourself”. that makes the most sense to me as we heal from our childhood abuse. it’s hard work and it takes a long time. it’s a huge detour in the path of our life and it takes a long time to heal. some people never do because they don’t do the work. or don’t see it as necessary.

          I’m glad you found the post valuable. don’t worry about your questions or comments. they help you and the next person to read here. there certainly aren’t many resources for men, so that’s a double bonus to future readers.

          And remember, if I didn’t want to respond, I’d close this blog to new comments. 🙂

          good luck

  11. I am in a lesbian relationship with a woman who was severely sexually abused (over many years from the age of 4) by two relatives. I knew how badly her past was affecting her when I entered the relationship (a few months ago) but lately her mood has deteriorated significantly and she has begun to pull away from me. What can I do to help her?

    • While I admire your desire to help, my experience says there’s not much you can do. Be honest with her about what you’re seeing and feeling but remember, severe abuse always impacts the victim’s ability to have a healthy intimate relationship. If she wants to heal, she has to do the work. Not easy but that’s the way it works for us.

      good luck

  12. I have come to this page because my girlfriend told me today that she was raped when she was a child of 4 by her neighbor, whose house she used to go for playing with kids of her age and he was the eldest guy of 17. At that time she was living in Bogota with her grandparents and her parents were continuing studies in Spain. I am utterly shocked, destroyed, confused and unsettles after knowing this. My immediate response was to anger and blaming her parents and grandparents for not seeing her development. But I know they can’t be blamed. And she didn’t tell about this incident to anyone except her mother when she was 23 and today to me. she told me her psychologist had asked her to make her other half aware of this. At the moment she is living in Bogota and I am living in London. Now this has made me mad and I am feeling like killing that guy who did this deed to her.

    My girlfriend was always very sensitive, protective, undermining herself and not very optimistic about her love life. She loves too much sex. I always had a thing in mind that what could be a past that could have impacted her emotionally so much that she could have these traits. It has been sometimes very challenging for me to see her not having an emotional barrier as well. And I think now I know today that why that could be a case.

    I don’t know what to do. It is proving very tough for me to come to terms with this. Of course it was not her fault and she said the culture in Colombia is like that and it happens quite often! I am speechless! Please help clear my mind.

    • Child sexual abuse has been a cultural taboo forever. I think her comments could be a way of minimizing what happened, which is very common in victims. However, it is her stuff to deal with and heal. You need to decide if her behavior, now, is OK for you or not. The man who did this is also not yours to deal with. Tough situation.

      Good luck

  13. I was molested as a child (age 6) by my father and now I definitely have symptom # 16 on the list. I sometimes find myself being aroused by reading stories about children being abused in a sexual way and it also disgusts me. I would never never never hurt a child like that but it scares me that one day I’ll grow up to be the monster my father is. I’m not sure if it’s because being molested was my first sexual experience? Or what. I carry this giant guilt because of it… am a bad person? Should I seek help? It’s incredibly embarrassing I wouldn’t want to have to be face to face and tell someone that children being harmed turns me on and makes me want to vomit at the same time but I also don’t want to be in a position where it gets out of control and I end up hurting someone. Is it a gene that gets passed down? Should I be concerned?!

    • You don’t say how old you are. But I would definitely go for help. The Incest has affected you and you deserve to heal from that, including yhese thoughts. Of course you don’t act on them but these thoughts are a symptom of your abuse and often arise because if the emotional and sexually trauma experienced at a young age.

      Good luck

  14. Hi.
    Um … so I don’t know if I’m being totally irrational or if there’s truly something wrong with me.
    I’m 13.
    Like most teens, I feel worthless and sad. I hate myself and i feel like it’s always been that way. I never really hated brushing my teeth, or taking showers, but I felt uncomfortable. I have so many fears, but I’ve been diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder. I realized yesterday, something was wrong with me. I started, um … you know, touching, pretty young, i think i was 10 years old. And each time, I feel awful and wrong and I cry. But I read online it was normal, yet, when I do it, it doesn’t feel right. Also, sometimes I have odd sexual thoughts, and i don’t know why. I knew about sex stuff very early, And i don’t know where I learnt it…I never take care of myself and I always wear baggy clothes because I hate seeing my body. this is where it gets weird. When I heard stories about rape, every time i think, i wouldn’t say it arouse me, but it makes me feel weird, and not a good weird. I feel so wrong. I’m overweight
    , yet I try to starve myself … I’m more mature than most people of my age, and earlier, A heard a song about rape, and I started crying and crying, I couldn’t stop myself. I felt it inside, like I actually felt it before .. I’ve always had an irational fear of my dad, since I was little, and him hugging or even touching me makes me, not sick, but extremely uncomfortable. I don’t remember much from before I was 4, between 6 and 8 … I’m sorry, this is all over the place but I need to know, is there the slightest chance something happened to me… and i don’t remember ? Or am i just delusional ?

    • I can’t get in to provide information from what you’ve shared. 1 of 3 girls are abused sexually, so yes it is possible. But you can’t know for sure until you work with a qualified professional sexually abuse therapist. You can work with your symptoms without certainty of the past and start to heal before you do the other work too.

      Good luck

  15. I need to ask your opinion on something. I fear your answer, but I need to know. It is something that has been troubling me for many years.

    This is regarding my now adult daughter and an incident when she was very small.

    I returned from shopping one day and all my kids were in one room playing. Everything seemed normal I suppose. That much I don’t recall at the moment. But the odd and disturbing thing is….I didn’t see my ex-husband anywhere. I looked around the house and didn’t find him. On the TV was a video, it wasn’t porn, but it was sexual – at the moment I can’t recall exactly what it was. I made my way to the laundry room. There he was, crouched behind the dryer…hiding from me, nervous, a shocked look on his face. He was in his underwear. His private part was — awake (I am not sure how to word it properly for a public form) he had it in his hand and was forcibly squeezing it trying to get it to go down.

    Of course I immediately confronted him, asked what on earth was going on in this house. His excuse was he was doing what men do (if you know what I mean), while I was out of the house because I wouldn’t have liked it. Granted most likely I would have had an issue with him doing that, especially while he was supposed to be watching three children.

    To give you a little background – at that time I was overweight, depressed, stressed, he was very emotionally abusive to me and now I realize that I was suffering post-partum depression and I had three little kids, two children in diapers at the same time – not much sleep ever and sexual relations between us wasn’t great.

    So I thought, he is really odd to have such a shocked look on his face if he was only masturbating. And why crouch down and hide behind a dryer trying to get “it” back to normal.

    I went to my daughter, she was old enough to verbalize, I think four years old. None of my kids had any sex education at all…nothing…they never saw me nude, and I assumed never saw their father nude. I had two girls, one boy, my little boy at the time was nearly one year old he was the youngest. I said as casually as possible while we played with toys. What do you know about a boys private area? She was not scared or nervous. She said oh I don’t know, playing with a toy. I said do you know what a private area on a boy does? She said…do you mean when it goes up, and up and up?

    Right now, since it was so many years ago, I don’t remember what I might have said after that.

    My question to you is. Would that be considered a normal answer from a little girl at that age without any sexual education ? Myself I didn’t know that until my late teens.

    As I type to you now, it just raises red flags to me. But I don’ t know if I am over reacting after all these years. My daughter is now an adult, college grad, always trying to be the best in everything she attempts. She has confided in me that her sexual relationship with her husband is not great. She doesn’t like having sex with him, would prefer not to. And that intercourse with her husband is painful and she cant relax that area – if you know what I mean. She is incredibly successful in her career right now, but she suffers from depression, has social anxiety and is overweight.

    She has never once said anything to me about her father, and she still has an average relationship with him.

    If you were to tell me, that a child of that age would/should have no knowledge of a mans private part “waking up” in such a way. My next question to you would be….should I tell her what happened back years ago – or just keep quiet.

    • She might have known from seeing something else, but not likely. However that doesn’t mean you should say something to her. That way is usually a disaster. She may never remember or she may see the whole thing in a different context. She Needs to work on the parts Of her life that aren’t working, if she wants to follow that. She may never remember anything, it might not have happened, or it didn’t traumatize her. But for you to speak up will generally cause more problems than it solves.


      • Thank you so much for the reply. It is very helpful. I have to agree with you, I worried as well about bringing it up. So many variables where this is concerned. And thank you for helping random people going through such serious issues.

        • You’re welcome

      • I have a question about something that has been bothering me for a while.. when I was younger I used to masterbate (I’m talking about when I was 5/6 years old) and it always made me feel guilty so I told my mom one day and she seemed shocked but never mentioned it again.. years later I started remembering these times when I used to hang out with my dad and his male friend (various friends) but can’t remember if they’re just dreams or suppressed memories.. I don’t remember anything sexual or anything, it’s just us relaxing and talking.. I didn’t think much of it until my family found out that my 5/6 year old niece got molested by her father and I noticed she was also dryhumping things (similar to what I did her age) and I started feeling paranoid .. the first time I had a serious bf I felt so guilty after having sex… do you think I could’ve been molested as a kid?

        • This isn’t enough information to make a decision. Look at other behaviors and see what’s going on. If you’re still concerned, deal with them. If you were abused it will come out,

          Good luck

  16. I think I was abused but I swear I only remember bits and pieces of certain memories where I thought I was one who did the abuse but it was when I was like 7 or 8=

    • Very common to have only bits and pieces of memories. 7 or 8 means you aren’t an abuser. Children of that age do not have the power over others to abuse them. as always, a trained professional therapist can help you figure it out and solve the dilemma. But I personally don’t recommend someone who does hypnosis to retrieve these memories. It’s too easy to get off track with hypnosis.

      good luck

  17. So…I fit pretty much all of these. Recently, I’ve been plagued heavily by nightmares, body/emotional flashbacks, and panic attacks.
    The thing is…while I know exactly what it feels like to have sex and have someone else touch me and what various things taste like, I’ve never, to my knowledge, had sex.
    I remember someone- a female babysitter, for sure, french kissing me and maybe? touching me when I was little (4-6). But recently I’m starting to remember a man. I wet the bed for years and often had ‘fire pee’ and was sore. I have/had a lot of vaginal discharge from a young age. I’m scared of sleeping in a bed and for a few years I refused to sleep in one. I’m terrified of people touching my neck or wrists and while I love hugs, I only like them from people I feel safe with and only on my terms.
    The idea of being kissed sends me into a panic attack. I have a strong gag reflex. I hate showers & brushing my teeth.
    Lately, I’ve been having a lot of nightmares of being raped and being totally helpless. As a child, around this time, I had a lot of repeated nightmares of being chased, helpless, and trapped. Vicious, giant dogs or cougars often featured.

    When I was 15, my younger brother (13), began humping me. I would run away and yell at him to stop, but I was too scared of….something? I’m not quite sure what- to say anything to my mom. He increased his behavior and because we were camping, I really coudln’t escape him. Then, one day I woke up to him humping me. I pushed him off and barely managed not to start bawling. I was ashamed too bc I was aroused by it and I ran down to the bathroom and sat sobbing and masturbating. I threw up. I avoided him the rest of the day. But then, I thought ‘hey, maybe if he gets what he wants he’ll leave me alone’ and for some reason, it made sense to me- and all I had running throuhg my head was a man’s voice saying ‘stop struggling. it’ll be over faster’ and other stuff like that. so i let him dry hump me and he touched me over my clothes and did stuff over clothes. i froze at the beginning when he touched my neck and dissociated and it was like i wasn’t even there. i was screaming stop in my head but the me in my body just…laid there. and then, i snapped back to myself and i threw him away from me and ran to the bathroom and hid there for a long time. later, it turned out he didn’t realize it was wrong and thought that me yelling at him to stop and almost fucking crying was funny and that he thought it was some kind of game. apparently he forgot about it now, two years later and it never really bothered him until he realized it was wrong when a friend found out and told a parent.
    since then, everything’s become more intense and I started having flashbacks of when i was little. i’ve never been able to remember huge chunks of when i was little- even at 10, three years out from when i think it ended? i can’t stop thinking about it and want to die. i feel dirty and worthless and evil.

    • your reactions are fairly typical of someone who was sexually abused in childhood. even the fact that you don’t remember but are having these intense emotional reactions at different times. In fact, your reaction to your brother is also common for survivors. there’s lots of work to be done for us to heal. Please find an experienced, qualified therapist and go to work. the results aren’t usually quick,but they are worth it, for you never have to live in this quagmire of fear and uncertainty and unpredictability again.

      good luck

      • So this keeps coming up in my mind and I feel i need to get it off my chest and gather someone else’s perspective. I have someone who’s really close to me family (I won’t say who he is or how he is related to me, just know that he was a member that was quite close with my mum as they were similar ages and he lived with us quite often- this may not be relevant but he has suffered from mental illness). Well he lives not far from us now (I’m 16) and my mum always makes us go around to his house and stay there for long periods of time, and for an odd reason I can’t, I feel vulnerable and uncomfortable in his company. Unsafe. I can’t speak and cant be comfortable around him. Once when I was 14 and I was at his house me and my mum might have got into s petty arguement and when my mum left the room he locked me in his arms and grabbed my throats and went right up to my face and was repeatedly saying “you think you’ve grown up?” And almost spitting on me. After around 6 minutes I got out, ran out and jumped on the train home, when I got home I was hysterical and hopeless. So it was when I was around 15 a confusing memory resurfaced in my mind, I remember one day when i was in primary school (maybe 10) I went home and it was just him there (he lived there sometimes), and I went to speak to him about my day at school and he wasn’t paying attention, he just reached out and touched my breast. I just went silent, then finished my sentence, ran to my room and sat there silently confused. And I never really thought about it until recently. What was/is on my mind was whether it was sexual or not, whether it was intended. I’m still forced to often see him and feel very uncomfortable. I remember around 8 and having dreams/nightmares of me at a young age and him sitting there, and he’d be touching me. And this is weird but when I was around 6/7 he’d demand to smell my fingers. I don’t know if this is relevant but once there was a thing about his computer getting something virusy and saying he’d been watching child porn. Anyway I feel really unfortable around him and don’t know what to think, has done more of this to me, what about that touch that I recently remembered?what was that? Sometimes I randomly break down because of him, feeling melancholy about a younger me, but I don’t know why. Someone please give me advice. This may not seem like a big thing but I’m really lost and confused. – by the way around the time I was 10 was when I started to kind of grow breasts and after that incident, id always try to wear tight vests, swimming constumes under my tops to hide/cover it, right after that happened- I don’t know just thought I’d add that as I still to this day don’t know what the meaning was to that moment but for some reason when it happened I didn’t react, and forgot, and haven’t ever told..?

        • It is a big thing and you’re not imagining anything. Regardless of his state of mental health, you need to kept yourself safe. If you can find a qualified therapist, that’s my standard recommendation but if you are under age, it will have to be reported if you go to a professional.

          Good luck

          • Can you help me I feel I like was hurt as a child. I do t remember most of anything before I was a teenager. I have one memory that never leaves me biting can’t even say if there was a person to what I did. I dream about it though. I need help.

            • Nicole, I removed your email from this comment. Please don’t post your email on any website, it’s not safe. I am not licensed to practice therapy where you are, so I can’t give you specific advise. talk to an experienced counselor about your symptoms and get the help you need. You may never remember more than you do now, but you can be sure your life isn’t negatively affected by what might have happened. You can heal and live a great life

              good luck

  18. I am not sure what to say… but on my 18th birthday my sister told me that my dad had sexually abused her as a child.. although i don’t recall anything ever happening to me But i have been paranoid about it since. When i was younger i used to touch my genitals a lot idk why i also had a lot of thoughts about being naked and humiliation and got aroused under the age of 9. I was looking at another site about signs of sexually abused as a baby…. I tend to day dream alot even when i was a child i would day dream more than the average child. I cry after self pleasuring sometimes.. when i was 2 years old i broke my leg i have no memory of the pain i inflicted their. just when it was about to happen and then after.. But i’m scared incase i was abused and my memory is suppressing it. I cry alot of no reason. i remember one thing that i don’t understand my vagina hurt when i was really little and i asked my mum if she would put the cream onto it again.. She said she had never applied any cream to begin with and was confused by what i said. I also always wanted a daddy figure to protect me….. Im also into a fetish called DDLG i fear it could be related.
    i just don’t know what to do

    The signs from the other site i had
    41 related signs to what sexually abused babies feel when they are older

    • I don’t know about the other site but I do know you need to heal. Work with a professional and get better. You may or may not have been abused. And you may or may not remember but you can heal regardless

      Good luck

  19. I’m not sure what to write here. I’ve never disclosed this information before. When I was about 11 years old my sister, who is a year and a half older than me, began to do things to me at night. We shared a room and she would make it into a game to do these things and have me do things to her too. I’m also a female. And I later found out that she is a lesbian. I didn’t want to do this stuff but felt guilty if I didn’t. She was and still is quite manipulative. It lasted until I was around 13 years old. And I forgot about it for a few years. When I was 17 or so it all resurfaced and since then it has been causing problems. I have anxiety and find it difficult to maintain relationships. Was I abused? Would it be categorised as abuse? I’m constantly doubting myself thinking it was my fault! I get on with my sister but I know I hold a grudge against her

    • I can’t say that this was abuse. You’ll have to work with a therapist to determine that. But it was NOT your fault. Let go of the blame and guilt and heal. That’s what matters.

      • Hello! I have been sexually abused as a child and suffered emotional abuse.
        I’m now in my 30’s but all my life I have fear just fear that I would harm another child.
        These intruding thoughts come in and create fear they i did do
        Something when I know I haven’t.
        I remember I even emailed a friend to apologise if I ever hurt her child… she thought that was weird cause the child loved me and I would guard that child with my life.
        Why does this fear attached with intruding thoughts and a spiral and me falling for the lies and believe I am a terrible horrible person.

        I want to die! I would rather die and not live with this accusing mind then live with it constantly.

        Am I absolutely lost my mind or is this normal??

        • You have not lost your mind and it is normal, for some of us. As you’ve probably guessed how each of us responds to sexual abuse has some commonalities and some unique factors. Yours is one i have heard of before. Because of what was done to us, usually by someone we trusted, our child’s brain (when we were little) tells us that no one is trustworthy, not even us. and so we have these fears. The thoughts are recurring and that’s problematic. But if they’re attached to fear, they’re usually old stuff.

          as always, i can only recommend working with a qualified experienced therapist to get rid of these thoughts and allow you to live in peace.

          good luck

  20. My story is a little odd, and I’ve never been able to make much sense of it. Throughout my entire life (from around age 3-4 and up), many people who have been trained to look for abuse symptoms, have suggested or wondered, either to me or to my mother, if I had ever been abused. The answer was always an “obvious” no…until it wasn’t.

    I showed so many signs. Obesity, low self-esteem, moods that shifted faster than even I knew what to do with, severe control issues, bad hygiene through middle and most of high school, depression and severe anxiety through most of my childhood and teen years (I was taking Tums to school in a baggie in grade 3 because my stomach was so upset), distrust of any men until they proved themselves worthy, pushing friends away until they gave up on me, and then feeling terrible about it after…

    The history here is that both my aunt and mother were sexually abused by their father, who had died several years before I was born. They both thought that by allowing it to happen to them, they were protecting the other. Until my mother finally spoke up about it in her 30’s. My aunt dealt with it by ignoring it and blaming their mother. My mother dealt with it by delving into deep, lifelong depression, overeating, and eventually, hoarding.

    The other complication in MY story was that when I was no more than ten years old, I found my mother’s old journal…the one that she started writing just after my younger brother was born. The one where she wrote and admitted that she had been abused by her father for the first time after all of those years. I still remember my heart pounding and the sick feeling in my stomach as I realized the horrors of the world and what it all meant.

    As I grew older and I began talking about my life story with a close confidante and mentor in college, I started to really wonder. I had always assumed that the suggestions of my potential childhood abuse had stemmed from the fact that I read my mother’s journal and it changed my views so drastically that I began to show signs of abuse, myself.

    But as I began to talk it out more, a few things came to mind. Like a conversation I had when I couldn’t have been more than five years old (I remember we were in the truck that we sold when I was in Kindergarten) with my mother, which was basically about how I was masturbating with my toys. Her answer was that I shouldn’t do what I was doing, and as far as I recall, there was no further conversation on the topic. But the actions continued through my entire childhood. I asked her about it once, and she told me that she remembered it, but didn’t think it was a big deal then and left it.

    As I talked about my early years more with my friend, a memory came back to my mind. It was nothing graphic, and there was nothing outrightly suggesting that it even involved abuse. I was at the park across the little lane from my house. My mother could see the playground from our front window. I was young, about four, and she had let me go out to play with the neighbour kids. The older girl was probably five years older than me, and the boy was maybe 3 years older. I remember growing up that they didn’t have a good home life at all. All I remember is being on the ground, behind a big wooden structure, and the boy crouching beside me. To this day, there is nothing more to the memory. I asked my mother if anything ever happened with the neighbour boy, and she told me that she did remember me playing at the park with them one day, and coming running inside screaming and crying that “he hit me”.

    All these years later, I still don’t know where my behaviour comes from. I don’t know if that neighbour boy just hit me, or did something else that I can’t remember. I don’t know if my actions come just from being influenced by that journal so young. All I know is that whatever happened, it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one out there that’s confused. Thank you.

    • Generally, sexual activities between two children who are fairly close in age is not abuse. Rather it is sexual experimentation and perfectly normal. I’m not saying this is what happened but I want to raise that possibility. you may or may not ever remember what happened to you. I doubt that your experience arises from reading your mom’s journal, but that’s just my gut instinct and not based on anything.

      but the important thing is to work with a qualified, experienced sexual abuse therapist to figure out if you were abused or not. regardless of whether you remember the situation or not, you can heal from the symptoms of abuse that you’re living with. and that makes the journey worthwhile.

      good luck

      • Hello! Sorry, this isn’t the proper way to make a post.

        Just looking for a second opinion. In couples therapy, our councillor has suggested I may have been a victim of sexual abuse as a child.

        Other than a foggy memory of my Grandpa touching me inappropriately, I don’t have any memories of abuse. However I have lived my entire life with shame and guilty of my sexual awareness that stems from a very early age – 4+.

        At this young age, I knew how to bring myself to orgasim – often by leaning on things. I felt embarrassed as I kept feeding this compulsion into my teenage years. I felt dirty and wrong, yet couldn’t stop this impulsiveness. My mother never discussed it, though it must have been obvious. The only memory I have is of her finding me looking at my Dads Playboy’s around the age of 5. She was beyond angry at me – I was humiliated, confused but the thought sex was filthy was ingrained.

        I have been married twice, now to a man who stumbles with his own deamons of anxiety and depression from growing up with an achoholic father. We have two wonderful boys who I adore. But our family is at geporady. My husband in his struggles has been very self absorbed and emotionally unavailable. Early on, our connection was very much sexual. I wanted it to feel secure in our relationship, he began to pull away – too much pressure. After 5 years of feeling rejected, I regretably connected with a colleague. Brief at first, then a stopped entirely as I had my second child. However when returning to work a year later, nothing had changed in my relationship with my husband (if not worsened), so the relationship with the colleague progressed from fooling around to being intimate. I stopped things with his individual in 2014, but still worked with him until spring of 2016, where I left the company.

        My point is, I have tried to connect with men through sex and have made terrible choices because of it. Not that I am looking for an excuse for a terrible mistake, but I am wondering if these poor choices may link to something early and dark stemming from my childhood?

        Though my husband doesn’t know the entire story … yet (my therapist does and refuses to work with us again until I share everything), he does know about my youth and ability to give myself an organism. The therapist feels that kids often touch themselves, but for a child – especially a young girl to know how to give herself a pan orgasim … this is a sting indicator there has been abuse.

        After years and years of beating myself up, being embarrassed, calling myself a little pervert … It’s hard to shut off this negative dialogue with one persons option. Ultimately, I am looking for someone else to weigh in.

        Appreciate your thoughts!

        • There is no way to tell for sure until you work with a therapist skilled in helping adults sexually abused as children. the list of symptoms and what you’ve shared are all indicators of sexual abuse. But they could all be from something else. It is important to do the work and figure it out and heal.

          good luck

      • Disagree. Boys target girls as members of the predator class. It does not “go both ways”, even though there are cases of females initiating it. The latter is the result of grooming of girls under the male model. There is a power differential between any given boy and girl in patriarchy.

        End male violence, end our chronic troubles.

      • Long story short my father used to tell me he took me in the woods at night to show me there was nothing to be afraid of he used to take me under ground from our house and said i used to catch toads jus the 2 of us he used to tell me i slept with my but up all the time and that i slept with them till i was 12 in the middle…or that he used to change me from school and that i would cry for him not to tell my mom that he chaged me..along with that i have been psychally and mentally and emotionally abused…now im in battle with my daughter and feel like im re livong my life threw her so if he done it it her whats the chaces of him doin it to me…always calls and wants to know if my childs alright or where i am or who im with

        • Anything is possible. I can’t diagnose on the Web but always encourage people to work with a therapist.

          Good luck

      • Hi there. I don’t know if i agree with your statement about two kids being sexual experimentation. I was abused by my Friend who was the same age and sex as me. She introduced sex to me and taught me how to orgasm – I always felt ashamed. We were 7. No one should push you to be sexual as a child. Then my cousin, also female and the same age would dry hump myself and my sister. It was always being done to me. Of course it felt good so not stopping it feels shameful. It has impacted me so negatively in life. I have terrible anxiety and so many health issues. Could you say that there are cases when this type of behaviour is sexual abuse? Im sure both my friend and cousin were abused therefore they were just spreading the abuse although perhaps I was also abused by an adult but have surpressed this memory. Thank you.

        • WE can go back and forth on this question for a long time. I don’t have a specific answer that applies to everyone and all situations. In my opinion, sexual abuse involves a break of trust and an imbalance of power. So I usually look at an age difference as well as one person with more life skills, experience, and abilities convincing or coercing someone younger, smaller and less able. Additionally, there’s often an unwillingness on the part of the family to believe the victim. and disclosure brings with it great shame and the possibility of legal repercussions. So if an adult coerces a child, and are convicted, they will go to jail (usually) whereas a child of the same age is not looked at the same way.

          I’m not saying there isn’t coercion in your circumstance or inappropriate behavior. But neither of these two had significant survival roles, nor significant teaching/leading roles in your life. They were other kids. that doesn’t mean you weren’t traumatized. You should seek therapy to work through these issues, the same as anyone else. That’s the challenge with this whole question: what is a minimal event for one person is a significant trauma to another. All any of us can do is the work to heal ourselves and lead wonderful rich lives where these are not defining moments but rather stuff that happened to us in childhood.

  21. Thank you for this and for all the comments. I just googled – what if the abuse didn’t happen and I am just making it up – and this thread appeared in the google search. It is healing to just read through and not feel “crazy” I always get more triggered after seeing my family – I am the only one of four children who is processing what happened – they all deny the abuse. I am also the only one who has done extensive body work such as the Alexander Technique, Qi Gong, studying massage therapy, etc. My body revealed to me the truth of how I was violated. My flashbacks during sex are real and I have worked through so so so so so so so much… and yet.. I am a recording artist and recently got a donation towards my album from the abuser. I was so scared when I received it several years ago but for some reason it never occurred to me until a week ago that I should return the money. Part of me is scared he will complain to the crowd funding and I will lose all my money. No One in my family is interested in discussing the abuse and I was warned of this twenty years ago by a counselor so I was prepared, but after twenty years it’s getting old – I wrote a song about the abuse for my last album and a relative emailed me saying he wishes I wrote happier songs – and yet so many songs on the album are happy – I felt like it was a slap in the face after I have been recovering for years and years and through this music. many have expressed great healing from the song – and one time about 2 years ago someone said because of that song I have severe issues – that I am holding myself back… I don’t see it that way at all- I think the truth is healing and my guts tells me he doesn’t like the song because he may be an abuser – another fan of mine said he loves my album but skips over this one because it’s creepy – I think this triggers my shame big time – sometimes I feel scared when I sell the album to someone that they won’t like me anymore because of this song. I would love your opinion – It is my therapist who spoke in the song about the traumatic facts about abuse – here is a link to the song –

    • Many families deny the abuse. Remember that a family is a system in balance. everyone has a role and everyone behaves a certain way and within certain parameters. Admitting abuse would change all that, so it must be denied.

      keep doing your work and what feels right. to you. at the end of the day, we’ve only got what makes us happy and whole.

      good luck

      • You are so right about that! I know someone who has a daughter, who was recently sexually abused, by her brother. I can not believe the denial, they are living in. The fact that it was her brother, has made her go into the Biggest “great family festival”, I have ever seen. I feel so sorry for her, because she can not accept that her family, in their dysfunction, could do this, and then try and bury it. The one it happened to, is young, and I was told ,”Oh she’s already forgotten it!” NO!!! she hasn’t! No counseling, nothing. All the mom could do was talk about this good thing her dad did. That good thing her brother did! No counseling for the daughter, no boundaries set, except of course from the perpretrator. The parents, who also need counseling, are manipulating this poor girl into burying the whole situation, and act like it didn’t happen. It is very sad. I am an adult, who survived teen sex abuse, and I know that it doesn’t just go away. And a 5 yr. old doesn’t just forget it! So very sad….

        • Very sad is right. It doesn’t go away but will re-surface and cause all kinds of problems. while it’s out of sight, it will mess with her life. but that will be ‘her’ problem in their eyes.

          poor thing

    • I am a victim of sexual abuse that I remember but I fear there was more when I was younger. My family disowned me when I spoke of what I do remember. My younger sisters both exhibit symptoms and I am sure now that my silence did not protect them like I thought it would. I thought at the time that I was saving the family by keeping quiet. It was so incredibly painful back then…but that was nothing to the pain of them all turning away from me when I finally spilled the beans. The abuse so profoundly effected my life course that I still struggle now, decades after the fact.

      There was also an instance when I was 14 when I was molested by a neighbor. My father told me no crime was committed because I was in this man’s house. He was angry with me…not his neighbor.

      My mother married a 21 year old guy when I was 15. He bought me marijuana then came in my room naked. Later that day my mother threw me out of the house….I was16. I ended up begging to come back home a few weeks later.

      It’s been so long ago but I still struggle especially now that the family thinks I am either lying or that I am crazy. My marriage eventually fell apart and now I live alone. Seems like I have driven them all away so I know I have something wrong somewhere.

      • When we are abused at a young age, we subconsciously feel unworthy, dirty, and ‘bad’. we own the things your dad told you when you were raped by the neighbor. Therefore we find people (partners, co-workers and ‘friends’) who prove our beliefs right. I know that sounds impossible but it is the truth. and when they’ve left us, because we pick people who will leave us, we own their behavior and take the blame. work with a qualified, experienced sexual abuse therapist and get better. It’s your turn and you deserve it.

        good luck

        • Thank you for your response. The part about choosing people who will leave me doesn’t sound that impossible now that I think about it. I have a lot of anxiety and maybe it’s time to work on that. Never been a fan of therapy but I guess it’s worth a shot. I didn’t think it could be cured after so long. I deserve better. Thanks.

          • You absolutely deserve better. Remember with therapy you’re the customer and you have to be able to trust the therapist. If not find someone else.

  22. Umm.. I know this is a little late to comment on here. But I’ve been dealing with my abuse for a while now. It’s going to sound stupid of me. I know it will. But I was abused whenever i was 4-5. I don’t really remember that much about it really. Just small stuff. I get these random flash backs about it as well. But umm. I was just going to say that your list really reminds me of myself. I recently told my best friend about some of my abuse. I’m afriad she doesn’t believe me though. Why should she? Since I don’t even remember all of it myself. But anyways sorry if I wasted anyone’s time. I’ve learned alot about me through your list. Thank you.

    • I keep the comments open, so people like you and other survivors can share their thoughts. it’s a safe place. the problem with taking to friends about our abuse is that if they haven’t gone through what we did they can’t understand. anyone working in this field knows that a lack of memories is common for survivors. and it’s often one of the symptoms of the trauma. Work with a qualified, experienced sexual abuse therapist and get better. You’re worth it.

      good luck

      • Thank you for the kind words. I always wondered if there was a reason behind why I can’t remember much about the abuse. Exceptionally, since it was done by my grandfather. I can’t even remember his face much these days. I’m a bit scared to see a therapist….the thing about my abuse is. I have never told anyone from my family about it. My friend Sarah and I were both abused by him whenever we were younger. And apparently she got him in trouble for it by telling people? And ever since then my family hates her family. Cause they didn’t think the abuse was actually happening. My own mother goes out of her way to not tell me anything about the whole experience. Saying that I’ am too “young”. I’m 22 years old now. I’m afraid to know the truth. I don’t want my family to hate me ever. I don’t think I could ever tell them about what really happened. And that Sarah was NOT lying. My mother would never believe me. I don’t want to break up our family over something from the past. I try not to think about the abuse but whenever it does appear in my mind. I feel horrible. I think I’m getting more depressed by the day. I”m glad that you leave the comment open to people. Even if you don’t reply. I thank you again for just allowing me to post this here. Sorry to bother you, I know I wrote a lot this time. You probably weren’t even expecting a reply. So sorry.

        • the therapist is bound to silence as long as you’re an adult. if you’re underage, then it has to be reported. families don’t want to know about their dysfunctions. and so they react. usually poorly. but if you’re an adult, it’s confidential. the reason it has to be reported if you’re underage is to try to stop perpetrators from hurting other children.

          Talking is not easy for us but necessary for healing.

          good luck

        • PLease, don’t feel like you are wasting anyones time! I am kind of in the same boat, with my family. I havea 5 yr. old that I know, who was abused, and am “fussed at”, if I bring it up, because the family wants to live in denial about it! My husband says its not our business, even tho it is a 5 yr. old family member. At the least, I think the girl needs counsel. Funny, the perpetrator is getting counseling, but not the victim! I am sure it will happen again, with some other child. Sad, very sad! And I hate that people are more concerned about what it will make the family look like, rather than what id did to the 5 yr. old, or future 5 yr. olds! UGH! I am so angry!

          • SExual abuse is horrible for the children involved. It impacts their lives for decades after. But unfortunately, the only people who can help the child cope is her parents. and if they’re in denial, there’s nothing someone from the outside can do. It is amazing to me how often families will choose to protect the perpetrator rather than the child. this is true in most situations but even more than average if the victim is a boy. Tragic.

            thanks for sharing and keep the faith. At the appropriate time, you’ll be able to help the child but that might not be for decades.

      • Is it considered sexual abuse if at the age of 14 (with no prior sexual contact) a family friend aged 39 said that they would no longer be friends or told you you were a bad person or cried or got mad if you would not preform some sexual act? This continued for years. Was that sexual abuse even though it feels like it could have been avoided?

        • yes, it is sexual abuse. It’s an adult using threats or power to get sexual activity out of a minor. ugly perpetrator.

          • I am posting this here because a poster can’t comment without a picture showing up. I would like the comment to remain, with their permission, but want to protect the anonymity of this poster.


            I am in my 40’s and my younger brother told me that him and I were abused by our grandfather, who I also found out abused my mother when she was young. I have clear memories of my early childhood up to about 5 years old, I don’t remember much from 6 or 7 but felt like I woke from a two year daze at 8 years old. I don’t remember being abused, which surprised my brother. I have struggled with anxiety and low self esteem my whole life. I have always felt very different from my peers. I have been over weight for years. These things I think are very common, but I wonder if what my brother said could be true. He had a more turbulent adolescence than me. I am the only one in my family that doesn’t drink. Evidently from story’s I have heard, the abuse was widespread throughout the family. This is the first time I have talked to anyone about this besides my brother a couple of years ago when he mentioned it. I don’t have money to go to a therapist, I have been on and off anti-depressants from 14-around 36. If I go to my doctor, they will try to put me back on them, but therapy seems closer to a solution. I guess I would just like to know what I should do.

            • If money is tight, go to the bookstore and look for books about sexual abuse. The Courage to Change is a classic. There’s also a couple for men who were abused as children. there are also a couple of twelve step fellowships that deal with this issue (sex abuse survivors, I think, or Sex Abuse Anonymous) both are free and will give you a start at working through the issues you’re facing.

              over all, therapy will be necessary to heal, in my opinion, but you can do some of the work on your own and get ahead of the curve.

              good luck

      • I’ve been told i was possibly abused. Probably…but i have no memory of it. Is this good or should I find out?

        • Memories are a funny thing. You may or may not remember the events if you were abused. But you will hit a place of ‘knowing’ in your heart and soul that this happened to you. or not. but even more important is dealing with the symptoms of your life that are less than optimal, many of which arise from the abuse. find a qualified, experienced sexual abuse therapist and explain your dilemma to her and do the work. you’ll know soon enough.

          good luck

    • I really relate to what you’re saying, and I just wanted to say no one ever believes me either and it saddens me greatly. Thank you for commenting, I’ve never heard from anyone with similar experiences to myself.

    • Hello,

      I just have say, I have no memory of what may have happened to me as a child. I suspected though, but only as an adult and reflecting how I’ve lived my life to this point. As a pre-kindergartener, I suffered from chronic ut infections. I remember my mother taking me to specialists and even being hospitalized for a cysto exam…not pleasant for a young child. But what contradicts my sense of something happened is that I grew up a happy child. My parents were and are amazing people and I think if something had happened it would have never crossed their minds. They raised me to be this confidant person whose outgoing and friendly (really not how I am bUT it pleases people) The other night I was not planning to go out for new years eve but an old acquaintance whom I was friendly with but not exactly friends with had messaged me and wanted me to come by for a drink. I had been drinking but she only lives 6 blocks away and convinced me to walk over. I never really spent time alone with her, we were friends of friends and we came across the topic of getting UT infections after having sex. I hardly get them anymore but that was how I knew my husband was cheating on me, because I ended up with an infection. I told her though that I had them chronically as a kid and she said do you think you were molested? And I looked at her and for the first time in my life I said yes…I suspect I was but don’t remember the act. I am almost 40 years old and this is the first time I ever said my suspicion out loud to anyone. Now that I read your signs…sensitive gag reflex, check…obesity, check…drug and alcohol abuse, yep…and the last one floored me. I remember getting the feeling of arousal hearing of a kid being touched. I also remember masturbating to orgasim in grade 3…I have been promiscuous, I have always had relationships with men who had major emotional problems and victims of abuse themselves…I always want that feeling of being loved. I have sabotaged relationships and jobs for no reason I can think of…I have social anxiety disorder and had postpartum for both my kids. I am narcissistic, and at this point in my life I just don’t care about anything. It’s never been this bad but I’m hoping the realization of this is the first step to recovery…there is only one person I believe would be capable of doing this…he was married to my dad’s sister and went to prison for rape…I don’t remember sleeping there when he was there but because my dad hated him so much my aunt may have lied about him being around when i slept there when it was supposed to be just her. They have a daughter who’s 13 years younger than me and I remember seeing them at my grandpa’s funeral when I was 24…I barely remembered him but I remember saying to my husband that we needed to leave a get together cause the hair stood up on my neck on how he was looking at my cousin (his daughter ) ..she was I believe 9 or 10 at the time…and coincidently she is obese as well. My life contradicts itself on so many questions and I just want to know.

      Thanks for listening

      • Thank you for sharing your experience with me. The only thing I can recommend is talking to someone who is knowledgeable and experienced as a therapist of sexual abuse victims. That person will help you heal from whatever happened. it might have been the man you’re considering or not. It could be someone else entirely. you may or may not figure out who…but you will be able to heal the symptoms that you’re living with today. but if you weren’t abused, this therapist will help you figure it out.

        good luck

        • I have a question I believe my three yr I has been molested oh can I her make on her baby dolls wit her Barbie dolls hands down their fondling her self as well she has pushed away men she was once close too please no I bash an has been tk the er re the said I seems very irritated down theor told me to cross rhe county line to where i live and make a report with the cops over by where the incident coil of happen

          • I can’t begin to give advice, given your description except to take her to a doctor and ask for an examination.that will tell you something. or find a therapist who specialized in child abuse and working with kids. they can also help you figure it out and come up with a plan of action.

            good luck

      • Tricia,

        I was abused by 12 different family member’s, starting with my birth father lasting well into my teen’s. I repressed all of it until at the age of 39 I started to have panic attacks and with the help of a wonderful healer in Santa Fe, NM I was able to bring self acceptance and peace in to my life.

        ***Edited to comply with site standards

        • Your story is very common: memories repressed for years and multiple perpetrators.

          good luck on your continued healing journey

  23. Hello
    Thank you for the informative piece. Just in the last few days, in my mid to late 30s, it’s dawned on me that I was sexually abused. I can’t remember the abuse, but I am starting to remember bits and pieces of memories, that I know I have always remembered, but have dismissed them to be irrelevant in the past. Each memory, however, involves different people in my life – so I am not sure how to pinpoint the abuse and how these people are either somehow connected or the memories are not associated at all – they simply leave me feeling very disturbed. I’m remembering dreams I used to have, reoccurring ones, when I was small. As an adult who works with children, I am now starting to piece together the dreams and the stark symbolism in them – they all involve water or fire and my toys being burned or washed down the drain – and I’m extremely distressed and horrified in the dream – at the time they were truly nightmares for me and I was petrified of the dark and still am today.
    The symptoms I relate to are:
    1. Have a very sensitive gag reflex – No, but I used to enjoy giving oral sex to my partner but in the past year or two I have had a sudden change and avoid it.
    2. Can’t tolerate having water hit them in the face (in the shower or pool) – I remember now that I hated the bath as a small child, I would have nightmares of all my toys going down the drain, and I didn’t learn to swim until I was 9 as I was always afraid of the water, and used to attribute this to an incident when I slipped in the pool when I was 5 – but I was already afraid.
    3. May not enjoy bathing; personal hygiene can be a challenge; alternately they may shower fastidiously and too often – as above, also as a teenager or adult I have gone through periods of struggle with hygeine, with avoidance, finding comfort in staying with the same clothes or changing clothes quickly without having to completely strip down to shower
    4. Dressing inappropriately (either very modestly or very immodestly) for the weather and their size – I always wear to much and would rather sweat through a hot day than uncover my body too much
    5. Obesity (in my clients about 1/3 of the obese women were sexually abused) – I have never been obese but have usually been overweight, always yoyoing and only achieving an ideal weight one or two times in my entire life, for short periods
    6. Have eating disorders, alcoholism andor/ virtually every form of addiction, including sex – phases of binge eating, alcoholism, smoking, sex,
    7. Abuse themselves – cutting, picking at the skin, burning (usually from cigarettes) – I am notorious for picking at pimples and scabs until I scar
    8. Lack boundaries, physically, emotionally and spiritually – I’m sometimes unsure of boudaries/ get confused so I often back away from friendships or relationships, often feeling afraid that I’m being to forward, saying too much or being too demanding, so I retreat, or I simply stay at arms length from the beginning
    9. Have ‘dead zones’ on the body (for example, may not know body has wet spots after toweling off after a shower, or she may not know how she got a bruise) – I don’t feel the cold, I hate the feeling of being too hot or sweating if it’s not warranted with extremely high temperature
    10. Are unable to make love in certain positions – I have absolutely no feeling when oral sex is performed on me, and later in life I’ve simply rejected it altogether, as it makes me numb
    11. Can’t remember periods during childhood or realize that everything happened at ‘8 or 9 or…’ – I remember almost everything about primary school, I have many vivid memories of my time there, though my memories up to 5 are limited and I thought this was normal, but apparently it isn’t? Then there are bits and pieces
    12. Feel crazy, or different, or alone; also feel dirty and unworthy – I’ve always thought I’m not right, I’m isolated, and unworthy, despite all of the wonderful compliments I receive from family and friends – it’s like I have this constant inner dialogue that it’s not true
    13. Regularly see double entendres in ordinary conversation – I’m always over analysing
    14. Not trust the body (to be strong, graceful, reliable, healthy) – I’ve always hated my body, really hated it, and had trouble trusting that I can physically do things (use strength, play a sport, etc)
    15. Suffer emotional abreactions – sometimes I have a strong reaction and there’s no explanation, I fly of the handle and then I shut down, I can’t leave my room, I get really angry at whoever is near me, and I need to be alone. In this time I feel threatened, even though I’m perfectly safe
    16. Arousal when reading about a child who’s been victimized – thank you for writing about this. I feel sometimes feel this when reading about any victim of sexual abuse, then I feel terrified, or that there’s something wrong with me. Thank you for clarifying that.
    The terrible thing is that this is all falling into place NOW, like a puzzle, and I try to piece together memories but I literally, in my mind’s eye, see black spots, like a piece has been taken out, and nomatter how hard I try to see it, it’s not there, it’s just black. I’m overseas with my family, this is all unfolding just in the last few days, I’m in a non English speaking country where I cannot communicate well, and I won’t be coming home for a few weeks. I’m away from all of my support networks, and I’m afraid. I wish I was at home right now. I’d be booking in an appointment to see someone as we speak. I’m scared to think too much about this as I don’t want to fall apart now. But it’s plaguing me and I’m starting to get worse and worse physical symptoms of nausea, stomach pains, digestive problems and extreme fatigue.
    I’m afraid.
    – Regina

    • Regina, I can feel your confusion and pain. I can only recommend you find an experienced trained therapist who is skilled in working with adults who were abused as children. The gift for me in this process (and for my clients) is that we get to have certainty about being abused or not. we may never know who or who all abused us (multiple perpetrators are not uncommon) but we will know, or not, that it happened. and then we can heal the adult effects of that child’s past.

      it is possible to heal without a lot of memories, so do the work and get better – you deserve it. These symptoms all will disappear, if not completely, then to the point they are no longer troublesome.

      good luck

      • Hi I’m 15 and this past year I have began to have strong emotional feelings of worry and stress. I think my father may have touched or hurt me in some way. If so, I have no memory of this happening at all. I began searching the internet for answers. I haven’t found much except for symptoms that I relate to.
        1 I began master bating regularly multiple times a day at a VERY young age
        2 I had OCD as a child and still struggle to today I just had to. BE perfect
        3 I feel uncomfortable when my father hugs me
        4I don’t like being touched in certain places and being in certain places in my home
        5I have wet the bed since a young age
        6 I’m afraid of the dark and used to be terrified if I was locked in the closet or alone
        7I used to fantasize at a very young age about touching young boys
        8Ztruggled with addiction and eating disorders
        I want to know what happened to me and I want to know who did it my childhood is a blurr please help me

        • unfortunately, you may never know who did what. It might have been your father, but it could also be another male and your discomfort arises from a childhood fear that your father might do something to you. Memory is not a video tape. Rather it’s our mind’s interpretation of events, sometimes including people we know in the role of perpetrator. I’m not saying he didn’t do it. I’m saying from what you’ve said here, we can’t know for sure. Clearly you had a difficult childhood. Being locked in a closet makes everyone terrified. and being alone when too young is also difficult for many children. Do the work to heal from your addictions and eating disorders. when those are settled, you will better be able to deal with the other traumas but without the clarity of recovery, the other stuff is and gets very confused and cloudy. You can recover from all this shit. really, you can and you will if you focus, do the work, and know that a better life is ahead of you.

          good luck

  24. I have a recurring flashbacks and intrusive memories and I alternate between the current reality and the past reality. It is of me being sexually assaulted but I don’t know by whom. I just feel like I’m a child. It happens often during sex. I am not a regular weed smoker but every time I smoke it is a constant thought and the memories become more intense. I don’t recall ever being assaulted but it happened again last night and I could not help but to start screaming for help during sex but I couldn’t move or speak all I could do was shake. My boyfriend stopped as he could see the shear terror on my face. I don’t understand any of this and it is all I can think of today. Advice please.

    1. Have a very sensitive gag reflex
    2. Can’t tolerate having water hit them in the face (in the shower or pool)
    3. I shower too often. I often feel dirty.
    4. I dress very modestly. I always have a sweater on – even during Texas summers. I don’t wear swimsuits with comfort. I don’t like wearing dresses because I feel like I am being too sexual. I do not like compliments. I rather be in baggy clothes and not sexualized.
    6. I have eating disorders. I often am afraid to eat. In fear I’ll gain weight. Also when I do I feel sick to my stomach – like I did something wrong. I have had problems with turning to alcohol instead of dealing with problems. I am promiscuous but modest. I don’t say no or set boundaries because I’m scared. I am in my first faithful relationship and actually feel safe which scares me. I am used to being in a very abusive relationships.
    7. I constantly pick at my skin – and scratch myself
    8. No boundaries
    9. I have ‘dead zones’ on my legs. I often feel like I can’t move my arms too.
    11. Can’t remember most of my childhood before 6th grade. But a few flashes of a couple happy memories- but only a handful.
    12. Feel crazy, or different, or alone; also feel dirty and unworthy
    13. Regularly see double entendres in ordinary conversation
    14. Not trust the body (to be strong, graceful, reliable, healthy)
    15. Suffer emotional abreactions: reliving the emotions of the abuse when having sex.
    16. I work in a courthouse and have to read about abuse cases from time to time. I do feel arousal when reading about a child who’s been victimized. But it is followed by shame and disgust. Often asking why the hell am I turned on. But my arousal is followed by thought of adults not children. It make me feel guilty and disgusting. I am not attracted to children at all. I was even uncomfortable seeing my kids naked when they were babies i.e. bath time and changing diapers. I felt that I was violating them by seeing their privates.

    • the only thing I ever recommend is to work with a qualified, experienced therapist who deals with childhood sexual abuse. your reaction during sex is actually fairly common for survivors. and the reason #16 is on the list is because it’s very common, along with the shame that’s felt. get the help you need to live a full and rich adult life. You might not ever remember who the perpetrator is, but that is irrelevant to your healing. you can heal without that information.

      good luck

  25. Dear Louise & Reader,

    I would like to share my story with you, mostly so I can get it off my chest. I’ve begun to seriously consider, at the age of 42, that I may have been sexually abused by my father when I was very young. Needless to say, this has been a dreadful process.

    Like many posting here, I do not have any specific memories of sexual abuse. Rather, I have a lot of circumstantial evidence. My father is a sick man – he has Narcissistic personality disorder, which means he has no empathy and never bonded with my sister or me. He was prone to terrifying rages, and we lived in fear of him. There was regular physical abuse.

    When I was 4 years old, possibly younger, I suddenly began masturbating. According to my parents, I was flagrant about it. I have one memory of lying on the couch of the apartment we were moving out of. Moving men were coming in and out of the room, and I lay there touching myself. My parents were horrified that I was doing this, and they decided that beating me was the appropriate way to make it stop. On four, possibly more occasions between the ages of 4 and 6, I was beaten by my father for touching myself. One of the beatings caused so much bruising and bloody scratch marks on my buttocks, that I couldn’t sit down for days afterwards. My mother did not protect me from any of this, and in fact she was the person who usually caught me in the act, and then would report it to my father.

    I have one memory that has stayed with me – in it, I am crying and terrified on the side of the couch, out of my father’s line of sight. He was eating and watching sports, and I was alone with him. He was angrily ordering me to come stand in the middle of the room where he could see me. I was supposed to be changing into my bathing suit, and I didn’t want him to watch me, so I crouched where he couldn’t see. He wanted to watch me change, and this absolutely repulsed and frightened me. I was sobbing, and my tears and obvious terror didn’t matter to him (this is what they mean by lack of empathy). I was maybe 5 or 6 years old.

    I remember that my father created an inappropriate sexual atmosphere at times when my sister and I were young. He would stand at the top of the stairs and call to one of us to bring something to him. When we started up the stairs, we would stop short, seeing he was standing there naked and watching us closely. What could we do but hand him whatever he wanted and avert our eyes? I have a memory of swimming with him and my sister, we were both very young. I was maybe 7 and she was 4. For some reason we were all skinny dipping. I remember vividly that I could sense how pleased my father was, in this creepy way, that we were naked with him. Most fathers of young daughters would be doing the opposite – insisting they put a suit on, not insisting they swim without one.

    Around the same age that I started masturbating (4) I also developed a stutter that’s plagued me my entire life. I read not too long ago that stutters are sometimes caused by childhood trauma.

    Starting in my teens, I began having a strong physical aversion to being touched by my father. If he tried to hug me, my entire body would freeze up. It was an automatic reaction that I seemed to have no control over. In typical Narcissist style, he would blame me for my body’s rejection of him, and would hiss at me that I was “cold” and that something was wrong with me. And there would be my mother, standing by and glaring at me for upsetting him.

    I have almost zero memories before the age of 4. Anything under 10 is scattered and extremely hazy, like it happened in another dimension or galaxy. When I read memoirs, I’m always struck at the detailed account the author can give of his/her childhood. I could never write a narrative of that time in my life – so much is a blank.

    I began experiencing sexual feelings at a very young age (hence the chronic masturbation) and remember being very interested in late night Cinemax soft core porn, and my mother’s risque romance novels, with their detailed descriptions of sex acts. I always thought this early interest in sex was totally normal. It really struck me what Louise wrote about little kids not being naturally sexual – if they’re behaving sexually, someone taught them this behavior.

    Years and years ago, I was with a boyfriend who had been molested by his grandfather. He remembered it all, and we talked about it on several occasions. I told him that I had this weird unexplained feeling that I had been molested by my father. I was still in my 20s, and not ready to confront the scary monster in the closet, so I simply shut the door in my mind and “forgot” about my hunch, for another 15 years. It’s amazing to me in hindsight that I was willing to speak it out loud, that I had such a flash of insight so many years before I was ready to really face it.

    Well, here I am today and I am ready. The irony is that I was pushed to finally confront all of this by an abusive relationship with a man I now believe to be a clone of my father (another Narcissist). That relationship forced a reckoning, and pushed me to confront the past, and who I really am, for the first time.

    I don’t know for sure that I was molested, because I don’t have any concrete memories of it happening. Rather, it’s a gut sense of “knowing” that I can’t really articulate. I don’t know if anyone reading this can relate to that feeling.

    Thank you for reading.

    • I’m glad you’ve found some answers here. I can only reiterate what I always say: work with a trained professional, experienced therapist who understands the adult outcomes of child sexual abuse. You may never remember, for sometimes our young minds can’t process and imprint the events into our memories. But you can heal from the effects of all that abuse. that is always the important thing – don’t let the past steal anymore of the future. do the work and heal. it’s worth the time and energy.

      good luck

    • That is exactly how I feel. I have no concrete memories but only vague ones and just “knowing”. I have constant nightmares about my father, I haven’t spoken to him in years and he still plagues me. He had a very short temper, very abusive, and kind of simple minded which angered him. He would flaunt me in front of his friends.. I don’t have a visual memory but I do have an auditory one of crying and saying stop that it hurt.. I’ve always been to afraid to ask my mother because I do know the physical and sexual abuse that she endured while married to him. I am about to have my first child, a son, and I am terrified of my father somehow finding me. I just do not understand what would compel someone to hurt a child, especially in a sexual sense. I have trouble trusting people, I do not like to be touched, I started my own sexual prowess at a very young age, and it took me quite awhile to not “lay there” whenever I got intimate with my husband. I want answers but I am also afraid of knowing the truth. I want to be the best person I can be for my son and I am afraid that this will somehow hold me back.

      • it sounds like your background is already holding you back. In order to be the best parent you can be, to have a life that is free from the past trauma and joyful, work with a qualified, experienced sexual abuse therapist. She will help you figure out if something happened (not necessarily all the details but you’ll get some certainty) and then, more importantly, help you heal so you can live a wonderful life.

        good luck

  26. This is just a short note to tell you — more importantly, tell your readers whom are struggling with these matters — that what you state is absolutely spot-on correct. I encourage all people who read these notes of yours to adhere to what it is you advise and to hold 100% trust in these strategies for understanding their past and healing and recovering from those deep wounds, which continue to send signals not just to the brain, creating immense pain on a psychological, emotional and mental level, but these impacts destroy self-esteem and healthiness and well-being and quality of life. I know all too well. I am an adult survivor of childhood abuse of every kind — sexual, emotional, psychological, mental, verbal, physical and spiritual abuse and neglect by a much-older step brother (12 years older) and a mother who was distant, cold, void of warmth and not affectionate toward me, but to my siblings she was, including in my presence. It was an absolute hellish childhood, the neglect by my mother (my father had separated and moved away) trumped all the abuse by my stepbrother (her son, whom she favored and protected and enabled the abuse of). I am mid-50’s now. In my mid-20’s I sought help — another older brother was in college pursuing his master’s degree in psychology; he knew somewhat of my agony and duress, as a result of its impact on my life and having horrible self esteem, etc — and it was he who told me of the university’s doctoral program in clinical psychology, and the program they had for PhD candidates working toward their dissertations to earn their PhD, whereby a PhD student-clinical psychologist to be, provided therapy services for the public, particularly university students in undergraduate programs such as myself, at a sliding scale fee based on income, which wasn’t much for me. I credit that experience as the most profound of my life. I credit that therapy and more importantly, the therapist and his approach with me and my trust in him, and all of the intense work I did to understand and heal my fractured self, in fact a self that never had been, as a result of abuse from an early age. In sum, all led by that therapist, for about 2.5 to 3 years, it saved my life, changed my life, gave me life and put me on a new course, one that otherwise would not have been feasible nor even realistic. I have in these years since, returned to therapy at least twice, such is the way it goes for those like us who have been damaged during our formative years of early childhood then reinforced via continuous abuse for more years. Meaning therapy becomes life-long, a life-long quest to heal and continue the healing by taking it into new areas so the whole of us, an holistic healing, is served. Therapy is essential, however, therapy doesn’t work via the sessions only. Therapy gets its strength and power via the relationship of trust between therapist and patient and the difficult work that the patient must do when outside of the therapy sessions, so that when they are in the sessions, there is substance to it and progress … when the therapy is trusted fully and the therapist is trusted fully, and the patient does the work the therapist prescribes and which must be done when not in therapy sessions, which is just 50 minutes to an hour, once a week, yet the pain is every moment of every hour, every day of the week, night and day, so the patient has to work outside of the therapy sessions, and when all of that is in reality being done, and its continuous, and there is a true commitment and a burning desire by the patient to heal, to understand, to find themselves and recover from all they endured, all together ushers in miracles … I am proof of the immense, indescribable power of this equation and the invaluable value of finding and working with and most importantly, trusting and following the guidance of a competent, caring, therapist. I have read at least 50 of these posts and the responses by you as a therapist and you remind me of the ones who have helped me. What you advise, they advised and helped me to do. What you say is gold; this stuff works but only works when the student is ready and the teacher appears. You are that teacher. I know from reading the posts you are helping at least some, if not all. I did a Google search on signs of childhood sexual abuse for women, as a result of having a female friend who told me something the other day that was shocking … a red flag for certain sexual molestation by her father. As a survivor of abuse myself and having recovered and healed, it’s easy I find to recognize signs of abuse in others and what is sad, they don’t know or worse, they have issues in their lives be it mental illnesses or disordered personalities, or a proclivity to seek out in the lovers and partners in their lives, the same abusive personalities as their abusers in early life, as a result of their conditioning, so they inadvertently create for themselves more and more abuse of them, more and more true victimization of them, more and more damage if not death of their inner core and soul. It’s sad … therapy is the one answer, the only path to take, the path to take now, to not delay, to not let money stand in the way, nor any other barriers, you deserve and have the need and right to live free and therapy is the only way. “Greg”

  27. Hi there. I think I might have some unconscious memories. I don’t really trust myself but I think it might be possible. Imma go through the list first.
    1. Er… Yeah. It used to be worse but I hate having things in my mouth. Including non edible fluids such as toothpaste.
    2. Oh yeah. Definitely true. Again, it’s improved but not much.
    3. Yep. Same as last two instances. Slight improvement.
    4. Yep. True sometimes. But I’ve always been very modest. I feel uncomfortable showing my body off in some ways.
    5. No. I have a bit of a stomach is all but I don’t excercise. Eating little is all that has saved me from getting fat.
    6. Might be addicted to masturbation. I don’t know. Despite being a virgin I have a lot of sexual thoughts… It sucks. I also started masturbating when I was 7… So… Kinda weird.
    7. I often pick hang nails off but that’s about it. The only reason I didn’t cut is because I was extremely self conscious about it.
    8. Kind of… I think so…
    9. Don’t know about this. But I used to get a lot of bruises on my legs and not know where they came from.
    10. Never had sex so idk but I can only masturbate lying down. Might not count tho.
    11. I can’t remember my Junior Kindergarten year. Sounds pretty normal but I can remember the summer before which is what makes it crazy.
    12. Okay this one’s long. I should mention that I’ve struggled with my self image for years. In every aspect. I have social anxiety and struggled with depression for five years. It’s probably as a result of my experiences at ten or eleven. I became an emotional abuser at that tender age and hurt my best friends. I don’t even know why I did that. I grew up happily, I had no reason for it. This is the most likely cause of my recent mental and emotional problems but possible abuse could also be a strong case.
    13. Um… Yeah. Kind of. I laugh too much at sexual jokes… so…
    14. Maybe… I can’t point out specific instances. It might help that I’m very picky about where I go to the bathroom and dislike unfamiliar places?
    15. Yeah and I hate myself for it. It’s gross and I wish it didn’t happen to me.

    Actually I’m going to go more indepth with number fourteen and a couple other things. So… to explain 14, I have a terrible distrust for teachers and authority figures, including family. Particularly men. Even if they are kind and there to help. It takes me a long time to get over my fear if I have a favor to ask of them and I hate being scolded, reprimanded or criticised. I don’t like being touched in some ways, along my thighs or my torso, or arms. Even if I am meant no harm. Some random meaningless vocalizations made by adults make me uncomfortable and I sometimes don’t know how to respond to affection.
    I also have a very unhealthy fear of being molested or raped. A healthy aversion to it would be a normal precautionary habit. But I am paranoid and sometimes suspect it of even the most unlikely people to hurt me. I am terrified while walking down the street and it is not normal.
    One time when I was in middle school I would help my art teacher with random menial tasks. I was the only volunteer and when I told my mom about it she had a long talk with me about how I should be careful. I cried a whole lot when I realized that I was actually very nervous I actually was the entire time. He was a strange fellow and always gave off a weird vibe. Nevertheless I have always been a doormat and didn’t hesitate to help him out when he asked it of me. To give you a sense of the accuracy of my gut instinct, one of my gym teachers in the same school also gave an uncomfortable vibe all the time. I stayed away from him. After graduating I found out that he got in trouble for touching girls.

    That’s about all I can remember relevant to this. If I remember something else I will come back and mention it. Thanks.

    • Thank you for sharing. As always i can only suggest that you work with a qualified sexual abuse therapist who will help you heal from the past.

      good luck

  28. I have not looked into this but have suffered from depression, suicidal tendencies, huge emotional swings, eating disorder behaviour, inappropriate relationships and periods of very risky sexual behaviour, strange instinctive aversions that I can’t explain to certain aspects of sex/sexual positions. Since marrying and having children things have changed but the depression and isolation and moods and aversions still come up and also since seriously taking up the practise of yoga I’ve had in meditative states had flashbacks to an experience I can’t tell if it is true or not- but that has me reeling and sobbing and in pain. I haven’t known how to deal with the specific flashback b/c it would have been from a time when I was so young- one and half years old. I welcome suggestions. I keep putting aside- thinking everyone in my family will think I am crazy for pursuing it. But then it sneaks up again.

    • Usually when something sneaks up, again and again, it’s a sign that our minds want us to face something. but it might not be what is coming up. Memories are funny things – they don’t always record what happens but what we feel or think is happening. So the key is to do the work and determine what happened and when. By the way, I’ve had clients traumatized by events that happened earlier than 18 months. at that age we react to our own pain and to the fear and emotional state of the people around us. so yes, it could be abuse that early but you’ll never know until you do the work around figuring it out.

      I always recommend that people do the work to live full and rich lives. what was done, when and why can almost be irrelevant, ironically, because it’s today’s quality of life that matters.

      good luck

  29. Hi Louise.

    I feel shame with my situation all the time and feel like sometimes what happened to me wasn’t real. I remember things, but then immediately dismiss it. Is it normal to make myself feel inadequate and could my thoughts be lying? When I came out about the abuse…..I didn’t tell any of my family members, and was ashamed. But felt I had lost all power in the world so I went to the police to file the report. In trial, I got interrogated on this action and it honestly made me rethink everything and feel lost because everyone makes me feel like that was not a typical thing to do for victims. It was a mistrial, and I have trauma from the experience and have lost my family and been discouraged to drop the whole case. I am trying to forget about it and move on, but the more I read about PTSD and molestation, I remember more and more things…Things I was afraid to talk about with anyone until I read your article. I’d appreciate any guidance or advice you may have.

    • PTSD is a very common outcome of abuse. But I always recommend that you do the healing work on you for you before you worry about trials and punishment and so on. Sexual abuse, as you learned is still very hard to prove but the effects of it last a lifetime, if we don’t do our own work.

      get healed, get clear and then figure out the legal steps. then you’ll be sure.

      good luck

  30. Hi Louise, your article was very helpful, thank you. I do know I was abused but I can sometimes feel like it doesn’t count or I’m overreacting and such. It was between the ages of 6-10 possibly at a summer church club I went to every year. All of what you said rang true but 16 hit me hard. It is what makes me hate myself more than anything, when I was first looking up PTSD and read about cases sometimes I would feel a tingle?? Down there and it is beyond sickening I have tried to ignore it and push it away more than anything and it even happens when I have memories of the abuse?? It makes me feel sick and I’ve never told anyone about that part as I’m so ashamed and scared. I don’t know what to do about it Im hopefully starting therapy soon but I don’t want to mention that part it repulses me.

    • When we are sexually abused as children, this reaction is very common. It does pass, but it takes a long time. don’t beat yourself up for it. Don’t focus on it. Obviously don’t act on it. once you trust your therapist, talk about it. it’s a result of the abuse you suffered, the same as a broken leg if you were hit by a car. just know it’s an outcome, not a moral indictment. and in time, that reaction goes away.

      good luck

  31. Hello, I am a 38 year old woman whom was sexually abused as a child. While that did damage to me it was the non touching sexual abuse that did the MOST damage. My mother was always very “vocal” during sex. She not her partners never cared about the child in the home. Non of her partners were my father as they divorced when I was two. Hearing her, no matter how young made me cry. It made me feel dirty. One time I was on a pull out couch next to her and my brothers father and they did it next to me. Then because he was a truck driver, I’d have to be separated by only a curtain. And he would do very inappropriate things to her while I was in the back seat of the car. They divorced when I was 10. It stopped for awhile then she met the man I call my dad when I was 15. Needless to say my 4 siblings ALL heard their coitus. When I became a mom I made sure my children would never hear me. I always checked to be sure they were sound asleep and locked my door etc. Once they got to age 8 I became single and have not had any man around my children not have I been in a relationship for fear that they might be Abused. How can I desensitize myself from that feeling? Of feel dirty, aroused, sick, abused all in one. Now I feel like I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. I even found out the way I masturbate can really damage the ability to have normal orgasms! ( I’ve always “jiggled and wiggled” over a closed fist until reaching orgasm. It took almost 2 years but now I can orgasm by clitoral stimulation while watching porn. But! As soon as I come I feel dirty and shame. Ugh

    • this is absolutely sexual abuse and as you’ve stated so clearly, it is as damaging to your emotions and life as anything else. There are no grades of horror, as you know. it is all an abuse of power, sensitivity, and trust. i can only suggest that you work with a therapist to help you with the shame of the sounds of sex. it is noisy and it is messy but it is also wonderful and a caring opportunity to share love. You deserve to have a relationship in the rest of your life.

      good luck

  32. Good evening,

    I have a few concerns and i do not know how to get answers. I am an aunt to a 7 and 9 year old niece as well as a 2 year old nephew. When my 7 year old niece was about 3, she was physically abused by her father. it was reported and everything, she is now in a care facility to hopefully help her. she has been diagnosed with PTSD, and 2 other disorders. her older sister has watched this and watched her brother get abused too. My sister has separated from his for awhile now, but the courts have ordered them to split custody for the time being and now the children, the 9 year old and the 2 year old, is going over to his house alone. forever now, the 9 year old always opened up to me about everything and would describe events in great detail. Now when i bring up things that has to do with her father, she shuts down and changes the topic to something completely different. all she says in relation to it is that it is really bad there when she goes. Now, she hates taking showers anymore. since she was a baby she loved them and taking bathes. why all of a sudden does she not like taking them? when i bring it up, she again changes the topic and wont say a word for several seconds.

    • It is very difficult to know, or believe you know of something happening to little ones when there’s nothing you can do to help them. I would mention, once, your concerns to the mother and then let it go. that’s hard to hear and harder to do but you cannot make a change in this. the mother can try, through the legal system, if she’s willing, but that’s all. there’s no one else who can make the courts change the ruling, except maybe a professional.

      it all gets very complicated very quickly. Thank you for caring and loving these little ones. they will need lots of help in the future, for sure.

  33. Hey Louise, I have some questions about some symptoms I feel I have and connections with that may or may not matter.

    I have been reading a little within the last hour abot sexual abuse reppression and how the reppresssion of memories/the cause of specific symptoms is due to sexual abuse.

    I am 16 (Male) and as of this year have been experiencing much more stress and problems with my head and as of what I have read, if not a mental issue of some sort (which I think it is) it is duse to sexual abuse.

    I do not have much memory of the ages 2,3,4 I believe some of 5 and small parts of 6 to 8. I have always been reliant and by my mums side and very much closer to her in the sense I felt saf, protected, and loved. I didn’t stop sleeping by her side entirely until about 11-12. I started to masturbate at 11 after veiwing porn and trying actions they did on my own etc etc, as I had always been curious about this and had seen it in the past about 7 or 8 with a friend the same age. As children, we had also done some touching and kissing as we were curious and somewhat enjoyed it.

    Ever since I started to play with myself I always felt guilty afterwards and I shouldn’t do it/watch porn and felt bad and whatnot, and this continued until I started to get over it, but I more so just had an interest in sex in general but always felt bad or wrong about it and that became the new pivot of my negativity. As of the start of this year, whenever I had accidentally seen my mum bend over I felt immensly guilty though literally accidental and even repulsed because I knew I never put any connation to it and I felt guily.

    I currently have an irritability to many different things and has only developed over the last year or so, currently when I hear someone cough or sigh (only parents) I start to feel stressed and get angry as I can’t think and get away from negativity, I cope with that by punching my desk and or wall.

    Whenever I hear something about sexual abuse or see it I feel like I emphasize with people about it and it does make me upset and empathetical to it, and all the more does it make me upset and tense when I sing to a song about it.

    Just before, I had been listening to such a song and in the midst of my mind creating/being negativity it had made an image of female genitalia, and it seemed to be familiar like it was from a dream but it had felt too real and I think it had been as I remember a touch too, and the first face that I put to it is my mum, and I hate it and I don’t want to think about all of it but my mind just retains it. I also feel incredbily uncomfortable and sort of repulsed when I hear her go to use the loo, I always block my ears wben I think it will happen.

    After reading on some of the symptoms and seeing how I am in all this I feel like something could have happened possibly, what do you think? Thanks for your time and for reading, it is a bit difficult for me to write this but thank you.

    • I really cannot say if you’ve been abused or not. lots of what you mention is fairly normal behavior, in my contexts. your only way to find out is to talk to a qualified professional therapist and figure it out. or more importantly, resolve the issues that are plaguing you now, so that you can have a wonderful adult life.

      • Well the 16-year-old guy that lived next door to our house, I started going to his bedroom when I was 6 years old, and I was curious about the Playboy magazines he had and he would masturbate me, and I actually liked it, told him it felt good. Also, I got my period when I was 9 and developed really early, very big breasts. And I am pretty but I still take forever to get out of the bathroom, and I am always looking in the mirror. So, I wasn’t really abused that bad like some stories I have heard, but I get turned on very easily, especially hearing about other stories. My Dad found out about it when I was 9 and he almost killed the guy, but he didn’t say anything because my Mom caught me sitting on his lap and we lived in a really nice neighborhood, so my story isn’t as bad as some I have heard, but it still has had an effect on me. After that, I saw a lot of guys beat up, and rightly so, because I was still really young and guys would touch me and he would find out about it. Anyway, what I am asking is how can I heal from this? Is this why I am so worried about how I look even though I am pretty according to the looks and guys that ask me out a lot. Thank you, for reading, Anna

        • I am not aware of any way an individual can heal on their own. you can start with the book Courage to Change, but the best, fastest way is with a qualified professional therapist.

          good luck

  34. Hm, I’m not sure where I should start.

    Around 6 months ago, I started working as a residential counselor at an RTC for teenagers with behavioral/emotional issues. Many of the girls that I work with have very extensive histories of sexual and physical abuse. Several of these teens have, themselves, perpetrated some form of inappropriate touching or abuse on others, including younger siblings and friends. Many of the girls have boundary issues, in part I believe due to this.

    Since working there, I have learned a great deal about myself. I am realizing that many of my behaviors and tendencies (including some of these signs) align with some who has been through sexual trauma and abuse. I am not really sure if the following things classify as either and I’m just looking for a bit of clarity.

    I have an extremely difficult time remembering my childhood. I have SO many scattered memories and there are some I’m not even sure are real anymore though they’ve never changed. It just feels like this stuff was a lifetime ago and maybe never happened, or is all in my head?

    I think the strongest memory is of being in the shower with my father, both of us naked. I couldn’t say how old I was or feel in the moment when I am thinking about this. I know I touched his penis, with my hands and I think with my face. Part of me wants to believe that he told me I could touch it. I don’t remember this actually happening, though I have also thought that maybe I asked him if I could touch it. Either way, there was definitely touching. I don’t remember what happened next. My father used to walk around in his underwear (tightie-whities) for as long as I can recall, maybe even up until I was 15 or so. This always made me so uncomfortable and I never said anything to him. For most of my life, my father was an angry drunk. He used to spank me and my brother for doing something “bad.” He would pull down my pants and spank me, HARD, with me bent over his lap, as many times as my age was in years. This always made me cry and I felt extremely violated. I think once, I was a little older and felt really awkward having him pull my pants down. If I had to guess I’d say I was like 10. I tried to pull my pants back up and he made me pull them back down all the way to my ankles. To this day I get flashbacks of this if I am intimate with someone and they try to spank me. Recently, my partner put me over his lap and spanked me. I felt my throat close up and my chest got extremely tight. I pretended I was fine in the moment, but later told him I really didn’t like him doing that and he stopped.
    I have very scattered memories of taking naps with my dad as a kid. The naps always took place when my mother wasn’t around. He would have take off my clothes and put on one of his big shirts. He would tease me for wanting to “wear daddy” to bed. Sometimes I really struggle with these memories. I have more…some of them include my dad telling me very randomly that I was so beautiful and that when I grew up with the features I had that I’d make heads turn. At the time I think I was confused by this but wanted my father’s affection so badly that it resulted in me feeling like I had to be pretty for him. As I got slightly older, I became extremely weirded out about my dad knowing I was wearing bras. I would beg my mom nonstop not to tell him. Sometimes I would pester her and ask her what she told him about me, just to gauge whether or not he was aware that I was going through puberty in a physical manner. Now I understand that was silly, as I am sure he must’ve seen. I developed breasts very early on and my father was incredibly quick to make me feel uncomfortable and self-conscious about them. He would make comments that the way I dressed was slutty and I was “asking for it” when I wore a v-neck to school in the 9th grade. He would comment on my butt at times, saying things like “wow, you sure got your mom’s no-ass genes.” I can’t really speak to the degree in which I feel guilty for these things. It’s almost overbearing and I think in a lot of ways he knew his behaviors were wrong. My older sister has described a few instances of our dad verbally harassing her for her body as well or trying to make her sit in his lap. She told me at one point, she caught him masturbating in our family living room around 10pm. When this happened, I was about 16. It really scared me and I couldn’t look at him for awhile. I feel like I have so many memories of being incredibly uncomfortable around my dad. Sometimes I think very small snippets of more inappropriate touching surface and then as soon as I begin to try remembering more it all slips away and I get insanely frustrated.

    Throughout my childhood this kind of thing happened with several people, including a close female friend when I was “8 or 9” (I really don’t know how old I was when any of this other stuff happened), my brother’s older male friend who was a teenager when I was little, a much older male cousin, and my uncle who is now deceased. My whole life I have felt scared of men and like all they want from me is sex. I describe my sexuality as fluid and although I am attracted to men and women, I don’t have a preference and gender isn’t really important to me. I’m realizing I may be more comfortable with women and a very big part of me believes it’s because my dad made me so self-conscious around boys/men due to his own behavior. I have dreams where I am very young and am being chased. I have dreamt that I was being raped in my sleep as a young girl. It’s a recurring dream and I have a hard time functioning the day after having it. My anxiety surrounding these memories continues to get worse and I think my position at work puts me in light of a lot of trauma that may be triggering for me. I’m really unsure if the things I’ve described fall under any sort of abusive category. I’m scared to talk about my memories because they affect me so much that I’d feel really stupid and ridiculous if a professional told me they meant nothing or nothing wrong happened.

    As far as the list goes….

    1) yes, my gag reflect is super sensitive.
    3) Personal hygiene has always been incredibly challenging for me. For as long as I can remember I have alternated between long periods of desperately not wanting to shower or take care of myself, and periods where I feel filthy and disgusting 24/7 if I am not IN the shower making myself clean.
    7) I pick at any blemish on my skin. Pimples, ingrown hairs, mosquito bites-pretty much always until there is blood.
    8) Not sure about boundaries. Possibly.
    9) My upper legs and stomach are extremely sensitive to touch. My calves and feet are almost without feeling. I never know why I end up with so many bruises.
    10) I cannot stand having sex on my stomach with someone directly ontop of me from behind. It makes me want to cry
    11) Memories of my childhood are so incredibly fragmented that I often wonder if I had a childhood at all.
    12) I frequently feel weird and different from everyone else around me. I feel like people are always judging me or that they think I’m really not worthy of love/not good enough. I feel dirty after having sex most of the time.
    13) ALWAYS.
    14) Definitely struggling with trust in my own body. This has been going on for a long time.
    15) I can’t stand being in the bathroom that the shower memory took place in. It’s now my mom’s house and I refuse to go in there. I feel nauseous whenever I do.
    16) I don’t necessarily feel arousal. I think I feel curiosity and am always searching for the details. I hate admitting this.

    • It is important that you take your concerns, behaviors, suspicions and memories and work with a qualified,professional therapist with experience in child sexual abuse. she will help you determine what happened but more importantly help you heal so that you can live a wonderful life, free from the restraints of your childhood.

      good luck

  35. Hi . Thanks for your article. I am wondering if I was sexually abused by my father also. My parents divorced when I was 4 & my brother & I would visit him on occasion. He was an alchoholic at the time. He had me sleep in the bed with him in his studio. My brother was on the couch. I remember one morning waking up in completely different clothing and not recalling anything the night before. I felt scared & my dad said I was sick and threw up. I dot remember throwing up and I don’t remember feeling sick. I think all the bed sheets were the same so I don’t know why I wouldn’t remember something like that. Around the same time my father moved into a new apartment & I remember saying I don’t want to sleep in your bed & he said I had to because I was the girl. I was too afraid at 4 without my mom. He made me sleep in his tshirt & I remember waking up to him rubbing my leg and close to my inner thigh in the morning. I told my mom and we went to CPS which I didn’t understand where I showe her on a doll that he didn’t touch my vagina but close and I said I think it was an accident. I just knew I didn’t want to sleep with my dad anymore. At 5 I remember touching myself under covers and actually showing a school friend what I did and my Mom walked in and stopped me. I’m wondering if my dad touched me that night in my sleep when he said he changed my clothes & maybe tried to continue with grooming but I stopped him by telling. He also tried to make me use the bathroom with the door unlocked in case I fell and needed help but I refused after he touched my leg. I was only 4. 🙁

    • it is impossible to determine with any degree of certainty whether you were abused or not from memory fragments. memories are funny. sometimes our minds can’t cope with an event, so it isn’t registered in my memory bank. at other times, I assign ‘blame’ for an event to someone who is ‘safe’ rather than remember who really hurt me. sometimes, my memory gets it all right. but there’s no way to know from what you’ve said.

      If we think we were abused, the trauma always shows up in our behavior. it is way more important to look at our behavior and feelings and heal those than fighting for memory recall, which may or may not happen.

      I get asked this question all the time and I can’t say. In fact I don’t say with my face to face clients either. it’s not my decision or recommendation or work. As you do the work, with an experienced, qualified professional therapist you will know and you’ll be able to recover and heal, as necessary

      good luck

    • Hi Heather, it definitely sounds like you might have been. Touching yourself at a young age like that is a big sign of childhood sexual abuse. I’m sorry that happened to you. Just know that it wasn’t your fault, you’re not alone in this and it isn’t anything you can’t overcome. (:

  36. Hi Louise, I’m a woman, age 25, and over the past couple of years, have been trying to explore whether or not I was sexually abused. Obviously the notion of bringing up any possible repressed memories is not something I want to force (especially upon doing research that our minds can very easily make things up to appease our searching) but the more I revisit some of the memories I have of my childhood, and the little things I was able to coax my mother into revealing to me (I’m really not ready to be up front about what I’m researching, in case I’m wrong since this is a serious issue.) the more signs I see.

    What started my curiosity was an event that occurred almost 3 years ago. I was in college, and my boyfriend at the time was visiting. Prior to being with him, even at my age at the time (22) I was never interested in being intimate with others, though I did masturbate. He and I were about to have sex (NSFW content ahead, for those concerned) and we were making out and intimately touching one another. I was aroused, until he pulled me close and started to finger me vaginally. When I was held close beneath him, with his hands on my private parts, was would normally be a pleasing, initiate moment began to make my stomach turn. I suddenly felt very claustrophobic and uncomfortable. I let him proceed, just chalking it up to me being nervous about my first time, like anyone else would be, until I experienced the event that led me to wondering if I had been abused. As the fingering continued, I began to feel a tightness in my throat, and a fluttering in my stomach, and gradually, a familiar smell came to me out of nowhere. At the time I lived in a college apartment and there were occasionally weird smells, but this was something I vividly remembered from childhood. –– In my childhood home we had a room in the basement where we would host get-togethers and parties. There are lots of antiques and other old items in the room, which is usually closed, so there was (and still is) always a very musty, distinct smell lingering around. I very vividly remember one day early on in childhood (about 4 or 5) becoming paralyzingly afraid of being in that room, out of nowhere…The smell from that room was exactly what came to me as my boyfriend was touching me sexually. I have never once experienced muscle memories like that before, and I haven’t, since, but it was very unsettling and I felt guilty for doing so, but I put the brakes on our sexual experience.

    There were other instances from childhood that align with signs of sexual abuse, some that I remember and some that I was told by my mother.

    •From a very early age I started masturbating, often in inappropriate times and places (I was sent home from school in first grade for doing so.) In addition to this, I began not wanting to wear underwear for some reason, but I wasn’t an exhibitionist, in fact I didn’t want people near me, or people to know I did this.

    •I began teaching my younger sister how to draw (very accurate) penises, causing less than a pleased reaction from my very Catholic grandfather, and I have no idea where I saw a penis to begin with at that age.

    •In middle school and part of high school, I always made showering and brushing my hair a hassle. My mom would always get angry because for reasons unknown to me, I would let my hair get greasy and tangled and lie about showering, I just didn’t care.

    •Even today, I occasionally feel arousal at inappropriate times, and masturbate somewhat frequently (only at home.)

    •There is one instance I remember in my childhood, with very limited context; I approached my mom because my vagina hurt and was bleeding. I was only about 6 at the time, but did not have a period until age 11. This is something I vividly remember but have no other connections or context to.

    •My mom told me I suffered from sleepwalking as a child, and frequently ventured down to the room that spurred the muscle memory years later, often waking up in a panic when I realized where I was.

    •I had some regression issues in childhood, for some reason I always wanted to wear diapers (not for their intended use, just to wear) and would always steal them from houses of friends and family with babies. I’m not sure at which age this began, but I vividly recall this.

    •I suffered from ODD as a child and had a difficult time opening up to and respecting authority, particularly men. Even with male relatives, I never wanted to be close to them, especially alone. I always felt a very impassioned need as a child to stay close to my mother for fear that something terrible would happen to me, So much so that I would break out into panicked tears if she was not within sight when we were in public places. This occurred at inappropriate ages, up until around the age of 12.

    •I have some, limited memory of this; I visited several therapists as a child, one who I really connected with, for a variety of reasons, but the event that led my mother to seek help was the fact that I repeatedly drew and displayed pictures depicting sexual events, some with unhappy looking people in them. Again, no idea where I saw this or why I was able to picture these events.

    •For whatever reason, from childhood up to present day, I almost never feel safe in situations or places where I don’t have complete autonomy or control. Even going to work every morning, I can’t shake terrible feelings that something bad will happen to me. This is almost a daily occurrence.

    •At 25 I have still never had sex, I find it extremely difficult to connect to men, or be alone or intimate with them without having feelings of discomfort or deep fears triggered by any intimate touches.

    I don’t know…I have a lot of…unconventional and uncomfortable fractured memories from my childhood, and I know that a lot of my experiences have shaped who I am as an adult. Which makes me sad, but also, it makes me want closure in the “was I, or wasn’t I?” department. But like I said, I really don’t want to push it, with the risk of my mind running wild and filling in blanks that aren’t there. I know it’s not a lot to go on, but what do you make of it? (If anything at all.)


    • there are many things that sound like you were abused. but please remember that the memories are not the important part of the healing – it’s the work we do to recover from our symptoms. that’s what matters. work with a professional and get the help you need and get well.

      good luck

  37. Hi Ms. Louise. I am thirteen years old. I have many of the symptoms on this list, however I do not remember any sexual abuse in my life up to this point. With that being said, both of my parents have been alcoholics and drug addicts for their entire lives, so that might have been where this started. I have recently gotten the feeling that my father is molesting my younger sister because of the amount of time they stay alone together. I have felt this way for about six months or so, though I am not sure what exactly triggered this. I have acid reflex. I have the feeling of being dirty or unworthy. I overeat and look to food for comfort often. I feel the need to be masculine for some reason, though I am most definitely NOT a lesbian. I am also not boy crazy either though. Whenever I am around guys my age, I mostly tense up and become super nervous. I feel very insecure and feel alone when I am surrounded by people. I have heard my mother making sounds while she had sex with a man on two different occasions, which absolutely horrified me at the time. I also touch my “area” down there a lot for some reason. These things are strange, but I really cannot picture either of my parents touching me or anything of that manner. Do you think there is anything I can do to make sense of all of this?

    • unfortunately, I can’t provide any suggestions except that you talk to someone who can put you in touch with a qualified professional therapist. there are a number of possible reasons you might have some of these symptoms but you’ll have to work with someone to figure out what that is.

      good luck

      • Hi Louise.
        Sorry if this comment is at the wrong place. I can’t find another way to cantact you.
        It’s never bothered me much that I have been through some abuse. It happened a long time ago (age 4/5 and at 13), but recently my ex boyfriend said something very disrespectful and it caused flashbacks to surface from these times that other men has disrespected me. It’s been a few days now that I keep thinking about those times and it’s starting to effect me.
        The first time I was sexually abused, I was very little about 4 or 5. I can only remeber the one scene of what happened: I was alone with my older cousin in his room. And he was on top of me and kissing me. As I was very small I didn’t know what to do. I remeber him asking me if I liked it and even though I said no, he didn’t stop. I sometimes question if this really happened but I feel very stronly that it did. Even after all these years (I’m 17 now) I still just want to keep my distance from him. I have quite a few of these symptoms you mentioned as well.
        The second time was when I was 13. A friend of my mom’s slept over at our house and after everyone went to bed,he forced me to watch him play with himself. He held my hand while doing it and looked me straight in the eye the whole time. This is maybe not real abuse but it definitely effected me negatively. There’s only one person that knows because she’s been through abuse herself. She’s been to a psychologist and it really helped her. I don’t know if I’m over reacting and I don’t know if this really is an underlying problem. Should I seek help or can I just wait for it to pass?

        • These are both instances of abuse, so get the help you need to get over them. they won’t go away without some work on your part.

          good luck

        • Hi, I’m a 46 year old woman and I’ve been hiding and pretending and dysfunctional most of my life. Although I’ve managed in life through faking it, I am almost certain my issues stem from childhood sexual trauma at the hands of uncles of my neighbor friends. I have triggers and all the adult coping symptoms listed. Almost all to a t. I never have wanted to accept these things were
          Real but I’m certain they were. Years of masking and addictions of one type of another have led to a rock bottom where I’ve tuna not broken enough to seek serious help. I begin my journey tomorrow through an intensive outpatient program. Thank hi for reassuring us survivors that it wasn’t our fault.

          • never your fault. we are the victims of some pedophile. we didn’t seduce them, or ask for it, or be a party to it. they’re the perpetrators. In the same way if you were sitting in a coffee shop, relaxing and some idiot drives his car through the wall and injures you.

            be brave. get help. and heal.

            good luck. i’m proud of you

    • I’m so sorry to hear of this situation. Do you have a trusted adult you can talk to?

      • I have edited this comment because it’s critical to me that we don’t make personal connections with each other. that is not the purpose of this blog and it is possibly dangerous to the posters. thank you for your concern.

  38. Hi Louise,

    I have been dating a woman for about 4 years and in the beginning she showed all the signs of having been abused as a child such as giving unexpected gifts, a lot of makeup, unwillingness for intimacy etc. Her cousin also confirmed to me that she was, indeed, abused when she was 13 by a mechanic in a town where she lived. Her father passed away when she was about 7 so was vulnerable to the assault.

    I went to a social worker to ask how I should deal with this and she said that I shouldn’t bring up the subject myself but that it should rather come from her side. Could you please give me some tips and ways of approach and how to bring up the subject without alarming her or scaring her off?

    Thanks very much for your time and help.


    • i totally agree with the social worker you spoke to. do not bring it up. her mind will bring the memories (assuming this happened) to the surface when it’s ready to deal with them. decades ago, therapists routinely tried to help patients bring up memories of past abuse because they were showing signs. the result was lots of turmoil, false accusations and misery. When she’s ready, she will remember. until then, do not interfere. You can encourage her to get help for the symptoms she’s showing. that’s a different thing altogether. but do not raise the issue of child sexual abuse. that’s for her to heal when she’s ready, assuming it happened.

      we all need to remember that the signs i’ve listed are common to sexual abuse survivors but not exclusive to sexual abuse. Different clusters of abuse can cause these behaviors.

      silence is golden

      • OK, thank you for your reply, Louise. I understand and won’t bring it up. She is getting better, I think, very slowly but I’ll try and wait it out…

        • that’s your best road forward – let her figure it out

          • I’m a 40 year old that has felt ashamed at my thinking over the years. Like really strong urges. It’s weird because none of my family exhibit this.. I don’t remember age 1-5 or 6. Like times here and there I can’t remember. I also wet bed at least until age 10. I had weird dreams too. My urges have gotten really strong. I can’t even talk about some of what I go through. Now never have I acted or anything like. I feel really low even talking about. I don’t remember anything being done though too me. Any advice please?

            • find a qualified therapist who will keep your confidence and do the work to heal. you can put this behind you.

              good luck.

  39. I’m 21 female. As much as I can remember all my life I felt very strange emptiness feeling that something is very wrong. But I don’t remember my early childhood. The last memories are when I was 5 years old. I know just the facts that my father was drinking at early time, there were a lot of stress in my family. I just startedto think if abuse could happen to me but sometimes I can’t believe that somebody could do it to me. Here are some sympthoms how I feel now:
    1. I feel that something is very very bad with me;
    2. I always felt that I’m different;
    3. I feel depressive and I can’t move, feels like I’m not now and here but always somewhere else;
    4. Sometimes I feel like a small girl, not emotionally matured;
    5. Sometimes opposite – I don’t feel like a woman, I don’t like my body, I feel more like a boy.
    6. I don’t know who I am. It feels like I don’t have my essential self
    7. I don’t feel comfortable with mens esspecially when they want to kiss me or touch, I feel like I’m a tree
    8. I’m not sure about my sexual orientation now. I don’t feel pleasure be with mens but also I don’t feel that I like girls
    9. Day by day I holding inside the feeling of big dark hole which feels something bad, unsafe. I feel that it came from somewhere very early
    10. I see that I can’t love anybody. It hurts so much
    11. I have eating problems – overeating.
    Do you think it can be? Or it’s just (according to my mum) my nature and I can’t do anything with that

    • I can’t say from a list on the web whether you were abused or not. But either way, you have some problems that are bothering you. please work with a qualified, experienced therapist (even one who specializes in child sexual abuse) and do the work to heal. don’t let the rest of your life to continue as the past has gone.
      good luck

      • Please can you contact me louise. I need your help

        • there is a contact form on my website, feel free to contact me, but remember, I don’t work as a therapist any longer.


    • Viki, I know how you feel many of your symptoms I have as well as a few more. Yesterday I took my first step. Telling someone for the first time after years of failed relationships. It’s so so hard, but after a attempt at suacide it was worth trying to get help

    • Viki I was as a child sexually abused for many years I experience symptoms 3,4,6 and 9. Almost exactly.
      This doesn’t mean you were, but it’s something you should definitely talk to a therapist about.

      It’ll be ok.

    • I have everything you are explaining as well and am trying to figure out where the abuse cane from . I don’t remember being directly abused but I do have flashbacks that concern me and that I feel were inappropriate occurrences . .

      • find a qualified professional therapist to help you figure it out…

        good luck

  40. Hi Louise,

    After reading this book by Augusten Burroughs, I again felt the need to ask myself what are the roots of my personal collection of dysfunctions. Change has consistently been a struggle for me. It is easy to see that my phobias and general sense of impending doom, and the ways that I self-medicate with food, shopping, and my all time favorite, daydreaming, are all a symptom of something. But of what? I mean, I have been to therapy, and have done lots of personal work over the years, but it now seems superficial. I suspect that these battles have been with bigger symptoms of the yet found monster issue. My prior therapist suspected that I have repressed memories of past traumas. I am inclined to agree. I had, tonight on a whim, conducted a quick google search of symptoms of childhood trauma. This is what has lead me to your page. I have been reading through some of the responses, and have been impressed with your taking the time to acknowledge these emotional and candid responses. Had I had such a outlet when I was at the tender age some of these beautiful human beings are at now, I may have avoided some of this cancer of the spirit from gaining such a hold on me.

    Your list, as well as some of your specific responses has caught my attention. The gag reflex, obesity, becoming aroused by reading about victimization, rape fantasies, inability to say no or being in control of my body and what happens to it, exaggerated startling, etc. I also have a panic triggering fear of being held down, or I had thought a fear of suffocation, but now, I really think it’s a fear of being completely immobilized. I also, to this day, have this knee jerk response of “coming out of my skin” when I am touched by a man I am trying to get to know, or sometimes even, like in my previous marriage, I could find myself feeling like that in unguarded moments. It was really bad when I was young, and first starting to date, I can remember rushing the first sexual contact, so that creepy feeling would go away. I, to this day, have no freaking idea why that would banish the the creepy feelings, but it did.

    Looking back, I have some memories that would constitute as abuse, but I can not really remember anything that would qualify as the smoking gun. I remember my mother would always send me to our neighbors house to call her friend and invite her to come over. We were poor, and lived in a trailer so run down and decrepit that it would not even be allowed to occupy a space in some third world shanty town, but that is another story. Point is, we did not have a phone. I only remember, other than the shame of being the one to constantly have to impose on other’s cherity, that the old man gave me the creeps. I felt dirty, unclean in some way. He always would insist that I come inside, and sit on his lap for a little bit before I could make the call. Mom would always downplay this, or imply that I was being silly.

    Another, was at my best friends house one night, her ole and super creepy father exposed himself to me. He just sat down on the arm of the chair next to the couch I was on, and got my attention by saying Hi, how are you doing? I was perplexed because normally I was almost invisible to adults at that house and most every other place. I smiled and started to reply, when I should look down, and his junk was all hanging out of his underwear- of course, nowadays, it would be inappropriate to wear nothing but underwear in front of 7 and 8 year olds, but it was the 70’s. Now, for years I just felt a profound embarrassment for him, because there was just no way that he could have realized that his stuff was out for a visit, but I am now aware, that men as a general rule, are very much aware of the status/location of that particular part of their anatomy. I also now remember that it was not really embarrassment that I felt, well maybe a little, but mostly I felt shame. Like I did something to be embarrassed about.

    My father. Well, let’s just start out by saying that my father had a very ugly view of women in general. Something to do with his mother abandoning him and his brothers and sisters, and leaving them with his father while she ran off with another man. Don’t know, or care about the whole story. What little I personally knew about her was not good, but I could have been conditioned to feel this. My father also seemed to have this weird sexual hatred towards women, like I got the impression that women were mainly just walking vessels for sex, and for household stuff, like cleaning and cooking. None of which my mother ever did very well. The fights during my childhood were something of legend. Hell, it just wasn’t Christmas until the cops were called. Now, had my mother not been raised in an orphanage, and had she not been a large and naturally strong person, and had she meaner than a snake, my mother would have been your typical battered women. But as it was, my very large, ex-marine, combat tested in Vietnam, red-headed Viking like father only stood a chance if he could catch my mother unawares, because if she could see it coming, there wasn’t no object that could not be weaponized. Also, there was normally my aunt close at hand to lend a hand. I grew up with this head shaped indention in the kitchen wall, because my dad had told my aunt that if she said just one more word, he was putting her head through that wall. Well, she didn’t stop, and he did. But that very night, my father got the beating of his life, he had to go to the hospital to get stitched up, and I will never forget him running towards the police officer screaming ” Go go go” Get me away from these crazy *******!

    I have vague memories, more emotional feelings of shame, uber-creepiness, feelings like I had to fight against my natural famine inclinations, and be a good women, keep a clean house and always, always take care of the man’s needs in that way, the implied sexual way. He would like to talk to me when he was drunk, said that he had no one to talk to, that mom was not taking care of him in that way. I can only remember me not responding very well as he wanted to being his sounding board. I don’t know if he brought it up again that I have memory of. I just remember that my parents were overly open with sexuality around my brother and I. My mother would keep playboy and hustler magazines around, for what, I have no idea. She professed, and I believed her, that she did not like sex. But they still talked about it too openly for healthy childhood development. I mean, what is the one thing that porn teaches us, is the objectification of women. It was, at the least, gross neglect.

    The truth of it, is that I loved my father, and until he passed away in 2008, I talked to him on the phone everyday. He and I could laugh until my gut hurt. But, there were times when his world view would come out to bite. Like the time I was yet again broken hearted because some guy did not call again after so wild couple of weeks of loving. This was just another in a string of unrequited affairs that I would find myself in, it has taken me a long time to understand my intimacy issues, how they mimic one desperate to be with some unavailabile person, but not seeing that I was subconsciously choosing only unavailable men. Usually married, but my favorites were the emotionally unavailable because they better tricked me from seeing my patterns. Which, I guess is the whole point of avoidance coping mechanisms. Well, back to my point, my father was very drunk at the time of my call, and in my misery, I did not notice in time. Because I would javelin known better than ask for comfort from my father while he was drinking, my father was a very angry and mean drunk. So, before I knew what I had walked into, he gives this low and mean chuckle. He says, Huh, man Oman, where the hell were women like you when I was young and single. I am quiet, then slowly ask, even though I know the answer, What do you mean, by ‘women like me?’ He laughs out loud, I mean, I mean women who give it out so easy! I mean, HELL! What I would’ve given to have known women like that!
    I am hurt, but I don’t feel hurt right then. What I feel is super nova white hot rage. But the scary calm kind. If I was a tiger, I would have began a slow and deep base growing. (I was up close to a Siberian female tiger this one time, and when she did this very thing, I can’t describe how terrifying this was, it’s something primal. Even though there was no way she could have gotten at me, I still almost broke out into a full flight response) He notices the lack of response, or he senses something stronger, I don’t know, because he starts to qualify and backtrack. But, really. How can you talk your way out of that? Now, I am not a child, I was probably in my late twenties or maybe early thirties. I had at least three years, by that point, of college under my belt, and was beyond absorbing any new cancer seeds from this man or anyone for the most part. I was cognitive of the fact that he was a product of his environment, and did not in all likelihood have the benefit of some of the theory that I had consumed during my time in college. The whole repeating cycle of abuse, the conditioning committed to young unformed minds of children. The very idea that my very first and most important example of the masculine ideal would had been him. That if in fact, as a grown women, if felt the need to give my sexual favors to potential mates, because at some point along the way, I had been taught that this was all I had worth giving, then that lesson, at least up until that point, had been taught by him. I also, knew, even in my fury, that in his messed up way, thought that he was giving me advice. He honestly thought that shaming someone into good behavior is a valid way to teach. This was probably the way he was taught. But I still reacted in the way that would cause the greatest amount of hurt. I did not scream, or fight, or cry. I just very quietly said: You are aware that you just said this to your only daughter? You are aware, yes? that you just called your own flesh in blood, the little girl that you were put on this earth to nurture and protect, the little girl with red curly hair so much like your own, who, after FOUR miscarriages, was born healthy to you, when that was all you had ever wanted, how you cried and cried because the other four children had not lived, that little girl that used to take off your boots when you got home from work, so little that she would always fall down when they finally released from your foot, the little girl who would stand on a stool behind you and brush your hair because being a lttle girl, she loved to brush hair, that little girl who became a women, who is hurting, and needing comfort, you called her a slut.
    He is quiet, well almost. He is starting to cry. But I am not done yet. No, I go for the kill. I say, almost whisper: Do. Not. Ever. Contact. Me. Again.

    I hang up. I know what I have done. I know that it was unfair, it was extreme over kill. Especially now, when he is gone, and I miss him so much it hurts. How I wish I could be angry, angry that I am about to turn 45 this year, and I still can’t form a heathy relationship. How I understand that at some point it falls to us, as adults to own our own misery our part in the course of our lives for good or bad. I hate being one of those ppl who are still blaming my bad childhood on my lack of progress in interpersonal relationships, how I go to bed every night afraid of dying alone. How I have been single for so long now, that ppl have questioned my sexual orientation. Amusingly, because I don’t nor have I ever had a female “roommate ”

    The thought of dating fills me with revolution, and panic. But this is a paradoxical thing, because I am super lonely. I want more than anything to have that someone waiting for me to come home, someone to bounce problems off of, someone to share with. But I can’t yet. I can’t until I deal with some of this monster cancer that lives inside of me. And I cant deal with it, until I know what it looks like, how big it is, how strong of a grip and how deep it’s roots are. Until that time, I am held hostage. It’s such a nature, as that it will not allow me to move along in stages. Like some of the people have in your comment thread. This is what has brought me to this website, this quest. If I could just get my claws into it, I could yank it out by its roots, I am sure of it.

    I am sorry to have rambled on like this. I think I really needed to write this out. If any of it should help another, then that will be a added bonus. I think these responses help others who read almost as much as the original article. However, I would like to go on record and say, that it was a excellent piece of work, Ms/Mrs Louise

    • We all need to realize that there are great therapists, good therapists, and …well you get my drift. Some people in this field are gifted and can help almost anyone with almost anything. Unfortunately that is not true for most in the field. I am the customer. I have the right to find a therapist who can help with the issues I’m facing. a piece of paper on the wall does not constitute skill set. One of my pet peeves about therapists, of all designations, is the most common assumption that they can help anyone with anything. I don’t think so. I’ve worked with too many people who spent a fortune on ‘professional help’ only to find nothing much changed. and of course from the therapist’s point of view, you’re the problem. You must not be doing something.

      at a minimum, your childhood was extremely. Poverty, violence, alcoholism, and inappropriate behavior by the men around you, including your dad, has traumatized you. Find a therapist who specializes in child sexual abuse and go to work. A therapist who is skilled in this work will soon be able to tell you whether or not you are a victim of this trauma. and also remember, if you’re not completely trusting of HER by your fourth appointment, find someone else, because your level of trust in her will determine your success at the work.

      good luck

      • I just thought of another sign that I would add to your list, fear of going to bed at night. For as long as I can remember, I would begin to feel this unpleasant sensation of dread when it would start to get dark, triggering me to remember that it would soon be time to go to bed. Just try to explain that fear to a adult! It wasn’t until I developed my greatest coping mechanism of all, creating a fantasy/daydream world in my mind that I can escape to when life became unbearable. Of course, this is also the hardest mechanism to turn off, now that I am a adult, and it has become maladaptive. I mention this, because this bizarre reaction to bedtime or up coming bed time, troubles a whole population of ppl. I did several searches on it a year ago, trying to see if anyone had any suggestions on what it was, and anything that helped them. Mostly, they did not, and that sort of makes sense, because it’s hard to treat a symptom of some underlying issue, especially when it masks other generally held conditions, in this case, being effected by Light/Dark balance, or seasonal mood disorder, which is what they tagged me with, and the treatments did not help hardly at all.

        I have one other probable symptom that concerns me, and I can see how it would fit this pattern. This also something that I would tell no one about, because it scares me the most. There are times when I am under extreme stress, and I am beyond panic. I become enraged, and I start to hit myself. I ball up my fists and hit myself as hard as I dare, I become so irrationally enraged at myself, that I want to punish myself, telling myself that it’s what I deserve. I call my self, out loud( I am alone for these fits), the C-word, stupid, that I don’t deserve to exist, etc. Strangly, I don’t want to kill my self, that would seem to follow the pattern, but I am not. And afterwards, I feel the relief of all the built up pressure, and I am able to work through whatever problems lead to the outburst. But I am always uneasy, I always promise myself not to do that again, and indeed, lots of time passes before it does. But I am always alarmed by those moments of self-attack. I am cognitive that calling my self those horrible names, words that I would never use in my everyday life, names that I would never call out to my worse enemy. This something I have been hyper vigilant about with my son, I never even say to him “shut-up” I just tell him to hush. The very idea of calling you child a name horrifies me, and I don’t do it.

        You are right. This is something that I should seek professional help about. It’s not a self-help sort of project. I really hope that I have not committed some “over share” offense. It has felt really good to organize this all out in my head, and it will really help when I can find a therapist who specializes in this field. That will prob be the hardest challenge to this quest. Finding the right person.

        Thanks again!

        • no offense committed. do the work you need to do.

          good luck

          • Louise , do you offer therapeutic services?

            • Unfortunately, because of different licensing requirements across every jurisdiction in North America, I can’t offer counseling or psychotherapy. Instead I work with people as a coach, since those are not regulated. Often much of the same work, but without the administrative work.

    • Thank you for sharing your story. I am another woman just like you. Trapped in my own mind for the majority of my lifetime. Still unable to fully recall certain events however. I wish I could be there for you. I wish you could know what it feels like to trust another person. It is so rare and precious.

  41. Hi, I’m a 22 year old woman. I have struggled with a lot of these things on the list (sensitive gag reflexes, self harm, eating disorder, hyper sexuality/touchin myself at a really young age, etc)
    I have no memories of any abuse happening.
    Lately, my mom has been saying that my dad sexually abused me when I was really young (1-2 years old) but that she wouldn’t tell me the details “for my own benefit”
    He also watched a lot of porn in the house, so I know it’s possible I was exposed to those things at a young age (though I don’t remember this ever happening)
    I know my dad is a really bad man. He was incredibly abusive to my mom and had affairs the while time they were married… He even admitted to my mom that while he was in boarding school as a child, he would molest other (younger) boys.
    I never really thought of my symptoms as a sign of childhood abuse until my mom started saying these things (although the hyper sexuality at a young age always made me really uncomfortable to think about and I would try my best to just forget about it)
    Most people don’t remember anything from the ages 1-2, is it even possible for me to be affected by abuse that happened at that age? Hypothetically, what if it were just one time at the age of 2…. Are the effects of sexual abuse still going to show up?
    And I’m worried that my mind is going to start making up memories to try to fill in the details that my mom refuses to give me. I’m not sure it’s best not to know what she knows or to ask her so that my mind doesn’t make up things that didn’t really happen

    • my apologies for the delay in responding to your comment. It just came up on my blog. and to answer your question, yes, it is possible to react to abuse as a young child or even an infant.

      it’s important to work with a qualified experienced therapist who has done lots of work with abuse survivors. I never recommend hypnotherapy either. I know it works for many people but to me it leaves open a door to suggestion by others.

      having said that, do the work. It is more important to heal than to remember and it is better to remove the signs of abuse even if you can’t remember what happened.

      good luck

  42. Hi,
    I have always wondered if I had been sexually abused. I fit a majority of the signs for being molested. I have no thick memories of anything happening, and maybe that’s a good thing. But my mind may not have a memory, but it’s almost as if my body does. I sometimes feel as if hands are on me, rubbing my body, kissing me.
    I’ve masturbated since I was 3 or 4 and it was to a Donald Duck cartoon where donald duck was changing his diaper. I don’t know if that means anything. I’ve been to counseling, and anytime the counselor wants me to think back I shut down. I also had a pornography addiction for many years starting at the age of 9, which isn’t really talked so much about girls struggling with this.

    Even thinking about molestation makes me nauseous. Every time I’ve told people that I think I’ve been abused I end up telling them that I lied. But deep down I really don’t think I’m lying, I just cant answer people’s questions.

    I don’t even know really what to do anymore about it. Because I know that since I’m 22 now, I act relatively normal, but my emotions can be out of whack sometimes, I’m not angry anymore, but just want freedom.

    • Many, Many people who were abused never registered the memories. It’s as if you had the experience but it didn’t get filed in your brain, much the same way that an accident is often not remembered. Sometimes our consciousness leaves our minds, and we don’t register the memories. this is called dissociation. there are a number of reasons why you might not remember. But the important thing is to do the work to heal any symptoms you’re living with. I always encourage therapy by a professional experienced therapist. But always feel free to ask, at the get acquainted meeting (the first one) if the therapist will work with you without memories. if yes, then go ahead. but if not, find someone else. Some people are so focused on healing the memories that they forget that memories don’t hurt us – yes they’re painful and they can be scary and so on and on. But it’s the behaviors and feelings that our trauma drives us to do that is problematic. so do the work to heal, whether you remember or not.

      good luck

  43. From my experience, healing is a four step process:
    1. we are victims of sexual abuse, whether we remember or not
    2. we are survivors of abuse: we remember some or all of what happened (or ‘know’) but it is or becomes the defining or one of the defining elements of our life
    3. We are women that happened to. it no longer defines us and is part of our history
    4. it is just stuff. That probably sounds harsh but it’s happened for me and many of my clients. It is one element of my history but it no longer marks my life. You don’t have to be stuck in any of these stages, except the last one, where you can peacefully exist. it takes work and willingness and time, but it does happen.

    good luck

    • agreed

      • It wouldn’t let me make my own speech but I really want Ed to contact you.

        Hello, I’m Kionta,I’m 19 years old now. I’ve have been having slight memorize of how I use to act when I was a child. I began masterbating at a young age. I remember taking off my clothes and rubbing my pillow in between my legs, and sticking my little brothers action figures in my private area. When I masterbated I imagined someone on top of me. I even took a blanket in the shower with me and imagined someone on me, and I shouted out no and help me. In class, or church I would space out and have sex fantasies/rape fantasies. I wet the bed all the way up to 5th grade I also wet my pants at school( doctor said I had a weak bladder) I’m 19 but my only boyfriend was in kindergarten. I can never really open up to guys. I also started liking girls at a young age and imagined being with them. I dressed in baggy clothes and often got called gay or dike. Now I struggle with low self esteem/ depression. No I don’t do drugs and nor am i sexually active. I do also remember 2 men stayed with our family but at different times. I have no sexual memory of them and I rather keep it that way. There’s a whole lot more to say but I just need advice now. Thank you

        • I don’t give advice on this blog except to say that I don’t know anyone who has healed childhood trauma without working with an experienced skilled therapist who specializes in childhood sexual abuse. the most important thing they will do is help you determine if you were abused and then help you heal.

          good luck

  44. I am being sexually abused and just abused my my father I don’t feel comfortable with them at all I told my friend and she told I should have told my teacher Mr.Creach but,I didn’t. I have been abused by my stepfather when I was little.The people am living with are my adoptive parents but, It’s like my stepdad all over again. I need help.

    • You can only get help when you tell someone. there’s nothing I know of that will make someone stop except outside intervention.

      I’m so sorry for your situation.

      good luck

      • This came up while I was searching for re-repressing memories. I was sexually abused from 3 until 6 and finally started talking about my flashbacks 3 years ago with my fiancé. The more they happen the more I have to talk the more are unlocked. Because of this I’ve remembered who, what and when and I’ve realised that I was in a ring, passed around. I’ve also been raped by seperate people 5 times, one of which was a group of 5 men who almost managed to kill me. And 2 abusive partners on top. Y fiancé thinks it all stems back to the original abuse but surely if it truly wasn’t my fault it wouldn’t have happened so many times? I was told I was born for it, that I wasn’t created to love or be loved, and until I met him I’d had no reason to believe otherwise. So even after 10 years together I’m still terrified he’s going to leave me. Before we met I hadn’t cried, or allowed any emotions from being 5, the only exception being the day my dad died when I was 9, now I’m desperate to regain that ability. I want to forget everything again, or at least stop remembering more. And I’m desperate to stop feeling again. I tick off everything in your list one way or another and despite all he’s tried to help me I can’t even bring myself to read it repeat those 5 words you have in bold. And surely the fact that I was almost always stripping off means it is my fault? I have 3 children and when I put that thought with them I know the answer, empirically. It could never be their fault. But it HAS to be mine. I’m tainted, I was born for it, it’s why I was created(though I don’t believe in deities), proven by the continuation throughout my life. I’m too scared to tell my psych cos I’m certain they won’t believe me, and I’m scared to talk to him about them now km case he finally sees how dirty and broken I am and realises that he deserves so much better than me. I have neurochemical psychological illnesses aswell as PTSD etc and have suffered so much more on top of the rapes etc and all I want to do is run away from him before my curse takes him along with me. Logically I know non of this is true, but it’s like I can’t allow myself to accept the exact truth I’d tell anyone in my position. With everyone else it is not their fault and no one would accuse them of lying, but I’m different because ‘I was born for this’.

        Sorry you must get sick of hearing stuff like this, and I’m but quite sure where I was going, I just don’t know what to do any more. The unlocking has brought back dome wonderful memories, it’s like my brain had so much to suppress that it just locked up while months/years of my life, but I’d give it all up to go back to only having the handful of memories and not being able to cry. There’s only do much you can remember before knowing the full pictures goes from finally explaining yourself to making every breath a drain.

        I just don’t know what to do when it toil over a decade to get doctors to stop saying I don’t look depressed and denying my hallucinations, and 2 years after that to be put on antidepressants. Hell even after suicide attempts my psych didn’t see me, so how can I trust then to talk about this?

        • You were fed a line of BULLSHIT by those men. do I have your attention?

          It is called grooming and it’s one of the tools that men use to ensure their victims never tell. If you believe it’s your fault, you won’t tell a soul and you’ll keep their dirty secret and they get to do it again and again and again. Do you think they stopped with YOU? of course not. Rather when you got too old for their sick desires, they found another little girl to rape and torment and traumatize.

          Unfortunately, once the memories are out, it isn’t very often that they go away again. but there is help. find a qualified experienced therapist and do the work. do NOT let these animals take away your right to a happy, healthy rest of your life. It won’t be quick and it won’t be easy but it can be done. Our stories share some similarities and I have healed. You can too.

          as far as being tainted? BULL. You were born as innocent and pure and naive as any other child. Someone abused you very early in life and began the grooming process that you are nothing and are totally to blame for what they did to you. If you were crossing the street on a green light, in the crosswalk and some car raced up and hit you, you wouldn’t feel to blame. You’d be mad at the driver. If he then gets out of his car and calls you names because his car is dented and has blood on it, you’d be furious. THIS IS THE SAME THING. You are the victim, regardless of what they told you.

          multiple perpetrator, serial cases of abuse, violent relationships are all common outcomes of childhood abuse. Do you know that one perpetrator when he is no longer aroused by a child because she’s a little older, will tell another guy about you, because he likes them your age? Child sexual abuse is actually organized in a secret society and you got caught in it because someone, somewhere didn’t protect you properly.

          Get help. Get well. and Heal from their perversity. You deserve it.

          good luck

        • one other thing. FInd a therapist you can work with. there’s psychiatrists and therapists and you need to find a therapist who is experienced at working with child sexual abuse. not every shrink or psychologist is skilled at this work, believe me. I know. took me three tries before I found one who could actually help me heal.

          off my soapbox

  45. Hello.
    I can’t remember, but lately I have been wondering if I was sexually abused by my father. There is a lot of evidence to contribute to my questions answer. I have looked at multiple lists of behaviors that are developed after sexual abuse and the results haven’t been good for me… I can’t remember anything that happened before I was eight or nine. I feel ashamed because I just turned 15 and I’m a boy… I haven’t seen my father in seven years and now that I’ve seen his Facebook page, it’s brought back some not so clear memories. I am also upset because I have almost no legitimate evidence besides some fuzzy memories and a bunch of coincidental behaviors… But at least I have one more thing in common with my girlfriend… I am also going through depression and have been self harming(Getting help)… I don’t know what else to say…

    • continue with the work of getting well, Anthony. Here’s one big thing I learned from doing my own work and working with clients: Sexual abuse always results in trauma and symptoms of behavior and emotion. However, so do many other things. Don’t wait to get therapy until you can remember, because you might never recover the memories. Rather get help for the symptoms you’re dealing with and live the best life possible. If the memories come back or get clearer, wonderful. If not, it’s okay too because you’re recovering.

      good luck

  46. Hi Louise,
    I’m a woman in my mid-forties who has been in and out of therapy for years. Frankly I am a bit of a mess. I have a mildly autistic child and though diagnosed with ADD/depression/anxiety myself, I believe I sit somewhere on the spectrum myself. It’s hard to separate what I consider to be organic deficits possibly related to spectrum issues (poor eye contact, shyness, friendship difficulties and relationship troubles in general, sensory problems) from childhood trauma. My father (professor, I believe Aspergers) and mother separated when I was about 3, and my father took my brothers and moved thousands of miles away. I saw them only once a year for a week or two for the rest of my youth. My mother and I were left in poverty, living in what I think was an unsafe apartment complex , on food stamps etc. I had many questionable babysitters including one who would lock me in the dark basement and in cupboards while I cried, and would invite the other children she watched to observe her stick pins in my naked bottom. I recall watching this from above and thinking it was another girl who looked like me, but years later the other girl and her twin said that no, in fact, it happened to me. Another sitter (in my apartment) was in cahoots with a criminal and let this guy in while my mom was out. She told him where my moms jewelry was, and this guy threatened me with a gun that he would kill my family if I told. I was about 4. I have other memories of older neighborhood boys forcing me to take my pants off and lay down. Anyway, my mom had lots of boyfriends while she tried to get back on her feet but I don’t recall them. She married my step-dad who had several troubled older kids who were always moving in and out. My stepbrother was always in trouble with the cops, who were at our house constantly (for him, and because my mom and stepdad grew pot). He was about 8 years older than me. When I was 7 or 8 he started by saying “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”, and when he rescued me from a boy who wanted to beat me up, he asked what he would get in exchange. I have snippets of memories of those years. Him touching me between my legs while I pretended to be asleep. Pinning me to the ground and grinding against me. Him being concerned about me talking to my mom and wanting to know what I told her, after I had an episode of being afraid to have a BM and sitting on the toilet for an hour, screaming. Him asking me to kiss his penis, minutes before he tried to molest my best friend. He was sent to a juvenile detention center soon afterward. Later he landed himself in prison for all kinds of things like grand theft auto, burglary, and sexual battery with a weapon. Those years I lived with him were tough and I exhibited scarily sexual tendencies (crawling in my friends sleeping bags at sleepover to try to push my caterpillar stuffed animal between their legs; flashing cars driving by by lifting my shirt, pulling down pants, until I was caught and sent to principal; being extremely sexual during truth or dare games at the tender age of 8)Anyway, I always had this feeling that I couldn’t say no to men, like I had no right. That continued when my paper route boss 20 years my senior sexually harassed me ages 12-15. When I turned 16 I began a trend of seeking much older men. My first boyfriend at 16 (he was nearly 30) was an alcoholic who physically, and emotionally abused me. In bed, he choked me and slapped and punched me. And worse. I kept going back to him, a glutton for punishment, even after he beat the **** out of me in a public episode that required police intervention and landed him in jail.
    I never got involved with an abuser again, but continued sleeping with men 20 years my senior. At one point I felt so ashamed that I swallowed a bottle of Tylenol and got scared and told my friend. I ended up in the hospital. When my father showed up (I was living in the same town as him during college) he only said “She’s just like her mother” in disgust, and turned away. We have never had a good relationship, and I know he hates me, or at least I know I make him very uncomfortable for some reason. Eventually, I met my husband. We have been married 20 years, with lots of ups and down. We have two children, and love them so much. After a period when I believed my husband was unfaithful, I developed a strong aversion to men, and told him I wanted to separate, and I dated women. Ultimately we got back together because we love eachother but more than that want our kids to have the stability that neither of us had growing up. But he continues to talk about how he finds me hard to connect to, and inaccessible.
    I am now in therapy and for the first time talking about the CSA. I feel like my therapist is blowing it off. He doesn’t ever bring it up. He says I have major attachment issues, and C-PTSD. As well as being neuro-atypical. He is a much older male. I have run the gamut of feelings for him, from erotic transference to idealized paternal transference to hating him outright/negative transference. He has excellent boundaries, but I feel like maybe I need a different type of therapist. I need to feel cared for. He says the only time I cross his mind is when he reviews which patients he is seeing that day, on Wednesday. He does allow me to email because he says my messages are like artifacts from the past. I guess my question is, given my history, do you think I should be seeing a female? Or should I be seeing a schematic therapist? My therapist uses psychodynamic self-psychology. Thanks

    • I wouldn’t presume to suggest who you should be seeing. as a therapist, we don’t think about our clients between appointments. A full practice of 20 to 25 patients a week does not allow me to think of any of them in my personal time. I have my family, finances, life to tend to. I give my best to every person I work with but when they leave, I shut the door, and go to the next one. That’s a fact of life.

      I’m not well versed in the model your therapist is using. But all the reactions you mention are fairly typical. Beyond the sexual abuse, it sounds like you have many other issues. In such a complex case, there are so many issues that often a therapist will deal with the most prominent issues first.

      but again, I can’t make a recommendation one way or the other. that’s for you to decide.

      good luck

      • I guess that was too much information. I think I just needed to type it out, but shouldn’t have shared. I’m sorry if my question annoyed you, I guess I’m good at that. Can you please delete this and my other post? I would appreciate it. Thanks. I found your article helpful.

        • you didn’t annoy me at all. and it wasn’t too much information. I am always as honest as possible with commenters and I never give advice other than to work with a therapist. since you’re already doing that, there’s not much for me to add. Your information is valid and important for other readers and i’m happy to leave it up, if you’d like.

  47. Hi,

    I read this article and it says how you get arousal from reading about victims.
    I was molested by my sister most of my childhood and her boyfriend used to record sometimes. I didn’t remember this up until last year.
    I was forced to give a blowjob to a man in his truck with a knife held up to my throat at age 13 i got drugged and raped at a party when I was 15 by 3 men for hours. I remember almost all of it. I remember how it felt, how I had no control over my body, I couldn’t scream, move, I would have random blackout points but till this day I can remember it so clear and still get nightmares aboyt it. It affected me for awhile, I’m now 21, and thinking about the abuse of my childhood and extreme rape fantasies get me going.

    I’m struggling to understand why it’s supposedly natural to get arousal from reading about victims.
    And why am I so crazy to want those fantasies now while those traumatized me at the time?

    I read your list as well and a lot relate to me. I can’t talk to a therapist, not one person even knows this in my life. I literally can’t explain my feelings about anything, it’s affected many of my relationships. Being unknown is the way Id like to stay
    anonymous recently posted..New Year: New Lessons About Alzheimer’s DiseaseMy Profile

    • Unfortunately it is fairly common that abuse survivors have multiple incidents of rape and/or abuse. I’ve never figured out why, I just know it’s more common than anyone likes to admit.

      I want to encourage you to see a therapist. whatever you say is held in strictest confidence (assuming you’re an adult). Remember in every one of these instances YOU ARE THE VICTIM. If you were in a car accident and injured, you’d be willing to talk to a doctor about what happened, when and how. then you’d be treated. I know of no one who has been able to heal from this type of multiple trauma. it is not your fault. so get the help you deserve so you can heal and have a wonderful rest of your life. Yes it’s scary. Yes it feels ugly to talk about it but it is necessary for healing to happen.

      good luck

      • Hi uhmm this might sound weird but i dont remember if i was raped during my childhood but i remember some cases where i was pushed kissed and other when a boy would touch my legs but they are just random flashbacks but i dont remember half of my childhood. My mother had many husbands and i just remember one time one saw me on my underware… But i dont remember anything else from anyone… I now want to be sexually active but i cant. I dont feel pleasure . i feel tense. Desperated.i want them to not touch me… And i cry sometimes… I dont know why i do this… But its because i dont remember. Please help me if you know.

        • What you are describing is fairly common among abuse survivors, along with others with different experience. I can only recommend you do the work with a qualified, experienced therapist who can help you heal the symptoms you’re experiencing, regardless of whether you remember what happened or not. Sometimes the memories are so scary for the child that we were, that our brains don’t record memories of the event, but they continue to affect us through out our life until we resolve them and heal.

          good luck

  48. When I was seven years old, the day before New Years Eve my parents left my siblings and I with my grandparents to go to a birthday vacation for a few days. The day of New Years Eve I remember happy events leading up to a New Years party at our home such as decorating and chalking the streets of my small neighborhood with my best friends, except I have the entire New Years Eve party blocked out of my memory. This is quite strange since I have a very good long term memory. For the next three years I could never leave my mother’s side. I would go to sleepovers and wake up the parents in the dead of the night begging to be picked up by my mother. I was terrified of being left alone. Then three years later my mother took my siblings and I to see Perks of Being a Wallflower, in that movie the main character get’s molested during winter. This movie triggered something in me and it was that day that I started hating my mother. I never let her or anyone touch me. I had many mood swings and acted out greatly. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety disorder. My grades dropped a bit too. This went on for three years. My parents are happily together and are very supportive and kind, I know they would never molest, abuse, or do anything to hurt me. This year after a couple of issues with self harm and hospitalization, my mother and I’s relationship got better and we are now very close. I have always wondered about this timeline and my issue of being touched by adults and my fear of drunk adults. I have wondered if I may have been molested that night on New Years Eve and that may explain some of these events. I have a therapist that I will most likely tell about this, it may be meaningless but i wish to know your thoughts. Thank you. (By the way I’m currently a thirteen year old girl.)

    • Juliane by all means, please discuss these thoughts and feelings with your therapist. she will better be able to help you. by the way, I think it’s certainly possible you were abused, but it will take some work and more than a blog comment to figure it all out.

      stay well. good luck

  49. Hello Louise –
    I’ll provide a very condensed history regarding my father and I. My father has zero recall of his childhood. None. There are only a very, very select number of memories that he recalls and many involve varying degrees of potential trauma. There does not appear to be any known sexual abuse however his disassociative “amnesia” of his entire childhood does raise concern. His parents were married and divorced 3x’s to each other until he was 9 when he went to live with his mother full time. He has almost no recall of all the elementary schools he attended as he attended a new school nearly every 1-2 years. He is aware and very open to trying to unveil the reason ‘why’ he has no recall of such matters. He is aware that there must be some very traumatic events buried in his sub-conscious and for this reason is muted in many of his emotional areas. Are you aware of any Christian counselors that have some good resources for this area? Thank you.

    • Sorry, I don’t make recommendations about counselors. tell your dad to ask questions before he books an appointment : Christian, experienced with survivors of child sexual abuse, working with male victims (they are a smaller group). experience matters in these issues (I learned that the hard way) and tell your dad that the research is very clear: his trust of the therapist at the end of 4 appointments will determine his success, so if he’s not feeling 100% okay with the therapist, find someone else and begin again.

  50. Since I was 8 (I am now 16) I have been having nightmares of me getting rape. I was walking then a men with black hair grabbed me and raped me behind bushes in the park. He told me not to tell anyone. Then I weak up… I always thought of it as a nightmare and nothing more. But I had so much trouble with the physical aspect of my relationship. I have been with my boyfriend for a year and 2 month and we had our first kiss when we were together for a year. I had a full blown panic attack right after. I often feel like my body isn’t my own… I have been confused since someone made understood that maybe it wasn’t just a nightmare… Is there any way to know if it happened or not?

    • your brain may or may not be protecting you but you’ll never know until you work with a therapist to figure it out. hard work but worth it. regardless if the rape happened, something did or you wouldn’t have had a panic attack after a kiss. so do the work and heal

      good luck

  51. Hi Louise,

    I started to question whether or not I had been sexually abused as a child after I opened up to my last therapist about sexual abuse/harassment that I experienced when I was 10 by other 10 year olds. It was upsetting to talk about but after I told her I didn’t feel relieved. I felt as though there was something else to tell her and I got very confused and frustrated. I tried to do some google searches about how I was feeling and when I came across your article, amongst others, I felt sick to my stomach. I had a flood of memories of weird feelings and occurrences throughout my childhoodbthag I had attributed to the abuse I had when I was 10 but had all occurred as early as when I was 4. Especially memories about a specific member of my extended family. I was in the car with my immediate family at the time so I had to hide my face and cry silently. But the thing is, I don’t remember any specific instances of sexual abuse. I remember a lot of weird feelings surrounding my uncle (amongst a long list of symptoms of sexual abuse throughout my childhood) but can’t remember any abuse. I am prone to dissociation so this doesn’t help my memory at all. But my whole point of this comment is that I don’t know how to bring it up with my therapist. My old therapist didn’t think anything happened but I really trust my new therapist. I also don’t want to falsely accused someone or have her notify my family (I’m 17) when there isn’t any concrete evidence. Please help I’m at a lose here.

    • your mind remembers the trauma, not necessarily the events. so don’t worry about the instances but do the work to heal the outcomes. You may or may not get more memories but you are able to heal all the outcomes from the abuse. Sounds weird but I don’t have many memories and yet I’ve healed.

      good luck

      • How does one heal from trauma without having a direct recall of it?

        • you do the work to heal the symptoms. whatever they are. Low self esteem, lack of trust, fear, depression, anxiety, whatever they are for you, you do the work to heal those issues and then recover. I have few memories but I know I was abused for years. My sub-conscious won’t let them surface, or perhaps they weren’t recorded (our brains don’t always record traumatic events) but I have healed and live a wonderful, rich life.

          good luck

  52. I don’t really have many memories that I could say I know for sure I have been sexually abused. However I remember being in my living room with a group of adult males with one telling me he would give me money if I kissed him. I remember being really uncomfortable and saying no. I think I was about 6 or 7. He then tickled me until I wet myself and I just remember everyone laughing at me. One time when he was in the living room I said I’d kiss him as my mum was in the living room, he said he didn’t know what I was talking about. When I grew up I asked my mum about this mum but she didn’t know what I was talking about.
    I remember wetting my bed until I was about 9 but didn’t know the reason why. I would often stay at my grans house at the weekend and would trash my bedroom when I returned as I didn’t want to be there.
    I have an irrational fear of people touching my neck, even little children.
    I’ve also got excited when reading books about sexual abuse and I too feel ashamed about it. I can’t tell anyone about that.
    I also can’t eat food now that reminds me of my mum’s house when I was living with her.
    I don’t self harm but get a rush of relief when I have a piercing. I imagine it’s the same feeling people have when they cut themselves.
    I constantly get random bruises and no matter how hard I think I don’t remember how I got them.
    I want to try and find out if this is true as I feel crazy when in relationships. If someone doesn’t text me back in 10 minutes I start thinking that they’re texting someone else or don’t fancy me anymore. When they do reply I get a rush of relief but then it just starts over again. I need constant reassurance that they like/love me and I’m worried this comes across as clingy or desperate. Also if I’m texting someone and they constantly text me and show a great interest I get freaked out and feel they’re suffocating me. I really can’t win!
    I don’t know how to go about finding out about this. Sometimes I think I want to go to a hypnotherapist but I’m worried I say something and it makes me lose my job.

    • don’t worry about saying something to a licensed therapist – they can’t repeat anything you say. Sounds like there’s something in your past that needs to be brought out and healed. do the work, I promise it’s worth it.

      good luck

  53. Hello Louise,

    I have always been a passive reader of stories of this nature. Although, I have no account of having experienced sexual abuse I feel peculiarly affected by some of the experiences people tell about child abuse.

    I have sometimes wondered if I something happened to me while being a child but disregard these ideas and think that I am making those up. It wasn’t until recently (last year), when I had a sudden episode of anxiety and depression, over the possible breakdown of my relationship, that I didn’t think about this in more detail. Last year I was seen by a therapist for a short period of time to treat the symptoms and we touched on things from my very past that I never even thought about before, but there wasn’t much time to talk about them in much detail so I wanted to unwind in this post.

    First of all, I had a very violent father. I remember him physically abusing of my mum as early as I gained consciousness (over 25 years ago). My mum used to yell back at him and there were numerous rows at home that turned physical, as well as somehow of a sexual character as I remember seeing my mum naked with my dad angry at her or over her. I remember my mum used to try and fight back but my dad always ended up beating her harder so she will end up in the floor with no will.

    From 3-6 year old, I have really faded memories of my mum packing her backs and attempting to leave. She was always really busy and also worked long shifts so I also remember spending some additional time alone with my dad. For some reason I was always alert when I was with him, I always expected something weird to happen and wanted so badly to be with my mum. One day I remember being lost in the middle of a shopping centre for hours until one of the staff members found me and managed to get my dad some time after; he came laughing and saying that I was a really naughty child, which didn’t match with how scared and aware I always was of my surroundings. I often felt very bad looked after with him but at the same time I remember him being very charming.

    During that period of being 3-6 years old I remember some occasions when my dad got very aggressive with me over small and strange things. In one occasion, I was asked to stay alone at home with the lights off and without moving until he came back. I do not remember exactly what I did but the next memory is me being half naked crying with my dad hitting me with his belt and hands in my naked bum and front parts (only guessed this as I remember seeing him face to face). I was sure he was going to do something bad and I remember begging him to stop. However, I never wondered if this kind of abuse got any further until recently.

    During those times I also started perceiving that I lived in a home where the atmosphere was sexual. My dad had sex material (videos, magazines, etc…) but again I was too young to understand it all. . Also one day when I woke up it was really late and I was hungry, and I found my parents in bed with used condoms around them, they didn’t hide much of this as they probably thought I wouldn’t notice.

    We relocated to another city and lived apart from my mum for a year or so when I was 7-8 years old, I stayed with my grandma and my dad literally disappeared from the scene, I can’t remember him being around and my only memories from this time are me being lonely. My mum came back and then we moved all together again to a new home. That was hell. Most brutal accounts of domestic violence took place there. Also, I discovered all the sexual material that belonged to my dad as he didn’t even try to hide it. Due to the nature of his profession he also had very explicit books with human bodies. I used to spend hours browsing. As I explored more and more, the literature and material I found got darker. One of the books he read described how was to touch/interact with a child’s female intimate parts and how good it felt for an adult. Another comic I found, was all about situations of street rapes. I was so used to all of this that it started to become normal daily reading by the time I was 12 years old.

    I started to develop as a young girl and I remember my dad making comments about my breasts in summer, which only made my mum more paranoid and to behave strangely jealous towards me for some time. During that time I started to spend more time outside home as I didn’t want to be at home, but with the years I learned that my mum was deteriorating as she was always trying to cover up for my dad’s bad actions; I started to be conscious about her needing help. I started becoming more defensive towards my dad whenever I saw him shouting to my mum. This lead to him being violent towards me. One day he tried suffocating me with a cushion and apparently he just wanted to let me know how it felt just as a joke. I had to hide in few occasions when I interrupted him from beating my mum, he tried and chase me but he was more careful of not harming me (not sure why still).

    After years of torture my dad left home and disappeared. Before he left home I started having disgusting dreams with him being on the top of me at night,. There were very real and I waking up and checking in the toilet what happened. I also remember feeling disgusted with myself. These dreams continue to happen and I am not sure why after the years my dad chased me and begged me to speak with him again. I’ve had but continuously question why and question these contradictions I have.

    I initiated early on sexual thoughts and weird sexual activities with cousins and even friends, but didn’t have sex until after I left home, quite late considering early discoveries. My life starting to be very promiscuous but never enjoyed sex or was satisfied. I also had vaginal problems since very early age around 12 before I had any sexual activity or my period

    Nowadays, after sorting out so many bumps in my path by myself I am happy with my long-term partner. I do still feel I am a bit difficult on the sexual territory and my past appears as a really dark reminder of what I have been through and how little I know about it.

    I want to find out what really happened but I know I won’t be able to find the answer by asking my family, they are just nuts. I think I might need some therapy again but long-term affordable therapy doesn’t seem to be easily available where I live. I just hope someone reads this and shares their thoughts on what their impressions are.

    Sorry for the long post.

    • no apologies are necessary. this is a safe place to post. you may never be able to remember what happened. but a skilled professional therapist experienced at working with sexual abuse survivors will hep you figure it all out and heal. that’s the important thing – healing.

      good luck

    • I just want you to know I have never related to something before so much in my life. I myself have been looking for answers about my childhood and the horrific relationship I have with my father. Somehow reading that, gave me reassurance.

      • I’m glad if it’s been helpful.

    • The worst part of the abuse was later six months ? my mother started calling me a whore when I was late from school thing it was ten minutes…I was 12? I put on some of her perfume..”what is that smell you smell like a whore” I told her “Its yours” she walked away…my mother was harsh,and now my sister who is 5 years younger that I, Im 66 will demonstrate the same rash insane bi-polar ?? crazy behavior…when she doesnt like something…typically “I hate you” Ive never liked you…I just dont like her…hate? weird…she also says ver batum what my mother would say…to any rebuttal or want of love…”I dont care” now I find myself taking care of the mother who believes she was the best shes 92…she tossed myself and two brothers when we were about 17 out on the street…she was always we didnt learn anything constructive like how not to get pregnant, or you can say no…my sister is a hateful B I wish you al could see it…she acts nice to strangers..ut God sees it

  54. Hi, I have questions about my childhood abuse. This happened me twice from my cousin when I was 5 and 8. I remember when I was 5, (he is 10 years older than me) he said, he will play a robot game with me and touched my body. I remember his hands all over my body. Then when I was 8, he came to my room and said he will show me a movement that he learned from the gym. He made me lay face down and used me. He had clothes on him which is means that he didn’t rape me. When I told my mother, first she wanted from me to show what he did then she beat me with a shoe. My aunt didn’t accept that her son will do this. Everyone got mad at me like this is my fault. My aunt and my mother did not talk for a long time because of this. I remember myself hiding behind the bed when my mother beat me. From this past memories, I remember what he said to me exactly and me laying down. All of the memories are like a photo in my head and see myself from outside view. As I get older, I started to think about this almost every day. Then I say to myself all of these years, this was just a bad memory, he didn’t rape me, this is also my fault I didn’t stop him. I was 8 and thinking that I could do something about this and didn’t do. I had panic attack first because of this once when I was 20 . Later than these panic attacks continue when I am in a highly stressful situation in my daily life. Don’t know why I started to think about this a lot. I know it is not an easy thing, but am I making a big deal from it because it didn’t effect me all these years only hurt me so much when I have flashbacks that something reminds me.

    • you are showing signs that are very typical of sexual abuse survivors: you were able to ‘put the memories away’ for a very long time and they have surfaced and won’t go away. these two things don’t mean you were abused but it’s possible. certainly your cousin’s behavior counts as abuse. work with a qualified professional therapist and do the healing work.

      good luck

    • I was just reading about this…thinking you should have gotten over it, or why does it bother me know…just start googling and it should pop up the answer to your question….Im in my 60’s and its bothered and colored my whole life…my mother treated me different…its like she hated me, and once told me “get over it” her whole behavior towards me was kind of flippant, I remeber her spitting in my face at 17 I know now I was severly depressed from all her emotional ause..walked me to the door and closed the door in my face I didnt even finish the 11 grade…brutal…I wince thinking of other kids going threw the horrors of parents…it affects you your whole life…you try to move on and you do to a certain point but where is the joy…thats dead

  55. Hello,
    I’m hoping you’ll find some time for my quostion. I am a 30 year old woman and just started theraphy due to depression. I have struggled with it throughout my life and have analysed All possible issues to the bone. I always blamed it on difficult teenage years, having an alcoholic and suicidal mother. I have always been able to remember that when I was very very young, my brother (8years older) asked me to come to the attic room with him to watch him masturbate. I don’t remember how many times, maybe just one. I also remember masturbating myself from a very early age, hiding in a warsrobe examining myself, and stealing my brother’s porn magazines to read them and masturbate. I remember feeling dirty as a child, not bathing often and always hiding and creeping around the house. On one occasion I remember cathing my brother peering through the gap in the bathroom door at me naked. After that I always put a towel in front of that tiny gap for many years. both me and my sister (older) have shared a similar feeling that our brother is sonwwhat a sexual predator as he’ s obsessed with women, and has made inapropriate comments to us when drunk(as an adult). Now, I have always known this and have come to terms with it, often wondering why I have exluded him from my life (he doensn’t understand this). Once I went for 6 years without seeing him, then let him meet me as he was really depressed. But that very very strong aversion is there. Anyhow, worse things happen to people, I thought. Since starting therapy, trying CBT and talkive tgerapy, I started wondering that the feeling of shame, failure and no self worth started much earlier than after my mom’s crisis. After reading testimonies here and your replies, I realized I have always excused my brother because I remember being such a sexual child myself, and because he would have been a child as well. I also feel like I might not be remembering everything here. Nevertheless, as you say in one response, it is not always needed to remember everything. What shocked me on your list is the fact that many women find pleasure in reading about sexual abuse on young girls, and phantasising about being seduced of being prostitutes. I had always kept this as my darker secret. My sexual life hasn’t suffered, I don’t think.
    My question is- I am not interested in digging up any more memories, and I thought I had accepted all this as “all kids have sexual explorations’. But while I am struggling witb depression and working with my therapist, is this fact something I should tell her about? I am embarrassed to talk about it and I don’t know if she has any experience in this field. I guess I just never realised that sexual experience in very early stage is very traumative, and that many feel it wasn’t even abuse becasue theu feel ashamed and guilty of participating.. Thank you for your presious time!

    • Please tell her about it and work with her on this issue. If she blows you off, you might want to consider finding a different therapist. depression in survivors of sexual abuse are often depressed and until we get that trauma resolved, we can’t fix the other stuff going on in our lives. and remember, there is no need for shame. Whatever happened, you were the victim. Little kids aren’t naturally highly sexualized. they have to be taught such things. somebody taught you. could be your brother, could be someone else. that isn’t nearly as important as living a rich and full life now, as an adult. and for most of us, that means we have to do the work to heal the trauma. Think of it like this: If you break your leg but don’t go see the doctor, the leg will likely heal crooked and so you’ll walk with a limp for the rest of your life. This is the physical equivalent of child sexual abuse. in order to end the pain and walk normally, you need to fix the old injury and go through the process to heal and walk easily and well. it often doesn’t matter what caused the original break (except as it affects safety today) but you can be healed.

      good luck

  56. At about 14 years old my grandfather was in bed next to me and started rubbing his hands up and down my thighs. I stopped him and moved to the couch. He told me he did that to test if I would stop a. boy from doing that to me and he was happy with my response. It has stayed with me and bothered me since. I know he always napped with me and slept next to me when I stayed over. He called me his dream girl. Do you think I was abused and don’t remember it all or could that have been an isolated incident?

    • Not knowing any of the parties, I can’t say if it was isolated or not. could be. But since you remember what he did, and you were looking for information, it might not hurt to talk to a professional about this event to see if there were others or if someone else was hurting you that you can’t remember.

  57. Hello. I had (made) a lot of sexual stuff from 4 to 18 years old including semi-penetration at 11 and penetration at 16 i never stopped him or run or tried to tell my parents.. he is still my best friend always keep the secret.. he is my brother and he is 6 years older than me, was it abuse? Just kids playing?

    • there’s no way to tell if it was abuse from these few sentences. but I’d certainly talk to someone about it. Your brother at 22 shouldn’t be having sexual activities with his 16 year old sister.

  58. im confused. i just discovered i love being called a “good girl” . i even browsed through some videos, i liked them. but at times i feel ashamed. ive never been abused by my father. he provides for our family and he is a great man. i don’t find him attractive at all. i can’t even see myself calling him daddy or any other man that. thats gross to me.

    i will admit i have been molested by my older sister when we were younger and my cousin of the same age. i don’t know if i can even call it that. my whole life really revolves around sex really now that i think about it. even am attracted to the same sex. i can’t have a real connection with them but when the mood strikes me i feel like i become obsessed until i have a sexual encounter. do i have “daddy issues?” older man are starting to attract me and im now 30+ yrs old. please help!!!

    • I can’t help you from what you’ve said. I would encourage you to talk to a professional therapist. Abuse doesn’t only happen by our fathers, but other males, tachers, ministers, extended family and so on. Any of these could cause the issues you mention.

      good luck

  59. I feel guilty because I feel like I encouraged it….I had just turned 13 and he was 24 and I worked under him at a puppy shelter. He was very charming and I got a crush on him. He asked me to be in a relationship with him and I said yes. He would bring me sweets, junk food, etc. and drive down to meet me and my best friend every day. He made me do a number of sexual things with him (didn’t have sex) and he would often get very angry at me and lash out. One time he found out I cut myself (I used to self harm many years back for unrelated reasons i.e. depression, eating disorder) and he got so angry that he slashed his own skin multiple times. I was terrified. Another time he threw his phone at the wall and it broke, because he was angry at me. He always told me that if I told anyone about him, his mother would die of grief, so I obviously didn’t tell anyone but my best friend. She was also 13 and he somehow manipulated us into dating both of us at the same time. (He was very smart). He did a lot of strange, terrifying things (like trying to drink his own blood….something that still haunts me). I broke up with him and 6 months later he turned up at my best friend’s house to meet me. He asked me to do sexual things with him and I said no. He kept asking and trying to convince me and my best friend told me I would break her heart if I didn’t say yes…because she really wanted to kiss him and he said he would only kiss her if I allowed him to kiss me. So I reluctantly said yes and he lay me down on the bed and did more sexual stuff with me. I hated every bit of it and it hurt, it didn’t feel good. I told him to stop (calmly) and after a few times of telling him, he did. I then left and went home and blocked him everywhere, and have never heard of/about him since. Today I saw someone in my college that vaguely resembled him (I’m 18 now) and I got home and started thinking about him and it just…messed me up. My hands have been shaking, I feel like I can’t breathe, I feel terrified. Can this be considered abuse? Is it just an unhealthy relationship? I can’t understand anything.

    • Yes, this is considered abuse. doesn’t matter if you had a crush on him. Girls do that. but you were a child and he was an adult but a very dysfunctional one from the description you’ve provided. he was 11 years your senior and you’re 18. Is there anything a 7 year old could say or do that would cause you to ‘date’ him or her? of course not. there’s too big a difference in maturity, responsibility etc. talk to a professional about what happened with him so it doesn’t impact any more of your life.

      good luck

  60. Hello Louise,

    I have experienced childhood trauma by growing up in a dysfunctional family. My father used to be a violent alcoholic and he used to hit my mom and my two older siblings when they tried to interfere. This has caused me a lot of issues growing up, especially concerning my behavior and my emotions. I am seeing a therapist since 8 months now and he helped me a lot to connect the dots. All the troubles i am having today at 23 years of age, are linked to these traumatic events. But there is more to that… There are other aspects of my personality that he didn’t saw and i really think that these are not connected to my family issue. let me explain; I was expressing extreme anger, sadness, incomprehension and depression due to the trauma. And by working together with my therapist and my family, all of these problems are slowly getting away and i am getting better and better. the only problem is that, i realized that there is still something way darker than my family issues… I think i might have been molested as a child but have absolutely no recall of any events whatsoever. I know there is something very wrong with me and especially my sexuality. Since the age of 7 – 8 i started to perform sexual acts with my cousin and two other friends (all male) on separate occasions. Without any knowledge of what sex even was, i was showing them how to perform fellatio and other things a 7 yr old should not be aware of… Then by the age of 9 – 10, i started to feel the urge to insert various objects into my buttocks. I don’t know why i did that or how this came to my mind. These were not the thoughts of an innocent child.. I didn’t even know what sex was and even less the fact that you could experience pleasure from it.. But still, i was putting objects in my buttocks mostly everyday when taking my shower then it escalated to anytime.. This went on for a few years until i understood what masturbation was. I then stopped completely but started to masturbate all the time. There is one day when i was 18, that i woke up in the middle of the night and i was naked and inserting an object where you know.. That shocked me because i am straight and have never been attracted to males in any way. I really don’t understand this… Then when i hit 13, i started to grow an interest in young girls. I mean girls aged from 6 to 13. Very wrong, i could never do anything wrong to a child and it will never happen but i fantasize about young girls all the time. I had girlfriends my age and older but i find it difficult to be aroused and often will go limp during sex but there is nothing that turns me on more that young girls.. I don’t understand why and i am very confused about what to think about it.. and especially about myself.. Do you think i might have been sexually abused as a child but my memories got repressed in a certain way? Is that possible? Please tell me what you think because i want to talk about it to my therapist but before i want to be sure if these sexual deviance are connected to my family problem or can it be a completely different episode?
    Today it’s been 8 years that i have been addicted to drugs, porn and sex, destructive behavior and attempted suicide twice but doctors got me back on my feet. Please help me. God bless you

    • your early knowledge of sexual acts and feelings suggests you were abused but it is impossible to say without a full assessment, which I can’t do online. ask your current therapist about his experience with sexual abuse survivors (when you’re alone with him) and find out if he has experience working with people of your possible history. if not, find another therapist for this work.

      not having memories is common for survivors but … you need to find out if it happened and what it was, so you can heal.

      good luck

  61. I’m scared about what their going to do to me.I’m a 11 year old girl who has been raped by strangers.I just don’t know what to do.

    • Please speak to phone place that deals with rape,you don’t have to say your name if you don’t want to,your worth all the moon and stars,keep strong,I’ll pray for you x

  62. I have been touched by boys older than me.They squeezed,they raped,and I don’t what to do can you help me

    • You need to tell a responsible adult and get help to deal with the trauma.

  63. Hiive just read this im sure ive been sexaul abused I just carnt remember I cannot remember my childhood things I do remember are very little my mam has horriable to me to say the least EVIL I carnt remember school or friends if I had any playing out riding a bike for the first time not even my bedroom food I like im now 28 a heroine addicted ive been diagnosed with an emotional unstable personality disorder please help me

    • There’s no one who can help you over the web. it will take work to deal with the past, with a qualified, professional therapist.

  64. I have a question. Is it sexual assault if you weren’t actually touched inappropriately, but the person tried?

    • yes

  65. Do you have an email address I could send you a message at? I have a question but I am uncomfortable posting it here

    • please use the contact form on the website

  66. I feel as if I have been abused as a young child for many reasons… My fear of a very close male friend of my parents, his inappropriate touches (grabbing breasts, hugging awkwardly, his whispering in my ear, obscene phone calls etc) later in my life say after 12 years of age. I cannot remember the molestation (if there were any) but I feel as if I know. He had easy access as in his wife babysat me for the first 2 years of my life. When I am around him or even attempt to look at him I get sick, scared and want to run or attack him. I don’t want to remember, I just simply want my life back. I wet the bed for many many years after I was potty trained up until I was in 5th grade. I deal with depression anxiety and bpd. Thanks for any input on this. Hope is my only answer!!!

    • Getting our lives back has to be the primary goal of every one who were abused, whether touched, whispered to, fondled or ….

      the only way I know of getting through this trauma is to work with a qualified, experienced therapist who can help you see the outcomes in your life and how to fix them. I wish there was something more or easier or simpler to offer, but if there is, I have no knowledge of it.

      good luck

  67. I remember being young (somewhere between the ages of 6-9, maybe?) and my cousin (five years older than me) climbed on top of me and kissed me. After that everything fuzzes out and I grew up thinking nothing much of it. Now, since around age 13 (I’m 15 now), I seriously wonder if I was raped. I remember it hurting very badly to pee around that time, and being too scared to tell anyone that it hurt. I just don’t understand how he is so guiltless and unaffected. I feel like he’d act differently around me if he had raped me, but I just dono’t know. I also don’t understand how, if I WAS aged 6, or 7, he would even know anything about wanting sex, since he would be 11. Would an 11 year old really rape his little cousin?? It’s infuriating to not know for sure what happened. There was one time in January where I laid down in the spot where I was kissed in the basement. I had a total mental breakdown, and things did not stop at a kiss. We had full blown sex. Is this common? Or is this probably something my mind made up?? On that morning that I had my breakdown, I was 100% sure that I was not a virgin, and that I had been raped. Now, I’m not so sure. It’s extremely frustrating. I feel like I’m making a big deal out of nothing, yet I cry myself to sleep almost every night. It’s crazy because I don’t know what happened, yet I’m constantly tortured by it. I’m too scared to tell an adult to go see a therapist, because I DON’T want to start family drama over something I’m not even sure is real.

    Also, there’s something that happens on an irregular basis, and I think it might be connected with past sexual abuse. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try my best. I’ll be going about my day, just fine, and then boom. My mind goes fuzzy, and it’s almost like my consciousness floats away from my body. I know I’m still in my body, and that I’m still me, but it feels like I’m not connected to myself AT ALL. I’ve tried to let myself float deeper into this state, but it feels so uncomfortable that I can’t do it for long. I’m also afraid that I might ‘drift’ too far away from myself, and that I won’t be able to ‘go back into’ my body, and my being. Have you heard anything like this? I can’t find anything on the Internet. It usually tends to happens when there’s a change in routine, but sometimes it happens randomly, like when I’m sitting in the car, or drying dishes. I feel like this started around 3rd or 4th grade, and when I told my mom, she laughed in my face. This has made me hesitant to talk to anyone else about it, especially since it’s so hard to describe what I’m experiencing.

    Thank you for any imput you may have to offer, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

    • just be sure that every morning, first thing, you visualize your ‘spirit’ tied to your heart by a silver cord. That cord is unbreakable and if your spirit drifts, it can’t get lost. then you don’t need to worry about that.

      as for your cousin, remember that he was probably 11 or 12 when this happened (whatever this is) and so he won’t have the sense of the seriousness or problems it might cause you.

      There’s way too many concerns in your email to address and I can’t provide therapy, obviously, but i’d suggest you talk to your school counsellor or other adult (perhaps a female minister or a favorite teacher?) the important thing is for you to heal the symptoms you’re living with.

      I repeatedly say, that in my opinion, you don’t have to know what happened because some of us never remember the full thing. What does matter is that each of us heal so that we can live rich full lives.

      good luck

      • Hi. My Pseudo name is Biola. I just turned 20 recently and I’ve been doing a lot of reflection in my life, 20 is like a make it or break it stage, from here my life is either going to be a roller coaster that only rides up or a downward cascading spiral. I’m desperately hoping for the former. I’m in a good place right now I can say I’m at peace 95% of the time which is pretty great considering what other people have to live with, I should know because I used to have to live with some of those things before, before I was pulled out of the rut I was in by loving hands. However, I sometimes get really sad for seemingly no reason and at those times I try to refrain from talking to my fiance because I don’t want to lash out on him,and say hurtful things that I would have to apologize for later, I have done that a couple of times. This wasn’t meant to be this long, I’m sorry, but I have a lot going on in my head, you see I can’t sleep most nights unless I’m nuzzled in my fiance’s chest,then I fall right to sleep, he just knows how to calm me. I am haunted by things from my past, I come from an ideal “wonderful” looking family. My dad works on the east and comes home 2 weeks in a month, I used to be really bitter towards him, I never really had a relationship with him, it was all so formal and detached, but I think I understand a little bit better now and I’ve lost all feelings of resentment, I sometimes feel grateful for not being close to him growing up, he would have been one more person who had a hand in messing me up. My mom is a teacher, a profession she allegedly choose to have more time for her family, if anything she has more time for her telemundo and creating this “picture perfect” family facade for the world. I have 3 siblings, a medical doctor sister, 10 years older than me, she suffered from depression, mania and schizophrenia when she got to year 2 of medical school, it was a tough one on the family, she’s stable now, she lives a close to normal live, she just has to take her drugs everyday. At the time she fell sick, my mom revealed to us that my dad also suffered from the same sickness, mania, but he doesn’t use drugs. My interaction with him is limited but he seems okay and coordinated. My second sister is an accountant, she used to be the rebel of the family, but it seems I have assumed that position, she’s very controlling and bossy, we do not get along, and if she does anything for you she’d lord it over you until the day you die, so we don’t get along well. My brother is 3 & 1/2 years older than me, I’m the youngest. I never really had a bond with anyone other than my brother. My brother and I used to play football together, tease each other, play wrestling,i got so many bruises on my body to prove it, I was like his younger brother not his sister. I was intelligent, first in my class at worst second, I grew fast, I got my period at age 9 and warped into a beautiful woman in the blink of an eye. I was no longer one of the guys. It all started seemingly innocently enough, my dad got one of those huge desktop computers then I think I was around 11 – 12. My dad had put internet on it. And I remember I used to be alone with my brother in the house. Most of the memories I have of this time are murky and I rarely ever think about it. At some point I thought they never happened and I had just made it up, but why would I make something like this up? It actually happened and the experience changed me.i won’t say it totally destroyed me but it started the slow downward descend. My brother was the head boy in my school he used to have violent temper tantrums and storm out of the house whenever my mom talked to him, my dad was almost never around so he had no father figure I guess. Most times whenever we were alone in the house during the holidays or weekends we’d watch tv and when my mom came back home and ask us what we did all day we’d lie and say we’d been reading, we would have skimmed through the book before she came home incase she asked us to bring what we read for her to ask questions. However my brother didn’t watch tv as much anymore. He wanted to spend time on the computer, me being the noisy sister that I was, I spied on him and realized he was watching porn and I confronted him. He said I shouldn’t tell on him and I didn’t because good siblings don’t rat each other out. Me also being curious about things at that age I sat down with him to find out what was so interesting about this porn thing sef. I realize how stupid I had been back then, I don’t know how it all started I guess I repressed those memories too. But it did, stuffs that brothers and sisters are definitely not supposed to do we started to do and I had no one to talk to about it. My second sister used to walk around the house basically naked and act all Sebi he’s my brother, till now I think she triggered all this in him. But she never knew, till now she still does the same thing walking around nearly naked, I rarely go home now and try as much as possible to avoid my family because being around them brings so much negative energy and whenever I do go home I do so in short intervals, if I stay home for a week they’d drive me nuts and staying there for a month would probably put me in depression. All the things that went on with my brother inappropriate touching and kissing, my mother with all her talk of having time for her family never even noticed, or maybe she did and turned a blind eye, she never used to sit me down to just talk except she was giving me a lecture. She wasn’t my friend. None of them were, the one person I thought was my friend took advantage of me my brother. The day it all stopped my brother tried to penetrate into me, he tried to disvirgin me, I didn’t really know much then but I knew that this was wrong. I tried to push him off but he was too heavy, I eventually managed to wiggle myself from under him and I ran like crazy. I had to run out of the house to the veranda, he chased me and I felt like I was in danger, my brother who was supposed to protect me from vultures was the vulture. He looked so angry like he could kill me at that moment. I stayed outside and didn’t go in, we had tenants and I threatened to scream if he came near me. I stayed on the veranda for what seemed like hours frightened,scared and confused until I heard my mom’s car horn from the distance. Ever since then my brother never touched me again, it was like it never happened, no one knew, we never mentioned it but I felt dirty and violated I know many women have been through worse but that doesn’t diminish the fact that I was exposed to things I shouldn’t have been at an early age by someone I trusted. He was older than me, he should have known better, if he wanted to explore he should have looked for a girlfriend not a sister. I wonder if I never ran away that day how long it would have continued, maybe till today who knows. From then I jumped from one guy to another I changed guys like hand bags, I rolled with the wrongest kind of people I had suicidal thoughts, and tried a few times to end my life but failed, no one even knew, my grades plummeted, I started drinking and smoking, I smoked weed,i wore too much makeup and had so many “friends” who never knew me, they never knew how unhappy I was. To the world I was the dream, effortless beauty, hot, guys lined up to have me as their girl to boast that they had a taste. I was basically projecting just one thing SEX. I was so unhappy but everyone was comfortable with that. Unhappy was our normal. Then everything changed when I met my fiance, he pulled me up, he made me believe in myself, loved me unconditionally, even with all my baggage he accepted me and didn’t judge me. I found myself with his help, I changed and warped like a butterfly from a cocoon, I changed the way I dressed it no longer said easy but now classy, I changed my friends, cut off ties with a whole lot of people that were not adding anything to my life, I even cut my hair and started a whole new natural hair journey, I stopped wearing makeup because I realised I was beautiful without it. My grades went up, I’m currently on a 3.55 GPA I started with a 2.05 ,believe me it wasn’t easy, sometimes I fell but I got back up again and dusted myself off, I stopped shaking and hugging guys, I stopped drinking and smoking and hanging out with the friends I had before who did. Don’t get me wrong it’s not like I became a Jesus freak, I still wore jeans and earrings and enjoyed my share of circular music, I just had to re-brand myself and gain self love and respect of others. At first people thought I was crazy, I even slapped someone, a guy very hard who probably didn’t get the memo or didn’t believe it when he got it, he was getting too handsy and I needed to set the record straight. I went from the girl everyone could have to a limited edition, no one messes with me, people watched what they say and how they say it around me. I still hold some resentment towards my family, not as much as I used to though. I’m wondering where I would be right now at 20 if not for the love and support of my fiance. I would probably be a school drop out, pregnant with some stranger’s child, with a couple of stds, a drug and drinking problem and most likely be tackling with depression and mania also. I would be extremely unhappy. The annoying part is my family didn’t accept my fiance initially, my mom even caused a big ruckus when she found out about him, she called him omo igbo osi kan, in translation “one useless igbo boy”.She made a snide comment that Sebi it’s me, that in a month I’d have broken up with him she said this laughing to my face. I can’t tell you how many times my mom told me I won’t amount to anything, how many times she told me I was useless. My dad said none of his children would ever marry an igbo person. Unluckily for them me and my fiance have been going strong for over 3 years now. I don’t call my mom or dad to resolve any fights with him like my sisters do. My brother also had mania when he got to his second year in the university. Upon everything that’s happened between us, he’s still my brother, we still talk but we are not as close as we were before you know. I guess at 20, I’ve had a lot happen in my life that some people don’t even get in their lifetime, thank God for being faithful and bringing someone to show me how to love and be loved. I’d be getting married soon and I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of mother I’d be and not making the same mistakes my family made. It worries me seriously. It’s almost 5 in the morning and I haven’t slept a wink again I’m sorry this is so long but I thought sharing this would help clear my head and make me sleep. I feel I need a therapist or someone to talk to but I’m not sure if I really need one. My life seems great even though I have some unresolved issues. The thing with my brother was deep deep deep in my head. But recently I started trying to remember childhood memories and the only thing that popped up in my head were the bad stuffs, like that. I’ve tried my best to look for a happy childhood memory to no avail. The bad ones seem to overshadow and obliterate any good ones. I’m babbling on and on. I think i should stop now. Thanks for reading this. That is if you could make it to the end of this long essay. I pray I can sleep now. I read somewhere that taking one spoon of honey before going to bed makes you sleep better maybe I should try that next time.

        • I did read the whole thing and I too have heard that a teaspoon of honey might help you sleep. I would definitely recommend that you work with a therapist. there are lots of family issues and the sexual behavior was certainly inappropriate at a minimum and possibly worse. once you talk to someone who knows about childhood abuse, you can heal and recover and be even more the beautiful woman you were meant to be.

          good luck

    • What you’re talking about is called dissociation and it is typical of abuse survivors. There are really good counselors who specialize in childhood trauma. I’m impressed that you are already figuring it out now. There are a lot of good books about recovering from sex abuse too. Go ahead and seek help even if your mom isn’t on board. The sooner the better.

  68. Quite curious. I know my father raped me and older sisters and other siblings he beat. Well we all got beat but some more so.

    It has effected my whole life. I could not meet in an office with a male coworker. When I was twelve, I decided to gain weight to be safe. That and my fear of men, kept me safe until late thirties. I was seeing a therapist and he was telling me that fat doesn’t keep you safe. At that time, I was weighing 400 pounds as I’ve done most of my adult life. I was volunteering at the homeless men’s shelter, but teaching a class with a friend. Then one day, they asked for additional help and since I had been volunteering without incidents for a couple years, I agree to help. Most of that Saturday was ok, except when they asked me to enter some data on the computer in the back office. There was no one around at first so I was just about done and these two men walked past but then came in. I wasn’t raped, just “felt up”, felt quite vulnerable, was held captive in the office. And so I did realize the therapist was correct. I am not safe. Through a bad car accident and working from home, I have made myself a prisoner. I realized a few months ago, that weeks, or months go by and I do not even step outside my house. I am slowly changing this.

    Do you think therapy could help? WhAt type should I look for. That last one was a Christian counselor. His advice boiled down to pray. I already had that covered. I’m thinking of calling RAINN, I heard they could help or maybe point me to a therapist.

    Your thoughts?

    • I don’t know of anyone who has completely recovered from the trauma of child sexual abuse without working with an experienced, professional therapist. How do you find one? Make calls and ask questions. how much experience do they have? Years and number of clients. males or female clients? what modality do they use? (When you know this, go look it up online and see if it feels good to you and if not, go somewhere else). remember, you’re the customer. any therapist who won’t treat you with respect and answer your questions (or have their assistant answer your questions) isn’t worth the time of day.

      good luck

  69. Hey, I was molested for a fact. I remember everything. My brother started when I was 7 and then happened less often as he got older, and realized how perverted he was being. I can relate to some of the things on the list you made, but. . . mostly my body feels completely dead to anything sexual. It’s confusing for me because I’m a teenager, and I know how I’m supposed to feel. I have a lot of friends, and they say sex is amazing. I’ve had sex too, but I can honestly say that it was boring. I don’t think I’m lesbian. It’s impossible to get me in the “gotta have sex” state of mind, and when I’m with my boyfriend I just pretend. Hey, also, now that I think about it, I never have intense feelings about anything. I mean I do get angry, I can crush on someone really hard, I get a thrill when I watch horror movies. . . but it’s nothing that makes me feel alive! I feel like I’m dead already! And now, when I think about sex I don’t want to do it again ever. Help me! Please, I don’t know what to do.

    • pretending is very common for survivors. we aren’t able to experience normal reactions to sex in our early days so our sexual responses got short circuited. for some of us, they’re always on and for others, it’s like the switch has been set to ‘off’. this is one of the reasons I always recommend working with a professional therapist. it takes time and energy to heal these issues but healing is possible.

      good luck

      • What if you cant afford a therapist? I was raped by my dad for years but I dont quite remeber it. I do know it happend. I feel dead inside too! help

        • That is a very difficult situation. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer. You could get the book Courage to Heal. It has lots of good exercises and information that might help. The issue is that sexual abuse affects the very core of how you feel and see yourself. so it needs to be handled below the intellect and into the psyche. that’s why I always recommend therapy. but if you can’t, you can’t. start with this book and do the work inside. and then go forward from there.

          good luck

        • Keep praying,keep fighting, every day a battle but your doing great for keeping going,you show the world how strong you are,doesn’t take away the hurt but it helps a little,use your hurt to make a change in the world xx

  70. I relate to may of the symptoms you describe, and I’m pretty sure I was molested when I was very young, but I’m trying not to force myself to remember as I don’t want to create false memories. Right now I have no memories at all (I’m 19), just the strong sense that it happened. I was wondering though if feeling like you strongly relate to kids who were molested can be suggestive of past sexual abuse. When I watch movies or read stories about children who were abused, I have this strong sense that something similar happened to me. I’m not sure how to describe it, it’s just this strong certainty that their story is my story if that makes any sense. I don’t have that feeling when I hear stories about other kinds of abuse (like physical abuse), only sexual.

    I’m also curious if you’ve had experience working with clients who only recovered memories once they felt safe. I live at home with an abusive family (I’m working towards moving out), and I find that when I am stressed out because of things happening at home, I feel really detached and can’t remember much from my childhood, but in the rare moments when I feel safe and happy, sometimes I suddenly feel like I flash back to something, but my brain stops it before I can remember the details. I think once I move out and my brain deems it safe, the memories might come back. Again, I’m trying not to force them, but I’m really struggling with a lot of symptoms that could stem from being abused, and I would really like to know for sure if that’s what is causing them. I know I don’t have to remember to deal with the symptoms, but I still want to. Not knowing is painful in itself.

    Anyways, I’m just curious if you’ve had any clients with similar experiences or if I’m off my rocker for thinking I was molested. I also wanted to thank you for taking the time to answer all the comments on this article, you’ve really helped a lot of people.

    • In my experience, memories come back when that part of us feels we are strong enough to deal with them, or there’s a situation that demands we face them. For some, that is finding out you’re pregnant or giving birth. For others, it’s turning 30 or 40 and all of a sudden memories roar back and have to be faced in order to live a rich and full life from then on.

      other times, they creep in, in dreams and sensory reminders. So for me, the process is as varied as the people who are going through them. i agree about not forcing them, which is why I don’t recommend hypnosis at this stage – it’s too easy for mistakes to happen and too damaging if it does.

      take care of yourself, move out asap and build the perfect life going forward. the irony is you may never get any memories. you may live your life with the certainty that abuse happened without knowing what, by whom, and when.

      Doesn’t matter. deal with the symptoms and you can be healed. psychology used to feel that remembering was critical. I no longer think that because sexual abuse marks us and our futures. deal with those things and heal yourself.

      good luck

  71. Hello,
    I was abused when I was younger by a family friend, I was 5 and he was 10. Four of us were playing a game and he told me he was in charge of getting ‘power’ for the game, and that I should come and meet him at the back of the house to get some. When I got there he told me to take of my skirt and underwear and that he had to touch me down there to give me power. He also did something else a seperate time but I can’t remember what it was. I saw him for the first time in years yesterday, I’m 17 now and he’s 22. He’s just finished uni and he has a job. He seems like such a normal person it’s hard to believe it’s still him. I thought it didn’t really affect me but when I looked him in the eyes when we were talking as a group I suddenly felt a bit scared and very uncomfortable. I feel he somehow remembers what he did? Is it normal for children as adults to remember when they did those things? I didn’t really think it has affected me but suddenly last night when I lay on my bed thinking about it I started crying. For years I felt it was my fault because I let him do it so I could continue the game but now I know it really wasn’t. I’ve never told anyone but I want to know if I should just Incase he’s still like that. If he’s not I don’t want to ruin his life by making him a sex offender. What should I do? I still don’t think it’s really affected me cause I don’t display any of these symptoms but I get very emotional when I think about it.

    • There is no point in telling anyone about what happened unless you can prove it. and you can’t. if you read through the comments, you’ll see that many many victims aren’t believed, even at the time of the abuse. the legal system demands that we can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. I don’t know where you live, but generally, making unsubstantiated accusations is libel and you could be sued. should you say something? I say no, but of course you have to follow your own heart. Just remember, you could come out of such accusations looking very bad.

      I would encourage you to talk to a professional. that you started crying when you think of this event suggests it’s not as neutral for you as you think. and in that conversation, get good information about your recourse in the legal setting.

  72. Is it possible that I was sexually abused and just surpressed it? I have all of the symptoms listed here, and lately i’ve had horrid nightmares of a strange man with no face watching me as I sleep.
    My uncle was arrested for molesting my cousin when we were both seven years old (I slept over at her house almost every weekend as a kid up until his arrest). Is it possible that he sexually abused me as well and I just surpressed the memory of it?
    Please help if you can, I feel like i’m just

    • suppressing memories is very common for sexual abuse survivors. having all the signs doesn’t mean it definitely happened, however. rather it suggests a possible reason for some of your behavior. the only way to be sure is to work with a qualified experienced therapist who can help you figure it out.

      but yes, total repression of all memories is what I did until I was 40.

  73. If you have been abused and have suppressed the events – how do you go about bringing them to the surface? Even if you are having therapy and you feel there’s a suppressed memory about it – how does it
    come out? Is there anything you yourself can do to bring it the surface??

    • there isn’t much you can do to bring memories to the surface. sometimes we are so traumatized that the memories are never recorded. (Think of a document you’ve typed and closed but never saved. It’s gone.)

      worse, trying to force them to the surface often pushes them deeper or causes them to come out incorrectly. Remember memories aren’t like film – they are much more susceptible to our thoughts and feelings that we realize.

      one day at a time, they will come out. more importantly than the memories though, is healing from the symptoms that caused you to look for this information. that is what truly matters for you may never get all your memories back.

      • That makes perfect sense. Thank you 🙂

  74. I cannot deny that it pisses me off that you state here that survivors do not like to have sex in certain positions as if that was something to be judged “abnormal behaviour”. I understand you are pointing towards correlations, which you do not want to judge, between behaviour and reports of sex abuse. But I don’t see why on earth there is a problem with not liking certain sexual things.

    I have no reference wrt to non-survivors because I only live one life, but, for fuck’s sake, I don’t have to like everything, and, in fact, I don’t have to like anything at all.

  75. i was sexually abused by a girl in my class for all of primary school. she would force knitting needles inside me, drink my urine, beat me. im autistic and she abused me and trained me until i was suffering every day but at least i no longer acted autistic. im trying to figure out if i was abused before her, though. i keep getting flashbacks to a pale man and his penis, and i feel scared around my dad, who is my best friend. i know my dad never hurt me, because he’s vehemently opposed to it and he’s not pale, or even Caucasian. my “aunt”- who went on to stalk me after my mother’s death- babysat me once before i started primary school, and i have no memories from before kindergarten, and very few up until about eight grade. but anyway, on the day she babysat me, i came home, i was distant, and then i wet my bed for the first time in years. im wondering if she molested me and had her husband or a male friend join in. (this was something she did to mother a lot when they were children) but i dont remember it. im falling apart. i have severe ocd and struggle with intrusive thiughts about being gay (im not) and about being a pedophile (im not) i cant cope anymore.

    • Please get help from a professional trained sexual abuse therapist. As victims, we all need someone from the outside to help us sort out our past. Our subconscious mind has the goal of protecting us and it does so sometimes, by messing with our memories. So i’m glad you don’t think it’s your dad.

      sounds like you had a very traumatic childhood but with help, you can have a productive, healthy adult life.

      good luck

  76. Hi my name is Albert I’m 49 yrs I discovered last year after more than 40 years of denial or repressed memory that my mother sexually molested me when giving me a bath in the bathtub way back in the early 1970’s when I was 3,4’5’6 years of age and we were alone in the bathroom. My mom passed away in 2008 I’m angry at my father who is 86 now my brother 51 and my sister 57 for failing to protect me my mom basically ruined my childhood and my life lately I have had a gambling addiction and I paid money for prostitutes in Las Vegas please give me advice

    • There’s not much advice to be had in your circumstances except that you are a survivor of your mom’s abuse. You can change your life. Therapy with an experienced professional therapist wh o is used to dealing with mother/son abuse is best, if you can find it.

      good luck

      • dear Louise I visited a registered intern therapist four times during the autumn of 2015 to let it out it was difficult for me to accuse my mother of sexual abuse many years later but kept was necessary I also have bipolar most likely inherited from my mother im angry about that too please give me advice and your professional opinion I would appreciate it thank you Dr Vehicle sincerely Albert

        • I wouldn’t begin to give advice, other than working with a professional, experienced therapist on these issues, Albert. it wouldn’t be professional of me nor good for you. It is difficult to talk about the abuse we endured, but healing the effects of that abuse usually take a lot of work. When those are compounded by bipolar, it becomes essential to work with someone you trust and follow the directions of your medical caregiver. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help

  77. Its difficult to think about it, much harder to speak of it. Even as a grown woman I still can’t bring myself to discuss it with my husband, my mother, or my siblings. My father was an alcoholic & the entire time I was growing up I always felt like my dad was gross/sick. As a little girl I could never figure out why I felt that way towards him. I just knew that I felt discomfort around him. I remeber being around 6 and having a recurring dream that I was held captive by my father in order for him to be able to do bad things to me. At a very young age I constantly played with my barbies always making one barbie touch the others privates. As if one barbie was molesting the other, I used to hide so no one would see me do this. I began to pee the bed at a young age and it lasted until I was in 6th grade. I was taken to doctors but they could never figure out why I was peeing the bed for so long. Growing up we lived on a ranch which included a barn next to our garage. It was my dads drinking place, I remeber several times as a little girl going outside to look for my dad and finding him in the barn. He would be masterbating and of course being a little girl I didnt know what he was doing so I would call out to him saying dad and he would move like he heard me but he wouldnt stop. I would leave feeling gross bc of what I had just seen. There is a specific day where I can only remember bits and pieces. I remember walking up to my dad who was sitting on a chair in the barn. He was drunk and drinking and i was around 5 or younger Im not sure. For some reason he told me to sit on his lap then had me lay face down across his lap with my butt facing up. I remeber him rubbing my butt and going under the pants a little asking me if I loved him and if I loved him alot more than mom. After that the next thing I remember is standing outside my back door shaking & crying and looking towards the barn with wet pants like I had peed myself. My father was no where in sight and I just remember I had this giant fear of going back inside the house I did’nt want to see my mother or siblings. That is the end of that memory. When I began puberty I remeber all I wanted to do was hide my body from my dad specifically just him. Id wear the baggiest clothes bc I always had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that he would check me out. In highschool my bedroom door did not have a lock, but I would make sure to close it every night. There was a few morning when I woke up that Id find my door slightly open, Id ask my mother what she had gone into my room for. My mother always looked at me puzzled and would tell me she didnt go in my room. After that I felt sick to my stomach and began sleeping with a knife under the edge of my matress bc I Felt like it was my father entering my room. At the time It was only my mother and father living at home my older siblings had moved out. A few months later he died from liver and organ failure. Four years before his death I had an older sister who died in a car accident, & a few months before she died at age 21 she confronted my father. She confronted him for molesting her around the age of 7 and of course he denied it and called her crazy. Im ashamed to admit that when ever I had read a story of a young girl being molested It arouses me. When I look at porn I often search for daddy daughter videos, adult videos. It makes me feel sick that that stuff arouses me. Ive been stuck in a foggy depression for over 10 years. I never allow myself to be who I really am I have never had any type of self esteem. I have always felt not good enough. Instead Ive always put up a very conservative appearance. But behind the do-gooder nice person I seem like ive struggled with a marijuana addiction, and self harm cutting on and off since the age of 12. Ive always hated my father mostly bc of his alcoholism his violence toward my mother beating her every day. Even now 7 yrs after his death im still mad at him. Its hard to let go, i mean the earliest memory I have seared into my mind is of myself holding my crying mothers hand as he put a handgun to her head in an empty muddy field. I was so young definitely before the age of 5. I feel so angry at times bc I know that I need to let it all go but its hard when he was never held accountable for all of the damage he did to my mother myself and my siblings. I feel like Im unable to diacuss the sexual abuse with my mother bc she has been through so much bc of my dad. She is very fragile still slighlty depressed he used to beat her on a daily basis for hours on end. My parents would argue non stop sometimes all through the night bc of his drunken rages. On several occasions my dad would tell me and my siblings that he was going to kill her and the.take off in the car with her and his guns. My entire childhood my sisblings and I were to afraid to call the police on him bc we always feared he would only come back and kill my mom after he got out on bail. He as a sick indidvidual I am angry at him bc he still keeps me prisoner ruling over my daily emotions.

    • I am so sorry you had such a traumatic childhood. Unfortunately, it is not unusual. All I can recommend is to work with a qualified experienced therapist who can hep you work through these issues. There is help and there is hope for healing, if you do the work. If you don’t life continues as it is for you. A therapist will help you put the abuse in your past, where it belongs.

      good luck

  78. I have a very clear memory about my brother sitting naked on his bed asking me to touch “it”. By it he meant his penis. That’s one, the other is me lying on his bed with him on top of me although I don’t think he raped me. It usually happened when he was babysitting me. It’s a lot more complicated than that. He hated me from the very first day I was born. Our father is an alcoholic with severe depression and a narcissistic personality. He tried to kill my mother when I was 14 and tried to commit suicide when I was 17 by strangulating himself. When I was very little my father favoured me that’s what my mother always tells me. I don’t have any memories of that. All I know is that I had to suffer as much from my father as my brother had to. He seemed to think otherwise. He hated me my whole life. So in addition to these memories it’s also my father taking pleasure in humiliating and hurting me as well as a memory of some boys forcing me to pull down my pants when I was a child. When I was a child and even for some years as a teenager I couldn’t go to the toilet. I can’t figure out if I was taking pleasure in holding it back but it sure as hell wasn’t normal. Now I am a 32 year old woman, I have never been in a relationship and the only way I can get off while masturbating is reading stories about virgins or even taboo stories. And it makes me feel so ashamed. I know there’s something wrong with me I have always known that. I just can’t figure it out. And I know I have inherited depression from my father. I just can’t move. I can’t find the strength to go and find a therapist. If I go that way I might have to sacrifice my mother cause I don’t think she would survive the truth about my brother and what he did.

    • you will never completely figure it out on yourself. You cannot see what you cannot see. it’s not possible that’s why I always recommend working with a therapist who can help you work through the issues.

      good luck

  79. Hi.
    I have several of the indicators on the list above. I’m 35 years old. Recently I came to the conclusion that I was molested by my paternal grandfather. Although not relevant he was a preacher. My whole life I’ve had two distinct, although incomplete, memories. The first happened at their first house. I would have been very young, under 5. There was an upstairs area with two bedrooms. I remember him walking me up the stairs, taking to the room on the right, and telling me a childhood story of “Goldlocks and the Three Bears.” I remember the phrase, “that once was just right,” while laying on a bed. That’s all I remember of that. The next memory happened after they built their new house which was close to where we lived. I remember being on the living room couch. I can remember exactly what the couch looked like. I turned my head toward the couch and closed my eyes and then felt things that felt good to me even though I wouldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 at the time. I recently found out some strange information about him which just further confirmed that what I think happened did happen. Also, my dad’s sister killed herself when I was 10. She was grown with grown children. No one has ever talked about why she killed herself. I have just started therapy; I’ve had one session so far. It felt wonderful to talk to someone about what I believe happened. It also explains a whole lot about the problems I’ve had throughout my life. It wasn’t my fault. I was a victim but refuse to be a victim anymore. Bless everyone that experienced childhood sexual abuse. Don’t let the perpetrator win. You can heal. I’m working on that now.

    • Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story. You’re right you are healing and will NOT be a victim any more. the stages of healing are:
      Survivor (which you’ve become)
      A woman that happened to
      It’s just ‘stuff’

      As we heal, we change the narrative of our story and become the powerful women we were meant to be.

      good luck

  80. For years, I noticed I had no memories until the age of 7. I used to shower in my underwear (back then, it seemed crucial I did so) and for years, I had horrid nightmares about abusing a younger sibling. No one could explain my lack of memories but this worried me.

    By accident, an older sibling mentioned the babysitter made us ‘do things’ and got us naked for no reason. As I was the youngest, I spent most of my time with the sitter. I know more happened to me but have no proof.

    After this discovery, the nightmares stopped but I developed an obsession with masturbation, I can’t understand. Sometimes, it feels automatic, with no logic behind it. And it always comes with deep, horrifying shame and self loathing.

    I developed very early, which made me a target to all sorts of perverts, including teachers. Luckily, by then, I decided to fight, which is what I did. When that stopped working, I purposely gained tons of weight. I was able to control it at the beginning but it now runs my life and it’s literally killing me.

    My family feels guilty for not knowing what was happening but we don’t talk about it. Sometimes, I think I’m going crazy. I’m in my mid thirties but feel both old, and painfully young. And as much as I’ve dream of meeting ‘the one’, men make me uncomfortable. I can’t be alone with them. The rare occasion when I am, I feel inadequate and immature.

    Would it be better to remember? I wonder. Like getting the poison out of a snake bite – and yet, I worry the memories will be too much for me. I fear they will push me over the edge.
    Sometimes, I wonder why this affects me, seeing I have no memories. I should be safe. And for now, all I can do is talk about here, hoping someone will understand. Heaven knows I don’t.

    • memories are just that – a recollection of past events. The tragedy is that those past events are damaging your adult life. all because of some perverted sitter. Don’t give him the power. get a therapist and heal.

      the damage continues until everything is exposed and dealt with. It’s like mold in the bathroom. Just because you can’t see it (or remember) doesn’t mean the damage has stopped. Get the help you need and spit in the eye of the perpetrator who selfishly ruined your life for a short term pleasure.

      you deserve better
      Good luck

  81. I’ll try to make my comment as brief as possible. My earliest memory of being sexually abused was when I was about five years old. One of my older half siblings who’s a few years my senior molested me by asking to perform a lewd sex act. Of course, not realizing what was going on being Autistic and just a little girl who didn’t know right from wrong, I consented. Although I still feel guilty for all the pleasure I got from this, my therapist whom I’m now seeing about the issue has helped me realize it wasn’t my fault. Sadly, a few years later, I was also molested by my stepfather. The first time it happened we were in my mom’s bed together. It’s still hard to get into all the details about my ordeal with both of my perpetrators, but I have drawn pictures about it and showed it to my counselor (at least what happened between me and my sister). Those were some of the worst years of my life on top of living with my mother for the last 14 years of my childhood (from age four to 18). Now, on top of getting therapy, I’m just trying to save up money to move away. My life isn’t getting any better here in Baltimore and what’s really bad about my ordeal is that I live near my old house where the abuse first started. After my parents split, my mom moved down the street with my sister, me and our stepdad.

    I also want to add that I think my confession about what my sister did has made things turn for the worst. For starters, not only is my sister denying she did anything of a sort, my mom’s side of the family don’t want much to do with me either. One of my aunts suggested that I “forgive and forget” because she said us girls “went through a lot”. Our mother is no longer around so I’m assuming she feels as though we’re the last two things she has to remember her sister by. To her, it’s like my confession was just going to send everyone on edge, but the family hasn’t been close in years. What’s one more dark secret?!! Besides, it’s not the first time the issue of incest has come up in my family. Instead of focusing on how I’m feeling, they want to know what I’m doing with my life in terms of working and going to school. Yeah, I went through a lot with my sister. But, I don’t want to go through anymore hardship with these people. I’M DONE.

    • Sounds like you’ve made up your mind about the family situation. therapy is the best move for any of us who were abused. we need to work with an expert who understands the repercussions of the abuse. The MOST important thing for you is to heal you heart and mind so you can have a rich full life. if that takes moving away, so be it.

      good luck

    • I to was molested by my sister when I was younger I remeber being angry with her .. but now being a adult I have forgivan her now knowing she was to molested and she didn’t know how to cope … or tell anyone .. I remeber that she was very aggressive when I was a child she still can be .. and my mother always justified her behavior thinking it was because my sister and I had different dad’s however my sister never knew her father and our mother married my dad when my sister was less than two and than had me soon after .. my hole life I have suffered from depression and anxiety not feeling loved and having memories of being molested not only by my sister but by my father … I have never told anyone intell recently I told my other sister and now am worried she will tell the family .. there has been alot of molesting victims from both sides of my family my mother was molested by a few people on her side growing up her father being one of them … I realize now after all these years I need therapy as I get older it gets harder to cope with the depressed memories I have of my father and was always confused by what I remembered I only have one very clear memories of my father coming into my room when I belive I was 4 and masterbaiting and than white stuff almost clear liquid going on my face .. even though this is one of the clearest memories I know it must have happened several times during the course of my early childhood hood because I showed several signs growing up .. like Masturbation at a very young age the earliest I belive was 2 … my mother never allowed family members to come by but once a year if that and we moved around alot and I never knew tell I was older that my mother was married twice before my father and that my mother’s first husband beat her all the time and my half siblings and it started when my siblings were just weeks old and she Finley divorced after 8 years because he left her for a different women. .. my grandmother my mother’s mom didn’t treat my mother right as a child my mother told me once that she went to her mother and told her that she had gotten molested by her own father and a uncle and cusin and my grandmother told her that bad things don’t happen to good girls that impacted my mother and along with her first marriage she didn’t know how to be a mom to us and I now know that we moved around alot because my mother lost custody of her first three kids and cps did not want her to have more kids and that she also molested her oldest son and went to jail for awhile and was sopose to register. . But stooped after a few years and met my sisters dad and she got pregnant and after a short time I heard that his side of the family knew my mother was unfit and she got scared and ran later met my dad and got married and we moved around all the time and we’re not allowed out side intell we were older and no friends or mush family visited we were brain washed in believing that that was normal but some how I knew it wasint. . I left home at 15 and experienced drugs and wanted to be loved by most that I came in contact with and lived somewhat reckless intell I turned 17 than I met my husband who showed me a better life and now we have been married for 10 years and have children and have for the most part lived a normal life but recently I have been able to try to block out all the bad from my childhood and not making the same mistakes my parents did .. but as we get older I do belive it gets harder and harder to go forward with my life when I never resolved or have forgiven my monsters of my past … I need to find a good therapist but don’t know we’re to be guan. .. if anyone has any advice I would be great full

      • call some social service agencies and therapists and ask about individual’s experiences working with survivors of child sexual abuse. If they say it doesn’t matter, then find another person. at an agency ask for this person who has the most experience. I prefered working with a woman, since I don’t have to overcome my fears around men and there’s no risk of my behavior to be misunderstood. you are the customer, so remember you get to ask for what you want – you’re paying for their expertise, so don’t get silly once you get started. let them do their work. your level of trust by the 4th appointment is the determination of success in this process and if there’s no trust, it will be hard to succeed. But I say that carefully because it is hard for people in our situation to trust others. Start slow and build up as you go along. When it gets tough, (and it will get tough) our instinct is to get mad at the therapist and quit, or just to quit. But so often when you’re starting to feel anger it’s because you’re hitting on things that matter.

        good luck

  82. Hi, i recently found this page looking for why i feel so detached or like an outcast for most of my family. I’m not sure how to begin from the start of things but there are different points in my life which reminded me of this particular moment. Im a 25 year old woman, i have social anxiety, or what i think i have because i always feel awkward and so self conscious all the time. I also have a thyroid disease (graves) My sister passed away when i was 17 and she was 14 (also my bestfriend) I’ve always felt detached from my parents(mainly my mother)

    So when i was around 6-7 from what i could remember being kind of random, or maybe it wasn’t i cant remember, but whenever i would play barbies with my cousin(female) who was about 10-12 at the time sometimes she would say the barbies would go and have sex. (again i didnt know if this was before or after what I’m about to say) and I saw one of the signs which really stuck to me as a kid, i never really thought like a kid per se. Like i would think about doing things sexually, over-sexualized any idea, like stories or always made/ or had interest in romance and not to a degree normal kids would be curious, i mean i was REALLY curious. But anyway i think i was molested on two occasions. the first was when i was around 6-7, my female cousin was 10-12, and she has a half brother who was around 8-9 at the time. We had finished playing barbie and at this time my little sister was like 3 so she was napping on the bed on their room. (They had a studio apartment but there was a tv unit acting as a fourth wall or to cover up the room so no one could really see unless they walked into the room.) So we had finished playing barbie and we were bored just talking about little kid things on tv, and my cousin(female) was talking about how they saw people on tv ‘doing it’ and my other cousin(male) was sitting on the floor cross legged with his hands on the top of the bed and my cousin(female) was under the bed kind of just laying or looking around the floor at the time before bringing up this topic.
    So she was like the people on the screen were ‘doing eachother and the man put his thing in the lady’s mouth’ and in my childish mind i was like what? why the hell would that go in her mouth? Anyway, followed by what she said , and seeing the confused look on my face, she decided to reenact it and my guy cousin slightly pulled his shorts down and my girl cousin who was under the bed put her mouth around his penis, while making no skin contact at all but it was weirdly close for half siblings to do that! Now that i think of it i believe this started in the apartment before the one they moved into where this took place. Before this i think we would try to spook eachother out in the bathroom with scary stories, but once my cousin made me and the guy cousin kiss, watch him pee etc. So this lead on to the apartment where they moved. So after she imitated the people in the porn on tv, she was like oh we should try something else they did! And i was like, ‘ like what?’ So she was like lay down (i was in between to parallel beds leaning on the wall a bit) and she pulled my pants down and i was like wait what? My mom is going to see us! and she was like no! and she ran to the living room which was behind that TV unit which separated both living room and makeshift bedroom, simply to see if she could see me and she ran back and said ‘ i cant see you so that means our moms cant see us!’
    (i forgot to mention that i had both parents present in my life, married, 2 older brothers and a younger sister)
    (My aunt was a single mom of my girl cousin who was older than the guy cousin and both had different fathers. She was a teen mom with the girl, and she was married when she had the guy cousin. The father just left and she had to file a divorce by herself and my grandparents helped raise her kids)

    So after she said that she couldnt see me, she returned to us and she pulled my pants down again and spread my legs, and told my cousin to lay on top of me with his dick practically laying on top of my crotch(never penetrating) and i never felt traumatized by it but it always felt like thats why I’m such a sexual person, despite only have one sexual partner in my entire life (willingly) and we were both virgins who are now happily together for 6 years, so i dont feel like i was traumatized with being touched or whatever. However, i feel like i think about sexual things or come off as a pervert too much. Ever since that encounter they made a game called ‘touch it’ and every once in a while when me and those two cousins were alone (we were still kids maybe just a year older) the girl cousin would make us do weird stuff like kiss in the dark again or touch eachother.
    That lead up to me introducing the game to my two guy friends in 2nd grade(in which i thought all kids did this with their cousins or with other kids behind closed door, i mean for god sakes, in the show called ZOOM, i thought even they did it off camera lol…awkward right?) So whenever we were bored in class and no one was looking, we would take turns sliding our hand down eachothers pants to touch our genitals. That lasted only in second grade. Although i remember the second grade before that (i was held back) i was terrible in school. Like not behavior wise, but i was stupid or i guess dead inside? that second grade class i had a strict teacher who i absolutely feared, she was mean but never particularly mean to me but i just didnt talk much, i had alot of UTI’s that year which made me have to pee alot (i blame my brother who was hitting puberty -‘s feet which had fungi or something and i took bubble baths oblivious to bacteria being there yuck!)
    But yea i took a test once in 2nd grade and i was just filling out bubbles and not knowing what the hell i was doing lol)
    So during the time i think i was about 8-9 my cousin was older and she had moved again to another apartment, where she lived with my grandparents, teen uncle, her mom and half brother of course. Now since me and my cousin were close despite that happening (it didnt seem to phase me in anyway until after i hit my teens, not negatively, just realizing how they acted like nothing happened)

    Well, this time i was sleeping over and my aunt and girl cousin had picked me up from my house, and we stopped by a deli store for candy and snacks, and went to their house finally. My aunt had to collect my grandparents from somewhere or whatever and me and that cousin decided to wait at the house. The new apartment was a 2 bedroom (one for my grandparents and the other was my uncles room.) He had a bed and a futon or something i guess for guests to sleep over since it opened up into a full side(at least for kids it was one.) So we were laying on his bed eating swedish gummy fish in the dim room and my cousin told me to pull my pants/panties down and she pulled hers down, putting a gummy fish (simulating a penis?) in between her legs, pretty much where her vagina(labia/lips) would be and started rubbing against my own, and we kind of laughed it off at the time, and randomly started talking about normal stuff and watching disney movies until everyone got back to that house.

    After a few sleep overs my mother stopped letting me sleep over, or when my brother visited my uncle (which i knew my girl cousin would be there) she would say no, there will be a bunch of boys and it isnt a place for a little girl to be around (yet my brothers arent creepy weird molesters lol they’ve never once did anything inapropriate.) But after a while me and my sister started becoming distant from the family, it was familiar seeing them but it was kind of a rare occasion, like maybe a few times a month i got to sleep over, only during thanksgiving or christmas or birthdays we saw eachother. So we ended up writing letters since we lived so far but it was still odd. I’m not sure if my mother was wrong for trying to be strict about who i was with but i feel like ruined what couldve been a better confident child. I feel like im judged for everything by everyone in my family, since im struggling to get a job because of my thyroid disease, they think im useless and everyone else is just getting their careers started and all and Im stuck here , anxiety prone, i tried starting my career as a hair stylist and had to stop because of my illness and everytime people talk about me they make me sound like a talentless loser.

    • you have lots of information here and I’m glad you posted but I really can’t give you any advice or direction except to find a therapist who is experienced and skillful in working with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. That person will be able to tell you if there’s a connection and if so, what it is. and if it’s not connected to your present day ‘stuff’ then she’ll be able to tell you that too.

      this takes work and time and effort. It doesn’t happen overnight or without work on your part. that’s the hard part. but the rewards are more than worth it.

      good luck

  83. Hi, i forgot to mention, I had recently brought this up because i felt like my cousin(the same girl) recently had something to do with my mother cheating on my father with a family friend of theirs, and my cousin accused me of lying and making it up. She said she was raped but knew nothing of her molesting me or doing weird things to me. Is it normal for people to deny molesting their victim?

  84. So I’ve never really talked about this, but maybe you could answer a question for me? When I was younger, 10 to be exact, my mom had been dating a guy named Hugo. I never really liked Hugo for the five years she was with him and I don’t have too many fond memories. I remember crowding in corners while he video taped me crying or him yelling at me constantly, even getting mad at me when I managed to learn the word for male genitalia when I was 8. But when I was 10, something odd happened I guess? Before church on Sunday’s my mom would go get herself some coffee which would take about thirty minutes. I remember one of those Sunday’s Hugo came into my room, he lured me into his room and said we were going to take a nap. And I honestly can’t remember mow I felt about that. I remember however how I was on my side facing away from him so that I could see the door. I was wearing a nightgown and his hand slipped under neath it and he started touching me. And then everything is sort of fuzzy… I remember after he was with me at his door and told me that it was our little secret and that if I was good then he’d take me to do something fun! And he did actually, we went and saw the movie rio in theaters! But I never told my mom… And this went on for about 3 months. I just can’t comprehend this really. Is it even considered sexual abuse in my case? It’s not like I was raped, and I did want to take “naps” with him because that’s the only way he’d be nice to me it seemed… Do you think i should tell my mom? I’m 16 now and it happened so long ago.. I don’t think my mom would even believe me. I have a hard time believing myself honestly.

    • Memories are tricky things, so with that qualifier, if what you remember is accurate then yes, this is sexual abuse. your willingness to participate is irrelevant, because he’s an adult and he offered you something you couldn’t get or have on your own (the reward). But best to work it through with a qualified experienced sexual abuse therapist so that you can find the truth and the help and healing for now and for the future.

      good luck

  85. Hello,
    I’m writing this because I have a serious problem. Often I’ve been wondering whether I’ve been molested as a child or not.
    The thing is that I don’t remember most of my childhood at all, all I have is random useless chunks of it
    Now, as a 26 year old woman
    – I hate my body
    – I have never engaged with anyone sexually because the idea repels me
    – I am terrified of intimacy and of being touched in any way
    – I am obese
    – I have anxiety, panic attacks, trust issues, both insomnia and nightmares
    – I hate water being splashed on my face
    -I have no attraction to children but when I read about abuse, my body reacts improperly
    -In fact it’s the only situation when it does at all because i seem to have no sex drive at all
    – i suffer from depression

    what i remember from my childhood:
    – i had nightmares and issues with insomnia as well
    – when i couldn’t sleep, my dad would lie down with me and wait until i fell asleep. thing is i don’t know if he’s done anything to me or not, i just don’t remember
    – i became interested in gaining sex related knowledge when i was very young. i was also very interested in pornogrphy
    – i would wet myself until i was around 10
    – i had this inexplicable bladder infection
    -had trust issues and anxiety attacks even as a child, i was afraid everyone would hurt me
    – i was and still am confused about my gender
    – i would neglect basic hygiene
    – i behaved like an adult

    as a teenager:
    i would cut myself and have suicidal thoughts, have been diagnosed with depression
    i would do everything to look as manly and unattractive as possible

    should i be worried?

    I have a great relationship with my dad, always had since my mother is cold and uncaring
    I have no problems hugging him and all but that one time when he tried to kiss my arm (??) i felt so disgusted i thought i was gonna vomit)

    could it be that my body is remembering things i do not?

    • It is possible that you’re having memories, but there’s no way to tell from a list. Rather it’s important to find out the full range of your history, emotions and family dynamics. As always, I can only recommend you work with a qualified, experienced sexual abuse therapist who can help you figure it out.

      and remember, there are many people who abuse children. It doesn’t have to be your dad – it could easily be someone else, assuming of course that your memories are a result of abuse.

      good luck

  86. So, I’m a 17 year old female (gonna be 18 in a few weeks). I just want to know if what happened to me counts as sexual abuse. It happened when I was in kindergarten, im not sure at what age though. I actually have memories of it, i know it happened, theres only a couple of moments that i know that are clear enough a memory that pops out everytime i think of my cousin. I mean, there was no penetration in all the times he touched me, just ya know, touching and kissing.

    Hes older than me, maybe between 10-15 back then. Im not sure in the present though, ive never tried to keep track of him now, pretty much gets awkward everytime theres a family event going on, so i just avoid him as much as possible.

    And you know, i was actually really sexual when i was a kid, i started masturbating from an early age. Everytime my cousin and other family members visited back then, hed bring me to my brothers room and started touching me and kissing me, he especially liked touching my crotch area. i thought it felt good, and i dont know, i dont actually feel traumatised, just that maybe everytime the thought pops out i just maybe wanted to forget, but sometimes i would actually like it. I dont get panicky about it, i actually rarely think about this. and when it happened when he started touching me back then, i actually wanted it to happen cause i liked it. One of my main memories of it happening was him asking me to suck on his tongue, it was awkward when i did it, dont know if he even liked it, i sucked too much.

    The reason im leaving a comment is to know if this counts as sexual abuse. I mean, he waso a kid, i was also a kid, hes just older, but sometimes i really wish it didnt happen. i dont actually get panic attacks or anything, the memories just sometimes pop out and make me want to punch myself. it feels embarassing to me, i was actually hesitant on writing this. Ive never told anyone, like, zero, no one. i think ashamed is too strong a word for me, at least thats what i think. I just really dont want anyone to know, but sometimes i get the feeling that i want to tell someone but my words get stuck in my throat.

    but gosh sometimes i would really just like to forget.

    • Sexual activity between children/teens is always a quagmire to determine abuse. In my experience it’s determined by the impact on the younger child along with the age difference. This sounds like there was a fair number of years between you. If he was 15 and you were six – he was definitely acting inappropriately. Think about it…what 15 year old is interested in sexual games with a little kid. Boys that age are usually masturbating and chasing girls.

      I wouldn’t dream of saying yes or no to this but I will encourage you to work with a therapist who can determine if there’s an impact in your life from these events and to help you heal those. Many many behaviors and emotions can come out as a result of sexual abuse (depression, anxiety, rage, self harm, excess sleeping, poor grades, poor hygiene, etc etc) so it’s best to figure it out before you get any older.

      good luck

  87. Hello,

    I am 16 years old and I have been having memories of my cousin touching me when I was younger. This has been bugging me ever since I was 13 years old I’ve been so scared to tell anyone. My cousin hasn’t shown any signs of what I believe he did. I can’t imagine him doing what he did to me because he is such a nice guy however I have had vivid memories of him abusing me as a child. I really want to open up about this to my mom because it’s been bothering me for a while and I don’t know what to do. But, I also don’t want to open up about it because I don’t want to ruin my family relationships.

    Please help,

    • It’s important to tell someone, because you’re having these troubling memories. Your memories are there. But remember that what you remember might not be what happened. sometimes we see a person in our memories but it wasn’t them who was the perpetrator. The only way to figure it out is to work with a therapist. You don’t say how old you were when it happened, although maybe 13. And you don’t say how old your cousin is or was at the time.

      I appreciate your concern about ruining family relationships. that’s important so we make sure not to accuse someone unless we’re sure. But working with a therapist will help you figure it out. Remember too, that a professional will have to report this to the authorities.

      good luck

  88. a 22 year old female. I always remembered everything. When I was around 5, I was forced to have sex with my young 6 year old neighbor by his older brother.. at least 4 or 5 times. Also when I was 5 a girl in my pre k class climbed on top of me at Naptime and told me to be the daddy & started hunching me &When I was around 6 my neighbors little cousin (a girl) was around 5 & she climbed on top of me and told me to kiss her cause it’ll feel better. Later on [i dont remember what age but coukdnt have been older than 6] my cousin & brother made me come in the bathroom and they stuck their finger in me, this also happened while we were in the pool. I had no idea what I was doing or what kind of game it was.. but the incident with my little boy neighbor I knew it wasn’t right. I cried to go home & my brother told me if I told what happen he wouldn’t let me play with them anymore. I always wanted to run with my brother, he was my best friend. And lastly when I was around 6 I could remember my brother doing things to me in the bath tub sexually. Just recently I bent over by the bathroom sliding toys under neath the bathroom door to give to my niece r & a flashback came to my mind : I use to play by the bathroom door while my brother was taking his bath , he slipped a note under the door saying *come in*, but I didn’t I went told my mom. He didn’t get in trouble but that was the last time it happened. Now years later everyone acts as if they don’t remember anything& i always think of it. It’s like a secret I can’t tell. Me and my brother are so close. He never mentioned it either but it’s so hard to forget those things. He beats on his girlfriend now & have anger problems as well. I blame my mom cause she never whipped him when we were younger. My neighbor [the little boy] is now grown & he always tries to talk to me. My neighbors little cousin *the girl* is now around my age but she doesn’t speak and the girl from my preK class doesn’t speak either. What do I do now? I wish I could go back in time. I watch my little girl extra careful , better than what my mom did with me. She can’t go to people’s houses etc and everyone always wonder why I’m so strict on her. This is killing me. This is the first time I even wrote, let alone mentioned my child hood.

    Signed sincerely,
    Violated & ruined childhood

    • one of the biggest tragedies of child sexual abuse is that, once violated, we are at greater risk for future and subsequent abuses often by a multiple of perpetrators.

      I can only recommend to you what I do to everyone, because it’s the only solution I know from all the pain…work with a qualified, experienced child sexual abuse therapist who can help you work through the issues of your past. I totally understand trying to protect your daughter, but sometimes such vigilance can backfire on them and us and put them at greater risk – something i know you’d never want. That’s why it’s so important to do your healing work and recover.

      you don’t have to worry about being forced to take legal action or cut out your family or anything else, if you’re working with a good therapist. You just need to get better, so you can have a great life.

      good luck

  89. I’m a 23 year

  90. hi. i just need to know if my experience as a kid can be counted for as child molestation. i recall those days when my dad loved hugging me when i was small, like aged 7 to 9. i felt awkward because he was touching my nipples and rubbing it. this happened every time he was playing around with me. i did not put any malice into it since i did not even knew what malice is that time. however it did not last long. my dad was a good dad, good husband, good provider and we were raised well, very disciplined and instilled good moral values and strong catholic faith. i really look up to him and i truly love him until i realized when i was growing older that i felt some awkwardness on him though. i was not too comfortable kissing him during occasions. but my sisters did not feel this way, i think. i also feel awkward being alone with him like inside the car when he fetches me from school. Now that i am already 40 yrs old and having troubles of my own, it just dawned upon me that i might have had a bad experience. my dad died 2 years ago and i dont intend in any way to destroy him but just for my peace of mind, i would like to know if the experience i shared confirms that i am molested. please enlighten me. thank you.

    • From these limited details, it’s impossible to say. It sounds inappropriate but could be caused by his curiosity of your personal development (it was a shock the first time i realized my girls had breast buds) or it could be more. I cannot say one way or another. But regardless of the cause, you’ve got something going on. it’s much more important, in my opinion, to solve the current problems, rather than worrying about their cause, so get the help you need and do the work and then you’ll heal.

      it will be good

      all the best

  91. I’m a 23 y/o female, in the past two years I’ve started remembering more and more about a female neighbor when I was about 6 til maybe 10 or 11…..she was also a kid but about 10 years older, I was friends with her younger sister. But the more I remembered the more it all made sense. I suffered from severe depression/anxiety most of my life…in fact I tried to jump out a 3rd story window when I was 6 and that’s when I started going to therapy, but until a few years ago I never told anyone what happened. I felt dirty, correction I still do…

    • I comment got cut off but I wanted to say thank you for writing this, it helps

      • I’m glad you’ve found it helpful

    • One of the saddest things about child sexual abuse is that the victim carries the negative feelings of the abuse. You feel dirty, but you were the victim! That feeling is one of the hardest to get abuse victims through and to the other side. You were hit by a car, while walking on the sidewalk. You’re not to blame. she did this and you’re paying the price.

      get the specialized help you need and recover and heal. Don’t give her another minute of your life because she’s a selfish stupid perpetrator.

      good luck

  92. An fb post led me here. Thanks. I’m 32 male. I have some of those signs. Right now I can’t remember any abused (physical/sexual) that happened. My parents told me when I was 6 that my aunt borrowed me for 6 months to live with them with my uncle and a 7 y/o male cousin. It was a 6 hour drive away from home. I couldn’t remember living with them for that very long time. Nothing at all. It was supposed to be just a month but my aunt always called my parents to extend my stay and it was the 6th month that they asked if they can just adopt me. That was the time my father came to fetch me. I have never been scared or had any untoward feelings with my aunt, uncle or my cousin. Whats bothering me is why I can’t remember any experiences living with them. God I’m confused right now.

    • There are many reasons why you might have no memories of that time. first of all, your aunt might have told you your parents gave you to them or didn’t want you or anything that made you feel bad. Or you might have felt these things, since your parents didn’t come to get you. As a result, a child can blank out those memories because they were from a scary time, or a shameful time (how a child might feel if he felt his parents didn’t want him).

      It seems a little weird ot me that you stayed that long. There should have been school and a life. You don’t mention your family situation but it could have contributed to the loss of memory.

      If children are really stressed (adults too, for that matter) events may not be imprinted on our minds. so there’s nothing there to be remembered. Memory is far more complicated than we realize. it’s not a video of the events that happened, but rather our brain’s interpretation of the events. The brain fills in the blanks or shuts off the memory if it deems it necessary for the child’s well-being.

      The more pressure you put on yourself to remember, the more likely will your brain ‘create’ memories. Or simply shut down the process of recall. Relax. Now that you want to know what happened, if the memories are recorded, they will come forward but we have no control over the timing.

      Yes, there may be sexual abuse in that time. (I think that’s what you’re asking) but it’s also possible the lack of memories are due to something else entirely. Have you asked your parents about that time? Why they left you so long? School? Start with what you can find out and allow it to build from there. And remember that you may never have memories at all. Sometimes we get a certainty, a ‘knowing’ of what did or didn’t happen. Sometimes we have no sense of the time at all.

      Either way, it’s important to deal with the reasons or symptoms that you’re dealing with that caused you to do this search. that you can fix. That is the important work of your life and for your future.

      good luck

  93. An fb post led me here. Thanks. I’m 32 male. I have some of those signs. Right now I can’t remember any abused (physical/sexual) that happened. My parents told me when I was 6 that my aunt borrowed me for 6 months to live with them with my uncle and a 7 y/o male cousin. It was a 6 hour drive away from home. I couldn’t remember living with them for that very long time. Nothing at all. It was supposed to be just a month but my aunt always called my parents to extend my stay and it was the 6th month that they asked if they can just adopt me. That was the time my father came to fetch me. I have never been scared or had any untoward feelings with my aunt, uncle or my cousin. Whats bothering me is why I can’t remember any experiences living with them.

  94. I’m 15 and was molested by a family member twice (if I remember correctly) the past year and a half it has really hit me for most of my life I told myself it didn’t happen but I know it did. I’m scared to tell anyone because I believe it was my fault sometimes I feel life isn’t worth living, I have nightmares of it happening again, sometimes I go days without sleep, I have anxiety attacks about it and just moments where I believe life isn’t going to get any better I don’t really know why I’m commenting this but I needed to tell someone I’m going crazy in my own mind

    • It’s really hard for a child of 13 to be responsible for her own molestation. We think we’re responsible but that’s one of the signs of abuse. I have women clients who know they seduced their violator when they, the victim, was 3 or 4.

      because of your age, it’s a hard time, but talking it out with a therapist will help. you don’t say anything about the relationship to the perpetrator or the age difference, so I won’t say you should go to therapy – since you’re underage, most professionals have to report your claims to the legal authorities. but I urge you to remember that victims are never the fault of being molested. they are the victims.

      therapy is the desired route to healing but I understand that might be difficult for you.

      good luck

    • It’s not your fault. At all. Your life is very much worth living. The best thing you can do is confide in Louise and let them guide you. There are people out there who can help you.

  95. I’m a 20 year old boy (I say boy because I don’t feel like I’ll ever be able to become a man) that is having memories that may or may not be true of sexual abuse. I am terrified of these thoughts. I have a lot of mental illness, a bit of literally everything. I tend to dissociate at any amount of stress. The “memories” I am experiencing are very upsetting, mostly because I can’t tell if they are real or not. The one image that sticks with me is the look on his face. The face alternates between my father and my friends father, but they both have a borderline demonic, sadistic look in their eyes. I am in a dark room. I dont know if this actually happened and that kills me. I dont want to blame an innocent man but I dont want to ignore these feelings. I have very low self esteem. I say “sorry” all the time for reasons I dont understand. I have intense self hatred. I feel broken. How can I tell if this is all in my head? Is it a psychotic nightmare or real memories resurfacing? My dad gave me a lot of drugs so I was numb for 5 years, and now that im a month sober this has all popped up. Im doing EMDR with my psychologist but she says it wont help me figure out if the memories are real. Its a chicken-or-the-egg situation. Was my mental illness caused from trauma? Or was my trauma a product of mental illness? It feels very real but I just can’t tell. All I know is that I despirately want to heal. Thank you for this webpage. It feels good to know I’m not alone here.

    • unfortunately, there is no way to tell if the memories you are experiencing (or think you’re experiencing) are real or not. I will repeat what I always say. Do the work to heal your feelings/emotions/heart and mind. You can heal without knowing or remembering. Many people get very few memories back – but they do the work and heal the past – whatever it was.

      good luck

  96. I think it’s clear that something happened to you in your childhood. Whatever that was, I can’t say from your post, but there’s something back there that needs resolving. As always, I recommend you work with a qualified, experienced therapist who can help you figure it out. You don’t need to live the rest of your life in this state – the world is a big beautiful place and my hope is that you will do the work so you can experience it.

    good luck

    • Thanks, Louise. I know therapy would probably help. Just haven’t gotten around to it yet, heh.

      I know this sounds silly, but could you please delete my entire comment? I was thinking about those things earlier, and it put me in a frantic, panicky state, and I think I just wanted to write my thoughts/feelings down so that somebody would read them and so that I could calm down. I’d appreciate it if you’d consider my request. Thank you for reading and responding ♥.

  97. The strong memories of my childhood are ones of low self worth, of feeling left ut of the family and aloneness. And yet i came from a loving family? Ours were the days when children in the street would all play together while the adults got on with their tasks. I was the youngest in the street. From age 5-8? I remember boys on top of me, while my brothers and their friends watched. I remember the places so well and a numbness. one time i remember being shunted into a bathroom with a young man, brother of one of the boys who would “ride me”. i remember having to touch his penis, the smell and feeling of his pubic hair. Just snippets….I don’t remember what else happened. I tried to tell my mother and older sister when I was 20. we were in the kitchen. My mother didn’t turn around – my sister sort of scoffed. I never spoke of it again except with one of my older brothers who says he remembered but that he also was abused but no details given. What followed was 30 years of making bad relationship choices and a low self esteem. Today, in my 50’s these thoughts are plaguing me. My ownly child has a serious medical condition and I feel totally unsupported by my family. The same feelings i had as a child are with me all of the time, especially my upset over my sister (mum has passed). For my son’s sake i was hoping there would be empathy from the family…but there is nothing…no contact, as if this is all my fault? My heart aches for my son that he hasn’t known love from his extended family. Do I turn my back and move forward? I know if I bring this up with them, it will be all of my stuff!? it’s for my son’s future that I’m trying to find some answers.

    • Family dynamics are very complicated. I urge you to read the posts on the roles of children of emotionally absent parents on this website. You might learn something. Your family’s reaction is to you and not likely what was done to you. it’s all about the roles we take on or are given as children.

      as always, I can only recommend working with a qualified professional sexual abuse therapist. with expert help, you can heal the past so you live the present to the utmost.

      good luck

  98. (Only half my comment posted, sorry “/)

    He’s always had a weird attitude to sex- I know from my mum he was a swinger. When he first met my mum’s best friend the first thing he said to her was ,’what’s your favourite sexual position?’. After him and my mum split, a friend of his told my mum thay his New Year’s resoloution was to ‘fuck a blonde because I’ve not had one yet’. This is likely irrelevant but it shows he’s sex-oriented, I guess? Although obviously that doesn’t mean he did anything to me.

    I have no idea if there is any meaning to these memories or if my brain has just distorted them. I do relate to a lot of the ‘signs’ you posted- although I’ve never experienced #15 or #16.

    I do currently live with vaginismus- the vaginal muscles go into spasm when the vagina is penetrated, causing very painful sex. One of the main causes of this condition is sexual trauma/childhood abuse. This is what prompted me to think about my relationship with my dad.

    I *think* I do want to talk to a therapist about this because it is playing on my mind a lot and although I don’t see my dad very often, I want to know the truth…I think. On the other hand I feel like I might create memories of situations that didn’t actually occur. I have a very over active imagination and this is a distinct possibility. I also don’t want my family to know I am dealing with this. My mum and dad are not on good terms (to put it mildly).

    • Your fear about creating memories is why I always recommend working with an experienced, professional, qualified therapist. someone with proper training who won’t create memories or set the stage for that to happen, but rather that will help you figure out your past.

      One question I would ask is how you know about your dad’s behavior and desire for a blonde. If it’s recent knowledge I might shrug at that, but one of the problems for many children is that they can be exposed to sexual information about their parents when they’re too young to handle it. Might or might not be the case for you, but either way, it’s good to talk to someone who can help.

      good luck

  99. Its only in recent months I’ve started to think about things having happened to me when I was younger (I’m 17) and I am really struggling. Memories of my dad being…strange (for lack of a better word) keep into my head. He and my mum seperated when I was 18 months old and I stayed with my mum, seeing my dad at weekends. I remember a few times him asking me to come into his bed “for a cuddle” and me always obeying, although I don’t remember the details of these situations. This was between the ages of 2 and 7 ish, although this is a guess- I know it was before I had very clear memories of my time with him . I also remember being very anxious to leave my room once I had gone to bed. The layout of my dad’s house was weird- the bathroom was downstairs and you had to walk through the lounge (where my dad always was) to get to it. I was so anxious of walking through lounge where he was- I once needed to pee really bad but was so scared to go downstairs- I peed in the mug next to my bed, and poured it away in the morning before my dad woke up. Since I was young (under 10 yrs old) I’ve had a very weird ‘memory’ (I’ve always been convinced I’ve made it up) of my dad sitting in the lounge saying ‘show me your bottom’.

    • Hello,
      I hope you are able to help me. When I was in middle school I started getting a weird memory of my dad making me touch him. I always dismissed it, assuming my mind created it, but once in a while it would creep up out of nowhere, still i dismissed it. Lately it’s been happening and I even mentioned it to a friend but I figured it was nothing. After years of not speaking to him he messaged me on social media. When I saw his picture the first thing i thought of was that memory and that’s how I knew that something just isn’t right. He was also physically and verbally abusive and sometimes wouldn’t let me out of my room for days. I don’t know for sure what happened but I don’t see why this “memory” keeps coming back even when I tell myself it’s nothing and it’s really just not leaving my head at all now. Also, I realized that I’ve always known what a penis looks like and I know this is weird but i feel like as a kid I could smell sex and whenever I smelled this certain smell I automatically related it to a penis. I see your advice to others saying to get therapy, and i want to try it out because I think it can help but I don’t know how to tell my mother. I’m 17 and I really don’t know what to do from here. I feel like I should leave it alone but I know if I do I’ll just keep thinking of it and it’ll never go away, as it’s come up many times over the course of several years. I just want an answer so I don’t feel so in the dark about my life. I’ve been depressed for years and never knew why but I feel like maybe it may make sense.

      • Generally speaking, these memories or recalls don’t go away. You have to deal with them and obviously I think a therapist is the way to go. BUT, just because you think it’s your dad, doesn’t mean it is. Memories are weird. they aren’t snapshots but rather pieces our brains put together to explain or remind or help us. so it might have been your dad. But it might have been someone else. There’s no way of knowing until you do the work.

        good luck

  100. I have grown up since it happened and have learned to live around it. I was ashamed of what I was involved in but i also knew that i wasn’t to blame myself for anything, the problem was i didn’t say no at the time and i let it happen. My problem now is that i recently told my partner and during the process of explaining realised that it was a bad idea to say anything. Life had been quite easy to manage with no one knowing and i wanted to keep it that way but since i had already started to explain it was too late for me to stop. My current guilt comes from the fact that i didn’t tell her truthfully. I changed a lot of details because i wanted to look like i had less control in the situation when truth be told i probably could of very easily walked away. I feel terrible, this isnt something you should change the details of and i wish i could go back and just say nothing. What should i do? i still dont think im ready to tell anyone about it truthfully but changing the details has just made me feel worse. To be truly honest i dont ever want to talk about it again because that has been a lot easier to handle than the stupid situation i have dug myself into now

    • Children can’t say ‘no’ at the time. that’s the problem. but we grow up thinking we had the right. Most of us are groomed to acquiesce. If we aren’t groomed, it’s the violation of power that keeps us in agreement and silent. Your feelings that you should have said ‘no’ and refused are a strong sign of abuse. Work with a therapist and heal the guilt and belief that you should have controlled the situation.

      good luck

  101. Hi. I’m hoping you can provide me with some guidance. I was sexually abused as a child. I learned to suppress the memories over the years but now, and I’m guessing it’s because I’m menopausal, the memories keep coming back and keeping me awake at night. I don’t know who the abuser us, but it must have been someone familiar to me because I am not afraid in the memory. I’d like to know what type of therapist/psychiatrist I should see to help me remember who the abuser was.

    • First of all, you may never remember who the abuser was. Childhood memories are funny. sometimes, some parts are blacked out totally and never recovered. Or sometimes the child’s mind puts someone else into the memories. So you could remember your dad or minister when it was really the other person. It’s affected by the age of the child, type of trauma and fear at the time. Altogether it’s fairly complicated, so there are no guarantees. having said that, I recommend working with a qualified experienced child sexual abuse therapist. Ask questions before you start working with that person. You are the customer and must feel comfortable before you pay them for their services. And remember, your level of trust for this person at the 4th meeting will tell you how successful the process will be.

      I don’t recommend hypnotherapy, although many people have had great results. From my perspective, it’s too easy for suggestions to create memories so it’s not worth the risk. And lastly, as always, remember the purpose is to heal your life. whatever happened, whether you remember it or not, has affected your life and you are entitled to live your days without abuse affecting you.

      good luck.

      • Thank you very much for quick response. My gut says to leave well enough alone but my mind is looking for answers. I don’t want to depend on drugs to sleep. I just need a way to accept what happened and move on. But this nagging need to know who my abuser was just won’t let up. Maybe a therapist can help me forget rather than remember. I don’t know. I just wish it would go away.

        • therapy will help you resolve the issue – regardless of whether you remember or not.

          good luck

      • Hello, my name is Faith. I’m 13 and I was molested my my biological mother… She was an alcoholic and she smoked… I never had the guts to tell my grandma because of that face that she would get like I was injured for life. She would never look at me the same again. But I would lay in my bed awake and hear her door open and I would slam my eyes shut! I could just feel it wasn’t right and my heart started to race and I felt really sweaty… While she was doing that, I pretended to be asleep the whole time. After terrible nights of silently crying myself to sleep I would wake up naked… Completely naked and I had never slept walked before so I knew something was defiantly NOT up. And then a few months later she was outside naked and made me join her… Saying like I’m your REAL mother, come on you know you want to after pulling my clothes off… Since then I always look my door at night even though I don’t live with her anymore and even though my adopted moms boyfriend doesn’t want me to I do it anyway, I don’t want to take any chances… I feel really worried if I don’t, do I have PTSD or something? Should I tell someone? It’s been like 4 years does it still count??

        • sexual abuse counts for a lifetime until it is resolved. I don’t know anyone who has resolved it on it’s own. When our basic need for trust is violated in childhood, we often have issues for the rest of our life – until we work with a professional to heal the past. some of us lock our doors and become scared of every noise in the night. Others of us become promiscuous and inviting and devalue ourselves totally. There is no singular reaction to childhood abuse but it’s important you work with someone to heal yourself so that your mom’s abuse doesn’t steal anymore of your present or future.

          good luck

  102. I am the only one she has shared her abuse with. I wanted and still want to help her. I thought I was helping her but some how I ended up lost.

  103. Hi. My girlfriend is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and she often finds way to sabotage our relationship. She often wants to end things and sometimes she does- she’ll tell me how bad of a boyfriend I was to create a stir so she can leave. But then she’ll plead for me to still be her friend- she says I’m her best friend and she needs me in her life. Why is she so quick to point out the ways I’m no good for her but then be so adamant that we remain friends? Also, she always ends up coming back to me after she leaves, sometimes starting new relationships. It’s hard to tell what is real and hard not to feel like I’m being used.

    • Based on what you’ve said here, I have to ask “Why do you stick around and allow her to treat you this way?” Admittedly I can’t see the whole picture, but if this is the nature of the relationship now, it will never change. and it may have something to do with her abuse experiences or not. Trauma in our past does not give us the right to traumatize others.

      take care of yourself

  104. Why do they make it so hard for the victim to get any justice? I decided five years ago that I was going to sue my uncle civilly for molesting me as a child. The court system makes it impossible. I need an expert witness for my case and they can cost thousands of dollars for court an evaluation. I couldn’t have him charged criminally because of the awesome statue of limitations, and this was my only other option. He ruined my life that wasn’t even started yet. From age four to age 8. He did it to other girls too, but he is my uncle so I feel extra guilt. I could write down a lot of symptoms that I have suffered in my life, but I don’t have an md behind my name. Any advice or help you could give me is appreciated, I feel like giving up. This has been happening since 2011 and I hope for the last five years he has thought about me as I have with anger my entire life. I want to stop being angry and get resolution for myself. Thank you.

    • the problem with lawsuits and ‘blame’ is that the victim never wins. the system is the way it is. it’s not fair and it’s not right, but it it is how it is. That is why I always recommend that victims focus on their own healing and let go of the need to see the perpetrator punished. it’s not likely going to happen and takes an extraordinary amount of time and energy and money.

      focus on you, so he doesn’t get to steal anymore of your life away.

  105. I am 18 now. I still feel like a child, and I’ve been sheltered all my life. Between the ages of 2 and 4, I was sexually abused. My biological father taught my brothers (one in particular) to mess with me. I only had one real vivid memory of this, and I was naked, against a mattress that was leaning against the wall, and my brother on top of me, squeezing my butt. But I now know so much more went on. I remember that my bio father would take me to the hill, pull my pants down, and whip me with a belt, but I told told a caseworker that, afterwards, I would “go away with him.” I don’t remember what happened after the spankings or where I went with him. I told my bio mother that my brother was touching me or something, and we all got whipped. I don’t remember telling again. She dropped us off with a distant relative who called DHS-who put us all in foster care. I went through nine months of foster care and received play therapy at the Children’s House. I was separated from my brothers for eleven years, but we were reunited about a year ago. We see each other now on occasion, and I try to have a moment alone with him to talk about what we remember. It turns out, he remembers more than I do, and I kind of resent that. He told me that our bio dad taught him sexual games, and every night, we would have to go to the room with the mattress against the wall. My bio father made my brother look at me naked, touch me, and rub me. I don’t remember a lot of what went on, but I remembered enough. My brother told me that my bio dad would cover him with a white sheet so he couldn’t see what my bio dad was doing (to me or him or both-I am not sure). I know my bio father watched when the “games” began, and that’s what they were to us…”games.” I don’t know if I am a virgin or not. I guess that’s why I am obsessed with trying to remember. I haven’t told my adoptive, loving, supportive family all that went on, but I told them enough that they know I was sexually abused. I get embarrassed talking about it, and it’s hard because I feel like I’m safer if only I know everything and just share it with my brother. I know my brother is the victim too, maybe more than me, but I can’t help being mad at my bio father who never got convicted of his real crime. He’s been in and out of prison for misdemeanor crimes but never for what he did to my brother and I. Now my brother has felt so guilty and treats me like I’m made of glass, but I’m not. I’m stronger now, but I want to remember so badly. I remember going into the room. I remember his rotten smile. I remember never being allowed to wear clothes and feeling so cold without them. I still get very mad, and I’ve had some unusual symptoms. I have always been very modest. I put on layers, but maybe only because I am cold natured. Lately, I can’t sleep because I go over what I remember and what my brother remembers every night now. At the Children’s House, I picked at my food – barely eating anything, had unusual accidents, had a hard time falling asleep, had structural seizures in my sleep, and I had bruises and a black eye once from the abuse. I had a lying complex for years, get bruises and not remembering how, and I did get aroused reading about the abuse. I feel awful for feeling some kind of twisted pleasure from this, because I know it’s the worst thing that can happen to a child. I don’t want to feel aroused, so I stay away from it as much as I can. Lately, though, I have been obsessed with learning how to remember. I know that often times, at least in my case, that the trauma can lead to gaps in memory I guess. Anyway, I have tried hypno-therapy on youtube and videos. I would go see a therapist, but I’ve been through therapy, and my last therapist, 11 years ago, lied and told DHS that my mom didn’t want my brothers. The therapist thought it was too dangerous, but if they had been raised by the same mother I had, they would know what love and support was. My brother comes down to my house only when he has the money. He works all the time and has no money. I see so much of myself in him, and I’m proud of the man he’s becoming. I know that so many kids have it so much worse than I do, and that’s why I try not to feel sorry for myself . I’ve never dated anyone and just keep my head in books. The thought of being in a real situation with a man where the topic of physical sexuality arises makes me nervous. Sex in general doesn’t, I don’t think, but the idea of me being in that place really does me me nervous. I’ve pledged purity until marriage, but I don’t know if I’m really pure. I’ll try to wind this up. I guess my only real concern is how to get over my obsession with remembering.

    • Being sexually abused doesn’t take away your purity. you were a victim. it’s like knowing that being robbed doesn’t make you a thief – the acts were done to you.

      I can only recommend that you give up the drive to remember – that often drives the memories away and buries them deeper. and unfortunately, very few parental pedophiles every pay the price for their crimes. In fact few pedophiles ever pay a price for the lives they ruin.

      I’m glad you’ve got a loving supportive family. I always recommend therapy (which you know if you’ve read my comments) because the damage from sexual abuse is so deep, I don’t think anyone can heal it without help. But I always caution people to work with a qualified professional, experienced therapist. As a profession, therapists are no different than anyone else. There are good mechanics and lousy ones. They charge the same thing. There are doctors I wouldn’t send my worst enemy to see. just because you can study well, pass exams and meet a residence requirement doesn’t make a therapist insightful, wise or understanding.

      good luck in your healing

      • Thank you so much for your advise. I wish I could get my brother to a therapist. I know I received more therapy and attention – probably because I’m a girl. Now that it is obvious that men suffer from sexual abuse, maybe he can get better support. I feel like he’s very depressed because of his very sad nostalgic attitude when he’s around me. He told me he could never forgive himself for what he did to me, and I told him that none of it was his fault, that he was the victim too. Anyway, I just really appreciate your site and your efforts to point people in the right direction. Honestly, sexual abuse didn’t ruin my life, it only took a piece of my childhood away. I understand that for so many it is not this case, and that the trauma from being a sexual abuse victim weighs down on so many lives. I know that people will see this, so I want to encourage everyone to open their hearts and pour out the past. Once it’s out, you don’t have to wallow in what happened. It’s hard and embarrassing but worth it. Thank you for letting me comment on your post on your site and for your quick reply. Sometimes, being a good person with a kind, caring heart is the one thing someone really needs at a given time. Thank you for being a good person Mrs. Behiel.

        • I’m glad you’re doing well. Your brother’s journey is up to him but with support, I’m sure he’ll do well too.

          good luck

  106. Hello Louise.
    I am a female, and I ended up here because I am having some anxiety around an issue. I have recently moved into a household with adults and one child. I love kids, I think they are the best; however, I have recently become paranoid (I don’t know how else to describe it) that the kid’s parent might feel slightly uncomfortable with me around their kid. It’s paranoia because I do nothing at all to make them think this way, other than perhaps coming across as slightly uncomfortable and shy; these people are new room mates and I do feel somewhat shy around them in general. But I have had this feeling before about another other friend and her daughter. The thing that really bothers me is that I feel like the feelings come from a hyper awareness of the children and their vulnerability to being sexualized by adults, and my paranoia comes from my own worry that my room mate or friend will sense this awareness and think I am a creep for it.
    As a child, I felt sexualized by my father — I do not have any memories of explicit sexual abuse, but between the ages of about 9 and 15, he would whistle at me so that I started wearing very large and overly conservative clothes out of the house, he would call me sexy or tell me that I looked good in a bathing suit, he would touch my bum (in a joking way, however, it made me very uncomfortable), he would spy on me when I was going to the bathroom, he would open the shower door to tell me to get out, he made jokes about me masturbating, and he would fly into a rage if a boy called for me. I found a picture of myself around 5 years old, naked, and that looked somewhat provocative; I immediately tore it up. When I was around the same age, my dad let me play his penis. The only thing that makes this seems ok is that my mother was there and scolded him. He thought it was funny.
    My father was emotionally and physically abusive towards my mother and brother. Although he never directed his anger towards me in this way, I feel like he was inappropriate towards me in the other ways I mentioned.
    I went to a daycare between the ages of one and two or so. The woman who ran it had a husband who was around sometimes. He was later convicted of sexually abusing a girl while I was there. I don’t know, nor does anyone else, if he ever touched me.
    I do and have suffered from anxiety and depression my whole life (earliest memories of depression are three years old), and I started feeling suicidal around the age of 14. This comes and goes, and recently it has been a real struggle with my suicidal thoughts and feelings. People generally cannot tell that I struggle so much in this way, and I rarely share it with anyone.
    I am not sexually aroused by children, but I know that some people are. I feel anxiety about that fact, and that their caregivers might worry about it. I feel so much tension about it. And I feel so strange for worrying so much over something like this. I am worried that people don’t trust me, and I wonder if it’s because I have some issue in my past that prevents me from trusting myself or from feeling safe or normal. I don’t understand all the anxiety. Do you think my father’s behaviour has anything to do with my feelings? Could I have been sexually abused by that man? Could I just be a paranoid person?

    • there was nothing appropriate about your dad’s behavior. NOTHING. so your lack of trust is to be expected. since you’re in a room mate situation, i’d suggest you work with a professional qualified therapist to figure out how to heal the issues you’re living with. remember, there is no worse than or better than, when it comes to sexual abuse…for one person a minor car accident is no big deal. For another, the same type of car accident can be life changing, causing anxiety and fear that changes how you live your life.

      you’ve described situations that don’t sound too awful, but they were still abusive, so get the help you need so you know what’s going on and can trust yourself and then others will also trust you, in all situations.

      good luck

  107. I’m 16 almost 17 and ii have quiet a few of these symptoms.. I started my period around age 12 and noticed I have some scarring in my lady area and thought nothing of it.. Now I’m older and am a bit worried something happened. I know I’ve suffered through physical abuse… Idk its just been on my mind recently cause there is no reason there should be scarring.i did some research on the scrring and it kept saying it was damage done to my hymen but I was a virgin. I should also put I lost my v card a few months ago but felt nothing like my “cherry” didn’t hurt. So I am just worried that something happened that I have no memory of and I have no one to talk to.

    • I should also add i have a hard time trusting people. And its hard for me to feel safe around males. I don’t do well with people in general. I feel paranoid and unsafe in public. I have a problem with self harming. I hate my body and cry a lot because of it. I’m jumpy and startled easily and I’m constantly zoning. And I refuse to be in a relationship and don’t want to get married yet I can’t explain why. 8 &12 too

    • the hymen is a thin membrane and for many of us, it’s split long before we have sex. Jarring yourself on a bike seat, as a kid, tampons, or other bumps and bruises can tear a particularly thin hymen. So not having pain is not an indicator in and of itself. Scarring is an issue, for sure.

      I repeat myself, always, but the important thing is to heal the problems you’re having, regardless of their source. you don’t have to remember anything about abuse – you just have to do the work to heal your heart and mind so you can have a rich and full adult life. find a good therapist and work it out…your future is worth it, I promise.

  108. From ages 3-11 my big brother would always try to kiss me and hold me and stroke my arms and back in an uncomfortable manner. I always felt extremely uncomfortable around him, and I have a memory of when I was 6 and my parents locked us in a closet for time-out, and he was kissing me on the mouth. I don’t remember how it lead to that, but afterwards I felt dirty and disgusting and really on edge. Later when I was around 8(?) a female cousin randomly asked me “do you want to have sex?”. She was only a little bit older than me, and I didn’t really know what sex was. Later she took me to a bathroom, laid herself down and told me to lay on top of her. I don’t really remember what happened after that. And then when I was 9, she did to me what I think is called “digitally rape”. She put her fingers in there and I didn’t really tell her “no” but I didn’t say “yes”. I was too shy to say anything. I’m in my early 20s now, and since those experiences, although I don’t remember everything, I’ve been really, really depressed, and I feel worthless just writing about my experiences. The way I react to things has always been really off, too, as if I don’t know how to react to certain things, or how to feel. I just get uncomfortable around people and socializing with them or conversing. I feel uncomfortable being physically close to people in general. Was what I went through when I was younger in any way molestation, or is it just weird childhood experiences that negatively impacted me?

    • I can’t really say how to classify those experiences but your feelings and emotions are fairly common for survivors of childhood abuse. I can’t tell though from a blog comment, so I’ll recommend as I always do — find a qualified professional therapist and do the work to heal all those bad feelings, regardless of their source. It’s our only way to heal all that stuff.

      good luck

      • You’re right, I probably should see a therapist…I just have this stupid fear that they’ll confirm that something wrong happened to me. But I will look into it more. I appreciate your response.
        – A

        • Remember that you were the victim. Your comment is like saying “I was walking down the sidewalk when a car jumped the curb and ran me down, but I don’t want to go to the doctor because they’ll confirm something wrong happened to me.” you were the victim, and it’s affecting you. Get the help you need.


  109. it happend when i was 11 im now 18

  110. Ive always felt different. One as a transgender person, which I resolved and transitioned at age 19. However something else.. with my mind… has always felt off. How I react to things. Emotional instability.. and pretty much every BPD symptom there is has been present in my life (although I moved past alot of the self-harm in my later years). I never went to therapy until last week. That one hour I just ran down my life arc of depression/anger/depression. Ive felt emotionally unstable just because I talked to someone about what I think is wrong with my mind. Im not really sure anymore.. I spent today scanning every childhood memory I could remember.

    Only some strange memories pop up. Im in a tent in the living room with a BFF (about 3rd or 4th grade?), and I took my pants off for no reason, then pulled them back up. My bff making me smell his sisters bra?? I remember dressing up in girls clothes with my little brother (around same age).. and telling him I wanted to be “smooth like a girl”.. hiding my penis. As a trans person Ive always had major body dysphoric feeling about that area. I have deffiently had the transgender feelings since before this age.. as its my earliest memory. I was generally effeminate. I dont know.. I just dont know anymore.. I feel like my mind is splitting open, but I dont have any memories of molestation.. Yet I have so many symptoms of BPD. I was bullied alot as a kid growing up from about 3rd grade (and a loner before that). Im scared, but… I also really want to know.. I want to remember if anything happened to me. I mean my childhood memory is gaps, and hard to remember. I also age-regress sometimes… on purpose even.. and it feels good to be a little kid again. After an age-regression I collapse into total tears and sobbing for about 10mins. Lost and confused.. wandering around this life for 36 years, have almost killed myself several times… yet professionally together.. I own a business.. and a house.. and a great partner.. nobody would know that inside, and at home I can be a terrible terrible mess. Im very sensative to lots of things… writing this makes me want to cry

    • BPD and child sexual abuse are NOT synonymous, so please don’t make that mistake. Child sexual abuse is not correlated to any psychological conditions except PTSD and depression/anxiety. I am not professionally familiar with the transgender, except as an observer, so I can’t say anything about your behavior in relation to that reality. However, the things you mentioned here that happened as a child are really common in little kids. They’re very normal things for children to do. Even cross dressing is much more common in boys than most people realize. Girls dress in trousers/jeans/cutoffs etc and no one bats an eye, even though those items were traditionally ‘male’ garments (a long time ago). but when a boy wears a skirt or some other garment that is ‘female’ (again whatever that means) raises all kinds of issues for people. But it is normal for both sexes, regardless of gender or gender preference.

      continue with therapy – but remember, how you feel about your therapist after the 4th sessions will tell you how successful you’ll be in this work. Your level of trust in that person is the factor to keep in mind.

      good luck

      • Well Im not saying BPD and child sexual abuse are synonymous. Im just saying that often coexist.

        Well the crossdressing makes sense to me. As a trans person.. duh on that one..just mentioning things.

        What about the age-regression that happens to me.. the terrible sobbing that happens afterwards??

        I knew I was a girl from a young age.. other kids bullied me for it heavily all the way through highschool.

        As a trans person My gender dysphoria didnt bother me once I transitioned at 19yrs old (Im 36 now).. however after that.. I still always had this lurking feeling in the back of my mind that something is wrong. I have trouble regulating my emotions. I just dont know anymore.. Ive been on a rollarcoaster of emotion my whole life, and I want off. I do have many of the symptoms of child mollestation. I just didnt go into detail. Some are embarassing to talk about.. so I wont. Ive always felt Ive had a repressed memory since I was a teenager. Then I tell myself, Im just making stuff up, that Im a hypocondriac.. etc etc.. im just crazy..

        I dunno I was raped as an adult too.. my whole life has been one long fucking trama

        • I am so sorry for the trauma you’ve suffered. Life is so hard for many of us. But I think you’re on the right track – you have transitioned and you’ve started the work. if the regression is too damaging, then find another therapist. Seriously. get the help you need to live a rich and full life. it’s your turn.

    • I have a memory of being locked in a bathroom aged 3/4 and being shown a penis .. I remember many things before but Everything is a blur till Aged 5

      I can answer yes to 1-15 . I’ve always felt different and never know why. My mum told me I was gay when I was 17 and as I had fumbled with a few lads I thought I must be. I can only have sex if I’m on drugs and that’s usualy by myself

      • I am so sorry for all your troubles. Perpetrators do not realize or they don’t care about the long term effects of their actions on their victims – they only think about their personal gratification. it infuriates me. But, as I have continually said, the only way for us, as victims, to take back our power and reclaim our lives is to work with a qualified professional therapist who understands adult survivors.

        and by the way, I can’t say if you’re gay or not, but it’s quite common for boys who were assaulted by males to think they are. Sexuality is a complex issue and again, I have to suggest you work with a therapist on this.

        good luck

  111. When I was young (about 3), my father left home as he had several affairs with very young women. My mum told me he couldn’t “manage” kids. I spent a lot of time being looked after by people who were not direct family, but I have repressed memory of this and my dad. My dad had mental health problems, and died when I was eight, yet I can not remember anything about him befor he died. I can however remember nightmares about characters from tv adverts flying in my bedroom and playing with my penis, and at school (aged 5) I would lock myself in the toilet and take off my pants as it felt nice without them under my trousers. At 10 I had my first orgasm, and after that I became obsessed by masterbation, but didn’t really think I could have sex.

    My first sexual experience involve same sex play, and I have always felt dirty about this or my addiction to self abuse. Are these sorts of things within normal behaviour, or is there a chance I was abused? Also I have little problems being naked in front of others, but find going to the toilet has to be very private. I had a mental breakdown last year, and completely lost my sexdrive, other that one night in hospital after I tried to kill myself and was discovered.

    • Adam, I couldn’t begin to say whether these are signs of abuse or not. They could be, but they aren’t definitive. You have to continue working with your mental health team to discover the truth but more importantly, to heal so your future is bright and good.

      good luck

  112. I don’t know if any of you will be able to help me through this… I am clinically depressed and finally saw a therapist and have been taking anti-depressants for sometime now. As part of this they keep asking me questions about any history of sexual abuse, and I have never been able to say a firm no, despite having really good people as parents. Nevertheless I have a really bad relationship with my mother who used to beat, pinch, scratch and violently scold me for every petty thing through my school years, and my father worked away from home and was absent most of the time. I recently had nightmares of my grandmother molesting me and my therapist suggested I might have repressed memories, but I don’t know. I don’t have many of the physical symptoms given here, but here are some facts,:
    1) I have masturbated from very young (7 -8 years old) and can orgasm only when I am masturbating with water (like a health faucet or tap on my genitals)
    2) I get turned on when I put myself in rape-like and BDSM positions and have imagined many scenarios while masturbating. Also, I have googled, watched videos and obsessively followed any content on rape, abuse and prostitution
    3) I had a very vivid alternate reality that I lived in, where I was in a (in retrospect abusive relationship) with my partner for most part of my childhood (7-18 years). I lived in this world through most of the day and disguised all my day to day activities as activities in my other world, talking to imaginary characters and all. This stopped after I got into a serious relationship in college.
    4) I have been plagued by severe inferiority complex through my life.
    5) I remember asking my cousin brother (older by 5-6 years) to play ‘puppy game’ with me as a 5-7 year old child. I would ask him to tie me up under the table, pretend that I am his dog and beat me and make me run around. I enjoyed the feeling of submission and only recently realised how weird a game that was. I was however obsessed with playing this every time I met him.
    6) Once when I was 2.5 years old, I went missing from school for the whole day and didn’t tell at home. I was found by the bus driver at the pickup spot outside the school on time, so noone knew until my class teacher asked my mother later why I was absent. My mother questioned me and I refused to speak. Till date she says how it was so freaky that a small child went missing and didn’t divulge any details.

    There are many more weird personality traits that have been a cause of debate and frustration at home. I don’t know how many stem from my issues with my mom and what else. I don’t have any significant blank spots in my memory and don’t know if I have any repressed memories. Do let me know if it is possible given the symptoms.

    • symptomology is a weird thing. but it’s important to remember that it’s personal. Since you’re working with a therapist, I’d continue to be honest with that person. if you don’t have memories, then say so. There’s no way I can say from a short comment on a blog but I do know this much: the physical abuse you suffered from your mom may be enough to trigger all those symptoms. But remember that repressed memories are gone – they often aren’t imprinted on our brains, so sometimes they can be recovered, and other times they can’t.

      good luck

    • I have also had your symptoms 1-4, I’ve recently felt that something in my memory is missing. There’s an urge for it to get out. I have not seen a therapist, but I am trying to find my memories through meditation. I’ve been recently thinking about how weird it is that I’ve felt and done those things at such a young age. I also remembering when I was 8-11, I would get under my bed and masturbate with different objects, I had all these weird scenarios in my head about being sexually abused, that I would act out. Thinking about it now, makes it seem something did happen in my childhood.

      • I have never seen anyone heal from sexual abuse other than through working with a qualified experienced therapist. Our challenge is that the abuse colors everything in our lives – even if we don’t know it. It’s like looking through a colored filter. If the filter is always there, that’s normal for us. but it’s not what everyone else sees. So I always recommend therapy. Meditation along with working with a professional is great.

        good luck

  113. I need advice for my 5 year old daughter’s sake. This is a long story so please try to stay with me.
    Recently my brother-in-law, Anthony, came to me and said he was having weird, inappropriate dreams. He’s a strange character who is always very paranoid about everything and nothing. I was half listening and giving responses like “yeah, uh-huh, ok.” Then he started asking if I think maybe he was sleepwalking and acting out his dreams. I said I don’t know but probably not. He lives with my in-laws and I assumed they would realize if he was. He then said the inappropriate dreams were about my daughter. I froze. I couldn’t think, speak, move, nothing. He left with his mom and I immediately called my husband who was out surfing with his friend at the time. I asked him to text his brother to get him to elaborate on what the dreams were.
    (I should mention here that when my 5 year old daughter was almost 2 we lived with my in-laws. My husband deployed to South Korea and I lived with my father-in-law, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law. It was my three daughters and myself. They are now ages 4,5, and 11)
    Anthony told my husband the dreams were from when we lived with them. That is different from what he told me. He told me the dreams were recent but I honestly wasn’t listening very well. My husband asked him to elaborate and give details because I needed to know what exactly he was dreaming about my baby. He said it was two dreams. In one she was “exploring” herself and he was helping her and the other dream was of her giving him oral sex. She was 2. She was in diapers still. He would always ask if I needed help changing my girls diapers or clothes or bathing them. I always said no. I also never left him alone with my children. I did leave them with my mother-in-law though when I had something to do.
    I remember when we lived with them at one point he became very strange. He said he was having wet dreams and had to go see a doctor about his paranoia. He was about 21 or 22 at the time. When he was talking to my husband through text he brought up sleepwalking again and that scares. I’m afraid he did hurt my daughter.
    Pretty much what I need advice on is what should I do? So far I had a private talk with each of my girls about privacy and private parts. We have had those talks before as well. All three girls said no one has done anything inappropriate to them ever. My fear is he did do those things or more to my daughter and now that she’s older and can speak better he’s afraid that she will tell on him. She will never see him again. None of my kids will. He is not welcome here and I have made that very clear.
    What should I do to do right by her? I don’t want her to be an adult thinking back saying why didn’t my mother do more. I would do anything for my children. Please help me. Should I have her see a counselor, all my girls see one, or should I let it go?

  114. I’m not sure if I was abused. I started masturbating really young. My mom tells me I was about 6 months old when it started. She took me to a doctor because she believed I was abused and wanted to know if the doctor could tell of anything was wrong. She was told that some kids just figured masturbaton out really young. I also have really vague memories from around the time I was 3-5 years old of someone standing in my doorway at night and telling me to masturbate in front of them. I don’t know if I dreamt that, or if I’m not remembering properly. I have a lot of issues with people touching me, even if it’s not sexual. I’ve dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts since I was very young. (I can remember being about 4 or 5 and standing in the kitchen looking at the knives and thinking about stabbing myself) I feel a lot of discomfort in relationships, and I get really anxious if there are people behind me. I remember going through a faze where I wouldn’t sleep in my room, and I would get intensely uncomfortable and anxious if someone tried to make me. But I have no specific memories of anything in particular, and no idea who would have done it if it actually happened.

    • Yes some children may figure it out young – but I don’t know any. There’s no way for me to tell and there’s no way what happened or to ensure the memories come back or certainty prevails. the best way to get to that point is to work with a qualified professional therapist who can help you figure it out and put your life to rights – ending the depressions and suicidal thoughts are critical, so that you can have a full and rich life.

      good luc

  115. Where to start…i am 15 years old and i used to live with my father when i was younger. As far as i am aware, he would never do anything to hurt me, however there is a chance he hit me a few times (at least once) so im not really sure, but he often left me with babysitters and random people i didnt know while he went out to God knows where and i have noticed through the years that i resemble many symptoms of somone that was molested as a young child. For example, i have repressed memory and so i do not remember anything of my childhood from about 9 or 10 years and below. This could just geenreally be because my father did not treat me very well and overall neglected me and my younger brother, leaving me to care and raise him until we moved in with our mother, but it seems like it’s more than that. Also, i have been very sexual for as long as i can remember, i have masturbated far too frequently and am much more mentally developed in that way compared to others my age or even older. I am a virgin but only because im too worried about getting pregnant, otherwise i would have lost it many years ago. My mother had also noticed many symptoms in me that i only found out recently, i hated going back to my father’s house from my mum on the weekends because i was too scared, i had bedwetting problems up to an unusally high age (i not long got out of it after many years of medication), and i believe there are things my mother isnt telling me but i am fairly positive that something happened to me but whatever it was, has been repressed and i dont want to put my mum through the stress of a therapist or more counselling, especially since i am doing my GCSES and will be going to college soon. I have wondered this for years now and im beginning to feel the need to know if its true, do you think it could be or is it just a coincidence that my mother and i have noticed these?

    • I know I sound like a broken record but I can’t encourage you enough to work with a qualified, experienced, professional therapist who can help you answer all these questions. You can do that, likely at your college, and not stress out your mom. This is the only way I know of to find out and more importantly to heal from whatever the trauma was. Working from this perspective (an abuse survivor) will help the therapist to help you

  116. I don’t really know how to say this, or if I even should. I haven’t told anyone. I think that maybe I was a victim of sexual abuse. When I was about 13 my dad gave me “The Sex Talk.” Now that I think about it, the talk itself wasn’t quite normal. Instead of talking about the precautions to take if/when I decide to have sex, he took it further and asked if I ever masturbated, and if I did that it was okay. He showed me porn videos and told me it was okay to watch porn. Then I remember after that, things got increasingly worse. He would ask to see me masturbate, and then partake in it too…once he stuck a carrot in my vagina in place of the real deal. I didn’t know then that it was wrong. I wasn’t aware that what he was doing wasn’t normal. I feel like in a lot of sexual abuse cases the child is really young and isn’t able to say “no,” but I constantly think that I was 13 and I should’ve been able to say no. Some nights he would come into the living room and watch porn and then masturbate while I was in the room. He even tried to buy me a dildo. I feel like a dirty person. I feel impure. I have contemplated suicide, but known I’d never go through with it. Maybe that was my mind’s way of trying to deal with it. As I got older, I moved out, and living with my mom. I didn’t have contact with my dad for a while, by choice. He acts like nothing ever happened…so I doubt myself. Did it really happen or was it all a bad dream? I don’t want to be responsible for ruining his life or reputation.

    • what you have described is definitely abuse. no parent should include him or herself in their sexual activities and certainly should never touch a child in a sexual way. it’s good that you moved out. don’t think about suicide. You are the victim and feeling dirty is part of the residual effects of sexual abuse. you couldn’t say no. You didn’t know what he was doing was wrong (in the moment) and you had no power in that situation – that’s what makes it abuse.

      I always recommend the same thing – work with a professional qualified therapist who understands child sexual abuse. She will help you work through all these feelings.

      as victims, we have to think of it in this way: if you were walking along the sidewalk in front of your house and a car jumped the curb and hit you, you wouldn’t think it was your fault. you wouldn’t want to kill yourself because some idiot hit you. But with sexual abuse, those are natural outcomes. somehow we think we’re responsible. and that is the most insidious part of the long term affect of child sexual abuse.

      good luck and do the work. you can heal from this.

  117. I can’t remember it, just all the gross feeling sexualized dynamics during the day. I realized I am not bad, it doesn’t matter why they crossed the boundaries, and I didn’t deserve it.

    I realized I’ve been recreating the experience of being abused by my dad by going after dangerous sex with men who look like my dad.

    My mom might have been doing things too as I got older, at the very least she had voyeur and exhibitionist behaviors that only got worse as I aged. I still have to tell her no when she asks to see my skin condition on my genitals. I had to move out because she wouldn’t stop walking in on me masturbation. I’m so angry about her violations because she seemed like the “good parent.” Ha.

    My stomach hurt so much thinning about this but I feel very light and calm now. I have forgiven myself and stopped the shame.

    I’ve thought about all of this before and come to the same conclusions several times. But now I have accepted I don’t need specific memories of things that happened to me as a toddler or younger while sleeping to justify my suspicions. I’m pretty sure dad took advantage of two generations of my cousins as babies. Sick bastard can’t clean up dog poop without gagging but always volunteered to change stinky diapers. Why didn’t anyone suspect? How can I be the only one who sees?

    • people see what they want to see and not what is in front of them. good for you for realizing this was done to you and that to be safe you had to move out. it’s not unusual for 2 perpetrators to get together. as sick as that sounds, it is the truth.

      find yourself a qualified professional child sexual abuse therapist and do the work. don’t let these 2 continue to influence and impact your future.

      good luck

  118. Hi, I’m a 16 year old girl living in London and I’m getting kind of worried as I have my GCSE exams in two weeks but am just so preoccupied and can’t concentrate or think about anything as my mind is so full just thinking and worrying about stuff that happened when I was younger. I really don’t know what to do or how to figure this out. I just remember that when I was little, probably between about 4-9 years old, I was really sexual, it was like sexual acts and thinking about sex took over my whole life. I have no idea how or when it started or how long it went on for, I only remember little parts of single events. I remember that I always wanted to be hurt and I would make other kids who were my friends ‘punish’ me and stick things up into me really hard until it hurt and take my clothes off, I would constantly fantasise about it and dream about being raped or raping other people and also like i would hurt and hit myself and shove things up inside me. I feel so guilty and disgusting and I don’t know what to do. I remember I was at the swimming pool once and there were these two older boys like grabbed and touched me and I was just so confused, and then I was at my friends house once when I was maybe 7, and he was only like 2 years older so still a little kid himself, and he like touched me and then told me to suck on his penis so I did it. I just don’t know how to figure this out or what to do because I just feel so bad about myself. I remember I was always so unhappy and when I was little I would cry almost every day whenever I was away from my parents or had to go to different people’s houses because my parents worked a lot, people just thought I was a really shy kid and when my teachers talked to my mum about it I think they thought it was just because my grandma had died so they thought I was grieving, but I just don’t know, I don’t remember very much at all, and I have no idea what to do. I don’t know who to talk to because I feel like everyone would hate me or be so disgusted if they found out. Please help, thank you.

    • in all the situations you’ve listed, you are the VICTIM. even if you’re asking for something to be done to you – you learned that as a victim and when being victimized. So do the best in your exams – put this aside as best you can. it’s not going away, I promise. then when you’re finished exams, find a qualified, professional therapist who can help you so that you heal and never be victimized again.

      good luck on your exams

  119. I’m beginning to suspect I was sexually assaulted sometime in my early childhood- I don’t know when or by who- I have a few very vague theories, but nothing substantial. One thing that really sells the notion to me is this. I went through a phase or maybe it only happened one night but multiple times, when I woke up and felt I had to go into the bathroom and turn on the light and state at myself in the mirror, and I was telling myself, “how could you-” and I had to say it over and over again until I ‘got it right.’ I remember the sick way I felt while doing this- I know it now as feeling both turned on and sick to my stomach at the same time- the same way I feel after ice gone swimming and I’m still in my swimsuit and I can smell the chlorine. It feels icky, but I can tell there’s arousal along with it.

    • your memories, such as they are seem indicative of something. the hard part of this process is that we don’t know if the events are exactly as you’ve remembered or if your mind has filled in some blanks with information that seems appropriate. However it sounds like you’re doing some work. The book Courage to Heal is a great one for helping you figure it out. additionally, a professional therapist, trained in working with sexual abuse survivors is a must. None of us can change the past and what was done to us. But we can work to ensure that it doesn’t continue to hinder our future.

      good luck

  120. 45 2 children and a loving partner off 3 years well read your story yes it true the signs are there was with my father till my mum took us and then that is when it all began memory still blank till this day as it has took me all this time to put the past behind can not remember any off my child hood but get a feeling from 3 till 12 then the full focus was on me till i was 16 as mother treated me as a prostitute did not want it to happen to my siblings then i punched her as was very angry for no reason then i went of the rails till 21 then saw a counselor (wanted to do a regression ermmmmmm no i do not want to relive ) all the support i had was me and my siblings as my long term ex wanted me to be the way i was before but the best thing my sibling told me was it happen your stronger she is fuck all we are better put it a side past is past now is now future is yours.
    still get moments where i can do something new as an atald and it should hurt but it does not

    • glad it doesn’t hurt

      good luck

  121. Hi, i know i was abused when i was five, but the actual event is very foggy. All i can remember is i was at school and three older boys took me into the toilets and after that it goes foggy… cant remember anything. After that at about age 6 to about 10 i was obsessed with sex… i suppose you could say. I dont think this is or was normal looking back on it. And its very embarrasing. I remember i used to shove things up inside me when i was about 7ish… so much that it would hurt. And when i was about 10 i pretended to have gotten my period to my mum, by putting red felt tip on my undies. I have no idea why i did any of this. Im also ashamed to admit that i touched a few other kids inappropriately, when i was young, about 6-10years old, dont remember what age :'( it was horrible of me and i feel soo bad and thinking back now i regret it soo much. I have never told anyone this :'( i really wish i could change the past of what i did. I dont know if i did all that because something happened to me when i was little… any advice?

    • your behavior at that age is very common for abuse victims. It’s the worst thing about abuse: we are victimized and then we feel bad because of our behaviour, during or after that event.

      I have taken some criticism but all I can recommend is to work with a qualified experienced therapist who can help you put this behind you and forgive yourself. In my experience, we can’t do it alone. and without help the outcome of the abuse just keeps plaguing us – for the rest of our lives. so get the help, tell the truth and you will heal and it will go away eventually.

      good luck

  122. Hi,
    I have written you before. I’ve been in therapy with a wonderful psychologist for over two years. She has been so patient. For the longest time I was so nervous and ashamed and insecure, it was hard for me to let her pull her chair up close to me to do EMDR. I didn’t want her to see up close the scars on my face that I have caused( I have Dermatillomania ) I have never had healthy relationships and continue to let myself be victimized . I have so many problems still but I have come so far. I have had a hard life. Two years ago when I witnessed a horrific and deadly accident I began having panic attacks and was motivated by fear to meet with this lovely therapist. She has taught me so much and it really is a long haul. She does DBT and allows me to access her at all hours bc I cylce up and down daily and had gotten to be suicidal and diagnosed with bipolar or borderline. Depending on which doctor you ask. So many times I’ve told myself that I’m an idiot and there’s no way im likable and she can’t wait for me to get out of her hair…. It takes a very patient person to get through to someone with such intricately woven defence mechanisms. I understand so much more about myself and finally feel like I can live like a genuine person and even have days where I like who I am. 🙂
    My dad was a drinker and hitter but my mother abused me in a way I can’t explain. I married a narcissist who takes advantage of me and the cycle continues. I’m trying to gain the courage to continue changing. Through therapy I’ve learned how to tell my story for the first time. Honestly! I never told a soul and have been and continue to be so so lonely. But keep going everyone. Celebrate those tiny changes like ripples on the water. Remember the tiniest of pebbles can cast far reaching results. It’s a struggle most days but ohh, so much better. I’ve stopped hurting myself ( mostly) and am no longer suicidal. But even today I had some stinking thinking and cried all morning didn’t go to work and only got up to pick up my kids after school. But that happens less and less. And I have been ok tonight although I am writing this as part of a plan to count my many blessings and help pull me out of this funk. Everyday a new chance. And by recovering the second half of this day is a huge improvement!
    I guess I just wanted to give a perspective of someone who’s suffered her whole life at the hand of others but oddly at her own hand. Sick. I am ok with having an invisible illness but want to stop paying for it. I am learning to love the gifts I’ve been given and was just thinking that perhaps my shot of insulin is that I get to see all the colours.
    Now when I play back some of those bad childhood sexual incidents the work I have done in therapy has been able to alter them so that I now hear a rational loving voice spiced over them as they play in my mind. There are all sorts of unexpected things that happen in our sessions. I go for two hours at a time bc it takes a really long time for me to come out of my shell. Anyway you have to start somewhere and then you seem better but then you start back at the beggining time and time again until you practice changing those harmful thoughts.
    I wish you all a loving genuine and healthy life.❤️

    • Thank you so much for sharing your pain and recovery. You are the perfect example of why I always recommend therapy. I can’t do much on the net, but with work, focus and dedication, every past trauma can be healed. Clearly you are on the way. good luck and pop by occasionally and let us know how you’re doing.

      coninued good luck

  123. I have recently found out that my parents have been sexually abusing me my entire life. I was absolutely unaware of this fact until this December.
    I became very terrified due to seeing paranormal activity in my house and went to my parents for comfort. My mother told my father to hold me, and then he asked if I wanted to “take anything to calm down”. I said no. My mother said “pet her it will make her better” in the most demanding voice, and he moved his arm from around my waist to the outside of my butt. I said I wanted to sleep by myself and left, making my mother very unhappy. She proceeded to follow me while she was naked to my room, while screaming and commanding me to come back to bed with her.
    Some other things happened, but I ran out of my house that night and never went back.
    That was the only incident I know of where sexual action was attempted (and would have happened if I had not ran away)

    Looking back, sketchy things have happened with my parents that probably isnt normal. The only thing is, I have no memory whatsoever of ANYTHING of sexual nature happening to me EVER. At least, not prior to the December event.
    My family life prior to this event was not ideal – my parents are manipulative and fight constantly and would try to bring me into their arguments. I am an only child, have always been an A student. I never brought them any real problems and did my best to be a good daughter. I would even find ways to get them Christmas presents (as a HS student w/ part time job) while they would get me nothing.

    I am having trouble finding similar stories- where victims have absolutely no awareness of their abuse or whatever.
    This is very new to me. It’s like I have lived a life I never knew about. I feel absolutely betrayed by the people who were supposed to love me more than anything. They have denied any accusation of mine, and in return have harassed me online and through calls and texts. I know for a fact what happened that night in December.
    I was wondering if anyone had any similar stories or links to some. Or information reguarding repressed memories and how I should expect this to affect me for the rest of my life.

    • I don’t allow links and personal sharing through this site – it’s too risky for vulnerable people. it is quite possible to have no memory of abuse. but your experience is too limited for anyone to say definitively, one way or another. I’ll recommend what I always do – talk to a qualified, professional sexual abuse therapist who can help you figure it out.

      good luck

  124. I know that I was abused as a child but I don’t know to what degree.. it was a neighbor and he would hand out candy to the kids when his wife went shopping he took me in his house . I told my mom a cop friend of my mom’s told her it would be very hard on me if I had to go to court and tell what happened. The man’s Son moved him away if my mom didn’t do any thing. I had bad dreams about what ever took place. I did go to counseling as an adult for marriage issues and the counselor didn’t seem to want to go there into my abuse but he did tell me to do some imagery. I went on line looked it up and what came out of it was a vague memory of the bedroom and a old man and only his pants everything was cloudy not how you would really see things but I could never see a face and I see real big windows and the shape of the room I can not remember much at all of my childhood I was around 4 or 5 when this happened is it ever possible to somehow remember I want to know what happened so maybe I can understand some of these issues in my life. I also had a friend went to spend the week end with her grandparents on the way down Her grandfather did something I remember that time and just wonder why I didn’t say anything to him at the time we were in the car his granddaughter was right next to me asleep and I just couldn’t say anything and I couldn’t tell the adults when we got back I didn’t feel his family would believe me. I have Come a long way in my life thanks to God but would really like to know what happened when I was younger maybe I could understand some things more I’m really protective of my son. I wish in some ways my mom would have done something he most likely did it again .I wish my mom was still here so I could ask her now that I feel I am ready to know what happened and how many times did I go there. thank you .

    • You may or may not ever know what happened to you. Childhood memories are not always clear for us as adults. But I would encourage you to work with a therapist experienced in working with child sexual abuse survivors. Not all therapists are skilled in this work, as you discovered. It takes a special person to do this work and to help victims. So ask before you book an appointment and ask specificially about their experience. it’s your time, money and future and you’re entitled to know. Then you can heal and live an even better life.

      • You know you are one of those people that can really piss a person off. Go to college get a damn degree if you are going to give this God Almighty speech about going to see a specially trained therapist. Are you one? Do you know what it is like to have your father whom just happens to be a minister, ram his dick inside you and then make you suck on it? Get it right lady. Stop repeating your damn self!
        Heaven help you Louise.

        • Apparently she has went to college – she has a master’s degree in counseling psychology. And why wouldn’t she continue to suggest therapy to the people who need help here? She can’t exactly have a meaningful therapy session through a damn forum. In fact that would be downright irresponsible. It’s also unfair to expect a professional that spent mountains of money on graduate school to fork over their services for free. It doesn’t matter whether or not she’s been a victim of abuse herself, she helps people and points them toward the right resources. As a victim of molestation from my mother, I finally understand why I feel the way I do and the underlying reasons behind some of my behaviors, and I’m contemplating getting help now. It’s because of this blog. If you want to see people get free, shoddy online counseling, go somewhere else.

          • You hit the nail on the head. I wouldn’t dream of offering therapy online. that would be irresponsible and unprofessional. BUT I do not believe victims can heal without therapy. We can’t heal what we can’t see and I have yet to meet a victim who can see the extent of the damage.

            get the help you need…your future is worth it.

  125. I know that I was abused as a child but I don’t know to what degree.. it was a neighbor and he would hand out candy to the kids when his wife went shopping he took me in his house . I told my mom a cop friend of my mom’s told her it would be very hard on me if I had to go to court and tell what happened. The man’s Son moved him away if my mom didn’t do any thing. I had bad dreams about what ever took place. I did go to counseling as an adult for marriage issues and the council didn’t seem to want to go there into my abuse but he did tell me to do some imagery I went on line looked it up and what came out of it was a vague memory of the bedroom and a old man and only his pants everything was cloudy not how you would really see things but I could never see a face and I see real big windows and the shape of the room I can not remember much at all of my childhood I was around 4 or 5 when this happened is it ever possible to somehow remember I want to know what happened so maybe I can understand some of these issues in my life. I also had a friend went to spend the week end with her grandparents on the way down Her grandfather did something I remember that time and just wonder why I didn’t say anything to him at the time we were in the car his granddaughter was right next to me asleep and I just couldn’t say anything and I couldn’t tell the adults when we got back I didn’t feel his family would believe me. I have Come a long way in my life thanks to God but would really like to know what happened when I was younger maybe I could understand some things more I’m really protective of my son. I wish in some ways my mom would have done something he most likely did it again .I wish my mom was still here so I could ask her now that I feel I am ready to know what happened and how many times did I go there. thank you .

  126. I HV a deep guilt shame worthless behaviour inside…..I was abused in very early age I guess when I was in 1st …by a son of our neighbour….he abused girl n things seem normal for me …I simply don’t know how I reacted for the first time but after I was into stupid things …I WS just a kid he use to do dirty acts….I was very scared because he manipulated me the way….my sister was eleder n come to know about I was small she beated me scolded me hard and said she will complain ..I was not at fault …I was scared …stop going out of my house HV least frnds behaved as in what I did it was deep pain inside…I stop being to there home ….but that habit got into my mind I was not able to sleep at night …I started acting sexually not publically but my thoughts touch to elders was dirty ….then I struggled I put my focus on studies ..but use to have night maresfear shame of being dirty..then when I was 13 years I lost my father …from then 2003-2004…I wished one thing and started thinking all such things are dirty…I started dressing up like boys..nhv no idea why aggressive fight for no reasons….just into studies … I grow up WD gulit try to keep myself happy …took myself far from boys…in short started behaving like tom boy….I stood first in +1+2 all my college years university years I thought I overcome the fear …but I started having seizures disorder ..I am now suffering from epilepsy. Tab bhii haar nhii maniii bs koshis kii job Karin apney papa mumma ka naam uncha krun….. Ab mein bahut ferlingless ho gya…mein care krta but attachment km hai …an mein full of character hoon but fir bhii khud ko face nhii KR pati job KR rhii hoon achey designation mein…but mein aisa nhii hoon …I don’t know why till 10 years of my age I behaved soon why why why……I ma not bad selfish I never misused people then why I faced this thing why my childhood was not so exciting it suppose to be…..I wish tab mein cheezein samjhtii…I wish koi hota Jo bcha leta……just regret nothings else ..

    • always, work with a qualified professional therapist who can help you with these issues. You are a victim of another’s acts and are entitled to heal from them.

  127. I was molested as a child by a long distance relative. I also grew up in a single mother 1st generation immigrant household. I didn’t have a father figure. My mom did not remarry. Embarrassingly, I have several of the symptoms on this list (the double entendres one is esp. embarrassing during conversations with dates). I’m sad. I feel like I’ll always be shy, and feel disempowered with my sexuality. I feel so mad and vengeful. This isn’t fair. I seek approval sometimes to my detriment. My mom cannot talk about the time. I think it just hurts her too much. I don’t know. I hope someday I can date and have boyfriends and get married. I’m 35. I was molested sometime between 4-7 yo. I think it’s just nice to think you might understand this and not judge me in any sort of way.

    • I totally understand. What is so awful about child sexual abuse is the price we pay because some perpetrator can’t behave appropriately with a little child. We pay forever, unless we get therapy from an experienced trained professional.

      good luck. recovery is lots of work, but well worth it.

  128. When I was 13 or 14 my grandfather suffered from Alzheimer’s and used to mistake me for my grandmother. For over a year if I was alone in a room with him he would grab at my breasts and try to kiss me on the lips. I would stop him and tell him “no, I’m your granddaughter” and usually this would stop him. I feared being anywhere near him, I used to hide in my room (he lived with us) and tried to stay away from him if at all possible, especially if no one else was around. I very recently came to terms with the fact that even though my grandfather didn’t really know what he was doing and wasn’t a predator, I still suffered the affects of this abuse. It has been a relief for me to finally put a name to it, especially since for nearly 15 years I have feared relationships, sex, and even being touched. But then I come across someone else’s story of childhood sexual abuse, a story where they suffered such horrible things that all I can think is that by calling myself a survivor of childhood (or teenage) sexual abuse that I am somehow taking away from everything that they had to go through, because in comparison what I had to go through really wasn’t that bad. Is this normal, and should I be thinking of myself as a survivor, or did I simply have something bad happen to me?

    • child sexual abuse is just that – for everyone. There are no degrees of horror, no degrees of pain. We can’t compare ourselves to each other. Always, we will invalidate our experience when we compare our past to someone else.

      Good for you for realizing this was abuse – and yes, you suffer the same effects as anyone else who was abused. The only analogy that comes to mind right now is that we all have different reactions to being in the sun. Even with sunscreen, I have little tolerance for hot, direct sunlight – I burn easily and quickly. My children’s father gets a rash after being in the sun for 3 or 4 hours. My son in law, tans immediately and quickly. He keeps that tan for weeks when he’s back home and always looks health. My two granddaughters, his children, are exact opposites. One tans beautifully and the other not at all, just like their parents.

      We all wear sunscreen and yet we all have these different reactions. We don’t say one reaction is better than the other or more ‘normal’. What we are all called to do is to understand our reaction and take care of ourselves.

      ditto for sexual abuse. Accept it (sounds like you have), own it and get the help you need to live a full and rich life.

      good luck

  129. I’m a 17 year old girl with emetophobia and I have a lot of symptoms listed here. When I was 13-14 I was very sexually obsessed I had an addiction even though it would leave me crying and hating myself a lot of the time. It lasted until I was 16 and now at 17 I have a strong urge to not have sex and I can only get off from it in a certain way, I barely ever
    Come and when I do I have to be touched in a very specific way. I can’t remember
    Much of my childhood but I want to know if maybe some of these symptoms and a lot more I haven’t mentioned could be to do with sexual abuse as a child, and what sort of therapy I should look for – thank you x

    • it is possible but in themselves do not indicate sexual abuse conclusively. it’s important to find a therapist who is experienced at working with sexual abuse victims. Ask the question and be sure because many therapists are well meaning but not skilled in working with this population.

      Make sure you feel safe with the therapist. your success is largely determined by your level of trust on your 4 th appointment with the professional.

      good luck

  130. I am a 31 year old mother of 3 boys. I have suspected for some time now, that it is a strong possibility that I was sexually and physically abused at a very young age.. I dont remember ANY of my childhood until around the teenage years.. my childhood is completely black, and teenage years are vague, even still I have a serious memory problem, probably due to the fact that in all 3 of my (what I considered, real) adult relationships, I have been abused, physically and mentally and at times sexually. I block out EVERYTHING that I possibly can, that I consider to be “bad”. I am a white female, my mother and father were together until I was around 8. He was and I believe still is, a drug user (speed being the choice of drug for him), VERY abusive physically to my mother and I think also to my little brother and I.. mostly just going off the few things my mother has told me about his abusiveness, and also seeing recordings on our camcorder of holidays where I guess he didnt realize the camera was recording or maybe just wanting his drugs so bad that he didnt care he was being recorded) instance being Christmas morning, as any excited, young child (I was 7 maybe?) would be, Me and my brother got up to see what “Santa” had brought us and we were being typically loud.. my father was on the couch and told us to stFu and when I didnt, he got up and put my brothers new race car with spinning back wheels (yes he turned the car on so the wheels were spinning) and he stuck it in my hair and just held it there while I was screaming bloody murder.. all this being caught on the camcorder bcuz I have no recollection of anything with my dad in it until him and my mom were divorced & she had remarried (to THE BEST man she could have possibly gotten to be our father figure).. i have vague memories of my dad coming to town, he drove an 18 wheeler so we didnt see him often, but when we did see him, I loved going with him in his big truck and he would take me and my brother and buy us lots of things, especially me.. whatever I wanted I got. But I refused to spend the night with him.. I would get panicky and restless and cry. He would eventually let me call my mom to come pick me up bcuz he wouldnt take me home “that late”. I never thought much of this until I got older. By my teenage years, most of my friends were sexually active but sex terrified me.. I considered sex and anything associated with it, a bad, terrible, painful thing. As I got older, around 16, 17, I had boyfriends, but I kept it really simple with just kissing.. which of course, with a 18, 19 year old young man, would lead to other things. I still to this day do not like to be.. well for lack of a better word, Ill just have to say fingered. I hate it and honestly, I dont like any foreplay or even sex anymore for that matter. I could do without it for a loong time. I rarely even get “horny” anymore and my boyfriend wonders why I dont orgasm very often. He questions me but I just shrug it off and tell him he finished too fast or something. I was somewhat promiscuous when I was around 18.. mostly due to my friends pressuring me to go for it. I lost my virginity to a friend of mine 2 months before my 18th birthday, right before I graduated high school.. we were never in a relationship but we still “mess around” from time to time, and have for 14 years now. I can remember him asking “Are you sure this is your first time”.. I promised him that it was and he shrugged it off and we kept going, but it didnt hurt, like ALL my friends had told me it would.. I had experimented with some masturbation before I lost my virginity but only clitoral arousal, so I wasnt sure why I was the only one out of the many “horror stories” as I called them for every single one of my friends “first times”, did it not hurt for me on my first time, when they had all went on and on about how bad it had hurt them. Still, I didnt put much thought into it. I am a caucasian female but have never, for as far back as I can remember, been attracted, physically, to a caucasian male. I prefer African American males, and have, for as far back as I possibly can remember. But since it wasnt socially accepted in my small Missouri town when I was younger, I tried to appease my mom and grandparents who were old fashioned and didnt believe in mixing of the races. I had a childhood boyfriend, more just like a best friend, and we went together (as we called it then) from 4th grade off and on, mostly on, until my junior year, when I could no longer act like I was in love with him.. to me, I looked at him like a brother more than anything else. I broke things off and admitted to my mother that I just wasnt attracted to white guys, my preference was black guys.. my grandma had passed away when I was 12, and my pawpaw was sick with cancer and was on hospice so I decided to just come out and let everyone know I liked a black male.. he was very sweet to me, almost too nice, so I ended up not having a connection, we never did anything other than hang out, kissed a couple of times as I was VERY against any other type of sexual act at that time still. I really liked sex when I did eventually get over the fear of it hurting and finally did it. And as I stated, I became kindof promiscuous from 18-19..until I got with my childrens father. We ended up having 2 sons, 14 months apart when I was 20 and 21.. after that, he began to get what I consider now as sexually abusive, because he MADE me have sex with him 3 times a day, every day, or if I said no or made a big deal about being tired or whatever, I would get beat up. He was very emotionally and physically abusive to me. I was in nursing school and trying to take care of a household and 2 little boys, as well as pass my nursing school, which I did with ease, I was blessed with a photographic memory so passing school wasnt a problem, but trying to keep my house clean, kids taken care of, my 2 boys and on weekends his 2 daughters from a previous relationship, all the laundry, all the meals, and satisfy his sexual needs as well was very exhausting and he was hardly ever home to help out, plus catching him cheating in our home, in our bed and also in our childrens bed, with more than one female, had caused all my feelings for him to go away. I would still have to give him sex 3 times a day and I would lay there and just cry at times, alot of times.. i felt raped at times by him. I stayed and tried to endure it for 8 years until another female came up pregnant, saying it was his and I had had enough of his shit at that point, turned out the baby wasnt his like she said but it was the point that made me decide to finally leave him for good. It wasnt until about 4-5 years ago though, that I realized I may have been sexually abused as my dad and his best friend, who Ive known as my Uncle for as far back as I can remember, took my brother and I, to a Widespread Panic concert in New Orleans and stayed the night. We got 2 rooms, and my dad told me he wanted me to sleep in the room with him, it instantly gave me that old flashback feeling that I used to get as a kid when I would be supposed to be staying the night with him. Its almost just a straight up feeling of fear. We went to the concert where they all did acid and since I was a nurse at the time, didnt do drugs at all, I just drank several huge margaritas and by the time the concert was over I was very drunk. I vaguely remember going down Bourbon St for a short while and being it was Halloween, the street was too packed and I have a fear of crowds so I cried for them to take me to the hotel room. My Uncle talked my dad into it and they decided to go get breakfast. I got in that room, I burst into tears as I was absolutely terrified..I slept with all my clothes on, AND I had wrapped up both blankets and the sheet, each one wrapped around me separately so that if I accidentally fell asleep, getting all those blankets off would wake me in the process.. and I called my friend who I lost my virginity to, (yes, we were still good friends all those years later) and he stayed on the phone with me until my dad was back in the room and I was sure he was asleep. That was when I really started to wonder what was going on and realized that Im not only, not attracted to white men, but Im scared of them.. and definitely wondered why I felt that way towards my dad. My grandma got sick a couple years after that so they called me to come to California, to see her. Again, I had to stay with my dad, as he still lived at my grandmas house. The first night was ok, he wasnt high on drugs. The next night he had a man over and I caught them smoking dope.. I didnt get the nervous, scared feeling until it came time for bed…and again, i slept wrapped up in 4 blankets, fully clothed..I cried myself to sleep that night while praying when I could quit crying long enough to think. I knew then, that it isnt necessarily a white man that Im scared of, but drug users of any race, period. I have been in 2 relationships since my childrens father and i broke up, but I was constantly cheated on and lied to and just given an overall feelinh of unworthiness for a good, faithful relationship. Im not close with anyone, not my mother, not any family, I have my step dad who has been wonderful to my kids, and I can always count on him and one friend that I know will be there as much as she possibly can, whenever I need her. I have always had an overall sense of distrust for everyone else, especially men. I have always been a negative thinking person, well for as far back as I can remember. Ive had the mentality that if im prepared for the worst I wont get hurt, or disappointed. I keep myself guarded and on the lookout for clues as to someone not being trustworthy or loyal to me, and keeping my eye out for anyone who means me no good. In these past 5 years, I have been self medicating with pain medicine, I have frequent back pain and sometimes just deep overall pain, they call it neuropathy since they cant find any other reason I would be hurting so much. Ive had ulcers since I was 12, as well as irritable bowel syndrome since I was about 25. I hate getting wet, in the bath/shower, or even swimming in a pool. I dont care for water that is deeper than my knees, never have and I hate getting my face wet. I have also had an overwhelming feeling or thoughts, that my sons may have been or will be sexually molested. Im almost obsessed with it and wont leave my baby boy, my 3rd & last son, with anybody except my mom. And I still have this feeling that he has been touched, possibly by one of or both of my older boys.. especially when I find bruises and scratches on his bottom or his back that he cant explain how they got there. He is 2, almost 3 and can talk and express himself very well, but always tells me the scratches and or bruises come from the cat. I dont know what to do. I dont even work anymore so that I can keep my baby myself. I am from a rural area, so doctors are slim pickings.. what specific type of doctor or psychiatrist should I go to and what if we dont have that type of psychiatrist practicing in my area? I went through all kinds of psychiatric therapy and counseling when my mom and dad divorced but I cant remember them being of much help to me.

    • thank you for sharing your story with me. I value the trust you’ve placed in this site and me. Definitely sounds like something happened, although memories and reactions can be tricky.

      I never recommend a psychiatrist – find yourself a qualified therapist who is experienced working with sexual abuse survivors. If there are none in your community, look online. Many therapists are now working with Skype and/or the phone to help clients and I’ve lots of good stuff about that process.

      we often live out what we learned in childhood, so it is critical you learn new ways of being in the world, as an adult. that will take some time but it is worth it.

      good luck

  131. I’m not sure if I was molested. I have a lot of the symptoms (all but one, actually) The only distinct memory I have is the man pulling me in his lap, blowing in my ear and telling everyone bow much I liked it.

    I get terrified when I’m in my room and see the bathroom light turn on. A few years ago, when I was nineteen, the man needed a place to stay for the night so my dad let him stay with us. After my dad went to the bathroom, the man started rubbing my thigh and telling me how grown up I was. I didn’t sleep at all that night, and spent the whole night sitting with my back against the bedroom door, sobbing. Will I ever know if something really happened?

    • with therapy, you will know if something happened. You may not know specific details but your heart will be able to tell you that happened. it is critical to do the work so you can heal as an adult and your life is not impacted by the past.

      good luck

  132. m3talH oh my goodness I’m a 23 yr old woman and I was sexually abused at a young age… I was in denial my entire life until 2-3 yrs ago my mom whom I was extremely close to died at the age of 50. It traumatized me but in a positive way I guess bc I stopped everything and tried to understand my pain that went even deeper than my moms death and I realized that I was in extreme denial and thT was why I was making the radical decisions that I had been mAking. I felt so ashamed my entire life but did t know why but I heard from my step sister when I was 18 that my mom and I were both molested by her step father. I started masturbating after I was molested and I would do it in strange ways in public. It’s still so unsettling bc I don’t remember ANYTHING TO THIS DAY. all o can Remember is him putting his hand out to me with a chocolate Hershey kiss candy and I don’t eat Hershey kisses to this day. It makes me so upset when I think about all of Thule bullshit I have gone through and all of the internal struggles I e taught for so long ( shame, weird, not normal at all like a total freak, couldn’t say anything to anyone about it my whole life. I am just understanding now.
    What I want to say to you is that you have no reason to feel the way you do, you were molested and bc of that it gives you the abnormal urges you Have and IT IS NOT AT ALL YOUR FAULT AND YOU SHOULD NOT FEEL THOSE WAYS ABOUT YOURSELF. You did nothing wrong and you deserve a happy and nice comfortable life. It is the molester that should suffer but unfortunately human brains don’t understand that. Please be strong and understand that you are not a pervert, you are a victim and your havingPTSD. In absolutely no way, should you feel bad about your arousals. The same things Happen to me and o felt like I was sick, worthless, disgusting. That was until I stopped and reflected of my life and started learning the psychology behind child abuse/ molestation. You can fix this issue you have it just takes time and strength- pls don’t feel ashamed.
    Nothing happens in life that you are not strong enough to handle and overcome.
    I wish I could give you a hug and send you love

    • I have edited your response a bit – I don’t allow commentors to use this forum to connect with each other – it’s too easy for a perpetrator to use that information to abuse.

      thanks for sharing

  133. Most of the mentioned signs seem to be correct about me so I think I should post my case, as it has gotten really serious over the years. I’m a 20 year old guy and was abused when I was around 5-6 years old. I cannot recall how it all started but the thing that I do remember is the abuse.. it’s like a series of images and quite vivid too. He was around 20-25 years old and would abuse me consistently. Now the worst thing about it is; I never complained or was bothered with it. I… hate to say it… but I think I enjoyed it. Or at least if not enjoyed, then excited. I guess I was just curious about the arousal I used to get. I never felt sick about it. I cannot recall how long it kept happening but it wasn’t very long. We moved out of that place but something bad happened to me… and it kept getting worse with time as I have become a serious pervert now. I hate to admit to myself saying that what I feel is natural but I don’t think it is that way and I have to accept that I am a pervert. After the abuse, I’d try the same with my cousins trying to get a sneak down there and she would go along because we were kids and everyone says its common. But I didn’t stop there. Over the years I kept trying to seduce her. She moved on but I didn’t. I kept trying and trying… touching her and what not. When I was 12 or 13, I was abused once again. But it only happened twice. But even now I didn’t resist. I went along. It didn’t make me feel bad. All such events contributed to what I have become now. 2 years ago I heard from my mom that the guy who first abused me had died in a motorcycle accident (no one knows about the abuse not even my mom). I also heard after we left, he had become an addict and his life was just terrible. So flash forward to today… I feel guilty because… yes I get aroused when I read other people’s stories of abuse. I start to imagine things. Ugly things. I feel guilty and sad but at times desire takes over and I cannot help but fantasize stupid ugly things. I keep telling myself how immoral it all is but the negative side of me just shuts the whole morality thing down. Part of it also has do with the fact that I am 99% Atheist. It’s because my entire life has just been going down and down in a spiral. I look at kids… I don’t feel any arousal but I know that something inside me is thinking wrong here. I try to suppress all thoughts. Also, I have been masturbating ever since the first time I was abused because I got addicted to the feeling of orgasm even tho I never had an actual orgasm till I was 14 or 15. I still masturbate daily and that’s not just it… I am obese because I am addicted to eating. I look at girls sexually. Imagine all those scenarios I can. About my symptoms; I have anxiety, get racing thoughts all the time, zero social life, depressed, perverted, addicted to food… I cannot talk to people. I am afraid of going to a therapist or someone like that. I have zero self confidence. To this day, I keep questioning, why did I enjoy it? Also my best friend has same issues because similar things happened to him. He even got addicted to drugs. I have become the worst I can and I feel like suicide sometimes. I am a terrible person and feel totally worthless.

    • as a child, sexual abuse often feels good. It depends on the situation and the violence but your experience is quite common. and the question of why we didn’t say something, coupled with our enjoyment of the experience confuses and disgusts us. I can only recommend the same thing I tell everyone: these feelings are normal for that experience. work with a qualified, professional therapist and work them out so you can have a great life.

      good luck

  134. I’m 16 years old and I was repeatedly molested as a kid but the worst of it was quite recent. My sister and I have a little over an 8 year age gap between eachother and I had always remembered her making me do “weird things” to her and she would to me. One of the things was she told me some story that she needed me to help her “feel better” and would make me suck on her breasts… I had to be 5 or something and she was maybe 13.. Talk to me about masterbating and would pinch my nipples all
    The time and these “weird things” would happen all the time… I never thought anything of it as I got older and it stopped before I reached 4th grade, I just thought it was weird… Throughout my middle school years I was always depressed and I also went through some really bad health problems. And I was always on different drugs and they had me on so many things and they would make me throw up everywhere and I did self harm for a while… Then when I was 14 and she was 23 she snuck into my room in the middle of the night and we were just talking and one thing lead to another and we’re sharing our deepest darkest secrets and she tells me she’s bisexual and then she starts pressuring me into getting drunk… I didn’t want to but she made me feel guilty for not wanting to. So she made me drink cinnamon whiskey and then she made me go skinny dipping with her. I know now that you’re supposed to drink that in shots but she made me drink a full cup and a half. So I was barely even conscious… I couldn’t hold my head up or even speak… Then she whispered in my ear “I know you’re a virgin” and started touching me everywhere… Then she took pictures of me passed out naked on the floor. After that my little depression had gotten worse and I had (still have) really bad trust issues… My sister told my brother about the drinking and he keeps trying to threaten me with that to take drug tests for him. (That was the worst thing I’ve ever done… Like the worst thing I’ve done aside from that is take a teachers highlighter) and so after that I was so stressed out I went through a lot of weight fluctuations and I was 125 lbs and 2 weeks later I was 110 lbs. Now I’ve gained a lot and it’s been a year and half and I’m still so sad and just really mistrusting of everyone. I feel so disgusting that it was my sister and it was a girl. I’ve talked to a single person about it and I barely managed that… I told them that it happened… I didn’t say who or how or anything…. And I know I couldn’t tell my mom because she wouldn’t do anything and I’m so scared that the fact I was drinking will come out and I don’t want my sister to have a record.. I still love her but I feel so ashamed of her and of me and I don’t want anyone to know about it. I know therapy is my best option but I don’t think I could do it. I could barely talk about it with my best friend and I still haven’t told my mom so I don’t think I could talk about it with a stranger. I just don’t know what to do?
    nicole recently posted..New Year: New Lessons About Alzheimer’s DiseaseMy Profile

    • I am so sorry for what you’ve had to go through. Here’s something to hang on to. It’s easier to talk to a therapist because you don’t have to deal with the emotional fallout of your family. she isn’t your mom, who might or might not believe you. she’s not your teacher. she’s a professional who can help you work through the issues you’re facing. these won’t go away – they’ll just linger and probably get worse with time, so I strongly encourage you to get the help you need.

      One of the things we believe is that our perpetrators only abuse us. but that is often not the case – there are often many victims. So seeking help might be the beginning of putting a stop to this behavior by your sister as you heal.

      • So I’ve been seriously looking into counseling but I do have some concerns on confidentiality. If I were to tell the therapist that it was my sister, would they tell my parents? I did self harm but that was a long time ago and there’s no way on gods green earth I would do it again; would my parents be notified for that? I know they’d be notified if I was still doing it but I’m not. Or the alcohol? And would my parents be able to find out anything from the therapist if they wanted to since I’m not an adult? I think these concerns are the only reason I haven’t gone yet. I don’t ever want anyone to know it was my sister and I really don’t want my parents knowing… Idk what id do if they found out… But I really can’t go on this way so
        nicole recently posted..New Year: New Lessons About Alzheimer’s DiseaseMy Profile

  135. When I was I think around 7 or something, what I remember about the incident is that I was bringing him some salad from home that I made (he was and still is a friend of my mother) I was happily walking towards his home ( I don’t remember if I was suppose to be in school or not, my mother didn’t know that I was there )
    I remember playing with his cat while he was at the bathroom with the door open, he suddenly told me to come towards the bathroom and then said “do you want to play with something else “ I obviously didn’t know what he was talking about so I said “I don’t know” he pulled me towards him and took my hand and said “it’s not going to take so much time” and he put my hand on his genital, and told me to move my hand up an down I protested and said “but I want to play with the cat instead” and he replied “don’t worry you can play with the cat later”. That’s the only thing I can remember everything else is like a black memory something I can’t remember
    as I grow up I began to be a bit afraid and hate men and I stopped playing with some guys at school, and suddenly developing some feelings for girls why? I obviously don’t hate men anymore.
    And I still haven’t told my mother about this and I feel like the worst human being because of this. I’m planning to tell my family when I’m around 20 or something I’m currently 17 and I feel like trash for having number 16 as something in common, how can I face my friends and family if I tell them about this?

    • Also I hate to have things around my neck, I used to cry or scream when my mother tried to put a necklace on me. I also sometimes joke about putting my hand on my friends(I do now have guy friends again ) throat does it have to do with something about the incident

  136. I wrote on here quite a while a go about issues I felt I had because of possible childhood sexual abuse. I found out tonight that my mum no longer let me go round my childhood friends house because she heard her dad liked children. ( she also told me this same man said to her that when I was older he would teach me to masterbate,I was about 8 at this time) I dont know how to process this new information. I’m now 30 and this man is in his 80s I havnt seen him since primary age, id say around 8/9ish when my mum got told about the possible fact that he liked children. I’m just not sure what to do. I also thought something had happened but never knew who by,now I hate alarm bells ringing like mad but could that be because it fits? Just because he was in my life and was a possible peadophile but we don’t know for sure?

    • Tara, I will say the same thing I always say. If you have symptoms of child sexual abuse, it’s important to work them out with a qualified therapist. Ironically, who or what is not as important as how you reacted and how the experiences are affecting you as an adult. Hating alarm bells might be related to the abuse, or not. it will take some work to figure that out, but in the meantime, if you’ve got symptoms, please know they won’t go away – they have to be resolved.

      good luck as you continue your journey

      • Good morning!

        I actually don’t know where to begin. Okay, so here it goes. When I was like around 5-ish to 12 I was physically abused with my brother. He would punched me in the face and slap me in the face for some reason. I had a lot of bruises and wounds on my body. But there was a time I kept picturing this scene inside my head and it was all clear to me, that my brother was kissing me and I saw that he was forcing me to do the same, but at that time i didn’t know what it actually meant, so I just kinda ignored it but still it kept running through my head. Long story cut short I was really afraid of him because of him punching me , so every summer I would go to my aunts house and stay there for the whole summer. Then one day I told my aunt about it and believed me ,but she didn’t do anything about it. Then I told my mother about it too but she just ignored me. ( I TOLD THEM THAT MY BROTHER WAS PHYSICALLY ABUSED ME) Years later, my brother had stopped punching me, but then I always keep on seeing things in my head. That he molested me in some ways. I’m just so frustrated that it keeps coming back to me all the time and it is so hard for me because we are in the same house and everytime I see him I just can’t control myself but to think it. And it’s kinda depressing to think that I really want to know what happened that day but at the same time afraid to know the truth.

        • Being afraid to know the truth is very common. Either way we lose – either it was as horrid a we remember and no one did anything about it or our minds have magnified the situation and we’ll feel foolish. You may never know for sure. as always, your best bet is to work with a qualified therapist to figure it out. It is not likely something you’ll get to on your own. it sounds traumatic but there are many factors which may have caused your aunt’s and mom’s reactions. I couldn’t guess what they are, but as you work through it all, you’ll be able to figure it out and come to peace.

          good luck

  137. About how many of these symptoms must I show for it to be considered serious? I show about five but to the farthest of my knowledge, I was only abused once as a toddler. Does it count if it was another child around my age?

    • Children can’t abuse children. By definition there must be a power imbalance for any sexual act to be considered abuse. These are not simple symptoms. Rather they are markers for the determination to get help and resolve the problems you may be experiencing in your life. Also remember that how you score yourself might be quite different than how a professional person might do that. any symptom is serious in my book, but you have to made that determination for yourself.

      good luck

      • Dear Ms. Behiel,

        You state – “Children can’t abuse children.” That’s incorrect. It’s called child-on-child sexual ABUSE. And, even you state you don’t know much about children, relating to sexual abuse between children (your own words in this lengthy comment section). An 8 year old male boy can sexually abuse another (innocent, mind you) 6 year old male boy (peer).

        That is stripping that young boy’s innocence and a future that could have been without sexual ABUSE. Children CAN and DO abuse other children. An 8 year old child can abuse a 6 year old child; plain and simple. That is abuse. To say children cannot abuse children is FALSE. Child-on-Child is real and it’s called Child-0n-Child SEXUAL ABUSE.

        These abused children can then go on to abuse other children. We often re-create the trauma that we once experienced (that is innate human nature when it comes to various trausmas as a coping mechanism). It’s very common for a 6 year old boy who was abused by another 6-8 year old boy to go on into his early teens – 14-15 and then mess around with other boys of a younger age. I’ve seen it happen.

        So, to say children can’t abuse children is simply a false statement. Dr. Drew is famous for talking about child-on-child sexual abuse and what this does to children as they develop – eating disorders, low-self esteem, overly reactionary, daddy-issues, insecurity, a questioning of one’s sexuality, a distain towards all males/females (which can seriously effect workplace relations where men and women need to collaborate and work together to achieve success, etc.

        I will tell you this – I am a 31 year old male who recently met a 30 year old female and she had been abused by her father from 6-16 years of age. It happened over 3,000 times. Penetration I am talking about. In the cruelest of ways. He would cut her wrists first and then intimidate her with his violence (quite common and so sickening as we all can agree). My heart literally stopped beating when hearing the story. All the details she told me, and we had only been talking for around 3 weeks. She trusted me enough to share. Anyways, he did it to other family members (his other 2 daughters) and nearly got them fully pregnant. It was horrific to hear. She now can’t go back to that state/area ever without reliving it all. This man is out there due to the statue of limiations and he is most likely still abusing. She recalls events with so much detail, it made me want to hang-up the phone, but she had told me she had only shared the experience with one other person (me included).

        We met off a well-known online dating site, and I immediately knew something was off. You will find that victims of child-on-child sexual abuse often have the voice of when they were first abused (not always, but often). Have you ever talked to a 30 year old grown woman, only to feel you are talking to a young year girl? It’s because it’s often when the abuse started. This woman is so strong at 30, but she has years and years and years of healing left; and, you’re right, as her friend, I cannot fix her or help her in this capacity. She must see a licensed mental health professional who she trusts. Even then, it’s a long road, but a road worth taking. She has so much anger and resentment still, at age 30. She cannot hold down employment, continues to have children (has 2 with 2 different fathers), and makes nearly $7,500 per year. Thank goodness for state-aid. These sick creeps that do this to our youth need be brought to justice when such cases as I’m describing have happened. Granted, all this happened nearly 28 years ago, but it happened and this man could be brought to justice.

        For you males out there who are kind, generous, caring, loving, funny, smart, and compassionate – if your girlfriend early on is telling you about the abuse and the trauma and it’s BAD, please do not get involved in the relationship unless she has completely healed (I mean it). It will be too much often times for you to handle and it will feel like you are on a roller-coaster. Not only will you be subjected to her continuing to bring it up if there is no therapy, for something so horrific as the above, she’ll take years if not decades to heal with proper therapy. Do you want to be a “helper” and “enabler” here? You will consistently be let down. I’ve been there and done that. I have the experience and I learned the lesson. I can spot someone who has been abused within minutes of talking to them and interacting with them with acute accuracy; often by observing pressured speech, recalling details of things that are very odd and often talking about little things of trauma here and there, showing little to no self-esteem, and talking in a childish voice.

        It’s very clear that when you do spot someone like this DO NOT take advantage of the vunerability in any way. These women and men (women in this case) are so vulnerable in their recovery and if you think you can angle and “use” the prior abuse to get what you want, you’re very disturbed. I’ve seen it and it disgusts me. At the same time, however, if she was abused by a fatherly figure, she will pick men who are unhealthy and who also abuse. This is that whole recreating the trauma that was inflicted upon her. Thus, the never ending cycle continues, until she meet you, Mr. Nice Guy to save the day. You cannot save another person. As much as you’d like to, don’t. And just because the sex is good, doesn’t make it the right thing to do. I’m talking to all you men out there who know what I mean. And for those who abuse other women emotionally, spiritually, and most notably, physically, you need to slow down and examine your own life, and get help for your problems and issues so you can live a new life free from treating women so cruely. I’ve heard enough stories of women who have had sexual abuse happen to them. This is becoming an epidemic in this country due to many factors, but one such is the media the sexual-spin the media puts on success. It all trickles down.

        Unfortunately, we often re-create and relive the traumatic events in our lives by re-inacting the trauma. Those 3 sisters who were at the hands of that sick, twisted man; some of them, went on to abuse others. And we both know, the father, who did this to his 3 daughters, was most likely a victim himself at some stage of his life; perhaps an uncle or his own father, or also, another young child (which would be ABUSE!). This man just didn’t go do this. He was abused himself OR at the minimum, observed parents who abused each other, and thought it was normal. He could have been molested by his mother. This is what happens. It’s a trickle down effect. Children DO and CAN abuse other children and it’s NOT okay. Our society thinks that it’s normal for boys to “play-around” — no it’s not. It’s not normal for a 10 year old boy to give oral sex to a 6 year old boy in the shower (that’s child-on-child sexual ABUSE).

        Let’s say that father (who abused his 3 daughters) was once a 6 year old boy and another boy was 10 and made him do things he didn’t want done…this COULD BE a causative factor or trigger for him to act out in sick ways toward others. In this case, he abused his own 3 daughters for over a 10 year period. Even worse, the mother knew the whole time, and the mother is still in the 3 daughters’ lives. Children can abuse children and it happens every day in this country. Child-on-child sexual abuse people…it’s a REAL THING.

        The mother is as sick as the father, as she witnessed the whole thing happen and didn’t say a word. Why? Well, fear of retaliation if she said anything, and perhaps, she was perverted and purturbed herself. It’s often common for two sexual abuse survivors to find each other later in life (25 year old male find 23 year old woman, they date, get married, and then carry this out on their OWN family later in life – so twisted and so wrong).

        We need to be teaching our children about WHAT IS AND IS NOT OKAY WHEN IT COMES TO TOUCH/SEXUALITY BY BOTH GROWN ADULTS OF THE OPPOSITE/SAME SEX, AND, OTHER CHILDREN! In a sex-education class not in Sex-Ed where we all took it to catch-up on other assignments. High School – that’s TOO LATE. How about elementary school? There needs to be warning to what is NORMAL and what is NOT NORMAL. Or maybe a better answer is for parents to educate at a younger age, but again, many parents are the perpetrators so, that falls on deaf ears.

        For all of those who have been abused, I feel your pain. I was once one. I have recovered with time, therapy, and self-help reading and journaling. Be the hero in your own movie and don’t get stuck in your past, ever how bad you preceived it to be (you’re amazing and you’re here for a reason), and please use it to fuel your future. Bless you Ms. Behiel, you do good work overall and it’s need now. more than ever before.

        Good luck in your continuing quest to help heal those who have lost their childhood, and many, what feels like, their entire lives. As I know, it’s some of the toughest work around, but often the most rewarding.

        Brycon, LMHC

  138. Good evening
    I’ve been in a relationship for 5 months with a girl who opened up to me that she was sexually abused as a child. Recently we’ve been having problems in our relationship because of her infidelity. I’m the kind of guy who won’t even think twice about breaking up with a girl for cheating, but because I’ve fallen in love with this girl, I get mad when I find out, then forgive her for it. She told me she became addicted to sex in her teens, but that she has been able to work through it. The problem is she lies a lot about so many things which makes it difficult for me to believe she’s not still cheating now and then. I’m trying not to use her past as ammo against her, but I know for sure she’s not completely dealt with her issues which in turn is affecting our relationship. I need to know how to help her, because I really love her and care a lot about her, but I need to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel because I’ve put my life on pause just to be there for her and it’s really beginning to affect my own life.

    • You’re not going to like my answer but since you asked:

      You can’t help her. Sexual abuse leaves deep and abiding trauma which takes a whole lot of courage, stamina, and willingness to heal. You can’t give that to her.

      by the way, sexual promiscuity is not a typical reaction to sexual abuse, although it’s not uncommon. But lying, cheating and general unreliability are a function of a person’s personality, not her childhood experiences.

      If I were you, I’d be asking myself “What is it about me that will put my life on hold for a gal who doesn’t love me enough to be monogamous?” I can promise you that her behavior will never change. So either find a way to live with her cheating and be content or bite the bullet, take the heart ache and dump her. NOW

      good luck

  139. For the past two months I have been reading books on childhood sexual abuse and I have a good therapist. I feel like I don’t want to deal with this anymore, and it is enough. I was very young and don’t have many memories, but I don’t feel like my situation is very traumatic. My biggest symptom is that I can’t trust people or have intimate relationships, but I’m 40 and that’s not going to change. I don’t see what the point is in reading the books and talking about this stuff with the therapist. I feel like I can bury this and act like it didn’t happen, since I was so young, and the immense sadness I feel can go away. What’s your suggestion for how long a person has to work on this to be healed? Maybe I’m better off forgetting about all of this. I avoid men in my daily life as much as possible and as long as I don’t deal with them, I can survive.

    • I’m afraid I have to differ with you. the whole purpose of the work is to be able to resolve the issues and go forward. 40 or not, with work, your lack of trust and intimate relationships can be resolved. it’s not a quick fix, but it does happen. I know because i have lots of clients who have accomplished these goals. for most of us, the trauma of abuse, regardless of how ‘serious’ we deem it was to the child, continues to pop up in memories until we heal the trauma. the sadness won’t go away until it’s resolved. it doesn’t matter what happened to us, ironically. What matters is how our brains processed these events. Then we get to heal the brain/emotions etc so we can live wonderful lives. I’ve had clients in their 60s who were able to heal and have rich full lives.

      time varies. and it’s not a straight line but has ups and downs. Newer models of therapy make the healing much quicker. 30 years ago, when I did my work, it was 5 – 10 years. for my clients, usually 2 years of weekly appointments. but your experience will vary

      good luck

  140. Hello Louise!
    I don’t really know how to start this other than saying that I’m a teenage girl and I’m currently in a very confused state.
    As a child, I was rather sexual in some actions. From a young age I drew pictures of naked people, specifically women. A few years later I found this website where you could dress up girls, but I found out that on a few games you could remove the underwear and make them naked. For ages I’d return to this site and remove the clothes and I’d even show my cousin. Me and said cousin (Cousin 1) used to play ‘sex games’ from a very young age. We had two – a lion game that I can’t specifically remember what was sexual about it but I remember that something was off, and another. It was called the ‘zombie hump game’. That last one makes me feel sick. I remember playing it with Cousin 1 and another cousin. Cousin 1 was the zombie and me and Cousin 2 were the humans. Cousin 1 would ‘bite’ someone and whoever they bit would be humped by Cousin 1. First bite, would be clothed. Second bite would be undies, Third bite would be no clothes. I feel like my brain has forced me to think that Cousin 1 came up with the idea for this game but I really think it was me who did, and it makes me feel so sick. We were only very young which makes me scared, because regardless if Cousin 1 or myself came up with it, it’s very wrong behavior for two little girls. Frequently me and Cousin 1 would go on these websites where you could remove all the clothes or play these games and I even remember playing sexual games of truth or dare with her (before we both hit puberty). I remember daring her to pee her pants. I remember feeling good seeing it. I feel sick writing this, but I need answers. This was all before I even hit Grade 3. When I entered Grade 5 I met a girl who would tell me about all these things (masturbation, sex etc.) and I feel like I always knew what she was talking about. She told me about ‘masturbation’ and when I went to her house one day she tried to show me how to do it. She used to show me these porn sites, too. I remember watching porn a lot when I was around 10 or 11 and feeling so filled with guilt that I went to my dad crying and told him about it. Here’s another thing – as I’ve gotten older, I’ve felt the need to dress incredible modestly around older men, even my dad. My dad is a kind, gentle man who I love very much and know he would never hurt me, however, even when he asks me for a hug I feel sick to my stomach and incredibly uncomfortable. He is a lovely man and I feel guilty for not wanting him to touch me. I hate him staring at me (again, I don’t think it has ANYTHING to do with him, I think it has to do with something I’m about to write about) and I feel this way about nearly any older man related to me (key word: related. For some reason I like attention from men who aren’t). Recently, I had this random thought in my head. “Was I abused?” The thought itself freaked me out and I did a lot of research because I had this niggling feeling that I have been but I can’t specifically link it back to anything. After reading up about all these “blocked out” memories, I had this darkish memory of being in my great Aunt’s downstairs bathroom (as a VERY, VERY young child) and my great uncle being in there with me. I can’t necessarily remember what it was that made this come back to me, but I also wonder if I could have made it up as some sort of way for my brain to feel more at ease. Another thing, though, is that I’ve always had a very strange feeling around this man ever since I was little. I can’t describe it, as I haven’t had it with another person. It isn’t necessarily discomfort, but it’s something strange. I don’t see him very much but when I do I get that feeling. I’m worried, because this ‘memory’ (that I could have made up) could link towards all the strange sexual behavior I had later but there’s nothing about this memory that’s concrete. I don’t remember him touching me inappropriately etc. and I really want to determine if he did something or not as it’s a very serious thing and I don’t want to have these thoughts if he did nothing at all. Does the behavior in my childhood years sound worrying, or does it seem like normal sexual behavior in children? Also, why was it always about naked women? I’m not gay. I’m sexually attracted to males and have been in relationships with men before. The closest I would be is bisexual, as I know I’m attracted to men (and maybe women). If I’m bisexual though, why did I only ever care about women’s genitals? I’m so confused! Could a woman have abused me? Is fascination with own genitals linked with sexual abuse?! Please, help. This has been on my mind for awhile. Is it all normal and am I just making the idea of possible abuse up or do you think I should be concerned?