Wounded Attachment: Relationships of Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault

Teenage girl looking thoughtful about troublesIn my work with adult survivors of sexual assault, I am beginning to notice a pattern of behavior that I have termed “wounded attachment.” The impact of childhood sexual assault has reverberating effects on almost every facet of survivors’ livelihood, from relationships with family, friends, partners, spouses, and children to their jobs, finances, faith, etc. It is as if sexual assault redefines one’s pattern of and trajectory in life.

Sexual assault is the act of forcing, enticing, intimidating, or coercing another person to engage in a sexual activity, from fondling to coitus, when the other person is unwilling or unable (as is the case of one who is underage, drugged, or unconscious). Imagine yourself as a child, seeing the world through a child’s eyes, and then being introduced to a violent act—an act that serves to not only damage one’s physical body and mental/cognitive mind-set, but also disrupt one’s spiritual being.

This one act for some—repeated acts of violence for others—does untold amounts of damage to one’s psyche. Yet the resilience I’ve witnessed from many who choose to live their lives after the violence is remarkable. Unfortunately, for many the damage is such that many are unaware of how it has skewed their way of looking at the world. This sometimes is displayed in the relationships subsequent to the sexual assault.

Far too often, survivors believe that once the assault ends, it is done and they don’t need to talk about it. Yet the choices made, the decisions not made, and the relationships that come afterward tell a different story. Wounded attachment is an insidious component that I have seen repeatedly in my work with adult survivors of childhood sexual assault. What is wounded attachment? It’s the unconscious way of being attracted or attached to someone or something that reminds the survivor of or reinforces the wound/trauma, or in this case the sexual assault. At its core, it’s the way in which survivors subconsciously seek out relationships that reinforce the wounded aspect of themselves.

Sometimes it is displayed in the choice of employment/work. For example, survivors may find themselves working at a job that belittles them, makes them feel worthless, or where they feel like they have to make everyone else happy at the expense of their own happiness, thereby reinforcing their wounded concept of self. Another example is when a survivor is continually engaged in romantic relationships that serve to reinforce the wounded parts of self.

As a child, depending on when the assault occurred and the developmental stage in which it occurred, the person seeks to please the adult and gain affection, attention, nurturing, love, trust, etc. A child who has been sexually assaulted blurs that idea of love, nurturing, trust, attention, and affection, and begins to believe that the only way to receive love, attention, etc., is to please the “assaulter.” This remains in effect as the child matures into adulthood.

Although the assault is no longer occurring, if the child did not receive any type of counseling, intervention, or effective treatment to process and repair the damage to the mind, body, and psyche, then this adult is continuing to live out the wounds experienced as a child. As such, the adult becomes caught in a cycle of relationships that reinforce the wounded attachments. Awareness of this plays a crucial role in helping adult survivors of sexual assault move toward recovery, resiliency, and healing.

© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Valerie Kuykendall-Rogers, MA, LPC-S, Abuse / Survivors of Abuse Topic Expert Contributor

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Vanessa F

    June 28th, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    When something like this happens to you as a child it is almost a guarantee that you are going to feel like you desrved this for some reason, and I know that there are lots of victims who then go through their lives as adults seeking that conformation that indeed they are not good enough and that they deserved the treatment that they got.

    I hate that too because there are so many good people who struggle with rising above this behavior. They are led to believe that they have no control and no power and therefore they are always seeking ways to have no control and power. Even if this abuse happens to you only once in life the ramifications are endless.

  • Curious Mayhem

    October 23rd, 2016 at 7:30 PM

    The victims either think they deserved what they got, unconsciously seek to re-enact the abuse, or remain with a warped view of “normal” that shapes their later behavior and attachments. If parents were not the abusers and were ignorant of or blind to what was going on, victims are left with a sense of helplessness regarding outsiders, that they’ll never know, don’t care, can’t understand, etc.

  • Daisy

    April 2nd, 2017 at 2:14 PM

    I am new to blogs. I don’t quite understand how this works but really would like to connect. Advise? Living in a state of total aloneness in this (no family belief or support). Have isolated myself completely and am lost now. Please someone talk to me.

  • Daisy

    April 2nd, 2017 at 2:24 PM

    me too help please

  • Audrey

    June 16th, 2017 at 1:03 PM

    Hi Daisy, did you find someone to talk to?

  • Kate

    June 23rd, 2017 at 5:59 AM

    My story is similar but different. But looking back at all of the relationships I had, I now see why I acted out the way I did. I really thought all of my life, I was OK with what happened to me. It went on from the age of 4-11. I thought I was just one of those different and unique ones that “got over it”. What a bunch of B.S. that was. It began rearing its ugly head when I was in my 50’s. Flashbacks, that I used to just accept as what happened in my life began to bring me to tears. I know my hatred of men has so much to do with this now, and not to mention the relationships that I got into just reinforced how I now dislike men and why. But then again, that is part of the unhealthy types of relationships I sought out. Because I was so unhealthy, I didn’t see it. And now I do and now all the feelings and the pain and the shame I should have faced back then, I live with now. Sorry for all of you that have experienced this. I know I am one of the most untrustworthy people I know. But again, that is part and parcel for the abuse and for the lies I have endured through all of my adult relationships. It’s like the lies never stopped even once I grew up. So how am I supposed to ever feel security or trust for anyone?

  • Kate

    June 23rd, 2017 at 6:02 AM

    I meant I am one of the most “untrusting” people I know, not untrustworthy. I am very trustworthy. It is the other people I don’t trust. Sorry for the confusion.

  • priscilla

    June 30th, 2017 at 8:12 PM

    Hi Daisy you are not Alone. I am praying for you. May God bless you and heal you.

  • Eva

    September 19th, 2017 at 4:39 AM

    hello, I am on the same situation. Lets chat?

  • tammy m.

    August 28th, 2018 at 5:44 PM

    I can relate to you totally, I’m a 50 yr.old women who has had to live with a mother that not only did not WANT to believe me but stayed married to my abuser until her death ( 3yrs ago. I’ve been isolated and I’ve also tried to just act as if the aduse didn’t happen just to feel like part of the family…. I’m still trying to figure out just what I need to do for MY OWN GOOD…..BUT IS WILLING TO talk with you , who knows I may be able to help if nothing else at least you know your not alone..

  • Derek

    August 9th, 2017 at 7:36 PM

    I’m a 45 year old guy and just in the last coupleof years started working on this with a therapist I can trust, who is very attachment based in approach. I tried in my late teens and early twenties to get help, but the psych system was (and often still is) terrible. I was told to shut up, refused help if I didn’t take meds, told my family really loved me, told no one would ever love me now after I started cutting etc. etc. Only ever offered anti-depressants or CBT, when I knew I needed to talk.

    I’ve found life to be an empty unfulfilling lonely Hell, and the traumas of when I was a kid are still bigger than the many that have happened since. Although finding sex is easy to find, finding actual intimacy and conenction and partnership has been impossible, and that has just reinforced the stuff from when I was a kid. Everything except the emotional abuse stopped by the time I was seven, but even after seven it was terrible. I had a Mom and three older sisters who were all awful. My Mom hated males, and was a very vocal feminist, so the abuse I got experienced was always justified BECAUSE I was male, and therefore abusive and therefore DESERVED it. My sisters were educated with that perspective as well. I don’t know why I deserved it, but the fact that I’ve spend the decades since, and for some reason, no women ever love me (except as friends) has made this world a Hellish place that has just reinforced the stuff from when I was a kid. I think I’m kind, intelligent, interesting, daring, funny, creative, strong, hard working, reasonably attractive, healthy, socially adept, financially secure. I want love and a meaningful relationship, I always have, and would love to have had kids. I’m pretty much admitting defeat by now, though. Whatever my Mom saw in me to make me deserve it, every woman I meet sees it too. Anyhow, I liked the article, and maybe somebody will read this. I just feel like I needed a place to express it.

  • Kari

    August 15th, 2017 at 5:17 PM

    Derek, I read your story and although I don’t know you, I feel immense sympathy to you. I was a victim of molestation/emotional abuse by an older cousin when I was a little girl around 9 years old. It took me years, into my 20s, before I dared to have a relationship with a male. The relationships I had with the first two men I seriously dated ended badly with a lot of pain and regret. I was very fortunate and met my husband when I was 30. We have had our own ups and downs, but our relationship is strong. It was also in my 30s that I came out to my family about the abuse and even confronted my abuser. Come to find out, he had been sexually abused as a child. And he perpetuated the cycle — that was his choice. I made a choice as well — I have not and will never perpetuate any sort of sexual violence on any human being.

    My point in writing this is not to make you feel bad or inadequate, but to encourage you. The right woman is out there for you. The turning point for me was deciding what qualities I wanted in a partner then opening myself to the possibility of finding that person. It wasn’t about concentrating on myself, but on what I was looking for. Lots of frogs before my prince, I’ll tell you that. Friends can be a valuable resource. That is how I met my husband, through a mutual friend. Please don’t give up.

  • Al meggs

    June 28th, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Please give me the Psych term for the victim of abuse
    In this case it was a boy of about 6 and two dominant siblings of about 13 girl and 14 boy
    Throughout life the younger sibling was used to bolster the older brothers ego
    Continuing to be ridiculed humiliated still threatened and otherwise lowered in his self esteem for the remainder of his life isnt there a term used to apply to the older perpetrator sibling?
    Did he not derive extreme satisfaction from this relationship and could he when threatened of losing his “punching bag” littler brother resort to violence?

  • Valerie Kuykendall-Rogers, MA, LPC-S

    June 28th, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    In reference to Vanessa’s comments, I agree, the ramifications are endless, but NOT hopeless. There is help available and the awareness that it is okay to seek help and things can change is perhaps the first step in moving toward recovery and healing.

    In reference to Al’s comment, it appears here that you are referring to physical and emotional abuse. This article particularly deals with sexual assault. But to try to answer your questions… there are various terms once can use to describe one who has been abused physically and emotionally. Depending on their level of abuse and where they are at in their recovery, one can be referred to as a “survivor of abuse” and the one who is known to do the abuse is typically referred to as a “perpetrator”. It is difficult to answer your last question regarding deriving extreme satisfaction from this relationship…it is possible that the one conducting the abuse also experienced abuse and becomes the “abuser/perpetrator” rather than the “abusee/survivor” to deflect their own insecurities. In any case, I am hopeful that these individuals are receiving or have received counseling to address their behaviors and feelings toward self/others.

  • tiffany

    June 29th, 2013 at 1:18 AM

    would hurt the psyche no doubt.but the second most important thing to do (the first would be prevention of course) would be the immediate actions after such an assault.the guardian adults (most often parents) should accept what the child says.

    soon after seeking help is necessary.it is a compulsory thing to do.the child needs to be told this was not their mistake and that they do not deserve this.what is done thereafter could have an effect on how the child thinks and the child’s entire future life.

  • Kimberly April

    August 4th, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Speaking from personal experience as an adult survivor, I totally agree with and want to emphasize what has been shared about wounded attachments.
    I especially can identify with the following insights you provided:

    “Sometimes it is displayed in the choice of employment/work. For example, survivors may find themselves working at a job that belittles them, makes them feel worthless, or where they feel like they have to make everyone else happy at the expense of their own happiness, thereby reinforcing their wounded concept of self. Another example is when a survivor is continually engaged in romantic relationships that serve to reinforce the wounded parts of self.”

    I also want to add another dimention to this area of wounded attachment. Those of us who have been abused in a variety of ways, especially spanning ages 2 through 18, have never really had, known, or experienced a safe relationship. We don’t even know what it looks like, feels like, or is. We don’t have any background knowledge or experience of it. What we know well is a betrayal of a very close relationship be it father, mother, siblings, etc. I think sometimes some therapists don’t think about the enormity of what I just shared here. It will effect your therapy for a long time. It will effect establishing safety and trust. It will effect how long it takes for the process of therapy to help bring wholeness.

    I have also experienced that it also effects the termination process as well. I am now coming to the conclusion of my therapy which has lasted for four years. I can’t put into words how difficult this process has been, and I beleive that part of the difficulty is because therapists don’t realize our lack of background knowledge on safe relationships, and take for granted that we know what one is, looks like, and how it feels. Also secondly, that perhaps for the first time in our lives this relationship that has been formed in therapy is built on trust and safety, as well as understanding, respect, and a true caring that we have not experienced before. I believe, and have experienced that this is probably another reason that termination is such a struggle for me. Now I feel like I am in a place where my therapist is not “getting” this, and this is causing me to feel afraid again, and wanting to run away using a myriad of strategies which are not optimal for healiing to take place. I need his help, but he doesn’t “get” it.

  • Stephanie

    September 22nd, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    Kimberly, I understand where you’re coming from, I was sexually abused by my dad from 2 – 15.. The only reason it ended was because I stopped looking like a little girl. I completely relate to what you’re saying about having no healthy relationships to relate to. It is huge and has been an enormous barrier in believing in my instincts. I question everything, especially in romantic relationships. I grew up deeply stuffing my instincts and my enormous suffering. It’s made romantic relationships extremely confusing. It’s hard for me to know and judge appropriate boundaries, I question all the time if what I feel is acceptable or right. It doesn’t help that during your adult life you accumulate so much more disfunction and trauma. I know I sound bleak, but it made me feel really good and hopeful reading your message, it made me feel less different and disfunctional. I am not understanding what you mean when you say termination? Are you talking about when your done with counseling?

  • simply al

    September 12th, 2013 at 6:09 AM

    I completelt agree, my husband was sexually abused at the age of 4yrs onwards by older boys and then a friend of the family – he is british Pakistani…..I married my husband 12 years ago and found out that he has been having affairs, using escorts, prostitutes going on websites etc etc. He told me briefly about the rapes but in no depth and I didn’t push. He started therapy about 4months ago, but has now walked out on me and our 3 children……….I am very confused as to whats going on, and the impact of therapy on our relationship………….

  • Holly

    September 27th, 2017 at 12:22 PM

    To Simply Al,
    I am a survivor of sexual, physical, and mental abuse. It started before I can remember my first memory is 2 but I have flashbacks of being much younger. My father abused me until I was 13 and would drowned me in my bathtub or pool to keep my silence. My mother abused me in a different way and continues to do so to this day, I am now 36. I have very limited contact with my mother and no contact with my father. Each time (maybe 3 times total) I have confronted my father with sexually abusing me, he threatens to sue me. Anyways to the point, when I first got “Real” therapy I acted out in dangerous ways for about a year. I had my first child and he was months old and I could not be around him in the begining. Not because I didn’t love him; it was because I did love him. I didn’t want any of the negative overpowering feelings I was working through to hurt him. I knew in order for me to be the type of parent I wanted to be, I had to get help and work through my pain. I acted out sleeping with over 100 strangers, going to sex clubs, putting myself in situations that could have killed me. My way of trying to commit suicide. Luckily I made it through with no STD’s or physical harm, just more mental harm. I find it is hard for most people that I have shared with that have not been abused to understand the depth of pain or the actions of the victim. I was also raped twice in college, twice by the same stranger and once by an old boyfriend I had in 7th grade. When I had my son all of the trauma I had stuffed down saying I was fine came at me all at once. I was overwhelmed and caught off guard. I then did what took me years of therapy to understand, I became my own victim; I was victimizing myself. I have done years of EMDR, and 13 years of talk therapy and I am still going weekly. I don’t know if this hell ever ends, but I keep fighting with the hopes that someday it will be better.

  • Mary B.

    February 18th, 2019 at 2:23 PM

    I feel your pain. Your story is so very similar to my own. I was touched inappropriately by my father around the age of 9 or 10. One of my older siblings came in to the restroom where I was taking a bath and tried to have sex with me but I was blessed by my older sister walking and stopping that. later on that same sister’s husband came in drunk one night and tried to have sex with me and yet again she walked in with another man that she had been out with. I told my mother but she blamed me and after that I became promiscuous and gave birth to my daughter at the age of 16, I wasn’t given any support from my mother. This was something ongoing in the family. I was set up by what I thought was a good friend and her brother to be raped at the age of 18. To this day I am looking for a good therapist to help me cope with this trauma because at the age of 57 it is still affecting my life and those of the ones who loves me.

  • Terry

    February 25th, 2020 at 1:46 PM

    How were you victimizing yourself?

  • Holly

    February 25th, 2020 at 7:52 PM

    Hello Terry,
    I was victimizing myself in all sorts of ways. I was hurting my body, putting myself in dangerous situations, ignoring my pain, and not respecting myself. I allowed others to hurt my body by not respecting myself. I did this though many years ago. I have since learned to be kind to myself. I felt worthless so I treated myself exactly that way.

  • Sean

    October 25th, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    I’m looking for advice on how to cope being in love with a sexually abused woman. My partner and I have been in a relationship for nearly 6 years. We have been through some tough times as I recently found out she has been having sex with other guys all the while telling me how much she loves me. I asked her why she did that and I as told that I “forced” her to do that as I was too jealous and expected her to give herself fully to me alone. After a bit of soul-searching and talk, she admitted to me that she was sexually abused by her grandfather from the age of 5 to 15. At the age of 20 her grandfather continued to pester her for sex and she relented having consensual sex with him another 3 occasions that I know of. I met her after all this had happened. When I questioned her why she would consent to having sex with him, she answered that she did it just to stop him nagging her for sex. Her answer staggered me which then became an almighty row during which she said she was happy that he did this to her as he “taught her how to enjoy sex”. Needless to say, our sex life has been affected greatly. I love her and I know she loves me but I don’t think we can sort these issues out by ourselves. Can anyone offer advice?

  • Chris

    November 9th, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Sean, my wife is a survivor and we are still early in the process of working thru it. The issue you are running into is that as you get closer and more intimate (not just in physical ways) to your GF it will scare her since her Grandpa was someone who was close to her and who did something evil. As a result she subconsciously feels less safe about you as your relationship gets closer. You’re right you can’t get thru this by yourselves. She desperately needs counseling and you will too. Also couples counseling would probably be beneficial. I can’t really tell you how hard the process is to get thru since I am still in the midst. You need to seriously consider if you want to stay in this relationship because it will be tough. I think that you need to set a boundary that if your relationship is going to continue she needs to be in counseling specifically to deal with the abuse. I pray that however things work out you each find happiness.

  • Liz

    January 12th, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    I just wrote a long piece about myself but the CAPTCHA Code wasn’t recognised so I lost everything I wrote :(

    It obviously wasn’t meant to be, my voice to be heard. It’s not a question of if, it’s when do I decide to leave this earth.

  • Tony

    February 11th, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Liz, please retype it. I’d like to read your story. It would help me and probably others, and it might help you.

    As far as ending it, lookup a story written in the New Yorker a few years back about suicides off the Golden Gate Bridge. The people who survived the jump all say virtually the same thing: the second they jumped they knew they wanted a chance to just live, and realize then they didn’t want to die.

    Type your story and post it please.

  • Curious Mayhem

    October 23rd, 2016 at 7:32 PM

    Liz, and everyone else — before you submit, select and copy what you wrote to a text editor on your computer, so you won’t lose it if something fails on the web site.

  • Terry

    February 25th, 2020 at 1:49 PM

    I want to hear about your story

  • GT Support

    January 12th, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    Thank you for your comment, Liz. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at https://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • sunya

    February 14th, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    I am a child sex abuse survivor. I am 42 years old married and have a child. But my relationship with my husband or my child was never fine. We are constantly up in arms at each other. I want a happy and peaceful life. Can you please help

  • dee

    February 22nd, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    i am a child abuse survivor,my abuser died last year and nightmare”s is coming back more than i want.i maried and have two childrens but i cant to talk to any one,i feel like i going creisy .i am 45 years old but i feel like little girl again,please help me

  • Sandy

    November 7th, 2016 at 12:38 PM

    Read the book Running on Empty….it will HELP ….

  • Ru

    February 23rd, 2014 at 7:10 AM

    what happens when you get into a relationship that reinforces the wound what do you do

  • Lynne Silva-Breen, LMFT

    February 28th, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories. All of you have pointed out the painful, life-altering effects of childhood sexual abuse.

    The best suggestion I have is for survivors to begin a relationship with a good, seasoned, licensed mental health professional. Research and clinical experience proves that a good therapeutic relationship can help to heal those wounds and help you establish new expectations of a close, trusting relationship.

    When you are ready, please reach out for help.

  • Brittanie

    February 28th, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Hello! I just wanted to post a resource for people that state that they are in need of some support to address their own trauma histories. Firstly, as a therapist for youth, I absolutely recommend therapy at all stages of life for survivors. There is no one way to “deal” with your experiences, and it’s not something you do for a little bit and it’s done as this article states. Coping and healing are life long processes, so therapy at different stages of life is a fabulous way to process and redefine your story as it relates to the new you through your years.

    If you’re not ready to go to therapy yourself, but feel you are stable enough to begin to do some work there is a book: “The Courage to Heal Workbook”. This workbook can be worked on at home in pieces, and directly addresses building supports, coping skills, and dealing with crises when triggered. You can buy it off of amazon.

    Dee this makes me think of what you posted. Your abuser passing is VERY triggering, and it’s very common to begin to relive and experience trauma symptoms even if you have not for years. It would be a good time for you to seek a therapist or support group to process all of the feelings (maybe even mixed feelings), his/her death is allowing to surface.

    Everyone posting about their experience is demonstrating what being a survivor is about, good work and good luck!

  • Phil

    March 21st, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    My wife walked away from therapy 6 times over 22 years of marriage; always finding a reason and never dealing with the problem. She was court ordered into a year long group therapy (California domestic squabble law when an officer is called). She couldn’t walk away.

    Nothing happened for 6 months. In month 7 she opened up. No surprise, it turned out that most of the women in the group had had childhood violation experiences like hers.

    My wife is much better now. I only wish that the year had not come to an end. Another 12 months could have had her deal with even more of need to control, her sexual habitations, her insecurity in social settings.

    Though not perfect, I will accept the the great improvements which did occur.

  • Michael

    April 24th, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    My wife and I have been married for 14 years. We have two children 4 & 7. She confided in me ten years ago that she had been molested as a child by a family doctor while her mother watched and did nothing (she is from a Mormon family and the women are very submissive to men). Since telling me, I have pleaded with her to get help as her inability to show intimacy, any intimacy at all, has taken its toll on our relationship.
    This past November, I accepted a position in another state. Our house had been sold, most of our personal belongings had been liquidated and I was already relocated with my family to follow. And then her crisis hit.
    She filed for a divorce and I was forced to resign my position and come home to face the divorce proceedings.
    She has since retracted the divorce and we started marriage counceling and things were starting to seem better. Then ( about five weeks ago) she revealed her abuse to our counselor (who is incredible). At that point, our counselor began working with my wife on her abuse issues and, as a result, she has pulled almost completely away from me. We spend time to gather a couple of times a week and I can feel that she doesn’t want to be there. I love her so very much and it kills me to see her in so much pain. I try very hard to be supportive and understanding, but I am in pain too. I have lost almost everything over this. My wife, my family, my job and my home. We live in separate apartments and, while she talks about us moving back in together soon (july), that don’t seem possible given the current status of her recovery. I don’t want to leave the marriage but I am so afraid that she is just going to walk away.
    How long can I expect until there is a real sense of healing?
    Why does she want to spend time with her friends and not me?
    My heart is breaking over this and I don’t know how long I can hold on.

  • Jude

    April 26th, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    I’m a childhood sex abuse survivor & I’m 17. I just told my counsellor about it after being forced to be silent for almost 5 years. I have tried to kill myself twice because of flashbacks. My counsellor said we would do some sort of counselling but I can’t remember the name of it. Does anyone know what type of therapy is used?

  • jessika

    October 9th, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    Was the therapy dialectical behavior therapy? That’s what my therapist just recommended for me.

  • Curious Mayhem

    October 23rd, 2016 at 7:35 PM

    There’s also a form of therapy called EMDR. It requires a trained specialist. DBT is excellent as well.
    Be sure to talk to your parents about it, assuming they weren’t the perpetrators and are willing to discuss it. It will help you normalize and emerge from that feeling of isolated insanity that all victims feel before they come out of their shells.

  • Holly

    February 25th, 2020 at 8:04 PM

    Hello Jude,
    I am glad you reached out for help. I have personally done E.M.D.R. it is used for PTSD and since most victims experience post traumatic stress disorder it is very helpful. I had to relive a lot of the trauma through EMDR, but it really has helped me! I would recommend having a good support system in place and really knowing your good coping mechanisms before doing it.

  • Gerard

    June 15th, 2014 at 2:38 AM

    I am the male partner of a man who was raped as a child. We have been together for 8 years and it has been very very difficult. We clearly love one another very much, but recently my partner moved out of our home, though we are keeping in touch as best we may. My partner has “dropped” me more times than I can count, and finds reasons easily in my behaviour to feel contenpt for me, then later we reconcile. I have urged him repeated to seek professional help, which he has done from time to time, but has not seen it through effectively each time. He is not seeing anyone at the moment, even at such a crucial time in his life, he seems on the one hand to be trying to deal with it completely alone, and on the other hand confesses to me that he is very confronted to try to open up again to yet another professional. Recently, he and I made an appearance beofre the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse in Australia, which was a cathartic experience for us both, but the pattern continues of going along fairly well, to collapse of our relationship, to repair, via promises of seeking help, and me attempting not to be controlling, but at the same time urging him to seek out help. I feel my life is crumbling almost as mcuh as his is.

  • Susan E

    June 25th, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    Good evening. I’m a parent of a male survivor. He’s 21 and disclosed last year that he’d been abused by a family friend multiple times when he was 10. His high school years were a mix of success and then acting out with drugs and alcohol. He’s been in inpatient recovery, outpatient, sober living. He regularly sees a counselor with whom he has a good bond. He just seems so fluid and changes jobs, housing and girlfriends every 2-4 months. It’s hard to stabilize him. He hasn’t truly accepted sobriety. His dad gave up on him after his relapses. He has great family support otherwise. Will this calm down? Will he mature into a more stable lifestyle? Sometimes it feels like such a roller coaster.

  • alex

    September 26th, 2014 at 6:14 AM

    Honestly he may never be that, but your continous support is everything. Dont give up

  • Nina

    December 8th, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Sometimes its enough if the perpetrator faces negative consequences what he’s done. If he hasn’t, it may feel like telling changed nothing for your son.

  • sarah

    July 12th, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    I am a 30 year old survivor i was abused between 5 and 8 by my step granddad been emtionally sexually abused for as long as i can remember by my dad and i was sexually assulted by an unknown man when i was 12. It took me till 28 years of age to even talk about it I’ve had relationship upon relationship and in one way or another I’ve sabotaged them all by pushin people away at the least little thing and turnin to drugs and alcohol to block things out. I have good days and bad days but since I’ve spoke out i dont feel suicidal anymore and I’m slowly but surely learnin why i react in certain ways to certain things and I’m tryin to break bad habits and behaviour. Talking about it was the most scariest thing i have ever ever had to do, but its better than wanting to kill youself 24 – 7. I’ve got a long way to go and healing is an on goin thing but i felt compelled to write this incase someone else like me is lookin for answers or a reasurance to open up.

  • Karizma

    July 25th, 2016 at 11:09 PM

    Hello.. I am an adult survivor. I was assaulted by my brother sexually for 2 years in elementary school. When I was finally able to get him to stop, he was very cruel to me both mentally and at times physically. I never told a soul. I got drunk, high, and slept around a lot. I had many failed relationships and I would say that there was always a lack of trust deep down. This is what happens. I distanced myself from my family and still do, because I guess I lump them in with the abuse. When I met my husband, he was different. He was and is a recovering alcoholic, so right off the bat, I felt it was a brave and vulnerable thing for him to disclose and it takes strength to keep sobriety… Lord knows how many relapses I have had so far (He just made 5 years!). I have always made these “tests”, as ridiculous or horrifying as it may seem for someone who has never been abused. These tests would be to see if I could trust a guy. If I got kinda drunk I would “pass out” and if the guy raped me (Had sex with me while I was out), well.. I knew he couldn’t be trusted. It is a fucked up mentality and a horrible way to go through life. My husband has never ever touched me sexually with out consent and was the 1st guy to build a relationship with me NOT based around sex. We moved when I was around 29 and when this happened I went into a really deep depression. At this point I was almost 2 years sober, happy in my relationship, but my world was upside down. It was so hard for me to even go to work. At this point, I told my husband about the abuse and we decided therapy is best. I had gotten to a point where I had lost a lot of weight from not drinking, eating very well, staying hydrated, physically I was looking very attractive, and I was miserable. I felt like I didn’t deserve to look good or feel clean on the inside. (Through my abuse up through adult hood depression has been very prevalent and there are large blocks of times where I don’t take care of basic needs like showering or brushing my hair… I always felt DIRTY). I went into therapy and all of the sudden, I started picking at my husband, staying out late drinking, NOT telling where I am. Therapy WILL trigger some shit in you, please know this. It is a process. It was like taking a gigantic grasp at all those unhealthy coping mechanisms that you held so tightly for so long. Ones that served you when no one else would. It is painful and you go back to them. Forgive yourself when this happens. I left therapy, went back, took a break, went back. Slowly, I would start letting more people in on my abuse and was getting love and support. My therapist recommended that I tell my sister. She lives across the country as our whole family is spread far from one another, but her and my brother are close. She tried to invite him to my wedding and I freaked out on her. (Any time when I have had to be in physical spas with him as an adult, I have serious break downs and/or make death attempts) She is always asking why I don’t stay in contact or “care” about the family. I was afraid to tell her. I was afraid of rejection, disbelief, afraid she would tell my brother and he would come after me, afraid that feeling that the world was coming down on me was finally going to collapse and do me in. I sent the email last week, reconnected with my therapist as well. I got a response from my sister, part disbelief, part not knowing how to process it. I spent 2 teary hours on the phone with my mother in law. Life isn’t easy, its nice at times though. I am trying to get to yoga more often and TRYING to sit with myself and breath/ meditate… Wine is a much EASIER way to make my mind stop chattering, but I always feel worse the next day. To all of the partners of survivors, my heart goes out to you, it is a difficult role that takes so much love and patients. To all of the survivors, I wish I could give you all a safe and loving hug. My recommendation is to possibly find a trauma based yoga class, therapy, message boards like this and if your trauma has caused you some isolating or devastating coping mechanisms and you feel like blaming yourself, please don’t. Forgive that person in the mirror. They are doing what they need to too survive in this moment.

  • Jessica

    July 26th, 2016 at 12:04 PM

    HI Karizma,

    I am glad you have had the courage to face the abuse and work towards helping yourself heal. I used alcohol to cope with abuse and depression myself for many years, and it definitely did not work. It worked in the moment, but afterwards I always felt much worse. Drinking also stalls any progress you might make in your recovery from the abuse. What has worked for me is therapy and antidepressants. I have a much better life since I stopped drinking, although it was hard at first not to have that coping mechanism. I highly recommend sobriety!

  • dave

    August 28th, 2016 at 2:18 AM

    You are a wonderful lady with great will power bought me to tears how life can be so cruel .been with my wife for 25 years 3 butiful children had everything I ever wanted in life my 3 children better than anything who needs money . she was abused controlled from age 13 to 15 I met her when she was nearly 16 and 17 fell in love with her straight away she told me a small bit about what this family friend done to her she told me to keep a secret not to tell anyone in case her parents would find out I keep it a secret for her watched her over years self harm and always have suicide thoughts all I could do is cuddle her and squise her tight best mother in world best wife in world over years she had some affairs witch I forgives her for two years ago she came out and told police to try stop martin the man what abused her she done her police interview police all crying for her that day eventually they give her bad news not inought evidence. System let her down crying for help and no one to help 1 year later sadly over girls have come forward meanwhile my wife starts have sex with lots of men at work coming home and hurting her wrist with a fork but she couldn’t tell me after that she finds another man to have another affair with thin I find out on her phone u had break down try to commit suicide twice to save my wife to get to help she needs I done the self harm thing went mental home everyone coming to me telling what they had done to them now seeing and understand what my wife had gone through 27 years ago now I understand what its like to hate and hurt your self I come out of all that now just run ever day and use a punch bag for my anger havnt sleeped for 6 weeks 1 or 2 hours a day she left me with three children I no she still loves but can’t for what she has done I will always love her and worry for her all I won’t is for her to get the help she needs and live a normal life as and understand it wasn’t her thought what happen she was a little girl being controlled by a peodophile she still comes and takes our youngest son 1week stay at hers and comes to family home ti help other children she can’t keep running away her wall gets bigger and stronger she needs to have help and GI back to when she was twelve and understand she not to blame love my wife dearly and will wait to the day I die to be near to her to have a kiss from her thank you for listen all part of process

  • Scott B

    July 15th, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Hello all

    First, thank you for you courage and your sharing. I was hoping I could get some feedback and insight.

    I am married to a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by her father. Our marriage is most likely done more from her perspective than mine.

    Throughout our relationship, she has very quickly alternated between expressing her love for me to then shutting me out completely and blaming me for all the problems in our relationship. After 15 years, I do find mysel to be a very negative and angry person which I wasn’t before our relationship.

    I have sought out therapy and treatment for depression and over the last year have really been able to take perspective. I have no problems taking ownership of the things I have brought to the table that have negatively impacted the relationship. However, as I have gotten healthier, I am now refusing to be the scapegoat for all the issues which was the MO of our relationship before.

    I guess what I am asking is are her behaviours “typical” of a survivor or is it really just me causing the issues? From my perspective I have seen:

    – very hot then cold feelings towards me. Last week she was telling me how much she loves me and I am the only one for her. Today she wants a divorce.
    – I am the sole reason for issues in our relationship
    – very secretive and withholding information to protect me or manage my feelings
    – she approaches childrearing like she is a single mom and I am a guest. The expectation is that I am to follow her lead and not offer my own opinions on how to raise our kids.
    – compartmentalising her work and friendships from me – never the two shall meet
    – and many others

    I don’t ask this as a way to blame her but rather to get a sense of my own worth. What is the possibility that I am really as bad as I am feeling right now? Is it possible it is entirely me?

    Thank you for your feedback.

  • mm67

    July 20th, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    I know you are feelong confused by your partners behaviour , its normal . I’m a survivor of sex abuse and I find it extremely hard to distinguish between what is normal for my partner and myself . I want to carry the world on my shoulders it comes natural to my need to make an effort as everything I do is in fear , I’m confused , I’m always confused . So I find meditation helps at least I can give myself some love and also accepting the kindness of others withoutfeeling that you have to ‘pay them back ‘ . I feel more self worth . We are victims and experience trauma . Try not to understand your partner but just to be there if needed .avoid alcohol together it doesn’t help .

    Good luck and its people like you who help people like us

  • Gia

    August 14th, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    I don’t have advice, but I can say that sounds so much like what has been going on in my relationship. He had his first flash back 5 months ago. We split two weeks ago. I’m heartbroken and really appreciate your post. It helped me to know I’m not alone or crazy. The whole thing is so chaotic.

    Good luck to you and thank you

  • Jaynne

    August 28th, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    You are so spot on that if I didn’t just disclose the abuse to my partner today, I would have thought he wrote your comment. Hang in, good luck, and much love.

  • Nina

    December 8th, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    Since you’re asking, chances are you’re not at fault. It sounds like she points the finger to avoid having to observe and act to correct her own behavior. She believes that you will leave her no matter she does because she doesn’t deserve to be loved. All of that sounds like her arguing with her own self loathing.

  • Sid

    June 22nd, 2016 at 2:11 AM

    I am also in a relationship with a survivor of sexual abuse by her father in her childhood. The feelings that you (scott) mention here are very similar to what i go through as well. As though, me and my partner have been seeing each other for only 10 months now, we feel very close to each other. I have been through emotional and physical abuse by my family as well. Both me and my partner disclosed our situations right on the day one itself. Something just clicked, and we opened up to each other, where we have never told these things to anybody else.
    We moved in together soon after we met and were happy. But, things started to shake up one month down the line. One day, i lashed out at her in anger, i controlled myself before i could do real harm. But, she decided we needed some time apart. So, we did. It was very difficult for me in the first few days. I soon started seeing a therapist, did a meditation course and then things started to clear up.
    Before i used to think it is my job to make her happy and safe. But then i realised i can only give her space and my support in order for her to heal and cope up with her past. Only she can heal herself and i can only be there if she ever needed me.
    I think i provide a very loving, affectionate and caring environment for her, which she can only relate to her relationship with her grandfather. For that time, she feels safe with me. But after a while she becomes a bit clingy, then we have fight over some crude reason and stay apart for a few days. But i never give up, my attitude is very different now and i respect her space. It gives us time to evaluate our relationship, our standings and when we get back together we are closer to each other than before.

    So, my advice to partners of survivors is to have patience (if you really love them), do meditation everyday (it helps so much, offer your partner to do the same), give them space whenever they need it (or you take some time off if you need it as well) and just be there for them with your positive attitude. Just be there with all your love and understanding and life will keep moving getting better with every hiccup!

  • Broken

    July 18th, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Married! 14 years to a sexual abuser. Has abused his children and wife in secret for all 14 years. Habitually sleeping around under cover of secret phone and through so called friends. No true friend in this universe would lie or keep a secret and aide and let you harm yourself or others. Could be why I am not and never was fond of husbands friends. The ones I did like lie to my face. This has been the worst situation in my entire life. I was not sexually abused as a child my husband I found out now was. A victim of sexual abuse and because I did not know and this is certainly something you don’t automatically assume especially if you were not abused as a child. I had extreme trouble identifying it because my husband covered it by several legitimate things. I had to higher several investigators. OMG. This is so messed up and the findings were troubling and the negligence in his profession. 9 robberies, police find no robber, reports kids made, buying items in others name, so I will never know, fudge numbers, missing documents, I spots across several small towns, unidentified ss numbers attached to independant businesses, STD and STI infections hospitalized wife and then recovery program. Husband is a BAD Abuser and has never been in trouble or face it. Lives in denial continuing the behavior. The children and I are broken…

  • Dane

    July 29th, 2014 at 12:39 AM

    I was sexually abused by my older cousin from about 6-11. I never told anyone until my mother came and talked to me saying my brother had told on my cousin for sexually abusing him and she wanted to ask me if it happened to me as well. I just remember crying. This was my older cousin who I was really close to and to this day idk if I would have ever told. Well we had court proceedings but the consensus was that if it happened again he would go to jail..but nothing was done afterwards. No therapy..nothing. and my parents continued letting me go over my grandma’s house where my cousin lived. I remember still being close to him and the continued but I never said a thing. When I was 12 the same cousin shot and killed one of my other family members. He was put away and I remember my dad giving me phone to speak to him when he was in jail and I spoke to him. As I got older I gradually became fiercely stubborn, hard, and emotionally detached. I still cannot be faithful in a relationship, am commitment phobic to everything, and have flashbacks of the abuse. I try very hard to convince myself that my sexuality is my own but always have thoughts of what the abuse could mean in that regard. I also am very controlling and don’t like being touched unless I expressly ask to be. My most recent ex had a big problem with that. My family still series it under the rug like it never happened…I forgive all of them but can’t help feel like I was left alone and I am alone in this world and if not even my own parents looked after me then who else will besides myself? I can’t trust a man to have my best interests at heart so I push them away. I desperately want to learn how to relinquish control and truly trust someone but I don’t know how yet. I have sought therapy but instantly feel like I’m back in control and stop going because I throw back up my walk whenever I feel like I was typo vulnerable around someone. I just can’t believe with me being who I am now..that back then..I didn’t have a voice. You ask anyone now and they will say I’m the most independent openly opinionated person ever. Always wish that could have been me back then and now I feel like I over compensate for that unknowingly.

  • Nina

    July 1st, 2016 at 4:32 AM

    My story is similar to most people here. I was molested by a family friend over and over as a child until about 10 Or 11. I blocked out the memories as best as I could. I have very fond memories of my childhood, a flashback here and there, a nightmare. Mostly I think about how I used to avoid sleeping as a teenager, avoided going on a long drive with my father alone because I thought he might try to hurt me even though he never ever did. I just couldn’t trust anyone. I have always had “friends” and family that I was/am “close” to, but can honestly say that I don’t have a deep and close connection with anyone, not one single person. I just never let it happen, I’m too insecure, too scared of being used or hurt or humiliated. I was so young when the abuse happened, but was always overweight, so I used to think that it was my fault for looking older than I am. Maybe that’s why he did those things to me. It took years before I realized a 5 year old can never be obese enough to pass as a consenting adult woman. I did my own research, watched Law and Order SVU and learned why I blamed myself, why I could not trust, why I was incredibly curious/promiscuous even at 12 or 13 years old. Yeah, you read right, television helped understand myself, because telling my mother resulted in an ” I know” and a silent car ride home from school. Trying to tell her a second time ended in a warning not to tell a soul. Confiding in my sister ended in a bored sigh and a request to get professional help. Telling my brother I was contemplating suicide resulted in him laughing in my face. And finally, most recently, after having a flashback brought on by something I saw on TV and crying to my husband just ended with a “I don’t know what to say, you’re making me uncomfortable.” I am used to feeling violated and humiliated because that man continued visiting my home until I was 23 years old and finally begged my mother to stop letting him come over. But the lack of empathy, the one and off self-loathing, the lack of emotions and feelings and solid relationships, the emptiness that I have tried so hard to fill with fake smiles and inappropriate jokes is getting to me. I don’t feel and it bothers me that I can’t feel for anyone, not genuinely, I have to fake it, it takes a lot of effort and it is exhausting and disturbing. I worked so hard to get over my trauma and the feelings of disgust for myself and my body. But I can’t open back up and let myself feel again, I can’t fix that and I need help.

  • Loumar

    August 27th, 2014 at 6:44 AM

    I am an adult survivor of same sex childhood sexual abuse, and have suffered with the self-hatred triggered by my history. I have had a history of getting into relationships where I have to prove my worth to the man I am trying to impress, and typically become overly attached. I recently became engaged to a wonderful man, who loves me unconditionally, but I have so much discomfort with being loved, that it is sending me spinning. I just want to be happy with this man, as I do love him, but have so much fear. Please does anyone have any thoughts on this matter.

  • Chris

    September 6th, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    He Loumar,
    I have struggled through the same exact thing. Still am to be honest. I’m still not yet fully healed. As a boy from ages 8-12 I was consistently sexually abused. Some times after he would finish with me he would be soft and gentle and say he loved Me, other times he would toss me to the ground like a rag doll. No longer having any use for me. I struggle with self worth and the thought of figuring out what love actually means. It was and still is so confusing. My counselor has been helping me realize what love is. And the “love” that was given to me by my abuser was simply another level of manipulation. I guess ultimately I had to find that my brain had been so messed up to the idea of love by the abuser that I simply had to rediscover what love was. It wasn’t easy. But with the help of a close friend supporting me and my counselor I am slowly beginning to understand again what love is like. Trying to distance myself from the thoughts and memories is difficult, especially when flashbacks come up, but it’s necessary for me to continuously remind myself (even though I sometimes struggle with accepting this as truth), that this wasn’t my fault. That was not love. He didn’t love me. He said those things to protect himself and keep himself safe.
    If this man loves you for who you are, then I don’t think it’s worth giving up on. Do your best to allow him to help define what love is. For me I had to draw boundaries for words to be said from me and to me until I was ready to hear them and accept them. Same went with physical touch. I hope this helps a little. I rambled a lot. Sorry

  • Maggie

    August 27th, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    I’m a survivor if that’s what its called. Occurred first at 7 yrs. I told my 2 older sisters both victems never stepped up. I told mom. Nothing ever came of it. Other than it stopped. Then at 14 it started again. Daddy ruled with an iron fist and you didn’t say no. But the whom I feel betrayed by most is the 2 older sisters, both adults married w/ children the one through me under the bus so to speak by telling daddy I maybe sexually active. They both after a yr of it when I finally told again this time to authorities lied and said it never happened. I was the object of intense ridicule and punching bag for them through out my life. I’m 54 now and still at times look out at this world through a 7 or 14 yr olds eyes. I had 3 children that I now see as damaged as they have no more idea than I as to how to have a relationship let alone one that is healthy and happy. To this day the abuse conti ues. Not the sexual in that I at least know I did nothing wrong and had no control. But at this point I’ve lived a life wasted and no if I can’t get away now it will remain that way. The one person I was just starting to trust to come close to disclosing died he was my Dr (shrink) ;). The next I encountered belied any trust I will ever have for this proffession. As I find I’m raising 2 grandkids its now threatening a third generation. I’m tired and don’t know how to save them

  • Susangh

    July 27th, 2016 at 1:41 AM

    Ah. Lived a life wasted. At 58 with one molestation at 12 by step grandfather, i really suffered from severe physical and emotional abuse by my mother – repeated suffocations to start off with. I consider my life wasted, even unlived. My husband is a sex addict and goes to 12 step which seems to help. They are all promiscuous, cheating husbands and most were sexually abused as kids. Hell is for children.

  • Emily

    September 13th, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    I was abused by my father starting at age 3? I was left messed up both emotionally and physically after suffering a brain injury. As a teenager I found comfort in the arms of grown men, drugs, booze and I ran away from every home I was placed in. I couldn’t deal with any form of stability and needed chaos, to some extent this is still the case. For years I looked for men who I was sure would hurt me and they rarely disappointed but by my late 20’s I realized I deserved better and not knowing what else to do or how to be free and safe so I locked myself inside my apartment and that is where I stayed for 6-7 years. I decided to rejoin the world last year and 2 weeks ago I was raped and roughed up pretty bad, he didn’t use a condom so I am now dealing with a lot of unknowns. I really do wish I could get help.

  • Vary

    September 20th, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    I have been sexually assaulted by a family relative continuously for 5 years.i used to love him and trust and as a child was not able to differentiate between sexuall assault or love and for me it was only mere touch of love which gave me pleasure.now all family members becos of the bond I had with him think him to be really good. but the reality is different .i am 19 now and have grown up to believe dat I was sexually assaulted.now he acts to be very sweet and innocent in front of my family and keeps bringing costly things to project me as the villain.i somehow overreact because of this realisation and somehow my family feels it is because of his marriage that I am nagging and everyone is blaming me and questioning my intentions and I go silent becos I have no reply I cannot tell them or else I will have another miserable life.hence I am alone in this grief I just can’t share it with anyone and has led to lack of self confidence control.it has made me a very negative person.as he is constantly in front of me cos of my family trust.whenever I see him enjoying all these memories come back and haunt me.i feel like a used fool who is out of her dignity and that person is enjoying his life.i really feel broken down.i wanted to come over this but could not so please help me to do so as i am in 12th grade and this is an important year hence so much pain and distraction is taking a toll on me. please help me!!

  • Nina

    December 8th, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Honestly, when I went through this and realized what it would cost me to allow an abuser to keep acting innocent, I looked up how much a lie detector test cost and told his family that I would pay for a lie detector test or he could shut up. Funny…I haven’t heard anymore protestations of innocence. They just avoid me.

  • Nina

    December 8th, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Oh, and the lie detector test was for him. Why should I be put to the test when I was the victim?

  • bubbles

    March 30th, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    He should also be the one to pay for the test, in my opinion, but it sounds like it wouldn’t help with the family’s denial. Just know your health is not dependant onproving anything to anyone about what happened to you. It happened. I have yet to begin a healing process, but that seems to be a logical starting point. There is a very complex family dynamic, intensified by my mother’s very recent passing. She was only 65. Anyway, I know most of my repair will come from within. Expecting my family to understand or fix anything that was done to me won’t help ME resolve my issues. Best wishes, Nina. I saw your name in response to several comments, and want to say thank you so much for taking the time to help others. Something our horrible experiences did to make us better people, I suppose, as awful as that feels to say.

  • alex

    September 26th, 2014 at 6:37 AM

    My wife and I are both survivors of child abuse. Weve been married a year and our sex life is basically non existent. She is in therapy and i am not. I dont talk about my abuse to people where as shes very open about it. She was abused by multiple family friends as a kid and her father was also very verbally inappropriate with her. Since hes moved back closer to our area (a year ago) its taken a huge toll on our relationship. Im craving intimacy, finally being comfortable with sex and feeling good in my own skin (she was my first) wanting to be adventurous and discover. Shes not ready or interested in that which triggers me, i feel undesirable. I just dont know how to approach this. Everytime ive tried to talk about it, she seems to feel attacked. Can anyone give me some insight or advice…id really like to start seeing my own therapist but i honestly just dont know how to even start. I dont know if i could just tell someone i dont know things about me like that…

  • jessika

    October 9th, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    Alex I’ve just started going to therapy and talking about my past. You have to know that nothing that happened to you back then was your fault. It’s a very scary and heart wrenching thing to do,going to therapy. But I’m glad I started. I’m already beginning to see that other things in my life were caused by the sexual abuse I went through. And that the things I’ve done in the past and the choices I made in relationships were due to the abuse. And also I’m starting to realize I’m not the only one who thinks, feels or even acts this way. you are never alone. And you’re never at fault.

  • rick

    October 1st, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    I always swore to myself that i would never speak of the sexual abuse i endured as a small child.

    After 25 years of marriage, most of which was a continuous nightmare for my wife, i was shown, by this magnificent kind loving woman, that it was time to offer the truth of just what was wrong with her.

    The problem with her was me.

    Those of you who have survived will truly undstand that statement.

    From the age of about 5 until the age of 11 i was used by a male relative for his own pleasure. And it was never just his. There was always a friend, or friends, who were happy to use me as well. More often than not, at the same time.

    That is how it was discovered, in the basement/foundation of an old house. My arm twisted behind my back, my head pulled back by my hair, being used by three while the fourth watched and masturbated.

    I was told by the “adult” that found us that it was my fault. I was belittled and berated for the things that were done to me while the ones who did it suffered nothing but the embaressment of being caught.

    At the age of 45, after 25 years of marriage, i finally admitted the truth to my wife.

    And the telling has set me free.

    The realisations of the reasons that i have been the “man” that i was have been like blows from a hammer in my mind.

    I am beginning to understand the why of who i had become.

    It has ben just under three weeks since my “confession”, and it feels as though years have passed.

    I feel as though i am a completely different man.

    I can only hope that i am becoming a better man.

    The idea that this was something that could ever be admitted to anyone, much less to people ive never met, was unfathomable.

    I relive this every day since the telling. This was something that had been long buried.

    My perspective of quite literally everything has changed.

    I dont know what to do next, except keep breathing and know that im going to be alright.

    Theres no other choice.

    Thank you, to all who have shared your experience. Please know that it helps those of us who are just learning not only how, but also that we can.

    Scattered, thoughts, scattered mind, scattered life.

  • Emotional

    March 21st, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    I said the same thing. Pyschologist has been working with me since Aug. She holds me accountable. She gently pushes but I’m still in control. And finally she had me talking about something we had talked about before without emotion. It only took 2 questions and I was tearing up more than I thought. Held back from completely losing it but I thought I’d never be able to feel those raw emotions again. And I did and still am

  • Disappointed

    October 2nd, 2014 at 2:36 AM

    I’m bad for falling into the terrible world of gossip and believing it what people say especially if it involves someone who I know can be annoying. Then I get into an emotional state of anger- blaming others, crying and disappointment, and especially hurt. I’ve been in therapy since August. She said it’s not always going to be comfortable in session.

    Having those emotions resurface at home, I’m wondering if this is what she means. Or if I still need to express all those bottled up feelings with her. I like her aporoach but not too comfortable yet to experience real emotion. She can hear it in my voice though when in talking about things.

  • Nina

    December 8th, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Dear Disappointed,

    You are strong enough, I hope, to hear this: Therapy isn’t going to be easy. It is absolutely normal for you to have this trouble. It is also perfectly normal for you to be uncomfortable with the thought of experiencing emotions. Please don’t give up if you start to feel like you’re falling apart. Dismantling the process of becoming hurt so you can heal feels just like falling apart because you are. In a directed fashion, all the components of your hurt are being picked apart so that you can build yourself back up with those parts that weren’t really you to begin with. You can make it.

  • Emotional

    March 21st, 2015 at 1:50 PM

    After 9 months of being therapy on a bimonthly basis she got in to my emotions. I started to cry but not where I felt I got it all out. at the end she said I need to talk about the abuse to let her or someone in. Then that week after tears welled up in my eyes daily. Flashbacks, memories. Regret- why didn’t I just finish the cry? What will she think of me now?

    This weeks session cancelled because of snowstorm. I was upset because I had things to talk about but I also knew it wasn’t her fault When receptionist called it hit hard when she asked if I had all the numbers I needed in case of crisis. I know it was her responsibility but the next day I had to go to my dr for a refill. I told her about weekend migraines, anxiety because of a coworker etc. she fixed up my dosage and meds to see if they help and to let my psychologist do her job. I became emotionally distraught and very anxious because of trying to schedule therapy and dr on same day.

    Thank goodness my coworkers snapped me out of it. Things are being talked about and there may be some changes in place to help with the anxiety.

    Why am I going through this? Should I tell her? I have a note for her. She does say that if I give it to her I will still have to talk about it. I have to wait another 1.5 week to see her.

    Is this normal?

  • Calemine

    October 4th, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    I was sexually abused as a child.

    After a disasterous first marriage, I married a second time. This second marriage began devolving early on, and then I became pregnant.

    I didn’t understand I had a choice, the choice of saying ‘no’ to sex. I felt guilty for not wanting to be physical with my husband, so I gave in and tuned out…over and over again.

    The intimacy in my marriage spiralled downward.

    When our daughter became a certain age, I began having nightmares my husband was acting sexual toward my daughter. Of course, these were dreams, only dreams.

    There were connections, however, in my day-to-day reality. My husband walked around the house naked – he’d done this from the beginning of our marriage – but when our daughter became a toddler, I talked with him about it.

    I asked him to cover up around her, but he didn’t listen to me.

    He also rubbed her back while we all sat watching t.v. It was a horrible trigger for me. I confessed to him my childhood abuse and how his behavior adversely affected me. He didn’t stop the behavior, however. He told me he had a right to give his daughter affection. I couldn’t cope with the fact he wasn’t going to help me. I grew more resentful and out of control. My coping mechanism was drinking.

    Recently I became sober. I find I want nothing physical to do with him. He’s a good guy, a good father who simply hadn’t a clue of what he was dealing with…neither did I until I quit drinking.

    This has been a surreal experience for me, as I’m sure it has been for him, too. At the same time I feel grateful to be available to do the work and make decisions that reconnect me to my life and my daughter.

  • Lisa

    October 31st, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    For four years I was sexually abused by my mothers stepfather. The one time he tried to abuse my sister she told my parents and would not go to my grandparents house from that point on. They still sent me there. I was young and was afraid and ashamed so I never told my parents. Wouldn’t you think they would not let either of us go there?? At that time (and for many years after) My father had a girlfriend. Mom was depressed and self loathing and locked herself in her bedroom for days at a time. I had no one to talk to. Then my father got his girlfriend pregnant at pretty much the same time my mom got pregnant with my brother. I had to calm my baby brother down constantly when my parents fought. My sister became physically and mentally abusive toward me. She would beat me so bad I couldn’t move for hours. She told all of her friends one day when they were at the house that I wet my bed every night (which was true). I was there in the same room with all of them. My dad is now passed, my mother is still selfish and plays the martyr for attention all the time, just as she has my whole life. My sister is not married, is miserable and denies everything she did to me. To top it off, at 23, six months after I got married I was diagnosed with lynphoma. I made it through and am considered cured but now I have multiple issues from the treatments. I have been married for 25 years and am on my third affair. My poor sweet husband has never found out. I don’t have them because my marriage is bad, I believe I do it because I need to please men and make them happy using sex. It’s like I need to have validation that I can have good sex and also I have an insatiable desire to please them. I’m going to hell for this and I know it. There are days I want to take all of my pills and just go to sleep. In never at peace. I wake up every morning scared and shaking. I’m on tranquilizers and two types of antidepressants. At 49, I feel like I will never be normal.
    Thank you for letting me vent. I’ve told my husband all of this but I don’t think he understands the impact it has had in my life. That’s why I don’t tell anyone else. They just don’t get it.

  • Jennifer

    November 2nd, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    I have been dating a man for 2 yrs now. He has cheated on me throughout I believe. about a year ago he told me he had been abused by a priest recently told me he was 5-11 years old when it happened. He had been faithful for about the last 5 months I believe. He drinks heavily and has admitted to being an alcoholic and sex addict. We’ve had a difficult month and he has been talking out a woman. I caught them in his flat and the next day he told me he slept with her. He then said he want me back and can’t cope without me. loves me etc. I do love him but I can’t allow him to treat me this way. I’d like to help him but don’t know how. any suggestions? Could I ask him to talk to me or just counciling? I feel like I should walk away but at the same time stay if there’s hope to help him and us to have a faithful relationship . He’s 46 now

  • Nina

    December 8th, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Sex is complicated and I can’t say what you should do, but you should not be treated that way. You are no less valuable than he is. Having said that, if sex always meant something, it would mean that victims of sexual abuse deserved their shame. We do not and what someone does to our bodies does not define us. It was done TO us. Some of us were drugged with pills, but most were drugged by love or the possibility of it and we were manipulated through its use. I say these things because sex is a stigma and we’re told it should always mean something. It doesn’t mean anything at all about you. She doesn’t have to be younger, prettier, smarter or anything else for him to cheat because its about him, not you.

  • seeking God

    November 10th, 2014 at 7:15 AM

    I was abused by my dad from 2-18 he also had my brother abuse me and my brother introduced more until he realized it was wrong. ..I have been married 4 times and feel like a failure… this recovery stuff is hard and I’m trying to walk closely with God. …I don’t know how we survived but we’re here so we did. I’m praying for everyone.

  • You will be healed

    July 21st, 2015 at 4:04 AM

    I will pray for you. You will be healed. Never give up on yourself. Try to love yourself day by day!!

  • Need healing

    November 13th, 2014 at 8:13 PM

    My marriage is suffering greatly from my past. My father was an unpredictable, confusing, needy and aggressive schizophrenic who exposed himself, was inappropriate physically and voyeuristic toward me (showers, toilets, dressing, spying on me having sex with my boyfriend). I’m grateful he didn’t rape me but the damage has been so deep as it was the fear of it that loomed constantly, always on guard. I can’t seem to trust my husband no matter what my logic tells me. I get close then freak out and pull away. If he looks at other women I’m beside myself fearing I’ll never measure up, he’ll leave or I’m worth nothing. I’ve seriously considered divorce and only associating with women.

    I don’t know how to have a loving relationship where sexuality and my sexual worth is not the central point. I don’t know what it is like to be valued for more than that and now I’m 40 and losing it I’m terrified I am nothing. While I was scared of men watching me when younger, now I feel worthless without the only validation of my existence I had grown up with. I don’t want to be the fool middle aged wife whose husband ‘loves’ her but lusts after younger women as my father did because I’ve been programmed to believe that for men lust is THE most important thing.

    Sexual abuse is such a horrendous crime against another human – to abuse their power and affect the course of another’s life and the ones they bond to. I’m sad no one stopped it for all the survivors on this post. One day at a time…

  • paula

    November 20th, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    Your words make perfect sense to me. Each fear and what feels like irreparable damage. And when told to just be yourself and u will be liked,it misses the point of wanting to unknow the possible coarseness if men. But most (although i have not taken a poll) men love to look at beauty and have many a sexual thought, healthy men see like and forget very quickly. There are healthy women who understand human men and accept such appreciation as folly..even cute. But the man ho secretly fetishes over the othet sex has issues. Love and list and sex…confusing and upsetting to the grown woman/abused girl. İii am with a boyfiend who explains that i will always be hurt if i think a man will not always look and think another eoman is attta tive. But to have sex or fsntasize about another? That hirt him that i do not trust his love.

  • Nina

    December 8th, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    For those women who believe men only want women for one thing:

    Men and boys who were hurt as we were hurt have to have something to hurt to be affected. All rational people want love and acceptance.

  • phil

    November 25th, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    I was raped untill I was 10 from the age of four.A mentally handicap man living two doors from us, ued to use me on a regular basis. when my parents ask me if this was true I could not admit that this happened.

    I have learned my youth confused and hatted because I was a brat. I was always put down at home and in school. I have grown up not being able to have friends and or keep them. I find it easier to talk to women , but don’t touch me. that goes for men or women. I have been married for 26 years and I don’t know what being intimate is. the older I get I don’t know what love is? how can anyone love me when I hate myself. I am so tired of trying. I don’ want to hurt my wife and 2 sons, but I just feel like running away!!! @ 47 I was told I am adhd with 4 learning disabilities and then they said I have a ow IQ. so what would any of you do if you are me ? I guess I am just waiting to die because I have nothing worth giving.o @ 52 after over a 100 jobs and nearly bankrupt for the forth time what know???

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    November 25th, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    Hi Phil,

    We received the comment that you submitted on our blog earlier today. Thank you so much for visiting GoodTherapy.org. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! You can do one of the following immediately:

    • Call your local law enforcement agency (911);
    • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room;
    • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY:1-800-799-4TTY)

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is equipped to take a wide range of calls, from immediate suicidal crisis to providing information about mental health. Some of the reasons to call are listed below: • Call to speak with someone who cares;
    • Call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself;
    • Call to find referrals to mental health services in your area;
    • Call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you’re concerned about.

    If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can call your local hotline and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) (TTY 1−800−787−3224)

    RAINN provides support for sexual assault victims and their loved ones through two hotlines at 800.656.HOPE and Online.RAINN.org. Whether you are more comfortable on the telephone or online, RAINN has services that can guide you in your recovery.
    • The National Sexual Assault Hotline: If you need support, call 800.656.HOPE, and you will be directed to a rape crisis center near your area.
    • The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline: is the first secure web-based crisis hotline providing live and anonymous support through an interface as intuitive as instant messaging.
    • For more information visit http://rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-online-hotline.

    Warm regards,

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Nina

    December 8th, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    I just had to reply because I felt a canned response didn’t honor your efforts to get help. I wanted to say that you are not alone. Whatever the experts have told you, you have come farther with less than most have to work with and you’re NOT STUPID!! You are a man of self-awareness and there are geniuses that could never accomplish that much. You know that there is more to life. Your talk of questioning intimacy and love tells me that much. Deny yourself nothing that you would give to your children. Every single thing that you would not say or do to your children is something that should never have happened to you and is something that you DID NOT DESERVE. You have the right to let go of the pain and shame when you want to. You were no more responsible than had you been hit by a car on the sidewalk. Any burden that you would not place on your own children is something that should never have been placed on you. Imagination is the key. Imagine what life SHOULD be like. Give that to yourself and to your family.

  • Kait

    November 29th, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Hi all. I am an adult survivor of sexual assault. I’m a 23 year old female and was molested by my grandfather who was also our family doctor from the time I was 7-8 years old. After the court hearings, trips to social services, “Grampy” pled guilty to having assaulted a child. 13 more children came out who had experienced some form of inappropriate touching by my grandfather after I did.

    Two days later, he committed suicide – unable to return to life as he knew it – shamed and embarrassed. Since that abuse and his conviction, I never laid eyes on a single person in that entire family. 15 years of feeling like you aren’t even a part of your family had left me feeling lonesome and scared.

    Flashbacks and dreams have overwhelmed my mind for years and have never stopped. I often wake up screaming seeing his face staring at me in my dreams. My senses are hyper allert – and smells or fabrics bring me back to that moment in an instant – songs he would whistle send me into moments of panic.

    My relationships have all been based around sex – jumping from sexually risky relationships like threesomes, sugar daddies, to the point where I know I’m labeled hurtful words. But I don’t do it for fun or to be talked about. Sex with strangers was quick an easy and I couldn’t get attached to them. Feeling attached in my eyes meant getting hurt. I wanted to avoid heart break so used men to fill my needs.

    Within 3 years, I had 35 sex partners – and no one even mattered. I’ve never felt so low. But I’m so afraid of getting hurt.

    I have never spoken to counsellors or therapists and at 23 I don’t know where to begin. But I know I need it for my well being.

  • Jessica

    November 28th, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    I can relate to the sleeping with lots of people and the being rejected by your family for telling the truth. Who knows how many other children you may have saved by speaking up!
    I just want you to know that therapy can be so comforting! I love having someone who I can tell all my “stuff” to.

  • phil

    November 29th, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    I am sorry for what happened to you. I can relate to sex without any felling. Once again, so sorry!!!

    Regards , Phil

  • Tamara

    December 2nd, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    I’m a survivor of child sexual, physical and emotional abuse by my step father from age 8-15!
    I’m 39 and I’m a single mother of the most extraordinary 5 year old daughter!
    My relationships have been extremely abusive both physically and emotionally! After the father of my daughter ran off with a 23 year old I was left shattered, heartbroken and felt lonely and hopeless! I struggled to move on! It was an abusive relationship with no respect given to me at all, yet I wanted to hang onto this relationship! WHY!!! I never wanted a broken family unit for my daughter as I had! I was hanging onto it because I didn’t want to deal with my daughter growing up with a step father! I’ve had so many feelings overwhelm me!!! I’ve taken a step back, looked at the relationships I’ve had and can see a pattern that confirms “wounded attachment”! I choose men that mimic the behaviors of my abuser!
    I don’t want my daughter to grow up learning that being abused is normal! I have to “break the chain”!
    My question is how do you do this when being abused and feeling powerless is all you know? As much as I want a healthy and more importantly happy relationship I’m not sure I can choose one! It’s a sad thing!! I’m so determined to give my daughter the best but scared that I will fail her!!
    My mother stayed with my step father for 20 years after she found out what he was doing to me! This was so difficult to deal with as certain members of my family knew and others didn’t and I wasn’t allowed to have a voice to say! I’ve been told by members of the family that I’m very disrespectful as I stopped calling my step dad “dad” when the abuse stopped! They didn’t know what happened and I never let on, I just accepted there disappointment in me!

    My step dad recently passed away and wow I never realised how much everything would flood back about what happened! My mum hasn’t taken his passing well and is grieving bad and I’m not allowed to say one bad word to her about him! Mum thinks that the poor relationship choices I’ve made have nothing to do with my learnt behavior as a child and says I’m just using it as an excuse!! My sister ( who is my step dad’s daughter) is the same as mum, holds her dad in high regard! It’s really difficult to get close to either of them! I’m sick of walking this life feeling unwanted and lonely! I promise myself that I will do everything I can to make sure my daughter grows up healthy happy and emotionally stable but I’m so so scared that I will fail her!!!

    I don’t think anyone that hasn’t been sexually abused understands the enormity of how much it affects your adult life even when you think you have dealt with the issue at the time and sought the appropriate counseling!

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    December 2nd, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    Thank you for your comment, Tamara. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about domestic violence at https://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-domestic-violence.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at https://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Shari Gardner

    December 5th, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    After reading your article I even understand more why I have done the things I have done in the past, migrated towards the people I have in the past and still hope that someone is a good person and will help. Unless someone has experienced what myself and countless others have experienced they will never understand the devastating effects abuse has on someone’s psyche and their ability to make, not only good choices, but invoke change.

    I have been instructed to forgive but don’t forget; to forgive and forget, that the bible says to forgive, asked “do I believe in god” etc… Intimated that I should take on the responsibility of caretaking of my abuser (even told by a therapists that she thought that would be a good idea after I advised her of the abuse).

    I guess what I need to point out is that until someone walks in another person’s shoes who was damaged as a child due to unspeakable acts, they cannot and should not attempt to influence that individual or affect them in any way, either physical, psychologically or mentally.

  • Nina

    December 8th, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    I have seen this “wounded attachment” and experienced it myself. Currently, I’m having problems with my family because they don’t want me to speak out publicly about our family. I feel that hiding everything is what caused all the problems. Generation after generation, the silence has caused skewed perceptions to form, blinding my family to signs of abuse and abusive tendencies and I’m accused of triggering others’ symptoms who have supposedly “moved on”. It happened to me too and I feel that the shame they feel isn’t my responsibility. I feel that I’m not responsible for how far they’ve gone in their treatment and they shouldn’t attempt to shame me into silence.

  • Erica

    December 13th, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    My girlfriend of almost 3 years is a victim of being molested as a child (between ages 3-5) by her grandfather who is now deceased. She has finally made the decision to deal with this issue head on and started going to therapy about 2 months ago. Things got better for us for a couple of weeks and then they started going down hill. This whole week she has been coming home late (she is an RN) saying she is working late and her moods have been more distant than usual. Last night she got home late barely said a word to me barely kissed me and about an hour after she got home she took a shower and I asked her if she wanted to talk about it or was she just going to shut down. She said she was on the verge of tears and didn’t want to talk about it and just wanted to go to sleep. I have been cheated on once before and after an hour I went to bed. After ten minutes the question of are you cheating on me got the better of me and I woke her up knowing she was on 24 hours of call the next day. I couldn’t help it. All I wanted was one answer and it turned into this huge argument about how selfish I was and it was all because of my insecurities that she was now missing out on sleep, how exhausted she was…then out of no where she says “I can’t do this anymore. You are sucking the life out of me and I’m done.” Just before she started counseling we were always having mild to large arguments about how she was distant, accused me of not doing enough for the relationship and that’s why it was failing..so I stepped it up like I used to and then that was too much, I couldn’t win for losing. I stepped back and just let her come to me for sex, closeness, etc., but now she sees it as being mean and not just pushing away for my sanity. She is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with, we both said we wanted the same thing and now she says that she can’t do it anymore because she can’t give me what I want, need, and deserve and I can’t be what she wants and the relationship is requiring more of her than she can do. I don’t want to lose her because of this ghost that I can’t fight. I have spent hours looking for groups that I can join to help me on my end with this but there aren’t any in our area. I started looking up therapist but not sure if m insurance will cover it. Not to mention she has a 4 yr old that I have been in his life since he was 2 and he doesn’t remember a day that I haven’t been around. I don’t now what to do, or say, for her to not give up on us she says she loves me but isn’t sure she is in love with me anymore. I am willing to move out and give her space but the idea of not spending the rest of my life with her…I can’t even imagine it and just the idea makes me sick to my stomach. Any advice?

  • Ella

    December 18th, 2014 at 6:24 AM

    Hi everyone. I was sexually abused as a child and have been sexually abused by 2 priests I trusted as spiritual leaders. I started therapy 4 yrs ago. I didn’t have money to pay so my therapist as my supervisor when I was an intern saw me after or before his other clients.I had been seeing him for help with severe depression. A few weeks back when I was badly depressed and suicidal, he instructed me to come see him.he tried having sex with me. When I refused, he started shouting and saying no one cared about what he wanted and everyone kept taking from him. I felt so scared of his anger,started begging for his forgiveness. When he tried to have sex again, I let him but I know I died inside. If I have trusted priests and my therapist and they have all tricked me into having sex with them, who do I trust? Who do I turn to? If not for God, I’d have killed myself. What am I to do?

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    December 18th, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    Thank you for your comment, Ella. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at https://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Wright

    January 2nd, 2015 at 6:58 PM

    You should read the book “Hush” by Nicole Braddock Bromley. It specifically deals with childhood sexual abuse and helps the reader walk through their healing process. There are also hotlines and websites that are helpful. RAINN is a 24 hotline and you can safely talk through your pain with the hotline worker. I really recommend that book though and the workbook “SOAR”

  • bubbles

    March 30th, 2015 at 2:09 PM

    I am not an expert. I am an abused, so I don’t know any “right answers”. My initial thought in your situation (aside from wanting to send you love and compassion directly) is if you can stomach the thought of reporting the therapist, then maybe he would not be in a position to hurt others in a similar way. I sincerely hope you receive the love&warmth I am sending out to you.

  • Lynn

    April 21st, 2015 at 11:01 PM

    There is a website that has volunteers who can help support you. Therapyabuse.org. I’m sorry. I know because I needed their help. You’re not alone.

  • Robert L

    January 14th, 2015 at 11:25 AM

    my girlfriend was sexually assaulted while asleep and highly intoxicated.It happened at my sister’s birthday event after a late night gathering.When she was coherent enough to acknowledge she was having sex with someone she thought that it was me at first.This is where it gets bizarre and i need answers? she realizes it is not me and she doesn’t stop having sex, falls in and out of conciousness but still continues in the act.She even performs felatio on this guy, who was cheating on his own girlfriend as she lays 3 feet away on a different couch.Then my girlfriend falls asleep only to wake up and ask him where all her clothes were.She falls asleep again and wakes up to being the only person in the basement.Here is the really bizarre part which is 2 weeks later she is flirting with the same guy who sexually assaulted her and doing it infront of all of my relatives at a Christmas party.Again highly intoxicated! She confessed to me about kissing him at the Christmas party but i had this gut feeling that wouldn’t go away.I pretty much told her everyday i know there is more to it because she blocked him on my Fb account.She also slipped up and added him to the list of men she slept with when we were speaking one night.I knew more happened and one day she couldn’t take my suspicions anymore.She told me she had sex with the guy! she cried and said she thought it was me and she was so drunk.We called my sister and asked her what she remembered and she said my girlfriend was sleeping for 45 minutes before she left.I know my girl was assaulted and i know she cheated.But i don’t know why? besides telling me she is lying please tell me the reasons she would do something like that and if there is any information about attachment to an abuser.This man was charged a few days ago for sexual assault and he already admitted to having sex with a girl who was very drunk.

  • Ross

    February 14th, 2015 at 7:54 PM

    I grew up with sexual abuse from 6-10. the perpetrator was an older cousin he would bully my little cousin and I or bribe us often while our parents were up stairs gossiping about their favorite celebrities over tea and wine like life was wonderful. I just recently came out about it im in my early to mid twenties and i have serious problems with anger specifically when it comes to being rejected or over looked by someone I admire. Unrequited love is a normal part of life and growing but i get so furious that sometimes my vision gets wavy. I used to target my parents and friends when i was in a blind rage but now Im beginning to understand where it comes from. Ive never been the kind of person to just lay back and accept defeat i feel like a lot of that comes from the frustration and confusion I felt while being abused. I am currently aiming large amounts of hatred at my abuser i confronted him a year ago in front of his wife and father with my parents present he lied like a coward and called me delusional and crazy. I send him threatening messages sometimes when i slip into a blind rage i have a hard time keeping myself under control. He is a small cowering pathetic excuse of a human life and im not the small child i was that was incapable of defending myself and my little cousin from his advances. Im in therapy but its not helping(obviously). i dont take very good care of myself and as a result i get rejected a lot I dont even like to go out anymore because of how i think people see me. I want to be able to have that normal life everyone talks about with the white fence and a happy loving wife but it all feels out of reach and it feels so permanent like I cant change it that this rage is just a part of who I am what if one day my dream does come true and i do find someone I can get intimacy from im afraid ill turn into one of those guys that hits his wife and kids because i cant control myself while im angry. that thought does more than keep me up at night it totally inhibits my ability to comfortably carry on a conversation with a woman i feel like im a monster for things i haven’t done. Im also needlessly defensive for other people if I ever saw someone getting picked on by an upperclassman or someone who felt like he was high and mighty my first response would often be violence. I’m not a small person im big, bearded, and intimidating, and i know people see me that way. in reality im a traumatized six year old in a large mans body. Suicide has been on my mind a lot lately.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    February 15th, 2015 at 11:22 AM

    Hi, Ross. We received the comment that you submitted on our blog earlier today. Thank you so much for visiting GoodTherapy.org. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! You can do one of the following immediately:

    • Call your local law enforcement agency (911);
    • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room;
    • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY:1-800-799-4TTY)

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is equipped to take a wide range of calls, from immediate suicidal crisis to providing information about mental health. Some of the reasons to call are listed below:

    • Call to speak with someone who cares;
    • Call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself;
    • Call to find referrals to mental health services in your area;
    • Call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you’re concerned about.

    If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can call your local hotline and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) (TTY 1−800−787−3224)RAINN provides support for sexual assault victims and their loved ones through two hotlines at 800.656.HOPE and Online.RAINN.org. Whether you are more comfortable on the telephone or online, RAINN has services that can guide you in your recovery.

    • The National Sexual Assault Hotline: If you need support, call 800.656.HOPE, and you will be directed to a rape crisis center near your area.
    • The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline: is the first secure web-based crisis hotline providing live and anonymous support through an interface as intuitive as instant messaging.
    • For more information visit http://rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-online-hotline.

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Sara

    March 19th, 2015 at 5:43 PM

    Hi Ross,
    I am like the female version of you. Only feel anger, cannot sustain romantic relationship, have dreams where I yell at my abuser. Self-destructive too, not to the point of suicide, trying to learn to love myself, not sure how but I wanted to tell you that you are not alone and your suffering can make you valuable. I’ve broken through and started to heal but certain this reverse my progress, like meeting someone I like. Anyway, I wish you well and I’m with you in a way. In solidarity . S

  • philip

    April 25th, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    And I’m the male you.I’m 39 yrs old was sexually abused from age 5 thru 10 by a trusted family frd.I hv three amazing kids and will protect them to the death.I’m 6’2 230 PDS AND have anger the over flows.I hv to please everyone I’m kind but let everyone run over me my wife of 13 yrs well let’s say she us in charge.I hate myself everyday my fAMILY. Pretended it never happened I hv just been told I wz bipolar I just don’t know when this will be over thank y’all for letting me talk I needed to vent God bless u all

  • Wanda

    April 25th, 2015 at 7:04 PM

    I get the anger/rage thing. Please don’t hurt yourself.

  • Elizabeth

    April 25th, 2015 at 8:13 PM

    Ross – Good on you for surviving and Telling. now the pain is very loud – let its energy keep rolling toward Help! for that little boy, and not “act in” to punish him for surviving and feeling. Ask and seek and knock till you get a trauma-skilled therapist, and if you need/choose meds to keep the demons at bay for a time, please do what you would do to help the boy who deserves to have a real life and future without haunting. Dont let the mean people win.Others of us have walked thid grueling path and are rooting for you! You can do it, one breath at a time…

  • Marlo

    April 25th, 2015 at 7:36 PM

    I was first molested at the age of 5yrs old while wearing flannel pj’s with apples on them(this has revelance later in my story), my abuser was my god brother & neighbor who around 13yrs old. I eventually told my mom that he was touching me in private areas and she disciplined me for pulling my pants down in front of boy(it was the 70’s and she grew up during a time when these types of things were swept under the rug so to speak, so o don’t fault her for the discipline), however the abuse continued on and off for about 4yrs. Since mom had disciplined me for telling about my god brother I didn’t dare tell her when the teenage girl next door started molesting me in fear of receiving more discipline I kept quiet. We moved away when I was 10yrs old after my father passed away unexpectedly and I assumed the abuse would end. Nope next would be a guy my mom befriended who lived in his VW Van and would stop by to shower and visit occasionally I was around 11/12yrs old and finally in high school came the most traumatic abuse when I fell prey to 5 boys from the basketball team who gang raped me. I kept all of the abuse a secret and hide my pain until I was married and problems started in my marriage and my husband had me seek out counseling! Through the help of a very understanding therapist I opened up about my abuse and slowly transformed from a victim to a survivor! As a victim my abusers still has power over me in the choices I made and how I lived my life, as a survivor I have forgiven my abusers and my mom and no one has power over me except Jesus Christ! I spent 5yrs in therapy dealing with my abuse and the negative emotions I had kept bottled up for years! A few years after my therapy ended and emotional healing had changed my heart I slowly started to embrace the red apple that was on those flannel pjs I wore when the abuse started. Today my kitchen is decorated in Red Apple Themed decor to remind me daily that I’m a survivor not a victim! I have a therapist that I’ve seen regularly for the last 15yrs as I deal with my struggles in overcoming bipolar disorder but being sexually abused is a topic rarely discussed in my sessions. I speak openly about my abuse to empower those struggling with being abused that there is hope and life can be better!

  • MP

    April 25th, 2015 at 10:04 PM

    I empathise and connect with all of you who have choosen to share your stories. I see mine in yours. I feel it is not only sexual abuse but physical and emotional abuse too thAt leads to this. I grew up in a violent home with alot of DV and a mother with some serious rage/npd issues. The level of violence she inflicted on me and my sisters, shocks me even now. It was always in the name of love and discipline. There was stonewalling, gaslighting and a complete denial of me as a human being. i was merely an extension of her and existed to please her. Alongside i experienced sexual abuse from various people and bullying at school from the teachers And children. It has left me with depression, anxiety and “wounded attachment.” I have spent years overcoming my pathological way of connecting with people and now enjoy healtheir relationships. I am also aware of my needs and respect them. It is a struggle but i comtinue my healing journey. I have faith that people can love me for me and i can overcome my deep fear of emotional attachments.

  • Kenneth

    April 28th, 2015 at 11:46 AM

    Currently im 16 years old and i am semi beginning into a relationship with a girl that is my age her and i really care about each other but her ex- boyfriend had forced her into things like oral sex and would blow up at her in anger all the time saying stupid wrong things and then afterward he would buy her chocolates and flowers write her little love poems to suck back up to her and she was afraid to not do things for him because the way he was raised and he acts exactly like his father who is abusive.
    Her and i were able to hang out a few times and we had an amazing time then one night we were up real late talking online and things got a bit well sexual and it wasent a problem at first and we hung out a few more times we never did anything sexual in person but did talk sexually via text again and its not that that’s what i wanted out of a relationship with her i want an actual deep relationship but the last few times we hung out she would kinda be distant want her space and she started having much worse flashbacks and nightmares and she said she wanted to be just friends for a while so she could deal with the problem before we got back together and i agreed to it because i understood but nothing has gotten any better and i just want some help because i do want to have a wholesome relationship with her without bringing up the memories of her ex and what he did

  • Karen S

    June 14th, 2015 at 12:15 PM

    You don’t often hear of your mother participating in the sexual abuse. Mine did starting at age 7 . . She made me watch her and my stepfather have sex . . I tried to get away and finally slipped away to my room. I now know I was horribly traumatized. . It still replays to this day. This man when I was 10 began to touch me and would have done more if I had not begged my mother to leave or I would tell my teacher and principal.
    She later abandoned me, I was taken from her and ended up with my grandmother. Never had counseling and should have because so much unresolved pain affected me all my life. If you go through this . . The gift of getting help an save your life!!

  • hannah

    July 18th, 2015 at 12:07 PM

    Hi, ive recently started to deal with abuse that happened when I was 4 til 7 by an older cousin. Ive only realised now I’m in my 30s that sex does not mean love….i have a wonderful partner, understanding, caring amazing, loving but with a low sex drive….i had an affair and it is only now I realise why, I was feeling unloved because he didn’t want to jump me every day….ive always had this thing about pleasing men, I dont really care if I am pleasured but I feel better(short term) if I can ‘prove’ myself….and I fell into a trap, feeling unloved, started a very sexual relationship with a married man, thought because we were having great sex I was in love, and suddenly I have woken up because of a comment made about child abuse, I realise what happened has influenced so many of my decsions, I tried to have sex voluntarily with a boy when I was 10, lost my virginity when I was 14, became very promiscuous until the age of 23, trying to ‘prove’ myself with lots of older men, often starting relationships with mentally abusive partners and only this year have I realised, after lots of reading on forums like this and research that it is all linked. I love my partner very much and I have my first counselling session next week, I just need to try and sort things and make sense of them in my head, then I will need to approach telling my partner of the affair. I would really like any advice anyone can give. Please. H xx

  • Kenneth

    July 21st, 2015 at 11:34 AM

    Good for you.. ive been in therapy for almost a year and my life is really opening up.. i am in the middle of my second divorce because i hadnt learned how to be in a relationship. Sex can be very confusing for us. You are not alone and what happened to you was NOT YOUR FAULT

  • hannah

    July 22nd, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    Thanks Kenneth. I just hate its taken so long to start working out who I actually am and the fact ive had an affair on the one person that I feel is right for me but ive probably messed that all up! Time will tell. 😞

  • Jessica

    November 24th, 2015 at 7:27 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Hannah! I also was very promiscuous for many years, and have never really been able to put a finger on exactly why. Now I realize that I was also trying to prove myself. It makes much more sense now .

  • Miguel

    August 7th, 2015 at 5:34 PM

    I’ve been in therapy for 4 yrs and its been worth working through the emotional parts that are hidden in your soul. I do seek every venue for happiness including church. Because sometimes we will hurt others along the way. I’m divorced and have had 3 relationships since . it’s a long healing process but I’m very hopeful for a future with one woman only. Keep up the therapy and never give in to the past.

  • Miguel

    August 8th, 2015 at 4:04 AM

    I am 54 and I didn’t confront my abuse until 4 years ago. It was only because I couldn’t maintain a healthy relationship ever in my life. I was married 14 yrs and I have never told her about my sexual abuse at 7-8 yrs of age by a male and female. I had an affair while married and like I stated earlier I’m 4,yrs into therapy and I have good and bad days. It’s really tough finally knowing why I can’t maintain a relationship right now. I’m hoping for a better future but it’s not easy.

  • hannah

    August 8th, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    Thanks Miguel. I have now told my partner about the affair i had and we are going to try and work through that as well as my problems. It will be a tough journey and I’m hoping I can find strength from lots of things including my partner and other people who have been through similar things. Hoping things continue to get better for you.


  • Miguel

    August 11th, 2015 at 12:06 PM

    Honesty is a real friend to those of us who have had to live with the pain of sexual abuse. It’s an important part of healing ,being honest with our selves and knowing that we are good people in our hearts. Dealing with our issues every day even if it’s just a moment is a true strength that works for me. It’s easy to open up with a therapist thank goodness they are there for us.Hiding our past only keeps our pattern of survival continuing and that’s a threat to us and people we are trying to trust. Try an open up to as many people that you love and hope they understand what we are dealing with everyday.

  • Miguel

    August 11th, 2015 at 5:30 PM

    Your welcome Hannah, the person who posted our therapy is a long process is so right. Its painful especially because I kept it inside for a very long time and I’m getting answers to my behavior patterns. But honesty with the ones u care for is a big start ,it goes a long way. The secrecy we have kept inside is damaging to ourselves. Talking to a therapist is recommend because its like a demon inside that isn’t our fault.

  • Bernadette

    August 21st, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    Great article. I am a social worker/counsellor/childhood sexual abuse by a parent survivor. I am doing my masters thesis on this very topic. It is one of the least understood and talked about aspects of CSA. Thanks for bringing it forward especially because many survivors are told to put it in the past and through relationships it is evident that it can be very challenging.

  • CJ

    August 26th, 2015 at 10:34 PM

    My girlfriend is a survivor and she has had several bad relationships like the ones described in this article. I am the first boyfriend she’s trusted with her secret of her past abuse, however, she seems to be creating a situation were I am a bad person and she wants to end the relationship. It seems to contradict the idea that the survivor tends to want to please the abuser, which in this situation she seems to be creating in her mind is me. Is my willingness to help and discuss feelings more threatening than her dysfunctional boyfriends of the past? Anyone has any thoughts on this? Thank you!

  • anonymous

    September 14th, 2015 at 3:56 AM

    It’s not an easy answer. I tried to leave or felt like I should several times within my relationship. he’s a wonderful man but it’s hard to not feel like we don’t deserve something good, or we know you will eventually get sick of putting up with our issues and leave. it’s easier to push those who you truly care about away so you won’t get hurt when they inevitably find something better. (this is what we think). we are programmed to feel like we don’t deserve something good, it feels foreign and wrong. perhaps she’s pushing you away because she feels like you deserve someone better and it’s easier to be the bad guy. simply saying, “you deserve someone else” and walking out doesn’t make sense and won’t work, you’ll talk and YOU think they do deserve you so you’ll fight to make it work. but breaking up after sabotaging the relationship and making you hate each other will make you give up and do what we wanted all along, find someone better. I unknowingly have done this in so many ways but my husband knows better. he knows it’s a defense mechanism and refuses to let me sabotage things. he talks to me and the truth of my insecurities eventually come out in a huge long balistic panic attack. I was with my husband 5 years before I finally said I would marry him. I had to know he could handle my issues and not leave but a barrier will always be there. it’s hard to admit but true. so realize that too. you can’t fully let someone in. I’ve been to countless psychiatrisTs and I do what makes me feel safe. I know if I need to I always have a plan to get out if needed. all women, not just those who are abused should in my opinion but that’s another story. I love my husband and want no one else but I will always want my independence to feel secure. my suggestion, work with her, don’t let her push you away but realize she does need space to be her own woman, maybe she is relearning who she actually is outside of just being an abuse victim. its hard to reclaim your identity and takes time. so the confusing answer is be there for her but don’t smother her. if she starts to push remember it’s a defense mechanism to save herself because it’s a lot harder when the good guy hurts you (soul crushing) but easier to go back to abuse and what you are used to. just reassure her you arent going anywhere and some times thats all we need to hear. does this make sense at all?

  • CJ

    September 20th, 2015 at 6:16 PM

    Thank you so much for your reply! I knew it was her defenses but this last time when I tried to let her know how much I care and that I’ll always be there for her she told me how awful of a person I am and how she’s not going to let me manipulate her anymore. After she unleashed on me with one insult after another I asked her why she was saying those things and she said I’m crying while I’m saying them but I want you to hurt like I hurt. It’s very sad that that’s how she views me. None of it seems to make sense. I left her a message to meet up and talk the next day but I got no response. She no longer answers any of my messages. In addition, she’s now seeing a guy that lives in another country. Does any of this make sense to you?

  • James

    November 28th, 2015 at 9:49 AM


    The “come here, go away” mentality and behavior is so common from abused individuals. It is very sad to see, as many, if not all, of these people are good. Sometimes they act super sweet to draw you in, and then the covert manipulation continues in more pronounced and negative ways. I understand what you’ve gone through and are going through…

    The behavior of trying to make you hurt, and accusing you of being manipulative or an abuser when you are only trying to help, is also a very common behavior trait. I dated a girl who messed my head up pretty bad, and even did things to trigger my own insecurities that I had previously identified and dealt with. It was a complete resurfacing of everything painful from my own past within me, and meanwhile I was reacting in very violent (emotionally) ways that was a pereonality trait I had long done away with. The depth of manipulation on her end felt unreal to me, but it was definite ly happening. Then a very similar thing happened with another woman later in life, which also messed my head up.

    After dating the two of them, I am having an identity crisis. After being told so many negative things about myself, reacting completely out of character, accused of so much, and taking responsibility for THEIR actions and sometimes also the actions of their abusers, I got pretty lost.

    You sound like a good guy. Sometimes people who have been abused like this do things to literally try and make the person they are dating INTO their abuser. In terms of repeating patterns to relive the abuse or wounds within themselves, it doesn’t mean they will necessarily date or marry someone who is an abusive person…. sometimes they do things to try and make the other person act like the abuser (such as actively trying to break their patience and love, or trigger their insecurities… like dating someone else or taking interest in someone else, in order to be yelled or screamed at).

    It is a crazy cycle.

    I asked myself why I was ok with dating women like this. I looked into it. I found that my own dysfunctional contribution was that I am a caregiver by nature, which can easily turn into caretaking… two very different things.

    I suggest you look into a concept called co-dependency, particularly that of a concept called the “Kapman Drama Triangle”. Maybe you will learn some things about yourself.

  • CJ

    September 20th, 2015 at 6:41 PM

    Again, thank you so much!! I have a couple follow up questions. I recognized a lot of the behavior you mentioned. You said you had an escape plan… Are you consciously aware of trying to escape and trying to sabotage the relationship while it’s happening? Do you think she truly believes in this “alternative reality” where I’m the bad person trying to hurt her?

  • Jay

    November 28th, 2015 at 8:35 AM

    Thanks to all of you for sharing. I am currently in the beginning of a relationship with a survivor of multiple abusers since childhood. We started casually… really it was the quickest, most effortless bonding I ever took to another person. Once we became official, everything changed.. he behavior towards me, our intimacy.. every thing… just as I was ready to lose my mind from confusion she confided her pain to me. Once I understood this it made sense to me.. 1) she was pushing me away 2) she was focusing on the smallest things and magnifying those issues into “assaults” by me.. As time went on I realized she was creating a narrative that lumped me directly in with the past abusers… it wasnt until i got my emotions and defenses under control that i was able to illustrate her actions…. then made sure to stress no matter what happens with our relationship, she is safe and will never be abused, kicked out or mistreated..

    It is getting better… but i would be lying if I said it wasnt hard. One of the most difficult aspects is she moved to the “sabotage” of our sex life. It has been quite difficult to remind myself this is tied to her issues and not to take it personally…

    I hope to convince her to visit a therapist but all attempts have been met with great force.

    Thanks again.. it is good to have a resource to compare experiences to confirm my actions are on the right path. The anger tied to her hurt is so strong.. its easy to convince myself that hate is for me.

  • Shannon

    November 17th, 2015 at 6:06 AM

    I do that. I could have the best boyfriend in the world, but in my mind, I am faulty. I make up scenarios in my head that he’s doing something to hurt me and I get angry. She’s not mad, although it may seem like it, she’s sad. If I have my mind set that something has happened, that he’s hurt me, then it doesn’t matter what he says, I know it’s true. It takes patience, true patience. It takes love, true unconditional love to deal with me. It gets tiring. Push her towards counseling and be there for her. Be an open book, hide nothing! Even if she never finds anything, her thoughts may tell her there something there. It’s irrational, but I know that’s how my mind works. She has to realize this at some point and you need to be there as the one she knows she can trust. I was younger than 5 when I was abused. It touches every aspect of my life today. Good luck

  • Nina

    August 28th, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    Does anyone here have experience with either limerance or ASMR? Both are thought to be products of trauma and issues of attachment.

  • alexis

    October 15th, 2015 at 1:13 PM

    Thank you for sharing this article and thank all of you for sharing your stories. I was abused by my father from 7-9 and then he just made me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable until he passed when I was 21. I have had a physically abusive marriage, an emotionally abusive one and am in a relationship now w a man I love very much but I spend a lot of time feeling broken. I am not sure it is a healthy relationship for me…I have no gauge of those things. I am constantly second guessing myself and rather than deal with issues in the relationship, I seek out others to have sex with, which I mostly dont even enjoy. I found a great therapist a couple of years ago who was very helpful, but when it came to the sexual abuse stuff, she felt she didnt have the background and experience to help me, so referred me to someone else. The other therapist had limited hours and I also couldnt face the idea of opening up to someone new. I felt sort of betrayed by the first therapist, even though I understood her reasoning. I am 45 and feel like my life is crumbling..nothing feels good or safe. All of the relationships in my life feel fractured. I am beginning to feel/believe that this will haunt me for the rest of my life.

  • Melissa

    November 27th, 2015 at 9:14 PM

    Same story as my own! I would love to tally more with you.

  • Debi

    November 1st, 2015 at 9:10 AM

    My sister and I are survivors of Child Sex Abuse by our adopted father who was a minister. What hurts more as an adult is knowing that some ppl who were at our Church to this day don’t believe us. I just watched the Dr Phil special on Jared Fogel and I personally could not believe it until I heard the tapes.
    I don’t feel like I can truly heal if ppl (even though I don’t see them anymore) don’t believe me. It has been over 30 years since I left home, but it is still very present. It makes me feel like I’m incapable of being loveable.

  • Miss K

    November 3rd, 2015 at 1:34 PM

    I was sexually abused from the age of 6-11 by my brother in law. I told my mother at the age of 6 and nothing was done, so the abuse continued. I finally told my family at the age of 18 and my sister divorced my abuser & we reported the incidents to the police. That was one of the worst experiences of my life – having to write in so much detail my abuse & re live those nightmares. I have been in therapy for over 5 years where I started to deal with issues, eliminate negative patterns & prepare myself for Court. I felt like I was beginning to get my life together & I was feeling strong & confident about the Court case. However, healing from sexual abuse is like a disease. It takes every last bit of optimism from you until you’re left feeling weak. My court date arrived, I went to court in June this year & I lost, he was found not guilty & got away with everything. I have never felt so heart broken in my life. To this day I’m still trying to pick up the pieces where I became shattered in court. I strongly advise people who are considering Court that they need to be brave. Although you cannot prepare for the verdict, never give up on yourself as you know it happened to you & you have done all you can for yourself. Part of me is glad I went to Court as the little 6 year old got to speak her heart out and people listened – or maybe ignored I can’t decide yet. The next 5 years of my life I am dedicating to myself.

  • Izzie

    November 15th, 2015 at 7:33 PM

    Good for you for trying! You are super brave to me. And you should sue the bastard civilly! There’s a lower threshold, it’s a preponderance of evidence. He can pay for your therapy :-)

  • Karen C.

    November 15th, 2015 at 6:44 PM

    Thank you for this article … I was sexually abused from the age 5 till I was 9 years old by my (much older) brothers. I lived with this shame for so long .. I am and have been in therapy over 8 years now and have been healing the wounds around these things I suffer from today in my adult world. I write about my healing in my blog to help connect to other survivors. This article really made sense on a lot of things! Thank you for sharing!

  • linda l

    November 16th, 2015 at 5:00 PM

    Would like to know name of the blog

  • Patrick

    December 7th, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    Karen I would really like to know where I can read your blog.

  • Valerie

    December 7th, 2015 at 10:17 AM

    I just would like to comment to all those who have found this article helpful and useful for you. Thank you all for your wonderful feedback, insight, and willingness to share your stories. The courage and resiliency all of you display is a testament to your inner strength. It is also inspirational to bear witness to how this one article has served as a means of support to many of you who share the wounds inflicted by this terrible crime. It is my hope to continue to encourage all of you as you continue to heal. Also, to those who have been in relationships with individuals who have had to endure childhood sexual abuse, kudos to you for your desire to want to learn more and be more supportive to your significant other, family, friend, etc.
    Best wishes to all of you as you continue to journey toward the place of peace and healing that resides within all of us.

    Warmest Regards,

    Valerie Kuykendall-Rogers, MA, LPC-S

  • harah p.

    December 19th, 2015 at 10:57 PM

    I would like to know when a child who reports the abuse and was spanked – by the people or person whom they taught would defend him/her because “sex” itself was a taboo thing to talk about- does it create a behavior in the individual to seek to be protected from every and any kind of relationships?

  • David

    January 7th, 2016 at 12:57 PM

    I’m in a relationship with a girl who was sexually abused from age 9 to 8:13 her abuser was her older brother. Now that I am in this relationship I am beginning to notice signs of unfaithfulness. I have confronted her and she has denied it her emotions are defensive and I believe that she is lying. I do not know what to do to fix this or if fixing it is even possible. should I cut my losses and leave or should I try to stay with it, it is becoming increasingly painful and is beginning to affect my self esteem.

  • David

    January 19th, 2016 at 12:38 AM


    I’m in the exact same situation you are almost to a tee. Except for the fact that my wife and I have been married for over six years now. She can’t get close to me at all. We had a knockout sex life prior to being married but once married dwindled down to nothing. Every 16 to 18 months or so I get the signs of infidelity something pops up, so to speak, that makes me suspicious. I ask her about it but she denies it. I’ve begged her to go to counseling to include marital counseling to which she refuses. It is evident that she is very afraid to look into her past. Even if it means losing me and I haven’t given her any ultimatums yet, but I’m to the point of doing this. I have knots in my back, on medication for my stomach, and I am very unhappy emotionally. I saw your post and couldn’t help but to comment I hate to be negative but this is what you have to look forward to. Cut your losses and get the heck out now!

  • pam

    March 3rd, 2016 at 5:51 PM

    My son is also a survivor. He was abducted, tied up, and his mouth was duck-taped. He was only 8. His rapist was a 17year old boy. He was in therapy for a year before he “told”(only that he was touched.) Then he sprayed hairspray on himself and set himself on fire. He is now 33 and suffers from ptsd, bipolar, severe anxiety, depression and so many other illnesses. My most fervent prayer is that he can be treated appropriately and have some kind of adult life. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to find a therapist that is able to see past the diagnostic issues to treat the injuries to his spirit.

  • Shannon

    March 4th, 2016 at 6:56 AM

    Remember, I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become. C. Jung

  • Jennifer

    March 21st, 2016 at 6:37 PM

    “The Courage to Heal” get your hands on the book. The pain doesn’t completely leave but it will NOT consume you.
    Forget changing anyone else. The best you can do is look after you. Trust yourself.

  • Jessika L.

    April 14th, 2016 at 7:56 PM

    Hi everyone,
    I started therapy and I have some issues. I was hurt when I was three when I was non verbal. I feel completely alone. I’ve been through lots of therapists. But the one I’m with now is great, he’s always nice to me and treats me with respect. I’m usually honest with him, but I’ve wanted to tell him what happened. I feel emotionally sick and I just can’t keep it in anymore. But at the same time I’m so embarrassed to talk to him about what happened to me. I mean he’s an amazing therapist. But it’s so hard for me to open up to anyone. And I want to trust him and tell him. Any advice on how I can talk to him about it?

  • Maya

    April 15th, 2016 at 9:09 AM

    Hi Jessika,
    Remember that you did nothing wrong! The person who should be feeling the shame is the person who molested you. I am so glad that you have found a great therapist. Keep in mind that – he is a therapist! He probably hears terrible stories all the time. He is trained for it and probably used to it, too.
    I am reminded of how until recently I was afraid to get a pedicure because I thought they might laugh at my feet. I always cut my toenails too short and they get ingrown. Then my manicurist explained to me that they never laugh at people’s feel, they are there to help the people maintain their feet well! So I got a pedicure. Afterwards she was wondering what I had been so embarrassed about. Apparently my feet are not so horrifying. So all those years, I hid my feet when I really had nothingto be ashamed of.

    I have no doubt that what happened to you was horrifying, but you yourself are normal and having a normal reaction to trauma. Your therapist is there to help you. I don’t think he will have a bad reaction any more than my pedicurist would laugh at my feet!

  • debi

    April 15th, 2016 at 1:06 PM

    I am a survivor if sexual abuse from 6-14 by my step dad. Even though I told and he admitted it, my mom is still with him. I’m now 44 years old. I have always felt like I am not as good as everyone else. Is there any way to get past this feeling. I am tired of my life being in shambles because I feel less than everyone.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    April 15th, 2016 at 2:33 PM

    Dear Debi,

    Thank you for your comment. The GoodTherapy.org Team is not qualified to offer professional advice, but we encourage you to reach out. A compassionate therapist or counselor can offer support and help you address these feelings and concerns.

    You can locate a qualified professional in your area through our site. To see a list of therapists and counselors practicing in your area, simply enter your ZIP code here:

    Please know you are not alone. Help is available, and we wish you the best of luck in your search.

    Kind regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Nina

    April 21st, 2016 at 3:57 PM

    Yes. Get to the point in your life where you can confront your mother for her bad decisions. Defend yourself and prove your worth to yourself.

  • Jessika L.

    April 16th, 2016 at 8:54 PM

    Thanks for the advice and encouraging me, I really do appreciate it. And I loved the story of the pedicure issues. It was a good example of why I shouldn’t be embarrassed. Anyways thanks for the input :)

  • Maya

    April 17th, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    Thanks! Hope it helped.
    Just got another pedicure today! :-)

  • vinolia

    April 22nd, 2016 at 9:04 AM

    I am also a child sexual abuse survivor and have kept it for nine years and afterwards it started haunting me. i then decided to share it with friends and family whom started to be judgemental upon my life they even use it to turn against me and my ideas, i feel lonely and am a very suicidal individual who is already a suicde survivor. though i have a loving and caring boyfriend i sometimes find it hard to be in the relationship i feel like i dont deserve him and the love he is showing.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    April 22nd, 2016 at 9:11 AM

    Dear Vinolia,

    Thank you for your comment. It may be helpful to talk about this with a qualified mental health professional. If you would like to consult with a professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, https://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area.

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    There is hope. We wish you the best of luck in your search.

    Kind regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • melissa

    April 25th, 2016 at 7:52 AM

    Hi I am a mother of a child who was raped by a so called friend when she was 13 just over year ago and she is very much so broken in spirit.she is very emotionaly unstable crying one minute extremely angry the next she is receiving help but my question is we live in the same town as the minster that did this to her and was wondering would it be better to move away from it all as she seems to be getting worse ie her schooling is suffering she is getting in with the wrong crowds drugs and alcohol are beginning to become a problem just thinking of a fresh start were she won’t be constantly reminded and keep getting triggered thanks ….

  • Maya

    April 25th, 2016 at 7:25 PM

    Have you considered taking action against the minister? Shouldn’t it be him who has to leave? I bet he has raped other children as well.

  • Nina

    July 1st, 2016 at 5:14 AM

    This is an old thread so I don’t know if you will see this but your post brought me to tears. A mother who heard of her daughter’s pain and is trying to help. Willing to uproot your life and move for her well-being, going online to search for ways to help her, searching for answers for your daughter. No one did that for me. There are posts here from parents, friends, siblings and spouses and I keep thinking it’s unbelievable how much these people care. They are just desparately searching for solutions for their loved ones pain. I never had that, I have all these relations with siblings and parents and friends and now a husband and no one even had it in them to listen to me, to hear me cry. They just wanted to shut me up as soon as they could. They’re too busy to deal with my issues, too uninterested, too self-involved to give a crap. I can’t believe there are people like me who have gone through so much pain and have not had to go at it alone.

  • Jessica

    July 1st, 2016 at 8:53 AM

    I hear you, Jessica! It is wonderful that there are family members out there who actually do care and are willing to support the victim. I find it utterly appalling that the normal reaction on the part of both family members and society in general is to want to shut us up. For goodness’ sake, even blogs about PTSD usually mention sexual abuse just as a footnote!! I think those of us who manage to survive not only the abuse but the abandonment and still have a productive life deserve a lot of credit.

  • Ralph

    May 2nd, 2016 at 5:52 PM

    My wife of two years, was abused from age eight for several years, the worst kind of abuse. I did not realize it, but I was triggering her, and suddenly she left. I love her with all my heart, and have educated my self with all I can read on this subject, I have talked to her, tried to make her understand that I never meant to hurt her, that I would never hurt her on purpose, but she tells me she cannot trust me, and she gets more distant from me each day. I have hopes that she will somehow see past the pain and know I have only want to help her, just before we got married, she saw a therapist for a short period of time, who used EDMR therapy on her, it did change her outlook, but was so painful emotionally, she stopped after only six visits.
    I am at a loss as to what to do, the evil of the past, haunts her every minute, I understand that now, she hurts, and so do I.

    Is there any hope, will she ever see that there is help if she will just take the first step, and save our family at the same time? I love her and will do anything I can….I just do not know how to get her to understand this.

  • Kate

    June 11th, 2016 at 4:03 AM

    Survivor, abused from before age 4 -15, mother physically, emotionally abusive and treated me as you would a mistress of your husband… cruel, gaslighting, no love at all… I was completely ostracised from the family. Lived on the streets, self harmer, many suicide attempts. There were other men when I was a child and group ‘movies’ where I was the only child.. sexual orientation issues all of my life…you get the idea. Life has been and still is one long, long confusing struggle but most of the time I get along just fine. I have researched so much throughout my years and I’m a writer. I find that therapeutic. Anyway, I’m in what I term a ‘downslide’ at the moment., and can I just say how brave and wonderful you all are. We all are. Thank you for sharing that which is closest and most painful to help each other. My eyes are red and sore from my tears, but somehow, reading this thread has helped me with this ‘downslide’. I am professional ‘pusher awayer’ and ‘come to me’ so I can ‘push away’ again… 46 now. I have tried some counselling but am spiritual and use meditation etc to manage. Wow though! What a long way I have come from the deep cutting scars on my body to the person I am today. Sadly, unable to fall with trust into a relationship. Anyway, I’ve started to ramble and this is an older thread, so some of you may not even see this. But, again, thank you all!

  • cassandra

    June 12th, 2016 at 10:59 PM

    hey.. i just turned 18 and am a survivor of sexual abuse by two other children when I was in grades 2 and 3. my parents were the only ones who found out and punished me and threatened to call the parents of the other two kids. (they’re good people… if i was a parent in this situation i wouldn’t know what to do either) i had extreme guilt issues for years and years that are only starting to fade now. i had completely repressed my memories until a couple years ago when it all came back in vivid flashbacks… i tried to bring it up to my parents again but i essentially got laughed at. i was in therapy twice but didn’t have the guts to bring up CSA. the older i get, the more frustrated i get because i instinctively reject intimacy in any form, when it’s the only thing i want, and i just feel sad thinking of how i’ll probably never be able to be in a healthy relationship especially during this time when all my friends are talking to me about all their first times and happy relationships. i’ve cut off contact from friends because i’ve felt smothered by their affection and i don’t understand why i do this. i just dropped one of my best friends because i feel inexplicably trapped… i can’t feel close to my friends or to anyone… i’ve also been experiencing a really dysfunctional view of sex and sexuality, to the point where i’ll be triggered by sexy music videos, songs about love/sex and other depictions of intimacy and i’ll just cry and feel this inexplicable hurt deep inside my chest… i feel like such a child. i feel so alone to the point where it’s almost suffocating, and in real life i have no way to reach out anywhere about how i feel. these feelings were all bubbling up lately so i was searching the internet for coping resources and found this thread instead. at first reading through it was difficult on me, but as i read onwards it had a therapeutic effect especially when i had been feeling so alone. i know these comments have so much suffering that went on behind them, but it soothed something inside of me to know there are other people out there who are having these same feelings, as awful as they are, and that the hurt inside me is valid and real and experienced by other people like me… right now i’m mostly still in denial and using religion to help me grow out of this empty husk of a person and become someone that a younger me would look up to. i want to heal more than anything else, and i try not to think of the person i could be if this had never happened. in any case, thank you to everyone who commented with their story and their feelings, even though you probably won’t see this. we are strong and we can overcome this

  • Nina

    June 15th, 2016 at 7:49 PM

    Your parents should have prosecuted. “Nice parents” wouldn’t have children that young (I’m assuming they were of a similar age)doing those sorts of things. They would have had to be completely oblivious to the influences around their own children, meaning they were neglectful. Both children doing such a thing would have to be a pattern of training. Either your assailants were both molested or one sibling abused the other, causing a warped sense of reality. Forgetting WILL NOT HELP. IT WILL MAKE IT WORSE. If you are remembering, it’s because your essential self believes you are ready to deal with this issue and the incredible callousness of your parents. You have the right to be acknowledged and for what happened to you to be acknowledge. Parents that really care DO NOT act that way. Only parents who put their selfish wants and needs first would do such a thing AT ALL. You grew up that way and view it as normal. IT’S NOT. Normal parents would not EVER think that their daughter was less important than a mere conflict with friends. If they didn’t treat you that way, THEY WERE WRONG.

  • DBR

    August 29th, 2016 at 7:09 PM

    I am a 60 year old female survivor of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of my adoptive father (and possibly his brother, my uncle). Our adoptive father (I found out years later) never wanted to adopt children (as they were unable to have children of their own) and admitted he only “went along” with my mothers’ wishes. Our father sexually abused my younger sister (2 years younger than me). Today I attended my third session of counselling for the sexual abuse I suffered as a child. About 10 years ago, I went through many sessions of counselling for the sexual abuse and worked with a fantastic counsellor and did really well for many years. Recently, the old flashbacks and triggers were happening again, along with me feeling really horrible and depressed, crying and feeling hopeless. Fortunately, I was able to get some free counselling sessions from the outreach of a local women’s shelter. The first two sessions we were just getting some history and it was pretty easy but after today’s session, I am in pieces. Unfortunately, my counsellor is away on vacation for a week so it will be two weeks before we have another session. I don’t remember feeling this way before. I know if it is difficult, she has probably hit on an issue I haven’t yet dealt with. I kind of feel like a counselling “failure” as I thought I was “all fixed up” 10 years ago. I guess this never stops. Comments, anyone?

  • Susangh

    August 30th, 2016 at 9:20 PM

    Child abuse ruins a life, the whole life. Saw a Netflix movie about The Beginning of Life. I was deeply disappointed in my own life compared to how good enough parents actively care about the kind of human they are creating mentally. I was just a brainwashed, imprisoned punching bag. Been in therapy most of my 58 years. Horrible marriage, no career despite finishing a Masters degree. Material things I did not lack, respect, I have never gotten.

  • Jessica

    August 31st, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    I agree, abuse takes a toll on the victim’s life in every way. So sorry to hear of all of the losses you have experienced.
    The way I deal with it is to tell myself that all I can do is try to enjoy my life as best I can, and keep on fighting for what I want! I have lacked the self confidence to follow through on trying to have the career I have always wanted, but recently though, I have found some volunteer opportunities that will help me get some experience. So I will to keep on trying, despite the fact that I am in my fifties now!
    As far as respect goes, I know I can forget ever getting any from my family. They are selfish people, and giving me respect would mean that the way they treated me was wrong. They are never going to admit that! But other people, people who aren’t disturbed and abusive, have given me respect over the years. Now I just have to give it to myself.

  • Nadine

    September 12th, 2016 at 4:34 PM

    I wish the article would have gone more into detail about the partners we attract triggering our childhood wounds. I am nearly 37 and was sexually abused when I was 5/6/7 . My mum left my dad when i was 9months old to be with a woman. She lost custody, but I would visit my mum every second weekend. So this already fucked my attachment up big time, loosing my mum so young. Her girlfriend had a son Markus who was 8 years older and abused me. He would also rark up my older brother to be mean to me and they wouldn’t let me play with them. The only time Markus gave me attention was when he would undress me and put me on his dick and touch me etc. I was so fucking scared anyone would walk in. He said that if i tell anyone i would never be allowed to come and see my mum again. Thinking of that possibility still makes me cry today. Markus was manipulative, mean and a bully. Lucky for me my mum broke up so the abuse stopped when i was about 7. I have struggled with relationships all my life. At first I will get sexuell really quickly and be really open, I think because I know guys like it and that they will give me attention (like Markus did). Then this dynamic develops- they start to become mean, I withhold myself sexually and loose any sexdrive, they get angry or abusive. One cheated on me, the other one was belittleling and condescending, one wanted to get physically abusive. One of my ex’s was an ex sex-addict and still addicted to masturbation. My current boyfriend (we have been going out a year ) I found out he has a secret porn addiction a while ago. He promised to stop (which i sad is a ridiculous promise, as porn is as addictive as hard drugs). He broke his promise again and again and now i don’t believe anything he says. I seem to be attracted to people with these sort of issues. Honestly I don’t know what to do now. Pornography grosses me out. I have been going to counselling for years and years. The sexual issues only come up in relationships and often im single for a longtime in between partners. Nothing ever lasts longer than 2years max. I feel like it is just easier to be alone. Which of course is something I have told myself for at least 30 years. I was interested to know if my partners porn addiction will make my own healing re. Sexual abuse harder or if it is common for sexual abuse survivers to attract sex addicts/porn addicts etc. All my previous boyfriends have had some form of addiction and often were really focussed on sex and angry if I said “no”. Anyway, this is my story! It was sad to read all the comments. I wish everyone to be gentle with themselves on their healing journey x

  • Jeffrey

    October 30th, 2016 at 12:18 PM

    The part about the person being unaware of how their sexual abuse effects others is true and dangerous. My partner was unwilling to go to therapy so I was going to therapy all the time and it did not work. My partner enjoyed watching me suffer and said only mentally ill people go to therapy. I think people who cannot go to partner therapy to have honest discussions about their abuse should never get into romantic relationships. I could have been with someone who took partnership seriously. Instead I just avoid relationships altogether. Being sexually abused does not make you the victim in all your future relationships. Sometimes you are the one who is being cruel and causing pain.

  • Taylor

    November 2nd, 2016 at 7:08 AM

    I was raised in a split home where my biological dad was absent for most of my childhood years up into high school. I participated in very risky sexual behaviors as a teen and into my early twenties. I struggled with maintaining a long term relationship, most of them were emotionally unhealthy and I would eventually cheat or leave to end it. For as long as I can remember I was always a cuddly extra touchy type of person. So I just blamed my struggles on the fact that I had “daddy issues”. That was until I started dating my current boyfriend. Early into our relationship I told him about me being sexually assaulted when I was seven by a friend of the families thirteen year old son. He told me that he had thought something like that might have happened to me because of some of my behaviors. He told me that he feels I have an unhealthy idea of sex and its relevance to love. That I attribute how much he cares for me into how much he touches, cuddles, kisses, or has sex with me. Also that sometimes I make him feel like I “serve” him or do out of the way nice things for him so that hopefully he will reward me with some form of physical affection. That to me was earth shattering. I had never thought that what had happened when I was a child could have spilled over into my current relationships. It was as if someone had finally pulled the curtain and I could see what everyone else could see. I hurt mostly because I have never sought out help or tried to approach these issues as actual problems that needed to be fixed for me to have a healthy and stable relationship. I scheduled my first appointment with a councilor for Monday morning and hopefully this will be the beginning to the end of it and I can finally heal.

  • Casey

    November 23rd, 2016 at 6:31 PM

    Is it possible for an adult man who at a very young age was sexually abused by an older male cousin continue to have sexual relations with his abuser? If so, why? Also, this person has never had any psychological help nor does he admit to the abuse.

  • Mette

    January 25th, 2017 at 4:36 PM

    I have just sat and read a lot of comments here for the past hour, and I am just in complete awe and gratitude for having experienced such courageous, vulnerable and kind people. I have tears in my eyes and i just feel filled with love and hope for this world.. everywhere on the net there is hate, but here there is love and empathy.. love from partners to survivors and love from survivor to survivor, and wishes to love oneself more. It is beautiful and you all deserve so much love and healing! The first 19 years of my life was very traumatic, I have now started to remember sexual abuse that was repressed for all those years, on top of all the other abuse, but I have healed alot and feel very whole inside, so it is the right time for it to come back to me, I can handle it now.. My best advice to heal, that has helped me the most, is to always feel your feelings or write/talk them out, while feeling them.. I have cried and cried, sometimes for hours, until physically my heart felt like it broke into pieces, but now I rarely cry, because it is mostly all out now and whenever I feel anger/rage it works best to write down why i am angry and come in contact with my vulnerable and hurt part of myself or to visualize figthing back in my head.. Learning my boundaries/who I am and accepting who I am even when it is different and not as accepted is also very important. Listening to my intuition, trusting when I feel something isn’t right for me. Knowing that no one can take away my truth, because that is mine and my experience, no matter what others believe. Shadow work is amazing to discover supressed parts of yourself. Working with finding core beliefs and questioning them is also very valuable. I send lots of blessings!

  • Bob

    April 14th, 2017 at 10:03 AM

    My wife cheated on me after 25 years. It lasted 2 years but they only had sex three times. The things that went on during this affair boggle the mind. The sex he basically used her. He demanded pictures weekly. Video so he could masterbate. Anything he wanted she did. I asked her if she enjoyed doing this humiliating things. She said she hated it. She hated the sex…I asked why did you do it? She said I don’t know. In therapy it came out. Raped at ten in front of her mother who did nothing. Raped again at 11 then sold to sex trafficers. Raped about 100 more times then pimped out for four years after that. I was crushed. I knew she had some sex issues during our marrage. She hid her damage well. At one point in therapy she ended in the fetal position with both hands over her ears. She has started to have so many health issues the last few years. My heart is broken. Both over the affair and for her. So much pain for a child to go thru. I found out her affair partner worked on her for six months before driving three states over for the kill. Total narcissist sociopath. He was a senior NCO in the air force. Online predator and she was an easy victim. I won’t give up on her. She needs help and I will be there for her. However long it takes. My heart is still broken, but maybe this is my calling from God. To care for this broken person.

  • Jenn

    April 18th, 2017 at 4:44 PM

    Hi Bob,
    I have been in your wife’s position. I wasn’t married at the time, but was involved in an “affair” with a married man. It took till someone asked me ‘did you ask him to stop?’ ‘yes’ ‘did he?’ ‘no’ for me to realise it actually WASN’T an affair and no matter what my feelings towards him, he violated me. Your wife may have been attracted to this man, but if she didn’t want it and communicated that to him (saying ‘no’ is not the only way to say no) then the blame is on him, not her. I would explore this further with her because it sounds more like entrapment/entanglement or plain old abuse. Those of us with painful childhoods (abuse victims) often have a state of ‘learned helplessness’ where instead of saying what we want (not to have sex) we freeze up, cannot say no, cannot say yes. We do nothing in order that the danger may pass quicker with less damage. It’s a lesser known cousin of the fight or flight response (as is attachment to an abuser). It sounds a little like you are calling something an affair (which implies mad hot passion on the side of both parties) where actually it may well be not as extreme as rape or abuse, but instead your wife’s state of learned helplessness was taken advantage of. Her survival instinct was to do nothing and a predator cottoned on to that and took advantage. Realising that (if it IS the case) may help both of you release any anger or guilt there is over this in your relationship. Maybe she actually wasn’t to blame? Maybe she just was unable to say no because of her earlier programming.
    By the way Bob, I think you are an incredible man for trying to understand, forgive and support your wife. She is so lucky to have found you.

  • Ralph

    December 8th, 2017 at 9:31 AM

    Dude, you are awesome!! I got a big smile when you said you weren’t giving up on her. I hope you still mean that. You see, I never had affairs….but I’ve had this problem of emotionally attaching to numerous women over the 7 years my girlfriend and I WERE together. I was sexually abused and physically beaten for years as a kid by my stepfather. Was high on any drug I could find for almost 30 years. I finally got clean 2 1/2 years ago and **** hit the fan. My coping vice was gone and my full blown C-PTSD was raging. Anyway, my love of my life dumped me about 10 months ago. She gave up on me. It hurts so bad. I don’t think she understood what I was going thru even though I’ve told her everything many times. Ugh.

  • Mrs. Joe B

    April 18th, 2017 at 2:08 PM

    I only know I am so tired of being alone and in agony.

  • Daisy

    May 24th, 2017 at 6:36 PM

    Ditto. Lost

  • Daisy

    May 24th, 2017 at 6:38 PM

    Ditto. Lost and hopelessly alone’

  • Seph

    June 2nd, 2017 at 3:28 PM

    Hello everyone, this is the first time for me to write about my own experience take part in a community like this. Anyways I am a 23 years old male. I was sexually abused by my step mother for several months when I was around 15 years old. I do not recall most of the incidents that happened. I do not even remember how long it lasted. All I remember was the extreme confusion, guilt, shame and misery I was experiencing. That helplessness feeling was killing me I did not even dare to tell anyone about what happened. I was extremely embarrassed and ashamed of myself and it never even crossed my mind that this is abuse. I thought of it more like an unethical affair/betrayal to my own father. The downfall kinda started after my parents’ divorce which completely destroyed me. It made me really vulnerable and affected me really badly. I was also neglected and emotionally abused after the divorce by some family members. It became a really toxic environment for me and there were even more problems after the divorce than before. But after my father remarried, that emptiness inside me started to become filled up bit by bit. I felt like now I have a close family and an understanding step mother with whom I became really close before the abuse started. I used to trust her so much and we used to talk a lot and I felt comfort in spending time with her. But when the abuse first started, I was extremely shocked and confused and did not know how to react or what to do. I felt so weak. During and after the abuse, I used to blame myself for it as I mostly enjoyed it. I was old enough to know that it is wrong and I know I should have stopped it but I did not. Even after the abuse stopped I almost completely forgot about it and was dealing with my step mother normally and we stayed close. It is worth mentioning that this was my first ever physical/sexual experience. Since then I haven’t tried becoming intimate with anyone until just recently with my first actual girlfriend who is now my ex. All the unresolved issues from the abuse did not allow me to have a fulfilling relationship and it failed badly because of my insecurities and attachment issues. Later I became clinically depressed and had a suicidal phase which was the worst period of my life. But now I’m getting professional help and finally getting the chance to process what happened in a safe environment after all these years. I do not know if I will have a normal and happy life as it has affected me in ways I’ve never expected. But at least I will keep trying that’s all I can do right? My main source of anxiety now is that I will never be able to have a healthy romantic relationship.

  • Jackie

    August 12th, 2017 at 3:21 PM

    I thought I had done so much work on myself, therapy for years, 12 step recovery for over 25 yrs; and now in my 50s my life is falling apart AGAIN! I am unable to hold a job, as social worker always trying to fix, care for and heal others, until I am so drained. I thought I picked a different relationship after being single for 12 years, ignoring the red flags in the beginning because he also has 12 step recovery. The gift of this relationship is now I feel rage, deep sadness, and incredible loneliness. I do not really trust my partner, who wants to get married and spend the rest of his life with me. I have this gnawing feeling and cannot tell if it is MY abuse history OR a real barometer to avoid going any further with this man. I am in incredible financial fear, unable to take care of my self financially, so I have fear of totally letting him go. This is not an equal balance of power and I know it. I need to heal, get stronger, be more solid and build a relationship from there; not from my woundedness and neediness and fear. I hope a miracle comes my way…soon!

  • Susan H

    August 13th, 2017 at 8:37 AM

    I feel your conundrum! Ugh!!!

  • John

    August 15th, 2017 at 12:48 AM

    Heres a different perspective on things. I have recently come out of a relationship with a person who went through years of abuse as a child. Our relationship was just wonderful for the first couple of years. It was everything I hoped for and looked for. So much so that I changed my entire life to be closer to her. Sold my house and bought a house closer to hers. Changed my daughters school. Changed jobs. Changed everything. With regards her abuse, she was mostly truthful about it from early on in the relationship. Having said that I was already in Love with her before anything was mentioned about it. I was as supportive as I beleive I could have been. I would let her tell me as much or as little as she felt comfortable telling me. I would hold her tightly as she cried in my arms. I would cry with her and for her. Our Love making usually ended in tears. This just made me want to hold her and love her more.
    I could write a book on the feelings of Love I had for my Wonderful Woman…. But… little by little things started to change. Every time we had a disagreement she would build a little wall between us. This wall slowly becoming bigger and bigger over time. I could see it happening and we tried talking about it.
    Now I know this can be seen as normal behaviour in some relationships that are beginning to deteriorate but I have had relationships before, even been happily married until my wife was taken from me by cancer, and this was something different.
    The slow shutting down over time. The closing off and slow withdrawal. I felt hopeless. No matter how much talking we did about it I felt there was nothing I could do. I felt like the Wonderful woman that I fell in Love with and gave my life to was being taken away from me and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about. So… The relationship ended. I now find myself having to begin life again. I am truly devastated. I experienced the most wonderful love of my life and am baffled as to how things went the way they did. In order to heal I will probably now need to move my entire life again to another part of the country. So my point is…. There are other victims in this world who need support. “Victims of victims of child abuse” Try googling that and see what you get. After the pain and loss I have already experienced in this world I just feel I didn’t deserve this

  • Kari

    August 15th, 2017 at 9:53 AM

    John: Having been a victim of abuse myself, I know that we sharing certain traits with people who grew up in alcoholic and drug addicted homes. One of those traits is that we have such a fear of loss, that we tend to break things off with others when they even hint that they may be upset or disappointed. Another thing we “Adult Children” tend to do is think catastrophically. Example: we have a fight, and assume that you are going to hate / leave / cheat on us. We’re not used to good people in loving relationships, so we tend to sabotage ourselves. My brother and I spoke of this years ago. What your WW needs is some therapy, to include ‘reparenting’ herself. Her inner child is damaged, and responding in trauma, not necessarily to the current situation at hand. She is emotionally stuck at certain ages, let’s call them her emotional children, and until she can figure out how to assure those inner children that it wasn’t their fault, they are loved, beautiful and worthy, she will not heal. I used to do a visualization where I would imagine myself at an age where I remembered a particularly abusive situation, then imagine myself as my own loving parent; bending down to hold that child, assuring her that she was good, that it wasn’t her fault, it was the fault of the broken person. Assuring her that she was smart, and good and beautiful. It may seem silly to those who have not been through it, but it has helped.

  • John

    August 15th, 2017 at 2:56 PM

    Kari. Thank you so much for your words. I hear and completely understand what you are saying. As I mentioned, I talked lots, Lots, with my ex partner, and can have some little understanding of where you are coming from. I feel selfish for moaning about my situation but the trouble is I can’t share my grief with anyone. Anyone! I cannot tell friends, because I cannot betray my woman. She told me things in complete confidence. Those things will only Ever be between me and her. So I feel I have no where to turn to. Just myself. It’s a very lonely thing to deal with. Thank you again Kari. :’-)

  • Derek

    August 15th, 2017 at 9:58 AM

    Hi John,
    I’m sorry for the end of your relationship. Personally, I would have felt so grateful to have had what you’ve experienced once (or twice, or more?), that the time would have made it all worth it. And to have the freedom to move whenever you wish to try again!?! And to have a kid on top of it? I’d be very grateful. It seems you’ve had an amazingly lucky life. I think perhaps you should realize you’ve had things in life many have struggled without their whole lives, the most important things, the only meaningful things, and have never had the good fortune to experience. I have dreamed my whole life of having such a wonderful life. I hope you can find some perspective of how lucky you’ve been that despite your losses, you have had incredible fortune in this world as well. I certainly don’t see you as having been a “victim of a victim of abuse”.

  • John

    August 15th, 2017 at 3:23 PM

    Hi Derek. Yes you are right. I’m a very fortunate person in many ways. I do consider that. I do see that. I’m just going through a very painful time at the moment, so i do see I’m being selfish with my moanings. I just wanted to say something, to someone, to anyone, about how I’m feeling. I have no where else to turn to. I couldn’t betray my ex partners confidence. For instance, if her brother found out what had happened to her, he would probably kill those involved. And i wouldn’t blame him! So i can’t tell anyone i know or come into contact with. So I have to deal with things on my own, which can be trying, as I’m sure you seem know.

  • John

    February 27th, 2020 at 4:39 PM

    In retrospect, over 2 years having past since I wrote my original piece, I just wanted to add something.
    I rebuilt my life… and my daughters. We are happily settled now and things are good again for my beautiful child. As for me… I now understand that the animal that I let into my life should have been branded with a warning sign for all to see. She is a disgraceful excuse for a human being. A freak of an emotional vampire who doesn’t mind destroying lives in her polluted wake. I now understand that all my nonsence ramblings in the previous messages were of a sad broken man who couldn’t see the true reality of things and still believed in fantasies. I retract everything I previously said.
    There is a lot more that could be said in making my point but I just can’t be bothered with the effort. It’s not worth it. For all you people going around destroying other lives… YOU NEED TO STOP… but I know you won’t… it’s what you do. It’s the vampirical blood that you feast on. It’s disgusting. The Shame. The only thing I’ve learned in all this is how to spot the deception and well hidden signs… and Avoid.

  • Fee

    August 30th, 2017 at 6:00 AM


    I’m married to a male survivor of sexual child abuse when he was 7 by an uncle
    We have been married 3 years, he’s now 46. We are having problems he tells me I don’t give him enough attention I feel I do he tells me on many occasions he’s going to leave me
    He then buys me gifts I feel very confused
    He goes really quiet a lot of the time and I feel like he’s ‘sulking’ when he’s like this I don’t feel like giving him attention and if I try he pushes me away
    I’m lost as to what to do
    Can anyone help with any advice

  • Seph

    August 30th, 2017 at 12:02 PM

    Hello Fee,
    Let me start by saying that I completely relate to what you’re saying. I’m a male sexual abuse survivor myself and my ex used to suffer from EXACTLY the same things you’ve mentioned. I understand where you’re coming from and I hope my comment would be helpful for you. First of all, you need to understand that this kind of behavior is NOT his fault. He can not help but feel and act this way. I remember I used to feel extremely insecure when I was with my ex and used to tell her that she doesn’t give me attention (even though she did) and then I used to push her away when she wanted to be closer. And I used to threaten her to leave and all that it’s as if you’re actually describing me. I understood that something was wrong but I did not know what. These weird emotions are confusing to him as much as its confusing to you. So if you try to ask him why he’s doing this or how is he feeling I’m guessing he won’t be able to give you a straight answer. He knows that his emotions are all over the place so he can’t help but act the way he does. As for how I got out of that unhealthy pattern, I later learned through a long process of psychotherapy that I was reliving the same relationship that I had with my sexual abuser. In a way, your husband thinks of you as his abusive uncle who he loves and wants to be with but at the same time you’re the one who ruined his childhood and made him miserable for years if that makes any sense. That’s where his, and thus your, confusion come from. This happens due to lack of processing and closure to what he has been through. It’s a subconscious process which does not stop until the sexual abuse survivor heals from the effects of his past abuse incident(s). So my best bet would be that your husband needs professional help in dealing with his emotions. He needs to process what happened to him and let it out. He needs to free himself from that awful experience and not be defined by it. Maybe your husband’s case is different than mine but here’s what I know. Hopefully I was of some help to you.

  • CJ

    August 30th, 2017 at 7:10 PM

    Seph, thank you for sharing! So, at what point did you realize you were sabotaging your relationship and turning your partner into your “abuser”? And what was the realization like? What I mean by that is, if for years you viewed your partner in a negative light. How did your view of your partner change? Also, do you still think of your partner as an “abuser” and do things to sabotage the relationship from time to time?

  • CJ

    August 30th, 2017 at 7:38 PM

    Sorry, I have a couple of additional questions. My partner often says she feels alone in the relationship and that I don’t make her feel special. I have tried everything… foot massages and back massages every night, flowers, concert tickets, bubble baths, candles, cooking and having nice conversations over dinner, traveling to beautiful places in the Caribbean, being supportive when she has panic attacks, etc. I try so hard and yet she still tells me that I do not treat her the way she deserves to be treated. She says our relationship is toxic and we should end it. I tell her how much I love and admire her, send letters, emails, texts and she says I don’t share my feelings or communicate. It’s confusing to say the least. We’ve gone to couples counseling but she always quits before we get to her past abuse. She says the counseling wasn’t getting anywhere, the councelor didn’t see any issues and that I lie to the councelor to make myself look good. Sometimes I don’t know what real and what she actually sees. Can you make sense of any of this?

  • Seph

    August 31st, 2017 at 3:09 AM

    Actually, this makes total sense to me simply because I’ve been through pretty much the same myself. My answer to pretty much all of your questions is receiving professional help. That’s when I first realized that I am sabotaging my relationships. Currently I don’t have a partner and that’s a choice I made because it hasn’t been a year since I started my healing journey and I don’t want to be in a relationship during that. In my experience, it doesn’t really matter how much attention you give to your significant other, how much you try to make them feel special, how much you buy them stuff or go out. You could be the most romantic partner ever and still it would never be enough. This has psychological reasons which is related to past abuse experiences. In my humble opinion, the only thing you can do if you really wanna help her is work on convincing her to start getting help. I completely understand how scared she is because it is really scary, like really really scary to talk about that kind of experience again, face it, process it and try to understand it more. At first its gonna hurt like hell, but it’s an essential step to do which would lead to having healthy relationships. The severity of the long term effects of child abuse depends on several factors like duration of abuse, how old the child was, incest or not. Whether a survivor admits it or not, child abuse has negative consequences especially in romantic relationships. Feel free to ask more questions if you want I’d be glad to go into the specifics.

  • CJ

    August 31st, 2017 at 3:47 PM

    Seph, you’re doing a courageous thing, you should be proud. Thank you so much for your insight. I appreciate it greatly! She gets very defensive when I bring up the possibility of therapy relating to her past abuse (that was incest of some kind but she’s never been specific). I’m the only person she’s ever told besides her mother but she felt rejected by her mother’s response which was to downplay what she told her. She says it doesn’t affect her anymore and she should have never told me because it’s her thing and not mine. “You think I’m broken and I need help and I don’t, maybe you should focus on your issues.” She really respects her mom and I think that was devastating to her. It was disappointing for me to her. I’ve wanted so many times to tell her mom how much she’s hurting but I don’t know who or what she is protecting and I don’t want to make it worse for my partner. Everything is just so complicated, its so hard to decide what the right thing to do is. Something else that I have a hard time understanding, when we’ve gone to couples counseling she believes that the therapist is reassuring her of her views even when they explain to her how her actions might be affecting the relationship. She’ll say something later on like the therapy sessions were a waste of time and you’re acting perfect in there so the therapist believes your B.S. She said she didn’t want to go anymore because she thought I was lying to the therapist. This was after a session in which past abuse was mentioned but nothing specific was revealed to the therapist. She feared I might mention it. Is that something I should bring up in therapy or do you think she would think I violated her trust? Again, its a catch 22. If we don’t mention the past abuse we’re kind of just spinning our wheels and not getting to the root cause of problem that is causing her so much pain and anger.

  • Seph

    September 2nd, 2017 at 6:06 PM

    Thanks CJ for your kind words I appreciate it. Well I don’t know her personally so there is a possibility that she really got over the abuse (at least that’s what she thinks). But if you don’t think that’s true then maybe you could try bringing it up in therapy I guess. I don’t think it’s my place to tell you what to do but I really hope your partner gets over it with your help.

  • CJ

    September 4th, 2017 at 4:25 PM

    Hi Seph, if you don’t mind me asking, what was your therapist’s approach. In other words, what were the steps that led you to a better understanding and began your healing process?

  • Seph

    September 7th, 2017 at 5:05 PM

    One thing to keep in mind is that every abuse survivor’s journey is unique. Some may live their lives like nothing happened and have a “whatever” attitude and never face or talk about what had happened. Others may have severe mental and psychological issues that persist for a long time while others can heal faster. Sometimes the experience was extremely traumatic to a point where you can not handle it so the brain actively suppress those extremely painful memories, which was my case. This leads to short term “comfort” but it has serious long term effects that affect some of your qualities like self confidence for instance. So, it does not matter how hard or how long your recovery is as long as you’re actively making progress in it. I don’t blame anyone who do not want to start it because I understand how incredibly difficult it is and some people might find that it’s not worth it which might be the case for your partner, CJ. As for me, I had reached a state where I did not really have a choice. It was either getting professional help or death. After my breakup with my ex I had severe depression and anxiety to the point of strong suicidal tendencies. I had felt pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies and started abusing drugs. All I wanted to do was just get it over with and end my life. At first I was in denial like sure whatever it’s just a breakup but turns out that wasn’t about my ex. After all we weren’t together for that long anyway and it wasn’t that strong of a relationship. It was actually about all the repressed memories and emotions from my past abuse finally getting out in a way which I can no longer control. Years of negative feelings of self hate, guilt and shame just being released in such a way that the pain was too much for me to handle. I reached a point where I almost actually ended my life but then this thought came up to me. What if I actually go to a therapist? Maybe they can help me? Maybe not. But then let’s at least try and if I don’t get any better then I’ll just suicide, deal? Deal. And yea it was the best deal I’ve ever made in my life. I started getting psychotherapy and taking medication and here I am now. Alive and not depressed, which I never thought I would ever be. Receiving the help you need as a survivor is a choice only the survivor can make.

  • CJ

    September 10th, 2017 at 6:08 PM

    Seph, you have an amazing story. I’m glad you made the decision to go to therapy. You seem like a great person and you can help so many people with your insight. Thank you for sharing and thank you for your help!

  • nanoo

    August 31st, 2017 at 2:52 PM

    Great article.

  • Alan

    September 7th, 2017 at 4:04 AM

    Wow great article. I am living that life. As a male, child sex abuse survivor I am finally starting to learn things about myself. I was molested at 11 and am now 54. It was by an older brother and it continued for a couple of years. I married in my late 20’s, but have always had urges for homosexual encounters especially younger athletic confident guys (late teens – mid 20’s). With access to internet porn it has been devastating to my marriage, wife, family and me. I realize that I have a huge emotional hole. My wife is not supportive nor does she understand (I don’t blame her.) She just wants me to fix it. I have been in counseling a couple of years and been going to a purity group with some success, but overall not so much. Sure I’ve learned a lot about myself and the situation. For years I thought I was the one who caused the molestation because it made me feel close and it was exciting. Only in the last few years did I learn that it was not me, but my brother who did wrong. As I continue on this journey of healing this article has helped me learn one more nugget about myself. There is so much more I want to write, but don’t to take up so much space. Thank you.

  • Seph

    September 7th, 2017 at 5:10 PM

    It is so relieving for me to read about such successful recoveries and optimistic view of life. It does not matter how old you are, it is never too later to start healing. I can relate to what you wrote so much and that makes me feel better. Never stop learning about yourself.

  • Al

    November 1st, 2017 at 9:04 AM

    I am the spouse of a csa victim. We have been married 28 years. Three years ago I could out about her affairs. #1 was an online affair but they did meet for sex three times. #2 was a week long fling. They did meet once but nothing happened except kissing. I knew something was wrong from the day we got married. She didn’t enjoy sex for years. There was several suicide attempts. I could never get her to talk. Never. So I discovered her affair. Heartbroken. She immediately attacked me saying it was all my fault cause we didn’t communicate. Started M/C any the truth started to come out. She is from a third world country. At ten she was raped by her drunk brother. This continued for a year. She ran away and got a job as a maid. She was raped twice more by the adult son of the home owner. She ran away again and was kidnapped and sold to a house run by the police. Where she was raped repeatedly and then sold to customers. So there it is. On to the affair. This guy was an old coworker from 10 years ago. He was a smgt in the Air Force and she admits she didn’t know him. He was living in Korea at the time. He started flirting with her and in a matter of weeks she started leading him on. I asked her why she would do such a thing. She replied she thought if she could get this guy to like her then she must be pretty. Wow. Months went on and it turned sexual. Texting and sending nude photos, except he insisted hers had to be full body shot with her face. Then out of the blue he showed up. Traveled 9000 miles and had sex with her twice. I asked her why she did that. She said she felt she couldn’t back out. Couldn’t say no. Well I guess the sex didn’t go to well. He was rather small downstairs and had a lot of erectile dysfunction problems. She said she felt used and didn’t ever want to do it again. Months later he wanted video chat. He wanted her to get naked and talk dirty so her could masterbate. Once again she said she felt humiliated and stupid. Months after that he came back. She said she went over to end it. But he was drunk and she was scared. She told him no but he did it anyway. More erectile problems. She said it took 20 minutes for the pain to go away. Once again she said he treated her like a whore. She said she decided she would never meet him in person again. The texting and pictures continued for many more months until I caught them. She said she was happy to get caught cause she wanted it to end. She just couldn’t do it herself. She could never tell him no. He hounded her for pictures weekly so he could masterbate. In the end she knew nothing about him. He never said anything about himself. He told her how beautiful she was but never said he liked her. She didn’t even know where he lived. He lied about that telling her Texas, Virginia, or Delaware. Affair #2 was a friend of affair #1. Another sergeant in the military and an old co worker. I guess #1 told #2 a bunch of lies about his sexual conquests and #2 started flirting with her the day he arrived. The nine days he was here he begged her to come to his room and “take care of his pain”. This guy was married with two kids. Once again she felt she couldn’t say no. He kept asking her to bring a friend cause he “knew” all her friends were sluts to. But the old menstration ruined his chances. I had a weeks worth of his text messages. He denied everything. Said he was a family man and would never let a woman “like her” into his room. So I sent his text messages to his wife. So three years into counseling. She quit at two but I still go. She’s better now and ashamed of what she did. She can’t talk about it without crying, getting angry and hyperventilating. She had all her female parts rot and had to get them removed. She has stomach issues, headaches and neck and back pain. Depression has always been a part of her life. Our sex life is as crappy as it’s ever been but at least she can show some affection now. I saw problems for years. Could never get an answer. I want her to see a therapist but she explodes at the idea. Says I’m supposed to fix her. I don’t have a clue how to do that. So that is the story. I know she is broken. Yes I got hurt but I don’t want to give up. But also I’m afraid if she does not fix her issues this will happen again. She said she has changed. She cut out all social media and has been with me all the time for three years. But I know no matter what she does the problem is still there. She says she can just forget about the past. That’s her coping skill. And she gets angry I can’t “forget” her affairs. I don’t have the same coping skill. So what do I do? My life has turned upside down. I’m miserable and scared.

  • Ralph

    December 8th, 2017 at 10:07 AM

    Wounded Attachment. I didn’t know there was a name for it. Here’s my story:

    I was sexually molested and physically abused my my Stepfather from the ages of 5 to 12. I have large memory gaps but I do remember a lot unfortunately. The last 2 years or so was the worst. It was at least a weekly occurrence. My mom was never around when it happened except for the occasional beating. Towards the end of my abuse, there was a night when my stepfather woke me up and told me to come into his and my moms bedroom. It was like 3:am. This was highly unusual because my stepdad always raped me during the daytime when Mom was at work. To make a long painful story short, that night he made me go down on and then have sex with my own mother! She appeared drugged or something. All I know is it never happened before that night and never happened after. Fast forward to the next morning. Im heading to the kitchen to grab something to eat and head to the bus stop. I was in 6th grade. I ran into my mother in the kitchen and I froze. Her back was to me and she didn’t know I was there. I froze because I wasn’t sure what she was going to say about last night. I was hoping she would apologize…hug me….something. Instead, I got nothing….not a peep. I was crushed. It wasn’t long after that….that I told my best friend what was happening in my house. He was mature enough to take me straight to his house and told his mother! She called the cops and the next day in class, I was removed and taken downtown to be interviewed and examined. In short…..that ****** monster of a Stepdad was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to 24 years in prison…….unheard of in Missouri in 1987.

    Now, I’ve obviously suffered my whole life from the numerous wounds I endured. But I’ve managed somehow to get along in life. What find interesting regarding this Wounded Attachment is I didn’t think I did any of this. But thats not true. I was recently dumped by the love of my life. We were together almost 8 years. 5 of those were horrible as I was addicted to opiates and eventually heroin. She stayed by my side through the whole thing! It was looking hopeless for me, but I finally got clean for good on May 12th 2015. I knew I had some serious work to do on my child abuse stuff once my head cleared up. But the nagging problem I always had that caused my girlfriend great stress was my seeking out other women. I would NOT sleep with them, kiss them, or anything like that. However there would be flirting and deep emotional connections….which my girlfriend said was the hurtful part. I kept trying to comfort her by saying, “honey….I”m not sleeping with them! We just talk!” I think subconsciously I either wanted to sleep with these women for some reason, or I was seeking emotional attachment because I finally realized that my girlfriend as much as I loved her….was never compassionate with me whatsoever about my abuse.
    I remember the night I first told her everything about my abuse. She had ZERO reaction!! And of course all throughout our relationship and my connecting with the other women….she would just be angry. I finally put it together and told her that I was seeking this emotional support from other women cause she wasn’t giving it to me. Too late I guess. She left me like 10 months ago. All I know is I’m devastated. I pleaded with her telling her I didn’t mean to hurt her, but that the after effects of my incest and abuse sometimes makes me do weird things, but to not worry because I was crazy about her and only loved her…..which was (and still is) true.

    Anyway, I have no idea how coherent that all just was. My end point is that I’m seeing a connection with how my mother basically ignored me in that kitchen that morning and showed me no love, protection, sympathy, etc. and the girlfriend with her inability to be compassionate. Any thoughts? Thanks!

  • Terri

    September 5th, 2018 at 2:51 PM

    I am a survivor of sexual molestation as a child, which I recall reporting to my mother but she doesn’t remember me ever telling her. It was a family friend who “loved children,especially little girls. He wanted one so bad, but just had boys. It won’t hurt you to make him happy by (going for ice cream, going to the movies, fill in the blank). I remember hiding who I was, so no one would find out I was the “Dirty girl” who allowed a “boy” to touch her. There were two me’s, but the real me stayed hidden deep inside. I tried to be perfect in everything so no one would look too close and “see” what I was hiding. I was sexually active at 16, became pregnant, and married the guy. He physically, emotionally, and sexually abused me until I finally left after being thrown / dragged down stairs and gettiing concussed. It has taken me years to understand how much this impacted my life, and longer to admit to family and adult wonderful hubbie exactly how much I was abused. Now, my daughter is in a relationship that has warning signs of being abusive…isolation, controlling through emotional manipulation, being made to believe that she “saved her life” and without her she may die. My reaction to this is colored by my own past trauma . . I feel a desperate need to make sure she doesn’t end up like I did. Of course, my daughter rejects any attempt to make her see from my point of view. In the meantime, I keep going over everything I did raising her to find out how I “failed” to protect her. My husband is wonderful, and my faith helps me understand somethings are just out of my control. Still, it hurts me deeply. I am frightened for her. Anyone who has EVER experienced this knows that you would never wish this on anyone, especially someone you love. I don’t trust myself to talk to her, because I dissolve into sobs and begging her to please listen, causing her to just leave the conversation, the room, the house. Unfortunately, like me . . . she apparently has to learn things the hard way. I have not spoken to her in 4 months because I advised her that, if her friend has a drinking problem, she has to decide on her own to face and take steps to resolve because it won’t “take” otherwise. My daughter can’t fix her. She has to fix herself. My daughter can support, but she can’t solve.

  • Michael

    August 24th, 2020 at 8:27 PM

    I was born in 1984. I have had an extremely bad childhood. I have questions on to why thangs were aloud to happen. And now I have a ten year old. I love her and she loves me, however I refuse to be apart of her life because I’m to afraade of repeating what happened to me

  • Valerie

    August 25th, 2020 at 8:26 AM

    Hello Michael,
    I am saddened to hear about your experience. It is not uncommon at all for those who have experienced such trauma to be fearful of their own children’s future. There are definitely many questions that something like this can bring. I highly recommend finding a counselor/therapist who can work with you about your fears, your questions, and ways to help heal from the devastating impact of this trauma. The mind can be rewired, you can have a confident and less fearful life! It is definitely possible with the right therapist. Don’t allow the trauma to have the last word in your life. Seek help for yourself and you will find that over time, you can experience healthier relationships with others as well as with self.

  • Marlena

    December 18th, 2020 at 9:58 AM

    I am 53, and just now feel it is acceptable to explore what happened to me when I was a young prepubescent girl that trusted her grandfather. I won’t go into the act itself but it was reoccurring, quick so he wouldn’t get caught, secretive, repulsive to me, and not spoken about EVER. Thinking back, I don’t think I realized how bad this was. It seemed to be a behavior that I accepted from my grandfather and endured it to just get it over with until the next time he would push me into a darkened space to assault my innocence. I didn’t really know what to think at the time, but I knew it had to be wrong. Why else the secrecy? I mostly was afraid to tell anyone because I was embarrassed and even ashamed. I didn’t want anyone thinking about this act and picturing me in the scenario. I also surmised that if I just kept quiet about it completely then it was the best way to pretend that it wasn’t even happening to me. I went through my whole life with this shoved to the back of my psyche. I don’t remember as a kid even thinking about it at all when the behavior had stopped. But for me to keep this bottled up inside for all these years because of the shame associated with it that prevented me from telling a soul, even my husband, I have to wonder about how it has affected me psychologically throughout my entire life. I was painfully awkward all through school, and spent almost every day of my high school year trying to make myself unnoticeable and invisible. I moved to another city for college after high school, and it was like someone turned on the color in my otherwise black and white world. I began dating and having relationships for the first time ever. My track record seemed to be guys that were ‘unattainable’ in some way. I always let the guy pick me and I tried to be whatever they liked so they liked me. I actually was a goodie two shoes in the sense that I did not lose my virginity until I was well into my mid 20’s. But the guys that I dated or engaged with tended to be out of reach in the sense that they would be either in and out of town or lived in a completely different country in which I’d commit myself to a long distance relationship. I am wondering how this ties into the burden of my grandfather’s exploits with me that I had pushed to the back of my mind in all ways that I possibly could. At that stage of my life… I felt like what happened with my grandfather was not an issue anymore… but I am pretty certain that I could have been a different person during those critical growing up years if I had not had that looming secret about my grandfather’s behavior with me.

  • Leah

    August 16th, 2021 at 8:36 PM

    I feel like I am about to finally lose it. My abuse has just began 2 years ago when we moved 2 hours sway from home. My grandmother whom raised me has dementia. I help care for her and my step grandfather of 25 years. They met when i was 6 or 7 i am 32 now. He always comes into the room when shes not around or asleep fondling himself in front of me just staring at me with the weirdest face and last week he got bolder i woke up from cat nap on the couch from his hand in my shorts and into my panties my private area. Hes stood behind me breathing heavily and fondling himself for 10 mins or so. I just habe tried to run away, ignore it, sont make a scene and upset my grandmother for sure. This morning i am watching television waiting on her to wake up and im taking her to Walmart like a normal Monday. He comes in where i am. Asks me have i heard about my cousin passing awah from covid im genuinely thinking he wanted to know. Called my mother on speaker phone and asked het she said yes Sunday he passed and dont knkw about funeral yet. He like tries rushme off phone ok thats all i needed to know and im like wtf i knew something was wrong then i look at him to the left hes on my left side. He is pulling out his genitals and rubbing himself almost touchmy arm. I kind dont remember what i do or how i even moved my body next. I forgot i was on the phone with my mother and just started in on him. I let him know hes sick snd nasty and ive told you ladt week go the hell on stop that shit. Ur married to my grandmother and ive looked at u as a granddad. If you do that nasty shit again ill kill you and i have a taset in my purse just for you. I am going to always have it on me on couch now. I also told him i mentioned some the nasty shit you do to me to my uncle and father. I run to my grandmother she is waking up hearing my hollering and cussing him. I realize i was on the phone with mama. Shes calling my phone by this time. Asks if i am ok. I said yes i got it handled and she said i could hear it in your voice you were very angry. I said yes mama he does that stuff alot to me since moving and my grandmother dementia gotten worse. Last month the waking me up with your hands on me really really upset me though. I can deal or do deal with alot bullcrap just to be able to be with my grandmother and make sure she is okay cause hes not gonne help her at all he is too lazy and just don’t do nothing. I do everything around their house, errands, doc appts, cleaning, etc. I do not know what his problem is or what he could possibly be thinking but i have lost all respect i did have for him and thought he was a decent person all these years. I truly hate his guts now and hopefully can still help her out some but i really just want to avoid him at all costs. I feel like im out of my body and can not sleep well anymore. I just do not feel like myself i feel like on edge is good way describe it. What can i do now or what should i do now? Help please anyone any advice or helpful insights please have no one else but my kids to talk to and they will not hear about this if i can help it.

  • Sara GT

    August 17th, 2021 at 4:02 PM

    Dear Leah, I am sorry that you are going through this- it must be very difficult. If you would like to seek help from a mental health professional, you can start finding therapists in your area by entering your city or ZIP code into the search field on this page: https://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html. They might be able to give you advice on how to handle this issue. Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. You may click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. If you need help finding a therapist, you are welcome to call us. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time, and our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext 3. Kind regards, The GoodTherapy Team

  • gabby

    October 25th, 2021 at 10:59 AM

    I am 50+. I was sexually and physically abused a child from the age of 3-17. I was violently attacked at the age of 13 by 3 men. As a result; a daughter was born. I was in numerous foster home and was always on my own. I had to survive every house and each I stayed in survival mode and I still do. I feel like I can never let my guard down. I am having a very difficult time functioning in society. Each day gets harder and harder. My anxiety and depression is definitely worsening. I have ruined every friendship and/or relationship I have ever been in which has not been many. I don’t trust anyone even though I try. I always fear rejection. I have periods where I feel ok and I feel life is good but then something will happen that brings me back to my past and start up the anxiety and causes the depression to worsen. I have a lot of support from my church and Pastor and she fails to understand the emotional rollercoaster. I do trust God. I just don’t know how to move on in my life. I cant any project I start. I have been writing a book about my life for 8 years and I have not published it yet. I have been working of a song for 3 years and I have not completed yet. I cant finish anything. It is so frustrating to feel this way all the time. I frustrated with myself. I want to move on and have some happiness in my life.

  • Valerie Kuykendall-Rogers

    October 26th, 2021 at 8:28 AM

    Hello Gabby,
    Thank you for your courage and candidness regarding your experiences. I can’t even begin to imagine the difficulties and struggles you have and continue to endure. Rest assured that you are definitely not alone! Help is available and happiness is achievable, albeit difficult. There are other places that you may be able to find support. You can find counselors who specialize in trauma on this site (i.e., goodtherapy.org). I applaud your strength and willingness to explore ways to achieve a happier and more fulfilling life. Help is just a few clicks away. Continue to persevere as you search for someone who can not only understand you, but support you in your quest toward happiness and healing.
    Best wishes on your journey!

  • Pierce

    July 18th, 2022 at 11:15 PM

    How are you doing now?

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