Can someone have a delayed response to abuse?
I always, for as long as I remember, have been uncomfortable around my dad. I never liked hugging him or even being close to him. I realized that I may have been sexually abused ... I had feelings of anger and resentment, but I didn't start feeling sad and depressed until now. It's been about 10 years since I've moved out of my parents place.
There were some experiences that I've never told anyone about, but because of the anonymity of this post I feel I can say this. My dad would sometimes watch me undress (the earliest memory I have of this is when I was eight when I got out of the shower). Sometimes he would walk in on me when I was on the toilet or in the shower. Our house had faulty locks and a glass door, so it was easy to walk in and see everything. He would say 'sorry', but he didn't seem alarmed or surprised (as one normally would if they were to accidentally walk in on somebody who was in the bathroom). This happened a few times a year until I moved out and went to college. I always tried to take a shower when he wasn't home, but he was always home when I was. I never liked being alone in the house with my dad, but on occasion we were alone in the house. Nothing ever happened, but I was always uncomfortable at the thought. I never ever showered or changed when I was alone in the house with my dad.
There are a few things I would like to note.
-I don't have any memory, and I really don't think, that my dad ever touched me. I always thought that he did those things on accident. -However, I did always have anger and resentment towards my dad. My dad was very emotionally and verbally abusive to my brother, but not to me. He did criticize me (saying I was stupid, not smart enough to amount to anything so I shouldn't try), but my brother got much harsher criticism and abuse. I always thought that my anger and resentment towards my dad was because of the verbal abuse, but recently I've thought there must be something more.
-Other people do not feel he discomfort they do around their dad the way I do. I remember that up until I was about 21 I would dress really gross, I didn't shower frequently, I would wear loose clothing, and I would walk, talk, and act masculine. I made a very conscious effort not have any feminine appeal.
-Now, I'm in grad school, in my late 20's, and I'm fighting depression. I hardly cried growing up, I felt like I tried sometimes, but I couldn't. Now, I can't stop crying. Sometimes I feel the tears coming on when I'm in public. One time I started crying while I was driving and I had a hard time staying focused on the road.
I don't know if I was abused. I always thought abuse was rape. But now, I realize that the definition of sexual abuse has a far wider range than what I thought. I feel like I've kept it pent up for so long that it's all coming out now (the feelings, fears, anger, tears, depression). Can that happen, to have a delayed reaction to the abuse? I did not do drugs, I was not particularly promiscuous, I was, and still am, a responsible student. I struggle with relationships -- I often feel like I'm not good enough, like I'm damaged goods.