Okay.... so. Recently the question has been floating around in my head whether or not I was molested when I was little. I'm 23 years old and the baby-sitter that my parents took me to had a son that is now in jail for 19 counts of sexual abuse. He has been in jail since I was 11 or 12. I remember my mom asking me if I had any recollection of being touched in an inappropriate way. Then,.... I didn't. But now is different. One day I was at work, and the smell of a customer's cologne gave me the most disgusted feeling in the pit of my stomach. I instantly felt an enormous rush of negativity and teared up. It didn't smell bad, but it gave me a really deep and disturbed feeling. There are things about my childhood that don't quite add up and I've never discussed these things with ANYone. They are my deepest darkest secrets but I wonder... Did this man molest me and I was too young to remember? Is this possible? Why am I just now starting to have flashbacks of things I did that were abnormal as a child?
The following user gives a hug of support to megZXZ: stillaround64 (12-08-2011)
What you describe is called a trigger. A scent reminded you of someone or something that made you feel really bad at one or more times in your life. It is important to honor your instincts and feelings. You are not going crazy. It doesn't necessarily mean it was the now-identified molester who wore the scent, or is who is triggering the feeling. You can be pretty sure that some unhappy memory is trying to emerge, but you need not force it. It will come in its own time. It's important to go to a qualified professional to help you understand what may have happened. Not all professionals are properly trained in this, so don't become discouraged; check them out and ask questions about his or her particular expertise before you schedule.
The Following User Says Thank You to AverageUser For This Useful Post: stillaround64 (12-08-2011)
Thank you so much for your advice/opinion! It means a lot. My long-term boyfriend is sitting in the next room and I hate that it's so hard to talk about it. He, nor my sisters, parents, or anyone knows about what I've been recently experiencing. It just feels like pieces of a scattered puzzle have been clicking in my head- out of my control. From memories of when I was little of things I did that aren't right to ways that I felt that I shouldn't have known anything about. Thank you, thank you, thank you for replying. I was severely depressed for 9 years and just stopped seeing my psychologist of 3 years just under a year ago so it's kinda discouraging thinking about going back or starting with another one because she moved away. I overcame a long, dark phase of my life. But I realize it's something that needs to be done in order for me to heal and move past what ever it is that's trying to surface. Thank you again for your response!
You are very welcome. When memories start to emerge, and bring the very confusing feelings with them, it does feel very scattered and ungrounded - sort of like the ground of your personality is shifting beneath you. You are not losing anything, but growing, gaining and healing. The dark period you survived and the new trigger may well be related. I know it's very hard to talk about, but please try to think about finding another therapist. Maybe your psychologist moving away is the exact door that opened at the right time, to help bring on this new phase of healing? Please don't try to understand this without help. Please Google for a therapist in your area trained in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and PTSD. There is a lot of good information and support available, and you don't have to go it alone.
If your boyfriend treats you gently and with respect, the effects on him will be significant. It will hurt him that you were hurt in this way. You both will be dealing with your own pain, and concerned for your partner at the same time. He too will benefit from guidance. Please remember that he will not know how crazy it feels, will not know how to react, will have questions that you don't know the answer to. It is called being a secondary victim. If/when you tell him, remember that a normal response to pain is anger. He may not know what to do with that.
It can be overwhelming, but you are not crazy or going crazy. It is all written down and studied; your responses and feelings are a normal part of healing. It is sort of like opening a wound so the infection can start to drain. It hurts, but there is healing and a healthy future to be had.
The Following User Says Thank You to AverageUser For This Useful Post: megZXZ (10-25-2011)
Your information and insight is so helpful! I do feel like because I overcame depression (only by God) that He has opened this final part to my depressive past to fully understand why everything happened and why I felt the way I did for 22 years. I'm trying to see this all as a blessing and being thankful to God for showing me and allowing me to heal. I feel like it is all surfacing now because I'm strong enough to handle it. My parents, family, and friends are all so proud of the changes I've made in the past year and applaud me for no longer needing a therapist. So, I guess my question is... How do I tell them?
I'm a college student and my parents are paying for all my medical bills until I graduate and get a good job. So I basically have to ask them. How do I mention this topic if I'm not ready to expose it? I reallllly don't want to make my parents even think about feeling guilty (if these things I've been experiencing are true and the babysitter's son did do this). They've blamed themselves enough in their parenting for every mistake my sister's and I have made. -Not to mention one of my sisters are gay.
It's very interesting to me that you mention PTSD, just because I had suspected that I have it. But from abusive relationships that I've been in................ which just filled another piece in the puzzle for me. Whew..
Thank you again for writing me! You're a blessing!
The following user gives a hug of support to megZXZ: HolyMoly (10-28-2011)
While it is kind and honorable to be concerned with your parents' feelings, from how you describe them, I am sure that this is a burden they would not want you to carry for fear of telling them. You need not tell them at first, instead maybe asking them for trust, and maybe saying that you know deep in your heart that there is more important work to be done. Ask that they please wait for you to be more informed and grounded before discussing it with them. If they insist, politely decline to discuss, and seek free help. There are many resources, especially if you are in college. Go to the social services office on your campus, and they will (or should) have lists of free or low-cost providers. There are also grants given to states for victims of crime, where ability to pay is not a factor.
Telling your family is a personal decision, and you should know what to expect before proceeding. You are so correct in believing that they will feel guilty and responsible. At the moment they become aware, they too will feel victimized, and naturally want to blame themselves, ask why (almost accusing) you never told, and so on. It is so normal, but you should be prepared for their reactions, and maybe even ask that it take place with the help of a therapist. Imagine being told that someone did this to your daughter, and you paid that family to do it. Rage, betrayal, helplessness - all the negative emotions will come pouring out.
Please try to remember that you did not ask for this; you had no choice, and that not telling your family is not a betrayal, but a normal behavior for a child who is too traumatized to know what to do, or even able to integrate the painful memories into daily life. It is so normal for the brain to isolate the memories until growing maturity begins to empower you to make self-directed healthy decisions.
I'm not suggesting that you never tell your parents, only that you wait until you understand more of what to expect, and that their reactions, like yours, will be a predictable onslaught of emotions for which they will not be prepared. I'm suggesting that someone in the room be experienced, have the emotional tools available to deal with the onslaught, so that any negative effects on all of you may be minimized.
PTSD is a human reaction to trauma. You may tend to minimize the effect of trauma, thinking along the lines that "I've never been to war, been shot at, etc..., how could I have this?" There are degrees of the illness, and when the trauma occurred in your development. Whether it was on-going while you were a child, or a one-time event as an adult, or four years of brutal war as a young adult, a person's reaction to the trauma is personal. What is "worst" to you will not be equal to what is "worst" for someone else. My personal pain cannot be compared to somebody else.
When seeking a therapist, please ask if they are trained in PTSD in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and ask their method of treatment. You can search online for different treatments, and seek a therapist trained in the method you decide to try.
....just a word of caution here - people with these deep issues do not usually choose mates freely, though we feel like we have free choices. Our choices include the unhealed parts of us, and those parts are helping us make decisions. I hope that makes sense to you. I don't want to be offensive in any way, but hope you don't blame yourself for being with anyone who might have hurt you. You trusted someone who betrayed that trust. Your parents sound like very good people, who want to see the best in others, and probably raised you to do the same. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but knowing how to recognize and honor your instincts is important, too. Knowing how to identify "bad" before you're "in too deep," and how to help prevent people from hurting you are learned behaviors, and may include some "un-learning."
My heart is with you, and also so pleased with your forthright bravery in facing this challenge!
Wow! Thank you so much for your advice, encouragement, and understanding! That is the perfect way for me to inform my mother. She will respect my wishes to keep it quiet for now. And I can't imagine her not sending me. I am so excited to tell her so I can get started on the healing and moving forward. I'm aware it could take a long time but I'm ready to get started! I told my boyfriend the other night about some of the things I've been experiencing- without the details. Things are all right.
Thank you so much again! I hope God richly blesses you for the support you have provided me with! Much love.
Thank you for all the good information.
I was sexually abused by my father and other family members when i was young. I still fight with this problem. I'm around the family all the time and it is so hard to even stand by them. My father has passed and I took care of him before. i loved my father and the other members,whitch were my brother and uncles. I had told my mother god rest hersoul, and she had a hard time believing in me.
She just closed the abuse down. when a small child goes through this ,it stays with them for the rest of their lifes.I have to try eveyday to understand why they did it. I'm married and took all this in my marrages. yes i have been married four times. my first three were bad marrages. The marrages were very abusefull, I found out that your husband can sexually abuse you too.
To all that have been abused sexually, life does get better,and we didnt do anything wrong ,We were not the ones that were sick. GOD BLESS YOU ALL FOR GETTING THIS FAR. Just remember we are good people and even through part of our child hood was taken ,we will go on with the help of our doctors and friends that understand what we are going through.
GOD BLESS MY HUSBAND FOR ALL HIS HELP AND UNDERSTANDING.
The following 2 users give hugs of support to: stillaround64 kristi1986 (12-08-2011), megZXZ (12-08-2011)