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Old 09-01-2004, 09:22 AM   #1
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My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

As a child, from about the ages of 2-5, my uncle, who was a preteen/young teen at the time used to take me into a room to "play" and always take out his penis. He's ask me if I wanted to touch it, then play with it and pretend it was talking to me. At the beginning of this, I thought it was all a game, and I didn't understand what was going on. Once when I was five, I remembered a "red flag, green flag" lesson from school, and since these encounters had been making me increasingly uncomfortable, I shouted "NO!!!" at him and he got really nervous and never bothered me again.

He never touched me, he only took his out around me. The worst thing he ever did was "dare" me to put my mouth on it and I did, being only 3 and thinking was a game. I still remember this incident clearly and it makes me want to throw up.

Here's the issue: I can't stand being around him to this day. I get a horrible feeling and he makes me want to puke if he hugs me. He's now married with a son a couple months older than mine, and it a fine, upstanding citizen. My grandmother and mother never knew about the incidents, because I always felt partially responsible for them (as a child) and now it seems like too much time has passed to open that can of worms.

My husband knows, and is there for me if I'm trying to avoid him at holidays and stuff. Part of my uncle's problem is that his father was a verbally and physically abusive man, and extremely controlling. (He was my mom's step father and she still hasn't recovered from the damage to her self esteem.) This man was grooming my uncle to be his "protoge" but he died when I was only 4, and my uncle changed alot in the subsequent years.

My question... do I just deal with it? The revulsion I feel everytime I see the man? And try to play nice happy family? Do I confront him away from his wife? I don't see the need to stir up all this controversy 20 years after the fact. I'm not sure anyone but my mom would believe me anyway because he's such a "great guy" now.

Any advice?
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Old 09-01-2004, 09:38 AM   #2
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Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

A long time has passed already, maybe he has changed, you never know. I don't think you should confront him, especially as he hasn't done anything to you. If you confront him about this now, it'll stir up resentment among everybody. Just try to avoid him as much as possible- who said a family had to be all lovey-dovey?

 
Old 09-01-2004, 09:40 AM   #3
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Destea HB User
Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

I had a similar situation - only it was my older brother (by two years) and it lasted 6 years.

I kept it a secret from everyone until about 3 years ago, and I confronted my brother about it. It was more difficult because I lived with him, and we got along fabulously once he moved away - only that whole thing was always hanging over my head (it was more intense than your scenario as well, though they're equally tramatizing!!).

I decided I wanted to get better. I wanted to really put it behind me. I finally told my parents (I was 19 at the time, it had stopped when I was about 11 - 12), I got into therapy, and it's amazing how much it's helped me to get this 'secret' off of my chest. I felt shame where I shouldn't have, and I had anxiety attacks for YEARS as a result...

Now I'm feeling much better. I've cleared the air directly with my brother, my family, and my therapist.

There's still a road ahead - I have trouble sexually with a few things, but ultimately, it was the most freeing thing I've ever done.

I'd honestly suggest getting into therapy (EMDR helped me alot - you can look it up online), and talking to either the uncle, or at least your direct family about it. Confrontation was what worked for me...

Good luck, I'm sorry you had to go through this...

 
Old 09-01-2004, 09:44 AM   #4
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Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

Wow, this is a tough one. First off, sorry that you had this happen to you. I guess it depends on how much this bothers you. I can understand your destain for him. Another question I have for you is, have you ever gotten professional help on this matter? If not, you could certainly try that. Also, I think it's really good that you have your husband to lean on and get these feelings out.

If you decide you need to talk to your uncle, I'd do it with just the two of you, or maybe you, him and your husband. Also, if he's a stand up guy, he might be feeling guilty about his behavior as well. It might be good to clear the air, so to speak.

I think it really comes down to how much this bothers you as to what you should do...

 
Old 09-01-2004, 10:07 AM   #5
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Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

preteen/ young teen? So he was what, about 11, 12 or 13?
I am sure that he TOO is feeling sick to his stomach when around YOU because he knows what he did was wrong... He probably thinks you were so young that you don't remember, but he does. I bet he feels he is living with this dreadful secret alone.
If I were you, I would FIRST understand that he was YOUNG and CONFUSED with growing up and developing and as you said, he didn't have a healthy male role model.
I would THEN confront him with it. After you understand he was JUST a child too, confront him, letting him KNOW that you DO remember it and that it bothers you.
THAT opens the door for him to apologize to you and maybe the 2 of you can work through this together... If you don't want to be alone with him, take your husband.

I will say though that when I was 8 I had 2 boy cousins one was 7 the other was 9. They showed me their privates and asked to see mine... I know it is a different situation as you were just a BABY, but looking at yoru uncle, he too was a child and acted WRONG

I don't know exactly what I am trying to say....

If he had been an ADULT uncle I would be very POd for you... I am not angry with your uncle. I am HURT for YOU. But I also feel that he was young too, made some very bad choices and like you said, He is a grown man now, upstanding, and good father.
Please don't hold this against him.... TALK TO HIM!
If that doesn't work, or you can't... Then talk to someone, but I most definately would NOT drag his reputation down for something he did as a child...

BTW, I am so sorry you are going through this, I am so sorry you feel alone in this and I truely hope that you find a way to get through this...

Hugs

 
Old 09-01-2004, 10:49 AM   #6
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Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

Destea-
What courage you had to confront your brother. I admire that. To this day I have been unable to find such courage to confront a situation extremely simimlar to yours. I too also suffer from anxiety attacks, but have been unsure as to how much the anxiety attacks are related to what happened years ago. How did you manage to confront your brother?

As for the poster Siren1024--I think you should do what feels comfortable for you. Some people can confront the person, others, like me are unable to do so. I have thought many times of confronting the person, but was afraid nobody would beleive me and he would just deny it. I couldn't imagine the shame that I would feel and the shame I do feel for it ever happening. It is such a bad situation and you have to do for yourself what is best for you because you'll have to live with the outcome, good or bad.

Last edited by elatedgiraffe; 09-01-2004 at 10:50 AM.

 
Old 09-01-2004, 10:52 AM   #7
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Plum HB User
Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

Quote:
Originally Posted by siren1024
and it a fine, upstanding citizen.
Maybe. Or maybe he's a pedophile still putting children at risk. The point is, you're unhappy and uncomfortable. The posters who urged you to see a professional about this are right. Find someone who has experience working with survivors of abuse and let her help you with your issues. In the course of that therapy it's likely you'll find the best way to deal with this man.

I would strongly advise against talking to him until you've talked with a therapist. In the worst case scenario he would deny, minimize or blame. In the best case scenario he would be guilty and anxious. Either reaction would put yet another emotional burden on you. You need to get your own head straight about this before you can deal with him in a healthy and effective way.

 
Old 09-01-2004, 10:57 AM   #8
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Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plum
Maybe. Or maybe he's a pedophile still putting children at risk. The point is, you're unhappy and uncomfortable.

I doubt he is a pedophile... Could be, but the point we all are missing is he too was a child when this happened.. MAYBE he was sexually abused and acted out on someone smaller than him???

You are right though... The point is, she is unhappy and uncomfortable. And should seek out help to resolved this...
HOWEVER, if I were a betting woman (and I am not) I would say that he too is unhappy and uncomfortable, and sorry for what happened.

Sometimes people don't realize that SMALL children (babies) can remember stuff, but they do... I bet he doesn't even realize she remembers and he is sorry for his actions as a CHILD but hasn't confronted her to apologize because he doesn't want her to remember and hurt not knowing that she ALREADY DOES...

Just something to consider

 
Old 09-01-2004, 11:02 AM   #9
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Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

that's a hurtful situation...when i was three my brother's friend had me put my mouth on his penis...his friend would have been around 11 or 12...but my situation is different...not only was this guy not family but i DID tell my family back then what happened...and nobody believed me! they thought i was a child just making things up....the only thing that happened was, he wasn't allowed at our house anymore...it made my bro extremely resentful and he called me a liar to my face...but being a child, i got really hurt by my parents not believing me...

i think you need to do what's right for you to get thru this...i can't even imagine how difficult it can be...i'm really sorry you are going thru this...
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Old 09-01-2004, 11:06 AM   #10
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siren1024 HB User
Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

I have a tendency to agree with letfayhol on this one. I bet he still remembers (or has blocked it out) but nevertheless feels guilt. I just worry that confronting him would make things even more awkward since he probably thinks I don't remember. I honestly don't believe he is a pedophile. If I got that feeling from him, I would have no problem telling anyone and everyone.

I blocked it out for a long time, but as I got older it came to my mind again. And yes, he was 11-13, also young at the time with a terrible male role model. Who knows what all that man did to everyone in that house???
I do actually have slight sympathy for him and don't know if I want to open old wounds again, just for my comfort. Plus, I don't know if it would even make me feel better. I feel like a confrontation might make me feel worse, because now he would know that I remember and it has affected my life. That would make things even more awkward.

You know, just talking about this is helping. I think the major issue is I have felt so "alone" with this for so long. The rest of my family is always glad to see him and he's always so nice. He also really changed alot when he embraced Christianity at 16 which I have believed in since childhood. That is another thing that really bothers me. My religious beliefs teach forgiveness, and I don't really believe I hold a grudge against him anymore, but what's with the revulsion when he hugs me? It doesn't bother me to see him with my son. I honestly don't view him as a child molester. But being around him brings up feelings of shame and guilt I've been living with since childhood.

Thanks for talking. My husband doesn't like to talk about it much because it makes him angry and sick (on my behalf) which I understand so I don't talk about it alot, and I have noone else. Maybe I should seek counseling. I know my insurance would cover it.
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Last edited by siren1024; 09-01-2004 at 11:11 AM.

 
Old 09-01-2004, 11:08 AM   #11
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Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

elated: Ultimately, I had no idea where the anxiety came from until I went to therapy. I didn't even think the two were linked! I thought it was genetic, but ultimately - my mom had been through something similar in her childhood. My therapist and I discovered that because of what was happening (Oral sex, probably at least once a month when we were very young - 5 and 7 when it started etc), and because I was young and embarassed and couldn't come to terms with saying 'No, this is icky', my subconscious took a step forward and created an 'excuse' for me not to be in the situation. So I'd get sick if I went anywhere but home (and this never happened at home), I'd get anxiety attacks. Unfortunately, it couldn't tell the difference between going out for dinner or staying the night somewhere... It took over for 10 years!!

Finally I was so sick of it I got help, and ultimately I decided to write my brother a letter and mail it. It took him 5 months to respond - and we actually do have a fairly good relationship despite the whole thing, even when I was trying to deal with it - and I told him he had to respond, he finally did. He's hurting in different ways for the same reason, he was young and had been abused by my dad's gf's little kids. I didn't blame him exactly, because I knew he was young too, but I did tell him I wanted an apology and I wanted to know more about why.

We haven't discussed it a lot, but it's helped my anxiety TREMENDOUSLY to have that weight off of my shoulders. I'm taking back control - and for the past year I've done more than I ever thought imaginable.

I'd encourage it. What you need to remember is honestly, it doesn't matter who believes you. You know it happened, he/they knew it happened, and to close the demons you can't push them in a corner and ignore it... it just doesn't work You don't have to be 'angry' confrontational, you just have to let them know what they did hurt you, regardless of how or why it happened. And that you need to let it out so you can let it go...

It takes time... but boy do I feel better these days!

 
Old 09-01-2004, 11:12 AM   #12
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Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

destea--i'm so glad you were able to come to terms with your anxiety...and happy that your brother did indeed respond...it's wonderful that you are feeling better about it...
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Old 09-01-2004, 11:14 AM   #13
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Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

Quote:
Originally Posted by siren1024
He also really changed alot when he embraced Christianity at 16 which I have believed in since childhood. That is another thing that really bothers me. My religious beliefs teach forgiveness, and I don't really believe I hold a grudge against him anymore,

but what's with the revulsion when he hugs me? It doesn't bother me to see him with my son. I honestly don't view him as a child molester. But being around him brings up feelings of shame and guilt I've been living with since childhood.
I too believe that Christianity changes even the most horrible persons. I believe in forgivness as well... I am glad that you don't hold a grudge and you understand that he is a good man NOW...

You are sick when he hugs you because you were victimized. Even though I feel he didn't understand what he was doing then, and I believe that he has either blocked it out or affraid to approach you for forgivness, it still happened and you were tramatized from it.
You know he is a good man and you know how he is today "upstanding"
BUT that doesn't minimize what you have had to deal with...

I am glad coming here helps... I assure you that you are not alone...

I would however, either talk to a professional or confront him ( you have a kind heart) with your memories and your hurts... Maybe you can get passed this "together" ?

Good luck

 
Old 09-01-2004, 11:17 AM   #14
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Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

Destea-
Thanks for the advice. I really have come close numerous times to telling my parents or confronting my brother. The idea makes me feel so sick to my stomach and I have yet to build up enough courage. I have been to therapists for depression and anxiety. I know its not about what others beleive, but sometimes I found myself trying to convince myself that it didn't happen that is was my imagination, after all it is all such a blur because I was so young. It has been so long now I just don't think I can bring it back up. If my parents didn't beleive me then they would think I'm disgusting and crazy to make it up. I would tear my family apart and then have to deal with the aftermath of all that. For me I just try not to face it because it happened, it can't change, so why focus on it. The past is the past. I feel like I've horded on someone else's thread so I'll stop now...but thanks Destea for your advice. Its nice to know that others understand how I feel sometimes.

 
Old 09-01-2004, 11:23 AM   #15
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Destea HB User
Re: My uncle did weird stuff to me and I can't stand being around him

I had so many of those similar thoughts... it's definitely a very scary thing to have to talk to your parents about something like that - especially when the family is close

Ultimately, perhaps in your case it'd be best to ONLY discuss it with your brother then. My mother and I are VERY close and I know she was molested as a child and would know I wouldn't make something like that (plus, her mother never believed her...). If I hadn't felt I could talk to them, they would probably still not know - but I still would've gone to my brother for an apology (and it isn't a forceful apology, more of a request - "I need closure in this, I am ready to forgive what has happened, and I know you had no ill intent, you were young, but I need an apology to get better and close this chapter. Please do this for me" that kind of thing)....

You don't *HAVE* to tell your parents. Ultimately this is between YOU and your sibling, it's entirely up to you on how you go about it.

I just know... eventually, the shame just really started getting to me, I couldn't pretend anymore :\

Good luck in whatever you do, and believe me when I say there is NO right or wrong in this, you have to do what you feel is best - just ... don't let fear keep you from doing what's right if in your heart that's really what you feel... trust me

 
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