Repressed memories of sexual abuse


Repressed memories of sexual abuse


your avatar   18-year-old woman

Hello! I just wanted to talk about my childhood. I had the perfect family and house; I had everything a child wanted. When I was about 10, I had this private teacher who was close to my family and much older than me. He sexually abused me for 4 years but I couldn't understand what he was doing. I started to realize when I was 16 that it was something sexual when I was in a relationship with someone. My mind had flashbacks and told me to stop, and I did. I can't sue the teacher who did this because I have no evidence and no one knew. The person I tried to have sexual intercourse with is still in my life and we just stop at a point because something happens. No one knows about us either and we pretend to be best friends. Any advice?


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

My dear, you have clearly identified the cause of your problem: a post-traumatic reaction to the sexual abuse. You have learned to associate certain touches and activities with being out of control, at the mercy of a more powerful person.

You can overcome this. There are over a dozen ways of doing so. All are versions of "exposure therapy." This means that while you are in a situation of safety, you deliberately invite the bad memories. They feel awful - for a while - and then the emotional reaction fades. You do this repeatedly, and this draws the poison from the memories, and those events will no longer have an effect on you.

The success rate is very high, for people who have the courage to finish the process. People who start, then feel they can't keep going, will of course fail.

I have done this for myself, and have taught it to hundreds of my clients. It works. You can read my little e-book Anger and Anxiety and maybe you can do it for yourself. All the same, it's good to have a trained helper. Find a psychologist near you who does trauma work.

Second, as far as your special friend goes, good luck to the two of you. Make sure you don't get pregnant, and read my guide on how to have a good relationship .

Your new grandfather,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:

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