Odd feelings about past

Odd feelings about past

QUESTION:

your avatar   Claire, 20-year-old woman

I'm so confused as to why these feelings are coming out of nowhere.

My earliest memory of doing something that I found "odd" as a child was around the age of 10, where I would strip my Barbie dolls and tie them up. I would videotape my stuffed animals having them perform "sex acts" on each other as well, and I found anything that had to do with bondage "satisfying". I didn't touch myself to the idea of rape until I was 13-14 years old. The more gruesome the rape, the bigger the turn-on.

I don't have very many memories before the age of 13, which my mom always commented as odd. I don't remember the good or the bad, any of my birthday parties, school experiences...nothing. I excused it as just having bad memory, as I always struggled through school from a very young age. When my parents first divorced, a pastor at a local church invited my mom, me, and my brother, to attend his church. We did. Long story short, he took a special interest in me. My mom would always comment that he "liked me so much". He'd always commented on how pretty I was in front of the congregation which of course embarrassed me, as I was already very shy.

They had a bible study for the kids on Wednesdays. I don't remember actually attending them, or what we did there, but I remember crying a lot because I would become dizzy in crowds of people. And crying beforehand a lot because I would tell my mom, "I'm so nervous". Anyhow, the memory that sticks with me and that haunts me because it didn't feel quite right, was when the pastor had me on his lap, shaking his leg up and down to try and calm my crying. As a child, I remember having the thought of, "I don't know why I'm still on his lap, I'm not crying anymore". We were away from the other kids. Then BOOM. The memory goes black.

Skip ahead about 7 years (my family had stopped attending a few years prior, as my mom fell away from church), some girls come out that he's been sexually molesting them, and there must have been enough evidence piled against him because he was found guilty and sentenced to 5-6 years in jail. It's worth noting that my family began attending his church when I was about 9-10 years old, and stopped attending when I was about 14. He was convicted and sentenced to jail when I was about 17. I am unaware of the ages of the other girls that came forward, as their identities were not revealed.

I struggled with severe depression in my first year of college, and attempted suicide at the age of 18. I am now 20 and deal with my mental illness, to some degree, on my own. I journal a lot, and found comfort in becoming more involved with another church, (which ironically is literally down the road from the previous church my family had attended). I am now a Sunday school teacher, a youth leader, and a bible study teacher for the younger kids. Staying busy seems to be all that keeps me going. But then I have nights like these...where I question things and become scared, confused, and conflicted about these memories.

It frightens me, you know? I'm not trying to grasp onto a memory that isn't there, but these little snippets of my past keep haunting me because they just don't feel quite right. However, I want to receive the correct help if something DID or didn't happen because honestly, my sexual fantasies in the past have been more than gruesome. They have remained fantasies, of course, but I've never questioned these odd behaviors until now, or these small odd snippets of "memories" that I have with that pastor.

Is it possible that I have suppressed memories on sexual abuse between this pastor and myself? When do I know that I should get help from a professional? Is it worth looking into professional help, or am I trying to grasp at a memory that isn't there? I'm so confused.

ANSWER:

    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

My dear, what you have written could have come out of a textbook on childhood sexual abuse. The things you have described are very loud alarm bells: I am convinced that yes, as a child you were subjected to such horrible experiences that you locked it all away into a box so you could avoid constant flashbacks and memories. You have done such a good job of describing your history that I also know you have the inner resources to overcome the problem, but you do need help.

As a first step, search on the internet for "sexual abuse help" and your location. When I did that for your city, I found this site. Call them, tell them a brief version of your story, and they will put you in touch with suitable resources. There is effective therapy for childhood sexual abuse. You can turn your life around.

Contact me via Queendom if you read this, and I will be happy to continue supporting you.

Bob

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: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com

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