I have been having a serious problem lately. When I was a young child I was sexually molested by my uncle from the ages of 6 to 12. He was never brought up on charges and I still have a perpetual fear of him.
When I was 21 I was raped by my boyfriend and one of his friends. After this incident, which I never sought counseling for, I started having fears. Fears that I had never had before. I am a product of domestic and mental abuse and am in a relationship with a man that I truly love. He is very good to me but I find it almost difficult for myself to fully trust him or show my emotions to him. We are almost constantly fighting.
My questions are: Could my past be directly affecting my present? Could I hold a repressed hostility towards men? Could I have done damage to myself by not seeking counseling years ago? Please, I have nowhere else to turn and I am failing fast-- I need help
Is it normal to backslide during grief, and how do you know when you go beyond "normal grief" and need help?
Raven (24 year-old woman) from Buffalo, N.Y.
You seem like a perceptive person. Your questions are already answers. Your first question is: Could my past be directly affecting my present?
This seems likely as it seems you already know this. It is natural that you fear your uncle, for example. You were at such a vulnerable age when he took advantage of you. I don't know the laws in New York. It may not be too late to bring him up on charges, if you would find that an empowering step for yourself. Also, since he sexually molested you as a child, there is no reason to think he's stopped going after young girls. I've worked for years with molesters. They don't just stop unless they are hit by a train.
You say you came from a home full of domestic abuse. Then you go on to say you were betrayed and raped by your boyfriend and his buddy and ask: Could I hold a repressed hostility towards men?
I think you already know the answer. It seems likely, doesn't it? And you say you developed fears you'd never had before after that awful event.
Naturally you find it difficult to trust the great man you're with now and to show him your emotions. I suggest you start small. Find out what you are feeling. Sit or lie quietly. Check in with your body and find out any messages you feel in sensations and any aches. First you'll need to know what you feel and start small with sharing your emotions. See what your boyfriend's response is and talk about your feelings, his response and his feelings together.
I don't know what you're fighting about "almost constantly." I hope you find a more peaceful way to communicate. You could set up mutually agreeable times to talk out what each of you haven't been saying to each other, so you can find calm, respectful ways to talk.
Your last question is: Could I have done damage to myself by not seeking counseling years ago?
Happily, any time you work on yourself is a fine time to begin. In the same way, any time you go on with your education is a good time to do that.
Other people invaded you. You've been doing the best you could. You can find a counselor now with whom you want to do your work. You can check out several counselors to determine where you feel safe. You may want to start your work with a woman to bypass your distrust of men and get down to work.
All the best,
Leya Aum, MA, MFCC
This question was answered by Leya Aum. She is California licensed marriage, family, child counselor certified in clinical hypnosis. She teaches Feldenkrais Method® of Neuromuscular Relearning, is practitioner of the Bowen Technique and Jin Shin Jyutsu®. She is also human resources consultant, writer and editor.
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