No one stopped the abuse


No one stopped the abuse


your avatar   A lost little girl

From as far as I can remember, 3-years-old, my two cousins were always touching me in public and private. I have forgotten most of the details. I do remember that I would tell my grandmother, in whose house the majority of the abuse took place, that they were messing with me and she would still put them in the same room as me and just give them a verbal warning.

I felt totally helpless. They would always start when I was asleep. I would pretend that I didn't wake up and lay as still as I could until they finished what they had to do. They were only two and five years older than me. When I was ten and the oldest one was fifteen, he finally penetrated me. After he was done, I got up and told my grandpa that he had put his hands in my pants; I couldn't tell him what really happened.

He spanked him and sent him right back to the bedroom and the bed right beside me. I felt some gratification, but was frightened that he would retaliate. As I got older, he would do it while I was awake, and hold me down. I just lied there as I always had. The younger one had quit his actions by now but the older one continued until I was fifteen and he was twenty.

I continued to try to tell someone and no one would help me. I turned to drugs, and had sex with just about every guy I met, I thought that was what you were supposed to do. I am now off of drugs, but the recovery from the sexual abuse has been harder. I am now starting to get flashbacks while my husband is making love to me. I am in counseling, but resisting those feelings. I have blocked them for so long that they are buried so deep.

Please let me know how you began the recovery process as far as releasing the feelings. I have a daughter now and I sometimes fear that I will abuse her or that my husband will. I keep on having nightmares and it is getting worse and worse.


    Margaret Burr, MA, MFT

How long have you been in counseling? How do you think it's going? Your counseling is going to be critical to your recovery from this abuse; have you discussed all of this with your counselor?

You say that you resist exploring these feelings with your counselor. What do you suppose that is all about? I'm guessing that some part of you doesn't feel safe talking about what happened to you. (Maybe e-mailing it to this web-counseling page felt safer.)

That's all very understandable. You were violated and raped, and no one helped you. No one listened and made things safe, so it's likely that it'd be hard for you to trust that your counselor can do this with you, now. But, your counselor is trained to do this very thing! Counseling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - which would be appropriate in your case - is generally gentle, supportive, non-threatening, and non-invasive.

I'd recommend that you show him or her your letter and my response. He or she will want to know that you have difficulty talking about your molests. He or she will also want to know THAT YOU KNOW your recovery will depend upon your ability to do this.

Sometimes, therapy is identifying and acknowledging:

a) what we can't talk about,

b) why we can't talk about it, and

c) what it feels like to imagine talking about it.

You don't have to discuss the abuse with your counselor, but you might try to discuss why you can't do this. Please give it a try.

Take Care,

Margaret "Peg" Burr, MA, MFT

This question was answered by Margaret "Peg" Burr. She is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC34374) with a private practice in Santa Clarita (near Los Angeles). She performs psychodynamic psychotherapy with individual adult clients as well as couples, teens, and families. She also runs groups for adults and adolescents. Her specialty area is Object Relations Systems Theory. This branch of psychodynamic psychotherapy uses a client's interpersonal relationships as windows into his or her intrapsychic structure.For more information visit:


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