Past abuse haunting present relationship


Past abuse haunting present relationship


your avatar   Emmy, 21-year-old woman

When I was 15, I had a boyfriend. He had taken my virginity, with some pressure, but yes it was my decision - I just didn't feel comfortable with it. Well he ended up getting locked up and then when he came out he got more and more abusive and he began raping me. I didn't know what to do. I thought he was the only one that cared and the only one I had. (My parents weren't there for me or good role models - let's just put it that way). My boyfriend tried hitting me and shoving me around. I cried and screamed when he'd rape me and he didn't care but I was too scared to leave him.

We were together for a year. We broke up and I found out I was pregnant. I had a miscarriage. I thought I was worthless and I was already far past depressed. I had talked to no one about any of the events - my sister was the only one that knew about the miscarriage just because she was there. I got involved with more bad guys. No one else raped me but everyone had been in jail and cheated on me.

I felt so low I decided after a lot of thought I was going to kill myself. I couldn't stand waking up everyday living with myself any longer. I had one close friend (her name was Kelsey), and the night I decided to kill myself I met her cousin Cassidy. She talked to me and I listened to her life story - she had so much strength. She inspired me. She became my hero and I became hers, and we were always there for each other and only told each other about our pasts. We looked up to and watched out for each other. I never looked up to anyone's strength like I did hers. She ended up killing herself, and it left me devastated.

After that I met a boy named Preston who was friends with Cassidy. She talked about him a lot. We dated for a year and I was so madly in love with him. He was in a gang but he was a great guy. He was born into it. Anyway, I knew things he had done weren't right but he is the only person I felt love and protection from. A lot of traumatizing things happened to me because of the gang - seeing people killed, seeing girls get raped, like my best friend. Preston always protected me as best as he could. I would have been involved anyway because I had made the dumb decision to. I was angry and didn't care.

Preston happened to be next in line to "lead" the gang. I never felt so in love and attached to someone. I also loved his kids, who ended up being shot. This killed me because they called me mommy and they were like my kids. They had no mom. Then Preston died from cancer.

Now I have my life back on track. I'm in school and I've seen counselors, I have a job, and I'm dating a well-rounded, very nice man. He is a pure gentleman. He's still a virgin too. But I can't open up or feel certain feelings. Like when I'm sexually aroused I don't feel like I did before my rape. I can't feel emotionally attached during sex even though I love him so much. I know it's special, I just don't feel those bonds anymore. I don't feel much towards any man anymore.

Why can't I feel certain things and why don't I get lubricated during sex naturally like I should? How do I fix it? I'm on depression medication. I want to feel certain feelings again and not have walls up anymore but I can't no matter how much I want to. Please help.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Emmy,

You have described a remarkable story of making good from a terrible beginning. Most people would have been destroyed by your past experiences. You are in school and have found a really nice man. From a very traumatic past involving rape, emotional and physical abuse, being involved in gangs, grief for losing people you have loved, you are now building a decent life for yourself. Well done.

All the same, the effects of those horrific times are still with you. You may not be thinking of them, but things in your present life will trigger emotions and reactions that belong to the past not the present. This will keep happening until you deal with the past traumas at a deep, emotional level. This is what may be happening to you during sexual activity.

You have been seeing counsellors, and that's good, but maybe they are not skilled at working with childhood trauma. I suggest you look at the website of the Traumatic Incident Reduction Association and see if there is a person skilled at using their techniques. Or, find a psychologist who can use "hypnotic age regression" to do the same job.

Keep going the way you are, and make sure that when you have children, they are protected from the things you had to suffer.


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:


Take care of your mind and mental health as you would any other part of you.
"I have too many flaws to be perfect. But I have too many blessings to be ungrateful."
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The best lessons are those we learned the hard way.