Moving on from past trauma

Moving on from past trauma


your avatar   Dee, 23-year-old man

First and foremost, I am not suicidal. My question is simple, how can I be normal? I know it's odd but I'll explain.

First, I feel like I've been suffering from something similar to depression for more years than I would like to admit. I'm 23 years old now, but I believe it started when I was 9. My brother and I were molested by my uncle (I was the first one to be molested), several times over the course of my late childhood to early teen years. Because he was my uncle (despite him being only 5 years older than me), I felt that I was obligated as a child to listen to what he said. Because of this, I assumed that it was normal for me to do this with other family members, which included touching my cousins in their sleep and being sexually aroused by family members in my thoughts (I quickly grew out of this and realized what was right and wrong).

While this was happening, my biological father showed up in my life on my 11th birthday. While I thought I would be happy to meet my other family, it was all a fairytale as he disowned me as a son (at the age of 22 - he left my life at 17 before my high school graduation) and his side of the family refuses to speak to me because of my sexuality.

Meanwhile, in school I was a sociable loner. I pretended to be every person's friend, but in reality I didn't have friends. I never opened up to anybody about my feelings (from elementary school through graduation), and I've become "emotionally numb" in that I honestly do not know how to respond in highly sensitive and emotional situations. On top of that, it's extremely difficult to express my feelings properly without fumbling over my words or stopping midsentence to correct myself.

My sophomore year in college was when I really was sad and lonely. I had transferred away from home to my dream school, with a full-ride, and although I seemed happy, I quickly became the opposite. My roommates constantly berated me with racial slurs, and I had no friends to really communicate with. It got to a point where I was suicidal and almost went through with my plan of overdosing on pills. Because I never opened up to people, nobody noticed me suffering, which made me feel worse because I really felt that nobody cared about me.

I came back home after the semester was over, quit school for a semester to "get my mind right" so I could go back, and began to visit with my now ex. He was the first person I ever opened up to about my sexual abuse (we were friends for 4 years and dated his last year of school), and he helped me to tell my mother. However, while he did help me tell my mom, he also was a physical and highly mental abuser. He would often belittle me and try to get me angry, which he also knew wouldn't work. It even got to a point where I ended up arrested because of him. Needless to say, we broke it off, although it was horrible because it was on my birthday and we actually fought each other. After the break up, I ended up quitting school the spring semester after. I had tried 3 semesters in a row to finish at a least one course, yet by midterm, I had stopped showing up to all of them, no matter how dedicated I was in the beginning.

I've also lost trust in all people that ever come in contact with me. It's to the point now that I can't get past the initial meeting with someone I'm interested in without assuming that they are here for reasons other than dating. I've only dated 2 guys, and the ex that mentally abused me was my last relationship, almost 2 years ago. Now, I'm constantly sad about my life despite me getting a job I like and getting a car. I now daydream a lot about the afterlife and people dying in horrible scenarios. I also dream of sexual torture, although I'm not sure if this is healthy or not. I've never been to a psychologist, psychiatrist or anything of that nature.

Thank you,


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Hi Dee,

Yours is an unusual message, in that you've described very well what's wrong and all the negatives, but have said nothing about what you would like instead. So, my homework for you is, design the good life you'd like to move into. If you don't have a destination, you're unlikely to get there. Have a dream, and specify it so well that someone could show it as a movie. It needs to be something achievable: a GOOD life for you, in your current circumstances.

Your previous partner has traumatized you with his abuse. This is why you find yourself unable to get close to other people. If you can afford it, or have access to student counseling, have a few sessions with a psychologist and work on this trauma, and also the one when your uncle sexually abused you. It's more than likely there is also a collection of smaller traumatic events because of people's negative reactions to your sexual orientation.

Please read the following; it describes 7 things you can do to make yourself strong inside. That doesn't solve any problems, but gives you the strength to address them.

You do have the power to transform your life. To do so, you need two things: the realization that it's possible, and the determination to strike out on a new path.

Good luck,


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:

Feeling cynical? Search for "faith in humanity restored" images. They will change your perspective.
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."
Jimi Hendrix
Remember, your weaknesses are not set in stone. You can improve anything if you set your mind to it.