At 17, he exposed himself and performed a sexual act in front of me. I left home at 17. I told my mother that I was very hurt that she never told her to stop the sexual abuse.
She yelled at me and told me I was “too sensitive” and had never been sexually abused because her boyfriend (now husband) never touched me. I’m 50 now and have struggled with intimacy my entire adult life.
My mom blames me for turning her life upside down because I tried to hurt myself when I was 10 because I felt so bad and dirty. I tried to kill myself at 16 because I felt like I was destined to be her husband’s toy.
My family says it wasn’t abuse because he didn’t rape me. I went to therapy and did a lot of work on myself.
Amy, I’ve felt useless and dirty since I was 10. Have I been abused or am I just unable to have an intimate relationship because of my own bad behavior?
wondering: You have a persistent and necessary desire for validation; it is a direct result of your family’s choice to continually deny the traumatic experiences you suffered throughout your childhood.
Yes, you have been abused. Your mother’s husband tried to groom you throughout your childhood. Exposing yourself and committing a sexual act in front of you is a crime.
Read some of the heartbreaking accounts of (adult) women traumatized by Harvey Weinstein doing what this man did to you, and you will see the long-lasting and devastating impact of this type of sexual misconduct and abuse. (Weinstein is currently on trial for rape; his criminal behavior also included exposing himself and committing a sexual act in front of women).
You were a child. Nobody was protecting you then, and they’re not protecting you now.
Your abuser robbed you of your self-esteem. Sexual abuse survivors often struggle with trust and intimacy. This response is a natural reaction to the fact that you continue to protect yourself, as you had to do during your childhood.
I hope you will continue therapy.
RAINN.org offers many helpful services for victims of abuse, including a 24/7 online “chat” line where you can contact a counselor. The “Survivor Stories” featured on their site include stories similar to yours, told by loyal survivors who bring back many of the feelings and reactions you also experience.
It is important for you to understand that you are NOT alone.
dear Amy: I am a 62 year old male. I am looking for a new relationship with a woman. What is age-appropriate when looking for a new partner?
Age is less important than maturity, and in this respect, life experience, work ethic, responsibility and reliability are all core values to consider, regardless of the other’s age. nobody.
dear Amy: My husband and I almost left our seats laughing at the letter from “wonderingthe wife/mother who felt their daughters should know about the father’s short-lived first marriage.
It was exactly the same situation we were facing! We weren’t sure when to let our teenage daughters talk about “the family secret”, but the perfect circumstance came to light.
Our eldest daughter asked what we would say if she decided to get married so young. We looked at each other and smiled, knowing it was the right time. After we finished describing my husband’s young marriage, we continued to eat.
Our girls were sitting there with their forks frozen halfway to their mouths! It has become a funny family story.
Spouse: It’s always a shock to learn that your parents have a past.
©2022 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by content agency Tribune.