How do you get closure about something you're not sure even happened?
March 9, 2009 7:35 PM Subscribe
I may have been abused as a child, but I'll never know for sure. How can I stop worrying about it?
posted by anonymous to human relations (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I may have been sexually abused as a young child (up until the age of about six) by a close relative. I have no memories of any abuse, but one of my parents was worried enough about changes in my behavior that they brought me to a therapist to get her opinion. The therapist's opinion was that I hadn't been molested but I *do* have memories of playing games in her office that in retrospect must have been designed to provoke reactions in me to sexual stimuli - I remember being incredibly uncomfortable but feeling like I had to pretend like I didn't notice anything because it was wrong for me to know what the words and pictures meant.
Whether or not I was abused, I have long known it was a possibility that I was (and I have also always known that someone else in my family had been). We have slowly reconciled with the family member in question to the point where everything is pretty much normal with them. It has been almost twenty years since this all came out.
I have never really tried to deal with my feelings about the whole thing. I tend to feel like if I can't remember being abused then for all practical purpose I wasn't abused and I shouldn't worry about it and it would be silly for me to try to access the resources for "real" survivors of abuse and it would make things harder for the family as a whole to heal.
The reason I'm asking these questions is that I've recently become sexually active for the first time and the way I behave in bed worries me. I go beyond shy - I have difficulty speaking at all, telling my partner what I want them to do, what I don't want them to do, that I want them to stop. I had an experience a couple years ago where it took me ten minutes to work up the courage to tell a boy I didn't want to have sex with him.
Obviously this is something that I need to work out regardless and I have faith that I can. And I know it is likely that what's happening now and the possible abuse aren't connected.
I guess I wonder whether it makes sense to dredge up this old topic or whether I should just do my best just to forget about it, since I'll never know? Or whether I'm making a big deal out of nothing by worrying about it and being a drama queen? Whether I should talk to my partner about this (the possible abuse, obviously I will talk to him about the problems I've been having in bed)? Whether I should see a therapist?
I know you're not experts, I just want to get some advice, and I don't have many friends I can talk to about this. Also I know I've been kind of vague here and that it's a touchy topic so I made a throwaway email account - firstname.lastname@example.org - and I can also follow up with the mods. Thanks.