Resources for people remembering childhood sexual abuse.
May 5, 2020 3:01 PM   Subscribe

I am in my mid-forties and I'm beginning to believe that I was sexually abused by my father when I was six or seven.

(Actually, I've been struggling with these memories for almost a year, but it's easier for me to write that "I'm beginning to believe" instead of just writing "I believe.") I love my mother and siblings, but if I were to tell my mother and siblings about this, they would not believe me and they would not take my side. My father had a successful career and has been able to help my siblings financially over the years and, to a lesser degree, myself.

Since these memories have started coming back, I find it excruciatingly uncomfortable to be around my father. The pandemic has been a godsend (in this tiny way) because I have an ironclad excuse to not be around him.

I have a great therapist with whom I am working through a lot of this, but I'd really like someplace to go online for support or further reading to try to understand what's going on with me. Does anyone know of anything specific? I find nothing very helpful from googling.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I would recommend the book The Body Keeps the Score.
You might also like listening to Peter Levine and looking into Somatic Experiencing.
posted by SyraCarol at 3:49 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

The MeFi Wiki ThereIsHelp page includes a section with a list of links to resources for survivors of sexual abuse, and these organizations can offer support (including online support, e.g. RAINN) and may be able to make referrals to additional resources.
posted by katra at 4:06 PM on May 5, 2020

[Removed quote from deleted comment]

I suggest focusing on your feelings of discomfort with your father now, and what they mean to you in and of themselves -- what he means to you in and of himself. From what little detail you give, it sounds like money in the family flows forth from him, and repayment comes in gratitude. that is an unsettling power dynamic all by itself.

It matters a lot that you feel so sure you would not be believed by your immediate family if you told. Some people, even if they didn't have any reason to think something had happened, would still have an automatic expectation of support in case of the worst. You don't have this expectation, which is terrible. This feeling and this fear is real, and needs nobody's corroboration or proof: you do not believe your mother and siblings would be beside you if you came to them. I hope you're wrong, but people usually have some reason for thinking this beyond simple cultural expectations, and the fact that you think it right now illuminates something not right in your family right now. not a historical event someone can doubt or deny, but a thing happening to you right now. I'm not sure, but it sounds like you're implying they'd refuse to believe you because they need him financially and can't afford to doubt him -- that they'd pick money over you.

again, you don't have to be right about this for the fear to mean something real about your family.

If you look for forums for adult survivors of child abuse, I think you will be able to find a lot of people with various stories about what happened when they tried to talk to other family members, and what they struggled with before or after doing so (or not doing so). The issue of memory and tracing down exactly what happened doesn't need to be a factor in this dynamic. A lot of people talk about this fear that they will be cast out of the family or assumed to be lying, if they say something, and some of them are unfortunately right. I would start your searching and your reading there, focusing on that part of it, without regard to the memory side of things.
posted by queenofbithynia at 5:33 PM on May 5, 2020 [9 favorites]

Can you say what aspects you’re struggling with? Memories, current feelings around yourself, family dynamics, setting boundaries, or maybe just other accounts?
posted by warriorqueen at 7:07 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

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