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Getting past my childhood sexual abuse

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 2 weeks, 3 days ago.

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  • #324423

    Vicky
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    I have just signed up to this forum so that I could share my story. I wanted to do this because I have read posts from other users which really helped me and I now feel brave enough to share my own story – I hope this can help others.

    I am 26 years old and when I was around 6/7, I was sexually abused by a babysitter. It’s a strange thing to type out because it almost feels like I’m talking about someone else. The weird thing is that I don’t know exactly who it was. I always thought it was the son of my mums’ friend (he would have been 17/18 I think). But in the last few years, talking about it to my mum, she said she was almost sure he never babysat me (my dad couldn’t quite remember if he had either). But my uncle did babysit me a few times (he was also around late teens at the time I think). I have tried so hard to remember more details, but it is like my memory is blocked. I can only remember snippets.

    It seems bizarre that I cannot remember exactly, but apparently this is normal. I remember knowing it wasn’t quite right, but I liked the feeling of it. And that disgusted me for a very very long time. But a couple of years ago I saw a therapist and she helped me realise I was just a child, not able to understand what was going on, but only reacting to this strange new ‘nice’ physical feeling. It wasn’t my fault and I should not feel disgusted at myself.  I think it happened a few times – one of the times I asked my babysitter while he was watching TV, if we could do ‘that thing’ (another memory which disgusted me). Even worse it happened on the bottom bunk of a bunkbed I was sharing with my brother who was asleep on the top bunk. Again, another memory which filled me with shame. I remember thinking when I was little that if I told anyone that it would be in all of the newspapers and everyone would know and be disgusted.

    From what I remember he would rub himself against me in my bed, but I don’t think it went further than that. But because I can’t remember everything, I can’t be sure it didn’t go further than that. He once asked me to perform oral sex on him and I said no. Something in me knew it wasn’t right.

    After the abuse this obviously deeply affected my childhood and my development in every way, through to adult life. I remember humping my teddies in secret to try get that nice feeling. I was introduced to sexual stimulation way too young and my innocence had been stolen. I remember hearing my parents having sex and going to listen – thinking about that now it’s like, wtf?! Then I remember showing another girl my age that it feels nice to rub ‘down there’ and I don’t fully remember but I also used to ‘play’ with my boy cousin and another girl my age. It was never in a nasty way, they liked this ‘nice feeling’ too. We just thought it was a secret thing which felt nice. But growing up I realised this was really wrong and it stopped. Apparently, this is a normal amongst young children. I felt even more disgusted with myself. I had this deep dark toxic secret and I hated myself.

    One of the girls I used to ‘play’ with went to the same high school as me and we were still friends – she was the first person I told that I was sexually abused when I was little. I wanted to help explain maybe why we used to do that weird ‘play’ stuff. I felt like it was my fault we did that and like I had to explain myself somehow. She was understanding but of course as a young teenager herself she didn’t quite know what to say.

    I carried on through my teens feeling gradually more and more ashamed, guilty, isolated, insecure and disgusted at myself. The only way I knew how to deal with these memories was to push them all to the back of my head in a box. The memories would pop up now and again but I was good at ignoring it. It was like it never really happened to me, like that was a different person but I had their memories. Aside from all of this, I actually had a lovely childhood and I have lovely parents – I have some lovely childhood memories but to be honest now they feel clouded by what happened to me. I feel like as time passes the cloud might get smaller.

    I remember even feeling disgusted at myself for masturbating (I couldn’t even bring myself to say the word until recently). Which of course is a totally normal thing for teenagers to do – at the time you don’t know that because nobody talks about it. Something which especially disturbs me is I remember once I sat with our dog in the kitchen and let him lick me and I touched his bits too. It was like although I had this horrible thing happen to me which most likely caused some of this behaviour, I felt absolutely disgusting about these memories. Why was I like this? And over the years I hated myself for doing these things. I loved our dog so much and a few years ago he died and I kept thinking about what I did and I was really depressed for a long time.

    Something which still really bothers me is when I was I think around 11/12, I had a younger friend and she was about 5/6 at the time I think and I used to help look after her because our parents were friends. I remember playing and we pretended she was a baby and I was putting a nappy on her and for a second – I can’t quite remember my exact thoughts – but something like thinking about ‘playing’ like I used to do when I was younger with my other friends. But I remember thinking no, that’s not right. I had forgotten about that completely until a few years ago when memories started popping up. I still feel guilty for that thought even though nothing happened.

    My ‘first time’ with my boyfriend was of course not as it should have been – a small part of my brain was wondering is this actually my first time? I cried so much and I felt disgusting, even at having this normal experience which should have been special. I eventually told this boyfriend about my childhood abuse, when I was 17 – one of the hardest things I have ever done. He was really supportive and urged me to tell my parents, which I did. I told them everything. They were so supportive. I remember saying I didn’t want them to look at me differently or treat me differently. They also said they’d support me if I went to the police but for many reasons I have decided not to.

    From telling my parents until now, it still has not been easy. It was like opening pandora’s box and realising my mental health was in a very poor state. It was like one memory popping up after another, going through the cycle of crying about it and feeling guilty for days, weeks, months… and then accepting it. I realised I had anxiety and depression. I also suffered from unwanted intrusive thoughts. Also, more recently I seem to struggle to speak to any guy without massively overthinking it (this really upsets me and leads to repetitive OCD ruminating thoughts which I have to ‘confess’ to my boyfriend to feel better). I spoke to my GP and a therapist which helped massively. I forced myself to tell them what happened and I am so glad I did. My parents and my boyfriend have been my biggest help though.

    I have learned it is a process and with each day, whether I feel upset or a little better, I will get better. And I have done! I am already a million miles from where I used to be and I am still getting stronger. I have had the amazing support of my mum and dad and my current boyfriend. And I have learned to love myself more too and I have gradually realised that I was just a little girl and it wasn’t my fault. I think maybe because I had a nice childhood and lovely parents that I luckily somehow did not end up getting into drugs or anything like that.

    I often wonder who I would be if this horrible thing hadn’t happened to me – how much has it shaped me? I used to imagine a clean-slate and starting my life again, sparkling white. But you only get 1 life, and by working towards accepting the past, it has made me a stronger person. And now I just want to be able to help others who have gone through similar traumas by sharing my story. So, if you’re reading this and you’ve gone through anything similar, I hope some of it can help you. Make you feel more ‘normal’ because someone else has gone through something like it. If you’re brave and open up to people you trust, then in time things will get better and you will become a survivor, no longer a victim.

    I am scared that people will write anything horrible back to me for whatever reason in response, but if I can help even 1 person then that’s worth it to me.

    Sorry for the essay, thank you for reading.

    #324459

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Vicky:

    “I am scared that people will write anything horrible back to me for whatever reason in response, but if I can help even 1 person then that’s worth it to me”- your courage and willing to help  others is admirable!

    “I used to imagine a clean-slate and starting my life again, sparkling white”- what a fantastic thought and image. I used to think: from this moment  on, from this day on, I am starting my life again, from the beginning. I think it is many people’s fantasy because so many of us did not get that “clean slate.. sparkling white beginning”. I wonder if anyone had that kind of beginning.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It has been quite slow here recently but I hope other members will read your post and please feel free to add to it anytime.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by  anita.
    #324621

    Vicky
    Participant

    Hi anita,

    Thank you so much for your kind reply, it really means a lot.

    “I used to think: from this moment  on, from this day on, I am starting my life again, from the beginning”. I really like this idea. I grew up feeling like I was apart from everyone else – like a crumpled up dirty piece of paper, instead of a white flat clean piece of paper. This sounds so stupid but I used to visualise this. It is really hard to know if you are ‘normal’ or like everyone else, when all you know is.. all you know. Especially when you’re young – you don’t know much anyway because you’ve got no real life experience.

    I fell so deep into self-hatred and depression because of what happened to me, but mostly because of the things I had done. Who I am now is completely different, obviously, to who I was at 7 years old. But coming to realise this took a long time (it’s hard to remember your brain/mind when you were a different age). One day I was at a rare family gathering on my mum’s side and there was a young boy, 7 and his sister, 11 who wanted to play. It struck me to my core when I realised how truly innocent and young I must have been at 7 and even at 11 years old. And my mind changed that I should not be disgusted at myself, I was just a child. My focus changed to: how on earth could that person, whoever it was, have done what he did to me. There are no words to fully describe what kind of a person he is.

    I wish I could make him see how much he affected my whole life. Ruined things which should have been normal human experiences and part of normal puberty. It makes me so sad when you hear the statistics of how many children are affected by this kind of abuse – and that’s only the ones that are known about. Something which gives me some satisfaction when I start to feel angry about what he did is that he will have to live with that for the rest of his life. Where as I can move on with my life and live a happy fulfilled one.

    “Thank you for sharing your story. It has been quite slow here recently but I hope other members will read your post and please feel free to add to it anytime.” Thank you again for your kind reply. I have seen you reply to other threads on here – are you the website owner? – and you always seem to have fantastic advice and kind words, thank you for that. What a lovely thing to do.

    All the best to you anita,

    V

    #324631

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Vicky:

    You are welcome nd thank you for your kind words and for wishing me well. I am glad to read more from you. As to your question: I am not the website owner. I am a member just like you, except that I have been a very active member for over four and a half years.

    I am wondering: the sexual  abuse inflicted on you by the babysitter happened when you were six or seven. You told your parents about it ten years later, when you were 17, and they have been supportive ever since you told them. But from 7-17, did your parents noticed your distress, did they notice something wrong?

    anita

    #324681

    Vicky
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Oh right 🙂 well thank you for taking the time to read my story! It’s so nice you’re helping people.

    And no my parents had no idea, they were devastated to find out. They did everything they could to give me and my brother a happy childhood. Everyone always said we were such well behaved nice kids, so I guess nothing gave me away.
    I do remember wetting the bed from being 7 up until around 11/12. I have read that this can be a sign of hidden distress or something like that. I did feel angry at one point that my parents didn’t notice, but immediately felt awful for thinking that. But I think it’s a normal part of the healing process to be honest.

    I am really open now with my parents and talk to them all the time about how I’m doing. When I think about their point of view I guess for parents they would never ever think that something would happen like this to their children.
    My mum and dad had no idea what was happening and from things I remember I was good at shoving all of my memories into a box.
    I sometimes think if I have kids one day that I don’t think I could ever let them have a babysitter. It does worry me that maybe because this happened to me I wouldn’t make a good mum. I’d be over protective or something and also I wouldn’t want to be thinking about what I went through around my own children.
    It’s hard to be certain of these things but I don’t want anything to hold me back anymore than it has. I’m determined to try and have faith that it will all work out.

    Thanks again for reading.

    All the best, V

    #324691

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Vicky:

    You are welcome. Parents are not the only power in their children’s early lives when childcare, nannies and babysitters are involved- and children are alone with these other people.

    I like your determination and spirit. Please do post anytime you’d like. Even if your thread goes to back pages, you can always bring it back. You can also start a new thread anytime.

    anita

    #324773

    Vicky
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I’ve just remembered as well that around the age it was happening my mum didn’t like the way my uncle was around me, she said it was something about him wasn’t right. So my mum and dad kept him away from me.
    So to me now it does seem more likely it was him but I can’t know 100% which is frustrating.

    thanks again for your helpful replies!

    Kind regards

    v

    #324841

    Bruna Pisani
    Participant

    dear vicky, hi! i’m from brazil. when reading your words i actually could relate, a lot. see, my case is a little different from you. i was touched sexually by a friend of mine when i was still a child, she was a child too so i can’t blame her. but the problem is that after this episode, i started to watch porn, read erotic stuffs and i was stimulate to this world way too soon just like you. and i have the thing with the animal, but it was a cat, and i tried to rub myself a little into him, i stopped quickly.

    for many many years i developed a kind of fetish, something that would give me pleasure, really nasty. 2 or 3 years ago i noticed what i was doing and thinking, i started to hate myself. then it comes the panic attacks, anxiety, depression episodes, and ocd. but i’m so so much better then when i was a child or a teenager, i feel that i’m so much closer to find inner peace.

    i hope that you have a nice day. we’re all just beautiful souls with scars ?  (also sorry with the grammar, i’m not a regular student of english ?✌)

    #324885

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Vicky:

    “around the age it was happening my mum didn’t like the way my uncle was around me, she said it was something about him wasn’t right. So my mum and dad kept him away from me”- your mother told you this sometime between you being 17 and 26, correct?

    You told your mother that the older male that sexually abused you “would rub himself against me in my bed… He once asked me to perform oral sex on him and I said no”. You and your mother know that it may be your uncle who was in his late teens when you were six or seven.

    Did your mother ever confronted your uncle (is it her brother?) and is she in contact with him still?

    anita

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