I can’t get over abuse by grandfather

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: From Texas teen: i was sexually abused since 7 maybe younger by my grandfather he would touch me in my private parts and i never did or said anything its almost like it felt good to me it went on since i was like about 10 maybe 11 or 12 but it got to the point to where when he was finished with me i felt like i wanted to kill myself like what have i done i was so dissapointed in school i was extremely shy i felt like if i were to talk people would know what i did and make fun of me and think im dirty so i never told anybody till i was 17 a senior in high school i had the worst senior year of my life! i wanted to kill myself i wasnt doing well in school my coach kept getting on my case for basketball i felt like i jus kept letting everyone down that i can never do anyone proud i felt so sad and depressed and stressed all at the same time i had never had a boyfriend till maybe the end of school but it was a dramatic relationship because of his ex girlfriend she was pretending she was pregnant and telling the world and i felt like an idiot for dating him but then she apologized to me that it was a lie but i have so much trouble talking to people let alone guys and its hard for me to look people in the eye so hard! i want a boyfriend so bad i told my ex boyfriend everything i mean everything like even about my abuse because he was going to break up with me cuz i was so shy and just always had my guard up its like i had a shell over me and never talked about my feelings so he got tired of me and broke up with me and i feel like if i never got abused as a child that i wouldnt be going through these things i jus want to be normal i want to make friends and have a boyfriend i want to break free from my shell but its so hard! i told my parents about my abuse and they asked me if i needed help and i told them no not to worry about it that the lord would help me but i feel like the lord is telling me to get HELP! my parents always tell me im anti social that i have no friends but i feel like they forgot everything i told them how hard it is for me! i cry almost every night because i feel so alone i dont know what to do i want to live my life and jus break free please help me what should i do about my problems please dont let me down please!

A: I agree with you and the lord. You do need some professional help. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Most people who are abused by a trusted relative go through a period of withdrawal, confusion, and shame. It’s hard to be your own therapist when you are in the midst of so many th0ughts and feelings. An experienced therapist will help you find ways to cope.

My guess is that your parents want so badly to believe that you are OK that they aren’t able to see that you are suffering. It could also be that they so don’t want to believe that your grandfather could do such a thing that they are minimizing it in some way. They may feel totally overwhelmed and immobilized by denial, anger, shame, and grief. In that sense, they are reacting in much the same way you are.

Please go back to them and tell them you’ve done your best (because you have) but that you really do need to see a therapist who works with abuse survivors. Let them know that you understand it is hard for them too. Therapy will probably include all of you at some point.

You took an important step by writing to me. Please take the next one and get yourself into therapy. You are articulate and sensitive. I know you will make good use of it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Jul 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). I can’t get over abuse by grandfather. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/07/08/i-cant-get-over-abuse-by-grandfather/