Parental Harassment of Child/Sex Abuse Survivor

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I’m a child/sex abuse survivor. I left my parents home at the age of 18, and I was just so elated to be free and on my own that I never developed any signs/symptoms of ptsd, until much later.

What lead to my ptsd diagnosis, much later (late 30′s), was due to repeated harassment from parents, and siblings who were too young to remember any of the abuse that I lived through. Apparently, my parents, in an attempt to discredit me, started badmouthing me to my much younger siblings.
Any parent would have been proud to have me as a daughter, I had great grades, never spoke back, and never disrespected my parents.

My question is basically two-fold.
1:
I am currently taking Prozac and Buspar for my symptoms, but I’m having recurrent flashbacks and nightmares of the horrible abuse that I had endured. I thought of attending group therapy for child/sex abuse survivors but would like to know the success rate for such therapy.
2:
How common is it for parents to make “retroactive” allegations of adult child/sex abuse survivors. I’m like 10 years older than my siblings and my parents make “retroactive” allegations such as, when she was she did this, or she always disrespected me. My parents make allegations now, of stuff that they claim happened 30 years ago. When will this ever stop, and if it doesn’t stop should I consider legal actions, such as a protective order.

A. To answer your first question, success rates for child/sex abuse survivor groups vary. The short answer is “it depends.” Overall they can be very helpful but it may depend on factors such as the competence of the group leader and whether or not the group is cohesive. It also depends on the individual attending the group. How ready are they to open up about the abuse? It may be too soon for some people. Other people may not like sharing personal information with a group. My suggestion would be to call local support group leaders and ask questions about their groups. Here’s a link that may help you locate local support groups.

The second question is more challenging to answer. There is no general answer. Each abuse situation is unique. I would need to have many more details about your situation to give you a specific answer.

If they continue to accuse you of something that you are not guilty of then it is in your best interest to stop associating with them. This would mean not visiting them, not taking their phone calls, and so forth. You may have to put an end to all communication with them for your own self-preservation. You cannot control the behavior of other people but you have control over how you react to them.

If you feel physically threatened by them then go to the police. They can advise you about whether a protective order would be the correct course of action. I do not believe that a protective order would stop them from spreading lies about you but if you feel physically threatened by them, it could help.

I hope that my answer is helpful. If not, consider writing back and providing more details about your situation. Information that would be helpful includes (but not limited to): what specifically are the accusations? Are they doing this in-person or are they calling you and leaving you nasty voice messages, etc.? Who are they making the allegations to? How often does this occur? Are they harassing you? The more information you can provide the better. Knowing the answers to these aforementioned questions may help me to provide you with a more complete answer.

Thanks for your question. Please take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Jun 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Parental Harassment of Child/Sex Abuse Survivor. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 17, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/06/27/parental-harassment-of-childsex-abuse-survivor/