I’m not sure if I was molested or not

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

when i was 11, i was molested by my step father. or at least thats what i remember. i told a teacher and we went through this whole trial. and my mom was so depressed and under so much stress that she almost overdosed on pills and slit her wrists. during this time i was diagnosed DID, or dissociative identity disorder. i changed my story and cleared my step father. when i was 13, i was admitted into an in-patient hospital because of a suicide attempt and i was later diagnosed bipolar 1. my mother lived with me for 3 years before i moved to atlanta with my father after attending an out-patient program for 4 months after they told me i should get out of my house away from my step-father.

i’ve had time to think about it while ive been in atlanta for 5 months and im not entirely sure my step father molested me. I show all the signs of being molested, like the emotional trauma signs afterwards. my therapist says i have PTSD because i refuse to talk about it with her and sometimes contradict myself and deny it happened. and yet, i want to go back to my home state and live in the same house as my step father because my moms there and i love her to death. and i dont even mind living with my step father. is there something wrong with me? does this mean i was delusional and thought this happened? i’ve heard with people with bipolar disorder become delusional. because sometimes i feel okay with him and other times i just want to stab him repeatedly until he admits what he did. there was no evidence of the molestation when detectives searched. i never had trouble talking about it with my friends and i hate to admit it, but somehow it makes me feel special in some way even though i hate the fact that it did (in my mind, maybe) happened. am i doing this to myself? please help, because this is affecting me pretty badly and i dont know what to do. my whole family thinks im a liar because i changed my story to protect my mom and im reminded everyday by my dad that i ruined my family’s life.

A: It’s not surprising to me that you are having trouble sorting out the truth. You are under enormous external pressure. Your mom’s suicide attempt in the wake of your disclosure scared you. Your family thinks you are a liar. Your father keeps telling you you “ruined” the family. You want to be with your mother. Meanwhile, you are also struggling with the internal pressure of either coming to terms with a trauma or a mental illness. It makes sense to me that you keep moving back and forth between believing it happened and thinking it didn’t. You are responding to those conflicting pressures.

You’re now in a bind. If it did happen, you have to come to terms with having been molested by someone who was supposed to love and protect you. If it didn’t, you have to deal with whatever motivated you to lie. Neither “truth” is comfortable, so you stay stuck.

I can’t help you determine the truth on the basis of a letter. The most important thing you told me is that you aren’t talking with the person who can. Counselors who specialize in PTSD are usually well trained in how to help someone who is struggling as you are. I have a guess that you aren’t doing your therapeutic work because you are afraid of what you’ll find out. That may be just the place to start with your therapist.

Your therapist can’t help you out of the bind unless you get invested in doing your therapy. Please give your therapist a chance. You really don’t have to go through life suffering like this.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Jun 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). I’m not sure if I was molested or not. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/06/02/im-not-sure-if-i-was-molested-or-not/