Is There Something Wrong with My Mind?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

As a child I was sexually abused for 4 years. No one knows. The only reason it stopped was because he died. Whilst that ended by the time I was 11 I still think about it and get upset. Lately however some feelings have developed that scare me. My family is very traditional. We all sit and have dinner in silence, father is the head of the household, and I am expected to be a sort of stepford daughter. I get straight A’s, don’t date boys (mostly because I am rarely allowed out of the house), hold a part time job, don’t drink, smoke or do drugs and I don’t so much as ask them to drive me places or give me money. I don’t treat them with disrespect but I constantly feel as if they believe I am a bad daughter. I think they are disappointed no matter how much I try and they don’t understand anything about me.

Because of this confined feeling I have started to develop a feeling of something or someone else inside me. It is part of me but separate at the same time. I am known as rational and responsible, organised, boring even, but the thing inside me is not. It feels like it is coiled up inside my skin, crushed inside the frame of my bones, but is constantly moving about, trying to scratch its way out. The thing inside me is always hungry, always angry, always excited, passionate, desperate, scared. I like to sink into the background and become invisible, but the thing inside wants to scream and cry for no reason. I feel its power sometimes reach my fingertips, or my spine or neck, as if it is trying to take over control.

Is this just a weird teenage thing that might go away? Or do you think I should seek more help? It really scares me. I want to set the thing free at the same time as wanting to just hide it away. Because i am part of it I want the same things that it does, but the rational me constantly worries about the consequences of feeling released for just a small amount of time.

I am really genuinely scared, what should I do?

A: I admire the strength and self-reflection you have. You are a very resilient young woman. No one deserves to be abused the way you had been and I am sorry an adult betrayed you. There are terms that describe what you are feeling, but rather than use labels let me just say that your feelings make sense to me. Four years is a long time, and however many years is an even longer time to keep a secret. It is time to talk to someone about all this. Writing us here was an excellent first step. Now I would find someone to talk to about this. The find help tab at the top of the page should have some contacts in your country. Alternately you may want to talk to your physician. He or she should be able to point you in the direction of a competent mental health professional.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Aug 2012

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2012). Is There Something Wrong with My Mind?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/08/18/is-there-something-wrong-with-my-mind/