Traumatic Childhood Events & Self-Confidence

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Okay. This all started from when I was eight years old. My mom and step dad both worked a lot so they would have my cousin Amber babysit me. One day she kept me inside the house and pulled all of the blinds shut. She proceeded to force me to perform oral sexual favors on her. She was 16 at the time I believe. So, after forcing me to do this she took me to the bedroom and forced me to have sex with her. After she was done she made me clean everything up saying if I got caught she would kill me. A little time passed from there and she took me outside to go play with the neighbor kids. We all ended up taking a walk back through the woods until we came across the interstate. Amber and the older kids started playing chicken with the cars and then they thought it would be a good idea to force me into playing. They put what looked like a screen material over my head and shoved me out in front of a big rig. Luckily I fell short of the truck. I am now 22 and over the past few months I have several nightmares a week reliving the event. Also, when I was 10 I watched my great great grandmother pass away in front of me. Now I see her from time to time out of the corner of my eye. Could this be PTSD? Also I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I feel the need to self harm a lot but can refrain from it most of the time. I’ve been clean two weeks now but the urges keep getting stronger. I did just get back on my insurance policy and am currently considering a therapist again and getting back on my celexa. I was initially out on it after a suicide attempt 3 years ago. Please help me figure out what direction I should head in.

A. Be proud of the fact that you have been able to withstand the urge to self-harm but as you noted, the urges are growing stronger. Don’t ignore those feelings. They are a clear sign that you should seek professional help. It would be a very wise decision.

It’s possible that the experience of seeing your dead grandmother is a sign of PTSD. It might be a flashback but without more information, I can’t know that with certainty. Reliving the truck incident is likely a flashback and related to PTSD.

You can learn more about flashbacks and PTSD once you begin counseling. You can also educate yourself about PTSD. You can read more about it at Psych Central’s website as well as other websites including the National Institute of Mental Health, among others.

You are a victim of abuse. It can directly affect your self-confidence and self-esteem. Your babysitter was a predator. Had anyone learned about what she did to you, she would have likely been arrested. At the very least, she may have been mandated to undergo counseling.

You are considering therapy and my recommendation is that you do so. Fortunately, you have health insurance, which affords you the opportunity to seek treatment. You are on the right track. I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Mar 2014

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2014). Traumatic Childhood Events & Self-Confidence. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/03/01/traumatic-childhood-events-self-confidence/