Q. I just found out that my father was verbally, physically, and sexually abused as a child. Hello. I just found out that my father was physically and verbally abused as a child by his mother and father, my grandmother and grandfather (deceased). He was also sexually abused by his father.

My grandfather also tried (unsuccessfully) to sexually abuse me. He was old and drunk at the time and I got away. I feel so distraught about what happened to my father. I feel guilty for judging him. He was a depressive person who had poor communication skills. He has had 3 marriages and 3 divorces. He now lives with a woman and her children.

My father was never abusive to me as a child. I think I feel guilty for not appreciating him more. I used to call him Lester the Molester as a joke. It must have hurt him so much.

Now I am in the process of adopting a toddler. I am so afraid that the child may have been sexually abused. I feel frozen by fear and sadness a lot. I can’t stop thinking about what happened to my Dad. I find it hard to concentrate and do things that I normally could handle. Should I seek professional help? Thanks.

A. You may need to seek professional help if you feel that fear and sadness are overtaking your life. You also said that you find it difficult to concentrate or to do things you previously were able to handle. If this continues to be a problem, then these issues may warrant professional help.

You also wrote that you are in the process of adoption and you fear the child may have been sexually abused. I am unclear about why you have this fear. Are you fearful that you would not be able to handle the aftereffects of a child who was sexually abused? I am not sure I understand your fear associated with your new toddler possibly being sexually abused.

Generally speaking, I would suggest professional help for an individual who feels that he or she can no longer manage their actions or emotions. If you are feeling overwhelmed, then it’s probably time to seek help. Thanks for writing.