When I was in 1st grade, we did this thing where we were allowed to play on the computers in the classroom. I had a computer, but I noticed that another kid didn’t have one, so I told him we could share. I was wearing a dress that day, and while we were playing on the computer, he slipped his hands up my dress and into my underwear and… You know molested me. I told my parents and everything. I didn’t know what was going on and when I told my mom, I laughed because I thought it was funny. I didn’t realize that it was serious. So my mom told the school and he got in trouble. Now fast forward 10 years. I have always had more friends who are girls (I have no close guy friends), and when it comes to talking with people(especially boys), I’m horribly awkward. I like these two guys now and one of them, I can’t even make eye contact with, much less ever talk to him. I can talk to the other guy, but like I said, it’s really awkward. Even if I did get in a relationship, I am kind of afraid of the whole idea of kissing and pouring out your heart to one person if you are eventually going to break up. So what I am wondering is this: Does the fact that I was molested affect how I act around people(boys in particular)? Even though i feel like it wasn’t a super significant event in my life? I just want to be able to hold normal conversations and who knows, maybe have a relationship?
It’s possible that the early experience makes you more cautious around people than most. Yes, the other kid was inappropriate. But it doesn’t sound like you were traumatized by the event. He was a peer, not an adult who betrayed your trust. You told. You were believed. He got in trouble. It didn’t happen again.
So I think it’s more likely you are going through an absolutely normal and difficult part of being a teen. Most teens tend to have friends of the same gender at first. Most are awkward around the other sex until they get the hang of it. Most teens struggle with lots of questions and concerns about what it will be like to be in a relationship. It’s usual to wonder how to kiss without bumping noses or locking braces. It’s normal to be confused about how much to share with another person and when.
But here’s the important thing: Most people figure it out. Oh, some people seem to have it all together by the time they are 12. Other people are still working on it well into their 20s. But most do come through this stage okay to more than okay.
The way to get more comfortable is to get more pracice being around people. It’s usually helpful to join up with an organization or club or activity that you genuinely enjoy where other kids your age are involved. When people are engaged in something they like or believe in, it’s easier to talk to each other because the focus is on the activity instead of on each other.
I’m glad you wrote. It’s hard to sit with worries like this. I hope you find this answer comforting and encouraging.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
Can a Bad Early Experience Still be Affecting Me?
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Can a Bad Early Experience Still be Affecting Me?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on December 5, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/10/09/can-a-bad-early-experience-still-be-affecting-me/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 9 Oct 2012) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.