I’ve gotten to good at lying I even believe myself. When I was in 5th grade my step father told me it’s what daughters do for their dads. I was a child I didn’t know any better. It went on like that until I got my first boyfriend, I just wanted to be like everyone else normal, stop being physically attracted to the other girls. I would always tell myself I would tell my mom what her husband had done to me, but I never got the guts because he told me that it was my fault as much as his. One day I had a hicky on my neck and had enough my mom found out I wasn’t a virgin, she thought it was my boyfriend. I did have sexual relationships with him. All this was when I was only 14. They separated and he went to church and changed, I never told my mom what he had done to me. I knew he wouldn’t touch my little sister especially because that was his blood daughter. It was different with me because we aren’t in any way blood related but how did he not feel guilty doing all those horrible things to me? Now I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I feel sexually confused, I feel bipolar, I get angry at my mom, I don’t believe in God, I don’t know what to believe. He supposedly is a changed man and has attempted anything since my mom and him separated 3 years ago. But every time I see him or think about what he did I feel angry, I feel angry all the time. When I get mad o break things and throw stuff, I used to punch the wall until my knuckles started bleeding. Now I just get angry and get panic attacks. What’s wrong with me? Who am I? I don’t know what the future holds for me or even what I want to do for my future. I wanted to be a doctor but how can I with all these problems? My dreams were torn apart when I was 11, I don’t know where I belong. I’m asocial and act happy, I play the piano at church and “praise God and act thankful” but I’m really not. I hate religion and may be I’m even mad at God, if there is a God. I keep it all an act and lie that I’m happy and if I get mad I just say I have a headache. I think I can go into acting, everyone thinks I’m perfect and super smart because I’ve made it seem that way. I wish I could go into more detail but this doesn’t allow it. What can I do… I hate this. (age 18, from US)
I’m so sorry that this happened to you and I’m glad that you wrote in asking for help. You have every right to be angry about what happened because it was wrong and it was not your fault. It doesn’t matter if you are blood related or not, an adult sexually abusing a child (or teen) in any way is both morally wrong and illegal and it’s not too late to tell someone about it. You can start by telling your mom, but if that is too personal or you fear she won’t believe you, you can tell someone else first, such as a teacher or your minister. But you can also call the police or child protective services directly so that they can investigate. I’m not sure what the statute of limitations is for prosecuting a case like this in your state, but even if it’s not prosecuted, turning him in sends a strong message and might prevent him from abusing someone else.
It is your life and your experience so it is ultimately up to you to decide what to do with the information, but I really hope you will consider seeing a professional counselor either way. The symptoms you are describing are most likely related to the abuse and it’s hard to work through it on your own. Having a trained guide can be enormously helpful in the healing process, even if that person is the only one you ever choose to confide in.
You also have every right to refuse to be around him. It does not matter if he goes to church now and reports to be a “changed man.” He violated you and now that you are older you have more choice in staying away from him. You also don’t have to pretend or lie anymore. Speaking the truth can be difficult, but also quite liberating. You can still be a doctor or anything else you want to be. Don’t give up on your dreams!
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts
Not Sure What Is Wrong. Life Is a Lie for Me.
Holly Counts, Psy.D.
Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.
APA Reference Counts, H. (2018). Not Sure What Is Wrong. Life Is a Lie for Me.. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/01/26/not-sure-what-is-wrong-life-is-a-lie-for-me/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 26 Jan 2015) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.