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I Am Wondering if I May Have Been Sexually Abused as a Child

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So for a long time now I have suspected that I may have been sexually abused when I was a child. I always put the concerns to rest, but I am realizing now that I cannot ignore it anymore. As I am getting older I see that my behavior and feelings about intimacy and sex do not make sense to me. I feel very confused. I always feel threatened by men and constantly feel the need to have a guard up. I was always afraid of men when I was little, but at the same time there was this curiosity and I was known to be very flirtatious. It is hard to talk about but I have 2 polar feelings about sex and I always feel like an object rather than a person. The reason I suspect I may have been sexually abused as a child is because my memory keeps bringing me back to this journal that I had. I believe it was my first journal. I remember vividly what it looked like. I remember being extremely sad at the time when I would write in my journal. Throughout my life until I left to college I used journals as a way to express my feelings. I grew up in a home where my father was verbally/emotionally/ and somewhat physically abusive and I was not allowed to have a voice so I would put all my feelings and thoughts in my journals. The reason I bring up this journal is because my memory keeps going back to this page in the journal. It honestly disturbs me. I was a young child it could have been a joke but the drawing I drew in the journal was of a naked man. I was around 6 or 7 years old when I drew this. I drew the penis correctly. however I keep wondering how did I know what a penis looked like at that age? In addition the the drawing, I drew a line coming from tip of penis down to bottom of page and then the line became intense scribbles going in a circle looking like a puddle. I do not understand why my mind keeps taking me there. I want to find that journal but I cannot remember where it is. It just disappeared.

I Am Wondering if I May Have Been Sexually Abused as a Child

Answered by on -

A.

While I appreciate that these memories and feelings are difficult, I believe you are doing the right thing by asking this question about your past. The discomfort you feel, the memory of the journal, and the history of fear and intimacy problems with men would make sense. I admire your bravery.

I would suggest that you work in individual therapy with a seasoned therapist familiar with early child abuse. Someone with experience will be able to help you sort through these symptoms and memories, and help you find some answers and therapeutic interventions. Reaching out her was a good start — now I would follow it up with individual therapy.

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

I Am Wondering if I May Have Been Sexually Abused as a Child

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

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). I Am Wondering if I May Have Been Sexually Abused as a Child. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/10/30/i-am-wondering-if-i-may-have-been-sexually-abused-as-a-child/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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