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Did My Father Sexually Abuse Me as a Child?

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From a teen in Ireland: My father, somewhat a former drunkard, beat my little brother and my older sister (and my mother) – but I strangely can’t recall him beating me. I am gay and I am quite certain my sister and I have developed BPD thanks to him, but that is not the problem. I don’t speak to my father, though we live under the same roof. He speaks more to my other siblings.

I have an aversion towards my father and he has one towards me. I remember very very little of my childhood and have a deep rooted feeling as of the past week that something is gravely wrong – that something I am worried could be sexual abuse. I have been plagued with problems and recently stumbled upon something to do with sexual abuse whilst looking for a solution to a problem I can’t disclose, though take my word that the problem in question could very well stem from abuse. My father talks to the rest of my family but not me at this point, though often times he overcompensates for meagre things towards me. This, and not hitting me, seems like guilt to me, but I am not sure.

My aversion extends to a discomfort around my father. This is the most credible ‘evidence’ to me. I cover up when he is around. I do not walk around him in any underwear or bare chested. He has been sexually suggestive in the past (touching of bottom ‘jokingly’) (perhaps this could be the aversion and not a more serious abuse?). I keep my front facing him at all times and consciously will not turn my back to him. I am not comfortable around him, simply put.

I don’t ask for a definitive answer for that’s not possible without the help of extensive therapy, this I know, but what I do ask for is your thoughts. I want to know how likely it sounds, because in all honesty I am not sure. I am a problematic person and this could very well explain my problems. I have not simply ticked off a list, though I do know some symptoms. I just would like thoughts. Is a deep rooted feeling a sign of a more serious subconscious aversion? Does there appear to be credibility to what I suggest but that I am paranoid?

Thank you.

Did My Father Sexually Abuse Me as a Child?

Answered by on -

A.

As you pointed out, your question can’t be answered simply. It’s certainly possible there is a history of early abuse. It’s also possible that like many dads, your dad may be uncomfortable with your emergence as a sexual being. Many dads feel some attraction and pride in their kids at this stage, but their respect for the cultural taboos against acting on that attraction keeps everyone safe. Often the dads do some distancing during this time while their relationship with their kid transitions from dad-child to dad-young adult.

Even if you are not “out” to your dad, he may sense that your attraction is to men. He may feel some attraction to you that shames and alarms him so he keeps his distance. You may be picking up on his fears so respond by doing the same. These feelings are normal. Good boundaries keep everyone safe.

This is complicated stuff for many families. Therapy would likely help you answer your questions. I encourage you to give yourself some peace of mind by talking to a counselor.

You shared that there are many other distressing issues in your family. I hope family members are open to getting some family treatment so everyone, as individuals and as family members, can have a happier future.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Did My Father Sexually Abuse Me as a Child?

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). Did My Father Sexually Abuse Me as a Child?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/12/03/did-my-father-sexually-abuse-me-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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