When I was 11 my parents had a very ugly divorce and custody battle. I loved and trusted bother of my parents equally and didn’t want to choose who to live with. After therapy for all four family members the courts decided to give parents 50/50 custody. Thinking back now my mother’s behavior probably started at least a year or so before but it was at this time that I recognized my mother was often saying things like “did you sleep in your father’s bed when you were there” or “you know you shouldn’t be naked in front of your dad”. I want to make it clear that nothing like this was happening. My father has always been amazing and never acted inappropriately at all. But since I trusted my mom these comments did stick with me and made me feel unsure and unsafe.
When I was 12 my mother took me to the police station saying that I had to talk to an officer as part of a court order to help with custody arrangements and that it was totally normal for kids of divorce. Suddenly I was alone in an interrogation room with an officer who was asking where my dad touches me. It was traumatizing and I burst out in tears. The whole ordeal left me feeling nauseous and somehow dirty. This memory was suppressed and only came back to me in my early 20s.
The comments continued into my teens and I only felt more confused and disgusted in myself. Sometimes questioning if I had forgotten an incident or if everyone knew something horrible about my amazing dad that I didn’t.
As most girls do, I became interested in boys at around 13 or 14. Still trusting my mom and seeking out an open relationship I shared these thoughts and feelings as well as stories about some of my friend’s first kisses. Each time I was made to feel like I should be embarrassed and not act or talk about anything romantic. When a boy was interested in me and we became friends he would come over to hang out after school from time to time. He was such a great kid, always polite and had amazing grades in school. But my mom couldn’t say anything good about him and I slowly pushed him away and didn’t let the relationship progress.
I finally left my mom for good when I was 16 to preserve what was left of my mental health. The psychological abuse involving my self-worth and the threat of escalating physical violence is what brought our relationship to a close.
Since then whenever a man has shown interest in me I get excited but then quickly feel disgusted. Part of me does want a physical relationship to form but a bigger part of me feels sick at the idea if it could realistically happen. I also have felt like “he’s so great and deserves better so I won’t let it go farther”
So… I’m still a virgin at 30. But I only put together that maybe my mom’s comments have contributed to this in the past few days.
When I read about girls who were sexually abused I see that they sometimes have the same symptoms that I do. But I wasn’t abused. I did always know that many neighbors, family friends and family members suspected I was though.
Would love to know a professional’s opinion on the matter. Why won’t I let men near me even though I am very attracted to them and fantasize about making a future with one? (From Canada)