Possible sexual abuse as a child?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2012
Possible sexual abuse as a child?
1
Sat, 10-20-2012 - 7:00pm

Hi everyone,

I am planning on going to a counselor about this, but I also wanted to get your perspective on my situation since this is a safe forum for this topic.

I am a 27 year old female. Back in 2006 I was living alone for a summer. There was one night where I was sitting by myself and all of a sudden I became really panicky. Then I started having this weird series of flashbacks to moments from my childhood. This is what they were:

--When I was little I had two male babysitters (they were our neighbors). I had this one clear memory of one of them leaning down to kiss me when I was lying in bed. That was definitely before I was in 6th grade.

--I also remembered drawing a picture of a man and a woman having sex, hiding it in a blue book, and then hiding that book on the bookshelf in my toy room. I remember my mom finding the book/picture and I told her that our babysitter, Amanda, had drawn it. I asked my mom last year how old I was when Amanda was our babysitter, and she said I was probably in around 5th grade. I just keep thinking...why would I have drawn a picture like that when I was that young? But then I think 'oh who knows, kids do weird stuff like that sometimes.'

These "flashbacks" all happened within a few minutes and I just sat there and had a mini-anxiety attack afterward. I didn't know how to piece it together. But I pushed it aside because I thought my mind was playing tricks on me.

Then, just a few months ago (6 years after that incident), my boyfriend of 4 years and I were messing around and he was being a little rough with me (not in an abusive way, just grabbing me tightly). This was nothing we hadn't done before. But for some reason, this time was different. It's like the way he felt on top of me felt like he was a stranger. And at first I started pushing him away a little, but he thought I was just messing with him. Then I actually started getting REALLY upset. Like I felt like it wasn't my boyfriend on top of me anymore and I started getting so nervous and scared. I pushed his chest away from me really hard and was yelling at him to stop. And then I couldn't calm down...I couldn't catch my breath and I started crying and I was having another mini-anxiety/panic attack. And I was really frightened.

My boyfriend just sat with me and kept saying "Don't worry - it's me. It's just me." and finally I was able to breathe normally. And then I told him about these flashbacks I had a long time ago and he listened and just helped me calm down.

After this, I talked to my boyfriend about my previous "memories". Then I started thinking about my past behaviors. Here are some of them:

--I don't have very many memories of childhood, and I am not sure why. I have flashes of memories, but I have a hard time remembering much detail, or really much at all.

--When I was in 4th or 5th grade, I began compulsively eating for comfort.

--Around the same time, I began picking at my forehead. I have photos of myself from that age with marks on my forehead. I still to this day have a really hard time letting scabs heal.

--I began masturbating excessively, but I am not sure at what age. I just remember doing locking myself in the bathroom and doing this very frequently. Is that abnormal for a female? I always just thought that each person is different, so I am not sure what is normal in that respect.

--I started cutting myself when I was a teenager, but I forget at what age. It always made me feel better. I stopped in college and have not done it since, but if I could without being judged, I probably still would. It always made me feel very calm.

--The internet was new when I was a young teen, so I would go into chatrooms and have "cybersex" with people frequently. I was never very promiscuous with people who I knew in real life, though.

--I have something of an obsession with rape - rape fantasies and rape scenes in movies. I always just thought I was weird until I started having these "flashbacks" - now I am wondering if there is a reason for that.

I am worried about seeing a therapist because I know about 'false' memories and I don't want to trick myself into thinking something happened to me if it didn't. I am just wondering what your take is on all of these thoughts and behaviors of mine - in your opinion, could they add up to something substantial that happened to me when I was younger?

Thanks for reading (if you made it this far!). 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2008
Sun, 10-21-2012 - 4:01pm

Hello Belleza85 and welcome to the board.

I'm glad you are going to a counselor.  I also appreciate your concerns about false memories. 

Everyone is different and a person is a compilation of many different experiences.  

And not everyone will react in the same way to the same experience.

I know it can be difficult to have feelings that you aren't sure where they came from.  I've lived with some myself.  I have concrete memories of some things and other things are not so concrete and I too am worried about creating something in my head that never happened.  What I've come to realize is that whether or not something happened, I'm left with whatever I'm feeling and that has to be dealt with.    Whether something happened or not the feelings are there for whatever reason and are they are still valid and important.   Work with what you do know and if something comes up deal with it as it comes.  That is the best suggestion I can give. 

If you can be as honest with your counselor as you were with us on the board, I think you will be able to get a lot of your sessions.  Granted it may take time to get to where you can talk about all of it but if you can I think it will help.

I wish you the best and please post again here if you find it helpful.