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Multiple Sex Abuse As A Child

Question:

Dr. Schwartz;

As a very young child I was molested by a boyfriend of my grandmother’s. It went on for a few years until we moved out of state. Feeling the move might end the abuse, I never told anyone about it. The move did not end the abuse however. A neighbor who was friends with my teenage brother also molested me for an extended time as well. We moved to a different part of the city and for many years I lived abuse-free until my first marraige ended after I was raped by my husband’s close friend.

I’m 28 now and happily married with three children. I just recently told my husband about the abuse and within the last year have been feeling increasingly frustrated with all the feelings suddenly drudged up for an unknown reason. It’s like all of a sudden I can’t get these things out of my mind! I feel like I’ve lost any peace I ever had and don’t know where to turn because I never told anyone except my husband (and now you) about the molestation.

I did go to the police and hospital over the rape, however, it didnt do any good because the man that did it was never punished and none of the witnesses would testify on my behalf.

I want to move past this but I have no idea where to start, or why all of a sudden I’m so innundated with this.

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Answer:

There is a good chance that you are experiencing a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sometimes it can take time for the symptoms to set in. Perhaps there is something in your recent life that brought the memories of these terrible things to the surface. Sometimes it doesn’t take much for that to happen. However it happened to you, sooner or later these terrible traumas rise to the surface.

Psychotherapy is the recommended treatment for PTSD, particularly cogntive behavior and behavior therapy. These types of treatment help people identily the types of distorted thoughts that cause anxiety and depression while replacing those with realistically base ways of thinking that do not interfere with mood. There are also several behavior techniques that are being used for PTSD. One of those is exposure therapy where the patient is gradually helped to feel desensitized to the traumatic memories. One type of exposure is to have the patient relive every moment of the trauma but in a relaxed condition and without the emotional turmoil. It is a gradual process resulting in the trauma losing its sting.

There are also support groups of those who have been through this type of trauma. In your case, a women’s support group would work best because everyone can relate to everyone else while learning that they are not alone in the world with these things. Do an Google search for support groups in your community.

Best of Luck

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