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Sexual Abuse, What Should I Do Now?

Question:

I was sexually abused when I was a child, 2-4 years old, and when I was a teenager. I don’t actually remember the occurrences when I was younger, but I knew and did things no child my age should. I believe I blocked out those memories because they were so traumatic. When I was a teenager, my father would touch me and kiss me. I was afraid to tell him to stop because I didn’t know what he would do. It went on from age 16 to age 19, when I finally moved out. It’s been three years since it stopped and I’m just now telling people. I confronted my father several days ago and told him that I did not want him around, especially since I have a 1 year old daughter now. I was just wanting to know what I should do now? Should I get help? Therapy to help to come to terms with what happened? I’ve also battled depression for years, and possible Bipolar Disorder, and wondered if the abuse might have caused it.

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Answer:

Sexual abuse often causes the victim to experience all kinds of terrible thoughts and emotions. Among them are guilt, shame and depression. It’s ironic because the victim has no reason to feel these things yet, that is often what happens. This is why you should enter psychotherapy for having been sexually abused by your father. It was a violation of your separateness, your personal boundaries and your emotional boundaries. You have a lot of things to sort out, including your feelings as a woman and person who should feel no guilt or shame. I also recommend a self help group made up of women who have also been sexually abused. Those groups can be very helpful. Do a Google search to find one in the area where you live.

You ask a very good question about Bipolar Disorder and depression in general. First, let me give my opinion that your feelings of depression can  be a result of the abuse. After all, sexual abuse leaves a person feeling utterly helpless and who feels more helpless than a child, including a teenager. Teens often feel very vulnerable to the world and that is why they continue to need our protection.

As to the Bipolar Disorder, if you have it, it is most likely that the abuse could have been the switch that turned the Bipolar gene on. There are different opinions about this. There are those who believe that it’s completely genetic. Most believe that it’s a combination of genes and what happens to us that causes it to come out in the open. If you have a predisposition for this disorder, then, the abuse could have brought it to the surface. Perphaps that would not have happened if the abuse had not occurred but that is hard to say.

Go for help and do not delay. You did nothing wrong and deserve a good life.

Best of Luck

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