Help, I don’t know what to do.

Help, I don’t know what to do.

256 29

Well I was sexually molested as a child around the age of 7. I believe it was a traumatic thing that happened to me because I was too scared to tell anyone. I basically held it in through out my childhood and now I am 24. I have never told anyone about it until recently. But I feel as if it did not go anywhere and help me because I am not getting any help and it is breaking me apart. I recently seen the person who did it which is my grandmothers husbands son. And I had a anxiety attack and have been thinking about it since. I asked someone if they remembered what and who I told them it was and they said I have to forgive but don’t forget and talk to them. But its like how do I do that I was 7 or 8 at the time and tried to avoid that person since then how am I supposed to do something like that. I feel like I don’t know what to do or how to handle a situation like this. I put everything that happened to me though out my childhood away until now and just realizing that I basically made my self forget or put it in the back of my mind I had to be there for myself with no help at all and now it is really taking a toll on me.


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29 comments

  1. Jordan Volunteer

    Dear TTE32,

    I am so sorry that this happened to you as a child and that you have been dealing with it throughout your life ever since. Thank you for coming on here to share your story with us, I just want you to know that you will always be believed here no matter what. I completely understand not wanting to talk to this person, especially since it is within the family and it happened so long ago. That advice that this person gave you sounds something more along the lines of if someone maybe said the wrong thing at a family dinner to you, or embarrassing you in front of a bunch of other people, or perhaps just stepping out of their place, NOT being sexually molested as a child. This is much more serious and has been life altering for you. This is not something that can be easily forgiven, talked about, and moved on just like that. This healing takes a lot of time. I’m sure this person meant well, but I just don’t think that was the right thing to have said to you.

    Have you ever considered reaching out to a therapist to talk more in details about what happened to you as a child, and then getting a more professional opinion about whether or not you should confront this person? It sounds like there is a lot of healing that maybe needs to take place before you consider talking to this person face to face about what happened. It is completely normal to block things out or repress them from our memory. It is our minds way of trying to protect us from the hurt and pain that we’ve been through. I also think it is normal for you to have had the panic attack after seeing him, your body was immediately trying to go into fight or flight mode for protection. Trust your gut no matter what and if you’re able to seek into counseling I would check it out if you can <3 I think it would help you a lot in your healing journey.

    Sending you a lot of hugs and hope you way, and just know we will always be here for you no matter what <3
    – Jordan

  2. Mary Volunteer

    Hi TTE32,

    Thank you for sharing, and I am so sorry for what you went through as a child. It makes sense that you would be experiencing so much anxiety after seeing this man. You are not obligated to forgive, forget, or talk to this person. He hurt you in a way that was unacceptable. Do you have any close friends or other family members that you could reach out to and talk about this? Have you considered talking to a therapist? It might be beneficial for you to get things out in the open, talk about them, and process everything. We are always here for you, and if you are ever in a crisis moment please text VOICE to 741741 and you will be set up with a crisis counselor.

    Mary

  3. Shannon Volunteer

    Hey TTE32,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. What you went through is something incredibly hard to carry around for so many years, and I hope you found some relief typing those words out. I am so sorry your family didn’t provide you with the support you needed, but I hope you know that we are here to support you and listen to you. As for the part about forgiveness, you don’t owe him anything, that includes forgiveness. You owe it to yourself to take care and be kind to yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Please text VOICE to 741-741. This will get you in touch with a crisis counselor. You can do this at any time. But you are always welcome back here. Just know you don’t have to go through this alone.

    Shannon

  4. Ashley Day Captain

    Hello TTE32,

    Since it can be terrifying to open up about sexual violence, it’s not abnormal that you have kept the molestation to yourself. I’m thinking that it has been excruciating to carry such a heavy secret for a significant amount of time and I commend you for making the decision to share your story with our community. In regards to forgiveness, it’s not necessary to forgive your perpetrator.
    I’m sorry that you haven’t received help, but you’re certainly making a step in the right direction. On this website (https://hotline.rainn.org/online), there’s a section that states “whether you’re looking for support, information, advice, or a referral, our trained support specialists are ready to help.” In addition to being able to chat online with a specialist, there’s an option to speak to someone on the phone at ‭800-656-5673‬. As others have mentioned, please feel free to provide us with an update. We have your back.

    Hang in there.

    Ashley

  5. mkyuellig

    Hi TTE32,

    Thank you for coming and sharing your story with us. I am so sorry that you were taken advantage of as a child and that someone that you should have been able to trust as a sort of family member hurt you. I don’t believe that you owe that person any kind of forgiveness for his actions, and I believe that if being around that person is triggering to you, then you have every right to choose to not be around him. I’m very sorry that it seems like you aren’t getting the support you deserve from the people you have confided it. These kinds of events can be incredibly traumatic and have lasting impacts on a person’s life, and they are certainly not something that you can just “get over.” If it is an option for you, I would highly recommend that you try to see a therapist or counselor who can help you to process these painful memories. A lot of therapists work on sliding scales which makes them much more affordable. Please continue to keep us updated on your healing journey. We are here to listen to you and support you.

    Stay strong and be gentle with yourself,
    Keight

  6. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi there,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am glad you found your way here to AVFTI. I am so sorry for what happened to you at such a young age. What happened was not okay, but it was 100% not your fault. The way you are feeling is valid and normal. What happened was a traumatic thing as you mention and it is normal to feel scared to talk about it. I am sorry that when you did open up you did not get the support you hoped for. It is also okay and normal to feel unsure about where to go next. I want you to know that whatever you decided to do as the next step is 100% your decision. You are the most important person here and your healing journey is your own. Take it step by step and only do what you are comfortable with. STay strong. We are here for you and we are on your side throughout your entire journey.

    Sending love and support,
    -Natalie

  7. Edjay Volunteer

    Hi TTE32,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It sounds terrible feeling that the trauma did not go anywhere because you aren’t getting any help right now. It’s frustrating that people are telling you that you have to forgive him for what he did. However you’re feeling right now towards him is totally valid, and you do not have to forgive him. We have a compiled list with resources for finding help, if you are interested in checking it out. Please feel free to update us on how things are going. Take care.

  8. Megan Volunteer

    Hey TTE32,

    I’m very sorry that this happened to you. And I’m sorry that you are not receiving the support you deserve from your family. A really good way to work through handling a situation like this is in therapy. Therapists, especially trauma therapists, are trained to help you work through this. Therapy has really helped me work through my own trauma. Is that something you would consider? If you would like help finding one, we have a ‘find help’ tab with a lot of resources!

    I wish you all the best. You are strong and you will get through this,
    Megan

  9. Jess Volunteer

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. I’m especially sorry that you had to see him again and it brought all of these feelings back to the surface. Try to remember that you need to do what is best for you. The person you entrusted with this information was trying their best to give you advice, but if you feel that advice doesn’t work for you, find your way to deal with your trauma. If that means not having contact with that person, do it. You don’t have to forgive them for what they did to you. Sharing your story here is a great step to healing. If you need help or need any other information/resources, we have a lot under our “Find Help” tab. We are always here, so if you need anything, let us know and we’ll help however we can. Thank you for entrusting us with your story. Stay strong and keep fighting. Remember to do what is best for you and your healing. <3
    -Jess

  10. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear TTE32,
    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I am so sorry that this happened to you and that it has all been brought up again. Dealing with trauma from childhood can be extremely difficult. Only you get to decide the best way to handle your situation. You don’t have to forgive or confront the person who did this to you. You can choose to continue to avoid them. Many people find that telling their story in a safe space is the beginning of their healing journey. I hope that this post is that beginning for you. Our Find Help tab has a variety of resources because we understand that not everyone heals in the same way. Counseling/therapy are great if you have the resources to get it but there are also books, articles, websites, and hotlines/text centers/web chats. The RAINN hotline and web chat are wonderful resources because they are specifically for survivors of sexual assault/abuse (1-800-656-4673 or http://www.rainn.org). You can also text VOICE to 741-741 to be anonymously connected to a trained counselor for free 24/7. You are also welcome to post here as often as you would like, but we aren’t always able to respond immediately. You are not alone in this…we believe you and we are here for you.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  11. Samantha Harris Volunteer

    Hi TTE32,
    I’m sorry for what happened and what you’re going through now. Don’t feel like you have to confront him if it might be too much right now. I would suggest talking to a therapist or a local support group to work through your emotions. It can be exhausting to unpack everything you’ve stored away, but properly sorting through it all can really helpful. Whatever you decide to do, know that we support you and are always here for you.

  12. Zoe

    Hi, TTE32.

    Thank you for reaching out and trusting us with what happened to you. I’m so sorry for the trauma you experienced as a child, and for the traumatic feelings you experienced when you saw your abuser recently. Please know that your feelings matter, and that they are valid. It’s very normal for you to react the way that you did after seeing him.

    I’m sure the person you talked to meant well, but I don’t think their advice is particularly helpful to you. The only person who can decide what you should do in this situation is you. If you never want to see or talk to him again, that’s okay. If you want to forgive him but keep your distance, that’s okay. YOU are in control now, and you get to decide what you want to do. No one can tell you what to do, and you don’t need to feel bad if what you want is different from what other people are telling you to do. I know it’s easier said than done, but it really does have to ultimately be your decision if you are to be more at peace with yourself.

    If you’re able or comfortable with it, therapy might be a helpful option in working through these thoughts and feelings. But that’s also completely up to you. Just do what’s best for you, and know that we’re always here for you if you ever need to talk through things again. <3

  13. Jay Volunteer

    Hello TTE32, I agree, forgive. But, the person you should forgive is yourself. It’s always a difficult thing to do when you feel shame and guilt. Just know that in your mind, body, and soul that it’s not your fault. Talking to a professional will be greatly beneficial to your healing. They will over you tool to help cope and talk about what you went through. Trauma and anxiety go hand and hand. It’s not going to be easy, but once you start speaking about your experience, it helps rid you of that weight. We can help you find resources in your area to aid you in this process. You are not alone! Please reach out if you need someone to talk to. We are here for you! Many good vibes your way.

    -Jay

  14. Deanna Volunteer

    The first time I saw my abuser after telling people was at a funeral. I had a total meltdown of emotions not knowing what to do. I empathize, you shouldn’t have to be around him unless you want to. People in your family should respect that. I think that it’s up to YOU whether or not to forgive. My $.02 is that forgiveness is reserved for the remorseful and that it’s possible to forgive the past, meaning forgive that it happened so that you have closure but that doesn’t mean you forgive the person who hurt you. I think that’s where you can regain some of your power and control over things. It should be up to you what happens next.

    Deanna

  15. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    Hey there,

    As for having to forgive and confront to feel frustrated you have every right to. How this is going to turn it’s unpredictable and anything can happen. Like others have said maybe trying journaling so that you can help plan out your thoughts and words, I know journaling has helped me personally a lot in the pass.

    -Brianna

  16. Amysue43 Volunteer

    You’re right: It’s truly hard and frustrating to think that you should forgive and confront this person to ensure they see what the wrong in their actions. It’s scary and unpredictable in how it might play out. I might suggest journaling your thoughts and feelings before you chose to confront the person. This will help add structure to your thoughts and provide a sense of balance in understanding your perspective. These unexpected memories will continue to arise and to write them down will help with controlling your reaction to them. It could prevent an anxiety attack or the feelings of breaking apart arising in that moment. We are here for you and I hope these comments have provided some reassurance and comfort.

    Stay strong!

  17. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for reaching out to us. This is a great first step to getting the help you need and healing. Being able to express your feelings and confide in people you can trust can do a lot to help you to heal from the traumatic event you went through. Do you have anyone in your life you would feel ok talking to about what happened? Maybe even seeking out a therapist or support group for other survivors could help as well. We also have tons of resources on our site, many of them area specific to help you find local help you may need. We are always here for you; stay strong <3

  18. zoeyb

    Hi TTE32,

    I am so sorry that happened to you. I’m so glad you shared how you’re feeling with us, that takes a lot of inner strength- thank you for trusting this community. We are all here to listen and support you always, you are never alone in this. This will always be a safe space for you when you need it <3

    – Zoey

  19. Lizzi Volunteer

    Hi TTE32,
    I’m so sorry for what happened to you when you were younger. It wasn’t right for him to have done that to you, and I’m sorry that you’ve felt like you couldn’t tell anyone for so many years. It must have been hard growing up keeping that secret, and it took a lot of courage to finally tell someone. It’s understandable to be having such a hard time after seeing him again. I don’t know if you’re receiving any counseling right now, but it’s never too late to get professional help for this. Just because you didn’t have help then doesn’t mean you have to deal with this alone now. You deserve to be free from these feelings and this trauma.

    Much hope,
    Lizzi

  20. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi TTE32,
    I’m so sorry this happened. I know how hard it can be to see the person who hurt you like this, but remember they cannot hurt you anymore. You are strong. You don’t have to forgive anyone until you are ready. Have you tried to talk to someone professionally about this? That might help. If there is anything you need help with please let us know. Thank you for trusting and sharing your story with AVFTI. continue to stay strong.
    -Alyssa

  21. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi TTE32,

    I’m so sorry that you had to experience the abuse when you were younger, and unsupportive family once you came to terms with your trauma. Remember, your healing journey is entirely up to you. It can be extra difficult without the support of other family members, but you know yourself and what you need to heal. If it feels better to never see/associate/speak to the relative who abused you then please do what’s best for you. We believe you, and we’re here for you 100% of the way. Please feel free to post again anytime you need to.

    All the best,
    Becca

  22. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    I am so sorry this abuse happened to you. The tramatic experience must feel difficult and know what happened to you was not your fault. We are here for you and know we truly care how you feel.

  23. colton95 Volunteer

    I am really sorry that that happened to you and I really hope that you are doing okay. There is no one Right answer that works for everybody but I do hope that you will find the one answer that will work for you.

  24. rkr18 Volunteer

    TTE32,

    I am so sorry you have gone through this traumatic experience and have held it inside for so long. Thanks for being brave and sharing it with us. That’s a step in the right direction. I would suggest you find someone to confide in and help you deal with what you are going thru. It you need a direction on who or where to go to find someone, please check out our resources. Keep us updated and if there is anything you need let us know. We are here for you.
    -Marie

  25. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi TTE32,
    I’m really sorry this happened to you. You’re not at fault for what happened, and you didn’t deserve it. It’s understandable that this is taking a toll on you – seeing an assailant and coping with these memories is not easy at all. When it comes to forgiveness as well as talking to this person again, I think these are your choices. You should do what feels right for you and your healing, not what someone else thinks is right for you. You don’t have to forgive or talk to this person if you don’t want to.
    I think it could help to talk to a counselor about how you’re feeling and/or find a way to express your feelings (such as writing, drawing, painting, etc.). Of course, you can take this at a pace you’re comfortable with. I think it’ll help to express and acknowledge the feelings you have.
    Thank you for sharing your story – you’re courageous for sharing this. You’re not alone now. We’re here to help and support you, so please write back whenever you feel like it. You can do this, and you are strong.

  26. Solongago

    Hi, I am sorry that happened.

    Who did you tell? Who told you that you had to forgive?

    Did the person who you talked with about this, ask if you would like to talk to them again about this. If you talked to a therapist/counselor, pastor, or social worker/rape crisis center person, they should have asked this.

    Because this was within the family, family members may be less helpful to us than we would hope. They tend to want for us to forgive and quickly. It is painful and they generally don’t want to talk about it, and blame us and try to make us feel guilty or ashamed if we do need to talk about it.

    Talking to someone who is unlikely to take it personally might be very helpful. A good therapist or, if you are a member of a church, a pastor — most are trained in some counseling and they often hear about this stuff. Your doctor is another possibility, but he/she will probably refer you to a therapist. Rape Crisis Centers usually do not charge you, and they deal exclusively with this topic. Having an independent 3rd party, is usually someone who is on your side, will believe you, will not try to minimize or protect the perpetrator, or your family.

    Forgiveness may or may not be your overall goal, but allow yourself to first work through what happened and how it has affected you. Then when you forgive the person in your heart, you can truly let go and come to a place of peace. Many folks say the only person you have to forgive is yourself. But to me, that indicates that you are in the wrong. We have to forgive ourselves for being 7? Forgive ourselves for all the things we did to survive since then? Forgive ourselves for how it affected us? You should see my difficulty with this. At 7 you were not to blame for ANY of it. You are not to blame for any part of how your body or brain dealt with it. You survived, honor what you did to survive. Some of what you did may no longer be helpful now. That is not something to forgive yourself for, honor it and let those things go. You may find that there are others that you will want to forgive that are not the perpetrator, like your parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings. It will be up to you. I don’t think that God expects us to forgive blindly.

  27. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi TTE32,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry this happened to you, and that you had to go through everything alone. Please know that we’re here for you now. We support you, no matter what. How you’re feeling is completely valid – what happened to you is extremely traumatizing and no one has the right to tell you how you should or should not react/feel. If you’re not comfortable with forgiving them, don’t. Forcing yourself to talk to them and be around them probably won’t have a positive impact on your mental health, and you need to put yourself first right now.

    Please don’t hesitate to reach out again if you need anything. Stay strong!

    Marissa

  28. LoveJenXX Volunteer

    Hey TTE32,

    I want to start off by saying I am so sorry that you had to deal with this at such a young age, it’s never easy growing up with the knowledge that this was part of your life.

    I know that putting things in a box and locking them away in the back of your mind tends to be the easiest thing to do it’s not always the best in the long run. I always suggest to write it down in a letter to the person who put you through that and placing it in an envelope, and then if and when you’re feeling up to it you can either burn it if you feel like it or you can actually give/send it to the person if you see them as a kind of step in the healing/closure process.

    Lastly I want you to know that all of us are here for you through every step of talking about this and that you are never to blame for what happened or how you dealt with your trauma at such a young age.

  29. jodieleexnj Volunteer

    Hey, listen it’s never easy to have to face the person who hurt you and traumatized you. Repressing those feeling for all those years and having them all come back at once, I can’t even imagine how hard that is for you. Remember you are the one who has control over your situation you confront the person when and if you are ready, not when other people think you should. If you are having trouble dealing with what happened we are always here for you and if you need help we can provide you with sources to help you with your specific needs. I know how hard this can be but you are strong and what happened to you does not define you always remember that.