Too Old

I’m 58, and have never been able to adequately deal with the child sexual abuse I suffered from ages 2-5, which lead to so much worse. 

Every counsels I’ve ever encountered, and I started late in age, in my 30’s, has told me I’m too old to be helped, and tell me I’m just narcissistic, or that I should be over this by now, but I’m not. It still effects who I am today. 


What can i do?


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25 comments

  1. Shannon Volunteer

    Hey BrownEyedGirl,

    Thank you for sharing with us. I am so sorry about what happened to you and what you went through in therapy. Just know that you are not too old to be helped and you are not alone, we are here and listening. I hope you come back to update us or just to chat if you want to. Be kind to yourself.

    Shannon

  2. Mary Volunteer

    Hi BrownEyedGirl,

    Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. I am sorry for what you went through as a child, and I am sorry for the experiences that you have had in therapy! You are never too old to be helped, and there is no time limit for healing. Child sexual abuse isn’t something that you just get over, and if your therapists are not acknowledging the abuse, then it makes sense that it would still be affecting you. Have you been in contact with a therapist recently? I recommend seeking out a new one.

    Mary

  3. mkyuellig

    Hi BrownEyedGirl,

    I am a therapist, and I’m hear to tell you that there’s no such thing as “too old to be helped.” That is absolutely preposterous, and it sounds like you’ve had the misfortune of working with some therapists that don’t want to do their jobs. I’m so sorry that you’ve had that negative experience. Your experience is valid. You are not responsible for the trauma you experienced as a child. You deserve help and support. I highly recommend that you look for a therapist that offers DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy). It is a very intense form of therapy used for people that have experienced trauma and has been especially effective for older individuals that have gone without intervention for long periods of time. During DBT the therapist offers you a great deal of support and helps you to learn healthy coping skills and adjust your behaviors to better serve your emotional needs.

    Stay strong and be gentle with yourself,
    Keight

  4. Jess Volunteer

    I am so sorry that the counselor/therapists you’ve seen have treated you that way. You absolutely deserve to get help and you’re never too old to do so. Your healing process is yours, everyone is different. It isn’t fair for anyone to tell you that you should be over it.

    Thank you for entrusting us with your story. It’s so incredibly difficult to open up and tell your story, it takes a lot of courage and strength. Healing does as well. Sometimes, it’s necessary to try multiple therapists. It’s a difficult process, but if you think therapy would help, seeking a different therapist within your community would be helpful. There are also lots of resources under our “Find Help” tab.

    If you need anything else at all, please let us know. We are always here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  5. Ashley Volunteer

    Hi BrownEyedGirl,

    I’m so sorry the therapists you’ve had were not empathetic to your situation and you have not been given the help you need and deserve.
    Survivors come out at all ages and many times years after the event. You are by no means too old or helpless.
    I’m glad you have found our community. Do you know of any local to your area? If not, I’ve also had many therapists that didn’t quite work for me; so perhaps continuing the search until you find one who’s a better fit would help.
    Until then, I hope you keep coming back here. We believe you, and are here for you.

  6. Deanna Volunteer

    I’m so sorry for what happened to you and how your attempts at getting help have gone. You are NOT narcissistic or too old to be helped. Do you have a local organization that helps sexual assault survivors? They often have counselors who specialize in this sort of trauma. Keep fighting, keep trying, you’ll conquer this.
    Deanna

  7. grothkat8 Volunteer

    Thank you for coming to us and sharing your story. I’m so sorry you’ve been struggling with this, and no one is ever too old to reach out for support. Holding things in can be very difficult, and it’s great that you’ve been taking those first steps into relieving some of that. When it comes to trauma, people are effected in so many different ways, and there is no right way to go about it. If it helps you, I would try to keep talking to someone, whether it’s someone you have a relationship with or not. In my experience, it is easier to talk to someone who doesn’t know anything about you, but if that isn’t working for you there are always other options. You can always come to us no matter what too, and we are here to support you.

    Katie

  8. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    You are never to old to get help and don’t let anyone tell you that. We will help you in what ever way you need us to. We believe in you and will be here for you.

    -Brianna

  9. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi BrownEyedGirl,
    You are never too old to get helped. That is not true. We are here for you. I’m so sorry that you were sexually abused from such a young age.That is not okay. We have a lot of different options to help you. You can write back whenever you want, text VOICE to 741-741, or you can look at our find help tab which is at the top right of this page. We are here to help you with whatever you need. 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

  10. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    I am so sorry that you had to deal with such awful professionals. I hope you can find someone who will listen to you and properly help you and you stay strong and continue to update us. We are here for you and we truly care for you. Keep Fighting!

  11. colton95 Volunteer

    I am really sorry that you had to deal with such awful professionals. I hope that you will be able to find someone who will listen to you and properly help you, and that you will stay strong and continue to update us. Maybe try looking for someone on here. I’m pretty sure there’s a way to seek professional help through AVFTI.

  12. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi BrownEyedGirl,

    Thanks for reaching out to us. I’m so sorry you dealt with such awful “professionals.” Can they even be called that? They definitely didn’t use their training in any way to help you, and their behavior definitely wasn’t appropriate. If you don’t feel comfortable going back to a different therapist, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We support you, no matter what, and we’re here to listen to whatever you have to say. Maybe you could open up to us for a bit until you’re comfortable going back to a professional? Please only do what you’re comfortable with.

    We’re here for you. We believe what you have to say. You’re so incredibly strong.

    Marissa

    and by the way, it’s completely ok to talk about yourself. that doesn’t make you a narcissist. especially when you’re literally paying someone to talk about yourself and not receive judgment… just my two cents on that subject.

  13. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear BrownEyedGirl,
    Thank you for reaching out to us. I am SO sorry for what happened to you as a child and for the people who are telling you that you are too old to help. You are NEVER too old to heal or to learn a different way to do things. Trauma shapes who you are as a person and recent studies have found that it actually alters your DNA, so don’t let anyone tell you that you should “be over it by now”. If you haven’t directly/consciously done something to heal it, it is still there and still affecting you. I read the comments before responding and I think there is a lot of helpful information and support in them, so I won’t repeat it. Do what you want/need to do for you and forget the opinions of those who don’t matter (Okay, one recommendation: read Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown and watch any of her YouTube videos you can). Sometimes, we can begin our own healing and it leads to others who will help along the way.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  14. daisychains8891

    Hello BrownEyedGirl,
    I want to start off by saying that you’re age does not determine whether or not you should seek help. And it for sure does not mean you have to be over what happened to you.
    Each and every one of us are here to help you, and you can always ask one of us for help. You’re a strong person and you’ve gone through so much. Don’t lose hope, we are all rooting for you.

    You have all my support,
    Leah

  15. Ryan4121 Volunteer

    I’m so sorry this is what people are saying to you. I think counselors are great, but it seems like they aren’t helping you. So while I am with others who recommend, I will suggest you maybe get involved with groups that mentor and help out people who are sexually abused. That way you could use your years of experience to benefit others. It will likely, in turn, be a therapeutic experience for you. I think you’d be great at it. 🙂

  16. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi BrownEyedGirl,
    I’m so sorry about what happened during your childhood and that the counselors weren’t helpful at all. You’re not too old to be helped or narcissistic. I think it’s important to cope with what we’ve been through no matter how old or young we are. It’s not narcissistic to talk about your feelings and figure out the best ways to heal. Each person heals at their own pace, and healing is a long and nonlinear journey. We have our ups and downs, and these are all okay states to be in. It’s understandable that this is affecting who you are today.
    I think you could get a good start by looking at the resources in our Find Help tab, and I think it could help to find a counselor who specializes in trauma. They may have a better skill set to help you work through everything. If you ever need more support and resources, you can come back here if you feel comfortable. We’ll always be here to support you. Thank you for trusting us with your story – that takes courage. It’s never too late to talk about this, and I’m proud of you for speaking out. You can get through this, and you are strong.

  17. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    There is never a “time” where we need to be over what happened to us. Recovery is not linear, and we are always in some state of recovery. I’m sorry that counselors have told you that, that’s not what any good therapist would do. If you’re still interested in therapy, you can click on our “Find Help” tab, or try texting VOICE to 741 741 for additional help. Thank you for being here, and I’m so sorry what happened to you when you were a child. We are here for you.

    Erin

  18. Amysue43 Volunteer

    I am sorry that you have encountered these obstacles. It can be very frustrating for someone to deny your feelings and thoughts while not providing the services you want. I hope these comments reassure you in the fact that you are NEVER too old to be helped and your actions/thoughts/feelings don’t make you narcissistic. There are many other resources out there similar to the one you found here. I hope you don’t give up on finding the help you deserve. Seek out another counselor or perhaps read some reviews regarding other resources for child sexual assault.

    You are asking all the right questions! Stay Strong!

  19. sfmbelle413 Day Captain

    Hey there BrownEyedGirl,

    It’s brave of you to reach out. It can be hard to adequately deal with abuse. You’re not too old for help and the fact that you’re still trying to get the support you deserve says amazing things about you. You are strong. AVFTI has some great resources listed on their website, which can be found here: https://www.avoicefortheinnocent.org/help/. From books to sites, there’s a lot of great things to check out. Please keep fighting.

    Sending light your way,
    SFM

  20. Solongago

    Hi BrownEyedGirl,

    Welcome, from another over-fifty club member. Ok, I am fifty. And I get you. I was told when I was going through therapy when I was 22-32 that I should be over it by now. I won’t even tell my mother I am back in therapy because I should be over it.

    I should all over myself. You are shoulding all over yourself. Don’t let other people should on you. It really isn’t helping.

    “It still effects who I am today.” It does. All the shoulds in the world won’t change that. It does. It does for me. It does for you. And, it is a sign of maturity and health to be able to recognize that.

    Who are these fuckers who tell you You are narcissistic??? I think they are probably projecting. I just changed therapists. And she said there are two types of therapists: those who have been there and want to give back, and the narcissists.

    Sometimes it feels like there is no place for us. People want to help little kids. Young adults are worth working with because they have their lives ahead of them and if we can just get them released by some of their demons they will have good decades ahead of them. But what about us older ladies. We aren’t going to go back to school and change careers. Probably. We are not going to start a family, not now. Mostly, those who have kids, by 58, those kids are grown and we are either grandparents or estranged grandparents, because maybe we didn’t do the best job with our own kids. And, we tend to be resistance to change at this age. We, some of us, know more than then young therapist in front of us. We have certainly have more experience in a lot of ways. And even if they are older, we have a lot more scrutiny. They start telling us to tap our wrist and our forehead, and our cheeks, and for Heaven’s sake, lady, this isn’t going to work!

    Even the church. We embrace the alcoholics as sinners and in need of God’s help and support. We embrace the LGBQT community (if you are in the open and affirming process, every week, over and over). But what about US? We STILL have a terrible little secret because if we spouted our secret, if we “came out” well, some folks wouldn’t be able to handle it, others would see us as though we are only looking for sympathy, many of us have family in the communities our church is around. We are victims, not sinners in need of repentance and support. Even the great Bible stories that deal with stuff like this head on, never make the lectionary. No one knows what to do with us.

    Back in the 90’s when I was first going through this, I talked to several pastors in town. The first meeting generally only had me and the pastor in the building. By the second meeting, there was ALWAYS a secretary present in the building. This happened with the first pastor I told, the one of the church I was going to when I had my conversion experience. He got me into counseling and worked with me until he went to his new church. Then the new pastor. And because at the time I was absorbed by this stuff and talked to the pastor of the church I was in from age 10 to 16, some of the time that stuff was happening to me. That was probably stupid. But, looking back, even at that time, I realized that because of what happened to me, I was a threat to them. That isn’t a good feeling. But, really, I don’t blame them. Abuse does happen in churches.

    So, what do we do, we older women?

    Well, let me tell you something. Older women are powerful. We may be toward the end of our careers. Our kids are grown, if we have any (I don’t). We play an important role in the lives of the young people in our lives. And we can power the mechanisms of social groups in organizations like churches. We may have 30-40 years to live yet. We are worth getting healthy, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
    And there are therapists who can and will work with us.

    It is just damn hard to find the right ones. It takes time to determine whether or not this person can help us. I think they have to be salesmen in the beginning, they tell you how brave you are for coming in and validate your feeling and affirm you. If you grew up in a home where the atmosphere was such that sexual abuse was able to continue, than these things can keep you going. We, I, are/am on empty when it comes to nurturing, and the human condition is such that we are drawn to relationship, but our trust has been shattered in such a fundamental and complete way, that relationships tend to be impossible. And when you aren’t in one, getting in one seems totally impossible. The point of therapy is not to get the nourishment, the nurturing we were denied as children, but without some of that, it is hard to find that safe place to work on stuff.

    In short, we’ve been damaged. We have been damaged by our family of origin where we were set up or, in the least, not adequately protected. We were damaged by the perpetrator. We have been damaged by schools and churches and society in general that simply failed us. We have been damaged by social services/helping professions, by seeing narcissistic therapists who blame us for not getting better fast enough.

    But, we are powerful women. We have made it for 50+ years, and dammit, we can do this! We can build the skills we need to get us through crisis, to take care of our bodies, to believe we are worth it, to go through the motions when we are depressed, to get into routines, to find the things that we enjoy, so that we want to go to bed and cover up our head, we can pull out that list and do something on it. We know that our deepest depressions are temporary, and we know we can survive our ordinary depression. And we can hope that there is something better for us. We can get there. Damn the torpedoes! Buy the coloring book! Snag the grandchildren and go to the zoo. Not for them, but for YOU. We can find a purpose in life. And we can begin to build really meaningful friendships. Friendships where we give and take, where we share on a deep level. And then, we are in a place where we can start doing the more difficult work that has to be done, that seems so overwhelming. Because then we have stuff to fall back on.

    And when I was in that IOP last year, most of us were women, at least half were over fifties. I decided to invest in myself, and I spent three times as long in there than I should have been. It was a 7 week course, intensive, 3 hours a day, three days a week. And my insurance wasn’t going to pay. So I had to pay, am still paying for it. But it is an investment in me. Because I am the only me I have. That isn’t narcissistic. That isn’t selfish. That is taking care of myself, instead of waiting for someone to take care of me. It is good stuff.

    One day, I was feeling really down, and I called my brother who is a nurse-practitioner who mostly works with the elderly. He was a hospice nurse for years. Anyway, I unloaded on him. He said a lot of things, that made good sense. He is right for the job he chose. But he also told me that we are worthy because God made us. God considers us worthy. Different things work for different people but that just struck me. I was worth the time and money for that IOP. It did not fix me. It made me alive again to my feelings, most of them are pretty yucky feelings most of the time, but I am feeling again. I cry now. Yippee!!! But it really is a good thing. When my therapist dumped me, I got so seriously depressed, now I have another therapist, and I am trying again to figure out if she can help me.

    I think she can. So I am throwing myself out there again. I’ve had a couple of bad therapists. The lady in the IOP was great. Because she was great, I think that maybe I will be able to find another one that can help me. Maybe it is Angela. I hope so. And I hope you keep trying to find a good person to work on this stuff with. You are worth it. You know this.

  21. Lizzi Volunteer

    Hi BrownEyedGirl,
    I’m so sorry that you’ve had to suffer from what happened to you early in life. That’s a long time to be fighting these demons and it’s frustrating that counselors are telling you that you’re too old to be helped. That’s absolutely not true, and the right counselor could help you work through the abuse. You’ve lived like this too long already and you shouldn’t have to continue. I would recommend a therapist that specifically works with trauma, as they’ll know how to help you process this. You deserve to be happy and move forward with your life. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.

    Much hope,
    Lizzi

  22. Megan Volunteer

    Hey BrownEyedGirl,

    You are never too old and it is never too late to be helped. Whatever counselors told you that are wrong and absolutely should not be saying things like that. I would try finding a different counselor, maybe even one who is specifically trained for trauma treatment. I definitely think that processing through those experiences will help you.

    You deserve help, and it’s never too late. We are her if you need anything,
    Megan

  23. Graciegrace22

    Hello,

    It seems like you went through a horrible time in some very crucial years of your life. A counselor shouldn’t ever tell you what was said to you and you are never too old to see support and help for what you went through. What happened to you was never your fault and I hope you are able to get some relief and healing from it.

  24. Edjay Volunteer

    Hi BrownEyedGirl,

    It’s terrible that you received comments like that every time you tried to seek help. Finding the courage to seek help is such a courageous thing to do, and the way some people responded to that is awful. I’m not sure if you’ve had the chance to check it out, but we have a complied list of resources on the website from agencies to counseling. We’re here for you.

  25. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi BrownEyedGirl,

    I’m sorry that it’s taken a life time to come to terms with the horrible things that you experienced in your childhood. Healing is different for everyone. There isn’t a time frame that you should “get over” your trauma and I’m sorry that the counselors you’ve spoken to in the past lead you to believe that there should be. I would encourage you to seek out another counselor. Trauma therapy has come a long way in recent years. What was considered the normal course of treatment 20 years ago is quite different than treatment options today. If you feel comfortable sharing more of your story here with us, we’re always available to listen. Many times simply speaking the truth of what’s happened in the past will release it from the subconscious. I wish you all the best as you continue your healing journey.

    Becca