My name is Amber and I have no idea if my story would help anyone else but I'd like to tell it anyway. When I was 3 until I was 4 my uncle sexually abused me. I told my step mom and she believed me and took me to the doctor...but since he did not have sex with me they said they couldn't do anything about it. My real mom (my uncle's sister) took his side along with the rest of my family. My step mom was the only one to believe me...but her point of view was to explain that what he did was wrong and he wasn't allowed around me and then never talk about it again. It's like it was all better when the abuse ended...but it wasn't. When I was growing up I let a friend of mine and my brother (different times) do more with me/to me than they should have because they told me to and I thought I should since no one really seemed to believe me about my uncle enough to get me any help. They both only did stuff with/to me once each...but it still made me feel used...dirty. I'm 18 now and I still deal with the mental consequesnces of it all. I don't have flashbacks or nightmares really...but I have major panic attacks, I self mutilate, and I've been suicidal more than once. I have no one to talk to about it because no one believes me or will listen to me...and I can't call a hotline because my step mom is home almost all the time and would find out and flip. My one hope is college...which is so close now...only a month away...I hope I can find someone to talk to there...if not...I don't know. Anyway...that's my story...I don't really think you'll want to use it because I don't have a happy ending or anything...but any advice you can give me or anything would be great. Thanks.
....Screaming on the inside, Amber
Dr Patti responds:
Yes your story would be very helpful to girls that have gone through the same as you... molested by an uncle at a very young age and still not able to shake it...
One of my clients who's story will be in my book had the same experience. She was aged 3 to 4 and her uncle used to baby-sit for her. She too told her parents and they just kept him away from her, and said never to speak about it. She did not receive more support than that. She felt dirty and guilty for years. She is now in her twenties and after a few years of therapy she has sorted things out and feels great in the world. Feeling great meant that she had to put her parent's in perspective. She really could not count on them to come through for her in deep ways. Once she stopped expecting that from them, she was able to connect in very deep ways with others who actually do give her support.
I am not surprised you allowed others to abuse you. It is very common when there is not support and resolve in sexual abuse cases. These abuses are not your fault. You did not ask to be abused. You did not have the knowledge, tools, support to change the situations. Talking about abuse heals, and you were not allowed to talk about it. PLEASE STOP BLAMING YOURSELF. I do think you can call the hotline. If you don't have a cell, borrow a friends cell phone. Hold on for the month. College will be a great place for you to separate from your family and start to sort out the abuse issues. There is free counseling at colleges. Take advantage of this. Please try to replace the self mutilation with something else, bite your nails, hit your pillow, get an extra piercing in your ear, kick a soccer ball, listen to your favorite music, call a friend, watch your favorite video, take a run, take a shower (NO RAZORS), take up knitting, draw, do anything but hurting yourself. Find another outlet that will release for you. As far as the panic attacks, please try some yoga. Even though you are moving, you will need to have coping mechanisms. I do believe you and I am so sorry that you had to hold all of this inside. Please reach out to someone and tell them and / or call a hot line if you feel suicidal. Write back and let me know what you think about these ideas and feedback. And Amber, thank you so much for reaching out! Going away to college and getting distance and help has saved so many girls. You sound clear, strong and smart, it can save you too!!
................................xoxo, Dr. Patti.