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Past Abuse Issues Need Therapy

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answered 10:11 PM EST, Tue July 03, 2012
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anonymous anonymous
I was abused sexually by an older male relative when I was a child. For my own reasons I have decided not to tell anyone in my family or to press criminal charges (it would tear the family apart…). I am still very affected by the abuse even now 7 or 8 years later and every time I see him it is quite difficult for me. Do I need to learn to forgive him so I can move on? I am not sure that I can but I am also very tired of feeling like this.

Delisted Expert Says...

Hi. I am very sorry to hear about the pain you are experiencing. See a therapist, please, as soon as you can.  I usually tell people that when we are abused, especially as children, we don't have the capacity to understand and cope with what occurred. It is like having a broken leg, knowing that it hurts a ton, but still hobbling around on it, never telling anyone, and never getting it set.  Now, after many years of unaligned healing, the bones have healed in a position that makes it difficult to walk or even sit or sleep without pain - and forget about running because that would be far too difficult and painful! So, at this point we can 1) medicate to "not feel" the pain, but the leg is still in bad shape, or 2) go to a special doctor, who can "re-break" the bone, set it correctly in a cast, let it heal and then we do the prescribed therapy to get it functioning as awesome as it can!  (Note-apologies for any physiological inaccuracies!)  Forgiveness is only one part of "healing" - and it is one issue you can talk over with a therapist.  I would never tell anyone they must forgive in order to heal, but I will say that past abuse issues need their recognition and need to be addressed in a manner that is conducive to getting on with living a full and happy life! Most of the time, we need to talk to someone about it - and a well-trained, experienced therapist can help you with your healing options.  Kudos to you for taking a first step and asking the question.  I hope you continue on your path to a happier, more peaceful life! 

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