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Denial Of Sexual Abuse

by Marie
(Beach Park, IL)

When I was 3 years old I was sexually abused by my father. As I progressed in age I was sexually abused by my brother. I came from an alcoholic family. I am a recovering alcoholic myself.

I had went to my mom to inform her of what dad and brother did. They denied it and I became the black sheep of the crop and still am.

I have worked the steps in AA and did a fearless and moral inventory but it seems all denial is still there. I have been arrested for DUIs, retail theft due to relationships I have been in, and I have been in prison,

When trying to explain to the judicial system what was going on, they didn't listen, I was also physically abused to the point that I have been hospitalized. Nothing got done by family, except that all they told me was, "I told you so," and "that's what you get for lying."

I have had this bottled up in me for 40+years and it just seems it doesn't help to let go due to nobody listening or hearing me out.

To this day forward I still am told that I can't be trusted by any of the family or any of the people I hang with because I may abuse them. I have 2 boys and they are wonderful. One is 25 and the other is 19. I am on a waiting list for help, but I feel it won"t do any good. I don't go to my parents' home alone because I still don't trust my father. I can't trust him even for a second.

Everyone is still in denial. I can resolve the issue by forgiving, but not forgetting. I don't even associate with my sister due to this. She thinks I am a liar because I tried to confront the family and speak out, but she thinks all this was for attention.

I am living for me, knowing I am a better person in myself, and I can deal with this.




Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Marie, and thank you for telling your story here. You are not alone in what has happened to you. Many victims of sexual abuse are outcasts from their families, as punishment for "telling the family secret" and threatening to burst the bubble of denial that the other members are using for their false sense of safety.

I love the power, health and positive defiance in your statement: "I am living for me, knowing I am a better person in myself, and I can deal with this."

I hope you can look back at your past self and see the amazing courage, strength and resilience of that child you once were (and who is still alive inside you). You survived. Beyond surviving, you are doing your best to become a better person.

I encourage you to tell your story--all of it. You have to do that so that you hear it all yourself. What I mean is, until you have told your story (written it out, as I will explain), you haven't even "told" or "heard" the story yourself.

Use the journaling exercises described on this page to guide you in writing about everything that happened to you and process your emotions. You may or may not want to share this with anyone else, just do it for you.

Then use these imagery processes for emotional healing to resolve some of the pain and trauma from your memories of abuse. It will allow you to go back to that 3 year old you who was first violated, remove the abuser (your father) and take the precious 3 year old child to safety.

You are a good and brave woman, Marie. I know you've done your share of destructive things in your life, as you described. At this point, I want you to focus on the good in you and the world around you. The third journaling process will help you do that.

Make up your mind that you are going to take charge of your emotions and your life and create a healthy, wonderful life for yourself.

You can do this. Believe in yourself, and never, ever give up.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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Comments for Denial Of Sexual Abuse

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Jan 26, 2013
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Family Dynamic Where Abuse Occurs
by: Anonymous

I would imagine that in a family where sexual abuse by a father against a preadolescent girl {daughter} has occurred, that there will be some, even if subtle, changes in the family dynamic that would be perceptible to the wife {non abusing parent}.

I am projecting uncomfortableness, awkwardness, sensitivity to certain words, etc. Perhaps inappropriate discussions between the abuser and the victim.

More than that, would you believe that there is to be expected some sort of change in the family dynamic, once abuse is established and ongoing?

Jan 11, 2013
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Adult Non Abusive Parent Reinforcing Denial?
by: Anonymous

Dr.DeFoore,

I am devoting a chapter to a close examination of the childhood years of a female who was sexually abused for 4 years, beginning at age 8. Her mother would not discuss the abuse, and finally, when the girl was a teenager, the mother called the girl a whore, and blamed her, when the girl starting to be explicit with her mother about her father's abuse.

Would I be correct in reporting that it is possible the effect of the mother's denial served to reinforce the girl's own feelings of shame and guilt for being abused. That is, although the girl approached the mother to try to talk about her father's abuse and bring it up to the surface, the mother's reproach made her feel it was really her own fault.

So if non abusive parents cannot face the abuse issues in their own family, does their denial reinforce or perhaps exacerbate the negative costs for the survivor of abuse?

I want to educate the public about the behavior of those who suffer abuse, and I am trying to be very careful in how I write about these issues.

Thanks for your help. BTW, I heard Barry Lopez's interview on PBS last night on his experiences. It's very good.

From Dr. DeFoore

I think your assumptions are correct.

All the best to you in your writing.

Dr. DeFoore

Jan 08, 2013
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thanks
by: Anonymous

Thank you very much Dr. DeFoore,

This moves my writing of this story forward immeasurably.

Jan 06, 2013
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abuse and more
by: Anonymous

Dr.DeFoore,

Your comments have been very helpful. I am a journalist researching a case where a female preadolescent child was abused by her father for several years.

Incredibly, then her father {perhaps accidentally} drowned her child in the pool when the girl was 22 years old.

Would it be unusual for the girl to be seeking to repair the relationship with her father? She seemed to be denying the death occurred and trying to be friendly with her father. Note, the father hid the death for months from authorities.

I am trying to understand the trauma for a girl who was abused and then whose two-year-old child died at the hands of her father. She denied both the abuse and the death and wanted to have a normal relationship with the father.

Is that reasonable for such a case?
Thanks, so much

Response from Dr. DeFoore

In such a case as you describe, I would say that the young woman is caught in a "trauma bond" with her father. In a trauma bond, the child is attached to the abusive/neglectful/abandoning parent because of her need for love and her subconscious belief that she will get love from her parent (father, in this case). Subconsciously, the young woman you describe is hoping for the love she never got--or perhaps only got on a minimal level. To acknowledge that her father not only abused her but is also responsible for the death of her child would destroy the possibility of her getting the love she wants. She has created a "fantasy father," so that she can go on loving him. Her illusion of her fantasy father would be destroyed if she faced who he really is and what he has done.

Keep in mind that this is a highly complex case, and my response is by no means a comprehensive coverage.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Dec 29, 2012
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abuse questions
by: writerkl

Thanks for your valuable insight into abuse issues

Dec 28, 2012
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denial of abuse by nonabusing adults?
by: Anonymous

Dr. DeFoore,

I would like to address a home environment where preadolescent sexual abuse against a young female child occured by the father.

Would it be predictable for the nonabusing adult in the house {the mother and wife of the abuser} to strongly deny the abuse?

When that occurs, does that tend to reinforce denial by the child victim?


From Dr. DeFoore

Yes and yes. It's very hard for the victim to hold to their truth with both parents in denial. That's why many victims do not acknowledge abuse until they are adults.

I hope this helps.

Dr. DeFoore

Dec 26, 2012
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understanding denial
by: writerkl

How common Dr. DeFoore, is the denial of abusers and their enablers within a family where incest and abuse is taking place?

Also, isn't denial by the victim of abuse, a typical and even expected reaction?

From Dr. DeFoore

It's very common. As a matter of fact I've never known of an instance where it didn't occur. The victim does it unconsciously as a protection against the shame, and sometimes as a way of protecting the perpetrator, especially if the perpetrator is a parent or other closely related caregiver.

This denial must be understood and compassionately acknowledged as a natural form of protection. If it is confronted too aggressively, it only gets stronger.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore


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