Dear Dr. Archer,
I am a 23 year old female, and my dad sexually abused me when I was young. I don't remember my age, but he french kissed me. I was too young to understand that this was sexual abuse, but I knew it was wrong and I hated him for doing it.
It only happened once, but he would do other things like pinching my nipples and pretend it was a joke, laughing and walking away. Sometimes he would hug me while feeling my body or simply stare at my breasts.
I've always known how to deal with him, as I'd yell and push him away. I've always treated him badly. No father could ever tolerate this, but he never yelled back. I think he was afraid I would tell someone what he was doing. I suffered from depression, crying every day.
We had a huge fight when I was 19 because I yelled, repeatedly telling him that I hated him, and had for a long time, and that he should stay away from me. I believe I scared him. Afterwards, my mom told me he was crying because I hated him and disrespected him, and was holding something against him.
After that, surprisingly the abuse stopped and things began getting better because he got a job offer outside the country. He moved out, but still visits every three months, returns home for a month, and then is gone three months again.
My mom, brother and I are very close. I love her dearly. I have never told anyone about this, as I didn't want to ruin my family. I was afraid my parents would get divorced, so I've lived with it in silence. Mom always yells at me for treating dad badly, but I ignore what she says because she doesn't understand.
Even though he no longer touches me, he still stares at my body and it drives me crazy. I hate him so much that I dream of killing him. Even though it's been too long, I'm still not over it and I have plenty of questions.
Sometimes I feel guilty for not being able to forgive him and treat him badly in front of everyone. No one knows why I do this. He tells everyone how badly I treat him, so everyone blames me and says that's not the way to treat a parent. I'm crying now as I write this.
I believe he feels guilty, because he keeps telling me how much he loves me. However, I feel nothing for him. Will I ever get over this and forget about it? Should I feel guilty and treat him badly? How do I get over something like this? Will I ever get over this?
I have a boyfriend and we love each other dearly. I trust him, but never told him about my dad. He recently asked me to marry him, but I'm afraid of what his reaction will be if I tell him.
I'm afraid he won't love me as much or want to be in a relationship with me. I'm also afraid he will hate my dad and cause further problems when we get married.
At the end of the day, he is my father and part of my life. I also worry that if I don't tell him, he will continue to wonder why I hate my dad so much and why I treat him so badly. Do you think I should tell him? Thank you for your support.
What you experienced in your childhood is a very difficult thing for any child to handle and process. I can understand your anger, as a father is there to protect his children, not prey on them and to use them for personal gratification.
I would definitely recommend you sharing your past with your fiancé. This is a huge thing to keep from him, and things have a way of coming out, regardless of how hard we try to keep them quiet. Also, it would give him the understanding as to why you dislike your dad so much, and why you treat him badly.
Do not tell him while the two of you are at your house. Tell him in a safe place, just in case he has a very negative reaction. He should, in no way, accuse your father of anything, however. For his part, he needs to remain quiet and respect your privacy and repect how you handle the situation.
If, Kenzy, this news affects the way he feels about you, then he is not the man for you. Love is respectful and kind, loving and tolerant. It is not judgmental. If he gets upset I would consider that absolutely normal. But it in no way should it deter the love he feels for you. You should in no way feel guilty of this, as you were an innocent child. What on earth is there to be guilty of? Nothing.
Lastly, yes, this can be overcome. I suggest you have a talk with your father. Talk through the experiences and your anger and guilt so you can put this behind you. Tell him how it’s affected your life and give him a chance to ask for forgiveness.
He may actually be relieved for the two of you to talk about it. This will also help you address your anger. Anger can be very destructive and ends up hurting you more than anyone else.
Finally Kenzy, if you don’t feel you can handle the conversation with your boyfriend and your father on your own, then start seeing a counselor and get them to help you work up to these talks. You could even talk to each of them during a session with your counselor.
I wish you the brightest of futures, Kenzy. If this young man is the one for you, I wish you many years of happiness together.