Possible Sexual Abuse?

by Brelee
(Spanish Fork, Utah)

I've been married for almost 6 years now. We have never been able to have a normal sexual relationship. I seem to have no sex drive and when we do have sex it hurts and I always feel like vomiting afterwards. I feel dirty and embarassed. I have tried dilators for vaginismus with no luck. I was wondering if I could have possibly been sexually abused when I was a child and don't remember. I mean sometimes I have flashbacks to something... one time my head started hurting and then it was like I blacked out and I saw myself lying naked in a field. And then I sometimes have blackouts to where I'm tangled up in like a dog chain and some man is coming towards me. And then when I was a kid I would have the same nightmare every year year, same month, same day. I would dream that a witch was after my dad and I was trying to save him, but I always woke up before I could. Also one time I remember waking up and my dad was holding me in his arms and breathing really heavily. Do you think I could have been sexually abused and can't remember?

Ben's Answer:

First of all, I have to say one thing very clearly. It is NEVER a therapist's place to tell someone that they were sexually abused as a child, if the person does not remember it. Only you can come to that conclusion, either through your intuition, or your actual remembering.

What you describe as symptoms - your reaction to sexual intimacy (feeling like vommiting, and feeling dirty after sex), and your flashbacks, are the kinds of things that a sexually abused person often experiences as an adult. So I don't think you are wrong for suspecting this. You have a lot of strong symptoms that suggest it.

It is possible to have no memory of early abuse, and I've even seen people who can barely come up with a single memory of their entire childhood before puberty. It's not unusual to completely suppress traumatic memories.

I would strongly recommend that you explore this with a well qualified therapist. It is critical that the therapist know how to work with early sexual abuse trauma, and even more critical that they do not push you, or in any way influence what memories emerge. They should not ask leading questions. It's too easy, in that vulnerable state, to formulate wrong or inaccurate conclusions if a therapist is sharing their own conclusions with you before you've figured out your own reality.

If at all possible, it would serve you best to find a therapist who is also skilled in using Energy Psychology techniques like Meridian Tapping/EFT.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist


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