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Child Abuse

Effects of Child Abuse

11/17/2000

Question:

I was raped/molested for a very long time as a child; during that time my father died and my mother remarried. I started having sex at 14 yrs old, and I have been in one messed up relationship after another. My question is, could the act of being molested/raped for so long have caused me to think mentally that it`s ok to keep being mistreated my men? I hopefully want to get married on day, but it seems like I keep allowing myself to get in bad relationships with men who only want one thing, and I feel stupid for allowing myself to love this person. Can you please respond back to me as soon as possible? Please I have been dealing with this for so long with out therapuetic help and it`s just eating me up inside, can you please let me know if the molestation and being raped have caused lasting effects on my adult life.

Answer:

It sounds like you have done a lot of thinking about this and the fact that you recognize that you are having problems and want help is a very good thing. The most concerning part of your statement is that you have not yet sought out professional help. I would like to strongly encourage you to contact a mental health professional. I think you would benefit from having someone trained to listen and to help you understand your own behaviors. It is true that patterns of experiences that occur during childhood become familiar, and it is easy to fall into a cycle of repetition as an adult, but it doesn`t have to continue to be that way. It is possible to learn new patterns and really make changes for the better. In addition to discussing issues of past abuse and current relationships, therapy can help to improve self-esteem. Neha Mehta, MD

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Response by:

Robert Shapiro, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati