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Old 09-14-2012, 08:53 AM
 
850 posts, read 1,381,419 times
Reputation: 1218

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I have a really weird problem. When I was 9, my "favorite" cousin, sexually abused me. She was 2 yrs older than me so she was 11. At the time, I wasn't aware of what was really happending and how it would affect me.

We rarely saw each other over the next 40 yrs. She got married, had 3 kids. I also went on with my life too. I never spoke about what happened until about 10 yrs ago when I talked to a couple therapists about it. Both said it was sexual abuse.

No one in my family knows about this incident.

Now, this cousin and my only sister have become fast friends. To the point of emailing, going on vacation together, everything. Yes this bothers me but as long as I don't have to look at her, I don't care.

My sister and I do not have a close relationship. She annoys me and I annoy her. I have learned to keep my distance from her because she constantly puts me down and treats me with disrespect. (Let me clarify that my sister never sexually abused me.) We just have a rivalry that is probably normal or syblings.

Now, my sisters oldest son is getting married and she has invited my cousin and her husband to the wedding. They will be staying at my sisters house.

I am stressing out about spending time with this abuser. She will be here for a few days so other than the wedding, I will probably have to go to other events with this sicko. Do I really have to act like everything is fine and she's a good person and I'm happy to see her?

I have never spoken to this sicko cousin about what she did, and I never want to. I just want her to go away and never come near me again.

I am dreading this whole weekend. Other than numbing myself with alcohol and medication, what can I do?
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:00 AM
 
28,900 posts, read 48,697,093 times
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Look, I don't want to minimize your trauma here. I really don't. But when I read the word abuser in your thread, I was expected to read about a grown man who had molested you in your youth. That would be an easy question to answer. But I think we should consider that this was an 11-year-old girl. Perhaps she's an utterly different person today. Maybe she went too far with her childhood curiosity. For children lack judgment, and she obviously did in this situation. Maybe it's time to find out if she has changed or possibly even wants your forgiveness.
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:15 AM
 
13,221 posts, read 16,538,527 times
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cpg35223 is right luckygirl15....it was a loooong time ago...she was only 11, she's a grown woman now....I don't understand how you could let something that happened between two very young children 40 years ago still control your life....If the therapists you spoke to had told you what happened was to do with normal childhood curiosity, would you still feel the same.....your cousin is not a sicko....why would you hold a 40plus year old woman accountable for something she did at 11 years.....if you can't forget it, at least forgive her, and move on with your life, and quit dwelling on the paaaaast...it's only a problem in YOUR mind, and that is weird alright.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:27 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,338 posts, read 15,859,591 times
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I am so going to disagree with the above 2 posters, luckygirl on the issue of how you feel about the cousin. Sometimes what may seem an innocuous "children will be children" behavior can be far more. Plus, children can and do bury their "dirty little secrets" and they pop out of nowhere somewhere as adults. Once released, and relived, that "experimenting" or whatever behavior can be quite traumatic.

However, it is important to focus on the situation at hand and on the importance of the event. You do not have to gush all over the cousin, to pretend you want to be best buddies, or anything like that; but I do think, for your nephew's sake, it would be best to at least be civilly polite. Avoid her company as best you can, find other places to be. If you are married, enlist your husband's help in extricating yourself from situations or making excuses to leave, etc.

I had to deal with that issue at my father's funeral. Half the family was unaware that I had been sexually abused by an uncle and the other half chose to pretend it didn't happen. My (now ex-) husband and my sons were instrumental in keeping this man from approaching me. He even had cousins and aunts telling me he wanted to talk with me. He never got the chance and no scene was made. Every move he made towards me was blocked and no one was the wiser. And I didn't have to stress beyond dealing with my father's funeral.

So you CAN do this. Do it for you. It will be important later to know that you handled it with social grace. Deal with your own issues in private. Have someone nearby you can talk to. If not a relative or close friend, then call the Rape Crisis Center in that town and have their number in your speed dial so you have someone to talk with when it gets to you.

I wish you the best.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:34 AM
 
850 posts, read 1,381,419 times
Reputation: 1218
It was more than childhood curiosity. Without going into too much detail, this person abused me sexually. I spoke to 2 therapists about it and they agreed it was more than childhood curiosity and that it was abuse.

The problem is that a line was crossed to my personal boundries, my respect and dignity. I idolized her and she hurt me. I never told anyone and tried to bury it. It came out later in my teenage years as promiscuity because I only felt that I could get close to people by being sexual with them. Let me be clear that this had nothing to do with love or caring.

I have always had a hard time trusting and getting close to people. When I was a child, I was always happy. After this experience, I withdrew and became depressed.

She is a sicko. She may be older now but what she did was wrong. Who knows how many other little girls she abused.

I just need some advice on how to handle seeing her again.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:38 AM
 
850 posts, read 1,381,419 times
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NY Annie. Thank you for understanding. I was almost afraid to post because of the subject matter. I am sorry to hear what happened to you too.

You gave some good advice and I will use it. Thank you.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:39 AM
 
35,106 posts, read 43,452,960 times
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She is going to be at the wedding so just accept that and move forward. Just because you are both there does not mean you have to socialize with her. If she walks up to you to chat just walk away. If your sister gets involved either tell her or don't but it really is none of her business why you are avoiding this person. The only other thing you can do is not go to the wedding.
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NY born & raised!
2,633 posts, read 4,104,433 times
Reputation: 3552
I imagine you probably did like most, suppressed the hurt, the anger and all of the feelings involved for years, and you expressed it by being promiscuous, like you said. And then years later is when we make the correlation that certain events led to certain behaviors without us knowing it.

Even worse, is when we suppress things for so many years, that when it does rear its ugly head we end up being more angry about it and don't even know why. So while yes, it may have indeed happened years ago, we find that we never fully had closure about it, never got all of our feelings and hurt off our chest, at least not to the person in question.

If you have the strength to do it, I say pull your cousin aside and have a talk. It might be hard, but considering there may very well be other events you will find yourself in close proximity, better to get it over with now instead of trying to avoid the person the rest of your life.

Or just avoid her if that is far more comfortable to you. I didn't have that luxury, so I had no choice but to confront the person, but I feel a lot better that I did it.

Good luck, no matter what you decide.
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:25 PM
 
676 posts, read 1,119,190 times
Reputation: 1128
Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
I am so going to disagree with the above 2 posters, luckygirl on the issue of how you feel about the cousin. Sometimes what may seem an innocuous "children will be children" behavior can be far more. Plus, children can and do bury their "dirty little secrets" and they pop out of nowhere somewhere as adults. Once released, and relived, that "experimenting" or whatever behavior can be quite traumatic.

However, it is important to focus on the situation at hand and on the importance of the event. You do not have to gush all over the cousin, to pretend you want to be best buddies, or anything like that; but I do think, for your nephew's sake, it would be best to at least be civilly polite. Avoid her company as best you can, find other places to be. If you are married, enlist your husband's help in extricating yourself from situations or making excuses to leave, etc.

I had to deal with that issue at my father's funeral. Half the family was unaware that I had been sexually abused by an uncle and the other half chose to pretend it didn't happen. My (now ex-) husband and my sons were instrumental in keeping this man from approaching me. He even had cousins and aunts telling me he wanted to talk with me. He never got the chance and no scene was made. Every move he made towards me was blocked and no one was the wiser. And I didn't have to stress beyond dealing with my father's funeral.

So you CAN do this. Do it for you. It will be important later to know that you handled it with social grace. Deal with your own issues in private. Have someone nearby you can talk to. If not a relative or close friend, then call the Rape Crisis Center in that town and have their number in your speed dial so you have someone to talk with when it gets to you.

I wish you the best.
This is good, sound advice. Also, if you don't already have plans to stay at a hotel instead of your sister's home, please make reservations. It will give you a place to go to get away from her at the end of the day and at any other time.

Do you have friends in the city where the wedding is? Are there sightseeing attractions there? If so, spend some time away from your family with your friends and taking in the sights.

If you aren't married or in a relationship, I would suggest bringing a supportive friend with you who can run interference.
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:29 PM
 
676 posts, read 1,119,190 times
Reputation: 1128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss J 74 View Post
I imagine you probably did like most, suppressed the hurt, the anger and all of the feelings involved for years, and you expressed it by being promiscuous, like you said. And then years later is when we make the correlation that certain events led to certain behaviors without us knowing it.

Even worse, is when we suppress things for so many years, that when it does rear its ugly head we end up being more angry about it and don't even know why. So while yes, it may have indeed happened years ago, we find that we never fully had closure about it, never got all of our feelings and hurt off our chest, at least not to the person in question.

If you have the strength to do it, I say pull your cousin aside and have a talk. It might be hard, but considering there may very well be other events you will find yourself in close proximity, better to get it over with now instead of trying to avoid the person the rest of your life.

Or just avoid her if that is far more comfortable to you. I didn't have that luxury, so I had no choice but to confront the person, but I feel a lot better that I did it.

Good luck, no matter what you decide.
While this may work, also be prepared for the possibility your cousin will deny it. If you've healed enough to handle that possibility, by all means, confronting her on it might help. But if you're not ready for it, as Miss J said, avoiding her may be better. Are you still in therapy? You may want to talk it over with your therapist.
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