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Confused And Overwhelmed By My Father's Abuse

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I am a twenty-one-year-old girl. My father has been emotionally abusing me since I was nine. Several times he used physical abuse as well. Many years ago, he once left the bathroom door open after showering and was standing naked. He knew that I was in the house. I came downstairs, saw his backside, then went back upstairs. When I was a teenager, he began to walk around in his underwear in front of me once in a while. It is something that is still occurring. Even though I always knew that the hurtful actions were wrong, it was only last month that I fully came to terms with the fact that I was abused emotionally and physically, so I am still shocked and stunned. I am not sure how to classify what he began to do when I was a teenager. He was always very careless and insensitive, but I don't know if that simple explanation applies to this last part of his behavior. I feel so dirty, disgusted, and mortified knowing that I have seen my father like that, and that it wasn't accidental. I'm very confused and overwhelmed.
Signed: Confused And Overwhelmed By My Father's Abuse

Dear Confused And Overwhelmed By My Father's Abuse,

 

Abuse can take many shapes and forms – but no matter what the abuse looks like, trust is broken, healthy relationship boundaries are crossed, and the person being abused is left in some kind of physical and/or emotional pain and distress. Coming to terms with having been abused and facing an abusive past can be extremely painful, confusing, and overwhelming because of the many thoughts and feelings it brings up – so TeenHealthFX can certainly appreciate what you are going through right now.

 

FX thinks that it is very important that you meet with a therapist who is trained in dealing with adults who have dealt with abuse growing up. It is important that you have the support and guidance of a professional right now to help you through the confusing and overwhelming thoughts and feelings you are undoubtedly experiencing right now. At twenty-one, FX is unsure how much contact you currently have with your father. But if you do have any kind of contact with him, a therapist can also help you to look at how you want to deal with him at this point in a way that feels safe and healthy for you.

 

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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