Woman abused as child needs help to over­come her hangups

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN

DEAR ABBY: I am a 46-year-old woman with PTSD due to a his­tory of phys­i­cal abuse, men­tal abuse and in­cest that I ex­pe­ri­enced as a child. I’m proud to say that it has not been re­peated with my four chil­dren.

My child­hood his­tory has made me want sex only if I am in con­trol or if I am role-play­ing rape. It has caused a big prob­lem with my fi­ance. I want this sce­nario all the time, and un­for­tu­nately it’s un­healthy. I’m not sure how to go about healthy sex with him. He is 10 years older than I am and not in­ter­ested in “dif­fer­ent” sex prac­tices.

I love him very much and don’t want to mess up this re­la­tion­ship be­cause of my sex is­sues. Can you ad­vise me how to han­dle this? — ROLE-PLAY­ING IN ST. PAUL

DEAR ROLE-PLAY­ING: If you haven’t dis­cussed the rea­son for your sex­ual is­sues with your fi­ance, you need to ex­plain the rea­son for them. From your let­ter, I am guess­ing that you never had coun­sel­ing to help you re­solve the abuse to which you were sub­jected. If that’s cor­rect, I am ad­vis­ing you to con­tact RAINN (Rape, Abuse, In­cest Na­tional Net­work; rainn.org) or a lo­cal rape cri­sis or­ga­ni­za­tion and ask for some help now. The coun­selors are spe­cially trained to help vic­tims of var­i­ous kinds of abuse, and the place to start re­solv­ing your is­sues would be there.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a woman in my 30s. My fa­ther has been in prison since I was a tot. I was raised by my mother who, in my opin­ion, did a great job. My re­la­tion­ship with my fa­ther has been dam­aged for as long as I can re­mem­ber. He will never get out, and part of me is an­gry at him for mak­ing such poor life choices.

When I was a teenager he struck me once dur­ing a visit. He is also ma­nip­u­la­tive and some­times does hurt­ful things. For ex­am­ple, a few years ago he wrote me let­ters to which I never re­sponded. When I fi­nally got around to writ­ing him back, he mailed my let­ters back to me (un­opened) and said I de­served to see how it felt to have let­ters go unan­swered.

He has said he’s con­vinced he will die within five years be­cause he’s near­ing the ages when his par­ents died. I think there’s some­thing wrong with him, and I’m afraid that after he passes on I’ll feel like I didn’t make enough of an ef­fort. How do I pro­ceed with my re­la­tion­ship with my fa­ther? — CAU­TIOUS IN THE SOUTH

DEAR CAU­TIOUS: Your fa­ther made ter­ri­ble life choices, and he’s spend­ing the rest of his life pay­ing for them. I don’t blame you for feel­ing anger at his in­abil­ity to par­ent you. How­ever, be­fore ad­vis­ing you to write him off, I would need to know why he lashed out at you dur­ing your prison visit, even though hit­ting is un­ac­cept­able.

When peo­ple are in­car­cer­ated, their abil­ity to reach out is se­verely lim­ited, as I am sure you know all too well. I don’t think the way your fa­ther han­dled your ig­nor­ing his let­ters was bad or wrong. If his si­lence stung you, imag­ine how yours af­fected him.

Whether or not your fa­ther is dy­ing is be­side the point. I think on some level you know you have to treat him with more com­pas­sion than you have, or you wouldn’t have writ­ten to me. I don’t know any­one who hasn’t made mis­takes. Your fa­ther made a doozy. But you say your mother raised you right, and if that’s true it couldn’t hurt to treat him with some com­pas­sion.

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