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Question
My girlfriend was molested at the age of 7 by her stepfather this continued until she was 25. She is having a very rough time dealing with this and when she told me i advised her to report it and to get counseling she refused bc she is now 34 and thinks its too late, i don't think it will ever be too late bc this has ruined her life. So please help me and give me some advice bc just me telling her she doesn't listen. Thank u God Bless

Answer
Hello Bobbie

I agree that it's never too late to get help, and to seek emotional healing from abuse. Eighteen years of sexual abuse is a lot for your girlfriend to deal with, but if she makes up her mind to heal, she can do it.

The important thing for you to know is that she has to want help for herself. Encouragement from you might help, but it could also cause her to become more resistant to the idea. I would tread softly on this topic with her, and allow her time to decide to get help for herself.

You said that when you tell her "she doesn't listen." I suggest you stop telling her, because it sounds like she's already resistant to your efforts to convince her to get help. She knows that help is out there, and when/if she decides to pursue it, she will get much more benefit if it comes from her initiative. She has a rough road ahead of her, whether she decides to do the emotional healing work or not. The best thing for you to do is to love her as she is, without trying to get her to change her behavior in any way.

I have worked with many clients who have been molested, and even those for whom it was a long period of time, I see them making good progress. You can read more about child abuse and recovery here. That page offers some perspective on "inner child work," which in my experience is the best way to recover from abuse.

And as for yourself, Bobbie, the best thing you can do for your girlfriend is to stay focused on your own health and happiness, and make sure your own life is on track with your goals and positive vision for your future. That way you are "leading by example," which is exactly what your girlfriend needs from you right now.

I hope this helps.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Counseling

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William DeFoore, Ph.D.

Expertise

I can answer questions about depression, anxiety, anger issues, marriage issues, parenting, addiction issues and general life coping problems. I will give a positive perspective, offering encouragement and an action plan about the next best steps for you to take.

Experience

I have been in practice as a counselor for over 38 years, working with individuals, couples and families with good results.

Publications
I am the author of: *Anger: Deal With It, Heal With It, Stop It From Killing You. Health Communications, Inc. 2004. *Anger Among Angels: Shedding Light On The Darkness Of The Human Soul. Health Communications, Inc. 2000. *Serai: Bringing The Children Home. Wingspan Press, 2007

Education/Credentials
B.A. in Sociology; M.A. in Clinical Psychology; Ph.D. in Counselor Education; Licensed as a Licensed Professional Counselor

Past/Present Clients
All client information is kept confidential.

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