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"I have always had a kind of bad family situation. My mom is well I guess the closest word to describing it would be crazy and I met my dad once when I was about 6 or 7 I think and haven't seen him since. I was taken away from my mother when I was a few weeks old because she wasn't taken care of me and I was then put in my grandparents care, well mostly my grandmothers because when I was about 5 my grandfather had a stroke and suffered brain damage leaving him with the mentality of pretty much a child.Living there my mom would come by every once and a while sometimes stay for a couple days and then leave for weeks. When I was about 10 my grandmother found out she had breast cancer, she went through the chemo and surgery but she was just getting worse and was unable to take care of me and my grandfather anymore so I was sent to live with my cousins that I had spent a few weekends here and there with.
My grandmothers house wasn't really a good place for a child, with my mother there talking about people taking her wheels and saying she was going to take me "home" when she got a place, and with one of my uncles(now deceased) who was homeless and a druggie, there was people coming through that house that weren't the best for a child to be around.
My question has to do with, I have this strong feeling that one of my other uncles let's call him Bob, I just don't know why but I have this strong feeling that he did something to me, i'm not really sure what exactly, either him making me touch him or him touching me or what. I just remember when my grandmother was in the hospital I was just mean to him specifically when he would tell me to do things such as come and eat dinner or go to sleep and I just had this strong feeling against anything he said.
Well I am 19 now and my cousin/mom was talking with my cousin/dad and he was like there were so many bad people going through that house when she was living there, how do we know that she wasn't sexually abused, and she told him that well if she was she might not even remember it. She told me about this and I was like yeah I don't remember anything really but I was also so young that I don't remember a lot of stuff from when I was living there. I think that is what has got me thinking a lot about it.
Also most of the time after me and my boyfriend have sex, I just feel really sad afterward and I just want to curl up in a ball and lay there.  Also if we are in like the middle of something, and he does something accidentally that makes it hurt I just try to get away from him and face the wall but I have no idea why. He recently asked me why after we have sex that I always want to like curl up in a ball and I was like I don't really know, I think that has also got me thinking that maybe it has something to do with "bob".
I guess the question is really is there anything you think I can do to determine if anything really happened? Maybe I remember since I have such a strong feeling against him maybe my mind is just blocking out any of those memories because of how bad it was and is there anything I can do to maybe unblock it? Maybe you have an insight on it being about something else rather than abuse?

Also I can't talk to my uncle "bob" about it because he is in jail for stabbing a woman and there isn't anybody left really from my childhood that I can talk to about it because my mom was rarely there and my grandparents and uncles are now deceased.
- Signed

Hi Veronica - I felt sad reading your story. Two reactions:

1] I'm pretty sure you and each of your parents, and "Bob" are "Grown Wounded Children" [GWCs]:

If so, I encourage you to patiently learn how to reduce your inherited psychological wounds by studying this free online "lesson":

I also encourage your boyfriend to study and discuss it with you, because we GWCs usually choose each other as partners.

I also suggest you consider hiring a veteran therapist who specializes in assessing possible childhood sexual abuse. There's a lot of useful info on the Web about this complex topic, and there are resources like Web sites, books, and groups to help recover from it. Try searching the Web on "symptoms of childhood sexual abuse" and see what you get.  

Another possibility: inner-family therapy ["parts work"] may help you discover a repressed young part of your personality who causes you to curl up and feel sad.

I applaud you for seeking help on this, Veronica. If you have questions about any of these resources, please ask!

Compassionately, Pete


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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