Childhood Childhood Sexual Assault- Fuzzy Memory

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt deep down that my step dad molested and raped me between the ages of 3-5 years old. I get flash backs of memories often, but they are scattered and in bits. I have a hard time with them, as I don’t know if they actually happened or not. I also had a pretty good relationship with him over the years (I’m 21 now) and I grew up wanting him to be my dad, trying to make him proud, etc. But in the back of my mind, I always had these memories and thoughts, as well as weird feelings when we were around each other like sexual feelings that made me feel disgusted and icky.

Recently, we’ve become estranged and the flashbacks are becoming more vivid and my gut has been telling me that it did in fact happen. But I feel confused because I don’t understand how I could have or have wanted such a close relationship with someone who hurt me and who made me uncomfortable? Or how I didn’t speak of this to my mom?

Does anyone else feel this way about their CSA or has anyone else experienced this?
I had something similar. Strange bits of memory that I couldn’t really understand and misinterpreted. I lived with my dad pretty much all my adult life. I was married for three years and then invited him and my mom to live with me and my husband and kids. I was married for 15 years.
how I could have or have wanted such a close relationship with someone who hurt me and who made me uncomfortable? Or how I didn’t speak of this to my mom?
I wanted a close relationship with my dad and made it as close as I could. Strangely, but logically in hindsight, even when I was the closest to him there was still a huge disconnect. Something I learned in my recovery is that it’s normal for a victim of ongoing abuse to become enmeshed with their abuser as a survival tactic. The more you mirror or simulate them the less chance they will abuse you (in any way)—it’s kind of like psychological camouflage.

My dad sexually abused me when I was a baby and then only sexualized me after that. It’s really hard to separate out abuse from caretaking when it happens at such a young age from a caregiver. And if they stop doing the sexual abuse before you are able to talk and narrate your life it’s even harder to understand the actions as abuse. Because when you’re a baby and toddler there’s a whole lot of things that are normal parts of caregiving that would be considered embarrassing or strange to an older child or a teen or adult. There’s no need to tell a baby not to tell anyone.

My case is unique because I had confirmation from my dad forty years after it happened. Somehow my mind put together a crystal clear memory of what happened one time and I had the experience and competence to finally understand what was actually happening. When he was confronted with the information by my mom he admitted to it. Not typical. But he wasn’t neurotypical.

Most of the people I’ve met in recovery for pre-verbal sexual abuse where it stopped before the age of around 4 or 5 have no confirmation and are just going on those bits of memory and strange feelings they have. They become a detective of their own life—and it can drive a person to maddening heights and mucky depths without a guide like a therapist to help regulate.

My best advice is to explore those memories slowly with a therapist. For me, beyond that memory which he confirmed I had others which were unconfirmed. And I also had lots of physical abuse and emotional manipulation. Then there was the abuse-enabling dynamic of my parents. Some sibling abuse. Sexual abuse from people in my community because I was like emanating the vibes of someone who abusers could prey on. And then marrying a narcissistic sex addict. All of that was collateral. And my dad’s dad was a way worse pedophile than him toward my aunt, so there was the generational level.

I am really yammering on! What I found is the best way to go about facing my repressed memories is one: build up those coping skills. Starting with the tiniest ones. Two: run little experiments on how my symptoms change as I talk about the memory fragments. One big hurdle is whether or not I accepted them to be true. That’s just the first hurdle. And it will circle back even after I’ve accepted it. It’s an ongoing process, which I think happens with other traumas too. Human body-minds generally do not like accepting that trauma happened and there are lots of mechanisms in place to block that process.

It’s possible that these memory fragments are non-traumatic events that got mixed up with your psycho-sexual development. Sometimes I would have memories and be sure they were abuse and my T would say they were just normal things.

Also, I had a handful of T’s that told me I wasn’t abused at all, but that was when I wasn’t fully aware of what was happening in the memory. That was painful and confusing, but still an important part of my story, as it helps illustrate how difficult it is to find the true meaning in memory fragments.
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