Coming to grips with multiple traumas as a child


After 6 months of weekly therapy with a really insightful therapist I am trying to come to grips with what I have learned were multiple traumas in my youth. For over 45 years I never told a sole but new inside that I was damaged by abuse of a pedophile from 10-12. I have lived with the self blame my whole life for never speaking up and telling anyone so they could protect me. Yes this trauma on its own would likely lead to many problems but what I learned is that what followed were additional traumas from 13-19 that compounded and made the overall damage more severe that left me damaged beyond my realization.

Basically a series of unstable life events and the lack of guidance and oversight to help me make important life decisions. Instead due to many issues that I am beginning to come to grips with about my youth and how I was raised pretty much left me to raise myself and to make life setting decisions without the guidance and support most children, including my own have.

The problem I have is why did this happen? My parents (both whom have passed) were probably focused on my brother (4 years older) and issues he had and I believe unintentionally sort of left me to fend for myself, maybe because it appeared from the outside that I was all good and could take care of myself. I believe due to guilt or a sense of obligation they focused all their efforts on my brother. When my brother was about 14 he found his adoption papers, my parents never told him he was adopted. I think this led to a lot of the lack of oversight for me. My parents were having their own issues and divorced when I was 13.

Below are some of the thoughts and memories that leak out and with a new understanding from therapy, some of it makes sense but most still leaves me bewildered. Here are some of the items that have been racing around my head as I try to understand. Before listing so as not to give an overly slanted view I must say that as an adult I grew very close to both my parents and treasured those years. My mother lived with my wife and I in the last 6 years of her life and was an amazing grandmother to our kids and they were very close. I also took care of both parents financially in the later years of their lives and was glad to be able to do it.

In looking back with a clearer view here are some of the issues that caused me damage. I am not saying it is all their fault, as you will see I am indeed culpable because for every instance I list I never raised my hand to ask for help.

1. I was the victim of a criminal pedophile for 2 years and never told my parents, so there was no way for them to rectify because I never said anything
2. From about 13-19 I was a heavy drug user and no one ever asked or said anything to me?
3. While my brother participated in all kinds of activities like boy scouts and summer camp, I was not offered those options
4. My brother had crooked teeth and had braces for 4 years. Although not as bad, I had dental issues that braces would have fixed but I was not offered them
5. My brother graduated HS (same one all 4 years) and then went to college. He wanted to go to University of Miami which was expensive, my dad cashed in a retirement account to give him that opportunity, he flunked out the first year.
6. I went to 3 different HS in 3 states and was never encouraged to go to college and was never asked if I applied or provided help or guidance. I never went to college and it has made my life much more difficult

For my entire life I have been blaming myself for all of the above and much, much more. With help I am learning that not all of it was my fault but I know that the lifetime of self blame has created significant emotional and physical problems for me. I am having difficulty even writing this because it takes me to some really dark places and thoughts but I guess a journey I need to take.

There are many more significant examples but basically I was sort of on my own and made so many mistakes. Am I a bad person because of all the things I did and did not do?


Am I a bad person because of all the things I did and did not do?
No idea.

Here’s a question for you? Would you shoot your child if they didn’t go to college? Would that rate standing them up against a wall for?

Some people would say, yes. Others, no. Does it make the child a bad person for not doing what their parent wanted? Does it make their parent a bad person for ending the life of their child? Some would say yes, others would say no.

What defines a bad person? Someone who was raped? Someone who raped others? Someone whose parents didn’t pave their way? Someone whose parents did pave their way? A parent who doesn’t facilitate the best life for their child? A parent who doesn’t trust their child to make their own decisions as they grow up?

The things you’ve shared about you & you life... in no way inform me if ***I*** would view you as a bad person. Nothing positive. Nothing negative. For others? What you’ve shared would condemn you, or glorify you.

Deciding for YOURSELF what makes a bad person? And where you fit on that spectrum? Will be infinitely more valuable to you than whatever anyone else values, or takes points from


Deciding for YOURSELF what makes a bad person? And where you fit on that spectrum?
Actually that is sort of what I fear because I have been blaming myself my whole life, not sure I am a good judge of my own guilt.

Would you shoot your child if they didn’t go to college?
Obviously not but I made sure both my children did go to college and understood from when they were young children you go to elementary school, then middle school, then high school and then college. I both encouraged them and supported them, got them prep tests for SAT's and paid for their college and expenses so they could focus on school. My son is an economist and has a Masters, my daughter is a PHD in higher education.

I wish someone had done this for me :-(


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I think it is that wish! we, most adults, have to wrestle with all our lives. A question may be asked, given all you have been through, and having all the limitations you were not even aware of and how far you have come that (it seems you have pride and pleasure at your children having accomplishments), what can you glean from your past to put you on this path? We always gain and lose and it is hard for us to know when we are surviving...but now you are sifting through layers of life experience! it aint easy!

The weird thing about therapy is that you are learning a lot of things most people learn at very young age. I do not want to assume but it seems you probably taught your kids what it means to be a good vs bad the appropriate times and today they may not struggle with that.... You are struggling that basic am I good or bad cause you missed the developmental level of it or were hiding in survival mode? Therapy, by the nature of the relationship, sort of regresses people to make certain thing rework or reconstruct our memories. I am always envious of those who may have children and if they miss a phase, they can rework it through with their own children - consciously of course....most parents are just winging it...but a lot of people also do it unconsciously correcting their ways...

You are in the trends of self-discovery...the fun and the dangerous potholes....hope you have one person in your life that is a true friend! nice to have a bit of reality check after therapy so we do not lose our grounds while looking for something lost long time ago!