Comments for Was masturbating in childhood a sign that I was sexually abused?

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Apr 14, 2008
I recommend counselling...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

It is perfectly normal for even very young children to masturbate. When a child discovers his/her private parts and further discovers how good it can feel to experiment with touch, masturbation can become a regular event in a child's life. When your mother caught you at such a young age and told that doing what you were doing was "disgusting," she left you with deep feelings of guilt and shame. That could be why you felt "horrible and sick." Parents should understand that their own reactions need to be kept in check, and that they need to stay calm when they observe their child in what we as adults consider a sexual act. When a child is made to feel shame for doing something that is perfectly natural, it can seriously impede the healthy sexual development of that child.

Some children masturbate as "comforting behaviour" when they are dealing with traumatic events or with things they are ill equipped to deal with. Masturbating feels good so it helps to mask the pain of whatever they are coping with. And yes, excessive masturbation CAN be a sign of sexual abuse, but I give heavy emphasis to the words CAN BE. While the "comforting behaviour" MAY be due to molestation, other signs should be considered in combination to determine whether or not the child has been or is being molested.

You stated: "I've suffered chronic depression since I was a young child. I would sleep and sometimes hide for comfort and security." Suffering with long-lasting depression, feeling the need to hide and seek comfort; counselling is what I recommend. A counsellor can help you deal with the turmoil and confusion you are now experiencing, and may also be able to help with your chronic depression.

I also refer you to a couple of replies I've posted to others on this site. In both of my comments, you might find something applicable to your situation. Just click onto the link, and then once you get to the specified page, scroll down to the bottom to read what I've written:

  • Darlene's comments titled A coping mechanism dated Jan 25, 2008 in response to the question: No memory of childhood; is this common?

  • Darlene's comments titled Some clarifications... dated Mar 29, 2008 in response to the question: Why am I only now bothered by possible past sexual abuse?

    Darlene Barriere
    Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
    Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

  • Apr 14, 2008
    Two of my friends were in no doubt involved in sexual abuse
    by: Anonymous

    Darlene,I was not surprised of what you said about my mother, she contuinly did this until I was in my teens. At that time I forgot about my past and moved on and I become increasely interested in boys. But When I was between 9 and 13 I had a friend who's parent own a vegie store and I used to go over there to play. One occassion my friend was showing me poronography videos and I got really interested in it but at the same time, I thought this is not for us, when my friend mother walked in, she told my friend off for showing it to me and the mother told my friend that it was only for her with her mum and step dad. I immediately thought, this girl could not possibly be suffereing from a degree of child abuse, I was angry and wanted to get up and say something, but being young and vunernable was hopeless to me to do anything about it. I did tell my mother about it, but she just shrudded off and said nothing. I was left thinking, oh so this is my fault. Sometime I wished I had said nothing. From there then on, I distance myself from my friendship with her through only at school. She now suffer alot of problems. Another friend of mine, Sally* who's lived with her only father, her mother left her when she was only a baby. One day when I was there, I can remember her father asking her to go in to his bedroom, when she went to go in there I felt a dreadful thoughts in my head because I knew he was strange... Again nother one. This time, my mother said I was no longer to go over there because of the situation but no reports made.
    From my own experience, thank you darlene for explaining it to me, however I have had counselling in the past about my depression, but I forgot about the past of chidhood it wasn't till I started writing my book few years back about my childhood and then doing this course it was like a "wake up call" about my experience.
    Again, I will get counselling and support of my action to avoid any damamging emotions that I may have in counselling and working with people in future. There are some people in my class with some problems too and it is good to know that without feeling ashame doing this course because it is my heart, I love people and cared deeply. This is why I want to help others
    I will send you an another email to let you know my outcome in order hopefully to help others out there.

    Cheers.

    Jan 03, 2013
    been there, done this
    by: someofusarebrave

    What I have to report to you is that IF YOU BELIEVE YOU WERE SEXUALLY ABUSED, then unless you have some other obvious symptom of genuine insanity which would lead you to question your own mental competence--I'm talking 'complete mental break with reality' level of mental competence--it really happened.
    I struggled for years with "whether" I was sexually abused; I've finally come to terms with the fact that in fact I know damn well it happened..I've just gotten so good at dissociating ["spacing out"] in order to protect my abusers from my desire to tell someone, anyone, about what happened to me that I had myself halfway convinced it didn't happen too.
    We convince ourselves it didn't happen so we can protect them, but we are NEVER wrong. It is NOT normal to fantasize about abusive sexual practices being done to you; those who believe it is are trying to assuage their own guilt about living in a society where such a large percentage of kids are abused on a regular basis, yet doing nothing about it.
    I also masturbated compulsively; I didn't remember why, I just felt I couldn't stop.
    I realize now that every time I felt triggered to remember what was being done to me, I started masturbating to hurt myself enough to stave off the feelings of safety which led me to relax enough to experience the flashbacks. I was retraumatizing myself by masturbating.
    DO NOT LET THIS GO ON. Blocking these memories is a huge waste of energy, meanwhile inventing ever more elaborate fantasies regarding why you believe you were abused is a waste of your creativity. You deserve to live a whole, integrated life, complete. You can't do that while repressing this part of yourself.


    Jan 03, 2013
    There is hope!!
    by: someofusarebrave

    WHAT I SUGGEST: remember the last time you felt genuinely safe, then go back there, if you can; if not, recreate that experience as best you can.
    When you've done that, close your eyes, count to ten [it helps if you have somebody nearby you trust not to take advantage of you regardless how vulnerable you become while doing this exercise] while you breathe deeply into your body or, if you cannot feel your body/that feels too scary [don't worry if it does! this will change, in good time] simply feel the ground beneath you 'n breathe into that feeling instead. Ask the ground to hold you then, as you allow yourself to breathe slowly, ask yourself if there is anything you want to tell yourself. You will likely make contact with someone who feels small, innocent, vulnerable--that's you, the parts of you that you've been pretending didn't exist for a long time so as to avoid feeling your rage at what whomever did to this child. Tell her that whatever she needs, you want to provide; that you are very, very sorry that what happened to her did; that you want to know about it to help her, but that you will wait until she feels safe enough with you, until she trusts you enough, to want to tell you what these things were.
    She will tell you what she needs next; just keep on giving them to her, however strange they might sound to you, until she feels safe enough to tell you everything. She will, eventually.
    Your job is to take care of her like you wish someone had taken care of you, to protect her.
    Your job is to meet her needs like no one did for you in the ways you needed when you were young. As much as possible, for the moment-make that your only emotional obligation.
    Talk to your friends so they understand, in as much or as little detail as you want; any friends who make it clear they can't handle you devoting most of your energy to meeting your own emotional needs rather than theirs right now, immediately dump--one of my great regrets is holding onto these emotionally abusive friendships while trying to heal, which made my healing process take way longer than it needed to by distracting me. Also step away from your relationships with your parents 'n anyone else you knew as a kid as much as you can, to get the perspective that only comes with distance.
    Don't be afraid.
    Also--prayer is NEVER a bad idea.=

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