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ask dr-robert ask psychologist todos santos ask psychologist dr robert saltzman

First and foremost, id like to tell you how much i appreciate what you are doing. The advice you have given to other people have actually been of much use to me.

Pardon me if this is long but i feel like i should really explain my life for you to understand why i am so confused.

My entire life i have been raised in a very religious family, and my parents have raised me and my two sisters very strictly. Which by the way, i am the middle child. As a child, i was fairly happy. I was much too young at the time to know much about how my parents marriages and what not were going but i do remember alot about my sister. When we were children, from about the time i was 4 till about 8, we used to "touch" each other. I know from previous questions youve answered, this is natural for young children as part of sexual experimentation.

My older sister is four years older than me though and alot of times i told her i didnt want to. Occasionally i would just go along with it though because i was curious and wanted to do it. Other times, she would say things such as, "If you dont do it, ill tell dad about what you did last week, " or "If you dont, ill spank you." Which brings me to another point, when we were young from the time i was about four to eleven, she used to give me "spankings" and beat me with belts.

So my first question is, can this be considered abuse or molestation at all? I suppose i wish it could be even it isnt, because alot of times i felt she was forcing me, yet i still feel VERY guilty and sick about all of it. Do you think this might be why i am such a sexual person now?

Also, through out my life, i have always been more or less, ignored. My two other sisters have always had the spotlight on them, and i was always the problem child. In fact, this was such a problem that i would act out on my impulses to gain attention in school that i tried drugs and was even messing around with boys who were almost twice my age. This lead to my dad abusing me on more than a few occasions.

By abuse i mean he would beat me with the belt till i had bruises. Sometimes slap me, back hand me, and once or twice he has even punched me. Not only did i have all of those problems, but my parents have always had a rocky marriage. My mom is an alcoholic and when i was 12 i acted out ONE time with my little sister as my older sister did and kissed her in an inappropriate matter.

I also have had horrible self image problems for the past four years because my weight and looks. This lead to cutting myself and now i drink alot to deal with my problems.

Can you try to explain some of my behavior out to me and explain what is and what isnt abuse?

thank you!


Thanks for your appreciation of my site.

You certainly have had a rough time of it. To answer your question about what is abuse and what isn't: Your father's beating on you was a horrible form of abuse. As far as the situation with your sister, if you feel that you have been abused, you have been.

But all that is in the past. What is needed now is for you to get proper treatment for your present problems, including, as you wrote, drugs, inappropriate sex, overweight, lack of self-esteem, and cutting.

Although you feel that reading my answers here on the ask the psychologist page is helpful to you, it is definitely not enough. You need to speak with someone trained in helping people with the kinds of problems which are troubling you. Please seek out this kind professional help as soon as possible.

Be well.

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page last modified November 20, 2006

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