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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5840
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I would like to know if a situation I was in when I was 9

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I would like to know if a situation I was in when I was 9 years old would be considered abusive. My two cousins (2 and 3 years older than me) would touch me sexually, and I seemed to go along with it. There was no kissing or affection involved. It has not really bothered me over the years, but as I get older and look back at my earlier life, for many years I was involved with men who were not affectionate in relationships. I am happily married now and very happy, but this issue is on my mind. I would appreciate some clarification. Thank you in advance.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
What you describe is sexual abuse. Anytime someone touches you inappropriately and without your consent, it is abuse, especially if you are a child at the time. No child should ever be touched sexually for any reason. At the age of 9 you were not only unable to defend yourself but also not able to consent. Most children at that age know some about sexuality but not enough to understand if someone does abuse them. All they know is that they feel bad and uncomfortable, maybe fearful and anxious as well.
It sounds like the abuse may have affected your ability to be close to men over the years. The distance that is created when you are with someone who is not affectionate can provide a barrier between you, making you feel safer. It is also a way to protect yourself from having to be close to someone and re experience the feelings you had when your cousins touched you.
It is a good sign that you found happiness in your marriage. It could be that you dealt with your feelings over the years finding a way to put what happened to you in perspective. If you were raised in a loving family and felt cared for, what happened to you might not have had the impact on you that it would have if it happened in other circumstances. However, if you feel concerned or just want to talk it out with someone, consider seeing a therapist. It can give you a chance to process what occurred and rest your mind about the effects on you.
I hope this has helped you,
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