Full of hate – About childhood sexual abuse

Dear Alice,

I have a problem with hate. I hate my older brother. He molested me when I was young, and now I'm nineteen and I still have to live in the same house as him. My parents know what happened, but they just don't talk about it. I understand that it's hard to deal with. However, I never talk to my brother, and when I move out of my house, I don't plan on ever talking to him again. I don't think this is healthy, but there is nothing that I can do about my hate.

— Full of hate

Dear Full of hate,

You owe it to yourself to find someone you can talk with and work with to help you understand and resolve your feelings, as well as protect yourself. Perhaps you need a plan to help you move out of the house. Clearly, you are angry, hurt, and, perhaps, fearful, and these powerful feelings are translating into hate. It is understandable, since your feelings are most likely the direct result of your molestation; however, these feelings can be destructive to you. That is why it is so important to get the help you need and deserve.

Of course, you need to set your own goals, one of which may be to learn to minimize the hate you feel so that it doesn't interfere with living your life in a rich and satisfying way. Many women and men have been molested by family members, and more people than we realize have been able to find the assistance they need. This assistance has made a huge difference in their ability to live loving, productive, and satisfying lives.

If you are a Columbia student, you can call x4-2878 to make an appointment with one of the therapists at Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS). If you are not a Columbia student, ask your health care provider for the name of a counselor or therapist to talk with. You can tell your provider that something had happened to you that you still have strong feelings about.

If you're female, you could also call a women's hotline or information switchboard in your city to get the name of a professional to work with. Reading Ellen Bass and Laura Davis's book, The Courage to Heal: A Guide to Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse may also be helpful to you.

If you're male, try The National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization (NOMSV) and Men Assisting, Leading, and Educating (M.A.L.E.) at 1.800.738.4181. You can also read Resources for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse and incest in the Emotional Health archive.

Last updated Aug 07, 2011
Originally published Nov 01, 1996

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