Dear Abby: Childhood abuse led woman to promiscuity

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I was molested by my sister’s husband in 1959. I was 5 years old. Growing up in the late ’50s and ’60s, sexual abuse was never discussed in my parents’ home. It just wasn’t done then. Of course, my brother-in-law told me it was “our little secret.”

This has affected my entire life. I didn’t get counseling for it because I didn’t remember it. I became promiscuous at a young age, but I cannot remember any of the sexual episodes. I have been with several thousand men and don’t remember any of them.

I came up with a theory that each time, I went into a “fugue state.” I understand it’s common in children who are molested young. I am horribly ashamed of my behavior, and I beg God nightly for forgiveness.

I’m married with a 29-year-old son, and my husband and son know all about my activities during our entire marriage. I have been chaste now for more than a year and doing my best to not “fall off the wagon.”

My sister and her husband are now elderly, but I still want to tell her that he abused me. He also abused his adopted daughter, who ran away when she was 14. Should I tell my sister about what he did to me, or must I take it to my grave? (We are already estranged.)

— Surviving in Texas

Dear Surviving: I am truly sorry for what you experienced and how it has affected your life, and I congratulate you for your year of sobriety. That said, I think you would benefit from talking to a mental health professional about this before deciding whether to tell your sister. I say this for your sake, not hers.

If she remained with her husband after he assaulted her young teenaged daughter (!), it won’t come as a total shock to her. However, she may be so calloused or deeply in denial that she won’t react or apologize, so do not expect it.

Dear Abby: My husband wants us to go to nudist resorts. We are both in our 70s and very out of shape. He is extremely overweight and old looking. Everything hangs. He has been rude and nasty to me because I always say no. I’m too old to leave him. We can’t keep fighting over this. He is also very unhealthy. Help! Please give me some advice.

— Clothing Not Optional

Dear C.N.O.: I’ll try. Naturist or clothing-optional resorts are not what you may think they are. They are patronized by families and individuals of every shape, size and age.

In the interest of peace in your household, please do some research. Your husband is unwell, and you belong with him. You will not be the exception, you will be the norm and you will not be judged. Try it once and you will see that when the clothes come off, we are all variations on one grand design -- even if some of the moving parts sag a little.

Dear Abby: My husband left me stranded at the train station with no way to get home as a punishment for my daughter’s behavior. He said it was because I never take him seriously, and I should live with the consequences. I feel he crossed a very big boundary with this, and I’m considering leaving him. Am I wrong?

— Stranded in California

Dear Stranded: I don’t think so. But before visiting a divorce lawyer, it might be better to consult a licensed marriage and family therapist to see if you and your husband can find a more effective way to communicate.

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