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ADVICE: AUNTIE AGNI

February 10, 2019

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Hello Dear Auntie!
I am 22 and graduated college with a distinction. It has been a long journey and, at every step, I lost a bit of my soul and myself to a number of haunting things. One of my close family members, my cousin, had malicious intentions and I barely escaped sexual abuse when I was only 13. I was never courageous enough to tell my family. Since then, everything has gone wrong and my life became a series of depressive episodes, guilt, misery, suicide attempts and, above all, an extreme lack of trust even for my closest family members.

The poison got in my veins and I finally started spitting it out. I turned into one horribly miserable girl. I know that I am a survivor and nothing really happened to me physically, but it still resides in the inner-most depths of my soul.

Then a miracle happened for me. I found this man who was decent, humble and soft-spoken. He jumped into my life in the most unconventional way possible. I told him all my secrets and he stood by me like a rock. He motivated and inspired me. Above all, he restored my faith in the goodness of men. I never had a traditional man/woman relationship with him. It’s only been two months since I told him about my love for him, but we have been friends for five years.

‘Is there a way out for me?’

I have made him miserable with my depression. I would take sleeping pills and hurt myself while he was on the phone with me, and he would beg me not to harm myself. I love him so much that I would never want to hurt him. I am not sure if he loves me or not, but I am sure that he cares about me, more than most people around me. The problem is that I desperately want him to be a permanent part of my life, yet I hate the idea of making him miserable. I am tired of holding pain and hatred in my heart and soul for so long. I want to forgive as I am tired of hating.

I want to let go of all the gloom and be what he wishes me to be. I know what to do, but I still do not know how I am going to do it. I am going to leave him and I want someone more rational and normal than me to tell me the best course of action. Is there a way out for me, Auntie?
Traumatised

Dear Survivor,
You have been traumatised by the events in your life. I am not sure if it is possible to totally recover from the trauma each of us faces in our lives; however, many people who have been through distressing experiences learn to survive it. How much the upsetting incidents, including the abuse, affect you today depends on what exactly happened. Other things that affect the incident’s impact depends on your age at the time, how close you were to the abuser, whether you were able to talk to anyone about it and whether you were believed, etc. Each case is unique and there are many factors involved.

In the nine years since the incident, I think I can safely assume that you didn’t tell anyone in your family nor did you receive any kind of professional therapy. Therapy can be very powerful and can help you resolve some of the effects of the trauma. Your suicide attempts, low self-esteem and a compulsion to sabotage relationships indicate that the incident affected you more than you realise. You ‘escaped’, but the incident left a major impact on your life which continues to affect you till today. So, before you decide to get into any relationship with anyone, I would suggest you find a therapist that you trust and start the treatment. Your mental health is as important as your physical health if you want a happy and fulfilling life from this point forward. This is imperative and you should not wait any longer to seek professional help.

Depending on various factors, some of which have been mentioned above, you definitely have the potential to live a life free of the effects of the trauma you have been through. A good therapist will help you come to terms with what happened, understand that it was not your fault, realise that you have power over your body, and that you truly deserve a fantastic relationship. Please make finding a therapist a priority, if you are serious about taking charge of your life and recovering.

Auntie will not reply privately to any query. Please send concise queries to: auntieagni@gmail.com

Published in Dawn, EOS, February 10th, 2019