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I am now 45 years old and I nearly lost my marriage to PTSD.

It was my first year of marriage, and I’d gotten a nice degree, so I got a great job at an investment bank.

It all started to unravel after the birth of my first child, a boy.

Every time I changed his nappy and saw his penis, it triggered repressed memories of my evil stepfather who exposed himself to me and masturbated in front of me for most of the 25 years he was married to my mother.

The flashbacks played in my mind at work and interrupted my ability to concentrate. I lasted through work with strained relationships with my colleagues.

After the birth of my second child, a daughter, I had post traumatic stress disorder and could not go back to work.

In therapy, over the following year, I processed the anger and rage I felt for my mother as she did not protect me from him.

Now 8 years later, my eldest son is 10 and I now have 4 children with my husband. Our marriage has been emotionally difficult and I don’t trust him. Somehow, thank God, we have lasted.

We separated after 11 years and we now live apart, but we’re still married. I cannot cope with the emotional intimacy of living with him, I need to spend long periods quiet and alone in my own thoughts. At the time I didn’t realize the catastrophic abuse happening to me, but now as a 40 something adult I look at homeless alcoholics and drug addicts and think, yes, I know what happened to you.

When someone molested you, hurt you, as a child, you are broken.

This abuse has made me compassionate and deeply religious in a very private personal way.  My relationship with God is very strong, but less so with the congregation as I still have trust issues. God has kept me alive and not dying by suicide over the years.

To all of you out there, all I can say is put your life in God’s hands.  Whatever has happened to you broke you so that God could shape you more perfectly. Life is teaching you horrific lessons, but you will be stronger and more compassionate about other people’s suffering.

Work hard on your marriage if you are married and don’t give up.

And above all else, work on forgiving the parent that didn’t protect you. The abuser chose your parent so they could abuse you. Abusers are evil, cold, and calculating; anyone who could hurt a child is stupid and evil.

But let that go.

Leave them to God and move on with your life AFTER therapy. I will say that you can’t get rid of these extreme feelings without a therapist; it’s the best investment in your own health.

My mother has cancer now and not long to live.

I cherish these times with her, after I forgave her. She’s now a devout Christian and is doing lots to heal herself after 25 years with her abusive husband. I thank God that I’ve been able to connect with her finally, at the end of her life, to heal.

Now, I work with the poor and addicts, you might consider working in this area if you have overcome childhood sexual abuse yourself. It took me years to be able to tell people that my step-father masturbated in front of me, and my mother often was doing the masturbating.

Now, it’s just such a relief, just letting people know.