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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
AeonycRiot Offline
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Did something stupid with my cousin when we were kids, guilt is eating away at me now - June 17th 2016, 11:31 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of rape or abuse, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

This is somewhat of a long story, but I'll try to explain it as best I can.
I have younger cousin. We'll call her M. At the moment, she's in her early teens. As of recently, we've gotten along pretty well. But this wasn't exactly the case when we were younger. M used to be very loud and rambunctious when she was younger, and I didn't have much patience for her back then. This was pretty bad when I was a tween. Like around 12 or 13. She was 7 or 8.

I can't recall exactly how it happened, but there was a day when we were around this age when M and I were arguing and bickering because I didn't want to play with her. She was trying to change my mind and get me to play with her. Now...I honestly could not tell you what was going through her head at this point, but she apparently thought it would be a good idea to bring me into a closet, pull down her pants and well....basically start flaunting her lady parts around. I have no idea what could've planted that kind of idea in her head at that age, but with me being a little boy going through puberty, the only thing I was thinking of at the moment was "Hey, I've never gotten to see that before! I wanna see more!". So for some time period after that, I'd try to have a bit more patience with her play with her more, only so that sometimes I could ask if we could go back into the closet so I could stare at her junk more. And she seemed to just go along with it for some reason.

And I did know that what were doing was wrong, to some extent. But I never really thought of the consequences. I just simply thought it was a little "naughty", like kids playing doctor or something. At some point I did eventually think to myself that we shouldn't keep doing this, so I said "Hey, maybe we should stop sneaking into the closet and doing this." and made up some bullshit about not wanting to be on Santa's naughty list to get her to listen. And since then, we've never brought it back up.

We still never got along very well, seeing as how were both bratty, obnoxious kids, but as we got older, and as I got more mature, I realized I should stop being a dick to my younger cousin for no good reason. I wanted to be more of a kind, older brother figure. But with that realization, I also started to realize something else. That "naughty" stuff we did back then was more than just naughty. I figured I could get into some serious trouble if anyone ever found out what I did. Not to mention the fact that as M got older, it became apparent that she has some mental issues of her own. Her mother and my parents would catch her multiple times looking up porn, out of what I could only assume was morbid curiosity. The same morbid curiosity I had. I thought to myself "What if I did that to her? What if this is my fault? Did I screw up her mind?". And so I was eaten away by the guilt and by the fear of what would happen if the rest of the family found out.

The years went by. As I went through high school and had other things to worry about, the thoughts and worries about that incident just sort of...repressed themselves. Even when I started struggling with depression, I was depressed about completely different things. And I continued to mend my relationship with M. The rest of my family thought I was the nicest cousin ever and that I took such good care of her. But even so, she just continued to become quieter and seem more emotionally troubled as she got older.

Fast forward to today. My parents and I have moved from Louisiana to Florida. Before we moved, M and I seemed to have a strong relationship, and the worries about our past incident were the last things on my mind. She still seemed pretty troubled, and had issues talking about her feelings with the adults of the family, but she always opened up just a little more with me. I suppose that made me feel trusted and appreciated, so it made me worry less about her holding the gross things we used to do against me.
But ever since we've moved here, I've gone back to worrying about it more. I think to myself "What if she really does hold it against me? What if she tells someone? How will the family react?". At this point, I've become depressed and guilt-ridden over it again. I've told two of my closest friends on Skype about it, just to get it off my chest. They've both told me I need to stop panicking about it, saying that I shouldn't get in trouble with the police for something I did at such a young age, and that if my family confronts me about it, that I should just be honest and genuine.

They helped put my mind at ease for a short while. When M and her mother came down to Florida to visit for this past weekend, M still seems as quiet and troubled as ever. I considered trying to talk to her about it, apologize, and get it off my chest. But I was too afraid of how she'd react to it being brought up again.
Worse news is, after they went back home, my Mom recently got news from M's mother saying she's gotten back into her old porn-watching habits. Obviously a girl her age doesn't need to be doing that, and considering how she's done it in the past, most of the family agrees that its more than just curiosity and that she probably has mental issues. So she's agreed to go to counseling with her mother. I hope the best for her, but I still can't help but feel that my stupid, overly-curious pubescent boy self is what caused all of this. And I still continue to fear over how everyone will react if that IS what's causing her problems. She'll tell the counselor or her mom, her mom will tell my parents, and who knows what'll happen.

I figured that as long as I'm honest about it, that if I make sure to tell everyone that I'm not attracted to my cousin/little kids or anything, and that it was just something stupid I did when I was going through puberty and had raging hormones, that they'd understand. Because it's true. She's a good kid, and she's become like a little sister to me. I just want her to have a good life, but I feel like I partially ruined that for her. I've kept telling myself that as long as I'm honest about all of that, people would understand. But my fear and guilt keep eating away at me nonetheless.

I'm not really sure if anyone can advise me at this point. Both of my friends have told me they can't really help me, and that I should just try to stop worrying about it. Should I just tell someone? Like my parents? Should I just try to forget about it, and hope M's problems are seeded in something else entirely? I've been fearfully waiting the day that this issue comes back up again. I'm tired of fearing and I just want to stop defining myself by my past. Can anyone here give me some advice? I've struggled with things like depression and thoughts of self-harm, and overcome them, at least when it was about other issues. But this specific issue just continues to haunt me, and I have no idea what to do about it.
   
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Re: Did something stupid with my cousin when we were kids, guilt is eating away at me now - June 17th 2016, 09:07 PM

Hey there,

I really hope that it helped typing it out! It seems like a complicated issue that is bothering you quite a bit.

Firstly, Mís behaviour- getting you into the closet and pulling down her pants- may not be Ďnormalí behaviour for a child at that age. Itís understandable that being 12-13, you wouldíve been curious and then later realise that it was wrong. It was good that you put a stop to this though and shows that you are trying to responsible. Though what you did was wrong, at least you are trying to put it right. Abusers donít do that, because they often refuse or are in denial about what they did.

You are not responsible for M searching for porn online. Depending on her age that she started searching for porn, combining this behaviour with what happened between you too, I am slightly suspicious that M may have been exposed to sexual activity or had been abused in the past (she may not have been, but sexual behaviour in young children is often a warning sign). Otherwise, itís natural to be a teenager and have sexual curiosity, even if that means looking up porn.

Mís emotional and mental health issues may have many different causes, but by the sounds of it, she does trust and look up to you, regardless of what happened in the past. It is good that you have opened up to your friends about this, just to get it off your chest. And I do partly agree, that itís unlikely you will get into serious trouble about this situation, and if anyone does confront you about it, you should just be honest and say what you have said here. If it does come out, while family may have a range of emotions, thereís no use worrying about what may or may not happen in the meantime.

I do think that approaching M about what happened may help, though I understand your fears and concerns around this. Itís definitely good that her family is aware of her porn watching habits and that she may need professional help. She should hopefully be comfortable with her counsellor and open up about what is bothering her. It may not be related to what happened between you both- perhaps she accidentally came across porn and is now Ďaddictedí to it. But unless you showed her porn or encouraged her to watch porn, then it has nothing to do with you, but I understand why you would feel it is.

No-one can tell you what you should do about this. But itís obviously eating you up. You could tell M about it, if you feel comfortable. Or your parents. Be aware that common reactions include shock and anger. But you are right that being honest and explaining the situation will help. I also think it might benefit you to get some counselling too, seeing as how this is causing you issues.

Hope this helps a bit!


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Re: Did something stupid with my cousin when we were kids, guilt is eating away at me now - June 18th 2016, 12:19 AM

Thank you very much for your insight. It's helped put my mind at ease a bit more.

I'm really not sure where my cousin got the idea of flashing her junk around, or looking for porn. I felt guilty about her looking at porn though, because even though I never encouraged her to do it, I felt like our fooling around might have piqued her curiosity. Most of our family agrees that her single mother isn't the best of parents, but neither her nor the biological father seem like the kind of people to do anything "raunchy" with their child. The worst scenario I can assume is that M witnessed or spied on her parents having sex early on.
In any case, I hope her counselor can help her sort things out. Considering she has a very spiteful relationship with her mother, she may have underlying issues that are completely unrelated to our fooling around. I would hope that's the case, but if not, then I'll cross that bridge when she or someone else confronts me about it. With honesty, of course.
   
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Re: Did something stupid with my cousin when we were kids, guilt is eating away at me now - June 19th 2016, 05:49 PM

It sounds like your cousin definitely has a lot of things going on, and the counselling should help. Counselling will provide her with a safe place to talk, with a trained professional who wont judge, but instead will listen and help your cousin to find healthier ways of dealing with whatever is bothering her. Regardless of what may have caused her behaviour, the important thing is that she gets the help she needs.


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