Question: My step dad always shows this “affection” towards me…

Hello! Listen PN, I understand that you already get tons of fans asking for advice or what have you, but you were the first person I thought of. *breathes in* okay..this is hard but here I go. I’m a junior in high school. I maintain good grades and I am NO trouble maker. I have an AMAZING boyfriend who I swear I think I might marry. My family is great. My mother is everything to me. She has a husband who is well, obviously my STEP-DAD. He is a nice man, a prof. in college and also a high school teacher. He’s nice to me and the rest of our family. He and my older brother had sort of a “falling out” and niether of them speak to eachother. My step dad has 2 daughters and a son from a previous marriage. Anyways, it’s..wierd..because my step dad always shows this “affection” towards me. He doesn’t do this to his other daughters. He tells me because “i can’t think of another way to show you i lo! ve you”. There are times where his hand will “swift” past my breast or where he’ll pinch my butt. A few months ago, he’ll tell me to give him kisses on his lips. I didn’t want to. So he’ll automatically get really sad. He’ll just shut down and not talk to me. My mother tells me he “does a lot for you” and that i shouldn’t be selfish. My mother doesn’t know he’s doing THOSE things. Don’t get me wrong, my step dad is really cool. Recently, I’ve been getting NIGHTMARES about him. He’ll just be touching me in my dreams, and I’ll wake up crying. One time, I was asleep in my boyfriend’s arms and I had yet another nightmare about that. I woke up shaking and my heart beating. My boyfriend asked me what had happened in my nightmare but I just couldn’t tell him what is going on. I broke down in tears when my boyfriend told me “i’m always going to protect you, if you’re in danger, i’ll run to you”. I LOVE my boyfriend so much! . Here is another dillema: my step-dad won’t let me have a boyfriend. At ALL. My mom is completely fine with it. Also, my mother loves my step dad dearly. Another reason why I can’t tell her what’s going on. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to live like this till the end of my senior year. I just can’t wait to get out of here.

PHYLLIS Replied:
This is such a classic case of sexual abuse that it should really be in a text book. I know: he hasn’t raped you or forced his hands in your pants or crept in your room at night. So far. He’s a probably-respected teacher and professor and your mom loves him. But he sure is a sexual manipulator. He’s an adult. You’re a minor child. He knows he would be in big trouble if he did something truly overt sexually, but he gets his jollies by looking you over, pinching your butt, brushing by your breasts, insisting you kiss him on the lips. I’m not too sure what’s going on with your mom that she thinks “you should not be selfish,” but she’s looking at him through rose-colored glasses. Here’s what I suggest: when your mom is not around to hear this, you need to tell him you have something you want to say. You need to say this without smiling, without yelling, without giving in to his sad looks or gentle ! voice. Put this in your own words, but here goes: “I want you to know that I want this sort of thing to stop.” (When he looks surprised and says, what sort of thing? you name them–the butt pinching, the kissing, etc.) He’ll tell you you’re imagining things, that this was your thought, not his, that he had no idea you took them as sexual actions which must say that you are attracted to him, etc. etc. etc. Don’t listen. Tell him that you don’t want him to touch you in this manner, you don’t want to kiss him on the lips, you are not his girlfriend. That if he doesn’t stop it, you will report it, and what’s more, you’ll tell your mom. He will undoubtedly put on a sulking fit, your mom will ask what’s wrong, and you can simply say, “Ask him.” As a senior, you should be allowed to have a boyfriend, and you might tell your stepdad that too. For additional help in dealing with him, try this toll-free number: 1-800-273-399! 1. Here’s one more thing you might try if your conversation with him doesn’t make him stop. The next time he touches you inappropriately, say, loud enough for your mom to hear, “Quit touching me there!” And leave the room. Let your mom ask HIM what that was all about. Maybe she’ll get the picture.

Posted on: February 17, 2009


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