Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Client’s Own Story of Courage, Empowerment & Peace

Dr. Madden,

I thought I’d write you a letter since maybe you were wondering how I turned out! Well, a lot has happened over the last few years. First of all, you know that my Dad killed himself because he thought he would have to appear in court and admit that he molested me as a child. It’s a long story but the night before he died, I confronted my Dad (with my sister holding my hand). My Dad said he was sorry but not in a nice way.

I told him I had been waiting 43 years for the apology, but that he still didn’t realize how much he f***ed up my life. He got angry, but you know what? I was soooo calm—calmer than I’d ever been because I had practiced that speech in my head like a play. Thanks to you, I was ready and now it was my time to speak after all these years.

After we left my sister asked, “You don’t think he’s going to hurt himself, do you?” I said, “if he does it isn’t my fault, those are his demons—not mine!” The next day he shot himself in the head.

My sister didn’t talk to me for a while, and even when the police were at my Mom’s house the whole family was willing to tell a lie and say he was just depressed over my brother’s divorce. But I told my husband I didn’t come all this way in my healing process to lie again. So I told the cops the truth—and it felt good.

Thanks to you Dr. Madden I feel I am a stronger person. I accomplished so much in my healing process because of you. You made me realize that it was not my fault. I am stronger now and no longer angry.

My husband and I have been together 10 years now and he has helped me also to heal. I love you for all you’ve done for me and I want you and anyone else you want to read this letter to know to be strong and have faith in yourself, don’t wallow in self-pity, and don’t let something bad that happened to you destroy you. Be strong and face all your problems head on like a train, and be determined to survive and become a stronger person.

Had I not confronted my Dad and he died, I would never have forgiven myself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am forever indebted to you!

Postscript: In a recent conversation with this client approving publication of her letter, she added that when no one was looking, she placed a little note in the corner of her father’s coffin. It read, “I forgive you.”


The STRESS Doc, Richard E. Madden, earned his MSW in Clinical Social Work and his PhD in Electromedical Sciences. He is licensed in New York State as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for the direct practice of psychotherapy with individuals, groups, couples and families. REBT/CBT is a modern, efficient and results-oriented approach toward achieving unconditional self-acceptance, frustration and discomfort tolerance, emotional control, elimination of self-defeating behaviors, mood management and improved love & work relationships. Dr. Madden defines this relative freedom from self-imposed emotional distress and self-defeating behavior as “rational living.”

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