“There are many holes in my memories, I don’t remember why I saw adult movies when I was little or how I allowed my uncle to touch me.”
Trang’s family was never truly happy. Her father worked in another province and only came home once or twice a month and when he did, he beat up her mother and blamed her for the violence.
As the daughter of the family, everyone expected Trang to be gentle, cheerful, respectful and smart. So since she was young, she tried to please everyone in her extended family so they could have some peace.
When her father was imprisoned and mother was hospitalised she developed strong fears of abandonment and rejection. Trang constantly told herself “I have to be good, I have to be perfect so they won’t leave me behind.”
These fears followed her throughout her childhood so when her uncle sexually abused she kept silent. He exposed her to explicit content and touched her inappropriately as a child, but her role as the family peacemaker and rejection and abandonment fears meant she kept it all inside.
Trang first blamed herself for what happened to her and didn’t think she could tell anyone as it would only give them reason to criticise her. She also battled thoughts telling her maybe she deserved it. As she suppressed the experiences her memory grew foggy.
Hagar Vietnam first met Trang when she called their hotline after being verbally abused by her father. She was experiencing a panic attack and struggling to breathe. Hagar supported her with emergency accommodation for her safety which enabled her to get out of the house and away from her father. Hagar also spoke to Trang about her needs and problems and organised care for her.
Initially she struggled to share her story with others, even close friends, because she thought she had to be fine. However, with Hagar’s help she has finally started to heal.
“It was like I always had a mask on and I didn’t know how to be honest and vulnerable with others, maybe I didn’t know where to start.”
After 12 sessions with a Hagar psychologist Trang can see the changes in her perspectives and mental wellbeing. She continues to work on her fears and grows stronger every single day!
Hagar pursues the highest degree of care and protection for each of its clients. To protect the identity of our clients, names have been changed and images do not necessarily represent the individual profiled.