"I feel so guilty," George said.
When I asked him for specifics, he could only mumble, "I don't know . . . it's just this nagging feeling." Finally he said, "If only I had . . ." and he mentioned several things he wished he'd done.
"That kind of thinking is more common than you know." I stared right at him as I added, "You were a kid; you didn't understand and couldn't reason the way you do today. You've had more than thirty years to live with that pain. Don't punish that little boy for being vulnerable."
Apparently shocked by my response, tears filled his eyes. "I—I never thought of it that way. I've been tough on myself because I didn't tell or fight him off—"
"And he's still abusing you today, isn't he? As long as you focus on what you didn't do, he'll keep hurting you."
"George, each time you feel guilty, say these words aloud to yourself: 'I am not guilty. I was a child.'"