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#326122 - 03/25/10 03:22 AM Trauma Work
jls Offline

Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 1142
I'm in therapy right now for sa and while its going well overall I am having real difficulty getting to the heart of the trauma i.e. feeling/sensing/remembering what exactly happened. Its not that that I've forgotten it completely. Rather, when it comes to recalling specific details such as sights, sounds and smells I'm either completely disconnected from it like its simply a matter fact with no feelings whatsoever, or worse I become immobilized and just sit staring off into space. My therapist and I have gone into a lot of stuff to do with the after affects of sa and while this is good for developing coping strategies he feels its important to get into the trauma itself in order to integrate the experiences and diminish the "mental block", as he calls it. I don't disagree yet I simply don't know how to do it, which is becoming frustrating to say the least. Anyways any thoughts, ideas or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks, JS

Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And well change the world.

#326172 - 03/25/10 05:03 PM Re: Trauma Work [Re: jls]
onlyakid Offline

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: New Jersey
I too don't have those details either and it can be frustrating, I know. However, most therapists would say that you don't remember for a reason and when you are ready it will come. I know people on here that remember it in vivid detail and wish that they didn't.


"Being with people that understand you...Priceless"

"and i don't want the world to see me, cause i don't think that they'd understand"

"You don't know what love just do as your told"

"My life has changed. What you take as a simple thing, is not so simple for me anymore"

#326174 - 03/25/10 05:15 PM Re: Trauma Work [Re: onlyakid]
Mountainous Buck Offline

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 1631
Loc: Minnesota
Hey jls,

I don't remember many of the details, just the feelings of terror and shame and helplessness.....

I do know, and continue to get feedback in meditation, that taking care of myself and being safe and supported and healthy will pave the road for me to recall WHAT I NEED TO REMEMBER, and no more.

There are certainly many times in my past that I couldn't emotionally handle some of this stuff, and it only came up later when I felt safe.

I get performance anxiety when I am asked to come up with an authentic feeling on the spot.

I can trace most of my false coping skills back to the SA, that is a route for me to follow in self-reflection, but I've also been challenged about WHY I need to understand/know all that happened to me.

I guess knowing how my sa affects my life today is more important, and that shows me what I need to work on.

That said, I also need to grieve and feel the loss too.

We have to take responsibility for what we're not responsible for.

�It doesn't matter where you've come from,
It matters where you go" Frank Turner

#326178 - 03/25/10 05:50 PM Re: Trauma Work [Re: Mountainous Buck]
kidneythis Offline

Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 1558
I desperately want to remember too.

As for integration I don't know. I think the T should be able to give you a guidline for it and what it looks or feels like. I've had revelations none of which I can tell you about as I no longer recall them. They got processed through or the ECT damage has made me forget and they will come back again.
After saying that I just remembered I remembered something new this morning. IDK what I'll do with it I have no T and am still waiting for help from victim assistance in NJ to pay for a Psychiatrist.

It made me feel triumphant to remember and confirm it was someone I know who is still alive and can be had for it. I had a short burst of several situations in that one place where she loved to do it to me, where she did the same thing over and over.
I still feel a little triumphant but I also feel bad since I have no allies and no means to get them. I want justice.

So maybe your integrations will be like that during that twilight just before sleep and just after waking short bursts of memory will run by as if in a dream.

As Mark Twain once quipped, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

#326188 - 03/25/10 08:29 PM Re: Trauma Work [Re: kidneythis]
Regs Offline

Registered: 12/03/08
Posts: 153
Loc: Oklahoma
The human mind has a way of blocking emotion as a way of protecting you. You may have spent years not feeling in relation to your abuse. You mind is still protecting you and will allow the emotion when you feel safe and ready. Keep working at it brother. Believe me, it will come.

WoR Sequoia Alumni, April 2010

#326192 - 03/25/10 09:15 PM Re: Trauma Work [Re: Regs]
MrDon Offline

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
Part of trauma and dealing with these things is that fact that it does shut us down emotionally, mentally and in many other ways. When the trauma has been so intense and horrible, the mind can only deal with so much. In reality, while we may just feel one small part of it or sense that part, there is an entire host of things that go with it. It is like seeing a one minute freeze frame in an hour movie. The entire movie plays but we only see that one freeze frame.

I've been through some serious body work in releasing this trauma and if I don't watch it or Dr. Canali doesn't watch me closely, I dissociate and space out (or I even go to the point of paralysis on the table). That's how powerful it can be.

It's a process. Our brains only allow us to work on that which we feel safe enough to do and that which we can handle. Anymore and the brain says, nope - I'm going to protect you. The more we can let our resistance drop and allow it to happen, the more we do move through it. However, as I know from first hand experience that's like me trying to jump over a snake pit - probably isn't going to happen very easily at all.

Give yourself time... and give yourself plenty of rest. Sometimes we try to work so hard on this that we put undue pressure on ourselves. Sometimes I found I needed to give myself a vacation from it so I could muster up the strength and courage to go back and give it a big kick in the ol keister!

And know you're not alone... I've been in your shoes as well and sometimes I find I still am wearing the shoes!

Keep going forward... you're getting there (probably more than you realize).


In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!

#326199 - 03/25/10 10:03 PM Re: Trauma Work [Re: MrDon]
Gus Bierer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/16/05
Posts: 160
hi jls

i just wanted to tell you how much i appreciate you posting this, i know your looking for answers, i don't have any , but your helping me out a lot because i really don't have a T

I'm not sure what your T means by integrating your experiences, i mean, integrate them with what, maybe with all your other experiences in your memory bank.

I know for me what was really traumatizing was the verbal abuse i got on a monthly basis. I could feel my soul withdrawing inside my skin, i kind of had this numb feeling on the surface. Like everyone has said this is how the brain copes with trauma.

It sounds like your getting to a point where you'll start to flash to the terror that is csa. I'm glad you got a T close and all of us here at MS.


My Story

#326214 - 03/26/10 01:01 AM Re: Trauma Work [Re: jls]
Mike58 Offline

Registered: 12/04/09
Posts: 6
Loc: New York
This is great topic. Thanks for posting. My memories were so elusive two years ago that I felt haunted. I knew "who" and "where" and I was pretty sure "when," but trying to pull out a six year old's traumatic memories after 40 years of running from them seemed impossible. Then after my first six months in therapy and getting sober, the flashbacks started coming. Like in the subway, or the street. Yikes! The flashbacks still come but now I feel less thrown. My therapist says remembering will put the abuse in the past where it belongs. That's basically been my experience so far and I hope it helps you. Take care of yourself and, like they say in my 12 step group, don't give up before the miracle happens. - Mike

#326220 - 03/26/10 01:56 AM Re: Trauma Work [Re: Mike58]
sono Offline

Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 1069

I took what at first seems like a perhaps counter-intuitive approach. I tried to picture it, and I do mean the actual abuse itself since that seems to be about what you're talking, from the outside. I mean, I worked to picture it in the third person, standing outside it. i.e. not my vantage point that I remembered as I experienced it. I was able to recall pretty easily a certain view in a mirror in the room in which it mostly happened. I then just sort of stayed with that image and then lots of the senses you're talking about missing came to me. I then wrote as much as i could about it both the experience of remembering and the abuse itself...everything. This really helped, but it ain't fun though.


the family
the perp

#326242 - 03/26/10 09:06 AM Re: Trauma Work [Re: sono]
Jaifian Offline

Registered: 05/26/09
Posts: 220
Loc: washington state, USA
I can relate to the becoming immobilized and sitting staring off into space. This happens to me in therapy when I try to talk about what happened to me.

My mind just goes blank and I just become a total zombie. The t will then ask me some question and it takes me a while to even be able to understand the question.

It's like my brain just activates some emergency shutdown protocol when I start to feel those feelings so that I can't feel.. or think anything at all for a while.

I have to admit I think I'm actually kind of glad because I just don't know if I could handle therapy at all if there wasn't something like that to protect me.

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