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#334126 - 06/19/10 04:36 AM Was it really that bad?
jls Offline

Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 1142
I wrestle with whether what happened to me was really that bad. I say so in part because while memories of it sometimes surface and are uncomfortable to digest I more often feel “flat” about what happened to me, like it’s just another thing in my life that was unpleasant yet I got through it. The thing is up until recently the memories hardly existed, like I knew it happened but the details were unavailable, which I had lived with for years, almost as if this were convenient, but for some reason this is no longer acceptable to me. My therapist said something to me that made sense in this regard. She commented that once the lid is taken off of sexual abuse it’s impossible for a person to try and put it back on and stuff things back down like they were before. I understand this in theory I can’t help but ask myself why take the lid off to begin with if I believe things weren’t that bad in the first place? If so, what inspired me embark upon this journey of recovery from sexual abuse? This is a rhetorical question since intellectually I already know the answers to them i.e. my anxiety problems and difficulty coping with stress, problems with intimate relationships and maintaining a healthy sexuality, my discomfort with being touched, as well as substance abuse issues, to name a few. That said, am I just grasping at straws to do with my problems overall and pinning it on the fact that I have a SA history? I’m never really sure and it is frustrating to feel like I never really know what the truth behind me is, if this makes any sense. For instance, by asking myself “was it that bad?” am I minimizing or denying the gravity of what happened or am I conducting an honest assessment of myself which acknowledges something bad happened to me at a young age but is it as much of a consequence as I need to make it out to be? Going back and forth on this question is really stressing me out. I just wish I was more secure in the answers to the questions I ask myself, if I have any at all. 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 we’ll change the world.

#334133 - 06/19/10 06:38 AM Re: Was it really that bad? [Re: jls]

Registered: 02/13/04
Posts: 983
I do not know about You but being raped was a preaty dramitic experence to me. And Yes it was that bad



"All I can do is be me, whoever that is"

#334135 - 06/19/10 10:36 AM Re: Was it really that bad? [Re: OKIE MIKE]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2669
Loc: durham, north england
The more I learn about how these things work, the more I'm aware that sa is a bit like a volcano.

You can have all that pressure and molten lava shut down benieth a hard rocky exteria, you can even know full well it's there, but you can't stop the litle signs, the steaming, the geezers, the small erruptions tremmers and showers of ash.

You need a good big blow of to release all that pressure, ---- and indeed possibly more than one, to bring everything into the light of day.

For me, for a lon time I knew full well what had happened to me, but like you I thought "well it wasn't really! that bad"

I thought, well that was ten years ago, ---- I don't need to worry about it anymore, lets get on with things.

Yet, there were stil things I ignored, my own issues with touch and fear of s/x, my problems in crowds and anxiety.

For me, it was falling in love with **** in 2007 which really was the lowest point where I had to honestly admit that no, things weren't quite as dealt with as over and done with as I believed they were.

One exercise which helped me, was thinking about, ---- or indeed writing up my experiences in the third person.

I'm not sure how it is for you, but I found that once I looked at my experiences in the same light I'd considder another persons', I felt a distinct sense of proportion, ---- i realized that if someone else were saying this it would! be that bad.

#334170 - 06/19/10 06:35 PM Re: Was it really that bad? [Re: dark empathy]
oldguy Offline

Registered: 06/09/10
Posts: 61
Loc: st louis, MO
Hi, this topic struck a chord with me. I spent almost all of my life thinking that I was a pervert. Whenever I had sex I used fantasies of being abused sexually or my wife being abused, always by either strangers or people whom I really disliked. Long ago I saw a psychiatrist who told me that as long as I was successful in having sex it was best to just leave it all alone and go on as always, that to dig into the past would be very difficult and might not in any case make a difference. This was long before child abuse had started making headlines. My T told me that my symptoms were classic for an abuse victim. When I finally got around to atttempting recovery in this area I had had no memories. Recently I had a dream or memory which seemed to be related to an abusive situation. It was only a slight parting of the clouds. So far that has been it for memories but I am convinced that something horrible happened to me as a child. I've carried this, the fantasies, the dark secrets, the low self-esteem, the willingness to settle for less than I deserve for too many years. I want recovery. I want to be rid of the abusive fantasies and make the sex act one of love and not humiliation and secrecy. I don't care if I ever recover any memories. I just want to recover from the abuse. I want to give back to the perpetrator(s) all the shsme and blame that I've carried all these years. So here's to recovery, health and the good life. Take care, Oldguy

#334242 - 06/20/10 09:04 PM Re: Was it really that bad? [Re: dark empathy]
jls Offline

Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 1142
I hear what you are saying by looking at it in the 3rd person. The T I had before the one I have now did an excercise with me that was helpful in this way. He encouraged me to imagine a kid the age I was back then going thru the same stuff I did. Afterward he asked how I felt about it. My first response was to say "that poor kid!", as if it wasn't me I was feeling sympathy and compassion for but instead for some other child. I guess this is the crux of the problem in that I can't adequately recall the pain of it all so I cut it off and pretend it doesn't matter yet the irony is I can feel the pain of others who have been thru the exact sxame stuff I have with great clarity. What gives with that? I'm just wondering. 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 we’ll change the world.

#334384 - 06/22/10 09:32 AM Re: Was it really that bad? [Re: jls]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2669
Loc: durham, north england
I've found it much harder to empathise with other and acknolidge others problems than mine, indeed a family friend who's a qualified counseler (though not mine), once said she chose that career because it was far easier to deal with other people's pain and troubles than with hers.

I could be wrong, but certainly for me, and I believe for others here, it's a question of worthlessness, ---- that our personal feelings of pain matter less than other people's.

There are various ways people have used to cope with this. some people find the "inner child" idea, talking about "litle insert name here" as though they were a separate person helpful for this (I'm not as much a fan of that myself but I know it has been very helpful to some).

For me, it's been a question of intigrating those experiences, of saying, --- yes, it happened to me, here's the effects, now I'm going to accept it and work on the effects.

This is something I've stil doing myself, but the first step was truthfully saying that yes, these experiences are part of me, happened to me and affected me, ---- they're certainly not the hole story, but they can't be ignored either.

It sounds like your working that out to jls.

#334393 - 06/22/10 01:03 PM Re: Was it really that bad? [Re: jls]
kidneythis Offline

Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 1558
In a word Yes, it was that bad.

For me helping others is easier because I can see their stuff more clearly. I would deal with my stuff if I had a clue how to and I think not a little of litte kidney wants mommy or daddy to fix this and punish the perps.

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

#334420 - 06/22/10 06:38 PM Re: Was it really that bad? [Re: kidneythis]
ericc Offline

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 1986

Yes it was bad. But what you say above in your first post could have come right out of my mouth, at least I can relate to every single bit of it. For me, I can hardly even remember the sexual acts. And when they were happening I would even say they were physically pleasurable. What I couldn't see at the time, or just didn't have the emotional insight into, were the psychological effects. Looking back I see these took hold immediately. But the act of repressing or pushing back the memories was a safe have for me through high school. Once I remembered, everything fell apart. And it has only been through time after remembering that I have gained increasing clarity into what actually happened. So maybe the acts themselves from a physical perspective didn't hurt, but the long-term psychological and emotional fallout has been horrible. I wouldn't underestimate the power of this stuff to really tear a person apart. But then there is the opportunity for the rebuilding, which is where I want to be headed today. Thanks for the post, and everyone for the insightful responses.


#334424 - 06/22/10 08:27 PM Re: Was it really that bad? [Re: jls]
Builders Offline

Registered: 06/10/10
Posts: 11
Loc: AZ

I think it is part of the path of acceptance!!! For me I never could accept that this had happened to me. Wouldn't deal with it until there was no choice but to deal or die!!! Couldn't die didn't have the guts for that. Once the lid came off for me there was no going back so that part is true for me. In the beginning truth is hard to find. I had lied so much to myself and others I didn't even know what truth was anymore,but after you come out of the initial fog you find truth and it becomes very clear!!!

If you want to be truely free!! You must learn to LOVE, and FORGIVE!! You can't have one without the other

#334430 - 06/22/10 09:01 PM Re: Was it really that bad? [Re: jls]
onlyakid Offline

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 1577
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: jls
The thing is up until recently the memories hardly existed, like I knew it happened but the details were unavailable,

The details still aren't available to me but I know it happened. In someways I am lucky in others I am not because while it might be easier if I knew what exactly happened the details might make things worse. I too minimize my abuse because I don't recall anything violent happening to me, but after more than 5 years of dealing with it, I guess I've minmized the minimization. Still do it but not nearly as much.

Were here for ya, JLS

"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"

#334433 - 06/22/10 09:37 PM Re: Was it really that bad? [Re: onlyakid]
petercorbett Offline

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 2509
Hi, my brothers.

YES, from my "mom", i learned how to fear girls/females.
She, used the total range of abuse toward me. Sexually, emotionally, physically & mentally. I was never taught those necessary skills of emotions & social, that i would need in my adult life. "her" boy was only 5 years old. And he always wished that she was dead.

NO/YES (until now). Ralph, became my adopted mom & dad (never had seen a father). He was interested in this young boy of 8.
years old. He, gave me pain & pleasure. He gave me his love. He gave me an emotional connection.He loved me. And I loved him. He taught me how to love a man.
I loved him for 55+ years. Until, i learned that what he was giving me was not for the love of that 8-14 year boy, but for his sexual pleasure & power and control over a young boy, looking for someone to love him.

It took me, thousands of dollars, almost 2 years with a therapist. It took 3 WoR's for me (little Pete), to convince big Pete, that he really didn't love Ralph.

Yes, it really was that bad.

Heal well my, brothers, heal well.

" I will take that lost boys hand, and i will lead him from the depths of darkness, into the sunshine, forever into eternity."


Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.

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