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#61441 - 08/11/04 05:20 AM SA therapy ?

#61442 - 08/11/04 05:31 AM Re: SA therapy ?
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Angelina - I'm a little over 2 months into disclosure and recovery, so I may not be the best one to answer you. I've been in therapy for a little over a month now. Right now, my therapist and I are really just getting it all out on the table, there's so much pent up crap in the mind of a survivor, all the details, etc. And we still haven't even barely touched on some of it. I think once we get all the details out there, we can finally start working on healing some of it.

I told my therapist during the first session that the main thing I want to come out of all this therapy is to not wake each morning with a sense of doom. I know there is a lot of change that needs to happen within me, primarily with what I believe about myself. I think that is a major issue with most survivors, how they feel about themselves.

Edit: P.S. I just read your other post now about your boyfriend, so now I know the context of this one. But I still believe that a lot of what your boyfriend may be going through is struggling to like himself, let alone someone else. I know it seems like the ultimate oxymoron, that a victim hates themself more than their abuser, but I've lived it and I know many others have as well. There's a lot of shame, guilt, fear, and rage packed in there that's been the normal base of living for many years. It takes time to undo it.

You need to look after yourself as well, though. While helping your boyfriend, don't allow it to destroy you in the process. You've been a wonderful person to him, but you need to take care of yourself as well.


#61443 - 08/11/04 10:27 AM Re: SA therapy ?
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA

My boyfriend just started therapy three weeks ago (HAPPY DANCE) and it is about the same for him. He wants to feel happy, he wants to feel like a better person, feel better about the good things he does, and less inclined to do the not-so-good ones. He is not worried about "getting to" the abuse in therapy, at least not for now. (That is about all I know of his therapy, since it is his and I'm not trying to get in the middle of it.)

In the end I think that is the only real reason we have to go chasing after the pasts that have worked against us all this time. To catch up with them and make them work for us in the present and future. \:\) Otherwise it is just more shit and pain.

Good luck to you.

#61444 - 08/13/04 03:47 AM Re: SA therapy ?

Man, i will never meet such a cool man.

#61445 - 08/13/04 04:30 PM Re: SA therapy ?
PAS Offline

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Originally posted by EGL:
I still believe that a lot of what your boyfriend may be going through is struggling to like himself, let alone someone else. I know it seems like the ultimate oxymoron, that a victim hates themself more than their abuser, but I've lived it and I know many others have as well.
Eddie - I have discussed this phenomenon at length with my fiance - a SA survivor and me being a psychologivcal and verbal abuse survivor. I have mulled it over many times and didnt get it until far along in my recovery, and my fiance came to the same discovery a few years back too.

Our current theory (of course, totally unproven by psychologists/researchers) is that the self hate is indeed another "protective" mechanism that we set up in order to endure, psychologically, the abuse we are expeirenceing in a time in our lives when we are truly helpless. In my case, I had to believe that I truly was a shitty kid, that I really WAS the source of all my dad's problems, for me to acknowledge anything different and stand up for myself and say HEY DAD STOP TREATING ME LIKE CRAP would have risked me being thrown out OR abused WORSE and then where would I be? A six year old street kid? Would the abuse have escalated to physical abuse? Would my dad have indeed succeeded in taking his own life and left us destitute? I see the self hate that I learned as nothing more than yet another protective mechanism that allowed me to literally SURVIVE.

And that self hate gets etched in there so deep that it takes a long time to go "hey wait a minute!!! I"m the phucking VICTIM here and what that guy did to me was NOT OK!!!!!! That my dad would freak out and throw things at a little kid and scream at her and scare her half to death and try to kill himself and abandon her and her family at such a young age is NOT OK BEHAVIOUR BY ANY MEANS for a father and husband!!" ooh.. and then at some point.. in recovery the EXTERNAL rage starts.. once that acknowledgement is made the rage comes... its blinding and powerful and frightening and terrifying and every fiber in your body says DONT DO THIS DONT FEEL THIS ITS NOT SAFE!! But I think that this shift is THE MAJOR turning point in going from victim to survivor.

A lot of abuse recovery is addressing the fact that we (and I include myself because of my own psychological and verbal abuse history) learned to adapt to a very unsafe, unhealthy and scary place by using a variety of mechanisms (spacing out, depersonalization, split personalities, isolation, self-hate and shame, anger, fighting, alcohol and drug abuse, sex addiction) to literally SURVIVE a terrifying and dangerous situation.

And unfortunately, these are the life and relationship skills that we learn and bring to a world that is likely NOT as scary, not as painful and not as insane as the one we left. We as abuse survivors are ill-adapted and ill equipped to deal with a world where we need to form bonds, partnerships, to trust, to have faith and to have real joy in order to have successful lives, careers and relationships. Where the hell would we have learned those skills?? But I tell ya if we had to fend off attackers, keep people at bay, and find ways to keep oneself emotionally isolated to be successful, man we'd be the kings and queens of the world by now!!!! Perhaps if we were all in Jackie Chan movies eh??

So therapy teaches us that a) what happened to us was NOT OK AND NOT OUR FAULT and b) we need to go and learn a new way of looking at the world through cognitive therapy (to learn the world is not as scary as we might think) and our place in it (we have more control than we think over our lives) and we then have to learn a new way of acting (behavioural therapy) in order to have more successful outcomes in this not-so-scary-and-abusive place.

Hope this helps.



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