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#430697 - 04/09/13 11:40 PM The Importance of Remembering
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1046
Loc: The ATL


*TRIGGERS POSSIBLE*

In the six or so weeks since joining this board, I've read a lot of posts about the inability to clearly remember sexually traumatic childhood events that one knows took place. My own sexually traumatic memories are filled with some blank spots as well. If you've read the story I have linked at the bottom of my posts, you have some idea of what happened to me, although even that is far from the whole story. If you haven't read it, here's the TLDR version....

When I was 7 or 8, (8 I think), I was molested by two teenage girls in my neighborhood in New Haven, CT . The first time it happened, they molested a little girl about my age along with me and instructed us to, um, "do things" with each other while they watched. The second time it happened, one of those same girls fondled and masturbated me alone. I think there were only those two incidents but I could be wrong. Those memories are spotty but the parts I remember, I remember very clearly. Then, in that same neighborhood, there was the incident with the teenage boy on the sofa. (Huh?) After that, my family moved to the Atlanta area where my new neighbor was a girl about a year older, (but much bigger), than me who sexually and emotionally bullied me for years. I remember most of that stuff pretty clearly but that's another post for another day.

The incident with the teenage boy on the sofa is what this post is about, or, at least based on. The question is, who's sofa was it? Where was I? Who was the other person or persons in the room and did he do anything to me that I don't remember?

I have a growing sense of dread even as I write this and I don't know why. I've always mostly written that incident off as probably insignificant. I barley went into it back when I was in therapy. Perhaps it was more just an instance of bullying than necessarily sexual abuse, or maybe at worst something that blurred the line between the two. I don't know.

I'm sitting on a sofa. He takes his pants down and sticks his ass in my face. He tells me to "kiss it". I don't. I don't want to. I am petrified. I am humiliated. I am angry and scared. I want to throw up. I am looking at the other person in the room and hoping they will help me but they don't seem to be. Who was that person over there? Was it a female? I think it was. Was that my house? My sofa? Who was this boy? Where did he come from? What happened before and after this flash of a scant memory? Did I do what he said? Did I kiss it? I didn't at first. He presses his ass closer to my face. It's almost touching me now. I want to disappear. That's it.

To this day I am still maybe 75%-80% sure that was all that happened. I don't know though. It just doesn't make sense to me that I remember the emotions of that incident so powerfully and the details are just not there. I used to believe that this happened at my house, on my sofa, but I'm not sure anymore. When I was that young I was only ever left with a babysitter and not home alone. I loved all my babysitters. Would one of them have let someone hurt me? Would one of them have even let that happen and not done anything about it? Maybe they did though. Maybe the other person in the room, whoever it was, made him stop and that's why this is all I remember. Or, was this boy affiliated with the teenage girls who molested me? Was the other person in the room one of those girls? I have recently determined that to be the most probable scenario but I can't be sure. Although, what are the chances that this neighborhood had a bunch of child-molesting teenagers running around it who were totally unrelated to one another? Or, maybe he wasn't so much a child-molesting teenager but just a bully with a really fucked-up way of bullying and humiliating smaller kids? I can't be sure of any of it. All I know is that compared to the other memories, this one is a mere blip on the radar screen of my childhood, a flash in the pan, but the emotions involved are just as powerful as the emotions involved in any of those other memories, if not more so. It doesn't make any sense.

It's frustrating to me that I can't remember more. For some reason, I wish I could remember everything. I wish I could know. I want to know for sure that this boy didn't do anything worse to me. It would be a relief to know that for certain but I'm afraid I never will. Also, I wish I could remember more about those instances with the teenage girls. I remember a lot more details of those events but very little about the girls themselves. Who they were, how I knew them, what their names were, etc.

I don't think I'd ever consider hypnotherapy or anything like that. Shit, at this point I doubt I'll ever seek out regular therapy again. If I did though, and I did go in to try to bring those memories back, what would even be the possible benefit? Is there any? What if I found out that boy DID do something even worse? What then? Why can I not stop feeling like remembering any of this is even important at all? Why can't I just accept that I'll never have the answers, accept that the memories are spotty, FUCKING BURY THEM, and move on with my shitty life? Why does it have to be important? Is it? Are there even any right answers to these questions?

Sorry about another long-winded post but I had to get that out. I've never posted about that incident anywhere before today, (aside from the blurb about it in my initial post to this board), or discussed it with anyone other than my therapist over 18 years ago. Maybe because it was mostly insignificant or maybe because it was much more significant than I remember or than I want to know. Either way, I'm glad I finally displayed the memory and explored the possibility that there could have been more to it somewhere other than inside my own head. Take care all. Peace,

Ken

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#430703 - 04/10/13 12:11 AM Re: The Importance of Remembering [Re: BraveFalcon]
Publius Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/13/12
Posts: 396
Loc: OH
No abuse is ever insignificant and I am happy you were able to share. Unfortunately, you are right about memories being hard to come by so many years later. I have heard EMDR is effective but for now just moving through it a little at a time can do wonders I am sure. Sometimes it is the uncertainty that eats away at us the worst. What happened? Where did it happen? Why did it happen? It's so difficult but I think worthwhile as you begin the exploration.
_________________________
"Life is like this dark tunnel. You may not always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep moving, you will come to a better place." ~ General Iroh

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#430705 - 04/10/13 12:30 AM Re: The Importance of Remembering [Re: BraveFalcon]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 758
Loc: upper south
Ken, I agree with Publius. No abuse is ever insignificant. I don't know much about various methods of therapy, so I can't recommend one form over another. But I feel comfortable recommending that you find a T and begin again after these 18 years to find the answers you seek.

I appreciate your posting and there are several memories that haunt me yet from the early years of life. I don't know how to find their resolution and like you, I wonder from time to time whether or not I should take the level of healing I have right now and cut bait and run. Just rebury the rest. And then I think, nope. Been there, done that, and the hurt always returned. But its really scary.

And as a survivor brother, I will remind you that your life is not "shitty". Maybe confused, maybe hard, but it nor you are shitty. Choose another adjective- he says with respect to the man.
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#430710 - 04/10/13 01:08 AM Re: The Importance of Remembering [Re: ThisMan]
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1046
Loc: The ATL
Hi guys thanks for the responses so far and thank you for your supportive words. I have to get to bed now and get, (Christ), five hours of sleep before I have to get up and go to work tomorrow. I just reread my post and I hate it. It's a terrible post. My thoughts are all jumbled like a tangled ball of to many wires behind the TV. It all runs on and smashes together. I meant to express all this more concisely than that but I couldn't. I'm sorry. Take care. Thanks,

Ken

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#430720 - 04/10/13 03:50 AM Re: The Importance of Remembering [Re: BraveFalcon]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1866
Loc: durham, north england
Hi ken.

I really appreciate you sharing your story. I myself was also abused by teenaged girls at secondary school when I was 12-15. I can't speak of memories, since for me the events were always frighteningly clear, albeit with a distant, disconnected dreamlike quality, however one thing I will say and one thing i've recognized is that bullying and s/xual abuse in my case were pretty much one and the same thing, whether it was public exposure and violence inflicted by boys, or close to gang rape by girls, there really wasn't a line, both pretty much hurt though it's the stuff with girls that seems clearest to me and had most after affects I think, such as my genophobia.

I will say though, it is possible to recover and get to a point where life isn't revolving around thos experiences, though it isn't easy.

I personally never really found any therapy helpful, since the psychodinamic people wanted to talk about rubbish llike my premature birth, and while counselling was usefull they rarely actually came up with any practical suggestions. i have considdered some form of phobia therapy to deal with some of the effects, but I've not tried any up to yet.

all the best stuff I've done have been miner lifestyle changes, such as changing my phd from ful to part time, annd of course coming on this site and sharing thoughts, memories, feelings and experiences as indeed your doing at the moment.

As I said, I'm afraid I don't have any thoughts on memory recovery, since that's something I've not experienced, I did however want to say hi and point out that as has been said, your life is not shitty, since it's yours.

Luke.

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#430737 - 04/10/13 09:06 AM Re: The Importance of Remembering [Re: BraveFalcon]
Jude Offline


Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1369
Loc: New England
Hey BraveFalcon,

Remembering and facing what happened has been critical in my own recovery. Even now I still sometimes question: "Did that really happen?" The answer is unfortunately yes.

Jude
_________________________
"When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown, the dream is gone
And I have become comfortably numb."
Pink Floyd

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#430774 - 04/10/13 04:15 PM . [Re: BraveFalcon]
Life's A Dream Offline


Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 886
Loc: Bouvet Island
.


Edited by Life's A Dream (04/20/13 08:40 PM)

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#430823 - 04/10/13 11:55 PM Re: The Importance of Remembering [Re: Life's A Dream]
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1046
Loc: The ATL

Hi guys. Thanks for all your encouraging words. I wanted to sit down and write out a good response to some of the feedback I've gotten tonight but I'm afraid it will have to wait until tomorrow or Friday night. I've gotten kind of bogged down with some things and now I have to crash so I can get up early tomorrow.

Oh, and having reread my initial post to this thread again, maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought. I was in a pretty horrible state of mind after writing and posting it and that may have been affecting the way I felt about it. That said, there are times when I write a post and feel really good about it afterwards. I still don't feel great about that one though. I still feel kind of like my thoughts in that post were a "tangled ball of wires", even if people were able to untangle them and make sense of them. Maybe I am just being overly self-critical. It's just that I have all these thoughts and emotions over this topic that have been buried in my head for 18 years and when I let them out, I wanted to do it a certain way. I just feel like I missed my mark somehow.

Damn it! I'm letting this get long-winded anyhow, when I promised myself I wouldn't. I have to go to bed. I'll write a more appropriate response to your replies soon. Thanks guys. Peace,

Ken

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#430959 - 04/12/13 12:08 AM Re: The Importance of Remembering [Re: Life's A Dream]
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1046
Loc: The ATL
Originally Posted By: Publius
No abuse is ever insignificant and I am happy you were able to share. Unfortunately, you are right about memories being hard to come by so many years later. I have heard EMDR is effective but for now just moving through it a little at a time can do wonders I am sure. Sometimes it is the uncertainty that eats away at us the worst. What happened? Where did it happen? Why did it happen? It's so difficult but I think worthwhile as you begin the exploration.


Perhaps it is but I'm not sure why. If I had some clarity about the abuse, would that make it any less painful? Would it somehow suddenly lessen the damage that was done to me? What if it made things worse? What if I somehow remembered that the teenage boy who assaulted me on the sofa did much more than what I remember him doing? What then? If I ever did go under hypnoses or something, would I possibly be playing with fire? Are some things better left buried?

Originally Posted By: ThisMan
Ken, I agree with Publius. No abuse is ever insignificant. I don't know much about various methods of therapy, so I can't recommend one form over another. But I feel comfortable recommending that you find a T and begin again after these 18 years to find the answers you seek.


Hi Thisman. For me, there are several problems with returning to therapy. One, the cost. I can't afford a T. That's pretty basic. Two, even if I could afford a T, I'm not sure what I'd be trying to accomplish. I could rehash all my childhood experiences in front of a T and evaluate all the ways in which it damaged me but what would that accomplish that posting here doesn't? I don't really have any "goals" that a T could help me achieve either. I've even sat down and tried to think of therapy "goals" just for the hell of coming up with some but I can't think of any.

Originally Posted By: ThisMan
I appreciate your posting and there are several memories that haunt me yet from the early years of life. I don't know how to find their resolution and like you, I wonder from time to time whether or not I should take the level of healing I have right now and cut bait and run. Just rebury the rest. And then I think, nope. Been there, done that, and the hurt always returned. But its really scary.


Yeah, cut bait and run was basically what I did with therapy and I never looked back. One of the reasons for that was my T was moving and I didn't want to start back with another T. Even if he hadn't moved, I was at a point where I felt like I had made all the progress with him that was possible. I walked through the pain of my childhood with him over and over and over again and got to the point where I could talk about the most painful and frightening experiences like I was talking about the weather. I evaluated with him the ways in which the abuse affected me at length. The worst of which is permanent and irreversible. My sexuality is permanently damaged beyond repair. There is no hope of recovering what it was meant to be, so why bother?

I already function fairly well. I work, pay my bills and muddle my way through my life day by day. I don't think therapy could help me do that any better than I already do, for what that's worth. I don't want to stop self-medicating with alcohol and never will, so that's out as a goal. I don't want to force myself to find and maintain a relationship and never will, so that's out as a goal. Is there any chance that with enough therapy I could learn to stop self loathing? I can't imagine it. Is there any chance that through therapy I could learn to have self-confidence, a feeling of self-worth, a modicum of self-esteem? Is there any way a T could help me stop insulting and berating myself any time I do something wrong or make a mistake? Through therapy could I even someday learn to.... dare I say it..... ugh.... love myself? (Ewwwww GROSS! I can't believe I even just typed that!!!)

Originally Posted By: ThisMan
And as a survivor brother, I will remind you that your life is not "shitty". Maybe confused, maybe hard, but it nor you are shitty. Choose another adjective- he says with respect to the man.


Well, I appreciate that you'd say that but it damn sure feels shitty. I'm a fucking looser, a reject, a freak, an outcast and a spaz. I'll never amount to shit and I know it. Still, it could be worse, I suppose. I do have a lot to be thankful for and I try to keep that in perspective. The fact that things could be worse doesn't make the reality that is any better though. Another adjective? How about "crappy"?

Originally Posted By: dark empathy

I really appreciate you sharing your story. I myself was also abused by teenaged girls at secondary school when I was 12-15. I can't speak of memories, since for me the events were always frighteningly clear, albeit with a distant, disconnected dreamlike quality, however one thing I will say and one thing i've recognized is that bullying and s/xual abuse in my case were pretty much one and the same thing, whether it was public exposure and violence inflicted by boys, or close to gang rape by girls, there really wasn't a line, both pretty much hurt though it's the stuff with girls that seems clearest to me and had most after affects I think, such as my genophobia


Yeah, same here. Especially when it comes to the girl I mentioned, the one who was only a year older than me, who sexually and emotionally abused/bullied me for years. I suppose you could say it all left me with a degree of genophobia as well. Being in sexual situations with women is highly uncomfortable and triggering for me. I can't get it up, I don't want to be there, I want to get out of the situation. I am even more turned off by the idea of sex with a man, so that is out of the question. Genophobia is far from the only problem though. As I said before, the worst problem is irreversible and permanent, but I wont post about that, not even here.

Originally Posted By: Jude
Remembering and facing what happened has been critical in my own recovery. Even now I still sometimes question: "Did that really happen?" The answer is unfortunately yes.


Hi Jude. Yeah, me too, I know it did happen but so much of what did happen is so cloudy. Parts of the memory just aren't there and for some reason, it really bothers me. Also, if there was a way I could know for sure that what the teenage boy did to me on the sofa didn't get any worse, it would be a relief for some reason. Not that what he definitely did do was ok. It was assault, plain and simple, but I still want to know for sure that what I do remember is all that did happen and I'm not 100% sure and it bothers me.

Let me ask you this. Did therapy help you to uncover memories previously buried just by talking about the experiences you did remember at the beginning? For me, a year and a half of therapy didn't do that. Were you in a specialized type of therapy? Just curious.

Originally Posted By: Life's A Dream
You're being too hard on yourself.


Who me? Being to hard on myself? No, I never do that. Ha ha! Thanks man. Like I said in my reply last night, I was just in a bad state of mind after posting all that and when I reread it, I just wasn't feelin' it for some reason. I feel better about it now. Thanks. Take care guys. Peace,

Ken

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#430974 - 04/12/13 03:54 AM Re: The Importance of Remembering [Re: BraveFalcon]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Only six weeks? Thot it was longer. You've already made some insightful posts as I recall and I appreciate them.

Regarding a number of issues you've brought up in this thread, easy does it is okay, too. After a written catharsis, yeah, you may not feel it on a reread...and, as you pointed out, yeah, you feel better. Okay, you don't feel/recall it all now. Perhaps you'll recall more later, as you're able to handle it. Or you might not.

I suppose I bring up the Easy Does It idea because it's something with which I've struggled sometimes. What the hell, it's okay to enjoy today, too. And it's okay NOT to be on anyone else's schedule.

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