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#464621 - 04/26/14 08:57 PM It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it
sadclown Offline

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 59
So, I took the plunge into therapy. For a myriad of reasons from childhood and adolescent experiences, I was/am very leery of therapists and doubt their efficacy. And that coupled with my tendencies of minimization and avoidance helped me to avoid even recognizing that I was not handling the trauma well at all. Well, five weeks into therapy with a guy who appears competent and professional we still haven't touched on the abuse. In the trauma history, I told him that I was raped and otherwise molested at 12, but I just kinda left it at that.

On one trip, he pulled out the DSM and had me explain why I didn't have PTSD. A shitty realization on my part, but I finally accepted the obvious. And so far we've been talking more about how I am detached from my body and my dialectic thinking, though not directly referencing the abuse.

Every time I try to bring it up, I can't. The words won't come, or I start dissociating and fixate on this vase in his office. At my last session, I mentioned my dissatisfaction with the lack of tangible progress (I realize it's still early in the game) and he said that it would be abusive of him to pry any details I won't willingly share of my own volition.

I had mentioned I wrote a narrative at an earlier session, and he reluctantly said that I could provide him with that and maybe he could have an idea of what to do with that information. He seemed a little uncomfortable with the idea, but I thought it was pretty good. So I went home and grabbed the narrative I posted here and expanded a bit- just nine more pages or so.

I want him to "know the battlefield" and I don't care if he knows the details- I'm paying him not to judge me and it is reasonable that the more data he has, the better he can help me address the issues. I just can't SAY the details. But here is my problem:

It sounds too bad.

Its well written; I'm not the best story teller, but its coherent and readable. I mean it sounds really, really tragic. When I write it all out, covering family dynamic, physical/emotional/neglectful abuses in addition to the sexual, I can't shake the feeling that I'm making too big a deal out of it and making it sound way worse than it is. I'm now apprehensive about the modified narrative because of that sense of exaggeration. I didn't embellish anything, and I tried to provide context but I feel like it reads dishonestly. I tried to add good stuff to offset it, and it sounded contrived or ridiculous. Like how even when you get beaten with a belt to the point of bleeding, its really not that bad because its just spotting and small tears - its not like its lacerations. AND you go kinda numb for the rest of the night and fall asleep really easily.

So, now I am at the point where I have to ask: Was it really that bad, and no, I am not omitting anything- I just don't want to acknowledge how bad it was? Am I remembering it wrong and more severe, and just forgetting any surrounding good things because I want to play the victim? Am I being effectively dishonest by remembering it wrong, if that is what is happening? Is he going to think I am lying and attention-seeking?

I really feel like I am being unfair to my family here, and even though I hate them and do not talk to them, the narrative is supposed to reflect what ACTUALLY happened. Feelings are subjective but facts are not. And I can't shake the feeling that I am painting the facts in a worse light than is accurate.

Everything I wrote did happen, and happened in the way that I wrote it. But I don't want to omit surrounding good things to indicate that I had a worse childhood than I did. If I do that, I have become dishonest

And that's a pretty horrible and shameful feeling
My Story

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed"- Ernest Hemingway

#464622 - 04/26/14 09:42 PM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
Frustrated Offline

Registered: 10/28/13
Posts: 201
I can relate to that I stopped therapy because of feelings like that

I will never be safe I will never be sain I will always be weird inside I will always be lame

#464629 - 04/26/14 11:31 PM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Hey Sadclown,

I spent years in therapy talking about everything but the CSA. I finally realized that "it" was at the root of many of my issues and I just had to deal with it. At my next session I sat frozen, unable to speak, then suddenly I blurted out: "I was sexually abused when I was a kid". My therapist asked me some questions about it, tried to draw me out, but I couldn't say another word. I left the session shaking, but over time, was able to talk about it.

I also have struggled with the "It wasn't that bad, I'm making too big a deal out of it" mindset. I was drugged and forced into giving oral sex to a man. Compared to what some have endured, that wasn't that bad, but really thats beside the point. Was I less affected because I wasn't raped anally? Has my life been easier because I wasn't used to make kiddie porn, or pimped out to others?

The point is that what happened to me was bad enough to affect me negatively in many ways, and still does. The course of my life was changed for the worse, and at 57 I'm just begining to pick up the pieces.

So, after a life of alcohol, drug, and sex addiction, broken relationships, and professional failure, am I making too big a deal of it? No, I'm afraid not. And my guess is that you aren't either.

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#464630 - 04/26/14 11:34 PM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
don64 Offline

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1104
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi sadclown,

I've figured out that my life with my family was SO horrible I had to dramatically damage my thinking processes in order to survive. The reality of my experiences would have resulted in psychic death had I not been able to damage my thinking in a way so I could paint my reality in a manner that was not devastating to me. Since age 20, I've been in individual therapy, group therapy, self help, personal growth retreats and a host of other efforts to help myself approach a version of me that is satisfying. It has taken all of my experiences to get me where I am today. At 64, I am finally getting down to the feeling level of my trauma from both my parents, and experiencing healing at the level I need in order to patch my damaged foundation.

And, I am worth every ounce of effort it takes to reclaim what is authentically me. If my last breath is an effort of putting ME back together, I'm worth it.

I hope you can be respectful of the wisdom of your own inner knowing, and be as patient as you can be. All the minimizing and dissociation you report may just be the signal you need to take the pressure off your self. It sounds like this therapist has your best interests at heart, and is aware that pushing yourself may be counterproductive.

I read a book on things necessary to having a satisfying second half of life. One of the most helpful suggestions for me was to learn to be curious instead of controlling. Not easy for the damaged parts of me to consider, but very liberating.

Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

#464633 - 04/26/14 11:54 PM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
kcinohio Offline

Registered: 06/06/12
Posts: 481
Loc: Ohio
I think for me there was a fear that if I didn't keep it low-key, so there was a hope of successful recovery and resolution, there wasn't going to be any. But, I also was more readily able to bridge things through writing first, before speaking out. So, I can relate to the process you're going through with this.

As to concern about total honesty, perfect objectivity and recall, and being sure in no way to exaggerate any form of the importance of the bad things, because that's what it sounds like you're expecting of yourself, what helped me was understanding that if I needed to, I could always amend what I said/wrote later. This isn't a trial, it is a personal therapy relationship. What's important is progressing in your recovery journey, not the accuracy of the depiction. With the agreement of your therapist (& kudos for bringing up the narrative and progressing even though the therapist read uncomfortable, by the way, - took me years to become responsible like that for my own therapeutic process). you get to decide what to share.

One of the things that has helped me in deciding I wasn't making "too big a deal of it" is to go to a public place such as a mall or other "observe-without-interacting" locales and just notice a couple of those at the age of your abuse experience(s). Would they or their loved ones be making too big a deal about it if what had happened to you would have happened to them? If not, then chances are you aren't making too big a deal about it either. TRIGGER warning: such an observation exercise can turn on the waterworks unexpectedly, particularly if one hasn't been able to cry over their CSA experieince.

Just a few thoughts in response to the post. Sounds like you are doing good things and making substantive progress quickly compared to how I went along in my journey with it.

Edited by kcinohio (04/26/14 11:56 PM)

#464705 - 04/28/14 01:21 PM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
shockwaver Offline

Registered: 01/03/14
Posts: 1
I can relate to the "was it really that bad?" feelings. I keep minimizing what happened and downplaying the effects it's had on my life and rationalizing it with "Oh it wasn't nearly as bad as what some people deal with".

It wasn't until I talked it all (well, most of the way) out in a walk in therapy that I realized just how big the problem was. Seeing the therapist look as surprised as they were. That yes, bad stuff did happen and it is horrible and I have every right to be screwed up mentally because of it. And knowing that means I can address it.

#464768 - 04/29/14 07:39 PM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: Jude]
BDD Offline

Registered: 01/27/11
Posts: 90
Loc: PA, USA
Beautifully said.

#464788 - 04/29/14 10:27 PM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
genedebs Offline

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 303
Loc: MO
To Sadclown and all:

When I was in my 3rd year of sobriety, I explained I was never severely abused, they never broke my bones. That is a standard that I can no longer even imagine as a method of minimizing. After I quit my therapist of 10 years, I decided that maybe I made incest to big a deal. After all, brother - brother incest is not so uncommon. And my mother only had me undress and pose naked for her and her photographer friend once when I was 12.

The truth is that is bulls**t. The physical abuse, whether at me
my mother or one of my brothers was terrifying. The boiling water "was perhaps an accident." Etc, etc.

I read your story. It was mostly matter of fact. It is tragic and it is a big deal. I am positive if you share it with your therapist and he will read and respond, he will be able to help you. I have never been able to get my therapist to read my story, But I never gave them one under 80 pages.

Simply as Hillel said "IF I am not for myself, who will be?"

Don't try to be so careful about it, when they were so discounting of you.

#464845 - 04/30/14 11:56 PM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
Castle Offline

Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 758
He/she sounds like a good therapist. Talk therapy takes years and is client driven. Tangible result was you took the first steps and are walking into the office...give yourself a break and some time. The more trust you build with t , the more you will get into deeper issues.

Don't be on a time table...the goal is to get healthyt in your time.

#464853 - 05/01/14 08:57 AM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
newground Offline
Chatroom Moderator
Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 1031
Loc: michigan
I have to say bud it is a hell of a thing to try to say. I dont think it is surprising that you have a hard time. and I think that is what you should relate to her
I cant tell you all that happened because I cant and you will have to wait to understand that. remember you are adult now and the control is yours alone. give her the benefit of a doubt let her try to help but if she minimizes your pain I think it is a clear sign she does not"get it" the pain is yours it is not for her to judge how bad it was or not. it is as bad as you say it was it is your experience NOT hers. I have NEVER had a therapist suggest anything like that to me and if they had I would not be seeing them now. that being said I hope if you decide to change you will change and not quit. there are good therapists out there and it may take a time or two to find the one that fits man never give up on yourself you are WAY worth it
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Philip Sidney

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