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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: 58
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

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#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: 195
I can relate to that I stopped therapy because of feelings like that

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

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#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: 1600
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.

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

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#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
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 909
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.

Don
_________________________
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

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#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
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/06/12
Posts: 418
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)

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#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.

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#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: 72
Loc: PA, USA
Beautifully said.

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#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
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 290
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.

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#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: 745
Loc: NJ
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.
_________________________

My posts can self destruct at any time..read them while you can.

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#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
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 881
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
Jeff
_________________________
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Philip Sidney

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#464858 - 05/01/14 09:59 AM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1959
Like others here, I have been in therapy. There were days as I began to verbalize the abuse and hear the words I spoke, I felt horrible and discouraged. I let this happen to me. It was guilt and I believed I was responsible. I would feel worse after talking about what happened, sometimes more description of events than other times. The abuse I had compartmentalized in part of my being, the child who never grew or did not know love other than that of the abuser. I would think, should I just quit therapy and pretend nothing happened? I thought long and hard,but for some reason I kept going back. We were meeting twice a week at the beginning and then every week. I could not get away from the abuse. Slowly, very slowly I began to realize how bad the abuse was and the damage that was done. I had times when I thought I was handling it well and the abuse was no longer an issue. boy was I wrong, I would have a set back and have to regain some of the lost ground. With out emotional stresses in life, the passing of my mother and returning to the church to bury her was healing--I thought--but I was emotionally weak, because when in the church I saw the place of the abuse and relived the abuse over again. But I thought I had handled it well--wrong again. I had episodes of severe dissociative fugues and was hospitalized three times.

I knew the abuse was bad and denying it only kept the fragmented me alive. Somewhere, and I do not know when I began to think differently about myself and the abuse. I also faced the Diocese and received validation of the abuse that I needed--they admitted abuse was horrific and destroyed many lives. I know the abuse was bad, and my denial which protected others, was destroying me.

You cannot talk about it because like me, we buried it, we pretended it did not happen, we knew it happened but our minds played games that allowed us to think it was not that bad, get over it. But part of us could not get over it and this part creeps into our being, hearts and mind and destroys us. We feel guilt for what was done to us, but we need to learn we should not have guilt, it is the abuser's guilt and not ours. Easier sad than done. But over time we get there and life begins to look up. We are no long ashamed and can talk about it. You have taken strides with therapy and writing here--you are talking about it. Remember protecting others will only hurt you--they are your memories coupled with the emotional and psychological damage that come with abuse. Yes it was bad but it was not you who was responsible for the badness. Listen to the T about PTSD--one outcome of CSA is PTSD throughout or later in life.

Thank you for sharing--it takes time and I hope you continue on the road to healing. It will be an emotional roller coaster but in the end you will be free of the abuse and abuser and have the life that you want to live.

Kevin

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#464874 - 05/01/14 09:21 PM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: shockwaver]
On The Fringe Offline


Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
Originally Posted By: shockwaver
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.


I relate to so much in this entire thread, but your comments in particular Shockwaver. I told the first person ever, a woman in my AA group, and she cried and then was mad, asking me if I had resentment issues with it. I ran from being beat at home to sucking some guys dick. Oh yeah, it wasn't that bad. Typical childhood. Literally went from blood in my mouth to sperm in my mouth within an hour. Not that bad. Really.

But I agree completely with the minimizing. It took decades to just say it, the ugly truth. When I was 7 I spent a lot of time with a penis in me.

It was not my fault.

IT WAS NOT MY FAULT!!!!!

It took decades to get that. And then I accepted it was terrible....

What a crazy ride to see the obvious. I feel retarded sometimes. smile.

Thanks for the great topic.
_________________________
I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

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#464885 - 05/02/14 12:27 AM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
sadclown Offline


Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 58
Well, I went back today and he read it over privately. To my surprise it went totally unlike how I expected. He said it was a pretty intense read for him and he had to break it into pieces, but was really effective at not making me feel badly about it. In his defense it is I who is pushing, not him. Ultimately I think it was a good move on my part, but he did say that the recovery is going to be from connection and sharing; that it won't be a matter of just saying it aloud. He says that the damage was caused by disconnection and isolation- the cure will only be found in the opposite. So far, he seems to be a good and skilled therapist; which is impressive given my past experiences. It's self-driven and he constantly re-iterates that, I may be pushing too hard on myself though; I don't know. I still can't really talk about it, but at least now we can talk more about the surrounding emotions. There is "less to lose" so to speak if he already knows the story. But damn if it's still too much. My minimizing only seems to work to the limits of my avoidance.

The therapy experience is not what it looks like on TV, that is for damn sure.
_________________________
My Story

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

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#467514 - 07/12/14 09:05 AM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
Mark954 Offline


Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 27
<<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>>


I guess i'm exactly like that ,the few experience that i had with therapist wasn't good ones, maybe i wasnt ready yet , maybe i'm still not ready yet, i heard somewhere on the forum that for survivors to get the most benefit from therapy ,they have to be acutely aware of there pain ,right now it's difficult because of the dissociation , numbness and self blame, and as a result of these apparently called defense mecanisme from horror,i feel like i'm not handling the trauma at all and it makes me feel guilty , and helpless. so i'm isolating my self not seeking any help
_________________________
The life you have led doesn't need to be the only life you have.-Anna Quindlen-

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#467550 - 07/13/14 06:28 AM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 294
Loc: Europe
I'm in a pretty good place overall, much better than when I Started dealing with all this, but a lot in this thread resonates with me.

Even with a therapist I trusted and respected this was hard to talk about. I've sort of gotten into a habit of daring myself to say the hard things in therapy. To say the scary things snd see what happens. It sometimes seems anticlimactic. The things I think will be heavy end up just being statements, and stuff I thought was just an aside gets very tough.

But it's precisely because I don't know in advance that I just have to get it all out.

I, too, have found myself saying, "It wasn't as bad as it sounds." I think generally when I say that my T has just left it alone, letting me correct that in my own time.

The thought of going to a public place and watching kids that age breaks my heart.

This is not easy stuff. Go easy on yourself, trust yourself, and be honest with whatever you are feeling at a given moment, in therapy and outside it. If feelings, thoughts or even memories change, let that happen, too.
_________________________
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

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#467554 - 07/13/14 08:32 AM Re: It's no big deal- that's why I can't talk about it [Re: sadclown]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2038
Loc: durham, north england
Sad clone, I actually thank you for posting about this. As I said in my other thread I'm considdering going and having directed therapy, as compared to the random counsellers I saw previously. Reading about the sensative way your t handled your narative and disclosure actually made me realize just how ultimately cruddy the people I actually saw were.

One of them for example, when i was describing the abuse actually accused me of sounding cold and mechanical and as though I was describing a science experiment. That is exactly how I feel whenever I go into those memories and the way I can talk about it, by becoming very detached and clinnical (I also had a fare go at the "not that bad" game too). One T actually started objecting to this and saying it was wrong and I needed to connect with the feelings. When i spoke to a friend who had a masters in counselling, she actually recommended I stopped seeing that person, sinse one thing she said wass, one of the cardinal rules of counselling is don't mess with people's defense mechanisms, sinse they're dam well there for a reason.

I don't think it ever hit me just how inexperienced and crappy the people I saw were before reading your post, so this does make me feel a bit better about seeing someone more specifically directed at dealing with sa.

About the "it's not that bad" game. it almost seems a given. My very first post on this site was basically "I don't know why the hell I'm here because what happened to me wasn't that bad" I'd not go as far as saying everyone does it, but it does seem a very frequent defense.

I suppose it's sort of a way of coping, like saying "Well I've had one hand cut off but it's not that bad I've still got the other one" (if anyone knows the black knight in monty python's holy graille this is just the sort of thing I'm thinking). The problem is it is actually false.

It also has an even nastier side effect, or at least it did with me, sinse telling myself " it wasn't that bad I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill here" was a way in which I could reinforce the idea of my own generally pathetic and weak status. I now realize that my own judgement about myself is so intrinsically flawed I can't make these sorts of statements at all, that where I am concerned I'm a heavily prejudiced and biased crytic and thus am not worth listening to, but it took quite a while to come to that realization.

In a way this is one of the bennificial things about coming to a site like ms because people can say "yes, it was! actually that bad. and Yes, it's okay to be affected by it"

Glad that things with the T worked out, and I hope it continues to help.

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