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Nailo
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Do you ever really get over sexual abuse? I mean, really really, to the point where you can watch a crude rape scene in a movie and be unaffected, to the point where it never makes you cry anymore?

Because I just got a major panic attack because of a rape scene in a movie today, I had to call my mother to pick me up from school. She got mad that I can't bring myself to not fall apart "if I wasn't even raped". That the people who are in their 50s and still get teary about their abuse are "not the people I want to grow up to be like".

I can't believe this is true... is it?

Posts: 410 | From: Dallas, TX | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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I have to say that I sincerely doubt that it is.

Certainly, as time goes on -- and I mean quite a lot of time for most of us -- things get a bit less triggering, and/or we learn to manage triggers better.

However, any human being is going to develop a sensitivity and compassion when they have suffered a certain way, or the reality of a given kind of suffering has become incredibly plain and undeniable. To suggest not only that we not only could remove that sensitivity but should is, IMO, a pretty dangerous thing to suggest. It's one of the ways that makes any of us more compassionate with everyone as a whole.

If you talk with people who lived in the south when lynching was common, very few people who saw someone be lynched (or knew someone who was), and were able to feel and experience what an atrocity that was will tell you that seeing images of that again still hurt, a lot, and still are painful. Concentration camp survivors are not just visiting the sites of the old camps with dry eyes and somehow miraculously impartial or wiped hearts. Expectating anything like that is a pretty outrageous expectation, and again, were you to ask most people in those situations if they'd prefer to be immune to feeling pain at those images or sites, most would say no.

I don't want to rag on anyone's partner, but I'm willing to bet your mother's guilt -- and her simply wanting your pain to end -- is probably a bigger motivator for her to suggest that than anything else. That's obviously very understandable on her part, but it sounds like she's got her own issues when it comes to dealing with your abuse that she hasn't dealt with herself, or needs to deal with a bit more.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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