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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Just Deal!

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Author Topic: Just Deal!
oklearner
Neophyte
Member # 37118

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I was sexually abused as a child, and now I still get flashbacks. I don't get them so bad now. They come back sometimes when other people talk about molestation or when I'm with a guy. I haven't gotten violent with the flashbacks in years. They don't take over now; I'm aware when they are happening. But they are still there. They don't go away. I talk to people about them and they use words like how I need to "deal" with it, or how I need "closure". Exactly what does that mean? Is "deal with it" a button I can turn on? I can talk about the abuse now, am I dealing? When I masturbate regularly, I don't get flashbacks as often. Is that dealing? I found out recently that my abuser died, does that give me closure? Maybe, just maybe, there is no such thing as fully dealing with it or real closure.

Can anyone else relate to this or maybe give me some input?

Posts: 2 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PG
Neophyte
Member # 37116

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When I was younger a boy on my road pushed me into a wall and molested me and threatened to rape me if i told anyone. It was a terrifying experience as i was only 7 at the time and over the years it's been hard not to get upset like when i've had to have Dr examinaitons or gynacology stuff and I still get upset sometimes but over time i've learned to kind of just, im not sure 'get over it' but maybe see it as an afwul experience and jsut one of those things chicky theres some really horrible people out there hun maybe if you felt like very strongly about your ordeal maybe talking to someone about it would help
xxx

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What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course

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Stephanie_1
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 36725

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I don't know that "just deal" is how I'd describe the process you go through in healing from something such as this. There is a healing process that one goes through - but it's generally a very individual process of both coming to terms and learning to cope with what happened, but everyone is different so what you do to help yourself will be different.

Some people find that talking to a counselor helps, and other's don't. If you feel this may be a good step for you, I'd encourage you to look into that. Others take a more physical approach such as yoga, massages, etc that allows you to become accustomed to a "safe touch".

The thing to remember is that it's not going to be something that goes away – it’s in that wonderful memory storage center in our brain. Flashbacks are kind of a nasty trick our brain plays on us, it's a matter of learning to ground yourself when that does happen (by ground yourself I mean bring yourself back to the present and understand you're not where your mind took you to). Through healing however you take another step towards being able to cope with what happened and then ideally reach a point where this doesn’t “run your life” it’s a piece of your past – and while you can’t take the memories and shred them, you can live your life in control.

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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Beckylein
Activist
Member # 33869

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Freud (who, granted, was uhh, a nut...) had this theory about men who came back from the war having these horrible nightmares about the war for years, even lifetimes afterwards. He said it was a form of mastering what they experienced. For me, my terrors, flashbacks, and nightmares about being abused and molested have gotten less vivid and painful over time (and I'm talking 13/14 years here), but I don't think I'll ever completely be "over" it. I get furious when I hear about children being abused. Absolutely furious. I look at that as healthy and a good way to use my abuse to help others, I guess. So I think we can "master" things (to use Freud's terminology), but I think that we never really completely forget about it. Maybe I need a different definition of closure, though.

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"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt; sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." ~Mark Twain

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Stephanie_1
Scarleteen Volunteer
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Even though freud was a bit strange (as I'm sure we can all agree) and some of his theories were extremely off-the-wall, he was a brilliant man. But he was right in that sense.

Although he didn't word it as such (from anything I've read of his works) he was on the right note speaking about not forgetting. That's how the memory works. Sometimes it stores away good memories that we think of from time to time - but quite often it's the bad memories that occur to the strongest degree. When the flashbacks occur there are ways to bring yourself back to the present ... but you can't make those memories go away ... they're there.

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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oklearner
Neophyte
Member # 37118

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Thank you all for the replies, it is helpful to be reminded about the way memories work.

I know you all are right, the memories won't ever really go away. It just seems that most people talk about closure or "the healing process" or "coming to terms" as Stephanie said (which really are comforting words, btw) but it seems as if I struggle constantly with how to do that. I definitely get to a point to where it feels like continuing this "healing process" isn't helping at all. Its not like it comes with instructions, you know?

Just for clarification, I'm not really struggling that badly with flashbacks or having touch problems. I'm just wondering if anyone else has had trouble or just has some input on what exactly "dealing with it" or "the healing process" means.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Oklearner, I tend to think about healing from sexual assault or abuse -- and other kinds of abuse -- as being about acceptance (the abuse happened, and even though it wasn't okay it did, that doesn't mean *I* am not okay), putting responsibility where it belongs (on the abuser(s) and anyone who enabled the abuse, not oneself), taking back ownership of one's body and oneself (in some ways, abuse hijacks certain parts of ourselves), learning to love and care for any parts of our bodies we might otherwise choose to ignore or villify due to abuse, organizing one's life and interpersonal relationships to make room for wounds as well as coping tools and just processing all of the different ways our abuse has made us feel.

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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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Just an extra FYI on some of the things said in here about memories and flashbacks: over time, they really often WILL fade into the background, especially if the life you're living and the relationships you're having are such that there are very few opportunities for triggers or to call up those memories.

People often have the idea that considerable time doesn't help, when really, it tends to, especially when the time passed since abuse has been a very long time.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Stephanie_1
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 36725

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Heather ... your comment on considerable time reminds me of a phrase my grandma used to say,"Time heals all wounds." (Don't worry ... you personally don't remind me of someone 85 years old (unless of course you begin moving all furniture in every room once a week to clean ... then that's uncanny)).

I didn't mean any implication that memories and flashbacks don't fade - for they certainly can- simply that the memories themselves are always somewhere in your mental storage, whether or not you lock them in a box in the back of your mind. Most phychology persons (whether that be a psychologist, psychiatrist, professor, or even in-depth studying student)are in agreement that what little is known of the brain itself points to the fact that time is a major player - both for the good and the bad.

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

Posts: 3429 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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