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Author Topic: Not being afraid forever
Link21
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How can I get over not being so afraid to be around guys alone after being assaulted?
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Heather
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Hey there, Link, and welcome to the boards. [Smile]

Perhaps we can start with this with you filling me in on some more specifics about these fears, as well as what your journey in healing, so far, has been after your assault?

It might also help to know if, previous to your assault, you felt afraid of men or have had any other abuse from men in your life history.

--------------------
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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Link21
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Basically my fear comes into play when men who are interested in me want to be alone and occasionally taking walks and seeing guys in cars starring at me. Not too long ago this guy who I know wanted to take me down the street to get some lunch at Walmart. I was afraid to go with him because I was afraid something would happen to me. I even asked him if he was going to kidnap me. He thought I was joking and I said I was. But I wasn't!

My journey so far has been actually good for the most part. I don't see my assaulter and I have no contact with him. I have gotten over the nightmares but there are a few things that still bother me. Like for instance I have this feeling that my assault was taped so when I see certain things on the Internet I get scared. For instance an old friend had received a link from me in an email. ( this was a while ago) I told her I never sent anything. She said it was a weird link and she didnt want to open it. I know this sounds crazy but it made me panic and think that it was a link to a video of me. The initial year after the assault was hard. Not because if just the assault but as crazy as this sounds I actually fell for my assaulter. That year was such a mess!

As far as being scared of men before this happened not really. Although years ago I liked this kid i was really obsessed over him. I used to call his house a lot and he didn't like that very much. His response was spitting in my face multiple times, threatening to kill me, and he even slapped me in my face once.

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Heather
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Have you yet had any kind of counseling, or even just the ability to talk to a few people you know you can trust and who care about you about the assault? What you say about your journey so far makes it sound like you haven't yet had any real help with your healing.

Have you found that it helps at all, with men you actually WANT to be alone with, or, beyond fears from your assault, have no reason to fear, to take things gradually? In other words, to build trust over time before being alone, like by hanging out with them with friends for a while first -- a while being anywhere from days to weeks to months, depending on what you need?

--------------------
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

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Link21
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Well I don't think I ever told my therapist about the whole video thing and this is something extremely big that has happened in my life. I don't have anyone besides my therapist that I feel I can trust with what happened that night. And I have found that guys I do want to be alone with I would be able to take it easy and take my time in getting to know them first but the assault is always on the back of my mind. You know? I don't know how to explain it.
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Link21
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And as far as talking to my therapist openly about everything involving that night and everything after it's hard. She already knows the majority of what happened that night that I can remember. But like when she relays what I say to her you know she is blunt about it I sort of sugar coat it i guess. It's just really hard to keep talking about even after all these years. There are a lot of times when I think about it and I cry.
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Heather
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Is this a therapist you're seeing expressly to help you with the assault? And someone who does that kind of counseling?

Has she, for instance, been helping you with coping tools, like managing triggers, and discovering what you need in order to feel more safe around this?

--------------------
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

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Heather
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I understand what you mean about the assault always being in the back of your mind.

So, with these guys you are talking about, even after say, months of building trust gradually, you're finding you still aren't able to build it to the point where you feel okay being alone with them at all?

--------------------
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

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Link21
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No I picked my therapist to help me with depression because that's one of her specialties. And truth be told I told her about that night and stuff and we really don't talk about it. Although like I had said before we will be talking about it during my next session. But no matter who I talk to its still an awkward conversation to have. Talking like this is fine but a therapists job is to get down to the bottom of what's bothering you and they can't If you don't give them details and the details are the hardest part. It's embarrassing
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Link21
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True sort of. Like the friend I was telling you about. I met him I believe last semester and we talk all the time now. We're becoming really good friends and he is super nice. But I'm still afraid to be alone with him.
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Heather
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Well, not every therapist is specifically trained to do counseling with surviving assault or other traumas.

Do you like her? It sounds like you do, but just want to check that this is someone you feel able to work with on this issue, especially since it doesn't sound like, so far, she's really been working much with you on this or giving you the kinds of coping tools survivors need? Might you perhaps feel more comfortable working with someone whose specific job is counseling people who have survived rape?

Also, a counselor who does this doesn't actually need the details of your assault, or all of them. Sometimes some of those may come up as things one needs to work with, like if some of them are creating triggers, but really, giving anyone all the details and just speaking them can do a lot, but it's not usually the big answer with things like this. healing from assault and learning to cope with things like triggers, continuing fears about assault and post-traumatic stress involve much more than just giving details of an assault. It'd be awesome if just telling every gory detail of our stories took care of all that, but alas, it doesn't.

With this friend, want to maybe do a little talking to try, here, to sort out what you think you'd need to be alone with him if that's something you want to be able to do?

--------------------
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

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Link21
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No I don't want anyone knowing what happened. I mean I suppose I will figure out a way to not be scared and as for my therapist I don't want to see someone who specializes in this cause then my mom is bound to find out. And I don't want that. And she probably would find out cause I don't have my license yet so she would have to take me
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Heather
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Well, one thing I can tell you is that something we know over many years of study (and many of our own experiences) is that breaking silence around rape, at least to some people, those we trust, or those who work in the field, so it's a given they will handle it well, is a pretty huge part of getting over it.

Like I said, speaking it all out isn't magic, it doesn't fix everything. But if we're keeping it a huge secret, that does tend to hold back our healing.

But it sounds like your therapist might be a good start, because she at least is one person you trust and feel safe talking to. So, how about with that next visit, we come up with some issues you can ask her for help with, like building trust with men, as well as being able to at least tell people you are very close to, like a best friend, for instance, that you survived assault so you can break your silence? And a way to make clear you need to focus on working on healing from this so it doesn't keep standing in the way of the life you want to be living?

I'd also be happy to suggest some books you can probably find ion your library and read there about healing, if you like, so you don't have to worry about them being found at home if you're not ready to tell your family yet.

--------------------
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

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Link21
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People know what happened that night but my therapist is the only one who knows the details. And I only told two people and it was a counselor at school and a girl I knew who knew the person who did this. But I never gave details and I only did it cause it was just screaming to get out of me but it didn't help. Till this day I regret saying anything and I pray she didn't tell no one and this girl who I used to be close too found out about what happened to me but I don't talk to her about it. I should have said that I personally don't want to share details with ANYONE it's hard. I didn't think it would be that hard but it is. It's even awkward thinking about it. Even to this day sometimes it seems like it never happened and I often wonder like why me and did i deserve this, even though you said this wasn't my fault that's hard to believe sometimes. And there are those days where I just can't believe I'm a victim of sexual assault. There's no way that I want to just relive that with someone or worse have people look at me like some poor soul. It's embarrassing. I know that you say it's good to talk to someone and such but aside from my therapist I just don't see anyone that I would be comfortable with talking about this and even with her I'm still not comfortable going into depth and really put myself back in that mind set. I sort of just want to forget I ever happen. But I know I can't and so I want to keep it to myself but I don't want to tell people and I sort of dont want to tell a guy because I don't want him to think I'm vulnerable or get any ideas. I know one day lll have to tell my boyfriend all about this. ( I don't have one now)
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Heather
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I know that it's hard. Personally and professionally, I so do. And it's not just you, I promise: it's really, really hard for most people.

If it helps, personally, as a survivor, I didn't tell anyone at all until about 5 years after my first assault. It is hard.

But I also do think that the more we do it -- and again, all the details really aren't needed -- the easier it gets, and I also think that it's a lot harder to live in silence, especially as time passes, than to live with a lot less of it when it comes to this. And again, that's pretty well-supported in the research we have and the practice we have in the field per healing from abuse.

And hey: you came here and made this one more place you're telling. That's awesome.

Have you ever, I wondered, talked, in-person, to other survivors? In other words, people who get, from experience, even with its diversity, what you're feeling and where you're at. Who don't give pitying looks, because they know how much they suck to get, too.

--------------------
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

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Link21
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No I have never talked to other people who have been through this.
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Heather
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Maybe try that next? You could start with online, since you seem comfortable with that -- and you can do that here, and/or at Pandy's, which we think is fantastic: http://www.pandys.org/

Just maybe try starting that way?

--------------------
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

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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(Just FYI, I need to head off for the night, but I'll be back around tomorrow. [Smile] )

--------------------
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
   

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