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Author Topic: Confused...
Bun Bun
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Member # 37353

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I'm incredibly confused with myself right now. Specifically, my feelings, and the lack of control I have over them.

I'm 18 now, but when I was 14-15, I was in a very unhealthy relationship that lasted about 7 months. I wasn't in a good mental state at the time. My mom was seizuring, my brother was depressed and I had starting cutting pretty badly. I thought I was in love with this guy, and I guess I believed him to be the one. Emotionally, the relationship was definitely unhealthy. He dragged me into a lot of family issues that he had, including calling me crying because "his mom was hitting him" (I later found out he had hit his mom...). He told me all the time that if I killed myself, he would too. I lost all my friends, because he constantly demanded attention. He HATED when I talked to other guys, so I just didn't.

Sexually... A lot of things happened that I specfically said no to... but he insisted... and sometimes I said yes, just to give in. Or maybe I thought that I was "expressing my love". Sometimes, I think about what happened.. and There are things that I would define as rape, or at least sexual abuse (intercourse never happened.) This is where I get confused though. Sometimes I just think that it was just a bad relationship and the only reason I feel bad is because I feel guilty about things that happened. Maybe I sent mixed messages and I didn't sound serious when I said no.. or maybe because I said yes sometimes because I was tired of saying no and scared that he would leave or something.

I'm at a loss as to my feelings. I have panic attacks that are triggered by stupid things. I always have gotten a little panicky when things don't go quite right or they're out of my control, but things have escalated. The worst is there are certain smells, objects or things that people can say that send me into full blown panic mode. Today, I thought I saw the guy and I almost passed out. I get this tight feeling in my chest, and I can't stop crying. I can't breathe properly because I start shaking so hard and I flick my nails uncontrollably. The only way I can combat this is crawling into a corner with some music for an hour or so, or having my boyfriend (who has been a TREMENDOUS source of support) sit next to me and pet my hair (I can't have him to close, or I feel like I can't breathe).

Just, I don't know why it's this bad. I can't justify these feelings and I wonder if I'm just wanting the attention or something. On the other hand, I wonder if there's something that happened that I can't remember or something that is causing me to react so harshly. Sometimes, I feel just like screaming I WAS RAPED! But I wasn't, was I?

I'm sorry this is a bit of a jumble, but I'm just having a hard time right now (I sometimes I have nights like this) and there are not many people I can talk to because I'm in that between highschool and university stage where I don't really have any close friends save for my best but I hate piling it all on him. I've been thinking of going for therapy, but I've told my parents some of my feelings before and have pretty much just got "get over it" as an answer.

And.. I don't know what I'm asking for. I'm venting mostly, but some feedback would be nice.

Posts: 206 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
orca
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I'm sorry you've been getting so little support from your family. I know how much that can suck. I'm actually in a similar boat as you myself. I got out of an abusive relationship only this past year, and getting certain members of my family to understand that it was abusive has been difficult. At this point, I've decided that I can get support from other areas and if those family members won't understand, then that's their problem, I can't let it be mine. You might try showing them RAINN's page on how to help a loved one. They may start to come around, but I'd be sure that you focus on other areas of support, too, and not focus a lot of emotion on your family since it could take a while and you may be feeling drained in the meantime.

One thing which I've found to be tremendously helpful with trying to figure out what happened is writing it down. Write down all the things that happened during your relationship and then look at it and think about it as if you were reading something that someone else had written. What would you think about what they had been through, and what advice would you give them? You might also try showing this to your family if you feel comfortable with that.

You don't need your parents' support to go to therapy, though. It's my understanding that counseling is free, or at least a whole lot cheaper, in Canada. What area are you in? We can look up some resources for you if you want. You might also give some thought to going to a support group. I know for myself the hardest part is feeling like everyone around me has perfect little lives, so going to a support group could bring you to feel less alone in what you are going through. You may also want to take a look at Pandora's Aquarium. It's an online support group, message board, and chat room for rape and sexual abuse survivors with 24/7 peer support, access to links and resources. You're also quite welcome to talk about this more here, and I'm glad to talk about this with you myself, too.

[ 09-06-2008, 03:02 PM: Message edited by: orca ]

--------------------
Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Posts: 2726 | From: North America | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bun Bun
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Thanks so much for those links. I have a hard time with family understanding mostly because they don't know a whole lot because it's very hard to talk about. Because of how my parents (specifically my dad) reacted when they found out that I was cutting, I find it incredibly hard to admit to them that sometimes I feel the need to do so again. (I haven't cut in quite a long time, and not counting some slipups, it's probably been about 2 years or so). Too, I sometimes feel like I shouldn't be putting so much pressure on my parents. My older brother has a mental illness, so a lot of the time they're focusing a LOT of time and energy on them. I feel bad that they can't just have a "good kid", ya know?

I've been thinking of looking into counselling at my university actually. They provide a couple of a free sessions, then really cheap afterwards if you have healthcare (which I do, both from my dad's work and from the university). I'm unsure about other counselling places because from prior experience with my brother, they're not cheap at all. And healthcare plans tend to have holes in them where you can only spend up to so much on a certain thing before it comes out of your own pocket -_-;. I'm kind of scared to ask for help though. I don't know why, but I've always felt like I guess... I'm not WORTH their time. I always feel like someone else will have a worse problem, and maybe the therapist will think I'm just a drama queen or something.

(I'm in Calgary, Alberta, by the way, if you have any local resources I could check out)

Posts: 206 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
atm1
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I have a bit to add. I was in a situation very similar to yours about 2 1/2 years ago.

The first thing I want to tell you is that *you* can decide what to call your experience of sexual assault (I'm going to call it that for this post, because I think that's a decent blanket term that covers what you've described). No one can tell you how to feel about it or how you should feel about it, and people should always respect that No means no. If you made it clear that you didn't want to engage in sexual activity (and it sounds to me like you did), then him crossing any of those boundaries is entirely his fault.

I said "no" once to in my abusive relationship. When I said it, he hit he, held me down and raped me. I never said no again, even though he never even directly threatened to hurt me again. But that does NOT mean I consented to any of the acts that followed: I was coerced by the threat of physical and emotional violence into submission. Submission is not consent. A maybe isn't even consent. Only an enthusiastic "Yes" is consent. Silence certainly isn't consent. What someone does after you have not given consent is not your fault. It's entirely his fault for choosing to violate that consent.

I've been told by quite a few people that what happened to me wasn't *really* rape. And I don't care what they say. *I* know that I was raped. I get to say that, and define it. *I* know I am a survivor of sexual assault. And that's what matters. People have a lot of stupid ideas what rape really means--they think it's something that is only committed by strangers wielding knives, and that every other situation is just "a bad situation that woman got herself into." Don't ever listen to those people. Your feelings are legitimate, whatever they are.

I know how you feel about the panic attacks (and having my boyfriend pet my hair helps me, too). Some techniques I use is identifying the thoughts right as they come up, and thinking to myself "This ____ is making me feel this way." and acknowledging that feeling. Acknowledging it, for me, makes it easier to control, and even push aside. I like to have things I can hold on to to ground me in reality.

And there might be things you don't remember. I know there are things that happened to me that I don't. I have distinct gaps in some of my memories (I remember arriving at his house, and leaving, nothing in between, on several occasions). I remember noticing bruises, but I don't remember getting them. And I'm choosing not to push myself to remember. That feels like the right choice for me.

Just know that how you feel is legitimate, and it is a big deal if you think it is (and certainly any therapist will recognize it as such). Also, you might want to look into a support group. I've been in one for the past two years (and run it for the past 1), and it's really helped me. It's a great way to get some validation, and also just to know that other people are feeling the same things and that it doesn't make them (or you) crazy.

I hope some of that helps.

Posts: 2262 | From: in transition | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bun Bun
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Thanks for the support, atm. It's kind of inspiring to see someone go through similar events and come out so strong. Your words are very comforting : ) I'll have to try that technique next time I feel a panic attack coming on.
Posts: 206 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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