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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » new flashback, confusing (Trigger warning sexual abuse)

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Author Topic: new flashback, confusing (Trigger warning sexual abuse)
thumb tack
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Hi there,
I've posted a few times before about an abusive relationship I left over six years ago, which left me with PTSD. He was physically, emotionally, financially, verbally and sexually abusive. I've dealt with a lot of that in therapy, but not so much the sexual abuse bit, I'm too embarassed. Even though I know it was definitely sexual abuse, I still have trouble saying it out loud because I feel like I'm lying or exaggerating.

Anyways, I've "relapsed" (not sure if that's the right word...) several time this year with regards to my PTSD. I thought I knew all my triggers, but new ones just keep popping up. I start feeling stressed, I'm tired all the time, I get a sore neck and shoulders, I have more frequent flashbacka and nightmares, until I start depriving myself of sleep because the nightmares are so bad... Then, I collapse, lose control over my emotions and I figure out "oh shit...PTSD" I've been working with a therapist for a few months now to try to get better at identifying what's happening to me so I can take proper care of myself. The first time I relapsed this year, it took me about five weeks to figure out that what was happening was PTSD and that I needed help. The last time, it only took me about 2-3 weeks to figure out what was going on.

So something's going on again. I had a UTI last week which triggered a new wave of nightmares and flashbacks, specifically about sexual abuse. I was proud of myself for figuring it out so quickly this time (only a couple days!) and since I was too embarassed to talk to my therapist about it, I journaled, did art and went through all the grounding techniques she taught me. And I'm okay, it's working. The only thing is I've had a new flashback (usually it's like the same 3 or 4, like a broken reccord), but it's not a bad one... It's a flashback of me basically having a fantastic orgasm, probably the best of my life... with my abusive ex. I don't want to remember that. I dont understand how one day he would rape me or otherwise force me into sex, and the next we'd have awesome consensual sex. Worse, by the end of the relationship, I'm not sure sex was ever really consensual because even when I did want to have sex, I knew the consequences of saying no, and that alone was enough to make me not want it anymore... but I still enjoyed the sex even though I didnt always want to. I'm also struggling to figure out the times when I initiated it, I know I felt like I had to because he would get angry if I didnt, but I dont remember being all that distressed about it (well not always, anyways). These memories are really deeply disturbing me... I know it would be best for me to talk about it with my therapist, but I'm so much more comfortable talking about it with the anonymity Scarleteen provides. I'm not in crisis or anything, I just feel like I need to work through this a bit...

thanks in advance

Posts: 126 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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thumb tack: have you ever read "Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft?

I ask because while there are a world of reasons I really appreciate that book,l one is that Bancroft talks about how confusing the sexual elements of abusive relationships between men and women, specifically, can be, and I think it'd help illuminate this for you.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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no, I haven't, and yes, I will!
Posts: 126 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
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Heather always has such on-target book recommendations. [Smile]

How else can we help/support you through this? [Smile]

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Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Thanks Robin, I'll give the book a go, and I think I may have the courage to bring it up with my therapist next week now that I brought it up here... I'll come back if I need extra help [Smile]
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Onionpie
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I just want to second heather's recommendation; I read that book and holy CRAP is it good. I'm planning on buying it sometime to have it on hand to read it again every once in a while. It's really illuminating and informative and helpful.

Good luck talking to your therapist [Smile]

Posts: 1311 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
thumb tack
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thanks for the feedback onion pie, I checked some of the local libraries but none of them had it, so I'm anxiously waiting for my b-day pretty soon to finally get started on this so highly prized book!

I scrounged up the courage to bring it up with my therapist, and sure enough, it was a HARD session. But I'm glad I did.

Thanks to Scarleteen for providing this space to sort out my thoughts!

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Onionpie
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Really glad to hear that you managed to talk to your therapist about this, and that it was a positive experience for you! For sure, talking about this big stuff is hard and can be so intimidating; but in the end it's really worth it for all the positive stuff we get from it [Smile]
Posts: 1311 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I just wanted to let you know that I got the book and that it was a really good suggestion (no surprise there [Smile] ).

It brought up a lot of stuff for me, and it especially made me realize how much I've been minimizing what he did to me (both while I was with him and for years afterwards), which sort of explains why I feel like I'm exagerating when I say it was abuse. I think Lundy really does a great job of explaining why and how psychological abuse is soooo damaging.

I sort of want to hold on to the book, so I can re-read parts of it when I feel like it, but I think I'll leave it at the shelter where I work so the women there can benefit from it.

I'd really like to learn more about the dynamics of sexually abusive/coercive relationships, any other suggestions?

THANKS!

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Robin Lee
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HI Thumb Tack,

Heather has read many more books on this topic than I have (I'm working hard to catch up!), so she may have some specific recommendations.

In the meantime, you can take a look through this list and see if any of the books catch your eye:

http://www.scarleteen.com/cgi-bin/forum/ultimatebb.cgi?/ubb/get_topic/f/37/t/000102.html

As well, I think you might find this article from our site a helpful, or at least interesting, read.

How You Guys -- that's right, You GUYS -- Can Prevent Rape

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Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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