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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Tripping on the path of healing

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Author Topic: Tripping on the path of healing
AshGolden
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I am sorry for posting here, it's fine to delete my post if it doesn't fit this message board's purposes. I also have to put a warning here because I wouldn't want for people who are doing a great job at healing to read this and believe they would fail the same way I do, so please if you're struggling or ever just doing your best, don't feel concerned by what another person is going through; I wish I'm the only one having such troubles. For Heather or anyone willing to help, don't get unnecessary worries, I am in a therapy right now, but sometimes I feel like it's focusing more on the here-and-now and I'm unsure whether I should handle this specifically...

My history with abuse started as I was really young, and I have forgotten for most of my life, having my first experiences with a feeling of unconsciousness, and like I couldn't grasp what was happening. When I realized, I broke up with my boyfriend of that time and thought it was okay as long as it didn't happen too often, but that I couldn't protect myself 24/7. Then I tried to really change deeper, but it feels like, having never known what consent is, I can't just build it from nothing.

Now, I'm scared of myself, depressed about life and hopeless. I wouldn't have posted here if after a whole night of crying, I haven't had a dream about Heather, and now I wish I could get some help, even a few words. I read everything about abuse and consent on scarleteen, but I can't understand myself, and it leads to misunderstanding when I try to talk about consent. In all the previous situations, I was more anxious and panicked than really "myself", but still I behaved in active ways, for bad reasons. Is it about trying to regain power on sexual situations? But then, not only I misled others, but also now I can't read others' consent, in the eventuality that I'd try to build a relationship...

It feels like what had been broken in me from the start will never build on healthy basis, and then I'll only be a danger for people. Once again, I'm not saying every victim or survivor is, but what seems to be acceptable mistakes in a healthy couple, like being a bit too cheeky, or going along with the mood a few seconds before stepping back, is taking huge proportions in my case. I need to control everything I tries to do, but my own confusion confuses others too, and I'm just lost...

Sorry again for annoying you with such a long post, I'm afraid to be out of borders already with what I said, so you can delete it with my approval already.

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Redskies
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Hi, AshGolden, and welcome to Scarleteen (with your own question, so I think the welcome is highly appropriate [Smile] ). I saw you replying with great sensitivity to someone else recently and was really hoping you'd write yourself when you felt ready to. You're very welcome, and there's nothing to be sorry about for posting. It's ok for you to write as much as you need to, too.

I'm sorry to hear that you've experienced abuse, and I'm glad you were able to get out of it, and that you're in therapy.

Healing can feel like a very long, tough road, and I think that most of us who've been on that road have felt at some point that we'll never feel ok and never be able to get out of the darkness we find ourselves in. There will be light again.

It sounds like you're still very much in the middle of your healing journey, and in the middle, it's very common to feel confused and scared. It takes time to relearn healthy ways of interacting with people, and that can be very overwhelming if we're also still trying to work through and process the abuse.

You don't have to know and understand everything to do with consent right away. You have as much time as you need to figure this out, to think about it yourself, to ask us and other reliable people as many questions as you need to for you to understand and feel comfortable. Generally, more for our own well-being, things tend to go a bit better if we're not trying to have sexual relationships with others while we're getting our heads round consent and healthy relationships. I wasn't quite sure from what you wrote whether you have any current or recent sexual interaction?

Experiencing abuse never, ever means that a person will be broken for ever, so it doesn't mean that for you, either. Please know too that someone who's been abused and who cares about consent and is trying very hard to grasp it is very, very unlikely to be a person who will be a danger to others. It's clear that you're very sensitive to other people's well-being. People who realistically Are any kind of danger to others are nearly always people who just don't care enough about other people and what those other people want - they're people who deliberately choose to ignore consent, even if sometimes they do a good job at seeming nice. That doesn't sound like what you're saying here at all.

Are there any specific things about consent that you'd like to talk about, to help with the confusion? Is there anything else that would help you?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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AshGolden
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Thank you a lot for your very kind reply. I'm sorry for my rusty English, it's not my mother language so I have to be careful to find the right words, and even more since I don't want to trigger anyone by inconsiderate words or phrasing.

Even though I know it's normal to have moments when you think it won't get better, since I supported everyone I met toward their healing, it's much more difficult when it's about myself. I also think I'm usually too naive and forgiving of people, saying things like "it's normal to be curious or cheeky, it's your personality/your exploration of sensuality," but when it comes to myself, such tolerant behavior wouldn't be respectful for the people I hurt by my clumsiness...

I have two big problems actually:
One is that I romantically fell for someone who used to share my feelings. It was on the beginning of my new therapy, which meant a really big step forward for me, since I admitted that I haven't had any consensual experience before. But as the talks went about my sexual history, we both face impossibility to understand why I felt it as abusive while I described it as things I was active in doing. That my motivations were fear and anxiety, when not simply depersonalization, didn't explain why I didn't run away when it was possible, instead of making things happen. For me, the line was already blurred in my childhood, since my first abuser was a member of my family, but in junior high, I was accused by family and friends to be provocative when I first identified a boy's behavior as abusive (insults, attempts to touch or kiss me). They said it was probably that he fell in love with me, and if I didn't say "no" loud enough for him to stop, then I must be enjoying it and seeking for it.

This is probably why I faced difficulties when, in my attempt to build a healthy, positive relationship, I couldn't react to some cheeky remarks from the person I loved. Without going into details by respect for her, I let such things make me feel uncomfortable, until one day I reacted to this, in a way that I thought was playful or open to dialogue, but I was harmful. My behavior turned out predatory, and it wasn't about how long nor how sexual things were, but my partner noticed the change in me, and the hurt was done.

I feel like it's because I was active in my previous abusive, which I can't understand totally, that I am a danger if I try to participate in a relationship. Passivity doesn't do any good either, and I know communication should be the key, but I think it's difficult to talk about the present situation and draw border of consents when I still can't explain why I was like this before. Like the past doesn't vanish away if I just put it aside, sadly...

Sorry for the long rant, I only hope this could help someone else some day, because for now it's very embarrassing to have so much attention on such a dark part of myself.

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Redskies
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No worries about the language. Your English is super anyway, and we know that plenty of folk using Scarleteen aren't native English speakers. Also, it's ok to use whatever words feel best to you to describe your own experiences and feelings. This particular board has a trigger warning anyway, due to its topic. Scarleteen's general boundaries would be not to be unpleasant or disrespectful to or about another user or group of people, not to tell anyone else how they feel or how they should feel, and not to use very violent words or very detailed descriptions of abuse. So, you're absolutely fine.

It's always much more difficult when it's about ourself than when it's about someone else, I think. Somehow it's so much harder to apply the same understanding and compassion that we have for others to our own selves. Also, even if someone's behaviour is normal (whatever "normal" actually is), we still have the right to feel ok or not-ok about it, and we have the right to leave the situation or to tell the person that we don't feel ok and ask that they behave differently around us. If that doesn't feel ok to them, then maybe us and them just aren't a good fit at that point - that happens sometimes, and it's no-one's fault. When we've experienced abuse, it tends to be a very important part of our healing process to learn that we have the right to tell someone that we don't feel ok about something. Just in the same way that we all like different things, we're all bothered by different things, too, and we all have a right to feel that way.

It sounds very clear to me that the person you fell for simply didn't understand a lot about abusive situations and dynamics. That must have been very hurtful for you when they didn't understand how it was abusive. Please know that people who are knowledgeable and trained about abuse know wholly and totally that fear and anxiety can keep a person, particularly a child or young person, in an abusive situation, and that it is never, ever that person's fault, and they are not participating in or continuing their own abuse. An abused person staying in abuse is part of the whole abusive situation which the abuser creates.

I'm so sorry to hear that your family did not support you and blamed you for that boy's behaviour. They should not have done that and they were wrong about what they said to you. It's never a person's fault for not stopping abusive behaviour. The person doing it shouldn't be doing it in the first place. It's wrong, too, to think that someone doing those things must be "in love". That idea comes up quite often as an "explanation" for boys and young men harassing girls and young women, and I find it baffling. Someone who loves someone does not behave in ways that are disrespectful or hurtful. Also, any kind of feeling at all is never an excuse for harassing or abusive behaviour.

It's actually ok when any of us don't feel comfortable with something someone else says or does, even if the other person genuinely meant well. We're all allowed that - You're allowed that. You didn't "let" such things make you uncomfortable, you felt the way you felt, and that's ok. Usually, in that kind of situation, we might say something like "I realise you mean well, but you doing X makes me feel uncomfortable/reminds me of something that upset me. Would you not do that? Thank you so much." Someone who cares about us won't want to upset us, so they'll stop. If it's something that's important to them And they care about us, they won't tell us to get over it or insist, they'll let us know it's important to them, and then everyone has to take it from there to figure out a solution.

Do you feel like you'd be able to tell someone that something bothered you?

If you'd like to talk about what happened with your partner, you're welcome to. Have you talked about it with a therapist or anyone else? I'm wondering if it might not be as bad as you feel it is, because that can happen when we haven't healed from abuse, and if that's the case it might be a weight off you.

Have you seen the articles on the site about abuse and abusive relationships? I think they might help you understand that you really, honestly were not active in your abuse, and it absolutely does not make you a possible danger in the future. Would you like links to the articles?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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AshGolden
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Thank you for your understanding and kind words, it means a lot to me. I've already read pretty much everything about abuse, consent, but also starting a healthy sexuality, with oneself and with a partner, and these readings initiated a lot of talks with this person. She's even reading this message board, so I know her tries at understanding something I don't understand myself are as sincere as exhausting.

Maybe I could try to be a bit more precise about what I mean by "active", in these abuses?
After having been told that I was the one seeking for this guy in junior high school to behave in such way, I also had to hear a lot from my friends about the importance of relationships. From your signature, I guess you know how pressuring it can be for a teen, to hear a double standard of "don't provoke guys/have your first kiss early". I was mocked for being too naive and innocent by the same friends who reproached me that a guy choose me as his victim of insults and menaces. I feel like at that time, they got me to believe if I just "went out with it", I wouldn't be to goal of so many comments, and I was probably also curious, but it never felt nice...
There is a cliché about victims becoming promiscuous, right? I don't know if there's any truth in that, if it was the reason for me having such first times while I didn't want them to happen, but it feels awful now to look back. Was it a part of "doing like the others"? Am I still a victim if there was no hint of that for the others, if I seemed to be the one wanting it? Honestly, I feel like I had been brainwashed by my family and friends into looking toward abuse instead of healthy limits. But I hate to put the blame on others, as you said, it's easier to comfort someone else in the same situation than myself...

My therapist is more focused on how I feel right now, she's not a specialist in abuse, and it bothered me when she said "you probably didn't do something that bad, it's normal that in the beginning of a relationship, you do things that feel "maybe-ok", and you stop when you're told to, and apologize and do better next time". I feel that, as a victim and trying-to-be survivor, I shouldn't allow myself such mistakes, I can't forgive myself while I know someone who didn't go through such abuse can not understand that curiosity or mischievousness can trigger the thinking (or lack of) I had before starting to heal.

Moreover, I learnt, thanks to this person who is now a friend, how important it is for me not to let some grey consent make me consider abuse as normal. But I think I failed at applying the same clear thinking on my present situation, and once triggered, I didn't realize that "I don't know" doesn't mean "yes".
I don't know if it's okay to ask on this board, because I read it already on articles, but maybe I need to hear it again (and I'm sorry for it), can victims of abuse go forward bad situations, with the appearances of willingness, and realize only years later, once they explore consent and clear limits, that they didn't want such things? I feel like all my "first times" had been stolen from me, but I can't claim the right for myself to create a start of my consensual life before I understand why I was so active in them...

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Redskies
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I was just leaving the message boards for the night and saw your reply. Didn't want you to think that I deliberately wasn't replying to you - I wouldn't say much sensible to anyone now, and that's not very useful to you [Smile] I'm sure some other volunteers/staff will be around at some point soon, and I expect I'll be around tomorrow.

--------------------
The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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just_nobody_90
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Hi AshGolden! I hope you dont mind if I write you this.

The worst feeling for me right now, is to not have the right words to make you feel better about yourself and your journey towards recovery.

I can see you make such great efforts to help and support others because maybe, like once I said, it is easier to focus on others rather than ourselves.

I am not very good with the smart words, never have, but I do want to say something to you that I read in some place time ago:

"It takes someone really especial to appreciate someone truly amazing" (or something like that)

So, I guess what I am trying to say is not only in our road to recovery, but in our road through life not everybody is going to be able to see us through for what we really are.

And definetely no one will ever be able to understand what it was like to have no power against someone else, or have the power but never knew you were allowed to use it, unless you have been there.

All I can say is that is so easy for people to talk about things they don't understand.

I wish I could say so many things I have in my mind right now, but I dont want to mess up with you. You have an amazing way to make others feel good, I think at least you deserve the same.

[ 07-06-2013, 03:03 AM: Message edited by: just_nobody_90 ]

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AshGolden
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Hi just_nobody_90,
(my heart ache everytime I read that because I feel like you consider yourself lower than you are)

I was really apprehensive about you reading this to be honest. For what you thought it was someone good who supported you, while I shouldn't be allowed to say anything with how badly I dealt with all of this in my past life. I really wish you to heal in better ways than me, all along our messages, it was always my hope for you to be stronger than me and not falter in your discovery of consent.

Maybe you remember I told you I felt like we were similar for the automatic mode and how things happened out of control, but I have no excuse if I started to behave in such ways without having been coerced...
But thank you for your words and support, you are an amazing person I know despite the modesty that makes you not say everything.


@RedSkies I tried to sleep around the same time, don't worry. I'm glad you're not feeling in responsibility to stay to reply and can protect your own well-being first. Everything you said made me really grateful.

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just_nobody_90
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If you werent allowed to say something bad about how you feel then that would mean I am not allowed to say something good about me. Just because the way we started our conversations doesnt mean we cant feel any different right?

I dont feel good about how you feel but I feel less scared to learn I am not the only one who is confused around here. Its like with Heather remember? sometimes I am so scared of her because it seems like she is just PERFECT!

Please know, you dont have to be wonder woman or neither storm to make me feel you are strong. I know you are strong just because you have the hability to try to help someone else even when you feel bad. Ive been thinking about the word "survivor" ever since Heather mentioned to me and you know what, I think we are all survivors from the moment we, well, survived what ever happened to us no matter in what stage of our healing we are.

WE ARE HERE! TRYING!

You say you dont like the way I call myseld "nobody" but my heart aches too when I read you saying you give permission to erased whatever you write if it is not okay for others to read. I truly belive everything you have got to say its important.

You dont need any excuse to behave in any way. I think that automatic mode is so hard to turn off and so tricky because even when you think its off it turns on without any question. (I really hope you understand this, I told you I am not good with the smart words)

I dont want to say I know how you feel, because we all feel so different and so deeply about ourselves, but I want to let you know, that everything you feel is allowed and that doesnt define the kind of person you are. Because you know what? I know that even if you dont feel so strong right now, you are (at least for me) stronger for just admiting it. And yes, for me, you are just as amazing (or even more) than you think I am.

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AshGolden
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Thank you a lot for the time you spend for writing this, though I wish I would give you more inspiration to go toward something better instead.

I know we are here and we are trying, and I told you already how proud of yourself you can be for that, so much that I don't dare to say what I think about myself in the end...

How do you deal with these moments of doubts? You know it's thanks to what you said that I finally posted here, because "you can't help others when you're not helping yourself too", and I know I can't meet any understanding if I only show confusion to others. Already when you said about "automatic mode", it made a lot of sense to me, but here I feel like I was worse and I think I need to seek help from persons like RedSkies, Heather or Robin...
I really don't want to just think "it's normal, I've been changed by what happened and sex didn't seem to mean much to me so I did it willingly", that's not what it felt to me, and I don't want abuse to be part of my life anymore...

Thank you a lot, even if just for reading such stupid babble.

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just_nobody_90
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Really, we need to stop calling ourselves "nobody" and what we say "stupid babble" I think its not helping.

What do I do to deal with the moments of doubt? I come here... and I "babble", you have seen it.

I totally understand you feeling that you need help from people more like Heather or Robin or Redskies so, I will give you the space you deserve and just know that someone else is here, anytime... ok?

Hang in there Ash!

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Haleigh H
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HI AshGolden,

I'm sorry to hear that you are having a hard time. I think that it is really important to remember that the path to healing is not a straight path. It has hills, valleys, twists and turns. There are going to be great days and bad days. We are going to make mistakes and that is okay.

Consent (permission) for sexual activity is a yes. Yes! There are a whole lot of ways that people say no: I don't know, let me think about it, I'm not ready, no eye contact, silence, etc. If there is not a yes then there is no consent.

I want you to know that what is most important is how you felt in the situation. If you felt like you were being coerced (convinced) or taken advantage then that is what happened. Your consent is really only consent if it's something you want to do. If you are saying yes because that is what you really want to do, then it's consent.

I know that for victims of sexual violence hyper-sexuality (what you've described as promiscuous) can happen as a result of the abuse. It is the mind and body trying to make sense of what happened.

I think that it is okay and it makes total sense that you would see a situation differently a month, year, two years later. As you heal from the abuse you are going to see things that happened in the past differently and your decisions are likely going to make more sense.

Have you thought about changing to a therapist who specializes in helping people heal from abuse? Do you think your current therapist may know someone who specializes in this area?

It sounds like you are doing the best you can to get better and I don't want you to be too hard on yourself. There is no quick fix, it takes time.

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Haleigh

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AshGolden
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Thank you Haleigh, you have no idea how deep your words are reaching me. I can't really answer straight right now, I'm getting a bit emotional but I think you wrote exactly all the things that I needed to read for now. I'll give myself some time to think about it properly and let it clear some obstacles on my path, thank you again for your words that leave no room for compromises or hesitation.

I had seen a psychiatrist who specialized in victims and post-traumatic stress, but he was more focused on the immediate consequences, with no long-term healing. Since I live in France, I'm not even sure there would be people specialized in such things; when I have met such kind of therapist (the police sent me there in the trial process), I wasn't really sure what to say since I was still avoiding... Maybe it would be worth giving it a try indeed, despite how hard it is to leave a therapy with someone I had such difficulties to finally trust, and rebuild this relationship anew with a complete stranger...
But thank you a lot, I will think about it.

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Haleigh H
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AshGolden,

You are so welcome. I'm glad that I could help. If you are happy with your current therapist I don't think you have to stop seeing them. If it works out okay for you, you might try seeing your regular therapist and someone who specializes in post-traumatic stress.

I wish you all the best.

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Haleigh

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AshGolden
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Hi just_nobody_90,
(my heart ache everytime I read that because I feel like you consider yourself lower than you are)

I was really apprehensive about you reading this to be honest. For what you thought it was someone good who supported you, while I shouldn't be allowed to say anything with how badly I dealt with all of this in my past life. I really wish you to heal in better ways than me, all along our messages, it was always my hope for you to be stronger than me and not falter in your discovery of consent.

Maybe you remember I told you I felt like we were similar for the automatic mode and how things happened out of control, but I have no excuse if I started to behave in such ways without having been coerced...
But thank you for your words and support, you are an amazing person I know despite the modesty that makes you not say everything.


@RedSkies I tried to sleep around the same time, don't worry. I'm glad you're not feeling in responsibility to stay to reply and can protect your own well-being first. Everything you said made me really grateful.

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Robin Lee
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Hi There AshGolden,

I just wanted to check in to see how you're doing with all of this now?

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Robin

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AshGolden
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Hi Robin and thank you. I wanted to post to let you know earlier, but it was all so hectic that I didn't find the motivation.

Panic attack are back, but now I am more aware of what I should focus against to move on, and I talked with my therapist about it. I'll try to find a therapist closer to where I live now, and with more experience on abuse and compulsive behavior, I think I can again pull some inner strength out of this difficult moment in my life.

The hardest for me is to learn to forgive myself instead of thinking I should have rather died than went through this, so I'm establishing tiny challenges to overcome everyday to regain my fighting spirit, and try to grasp more on arts and sports to get rid of the negative emotions. It's still a bit heavy, but I am grateful to everyone for your support here when I was needing it the most.

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Robin Lee
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I'm so glad to hear you've got things headed in a positive direction.

For the record, you don't owe us updates if updating here isn't what worked for you. In posting a question about how you were doing, I didn't have any expectations. So, in future, if someone does post a check-in message, you don't have to respond unless you want to.

--------------------
Robin

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AshGolden
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I'm sorry to bother here, but I'd have a question, if someone passes by at some moment, nothing urgent.

Do you think sometimes family can be on the way for healing? When for example you try to understand consent, and you need to put clearly how things were when abuse happened, but all you meet is some "you're annoying to always talk about that, it's just normal relationship behavior" or "stop worrying your brothers, boys have the right to behave spontaneously without always asking for every tiny detail, and if you don't like it, it's just life anyway."
Not to mention some "you should hug your dad, he's sad", or "that's because we care for you that we know what's best, doing things your way never worked so far."

It probably doesn't help that I failed at university and am currently unemployed, but they blame it all on my attempts to give myself time and energy to become a sane person, like changing my point of view over past isn't gonna help anything, while I feel like my lack of confidence also comes from these repeated abuses, and guilt. I need to build trust as a part of my healing too, because I'm feeling more than alone lately, but I think I get to understand it won't be with them.

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Robin Lee
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Hi AshGolden,

Yes, unfortunately, family, friends, or other people who may or may not mean well can interrupt one's healing process.

I'm sorry to hear that your family is so unsupportive of you and aren't respecting what you say, or what you say your needs are.

Perhaps you already know this, but i'll say it anyway: You never, ever have to hug or otherwise touch someone because they want it or because they're feeling a certain way. How you're feeling and what you want to do with your body are just as important.

It's also very much not true that boys have the right to behave spontaneously without consideration for anyone else.

I hear you saying that your family believes that your previous choices have ended in failure and that this is why they get to make decisions and choices for you. You're still an autonomous being. The fact that some things in your life didn't go the way they (or, from the sounds of it, you) wanted them to go doesn't mean you don't get to make decisions now about what is good for you.

--------------------
Robin

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Lex_ie
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Hi AshGolden! I really hope you don't mind me posting this over here, by all means I know this is your space and I've heard you want/need help more of the experts. But I am going to give it a try.

Long story short? I am a survivor of a LONG story of abuse. To me it started at 7 and finally came to an end when I was 24. By then I was way more confused about sex and consent (to me everything that happened was about sex, it took me a lot to even say it was abuse). After that I wanted so much to have the control back of my body and sexuality that I started behaving in a way people would think was compulsive and unhealthy around sex. Thuth was I was acting after trauma, not compulsion.

To not make this thread about my story, all I want to say is, recovery or healing means much different things to different people.

My family was less than supportive. I still don't hug my dad, or even my mother, nor my friends because I don't feel safe doing it. But you know what? That's okay. We have that right like Robin said. It's something they have to deal with, not you.

Recovery comes in differents shapes and that is because we have to recover from different things. The things you have to recover from are way more IMPORTANT than the things your family has. YOU are the one who went through the abuse, YOU are the one who has to live with the memories and the confusion, YOU are the one who has doubts, it happened to YOU, and what YOU feel is the most important thing around this.

It's indeed harder when you have to recover and the people around you it's not on board. My family even said that it was my fault for letting it happen more than once. They prefer to skip the part where they were the adults on charge to keep me safe because it is way easier to put the blame in others.

Healing is something you do for YOU, not for others. Because YOU DESERVE to feel okay in your ownself. People around you may never heal, they may even never know they have to heal, but that's not on you, it's on them.

A lot of people are unemployed, and having trouble in their lives, that doesn't make you any less worthy.

I hope I didn't say anything to upset you, all my words meant well. Just know you are not alone, people (even people you don't know) are trying to have your back over here. Hang in there!

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AshGolden
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@Lex_ie: Wow... That's a lot more than I was prepared to hear, I somehow didn't see you coming there? And it's even your first post on the messageboard, which feels more embarrassing, but thank you so much.
I'm grateful toward Robin too, but personal insights are always very precious because the person who writes them makes themselves vulnerable.

I don't know how much you read of me, but so many things ring bells in my head that I might become deaf ^^
I want to try to respect what I know now as my limits, to build a safety that will allow me to find myself and behave healthily. I think abuse and trauma can lead to many disorders in life, like compulsions or depression that increase the lack of self-confidence and self-esteem, so that's only logical I'm ending up with so many failures, but I want to believe that once I build myself a safety cocoon, I'll be stronger and able to find the right choices?
I don't know how to leave behind, or not, the people who tried their best, even unconsciously adding to the abuse spree, but I'm trying to move forward. As a change of luck, I found a new school today, if this works I won't have to worry so much about money, and I'll leave my parents' place for some time. I am sad they will think of me as ungrateful, I only considered my life toward others' expectations so far, but I will try to accept the change that is happening now.

Thank you again and I'll be glad to hear from you too once in a while Lex_ie

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Lex_ie
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AshGolden:

The reason why this is my first (or second as a matter of fact) post is because I am already in my mid 30's and I know this place is more focused on younger people, so that's why I basically read and learn. It's really inspiring reading about so many young people trying to thrive in life after something like abuse.

If I still get the chance to say something to you, I would like to say that, at least to me, there are not "good" or "bad" choices, just like in healing there is no "good way" or "bad way" to do it. The great thing about choices is that they are just that, choices. You make them and even those that made you feel crappy you can learn from them, so after all they are not so bad, know what I mean?

I think the worst part after being abused is how we end up in an unhealthy and abusive relationship with ourselves. Always trying to live up to someone else's expectations sounds to me (because I've been there) like some sort of abuse to ourselves. I hear you when you say that abuse can increase the lack of self confidence and low self-esteem, but I don't think abuse, or any choice we made after being abused should define the kind of person we are. Because we are more than just a moment, or at least that's what I think.

I am glad to hear you are trying to move forward and that things may become a little bit easier with your change of school and moving out for a while. If I may add something, coming from someone who has big problems trying to please everybody around, I don't think leaving your home is a way to be ungrateful, I truly believe that becoming the awesome person you want to be is the best way to thank your parents and all the people who ever tried to do something good for you. But yet again that is something I think you have to do mostly for YOU. YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY! Just keep that in mind.

And... I would love to hear from you again too. Now I won't load you with more of this.

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AshGolden
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I feel so sorry that every time I'm coming here to post, it's about something sad or just sadly awful... Even though they help, your positive words also make me feel guilty for bringing back this heaviness, or bad memories about similar experiences... But thank you all again, because your support is giving me the courage to face it daily too.

Lex_ie, I don't know when you'll pass around again, but I had a lot of thinking about the "acting after trauma" part of your story. I understand, from how you phrase, that you consider choices as important, because they help to build a sexuality in which the role can be active, and not a passive victim anymore.
But in my case, the first abuse happened to me as a kid, lasted for years, but was recognized by justice. Problems are about the next things that happened, with boys from school or else, and that I can't totally qualify myself. Out of anxiety, I reacted in a way opposite to what I really wanted, so I had a part of responsibility, but all my attempts to make it stop faced denial, when I wasn't just ignored or hit. And for friends and family, one abuse is enough, thinking it happened again, with different persons, for years, seems just impossible to imagine.
In the end, I feel like it's this behavior from my "close ones", these judgement over things that I never felt any power nor control about, that marked me the deepest. Because if I have let such happened because of the earliest abuse, then what I heard reinforced the beliefs that I could never protest myself and I was just bound to suffer from this. I don't think I can moving before giving the right meaning to these things, but I know I can't expect my family nor friends to support my attempts now, so I have to turn to you.

Sorry for mixed up rant, there's just too much for me to handle lately...

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Lex_ie
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So good to hear from you AshGolden!

First I want to let you know that no matter how many times you come here posting about "sadly awful" stuff, at least from me (and I think I can speak for the people in here) you are always going to get care and support, because well, that is what you DESERVE. So please don't feel guilty for bringing your "heaviness" 'cause that's what these boards are for as far as I know.

I hope I am not breaking any rule by answering you this but if I am, please (people from Scarleteen) just let me know.

The first thing I want to let you know is that, personally, I think you should NOT (because it is not safe) base your feelings on what others think about what happened to you. People who have never been abused just can't understand what happens after something so traumatic. Of course there are amazing people who haven't had this situations in their lives and are very understanding. But when we struggle with people who put the blame on us, it is just not okay to pay much attention to them, even if they are family or close friends.

Something similar happened to me. My first abuse happened when I was 7. It was a family friend and no one ever knew about it until almost 15 years later. It didn't last long but it did enough damage to make me think this was something normal and okay. I was taught by him, that people could do whatever to me and it was okay. The second time that something like this happened to me was with my best friend's boyfriend, and this is the abuse that lasted for a long time. I never wanted it but I can tell you I was very active every time it happened, still it wasn't something I wanted. But you know what? People react to trauma in very different ways, some fight, some freeze and others... adapt. That's what I think happened to me (and maybe to you).

In the meantime of all this, a lot of things happened to me. I wanted so bad to have consensual sex (even though I didn't know what it was) that like you said I took some "bad" choices. I was confused and lost, because consensual sex and abuse felt exactly the same to me. And I think it was because at the end it was the same, and by that I mean that what I though was "consensual" really wasn't.

But you know what, by then I was only 15, 16, 17, so... Can you blame me? I am sure you will say NO. So then... why you blame yourself?

People around me (now and then) think it is impossible to be raped twice. This is something my mother made very clear to me when I told her about this family friend who hurt me several times. "If you didn't say anything, it's because you were okay with it". It doesn't matter that this man manipulated my 7 yr old mind. At seven you believe in Santa, if someone tells you that nobody will like you anymore if you tell your secret... you may believe that too.

So, AshGolden, I hear you when you say how much you need to understand why you reacted the way you did, you said you feel responsible for doing the opposite of what you wanted, but you also said that you only found denial when you tried to stop it, so you DID tried to stop it. And if you were ignored or hit, like you just said, it is not on you... it will NEVER be on you.

I am not trying to preach about "What to do to recover from abused 101", I am far from recovered, I still have my moments (a lot of them), I still think I have to do what people tells me, and I still have problems saying NO, but you know what? I have faith that someday, I will be on other side, and most important I have faith you will be there too.

Sorry for the long post and please know that at least to me... all your ranting is always welcome. Hang in there!

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Lex_ie
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I hope you don't mind I say something more. About the "acting after trauma" all I can tell you is this: During those years when my abuse was something regular, I (don't know why exactly) started having sex with other people. Like I said I wanted so bad to have the control of my body that to me that was the only way to do it. I do remember that everytime I had sex I felt so disgusted and sick with my self. I remember that I used to focus on something like a wall or a window just waiting fot it to be over. It was obvious I didn't want to be there but still I kept engaging in those activities. Why? Now I think it was because I needed to belive that sex was something meaningless to me, the more I had it the less important it was. It was the only way I could find to cope with everything else. And that made even harder for people to understand my situation. Because "abused people" are "supposed" to be afraid of sex... (not my words of course). So this is what I mean when I say it is not acting after compulsion.

I still have parts of my life I don't talk about because I think I will never be believed. I hope at least you get to feel safe enough in here to know that we, or at least me, will never put the blame on you.

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AshGolden
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I am sorry, these words touched me a lot more than I could have expected, and I feel too shy to comment on them in public, but thank you a lot... I wish you to continue on feeling better and believe in yourself enough not to be brought down by other's saying or thinking.

As for me, things as getting a bit stable, with hope for a new formation, away from home, and allowing me some financial security, which is important for my mental well-being, and maybe even some projects.
On emotional matter though, I am facing what I was escaping for years. All these times I said "I'm a survivor, I don't want to be a victim", it's because for me, victim was associated with being easily triggered by what people say, needing extra care or attention, asking and demanding for others to consider what is different in me because I have had to go through this. Now I'm at the awful point where I can't voice it out, but neither can I pretend it's all fine when a friend says "this actor is so hot I want him to rape me", nor "he is so sexy I want to molest him". I end up feeling bad and closing myself more, memories of these things running in my mind and making me feel like I'll never be comfortable around anyone anymore.
For what I think, a victim should deserve people who would care about their every emotions, and that's what I'm trying to do by not talking around others about things they don't want to hear about, so I can't be totally fine with my own needs being neglected...

But I guess I'm on the right path, realizing such things is necessary to be respected from my acquaintances I guess, it's just long and I don't want to be too ambitious on how much I can heal.

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Lex_ie
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So, so, so good to hear from you AshGolden. And even more to hear you are getting some kind of stability in your life and projects.

If I am still allowed to give you my opinion here, I think there is no way to be a survivor without being first a victim, BUT maybe we should try and think better about the concept of being a victim. Being a victim, to me, just means that something happened to you. Nothing else. Being a survivor then it means that well, you survive that thing that happened to you. But that's all. There is no need to put any more pressure.

I hear you saying that being a victim to you is like being fragile and weak and maybe somehow too needy, with special needs and in need of extra care, but you know what? I think that is everybody. Victim of assault or not. We all are needy, we all are fragile sometimes, and we all have special needs because, well we are special. And I mean everybody.

If you don't feel okay with those kind of comments, so be it. Maybe someday you will, maybe you won't. I hate people making jokes about people of color, and I am not even a color person.

I think you are so right when you said that a victim deserves care about their emotions, actually I believe everybody does, and I am glad to hear that you know that your needs shouldn't be neglected.

I think it is okay to be ambitious about how much you want to heal, I know I wish for you to heal BIG TIME! Just know that it takes time and it will have ups and downs. There is no deadline, YOU ARE IN CONTROL, never forget about that.

It was a pleasure reading you again, until the next (or not, whatever is fine) Hang in there!

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AshGolden
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I'm really sorry, I just need to vent it out... It's not about any victim-shaming, I hope most people will recover better and faster than me, but the more time passes, the least I feel like it's worth for me to try to survive that.

The feeling of failure is in my therapy, by facing the same problem over and over again and being unable to figure a way out with the help of my therapist; it's in my family, with everyone being annoyed at who I am; it's in the last remaining friend I have, because I'm exhausting everyone with how contradictory I am. I don't want to make them go through all of this, having to withstand someone that panics for details and is triggered by anything. I don't want people having to, either be overly careful around me, measuring their every word, tormenting themselves with what they can say without making me burst into cries, or having to go to therapy to vent out their own negative emotions pooling from having to deal with me.

I can see how it's infecting every aspect of my life, but I can't see any way out. It's about power, about fear, about aggressiveness, anxiety... I can't build relationships with people on such basis.
Does anyone knows a way for me not to make it so hard for others, as I'm too slow to improve visibly and reassure them? Or how for me to move on faster, if I can even hope that some day I'll be less fragile than I am now.

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