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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Ongoing Crisis

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Author Topic: Ongoing Crisis
JenatDuke
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Ok, I'm going to try and be somewhat brief as this could go on forever if I let it. I was sexually abused for 6 years when I was little and I've spent the last several years sorting through that with counselors with the help of anti-depressants. There are some questions I can't share with my counselor though, so here goes: About once a year, I do something stupid and get any desire for sex out of me...usually via nude modeling, pay for play bla bla bla but always far removed from my day to day life. The rest of the year, I'm pretty normal for a single woman (whatever "normal" means). Now I have a boyfriend though, who I really care about and trust but have no interest in being sexual with. I want to be close with him but any thing other than kissing and I clam up. He won't push it...sometimes I wish he would maybe. I guess my question is will I always be this messed up? Am I irrevokably screwed on account of some man who couldn't keep his penis in his pants and on account of my promiscuity? I just wish I could be normal.
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Heather
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I would suggest you bring these things to your counselor, so long as you feel decent trust there. What you're describing is by no means atypical behaviour for abuse survivors: it's, in fact, quite typical.

Will this always be like this? No, but it means you figuring out, when those "times of year" come round to recognize that you're looking to do something that isn't constructive, and to be able not to do them. It means recognizing that re-enacting some abusive stuff with partners is generally a symptom of needing to resolve other things, and being able to say to yourself that it's okay to FEEL that way, but it's not a great idea to go there, especially with someone you trust, and that if that's what you need to feel sexual, that you're probably not in a place yet where it's a good idea to BE sexual with someone else.

So, the counselor: has this been a good match for you or not? If so, why not bring these things there?

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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

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JenatDuke
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My counselor is great; very helpful. I am afraid to mention this stuff because the things I do to get the desires out of me are so bad and I'm afraid that it will show/prove that the stuff from before was my fault because I wanted it somehow. I'm a Christian and so is my counselor---we talk about theology for God sakes---I'm in seminary! I can't say, oh, by the way, I had a guy pay me $500 to let him bla bla bla. I can't seem to talk about those things with anyone. Actually, you are the first person I've told. I just feel gross because my whole life is such a lie. I can't stop crying. I don't know what to do.
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DarkChild717
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Remember, what you say to your counselor stays between the two of you. That's what the doctor-patient privledge is all about. Christian or not, your counselor is there to help you through this.

To say this "proves you wanted it somehow" isn't true at all--no one ever deserves to be sexually assulted, period.

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Heather
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Something which might help in the interim, which might help you get to a place where you DO feel more comfortable sharing this stuff with a counselor is doing some reading for and about survivors.

Here's what I'd suggest:

"The Survivor's Guide to Sex" by Staci Haines.
"Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape" by Susan Brownmiller
"Invisible Girls: The Truth about Sexual Abuse"

Those also should not be especially triggering, and you should be able to find them at a local library, or you can order them from Amazon or other online booksellers.

Just know, too, that given HOW many women have been raped and sexually abused in the world, and HOW many people are Christian, that again, you are hardly alone. I can absolutely guarantee you that literally hundreds of thousands of women, at a minimum, who are also Christian, have struggled with the things you're struggling with.

None of this makes your life a lie. Look, in the Old Testament, we have an okay for fathers allowing their daughters to be raped and prostituted: we have no address on how those daughters were supposed to cope with that, and rarely do we have discussion on the fact that those fathers and that religious approach okayed their abuse, set them up to be abused. These are big issues, and ones that plenty of ministers and theologans are starting to look at and try to reconcile, which are very tough TO reconcile without looking at the fact that if things like this are a "lie" so is exactly what's being instructed in a lot of this dogma and doctrine.

It might help to ask yourself if, especially as a Christian in seminary -- you'd be as hard on any other woman in the spot you're in as you're being on yourself. I'm betting you wouldn't be.

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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

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JenatDuke
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Thanks for the message. Those books are on my "summer reading list". What I meant when I said that my life is a lie is that I sneak around doing things I know I shouldn't (can you tell I just hit one of those "episodes"?) and then go to church on Sunday and then a Christian ethics class on Monday. When I talk to my counselor about sexuality, it is always through the lens of 'it is bad' and 'i don't ever want to have sex' etc., so then how can I reconcile that with hyper-sexualized promiscuity that I choose but still struggle with these other, largely negative views of sexuality? I know both ends are wrong--I've always tended towards the extremes and it'd be nice to come out in the middle, but I can't escape that "eh" feeling most of the time. I guess I'm struggling with feeling the need to confess, but am terrified with what that would indicate about me and my responsibility about with past if my desires/actions were spoken out loud (even though an above post says otherwise, i can't erase that strong sense). I know sexual abuse is tragically common, even among Christians, but is my warped response to it really that common? Somehow I never encounter those women, though I'd like to right about now. Thanks for your advice and patience.
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Heather
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Okay, first step?

Stop calling yourself warped and your resonses warped.

Raper and sexual abuse is what is warped, and it what warps. In may ways, it can take hostage our sexual desires and beahviour and really subvert them. The responses you're having are not "warped" responses to such violation. They're common, ESPECIALLY when fed by the shame of secrecy. (Been there, for the record: have that t-shirt, burned it in a very nice, warm fire.)

So, for obvious reasons, if you can get to a point where you CAN talk to your therapist about what you're doing and want to do in this regard, just voicing it may make a huge difference in your abiluty to control all of this AND your ability to heal past this point. As may also be obvious, with your views on/behaviour with sex being SO super-polarized, it's going to be very hard to get to a middle ground, so doing work to reconcile your two poles there is also pretty essential.

--------------------
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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By the by, we have some support threads which may be of help for you:

http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=9;t=000644
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=9;t=000980
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=9;t=000973
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=9;t=000902

One more suggestion: there's an Allison Anders' film called "Things Behind the Sun," which adresses exactly the sort of behaviour you're asking about here. I love, love this film. It CAN be a bit triggering, so know that, but I think it's really valuable in addressing this particular issue.

--------------------
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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JenatDuke
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Thanks. Somehow u seem to 'get it' in a way that I don't feel so isolated. So are you available to go with me to my next appointment with my therapist? =)
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Heather
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That'd be a bit of a trek!

But you know, if it helped you to just print this page out -- which would include your own "confession" it might be easier at first than trying to verbalize it?

Also sounds like you could stand to talk to more survivors: most of us tend to "get it," because we've been there or are there. Might you ask your counselor for help locating an active support group OF rape/sexual abuse survivors?

--------------------
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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JenatDuke
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We've talked about it. We usually say no because I can't verbalize very well. I tend to get stuck behind my words. Something about speaking them out loud is terrifying. I've actually not been able to convey a lot of details of the abuse to my therapist even. Communicating in the vague "understood" realm is my specialty. I may print this out, although that is terrifying too. Ahh! Why does this have to be so friggen hard.
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Heather
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Well, in a support group you CAN only listen until you feel comfortable talking, even if that means weeks of just listening.

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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

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JenatDuke
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I watched that movie you mentioned...challenging, but interesting. It did motivate me to back out of a sketchy situation this weekend. I know its wrong, I just don't know how to change the desires...unfortunantly, the movie didn't address that explicitly. She faced the past and you got the feeling that she was able to find closure from that. Is it possible that my present issues are a failure to come face to face with my past? I'm so dang tired of facing the past--quite frankly, I'm tired of facing the present right now too. I guess I don't really have a question in this post. I'm just letting off some steam. Trying to get some of this crap out of my system. Its too much to get my brain around and analyze. i know my weird behaviors now are directly related the the past but I can't just wake up and change just because I can identify that connection. I can't rewire my brain to go back to the way it was supposed to be before things and force myself to think rightly about myself, about sexuality--about men. sometimes i wonder if part of the abuse is the fact that he didn't kill me. its like, by the very fact that i'm still here struggling with all this, wasting all this time, money and energy on doctors, medicine and all the other unquantifiable manifestations of 'struggling'...if that never-ending struggle confirms the fact that he won. He has the power to destroy lives. So I've managed to shift away from prostitution to the problem of persisting injustice...I'm not going to do anything stupid, I just feel like I'm puting the icing on his cake sometimes and I'm sick of it.
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Heather
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(Jenat, I'm going to move this to the Support Groups forum after I post. This area fills up so fast because it's meant for one-question/one-answer posts, that I didn't see you'd replied until just now, and I don't want you to get lost in the shuffle.)

Sometimes, resolution -- of various sorts -- can make a really big difference per healing, and per being able to basically function OUT of a crisis-mode, if you know what I mean.

When we're continually in crisis, we react more than actually heal.

Of COURSE you can't just wake up and change all of this, and it's not realistic to expect that of yourself. healing from abuse and assault is a long process. That you've already gotten to a point where you know your coping behaviours are causing you distress and not helping your healing, and to a point where you can even NOT fall into those coping behaviours even once IS process, and IS progress.

He didn't win. You're still here, you still have the power to reclaim your own life and, in time, your own sexuality, 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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keekee
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Jenat a way i told older people about how i felt , what happened etc was writing it in a diary then asking them to read it ... the it created the air for talking about everything. If that makes any sence. This worked because out of natural curiosity, of course that person will come and talk to you about it. QAlthough it may take a while because they may be shocked etc. But that worked for me. Maybe do this for your therepist?
love always
keekee
xxx


*** edited at 15:31 21/05/06 due to spelling***

[ 05-21-2006, 09:32 AM: Message edited by: keekee ]

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Yes, know thyself: in great concerns or small, Be this thy care, for this, my friend, is all. - Juvenal

Abuse can and will only survive and thrive if silence is kept. So lets speak out?!

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JenatDuke
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Its been awhile since my last post. Thanks for the responses. I've decided to stop going to see that therapist. I just don't think our sessions are very helpful right now. I'm thinking of taking a break from therapy all together for awhile. When I mentioned it to a trusted friend she like freaked out and told me I needed to read more on the process of dealing with s.a. and then I'd learn that nothing is going to get better until I deal with it and I deal with it through therapy. Is this true? If I say no to "professional help" for awhile, does that really mean I'm ignoring/not dealing with my past? Isn't there another way to just friggen move on with my life without having to pay someone to listen to me hash out my junk? Again, I guess I'm just venting here.
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Heather
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I think, given the particular space you are in, which I'd say is certainly a crisis-space, NO rape counseling/support/therapy might not be the best idea.

But. That doesn't mean you have to do that with THIS therapist.

Did you ever, for instance, get a referral/resource for a support group? Those usually are at no-cost, and it sounded to me from a lot of your posts like that might be a good next step for you.

And no: not having therapy doesn't mean you're not dealing, nor that you can't heal. All of us generally have to figure out our own way to cope and heal, and it tends to be pretty individual. So, if therapy/support groups, etc. just feel instictually wrong for you right now, it'd be a good idea to maybe just sit down for an afternoon with a pen and paper and try and brainstrom what seems like it's be the best plan for you, personally. I'd just advise that you make sure it's one where you're not further isolated right now, and where you have at least SOME venue of support from someone, or some group, equipped to deal with rape trauma.

--------------------
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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JenatDuke
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Thanks for the advice. I emailed two different people about support groups today--waiting to hear back. I'm still uncomfortable about the group setting, but recognize that (dis)comfort doesn't necessarily correlate positively with (un)helpfulness. So, we'll see I guess. Thanks again for your input over the last few weeks.
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Heather
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Just remember that you're not obligated to talk at a support group, or to talk about anything specifically, until you're ready. Most support groups will allow anyone in them to just listen for as long as they need to.

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