Is this a normal trauma response?

Questions and discussion about sexual or other abuse or assault, and support and help for survivors.
Forum rules
This area of the boards is expressly for support and help for those who are currently in or have survived abuse or assault. It is also for those seeking information or discussion about abuse or assault. Please make every effort in this space to be supportive and sensitive. Posts in this area may or do describe abuse or assault explicitly.

This area of the boards is also not an area where those who are themselves abusing anyone or who have abused or assaulted someone may post about doing that or seek support. We are not qualified to provide that kind of help, and that also would make a space like this feel profoundly unsafe for those who are being or who have been abused. If you have both been abused and are abusing, we can only discuss harm done to you: we cannot discuss you yourself doing harm to others. If you are someone engaging in abuse who would like help, you can start by seeking out a mental healthcare provider.
KC
not a newbie
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 9:00 pm
Age: 16
Awesomeness Quotient: I make really good pie
Primary language: English, french
Preferred pronouns: he/they
Sexual identity and orientation: queer?? Gay??
Location: Canada, AB

Is this a normal trauma response?

Unread post by KC »

I've been dealing with a lot of PTSD flashbacks lately about the assault I've mentioned here. And the usual stuff like disassociation and intense body claiming panic every time I think I see him because I see someone with curly brown hair. But the one thing that doesn't feel normal to me is missing him sometimes, or like feeling the urge to talk to him again just because of the way he made me feel. And I hate myself for that, for missing him. It gives me this sour taste in my mouth and now I get angry instead of devastated.

I'm just wondering if this is something normal in survivors? Especially because after coming to terms with the fact that I was assaulted I realized he had been manipulating me beforehand and pressuring me into having sex with him. It can't be normal right because that's really messed up if it is.
Urna
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:36 am
Age: 23
Primary language: English
Preferred pronouns: she/her
Location: Delhi

Re: Is this a normal trauma response?

Unread post by Urna »

Hello KC,

I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through these confusing emotional reactions to the memory of your abuser. It may comfort you to know that this is a very normal trauma response, and exceedingly common among survivors. Emotions are unpredictable and multilayered, but actually, the fact that you're missing him and wanting to get closure by speaking to him about what he did to you makes complete sense, given the fact that you may have had some positive emotional experiences with him, prior to the assault. And yes, it is deeply messed up that this is normal for survivors. As this article puts it:-

"If, like a majority of survivors, you were raped by someone known or close to you -- a friend, a boyfriend, a family friend -- then you're also grappling with some extra-tough feelings when it comes to being betrayed by someone you invested trust in and may care for a lot. It may be hard for you to accept that person really raped you, and hard for you to cut ties with them."

Unlike what this article says, however, you've cut ties with your abuser, and that's a massive achievement. The fact that you are missing him is not entirely in your control, as it's mainly a trauma response. But cutting ties was in your control, and you did it, and that's something to be extremely proud of.

By the by: have you been able to return to your therapist, the one you used to see for your anxiety and depression? Have you maybe started seeing a new one, for your PTSD and healing from this assault? If not, did you maybe get a chance to look at the resources we shared in our last conversation with you? I just want to make sure that you have resources to help you heal, and that you have support.
<3333
KC
not a newbie
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 9:00 pm
Age: 16
Awesomeness Quotient: I make really good pie
Primary language: English, french
Preferred pronouns: he/they
Sexual identity and orientation: queer?? Gay??
Location: Canada, AB

Re: Is this a normal trauma response?

Unread post by KC »

I went back to therapy for a little bit but we never really brought up this specific instance, however my psychiatrist was a big help and has given me plenty of coping skills and online resources as well. I’m trying to use them as best as I can but it’s tough trying to get better, working on it haha. It feels nice to know that I’m not crazy and this is something normal though, and honestly- when you put it that way it is kind of a big deal that I’ve cut him off isn’t it? Thank you Urna.
Siân
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 692
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:10 am
Age: 31
Awesomeness Quotient: I ask ALLLLL the questions
Primary language: English
Preferred pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: Figuring it out
Location: UK

Re: Is this a normal trauma response?

Unread post by Siân »

It is a really big achievement that you have cut him off! I'm gland that knowing this is normal is helping you some. When you say you never brought up this specific instance, was that because you didn't want to, or something else?

It's great that you have a bunch of new coping skills and online resources. Moving on from trauma is a complicated process, you're right that trying to get better can be tough. One thing I think is worth remembering is that it's okay for it to take time - and sometimes that includes taking time to feel like crap. You can't magically erase it all, you know? Are you feeling any pressure (including from yourself) to "get over it already" or similar?
Post Reply Previous topicNext topic