Not understanding how to feel

Questions and discussion about sexual or other abuse or assault, and support and help for survivors.
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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.

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Red_Scarlet
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Not understanding how to feel

Unread post by Red_Scarlet »

I don't really understand how to feel, you know how people say trauma isn't a competition. Sometimes I feel like I don't get to complain, like maybe everything is normal and I wasn't abused or sexually assaulted. I feel like since their are so many worse things that could have happened to me I shouldn't complain or that im just trying to find a reason to be "sad" or say "i have trauma" . Since I always hear from my parents "you didn't have a bad childhood" or "it could have been worse" or "I had it worse" when I would speak on how I felt, I feel like I can't say anything or I compare it and think that im just trying to make it seem like bad things have happened to me. Especially since my parents are now better with my brother, I feel like it looks how i'm lying when they are so different with him, it sucks. I wonder why they couldn't have been that way with me or my sister. I don't want to get into "abuse" from my parents if i can even call it that but still... I just never know what I can say or if the way I was touched by an ex was even sexual assault. Its like watching on eggshells in my own brain because I don't want to seem like I'm seeking attention, its so hard not to feel guilty when I know others have had it so much worse. I don't know if this is normal or something that is even right to think about..... because again I don't know how to feel but I hope someway may understand.
Sam W
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Re: Not understanding how to feel

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Red_Scarlet,

It sounds like you've dealt with quite a bit of invalidation from your parents, and I'm so sorry that's left you doubting whether you're allowed to be upset or sad about the things you went through (and, from the sound of it, things they did to you). I want to emphasize that whatever you're feeling is valid, and that you're not "seeking attention" by feeling it. Too, sometimes we DO seek attention for things that are still causing us pain, because that attention might help us find support or other resources that we need to heal.

I'll add that you're far from the first person I've spoken to to express those feelings of conflict over whether you're allowed to feel the way you when other people have gone through worse things than you have. As you said yourself, trauma isn't a competition, even if some cultural messages demand we never be upset about bad things we experienced because someone, somewhere, went through something worse. But more than that, minimizing our own trauma doesn't make other people's go away, or make it easier for them to heal from whatever they went through; it just means we're not getting the care and support we need. Does that make sense?

Is there a way we can be most supportive to your right now?
Red_Scarlet
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Preferred pronouns: she/her
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Location: Jacksonville, FL

Re: Not understanding how to feel

Unread post by Red_Scarlet »

Hey Sam,
Thanks for taking the time to reply and it makes perfect sense. Honestly I guess the hardest thing is just trying to deal with what's happened to me and then also trying to make it seem like it doesn't phase me or affect me anymore, because of being told it's not a big deal or again there is worse out there I feel like I have to "not feel" anything towards what's happened in the past. It just sucks because everything was when I was a "child", and I know I would still be considered a child or teen but you know the people who they say "grew up to fast" I'm one of those people. It's hard always being told "it was when you were younger" when I'm only 14 and it stopped when I was maybe 12. Its hard to hear " I'm here for you now, I've changed" because its almost like I don't need them now or what I'm wanting, the love, comfort or support they can't TRULY give me because of how many times they have unaccepted it and I just can't get past that. It's like it's too late for that change, even though I smile at my parents and I'm happy my younger brother seems them like this, it never will take away what they did to me or my sister.... we needed them the most during the time they hurt us the most and its not like they acknowledge it ether. I mean the last time we argued about how we were abused my mom just said she was in a toxic relationship with my father and we weren't , it was punishments, it's how kids learn to behave. Honestly I'm in another one of my spirals, I relapsed which sucks and I'm in another depressive mood and it will probably last a week or so and I'm so tired of not being able to speak about it so I came on here, sorry if I speak too much or open up about things more then I should, but to answer your question im not really sure what could be done to support me.... I usually handle how I'm feeling on my own, but that's really just me acting like everything is fine and pushing things down. Also sorry for replying so late
Siân
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Re: Not understanding how to feel

Unread post by Siân »

Hi Red_Scarlet,

No need to apologise, you can take as much time as you need to reply and we'll be here. And this kind of thing is exactly what we're here for you to talk to us about.

I just want to make sure that I'm getting my facts straight here, it sounds like you're saying you were abused by your parents (your father?) in the past, that the abuse has now stopped but they are refusing to acknowledge that it happened or how you feel about it, is that right?

It sounds like you could really use some support around this, and your parents aren't going to be able to give you that - especially if they were the ones abusing you. I understand the instinct to push it down and deal with it but finding someone who you can actually talk to about these things will help you to process it all and put you in a better place long term - is that something you're open to?
Red_Scarlet
not a newbie
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:21 pm
Age: 14
Awesomeness Quotient: Idk- Im a good advice giver
Primary language: english
Preferred pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: Doesnt matter to me as long as im attracted to you
Location: Jacksonville, FL

Re: Not understanding how to feel

Unread post by Red_Scarlet »

Hey Sian,

Yes my parents (both- mostly mom) would abuse me in the past and they don't acknowledge it- I have my friend sara but again she has issues of her own and she has been treated worse so sometimes i walk around eggshells because i feel like im offending her or stepping over. Im not sure if that makes sense... but idk i want support and to get better but it never works out....
Urna
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Re: Not understanding how to feel

Unread post by Urna »

Hey Red_Scarlet,

I hope it's OK that I'm chiming in. I read through your posts, and I'm really sorry that your trauma from abuse has been invalidated by your parents for so long. It's not your fault, you're not overreacting, and it's definitely not okay behaviour or "how kids learn to behave". To address something you said in one of your earlier posts: there is a way to deal emotionally with what happened to you as a kid, and also to prevent it from taking over your life. It will definitely phase you though; it's meant to. And being phased by the trauma you suffered is a good thing, because that's you validating Past You's suffering, when your loved ones won't/can't. And that's the best thing anyone can do for themselves--for their past, present, and future selves.

It's inevitable that we internalize the reactions our loved ones have to our struggles, which is why you're walking on eggshells in your own brain. But I hope you can slowly accept that your brain is your own private healing space, and that you need to be there for yourself and your trauma right now when your parents won't. This article may also help, let me know if it does.

I understand why you're cautious about talking to your issues with your friend Sara, but I'd just like to repeat what you said: trauma isn't a competition. Support and advice among friends has nothing to do with who's had it worse, as long as no one is invalidating what the other person went through. In fact, Sara might have some pretty insightful things to say about your situation, if she's been through similar stuff before. And by making yourself vulnerable in front of her and letting her in on what you've suffered, you may be helping her out by giving her space to reflect on her own trauma, with a friend who gets it. How does that sound?
<3333
Red_Scarlet
not a newbie
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:21 pm
Age: 14
Awesomeness Quotient: Idk- Im a good advice giver
Primary language: english
Preferred pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: Doesnt matter to me as long as im attracted to you
Location: Jacksonville, FL

Re: Not understanding how to feel

Unread post by Red_Scarlet »

Hey,

Its completely okay, I apperciate your feedback and Ill read the article once I send this reply, I've been thinking about opening up more to her but it's something I want to do in person so when she comes back to camp I wanted to do like a self-care day as I know some events have happened recently to her and it might be the perfect chance for us to express both each others feelings. I'm going to try to better my mental health before school starts- So all I'm trying to do is heal :) thank you for helping me <3
Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 7482
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
Age: 30
Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
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Location: Desert

Re: Not understanding how to feel

Unread post by Sam W »

I'm so glad talking here was helpful, and that sounds like an excellent plan for taking care of both your friend and yourself!
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