tips for a child abuse survivor

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cursedGardevoir
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tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby cursedGardevoir » Fri May 22, 2020 8:43 am

hey, im a disabled child abuse survivor struggling with OSDD1b, C-PTSD, self esteem issues, and abandonment anxiety. do you have any tips for navigating these in a relationship? for reference, OSDD1b, or plurality, is similar to whats commonly (and incorrectly) called "multiple personalities," and we are a 2 person system

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Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby Sam W » Fri May 22, 2020 9:01 am

Hi cursedGardevoir,

That sounds like a really intense set of things to be juggling, so we'll do our best to help you find ways to navigate those in a relationship. To start out with, can you give me a sense of what, if any, supports you have access to or have accessed in the past? That could be things like counseling specifically around the abuse, or more general mental health supports.

Are there any specific worries you have about navigating a relationship while healing from or managing these various things? Or does it all feel like so much of a tangle that you're not even sure where to start?

There are also a few different resources I want to highlight right off the bat. We often recommend two books by Staci Haines: The Survivor's Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Sexual Abuse, and Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma. We also have these two advice columns that might have helpful information or perspectives for you: https://www.scarleteen.com/article/rela ... mate_again and https://www.scarleteen.com/article/rela ... nd_assault

cursedGardevoir
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Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby cursedGardevoir » Fri May 22, 2020 10:09 am

sorry for the late reply, im juggling like, 20 things rn
im in therapy for the C-PTSD bit, but we rarely get around to dealing with relationship troubles with my therapist
i worry mostly about my abandonment anxiety and plurality
my primary partner, ill call her R, is a singlet (aka someone who isnt plural), but the rest of my partners are plural.
R seems to be very accepting of this, and often incorporates both of us in the relationship, but im unsure about any doubts she may have
my abandonment anxiety also focuses on R, causing me to be excessively clingy, as well as panic at any hint of potential for her leaving me, often causing me to profusely apologize for imagined slights because she didnt respond in her usual timeframe.

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Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby Sam W » Fri May 22, 2020 10:19 am

No worries, you can always take however much time you need to reply here!

Got it, that detail helps a lot. With R, how much have you two talked about those fears, or your worries that she has doubts? Is your fear that those doubts have to do with the relationship, or with your diagnosis? And if you have talked about it, how have those conversations gone?

Oof, abandonment anxiety can be such a pain, because it's so good at taking those little things and convincing you that you've done something to drive the other person away. And that can definitely cause extra stress in the relationship, both for you and for R, which then gives those anxious thoughts more fuel. It's an obnoxious cycle, so let's see if there are things that could address it. Are there any tools or techniques you've learned over the years that help you manage or calm that anxiety? Or do you often find that the only thing that helps is reassurance from R?

cursedGardevoir
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Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby cursedGardevoir » Fri May 22, 2020 10:28 am

weve talked about being plural and what that means for our relationship with R, but ive been too afraid to ask about any doubts she may have due to my anxiety

reassurance helps quite a bit, and R has told me to think about how she loves me and promised to stay with me for as long as i do the same during anxiety attacks. she doesnt mind the clingyness, but i still feel like im overwhelming her sometimes

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Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby Mo » Fri May 22, 2020 4:56 pm

Do you feel like you'd be able to talk to your therapist about the abandonment anxiety and ask if it's something you could focus on or do some work around for a little bit, enough to give you a few tools you could try when you find that you're feeling particularly anxious? I think it's great that R's happy to reassure you and wants you to keep in mind that she cares about you, but I think having other ways you can sit with that anxiety and help to lessen it, other than seeking reassurance, will be good too. I don't know how much wiggle room you feel like you have in terms of what you discuss at therapy, but it might be worth making a note of it and asking if it's something you can address.

cursedGardevoir
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Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby cursedGardevoir » Fri May 22, 2020 5:01 pm

i think that would be a good idea
ill run it by R first as she is my entire emotional support beyond therapy

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Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby Sam W » Sat May 23, 2020 7:44 am

That definitely sounds like a conversation to have with your therapist then! With R, if she's functionally your main emotional support, that's also probably adding to anxiety and fear you have around abandonment or losing her. Can I ask, have you tried expanding your emotional social supports in the past? If so, how did that go?

cursedGardevoir
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Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby cursedGardevoir » Sat May 23, 2020 1:09 pm

spreading out is difficult... i cant help but fear losing her if i try anything like that. i feel like her leaving could happen at any time, and that causes me to second guess everything. i know this fear is irrational, but its too strong to fight it with that knowledge. i live with this fear every day, and its a part of me. my therapist calls it a "dependent personality" if that helps. my other partners are purely sexual in nature whereas R is romantic and emotional as well, and as my therapist's words imply, i am dependent on her for alot of things

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Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby Alexa » Sun May 24, 2020 6:50 am

spreading out is difficult... i cant help but fear losing her if i try anything like that. i feel like her leaving could happen at any time, and that causes me to second guess everything.


This is definitely familiar to me -- it can be hard to build other emotional supports when you fear that turning your energy away from your partner might hurt the partnership somehow. It sounds like building other safe places could help in a lot of ways, though, even if you do so slowly. It might help with feelings of clingyness, with fears of not having emotional safety outside of this person, etc. Which is not to say that you can't continue to enjoy the joys of your relationship -- it could just give you an extra place to go for comfort! I agree with Mo and Sam that it would be great to make time to talk about that with your therapist, if you're able. We can also talk through some of that here, if it's helpful.

How does spending time on your own feel? Do you like to recharge alone, or do you prefer to be with your partners? I've found that when I'm having trouble seeking fulfillment outside of a primary relationship, it helps to just start with trying to enjoy time with myself.
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cursedGardevoir
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Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby cursedGardevoir » Tue May 26, 2020 7:14 pm

everything gets better when im with a partner, especially R. my depression melts, my worries fade to the background, till its just me and them. but because of this, the moment the call ends or one of us goes home, all that bad shit comes flooding in all at once. its gotten to the point that i cant stand being alone, i always have to have social contact with anyone just to keep that flood at bay. i cant have "alone time" because thats when all my PTSD, depression, and anxiety tag team to emotionally destroy me

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Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby Alice M. » Wed May 27, 2020 4:00 pm

Hi there,

I'm glad that you do get to experience some respite from those feelings, even if it is only temporary. That's a lot to deal with, and I personally can relate to "alone time / self-care time" feeling challenging and anxiety making at times, myself.

I'm glad that you've been able to access counseling. You said you were open to talking about the abandonment feelings with your therapist and that you wanted to run in by R first. Have you been able to do that?

cursedGardevoir
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Location: The Country of Washington State

Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby cursedGardevoir » Wed May 27, 2020 5:20 pm

yes, i have. i had a short talk with my therapist this morning, so ive gotten to start processing this issue. thank you

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Re: tips for a child abuse survivor

Unread postby Heather » Thu May 28, 2020 7:06 am

Hey there, cursedGardevoir. I didn't pop into this thread yesterday because I saw you were already in conversation with other staff and didn't want you to have to deal with someone you hadn't talked to yet.

But if you want to talk more today and that isn't an issue, let me know and I'll come around. <3
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