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The benefit to you in rationalizing what your parents did is not something I can tell you because it's something only you know. What I can see is that rationalizing this helps you avoid the feelings associated with emotional abuse and that you fight very hard to avoid seeing your parents in a bad light for what they did but beyond that, how it affects you is something you can discover through exploring the issue. That is why I thought you and Linda might want to take a look at it together in more detail.
Using alcohol at such an early age is probably due to the pain you were in. Combined with your parents attitude towards drinking (you mentioned they allowed drinking, correct?), this would explain your use of alcohol.
I am sorry that you experienced rejection from your uncle and aunt as well. You laugh about it, but if they had that assumption for so many years and your parents didn't correct it. It's another example of the disregard for your feelings.
How you work on this with Linda depends on how you feel about it and what stands out as important to you. One thing you may want to consider is that how you handle your feelings from the attack and your childhood are connected. Your childhood had an effect on your ability to acknowledge your feelings and your repression of them. And included in that is the self blame and guilt you feel. Recognizing why you use defense mechanisms and accepting that you were emotionally abused as a child may help you to better process your feelings from the attack and help you heal.
Good night. I hope you sleep well!
I know of the show Dog the Bounty Hunter. And it's interesting that you noticed the affection between the people on the show. To say that your parents offered you less affection gives you an idea of how much you missed out on because of their choices.
You have good insight to see how you learned to accept blame from your parents. You are right, most kids grow up thinking what their parents say is the way the world works. How can you question it when there are no other measures to go by? By you see now that by making you take the blame for everything and punishing you when you protested, you learned to accept blame in situations that were not even your fault. And that does translate into you accepting blame for what happened to you. Why protest and blame those guys when you must have been at fault in some way, right? How do you think you would have felt if you had not grown up with parents who blamed you? How do you feel you would have seen what happened to you then?
What your parents did to you was not about you. Children who are abused often think it has something to do with them because they cannot figure out why their all knowing parents would treat them this way if there was nothing wrong with them. Often, part of recovery for people who have been abused is just getting them to see that their parents were wrong to do what they did. The parent child bond is so strong that it creates loyalty even with children who were abused by their parents.
You were craving normal. Most children do. They end up having feelings they do not understand and in order to fill in the unmet needs, they look to destructive behavior, drugs and alcohol and other people to fill the needs their parents would not.
Your parents should not have allowed you to drink at such a young age, even if it was just high school. Alcohol is illegal until age 21 for a reason. Allowing children to have alcohol at such a young age is how alcoholics are made. Children are damaged by alcohol use physically and mentally. It is a drug. And by letting your children use that drug you are allowing them to harm themselves. Your parents did not want the responsibility of keeping you and your siblings from drinking so they gave in, using the excuse that you will drink anyway. That is irresponsible parenting and is also abusive.
I'm sure I just noticed the stuff on Dog the Bounty Hunter because I was thinking about our chat yesterday. But it's true. Beth was holding this hopped-up prostitute while she was crying and holding her hands in her face and telling her it was going to be okay. She had never met th ewoman before then. I never got that, even from my parents.
I often thank God that I am apparently not prone to alcoholism, because I would have been addicted before I knew it. I certainly abused alcohol, but I did not form a dependence on it, and I am very, very thankful. I have seen how addiction tears people and families apart, and I am well aware it's a lifelong struggle, and I am so, so thankful that I did not develop that issue. Now, I have maybe one or two drinks a year (usually when I'm with my family). It really has no appeal for me. What is interesting is that my parents hardly drank when we were growing up - only socially, then it was one drink usually, maybe two. Now, however, I feel like my dad drinks too much. He has taken to drinking expensive bourbon and drinks it every night after work. I wouldn't have a problem with one drink, but he has more than several, at least whe nI've been there or they have been here. It surprises me how quickly he goes through bottles of that when he visits. And he gets mean, especially to my mom, hwen he drinks more than he should, according to my siblings. Apparently, there have been a few holday fiascos which left everyone fighting with ach other, precipitated because of my dad, when he had had too much. Thankfully, I was not there, just heard about it from all sides. I am glad I live across the country, and I usually don't go home anymore for holidays. But I think he's decreased his drinking since he had the stroke in November, and he is on anti-seizure meds. He has changed a lot since that happened, actually. it really scared him. He even is phasing out and going to fully retire at the end of this year (he is the president and CEO of a bank he started). But he still drinks too much for my liking.
How do I think I would have felt about what happened and how would I have seen what happened if I hadn't had the childhood or parents I did? Those are tough questions. I don't really know, because I am who I am and grew up as I did. I don't know any different, so it is hard to tell. I do not know what part of my thinking is just me, what part comes from my parents, etc. I don't know if I felt what I felt about it because that's what was true, or because of me, or because of what was instilled in me. I would say that the fact that I take personal responsibility for everything in my life probably influenced my feelings about what happened, and that came from my parents, mostly, I think.
I can say that as lost and alone and in physical pain as I felt afterwards, if I had thought that I could get comfort and sympathy and help from my parents - or anyone - as selfish as that is, I would have gone to them. I needed someone to help me. I mean, I guess I didn't NEED it - I handled it on my own, but it sure would have been nice to have not dealt with it alone.
And I know discounting things ocmes from my parents -- they discount everything, and do not believe on dwelling on anything. When my friend told my parents what happened, she didn't know all the details, but knew generally that it was kind of violent. Apparently she told my parents that. When my parents talked to me after she told them, they were not glad at all she told them (it was obvious), and my mom said that she was over-dramatic, and it was not as bad as she had implied to them. She didn't ask me - she just came to that conclusion. If I would have gone home or told them right after, and they would have told me it was no big deal and that it didn't hurt that bad, I think I would have more issues about it now than I do. Because it hurt really bad, and it would have made me feel like I was being a baby and being over-dramatic.
This really has nothing to do with this particular point, but I was thinking about it and it was bothering me: within a few months after my (former) friend told my parents, my grandma(my dad's mom, with whom we were all super-close) was diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to her brain, and was only given 3 months (which was eerily accurate), and the family dog died. At Christmas, when I was home, my mom commented to me how my firend telling them was at an awful time, and that they had to deal with that and then tese other things, all within a short time. She was complaining about it. I know it was all a burden, and I felt bad at the time (although I didn't tell them and didn't plan to -- that was out of my control). But later, it kind of made me mad. It was such a burden and inconvenience to them, but what about me?
I also think my idea that the fact I couldn't just forget about it and go on is a sign of being weak, is definitely from them. There was no dwelling on anything. I was taught to "get over it" and to not do so was being self-centered and weak.
I probably would not have instantly accepted responsibility for the whole thing -- maybe I would have, I don't know, but likely not, I would think. But finding where I erred, complied, whatever, would be something my parents would do. I have a strong sense that whatever happens to us, there are always choices we make, and we have to live with and are responsible for the consequences of those choices. If I would have refused to comply, then I would be responsible for the consequences of that. Since I chose to comply, I would be responsible for the consequences of that choice. Objectively, I see that maybe my choice was wrong (it feels wrong) and even if the consequence of not complying was to die or suffer more pain, maybe that still was the right choice, and I made the wrong choice. But I'm glad I didn't die. And honestly, having them in my mouth or having sex or sodomizing and my saying and doing things, was a lot less painful thatn the bottle. I don't mean to be overdramatic, bu the bottle and it cutting me really, really hurt. It honestly did. But even if it was the right choice I made (or even if there was no right or wrong, it's just what I chose), I still have to pay te consequences for that. Because I did have a choice. But I am coming to feel like those guys should have to pay a consequence -- and should pay a bigger consequence than me. I deserve to pay the consequences for what I did, but I don't think I should pay the consequences for what they did. It's kind of like when my brother and sister would bully me -- I felt they were the ones who did wrong, but I always had to pay the consequence for reacting in what my parents thought was an inappropriate way, and they had no consequences, and it wasn't fair (my parents' favorite thing to tell us was "life isn't fair." Isn't that the truth!!).
But I don't know how much is just me --- not everything I think or feel or do came from my parents. I think I was born with a lot of my personality, although I know there are major environmental influences. A lot of my thoughts are in direct opposition to the rest of my family. For instance, I have always been pro-life and have been outspoken about it. That didn't come from my parents -- I just knew it was right. The rest of the family is pro-choice. None of them are saved, and although everyone except my brother goes to church every week my parents to a Lutheran church, my sister to a Catholic church), they do not agree that Jesus is the only way and do not have a personal relationship with him. I have always had a strong sense of right and wrong on certain things, and that was just there -- and it frequently did not mirror my parents' beliefs. Another example is sex. My dad gave me my "birds and bees" talk. This is what he said: "You're getting to the age where guys are going to want to get in your pants, and if you need birth control, talk to your mom." I was mortified. First, it was super-awkward. Second, at that time I had no plans to have sex with anyone. They just assumed we would have sex and just didn't want us to get pregnant. They didn't believe me when I said I wasn't having sex. My sister wsa quite promiscuous. However, I just knew it was wrong. And when I did have sex at the end of my senior year in HS, I felt guilty about it and knew it was wrong, but also thought it was what I was supposed to do -- everyone else was, and we had been dating for over a year at that point. But then in college, when all my sorority sisters were sleeping around and telling us all about it, I stillfelt it was wrong and didn't do it. Until that night. But the fact is -- I had different ideaas of right and wrong from my family, so I don't know how much of what I feel about the "attack" ( ) was from my own thoughts and how much came from my parents.
And I do realize that the childhood stuff was my parents' issue and not mine, really. And a lot of things they did (or didn't do) were across the board with all 3 of us. But some of it, I feel, was just directed at me, or worse on me, etc. Is it just because it's me that I feel like I bore the brnt of things? Does everyone feel that they were treated the worst? My siblings would agree with me - now that we're adults. My parents would not agree. They have said that it's just that I was bad more often and that they couldn't stand my crying or whining, or that they just couldn't believe me because I was so "sneaky," so basically, I brought it all on myself (which I understand is probably true in many ways). So -- my parents treating me different than my siblings --- that doesn't show that their treatment of me wsa just because of how ther were -- since they acted another way with my siblings. Why was it me? Because I was different? Because they didn't understand me? Because I was secretive?
This is probably not something I can sort out in a day, huh?
Your father's drinking may be a way he is covering how he feels. People often start for that reason then become addicted if they are prone to it. Alcohol, as you know, helps repress feelings and allows for self centered behavior. Very few people are held responsible for what they do when drinking. Even drunk driving usually is a slap on the wrist. But in your father's case, it may be he was using to cope with how he feels. I'm glad to hear he has slowed down his use a lot. Hopefully, he will quit. It sounds like it would make you feel a lot better if he did and that is understandable.
Your parents were not there for you at all after the attack. You should have been able to go to them when it happened, but they were so emotionally cruel that they were unavailable to you. Once they found out from your friend, they should have dropped everything and made it a priority to be there for you. You deserved comfort and a safe place with them until you healed emotionally. They should have guided you and helped you find someone to talk to. They could have let you vent and have a safe place to go to when your feelings overwhelmed you. Your father might have looked into finding these guys for you if you chose to pursue legal action. Those are the things emotionally healthy parents would do for their children. You deserved that and did not get it.
Your parents view of blame does not help you heal from what happened to you. Their view is unhealthy and does not allow for placing blame where blame is due. Being personally responsible for yourself is a good concept, but not everything is so black and white. Blaming yourself for doing what you could to survive the attack does not help you. It only takes away from what those guys did to you. It makes them less responsible. How is that helpful to anyone? If they had been caught for the crime, do you feel the police would have blamed you? Would you blame someone else in the same situation?
You were born with your own personality and were molded by your parents' beliefs. But you knew right from wrong because there was something in you that pushed to be emotionally healthy. It may have been God's hand in your life directing you or just who you were. But your parent's need to blame you and make you the black sheep was about who they are and their inability to accept you for who you are. In another family, you would have been treated the same as your siblings. Your differences would have been celebrated, not punished. And you may have had an easier time of it because you would not have needed to act out as you did in protest. You would not have had to come up with your own moral compass regarding sex and alcohol and you would have had the support you needed emotionally.
I have thought a number of times about what would have happened if I had reported it and these guys had been caught (even if they weren't at first, I certainly could have called the police when I saw the other guy a few years later, and said "come and get him.") Aside from all the other consequences (having everyone know, having to go to the hospital right away, etc.), I think about what a trial would be like. I would have to admit that I asked them to do things (in very explicit language) or said yes, that I told them I liked it, that I moved with him and stuff. I would also have to admit I had had sex before. I don't think a jury would be so sympathetic, since I was not a virgin and only 21, and I'm not even sure, legally, if anything after them having sex with me the first time (when they were holding me down) was r*** or illegal. I did technically consent, and literally asked for it.
In your telling me how things should have been, it makes me sad that I didn't have those things. but it is too late now. Even if my parents offered that kind of affection now, I wouldn't accept it, because we haven't built that kind of relationship. So, from what you are saying, there is a void. How do I fill it? I think I do it partially by having friends who are much older than me and much more caring than my parents were, but obviously that doesn't cancel it out or give me all that I need.
What I really want, even now, is for someone to hug me and hold me and tell me it's okay and I'm okay and let me cry with them. But I don't have that.
I think if you were asked in court if you allowed these guys to do things to you, it would have to be within the context of the situation. There is no jury in the universe that is going to believe you walked up to these guys and offered yourself. They will never think that you willingly allowed yourself to be cut or that you drank the urine voluntarily and liked it. But for some reason you are willing to think that everyone else sees you as just as bad as these guys. What is keeping you from believing that you did not want this to happen to you?
Yes, I agree. If your parents suddenly became affectionate and supportive it would be a shock and hard to accept. But if you felt you could trust them, you may welcome it after a while. It might just be such a foreign concept to you that you can't imagine it happening.
I understand that you need someone to hug you and tell you that you are ok. That may be your inner child needing to be cared for. You and I can work on that if you want. I don't know if Linda has done any inner child work with you, but it may help you.
No - Linda hasn't done any inner child work with me, although I suspect she might want to talk about my childhood again when I see her this afternoon, since our conversation on Monday apparently left her with a whole different view of my childhood, or so she said when I was leaving.
She did, one time, asked me to envision myself as a child, and tell her what I felt about me at the young age and what I needed. And she asked me to see myself as 21, when that happened. So maybe we have done a little.
I read something on here where you explained "inner child work" to someone else, so I think I understand what it is. Generally, it's myself trying to comfort and fulfill the needs of my younger self? I'm not sure how that could work, but I am willing to try.
I know I didn't walk up to these guys and offer myself. i don't think I wanted the whole thing to happen -- and even after the first time they had sex with me, I guess when they used the bottle the 2nd time and made me swallow the urine, that was by force, and I didn't agree to either of those things. But the other stuff -- I literally consented.
And you know what? I DID want them to do all that stuff to me. I wanted it because i DIDN'T want the bottle again. I CHOSE to let them do those things in exchange for (or so I thought) them not using the bottle again. Kate, I just couldn't take it anymore. It hurt worse than anything I've ever experienced, and I thought they were cutting up my organs. I just couldn't bear it again. I know that's not brave and I should have stood my ground, but I didn't. I'm sorry, Kate. but I didn't think I could handle it one more time or handle it being used elsewhere.
It sounds like you did do a little work with Linda. If you feel she wants to continue it, then we can just clarify or talk in general about what you both work on. But if you don't work on it then you and I can explore it if you'd like.
Inner child work is getting in touch with what you needed as a child and working to give your child that now. It's basically fulfilling the needs you have from childhood that were not met by your parents.
If those guys had wanted you to do those things without threatening you, but just asking nicely, would you have done it? In other words, was this something you would have done without force?
Sometimes I think that if I just could remember exactly how the bottle felt and feel that pain again, it would remind me why I made the choice again. In Linda's office, twice I think, when she was having me think back to certain parts, and I sort of got caught up in the memory, I actually physically hurt. And my stomach was cramping like it did then. It didn't hurt nearly as bad as when it happened, but it was kind of shocking. Have you heard of those kinds of things happenng before? Linda called them "body memories."
Anyway, if I could remember exactly what it felt like, then maybe I would feel more justified in what I did.
I have heard of body memories happening before. When something that traumatic happens and there is that kind of pain involved, your mind may shut it out while it's happening so you can cope (adrenaline plays a part) but you still retain the memory of the pain involved. Your body reacts and "remembers" after the event.
What makes you feel that you have to experience the exact pain again to justify your actions? At the time of the attack, you were experiencing that pain. And you made choices based on the pain, threats and fear you felt when you were in the situation. Remember, at the time, you did not know if these guys were going to hurt you further or even kill you. Now you have the advantage of hindsight. But then, you did not. You had no idea what was going to happen. No one was coming to save you and they had the freedom to do what they wanted. You had no choice but to think quickly and try to survive.
Psychological force is a powerful tool. The threat of further pain and possible death understandably made you give in to anything these guys demanded. You can see examples all through history and in any assault cases. Psychological force is a component of most crimes.
It may be that since you were blamed so much as a child even when things were not your fault, you are just assuming blame before anyone else can point a finger at you for what happened to you. Your history plays a part in how you process what happened.
It could be that you dream about yourself in the situation from different perspectives because of how you process what happened to you. Distancing yourself as you do when you are doing things the guys asked you to do maybe your way of handling it psychologically, or it is seen from the perspective of others and how they would see you because you have strong feelings about others opinions about what you did to survive.
It is easy to feel bad about what happened to you because self blame is part of being attacked. Victims often question what they did and go over and over the incident to see if they could have done anything differently. Even children who were abused look at themselves to see what they did to deserve the abuse. It is the nature of humans to look at themselves to see if they caused what happened to them. But there is nothing you did to cause this or that you did wrong and working through the need to self blame is part of healing.
I do not think you are wrong or bad for anything you did during the attack. I think the opposite. I admire you for surviving such a horrible attack and your resilience in handling what you have been through. You persist in finding answers for yourself and you have not given up. You have strength and resolve to see this through. That is nothing short of amazing.
Sorry, JA has a bug and keeps copying answers twice. I erased this one.
It was past my bed time, wasn't it?! Running a bit late last night!
What I said is the truth. You have been through hell and back. And I know it's not easy to work through all the pain from what happened. But you are pushing ahead no matter what you feel and that is very courageous.
It can take a huge burden off you to realize that this was not your fault. It's easy to see it's not your fault from the outside of the situation, but from your perspective, it is harder. I'm glad you are starting to feel this is not about what you did, but about what was wrong with those guys.
Tears of relief are some of the best kind! I'm glad you are feeling better.