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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5418
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate: Thanks. :). I still feel a sense of relief this

Resolved Question:

Kate:

Thanks. :). I still feel a sense of relief this morning. I still haven't gotten everything sorted out, and I still am not sure about some things I said/did. But I did realize last night that the fact is that I didn't want to do those things. I did them because I was scared and hurt and that's how I chose to try to avoid worse things. I can't know what would have happened if I made other choices. I don't know that and will never know that. But I do know how scared I was and I know it really hurt. Even if other people would think I made very wrong choices, there is nothing I can do about that. You were right that I immediately felt I would be blamed. And I guess, so what if someone blames me? They weren't there, and Ben if I made poor decisions, it was the best I could do that night, right? And as far as being so upset about what it must have Looked like when I was doing these things and asking for these things, you are right that there is a context in which this occurred. And the fact is that nobody did see it or part of it.

Do you think that the guys thought I was enjoying it and wanted them to do things and that I wanted to do those things I did?

I feel some of this, but haven't gotten to the point of feeling all of it, but I am intellectually viewing it a bit differently since last evening.

I don't know what to do about the fact that I didn't report it or do anything about it and thus likely caused other girls to have to go through this or worse. I can't change it.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX actually slept a bit better last night.

Shay
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Shay,

 

You're welcome! But you did all the work. I only talked to you and offered support. And I think you knew this already. This was not your fault at all.

 

Other people do not have the right to judge or even imply you made bad choices. For one, no one was in that situation with you. No one else knew exactly what you were faced with and how much pain you were in. And two, I think those feelings come from your parents judging you before they knew the facts. You mentioned that as a child, you were convicted without the benefit of a "trial". Your parents did not get the facts and make a judgment, they just blamed you based on their prejudices and your past behaviors in other circumstances. Most parents do not do that with their children. They ask about what happened in a situation then decide the best response possible. And there is no one certain child that is always to blame, but instead all the children are treated equally. But if you grew up believing that others would see you at fault no matter what, it's easy to skip the facts and go right to feeling guilty.

 

Those guys knew what they were doing. They were looking for either power or sadism and they only way they could get it was to force someone to do it. If they felt you enjoyed it, they would not have needed to threaten to hurt you or threaten to kill you. They would not have told you to say you enjoyed it. What they did was pathological, which means they are mentally ill. Their thinking is twisted and extremely unhealthy. There is no meaning in anything they think.

 

It might help you to focus on the fact that most rapes are not reported. Experts think that the statistics are way off, because there is no way to know exactly how many attacks are kept secret and never reported. So you are not alone. Women may feel that by reporting it, they may be blamed or that they would have to face their attackers again and the fear of that prevents them from getting help and treatment. If at some point you feel it's important to tell someone, you could always ask a police officer or lawyer (you'd know better than I would about what legal professional to talk to) what you can do at this point. Even just providing information from your situation may help catch them if they have committed other crimes since hurting you.

 

This will take time to assimilate and adjust to. It's a new perspective and that takes time to get used to. Go easy on yourself. You may even want to spend some time this weekend doing something you really enjoy. It can give your mind a rest and let your emotions catch up to your new outlook.

 

I'm glad you slept better! Hopefully, it'll happen more often now.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5418
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Kate:

 

Yes, I do think I knew these things on some level -- but I didn't FEEL them at all. Intellectually, I think I knew, but then there was another side of me fighting myself and convincing myself I was culpable, and that side usually won, because it makes more sense to me.

 

But now I feel it some.

 

I called Linda this morning and told her what I thought/felt last night, and she was pretty encouraged, it seemed.

 

I think we discussed this way back when we first were chatting, and I think maybe since: that accepting responsibility also makes me feel like I had some control, and if I didn't have control, then what does that mean? It means I can't avoid it happening again (I do recognize that statistically, this is extremely unlikely) and there are other things that could happen to me or those I love that I can't control or prevent. I am kind of a control freak. I like to direct what happens in my life. That is one reason why the past 6 months, with emotions I can't control, these years of dreams I can't control, etc. have been very disturbing to me. So it's scary to give up that control (or the illusion of it, I guess).

 

And I do think it makes sense that I automatically felt like it was my fault, considering how things were growing up. I didn't think about it consciously until recently -- whether it was or was not my fault - I just instinctively knew I was to blame and culpable for my actions and words. Also, I wasn't sure I had room to complain, since I had had sex years before.

 

How did these guys get to be that way? I don't worry so much about the other one --- I don't think he would have done any of it by himself -- I think he was trying to impress or earn the respect of his friend. But the mean one, he thought of some pretty bad stuff. And he must be pretty smart --- if he knew that by telling me to do and say things I would feel more ashamed and bad. I wonder if they have any clue how much damage they did.

 

But why, of all things, was a broken bottle there? Of all the trash that could have just been laying on the ground, why that? They didn't bring it with them, He just found it there. Even a stick might have been better. Why was anything there?

 

I have looked into reporting it, but all they will do is take a statement. I have looked through that city and county's arrest records, and in newspapers for any similar things, but I have found nothing. Legally, I know there is nothing I can do as far as them being punished for what they did that night. But you're right that they could use my story, perhaps, to show a "pattern of behavior" if they did something similar to mine. But it would be hard to get admitted, because generally, you can't admit evidence of prior bad acts, especially if not convicted, but there are a few exceptions. I will think about that. I don't think I am ready to do anything yet, and considering the unlikelihood of it preventing anything at this point, I feel okay about waiting to think it through. And just the telling of it to an officer -- I don't know if I can handle that right now.

 

I am still confused, but I feel like I got unstuck a little and I'm on the right track.

 

I have to work this weekend, since I am going back to Ohio next Saturday and will be gone all week from work. But maybe I can fit in something fun. Linda's husband is a songwriter and is performing some of his stuff at a Christian coffee house tomorrow evening, and she asked if I would come, so I think I will go for a while, with a few friends. And I have a banjo lesson Saturday morning, and of course church on Sunday, so I will have plenty of breaks from work.

 

I am a little nervous about going home next week, since my feelings about family are kinda twisted up right now, but I can't wait to see my nieces and nephews. I'm really excited about that. And I am seriously looking forward to driving back. I think a long road trip is exactly what I need and what P needs, too. I may feel differently about it after being in the car for a while and knowing we have so much further to go, but I think it will be a good thing. :)

 

Thank you so much, Kate. I feel a lot of relief emotion-wise, but also, physically, I can sense a relief. Like my heart is not as tight or something. Does that make sense?

 

Shay

 

 

 

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Shay,

 

I think it will take time to feel all of this fully. But that is ok. It is good to take it slow and easy. You have had one perspective for years now, and changing it should take time.

 

Control (or the illusion of it like you said) is a powerful thing. It is frightening to realize that there are things out there than can hurt you and you can't stop them. But control is really about how you handle yourself and not so much your ability to stop something or manipulate anything outside of yourself. You may not be able to control how someone else acts, but how you react to what they are doing can make you feel more in control. Reacting with emotion can make you feel out of control but reacting with logic while addressing your emotions can make you feel in control of yourself and the situation. Part of it is knowing when to let go and let God. God is ultimately in control and if you connect with Him, you can feel that He will take care of you and you don't need to control.

 

It is a very good question to ask about why those guys hurt you like they did. There are usually two reasons a person will commit a crime like that. One, he had it done to him. In some form or another, he was horribly abused. Not necessarily like he did to you, but someone hurt him in some way that made him feel out of control and angry. Or two, he is mentally sick. Some people develop cruelty and aggression and are without a conscience. It is not common, but it happens. Serial killers, for example. They can have abuse in their background, but it was not enough to make them killers. They have something in them that creates a monster inside and that is lack of conscience.

 

Your attacker wanted to be sure to hurt you as much as he could. I imagine that the bottle appealed to him because he thought it would do the most damage. He may have been hurt like that as a child or he has extreme anger against women, maybe both. His need to hurt you and dominate was very strong. He probably did not care about how you felt as much as how he felt. His goal may have been to feel superior. So anything he could do to reach that goal was what he chose to do.

 

Reporting what happened to you at this point has to be something you feel would help you. I agree, by now these two have done the damage they intended to others so stopping them is not the main goal. But you may feel more in control by reporting what happened to you and getting a record made of what they did, just so you had a chance to get it out there and have support from the authorities. And you never know if what you say may make a difference. But even if it doesn't, it gives you the satisfaction of turning them in and telling others about what they did. It no longer keeps it secret and you don't carry the burden alone.

 

If you want to talk about your apprehension about going home, we can work together on it. I imagine that you might feel a difference in your view of your parents, given what you have been through the past few weeks. But as long as you feel comfortable enough dealing with them, you should be fine. But we can talk about it if you feel it would help.

 

A long road trip is going to be very therapeutic! Sounds like a lot of fun.

 

It makes a lot of sense that you feel a lot of relief physically too. It's hard to know how much stress and emotions affect you physically until you can relax and actually feel your body let down. You may have been so upset by what you have been feeling that you held it in your chest. Your heart literally hurt. It happens and it's more common than people think.

 

Kate

 

 

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5418
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Kate:

 

You are right that I need to give up control to God. I hve a hard time doing this, and I am consistently having to rmind myself. In dealing with this whole thing, especially, I have a hard time seeking His help and guidance and control. I think because I wasn't really saved when this happened. I had recited the prayer a few years before, and I kind of got the "Jesus as Savior" part, but not at all the "Jesus as Lord" part. And, honestly, not once through that whole thing or the aftermath did I ask for His help or seek Him. And because I have felt so guilty and wrong about everything, I felt ashamed to go to Him now. I know that is not how things work, but that's how I feel. And I felt like I was facing those worldly consequences of my behavior, and that He would respond my letting me know that I did this to myself. I know that is not His nature or manner, but that is, again, how I feel.

 

What you said about control being control of self and not others, is interesting. I think I try to control things by controlling my environment. If I have a little space around me - like a bubbles - and nobody crosses a certain line, and if I can control everything around me within that space and can control who comes in and out of the bubble, then I feel safe and in control. And that necessaily includes trying to control others' behaviors around me. Like I control things from outside in instead of inside out, although I did (until recently) have pretty good control over my emotions inside and really good control over my expression of emotions on the outside.

 

I understand that those guys were not normal. Linda has said before that the mean one probably had similar things done to him. So I guess I should feel sympathy for him. But I don't. I had this done to me, but no part of me would want to repeat it on someone else. I guess that he may suffered long term abuse, though, which would have had a different result, I guess. But right now I still don't feel bad for him. I kind of feel bad for the other one, but not the mean one. I read a lot about sexual sadists, and I think maybe the mean one fits into that category, because it seemed to excite him when he hurt me. He was able to have sex with me after using the bottle (I'm still not sure if he couldn't get an erection before that or if the blood just made it easier for him to do it). But I don't think that is a normal turn-on for guys, is it? And he laughed when he showed me all the blood on the bottle. But I also read that sexual sadists usually kill the people and often record or take pictires of them. But all the stuff about having a preplanned secluded place, charming the person into coming with him, etc. seems to fit. But also, he seemed so angry at times, so I don't know.

 

But the thing about the bottle ---- I understand why he used that, and it was very effective. It was perfect for what he needed it for, actually. But my question is a more general question, I guess to God: why did the bottle have to be there? it was a bigpark, so why there? and of all the trash people could have left there, why not a beer can or paper? And if a bottle, why did it have to be broken?

 

I would like to discuss the family issues before I go home. It will be fine there, but I am already focusing on what the dynamic is going to be like, and I am trying to remind myself that nothing is black and white -- it does not have to be that they were all good or all bad. And whatever baggage I have from my childhood - it is my responsibilty to deal with and resolve it -- not theirs. But mostly, I am nervous because my emotions have been so unpredictable about this other stuff. When they were here over Christmas, it took a ton of energy to act like everything is great, when inside I felt awful. And if I had some kind of emotional outburst, they really would not understand, and would be mad at me because the whole reason we are going there now is because P. needed to get away, and my parents will see any emotion on my part as being selfish.

 

So.......

 

Shay

 

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hey .. you believe me that I didn't want those things and didn't want to do or say those things, right?
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Shay,

 

I understand what you are saying about how difficult it is to let go and allow God to be in charge. I think all Christians struggle with that concept at one time or another, some even repeatedly.

 

One thing you said struck me and that is how you described God's response to you if you turned to Him now. It reminded me very much like how your parents would see you. You committed a sin and you had to pay, regardless if the punishment way outweighed the "crime". It's like you were not allowed to make a mistake like everyone else and be absolved of it. You had to be punished for it, and not just a little, but a lot. That is a heavy burden to carry around with you, that you deserve such harsh treatment.

 

I found something that might help you with letting God be in control from Christianity.net:

 

"Rom 12:1-2 is helpful at this point. True worship is to give up our lives for God, that is to live for Him alone. God calls us to lie in obedience to him. That doesn't’t involve relinquishing control, but rather letting God’s plans and purposes shape the things we do. Our minds aren’t switched off, but rather transformed and renewed by God, and so we become aware of the new way God wants us to live. This takes self control and action.

True faith is not meandering aimlessly and seeing where “God” would have us drift. Instead true faith is seeing the path God wants us to take, with its dangers and hardships and joys and toil, and deciding to follow that path to please our heavenly father. The Bible speaks very highly, not of a lack of control, but of the great worth of self control. (2 Peter 1:6, Gal 5:23)

In the end ChristXXXXX XXXXXving is about changing your focus - rather than living for the world, using all your energies to achieve the things YOU want to achieve, you live for God, having your mind and focus changed day by day so that you (more and more) use all your energies to achieve the things HE wants to achieve. As this process of the “renewing of the mind” continues, so what God wants slowly becomes what you want as well. So becoming a Christian means that we no longer use the control we can exert to promote our own agenda, but God’s agenda: praising Him, sharing His gospel and loving both our brother and our neighbor. (Heb. 13:15, 1 Peter 3:15, Mk 12:29-31)"

 

I think your control is a way for you to feel safe, like you said. But that control is a defense and not real. You mentioned having control of your emotions up until now. But in reality, emotions are not controllable. What you did was repress your feelings. They were there, you just didn't let them come out. But they will come out regardless of how we try to control them. Your feelings came out in your nightmares. Other people have anger issues (which can be anger or other emotions like hurt). Still others drink to hide their feelings but are never successful. They only drink more to cope. Giving yourself permission to feel and letting go of the need to control can actually help you control yourself more. Instead of spending your energy controlling, you spend it managing.

 

There is no need to feel sympathy for your attacker. You may feel bad about what was done to the little boy he was, but as a adult, he had control over his actions. He was no longer being abused and had choices about his behavior. All children who are abused have the same choices. And he will be dealt with by God for what he chose to do.

 

Only someone who is mentally ill would get pleasure out of hurting someone like he hurt you. I agree with you, he probably was a sadistic predator. He does fit the profile. They are the worst of the attackers and he might have killed you when he was done. It was your quick thinking and your courage to do what you needed to do that kept you alive.

 

I can understand your question about why the bottle was there. It's a good question. But if it wasn't there, what might he have done? That is no comfort, I know. Because of that bottle, it gave him a way to hurt you and you were severely injured. It's great question to ask God. He may show you one day why.

 

It sounds like you are worried about how your parents will feel about you and what you say or do. And you are determined to take responsibility for how hurt you feel and your struggles just like they want you to. But in other families, it is normal to share trials and troubles. That is the purpose of families. They are supposed to accept you for whoever you are and help support you when you may not have another friend in the world. But you are anticipating having to revert back to your childhood where you were told to buck up and deal. Back to the dysfunctional behavior you had to cope with. But you don't have to accept this. You are different now. And your parents have no more control over you like they did. They can try to push you into feeling as you did and treat you the same as they did, but you can chose to reject what they are doing. Not in an overt and angry way, but a subtle way. Tell me about some of the things you anticipate your parents doing or saying that may bother you. We can role play and see what you might be able to do in response to protect yourself and stand your ground.

 

And yes, I do believe you that you didn't want what happened to you. I believe you were attacked by the worst kind of perpetrator and did what you could to survive. My concern is that you feel that I could think you would have wanted this. You did not cause this, want this or deserve this. And no one thinks you did. It is only your need to punish yourself that is causing that feeling. When you feel that way, think back to how you learned to blame yourself. It was a message ingrained in you by your parents, who were wrong. It may be a good idea to write that down. Your upcoming visit with them may trigger your feelings that you are to blame and cause you to revert back to feeling that way about yourself. It's a good idea to be prepared just in case.

 

Kate

 

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5418
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the quote from Christianity.net. I know these things, but I need frequent reminders. In the last 6 months, with all this going on, my prayer life has sucked, because I don't want to raise the issues with Him, but these issues have been overwhelming me. So I avoid it. I am able to worship, it seems, but more like a Sunday kind of thing - not daily. I told C. that I had no business singing solos or being in the praise band right now, because of this. But he ignored it, I guess.

 

About a year and a half ago, when I was struggling and going through a few months of bad nightmares, C. told me that I confessed all my sins when I was saved, but maybe I need to specifically confess what everything from that night. So I did - and I felt better for a little bit, but then everything came back.

 

I don't need God to deal with him or them. I don't need revenge. I just don't want to have to pay the consequences for my actions AND theirs. The best thing that could/could have happened is if they found Christ. He might have changed their lives. And in that event, I hope they don't feel too bad about what they did.

 

But right now, I don't like them - especially the mean one. Sometimes just thinking about him makes me start shaking. I don't know how/why he can scare me after all this time, but he does.

 

About how I feel about turning to Him now being based on what I experienced growing up, I'm sure it is. I know I can make mistakes and even do purposely bad things, and He will forgive me. But there's something about THIS partcular thing. And honestly, even about other stuff, I walk around waiting for the other shoe to drop -- like waiting for something I screwed up on to come back and bite me. I am constantly worrying (which doesn't help my sleeping, either). I act all laid back to people, but I've become super high strung.

 

I know my parents have no control over me now. And they don't act teh same way, generally. But I also know how they would react to certain things. The thing is, they seem to have a lot of empathy for P., which is great, and she feels very comfortable with them, and that's why we are going there now. I had originally planned to go in May. But --- I don't feel comfortable displaying my emotions around them or sharing anything with them. That's okay, isn't it? I have made it clear to P. that she is never to mention any of this stuff or that I am in therapy or on meds or anything to them.

 

I am apprehensive about it, and I'm not sure why. They were just here 2 months ago and it was fine, except that it is not particularly relaxing when I am on alert to make sure I don't let anything slip out about all this -- which is, frankly, a major thing going on in my life right now. But if I did let anything out to them, I know I would be sorry. I love my parents, and they don't act the way they used to - and honestly, the tables have turned a bit, in that they are very partial to me. However, I know there are underlying expectations and stuff.

 

I don't know what kind of things they will say. I haven't told them about talking to my former partner about going back there. I guess I need to tell them. I thought, initially, that my dad would be supportive about whatever, and I think he would outwardly, but the more I think about it, I know there will be an undertone of disappointment for quitting what I decided to do a few years ago. And the whole family is going to be together for the first time in a long time. They are all together a lot - I'm just not there. But I never know what's going to go on. The conversation often turns to stuff when we were kids, and my sister and brother and parents laughing about things they did to me, or my being in trouble, or how I used to get upset. It's normally fine, but since you and I have been talking about that stuff, it's sort of bothering me.

 

And I didn't think of the possibility that being in that dynamic again may send me backwards with this other thing. I don't want to undothe progress I've made. I don't want to prolong or repeat any of this if I don't have to. How do I prepare?

 

 

 

 

 

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

I understand that C was trying to do, but confessing sins that you did not commit on that night would only reinforce your feelings that you did something wrong.

 

I'm with you, hopefully the guys found Jesus. You can also pray for them, but that may be too much now or even ever. It's up to you.

 

When seeing your parents, you may want to review what you feel ok talking to them about and what you don't want to bring up. Practice in your mind (and with me if you want) what you feel would be "safe" and what is good to stick to. You may have to shut down some of your feelings in order to do this, but until you feel more comfortable showing them more of you, this is a good option. For example, it's ok to talk about church and singing in the choir. But talking about the possibility of going back with your old partner is off limits. As you decide the safe topics, let P know your plan. That way, she is on the same page.

 

If they choose to talk about how they hurt you as a child, you have a few options. One, you can say I don't like this topic and we need to change it. Two, you can leave the room and go do something else until they are done (do this each time it comes up). Or three, you can confront them and say I don't get the point of this discussion. Keep bringing it back to the point "how is it funny to make fun of someone" until it gets ridiculous and they drop it. You know them best so whichever response makes you more comfortable.

 

Kate

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yeah, that's kind of how I felt about what C said, but I thought he was right. I think probably what he was trying to say is that I shouldn't feel guilty, but I thought I was, and so if I went ahead and confessed it, it would cover all the bases and I wouldn't feel guilty. But it didn't work that way. After I told him the whole story, too, he said that hopefully you can work through this. God is going to use it for good. Then he said, "look at the good that's already come out of it. Like, you know now that you will never let that happen again." So I felt like he agreed that it was my fault and at least that I could have avoided it. But I don't think that's how he meantto come across, probably. He just did. But it supported my position.

 

I know this is horrible -- but I don't want to pray for them right now. Maybe I will later. I know that is awful and not how God wants us to be, but that's how I feel right now.

 

I think coming up with a list of ok and taboo topics is a good idea, and I will share it with P. I don't know about how to handle the possible conversations. Hopefully it won't come up, and hopefully there won't be any other teasing. Since adulthood, especially since I moved across the country, my role is sort of the neutral mediator. My brother or sister or their spouses may get mad at my parents or one of them, or vice versa, and I try to calm things down. Or my brother and sister may be fighting or mad at each other, and I am the neutral one who tries to resolve it. Or sometimes they are all upset at one another for some small thing or another. But I'm never the one who is mad at any of them. I may be irritated, but I have neither the time nor the desire to get into with any of them. I do not like drama. I like things calm. If I threw a fit at this point, it would be quite a shock to all of them. And then I would spend the next 2 months getting calls from them (my siblings) rehashing it. So I'm thinking a "grin-and-go-along-with-it" plan for that may be best.

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also: www.meaglelaw.com. . :)
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Shay, look at you! You are so pretty. Thank you for the link. I enjoyed learning more about you and your practice. And I like your Christian symbol on the bottom of your website. How comforting to others to see that.

 

I could not get on JA earlier to respond to you. We had a power outage here for several hours. The wind and snow came in quick today!

 

It does sound like C tried, but probably did not know how to respond to you so said whatever he felt was helpful. I agree with you, he probably did not mean to come across that way. But it didn't help for him to unknowingly support what you felt at the time.

 

It seems your family has a lot of conflict. It sounds like there is a good amount of anger in your family, probably having to do with all the years of repressing feelings. It sounds like your siblings express their feelings through anger, which may be the only acceptable feeling for them in the family. One way for you to avoid getting pulled in is to act emotionally absent. By that I mean when your siblings become upset, say "Gee, that sounds awful. I have no idea what you can do about it", or something to that effect. As long as you are sympathetic, they can't take it as you avoiding them or the problem. But if you offer no solution, they will stop using you as mediator and learn to deal with their conflicts themselves.

 

In order to deal with the dynamics of your family as you become more emotionally healthy and they stay the same, you may need to use more of these types of coping mechanisms when you are around them. They will keep acting the same way using the same interactions with each other but you are changing. The difference between you all will become more and more obvious, at least to you. As you progress, it will become important to develop ways to not get emeshed in the issues of your family while maintaining relationships with them. It's a tricky balance but once you find a way to deal with it, it becomes easier.

 

Good night Shay! I hope you have a good night's sleep.

 

Kate

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yeah, right :) I just know that it is helpful to me that I at least know what you look like from your picture. Glad you liked the icthus. :)

Were you saved as a child or later? Did you grow up in a Christian home? Are your kids young or teenagers?

Sounds like you had pretty bad weather today! That's one thing I really like here - the winters are so much milder than in Ohio. I think after living here so long, I have little tolerance for either cold or humidity. On the other hand, I miss the fall colors and the green. All I know is that I would never like to move to Cleveland or Buffalo. Their winters are terrible. I'm hoping for decent weather when we go east in a week.

I went to NW Ohio last year in mid December for one of my best college friends' wedding. I had to fly into Detroit and the weather was terrible. I asked my friend what the heck possessed her to get married in Toledo in the middle of the winter. It was unbearably cold to me. It's a good thing she is such a good friend.!

I'm not sure why I am even worrying about going home. I honestly enjoy their company, and we laugh a whole lot when we're together. I can find humor in it, even if it is at my expense. I can certainly laugh at myself. There were actually some really funny memories.

I don't think my sibling have a lot of anger. I mean, they can get irritated or angry at my parents - mostly because either they say dad drank too much and was being a jerk or because my parents pull their typical thing where someon is really sick, hurt, etc but they don't thinks it is appropriate to let us know. My dad never mentioned that he had been having all sort of problems (turned out to be seizures caused by a brain bleed that happened a few months before) and he even could tell the doctor when it started, because he said he saw a flash an felt like someone had hit him with brick at a restaurant. But he never mentioned it. When my mom finally took him to the ER, she didn't even call my brother, who lives literally a mile away, until 6 hours later, when the ct scan and MRI had already shown the results. Her reason was that there was nothing definitive to tell him. So that makes all of us mad (more so my sister an brother). Or my dad gets upset because he is defensive about them being mad at him. Or my mom says something insensitive and uncaring and that upsets them, or my sister and brother irritate each other by telling each other how to raise their kids. I think it I more irritation than anger. Then someone would call me and tell eke their side, then someone else. I end up skewing everyone's position when I relay it to everyone else, making everyone feel it was the other person who conceded. It actually works well. But I tire of it. Hasn't happened in a while. When my siblings were so upset at my parents when my dad had the stroke, I agreed with them but told than not to jump all over them, and they handled it calmly and well. My sister is really the hot head. And none of them seem to get mad at me, probably because I see them so rarely. And honestly, I've been terrible lately about returning their calls even.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne is I'm thinking I'm worrying for nothing, because I've been fine with it all this time, I can handle it this time too. And I would rather spend most of the time wih the kids, anyway. They change so much every time I see them.y nieces are 15 and almost 14, and my nephews are 11 and 7. All except the youngest are taller than me, and the soon-to-be 14 year old and the 11 year old (my sister's kids) are like giants. I think Jack (11) is about 5'9" or 5'10" now. In the 4th grade. They're all good kids (unless their parents are around). And the 7 year old is hilarious. He is so cute and funny. He has a fairly sophisticated sense of humor for a first grader. And he's at that age where he truly believes he is the fastest, best, cutest, etc. kid in the world. It's great to talk to him. We use to have a regula "date" every Friday might to talk on the phone. It was so much fun. He would have me talk to his fish, and tell me really long stories and let me listen to him run into walls, which he thought was the funniest thing in the world. He told me once that a girl in his preschool was laughing at h. I said "I'm sorry, did that Hirt your feelings?" and he told me "No. I liked it. I'm hilarious!" anyway....quite of the subject; I'm just really excited to see those kids!

Well, it's after 11, so I better try to get some sleep. I hope I sleep as well or better than last night.

I hope you are sleeping well!
Buenos suertes!
Hasta mañana.

Shay

Shay
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Oh .... That's why my new thread was locked .... They put it on the end of this one...
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Kate:

I had a terrible nightmare last night. The whole thing was like I was in it, and it was really scary. I hope that the sleep doctor figures out I have rem behavior disorder and that the pill will wipe out my nightmares. Of course, I guess it would then wipe out all my other dreams, too. It would be weird not to have any dreams, I think. Oh well. I guess I'll probably find out next week. Banjo lesson this morning then I have to go meet with P and her brother on their dad's estate issues. I am hoping that doesn't take all day. I have a ton of other work I need to do, and I am really tired today. Oh well.

Hope you had a good night's rest and have a fun Saturday!

Shay
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Shay,

 

You sound like a wonderful Aunt! You are great with kids. A lot of adults I know would not have the patience to listen to kids let alone get to know them as well as you do.

 

I'm sorry you had a nightmare. I imagine that you will experience some here and there as you recover. Although I think it will be good if the doctor discovers you have a disorder, it impresses me that you did not have any bad dreams when you and I worked out your feelings the other day. You mentioned how much better you felt and that your sleep was peaceful that night. I'm not sure if that says anything much about how much your emotions are affecting your dreams but it is a coincidence, maybe one we can pay some attention to and see if it goes anywhere.

 

If you feel that you will be ok visiting your parents and siblings, that is fine. As you describe the situation at home, I can see how your parents refusal to acknowledge feelings has affected them and your siblings. I think your sister and brother recognize how dysfunctional your parents act about sharing feelings and connecting emotionally with family. And it maybe your sister acts out the most because she is compensating for the lack of emotions with your parents. People tend to get the most upset about things that bother them the most. And if she has a lot of energy around your parents, she is very bothered about what they are doing.

 

As long as you are aware of the issues and know how to react to protect yourself if something happens you are uncomfortable with, then I agree, you should be fine.

 

I was not saved until I was in college. My parents were not Christians but I always had a sense of God and felt there was more, I just didn't know what. My sister and her husband are also Christians and we are working on my brother :)

 

I have two girls who are teens (!) and one boy who is 8. They keep me very busy, but like you said about your nieces and nephews, they bring a lot of joy and constant surprises to my life.

 

I hope your day goes well and you aren't too busy,

 

Kate

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Kate:

None of my family is saved. We always went to church (Lutheran) but I never "got it" and it seeme nobody did. I was an acolyte of years and went through first communion and catechism and had no clue. If it I any indication, the night before our confirmation, the pastor took the 4 or 5 of us who were getting confirmed to camp out. We all got drunk. It was more about ritual than anything. We didn't have much of a youth program. We had a youth group for a while, but then the leader announced he was having a sex change, and he was asked to leave. we all thought that wasn't right to ask anyone to leave a church, plus, we were in jr high and wanted to witness the whole process - the cross-dressing, the hormones, etc leading up to the operation. Oh well.

When I first learned in college about accepting Christ's sacrifice and having a personal relationship with him, I came home for the summer and told my parents. They thought I had joined a cult. Since then, and since I realized maybe I wasn't saved - that I had only accepted Him as my Savior and not my Lord, I have been trying to work on my parents. My mom thinks it is a pompous view to think the only way to heaven is through Jesus. They do not believe the Bible is literal. They believe Jesus died for everyone's sons, but think that means everyone goes to heaven. My sister converted to catholicism because her husband is catholic and she wanted her kids to be able to go to catholic school. Her classes to convert actually opened her up for dialog about Christ. My brother said he was atheist. Then agnostic (at least he's going in the right direction). I have tried to talk to him about Christ. He asked me if I was concerned about him going to heaven, and I sai I was, and he said not to worry, because he believes in Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed, and so has his bases covered. Ugghh.

My nieces and nephews are a little further along than their parents in this department. But not quite there yet. When my nephew Jack was about 7, he wanted an electric guitar really bad. So I brought him one when I came home, an he was so excited. He told me he had written a song, and he sang it to me (while trying to play the guitar - I made sure we cranked the amp up) and it was about someone killing cats in the microwave. When he finished he told me he was going to write me a song, so he went upstairs to work on it, and I was a bit concerned about what he would come up with, but when he came back down, he was singing the words to John 3:16. It was great.

My oldest niece (who is actually my brother's step-daughter) has been texting me all day today becaus we are trying to get my brother to buy my car for her because she is turning 16 in about 6 months. She's cute. They all are. And they are really good kids.

I will pray for your brother.

Are you the eldest? Youngest? Middle?

I'm not thrilled about the nightmare. It was so flippin' real. It took me a few minute when I woke up to realize it wasn't really happening. I'm happy that I'm not having them every single night, but it still sucks and it leaves me feeling like I've been jogging all night instead of sleeping. why were you impressed that I didn't have any nightmares the night we had worked out some of my feelings? Would you have expected me to have a harder time with nightmares that night since I had been thinking about it and going through things all day? I can't figure out when I will or won't have them. Maybe I didn't have one that night because I had released a lot of emotion tht night and cried until I fell asleep. ??? I don't know, but it's a thought. I also thought maybe it was so real because it was all as if it was happening - none of it was from-the-side-like-watching-a-movie stuff. I don't know why. Even though most of the dreams invar the same thing, some seem to be worse/scarier than other nights. When I have a bad one last night, it makes me feel funky all day. I can't wait for all this stuff to go away. Will it be soon, do you think?

By the way, I told Linda on thur that I wanted to talk a little more about childhood and family stuff, and so we did. Then he said that what might help is to "imagine myself as a little girl..." made me smile since you'd just brought that up. I think we're going to try to work on other stuff first - about what happened - but she aske me to bring a picture of me when I was little and one when I was in college, for my appointment on Monday. I asked her why, and she said she wants to know what I looked like.

Well, better get back to work :)

Shay
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Shay,

 

I'm sorry your parents and brother are not saved. I will pray for them. Thank you for the prayers for my brother. Hopefully, he'll come around.

 

When I mentioned being impressed that you didn't have any nightmares the night we worked things out, I meant that it seemed to mean something that you had such a good night's sleep after you deal with your feelings all day and seemed to have a breakthrough in your thinking about what happened to you. Because of that, I'm not so sure that your nightmares are not connected to your emotional stress from what you went through. In psychology, nightmares are usually the brain's way of expressing feelings that are unresolved and/or repressed. With PTSD, nightmares are reoccuring and often contain elements of the original trauma, if not a close approximation of the original trauma. So although there may be a physical element to your nightmares, it might be possible that your emotional recovery affects it as well.

 

Understanding why you dream about the event from the perspective of it happening to you and not as a bystander may be due to the change in your perspective in your waking life. You just spend several days working through your feelings about others seeing what you did and blaming you for your actions. You have come to realize that you are not to blame and that anyone else's opinion is useless. This realization may have shifted your dreams as well.

 

And your dreams may be more intense sometimes due to how upset you feel in your life. Right now, we have been talking about you going home and a lot about your family. It could be that the anxiety about your trip, even if it's not overt, might be bringing up anxiety about what happened to you. Your parents know but have not reacted well to your need for support around what happened to you and this may be in the back of your mind as you contemplate seeing them again. Also, you are in the middle of your recovery, dealing with these feelings day in and day out, which also makes how you feel very much on the surface and easily impacted by your daily life. All of these things can play a part in how you feel and your vulnerability to nightmares.

 

I think as you go through therapy and work out your feelings from the attack, you will find that your nightmares start to reduce. You need to work through your PTSD first. Nightmares are a symptom of PTSD and just like the symptoms of a cold, they will reduce as you begin to recover.

 

It is very ironic that Linda brought up inner child work just at the time you and I began to talk about it! She must be a great therapist ;) All joking aside, let me know where she goes with it and if you need any additional input from me. I'd be glad to help.

 

Kate

 

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Kate: I know the nightmares are a symptom (well, I know that now - before, I thought that they were the whole problem). My understanding I that the rem sleep disorder does not cause nightmares - it just means that you don't have the normal almost paralysis that is to occur during the rem sleep stage and therefore act out your dreams. But dr. K said that the med tht is used to treat it might get rid of my nightmares completely. But it probably won't, now that I think about it, because I am already taking 2 different meds that are supposed to inhibit sleep, and the morning after my sleep study, when they were showing me stuff, they showed me that I had very little rem sleep. But I'm still having nightmares, so I think I must be having them outside of rem sleep. So the cause isn't physical - but the solution might or might not be, I guess.

I agree about the change in perspective in my nightmare last night. And even though it was really scary and real, that's probably a good sign, right? And I think you're right about all the stuff we've been working on and anxiety playin into this.

And you're also right, I think, that the fact that this whole thing has been such a focus for me recently and I've been e Irving my emotions (about this and about family stuff) make me anxious about goon home. Because I have to try to ignore it while I'm there. Also, there's the nightmare issue. The way my parents' house is set up, I'll be sleeping upstairs at one end of the house, and their room is downstairs at the other end of the house, an there is no way they could hear me. But my sister and Allie and jack will be there for a few days, and they will be upstairs with us. So I'm worried someone will hear me. That really stresses me out. Quite a bit.

Oh - and also, could you pray for my sister, too? She's not saved, either, although she is closer than everyone else, I feel. They all don't listen to me about it. But they sometimes listen to P.

Thi trip I just coming as a bad time. Buy maybe God thinks it's a good time.

I think we're not going to work on the inner child stuff yet, so maybe you and I could start? I would like to make some progress on it before I work with Linda because I'm afrai it will be too easy for me to simply want her to act like a real parent to me, especially since she is around my parents' age, and I gather that is not the point. I don't mean to seem all clingy with her - I'm not. But I am dependent on her and I can see myself wanting her to just do it for me.

But I don't know why she would want pictures of me at those ages. What does she care what I looked like then? Or is it just for her to get a better visual impression to see what I am talking about? I don't know of I even have any.

I'm feeling kind of down about the nightmare. I fel like I had made a lot of progress thus week, and it is disheartening. Now I'll be scared to go to sleep tonight. Oh well.

I hope you are having a great weekend so far! I can't believe you have 2 teenage girls! I bet things are never boring in your house!
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Shay,

 

You are right, it is never boring around my home!

 

Thanks for re explaining the REM sleep and nightmare situation again. It makes more sense to me now.

 

I do think it is a good sign that you are dreaming about the attack from your perspective. Dreams are unpredictable and often hard to interpret, but given that this dream was different for you and impressed you, I think it shows that your work is making a difference. It certainly doesn't mean the dreams are easier to deal with, but it does mean that what we work on has an impact on your nightmares. So the more you work through, the more your nightmares will change.

 

It is a concern that Allie and Jack might hear you have a nightmare, but you are not obligated to explain it to them. You can just say you've been under stress and have been having your share of nightmares as a result. That way you are not lying but you are giving them an explanation that they can accept, without telling them the whole situation. You may also want to try to take as many comforting items as you can so you feel a sense of safety when you are there. Do things like warm milk and hot showers/baths help you? Your Bible, study guides and asking for special prayers from those that know you can also help. Anything you can do to relax yourself more might make a difference.

 

Of course, I'll add your sister to my prayers. Every prayer makes a difference.

 

I think Linda wants to you to bring in photos of yourself when you were little to help you connect with your inner child. It helps to be reminded of how small you were, how vulnerable and innocent. Adults who were hurt as children tend to forget how defenseless they were and how impressionable when they were children. By seeing what you looked like as a child, it can help you connect with those feelings.

 

One of the first steps of inner child work is to realize that your inner child is real. Everyone has that child in them. When children are born, they have a personality. But that personality can be shaped with the environment they are in. So a child with a sensitive personality can be influenced by good parents to open up and share themselves with others. But if that child has abusive parents, he or she can turn in on themselves and become self abusive, dependent on others and unable to function in a healthy way with the world. By reconnecting with your inner child, you can find out how you were affected by your environment and help yourself heal from any pain you were subjected to.

 

Kate

 

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