Shay, that was an amazing insight! I agree with you- it makes a lot of sense that you would feel that you always have to take responsibility not only for yourself, but for those around you, just because you trust them. I think this is the key to why it is hard for you to let go of what happened to you and feeling the shame and responsibility for what you did to survive. It is also a big part of your trust issue as well. This insight is going to help you work through this as well.
It is very true that placing your trust in someone will most likely not get you hurt. But it is also true that you have the chance to reassess as you move forward. And sometimes you do end up getting hurt. But with a good self esteem and the right coping mechanisms, you will be able to deal with it well.
It is perfectly fine that you need validation from Linda or me. You are re learning what you should have been taught originally, that it is ok to feel and it is ok to trust without having to be responsible. Your parents should have taught you this, but for some reason they were not able to. So teaching yourself, with support, is the best option.
Crying a lot now is very normal. You are facing a lot of feelings when before you were avoiding them. It can sometimes feel overwhelming because your feelings have been held back for so long. Plus the feelings are new to you, so that it going to make them seem bigger than they are. But crying is healthy, very much so. It is your body's way of coping with stress and sadness. It also promotes good hormones.
I am not disappointed in you at all. I think it is good that you work on the same issues until you feel they are resolved. It is actually a very smart to work through your issues thoroughly. Otherwise, you just end up coming back to it later when you have symptoms pop up on you. And you are progressing extremely well, Shay. Linda and I are here only to guide you, not to judge you. This is all about what you need and that is what we both are focused on.
I hope it goes well with D. Good night, Shay. You did some really good work today.
I'm sorry that you are having problems with JA. Hopefully, they will work this out. Maybe changing accounts again might be an option?
It sounds like your conversation with Debra went very well! She seems very supportive and understanding. And it must have been very helpful to hear that she knew of someone else with a similar kind of experience and how she handled it (though I cannot believe that the church and parents allowed it to be swept under the rug-unbelievable). Debra seems very insightful and compassionate. It will be good to have her to turn to if you need to.
I think Linda will definitely like to hear about your insight. I think it will change a lot of things for you in therapy.
I hope your account gets worked out and we can talk soon.
It sounds like the guy that victimized Debra's friend was a sexual predator. The behavior you describe him doing to those girls is grooming. I hope someone ended up turning him in eventually. What a sad situation.
You are right, even if you were drinking the night that happened to you, the consequences you suffered were way out of proportion to what you were doing. When you look at it, how many college students were drinking that night and if they were not hurting anyone, do they really deserve anything to happen to them? Sure, maybe they were underage, but other than that, there was no other issue. You certainly did not deserve what happened to you just because you had some alcoholic drinks. No one else who was drinking would have deserved it, would they?
It was very nice of her to offer to come back to the praise team so you could get a break. Are you going to let her?
It is hard to take in that your recovery may take a while. Trauma can be all consuming when you address it and I think it's easy to feel it would be better if you just ignored it and went on. But it does show up in one way or another eventually. Many people do not realize that the issues they struggle with like alcohol, anxiety , depression and anger all stem from something that traumatized them. They live with it, always wondering why they feel like they do. For you, you're ahead of the game by having insight and seeing that what happened to you needs to be dealt with. And consider that you are dealing with two issues- the attack and what happened to you as a child. But I think Debra said a good thing, you will feel much better once this is all worked out, just like her friend did.
I think that Debra was glad you told her because she may have been worried about you and was unsure how to help. She also might have felt that you trusted her with something very important to you, which may have made her feel closer to you.
I think it's good, Shay, that you were willing to trust another person with your story. The first few times you tried to share, it didn't go well. But you have grown so much since you started therapy that you were willing to try again. It was a very brave thing you did. And this was not about you guessing if Debra was the right person and C the wrong person. No one can ever be sure how another person will react with something personal you tell them. I am trained in therapy and reading people and I have guessed wrong and trusted the wrong person before. It happens. Blaming yourself is part of your past, something your parents put on you. It doesn't fit reality. Telling Debra was a good way to take care of yourself and increase your support with your recovery. She just happens to be one of those genuine people who really does care. There was no way to know that until you told her.
I do not think my drinking that night was the reason for that to happen. It was inadvisable to abuse alcohol - not even illegal, since I was 21, but not advisable, for lots of reasons. And I would not have been there at all if I hadn't gone back to the sorority house to get alcohol. I know these things, but I haven't felt for a long time that this is what caused what happened. Perhaps it dulled my instincts and maybe without any alcohol I would have known to be scared, but maybe not. I had been in dozens of situations before where I was alone with strange guys - and nothing ever happened. So I don't think I caused it. Plus - as I have said - I am convinced that they were going to do something to someone that night, and I don't think I would have wanted it to happen to someone else. So - that's not really a big part of my guilt issues.
I don't know if anyone ever turned that guy in. The reason Debra even knew about it and what made this woman finally recognize that she needed to do something to get help, was that they were at a big Christian School choir festival somewhere back East (D taught with her and they went to the same church), and the lady flipped out because she thought she saw this guy. D didn't know what was wrong, but her friend told her she had to go and find out the guy's name. So after following him around for a while, D did go up and talk to him, although she didn't know why she was doing it, and it turned out not to be him. So - I don't think the guy was ever arrested. I don't know when this was - I'm guessing maybe 15 years ago? The woman told D she'd explain later what was going on, and some time later, she did. Also, D said that during her friend's therapy, her friend and her therapist confronted the guy. That would be scary!
D texted me this morning and said she prayed for me last night and this morning and prayed that I didn't and wouldn't regret telling her. She also said she was questioning whether she should have told me about her friend, because her intention was to help me and maybe give me some encouragement by it, and she wasn't meaning to minimize my experience or compare the two. I told her I was so glad she brought it up - because most of the books and stuff I've read deal with people going through the recovery process pretty shortly after it happened - and it is nice to hear a real account of someone who didn't address it until later, like me.
It was nice for D to offer to come back to praise team, and yes, I'm going to let her - if she feels it's the right thing for her. She has not done it for the past year, because their daughter's husband (age 32) suddenly dies, and their daughter and 3 year old granddaughter moved here and live with them now, and she has been dealing with that. He daughter is doing a bit better now, but she is (understandably) a mess, and the 3 (almost 4 year old) not only needs care and attention because her father is gone, but because her mother is so sad and I'm sure it is so upsetting and confusing. He daughter is starting to visit other churches, and is better able to handle things day-to-day. So that's why she was thinking about coming back. But she needs to pray about it and do what is right for her. I told her that was holding my ground, so it really wasn't my problem anymore - it is C's. But I do know if she comes back, it would ease up the pressure on me. So if she can do it, I would be most appreciative!
It is hard to accept how long this might take and that it might get even harder. But I keep thinking - (1) I'm not sure if I stop now that it can go back to just nightmares - it seems to want to seep out somehow, so I probably can't bury it as easily as I did. (2) If I stop and never go back, I am going to keep paying for it in ways I don't even see now, and probably in additional ways, too; (3) If I stop and do go back to therapy, I may have to redo everything I've done so far, which would mean I wasted 9 months of work and upset.
And this has shown me other issues which I had no clue I had. Now, sometimes I see this as bad, but the positive part of this is that I think it helps with this main issue that you guys can point out why I may react as I do, and help me therefore work on this issue, but also because I suspect the childhood issues have caused a lot more unhappiness and issues for me than I know, and so when I recover from both, it will seem even better. That doesn't mean I like it, though.
Do you think there is any chance that additional major issues will be discovered as I continue working on these things? Do you think I'm done with surprises and with things coming up that are going to prolong this process even more?
I guess you're right about not being able to be sure how someone is going to react or whether you can trust, until you take a step. As I'm sure you can guess, that disturbs me because I want some assurance. And, you know, trust-wise, I trust C as much as D. I just don't think C knew what to say or do, as much as he may have wanted to help. And he is a guy. It was nice to have a guy's perspective and ask him some strictly "guy" questions about what went on, but I think he looks at it differently and doesn't understand that something that seems so logical can be very upsetting (like, if I feel guilty, even if he may not think I did anything wrong, I'm sure his suggestion to just confess and ask for God's forgiveness seemed to him like covering all the bases, but I don't think he knew what message that sent). It was a big risk telling D, and I do realize t's not always going to turn out that I have trusted the right person, but I felt like in assessing what I knew of and saw of her, it was a controlled risk. Now, that being said, I really don't see the need to tell anyone else unless I feel compelled down the road. Trust or no trust, it is still something that people generally do not need to know, right?
I'm glad that you no longer feel you caused the attack. You were pretty convinced when you started therapy that it was your fault and to hear you now say it isn't is great. You did not need an extra burden of guilt.
It's nice that D reconnected with you this morning and made sure all was well between you. She sounds like a wonderful and caring person.
Your reasoning around staying in therapy is very sound. I agree with all of it. You are making such great progress that to stop it would just mean more work ahead anyway. The process is not fun, I know, but it is very worth it.
From our work together so far, I can't see any other issues coming up for you, but I cannot say that for sure. Only you know what you have been through and if there is anything else bothering you. I know that is not very reassuring, but there is just no way to tell for sure. Given that you have been open and very honest about your experience, I cannot see anything else that needs addressed except for insights into things you have already been through.
I agree, there is no need for a lot of people to know your situation. What would that help anyway? You do not need a whole hoard of people for support. The people you have now are just fine.
Any news on the situation with your account?
I just spoke to JA. The issue is that I am accepting multiple times in a single thread ---- they said I should only accept once per thread. They said if I have different questions, put them in different threads, but if it involves the same issue, keep it n one thread and just accept at the end. I tried to tell him that the nature of what we are discussing does not really fit into that - because it is generally about one thing, but there are lots of totally separate questions. He assured me I won't be penalized for asking you numerous questions and accepting (on different threads). So, they'll have my account fixed by the end of today, and then I just have to do it a bit differently.
Btw - I called Linda this morning and told her I told D. She was pleased (and surprised), and was very pleased with D's response.
The only issues I can think of that I am worried about (in addition to those we all have been addressing a lot already) are: (1) the sexuality issue; (2) I don't know why I dream, and sometimes "see" in the daytime those few things that didn't happen. I don't know from where those came, and I worry that I am either still just making things up in my head, or they did happen (although I really don't see how), in which case, I did worse things than I thought and I would be disturbed if I didn't remember everything.
Before when I tried therapy for short amounts of time, I never told them everything, and maybe would tell a few things, or maybe not any details at all. This time, I have told you and Linda everything that happened that night. And I think I've told Linda most everything else. There are a few things I haven't been able to tell you, but they are not directly related to that night. So from what you are saying, the chances of some other big issue "popping up" are minimal, right?
Don't answer on this thread. It is going to get my account in trouble if I accept anymore. I'm hoping that my accepting the outstanding ones doesn't cause issues again already, since they were outstanding when I was told to proceed differently. i will ask on another thread.
... My account is still messed up, though. My accepts should have come through from earlier today, but I will not be able to accept your next answer on this thread without jeopardizing the use policy, so I will just ask another question tomorrow in a new thread.
Ok I'll wait for the new thread