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Ask TherapistMarryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5763
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate - for when you get back .... Even if it is totally their

Customer Question

Kate - for when you get back ....
Even if it is totally their fault, parts of it - especially my saying and doing things -- were totally humiliating and I feel humiliated and ashamed when I even think about it. There must be a difference between this and self blame, right? The whole thing is humiliating, but especially certain parts. And I wouldn't have wanted anyone to see those parts (well, any of it - but especially those parts) and don't want anyone to know. But I think that is not necessarily accepting responsibility, right? I mean, if they knocked me out, undressed me, and stuck me in the park and left me, I still would be humiliated but would not have been able to control any of it.

I'm just trying to sort some of these things out.

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.



I think you hit the nail on the head. Separating self blame from the humiliation of the attack is important. You did not cause those humiliating acts to occur, even if you feel you "agreed" to them. Yes, they do cause you to feel ashamed. Anyone would feel just as you do. It is part of the attack to make you feel those feelings. Those guys wanted to degrade you, physically and emotionally. And making you do things that will humiliate you is part of that. But blaming yourself, as if it is your fault those things happened, is a different thing. Accepting responsibility for something out of your control is about something else besides feeling humiliation and shame.



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Oh. Okay. That clears some stuff up. Like --- I can feel embarassed about it, but try to see that it was the best option I had at the time?
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.

Right. That is exactly it.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
okay. this is still kind of hard to implement. Why does it hurt me? It should make me feel better. I can't quite release it.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.

It probably hurts because it is the real pain, the truth of what happened to you. All this time, you have tried to repress it, avoid it and you have wrestled with your past interfering with you seeing the attack for what it was. Now you are facing it head on. That is not easy. What you went through was horrifying. Seeing that clearly for the first time is painful and overwhelming.



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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It makes me scared. I don't even want to leave the office.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.

It's ok. This is new to feel this way, but you have always had these feelings. They have been with you all these years. It just feels scary to have them so present. Try taking some deep breaths and work through some relaxation techniques. And most of all, keep repeating to yourself that you are safe. You are no more in danger now than you were yesterday or the day before. Is there anyone you can call? Maybe P? You could talk with her as you leave and on your way home. I think hearing a comforting voice might help a lot.



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Okay. I'll do those things. I can probably call P when I'm leaving the office. It's only 3:30 here, so I won't be leaving for another 3-4 hours anyway. Maybe I'll be calm by then. I know I'm safe --- but I feel super exposed and vulnerable. I am trying to stay calm, but trying also not to put these feelings away, because you said not to, right? Thanks, Kate.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.

Stay with your feelings but don't try to scare yourself at the same time. I don't think that you will repress the feelings suddenly if you take a break and try to calm yourself by thinking of something else. Once you have this insight, it will stay with you unless you make a huge effort to repress it again.


I understand how you feel. Many people experience the same feelings when they suddenly understand their deeper feelings. Gaining insight is a very healthy thing, but it can also make you feel exposed and frightened, but only until you get used to it. Your mind is adjusting to the shock of your insight and that can take a bit to adjust to.


Keep in mind, this will not hurt you. It can feel strange and upsetting, but nothing will happen to you.


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks, Kate.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.

You're welcome. Have a good night. If you have time, let me know how you are doing tomorrow.


Sleep well!



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