Thank you. I believe you. Your posts yesterday and today make me feel better - like you really believe what I did was okay. I do know that what really matters is how I feel about it, and I know I should not base my feelings on anyone else's - but I have been (from what you and Linda tell me), basing so much on what I learned growing up and what I thought was correct, that I don't really have a personal basis for beliefs about this stuff yet. I need some reliable guidance. Plus, as you pointed out, even without any childhood issues re: responsibility, I would most likely feel responsible anyway, because of the nature of this, right? Also, I think that the reactions of the friend I told first - several months after it happened, the reaction of the people at the clinic when I did go to get checked out, and the reaction of my parents when they were told (along with the fact that I know very well what they would think and say), has reaffirmed my inclinations towards taking responsibility.
It is hard for me to reconcile remembering and "seeing" myself do these things - and not blame myself. I can't see it totally in context. Because of how things happened - because I did participate, it is hard to see past what I did to determine whether it was reasonable under the circumstances, you know? And I always learned that it doesn't matter what anybody else is doing or has done - I am still responsible for what I do, and must face the consequences. I'm just not sure what consequences I am or should be facing - like what part of all this and the way I feel and the way I have screwed up my life is the consequence for what I chose to do during the incident, what I did afterwards, for not reporting it, and for what I have chosen since then. I don't know what parts of this (the aftermath, I guess you'd say, although seriously delayed) is the price for what I did/didn't do, and what part just is, if any. I'm not saying I deserved that to happen because of my choices - it was already happening. Yes - my choices during it had some instant consequences - but I will never know if they were good or bad. In doing what I did, I guess I expected, at the time, for that to result in better consequences than what I would otherwise face. I don't know if it worked or not - things could have been better and things could have been worse. But I have to assume that my instincts were correct. Even if they weren't, and I misread things, I didn't have time to mull any of it over at the time - and my instincts were what they were. I don't think, now, that if I hadn't done/said what they told me to, it would have been very likely at all that they would have just let me go. Remembering the intensity of all that did happen, and learning what I have about sexual sadists, etc. from you and Linda, I think the mean one would have found something else degrading or painful for me - that he needed that. In any event - what I don't know is how much of this stuff now and the stuff since the incident is the consequence of what I chose to do/say/not do. ??? I know I have to pay the consequences for anything I do. There are always consequences - good or bad. I just don't know if all of this is from consequences to my actions or theirs, or a combination. I know some of these things are direct consequences of my own choices/actions/reactions. But even though they royally suck, I don't know if these are actually good or bad consequences. If the alternative was to bleed to death or something like that - then these are good consequences, comparatively. But if the alternative was for me to maintain at least a bit of dignity by not saying and doing what they wanted, and then they just did it anyway, without my help or encouragement or participation, then these things I am going through now are bad consequences, comparatively. Do you see what I'm saying? Problem is - there is no way I can know. And as you said (or implied), my instincts may have been logical, and I need to trust them. However, the problem with that is that my instincts now - how I feel instantly when I think about some of these things - are telling me I am a loser, and that, no matter what the circumstances, nobody except a whore would have done/said what I did.
I don't know .....
But I do truly appreciate (and believe) what you said.
I am still tempted to watch the videos or go to those sites - or to those sites I looked up before (that were just supposedly rape videos, but didn't say anything about tearing, screaming, crying, etc. [I kind of got that the first ones were probably fake - just actors, and I don't know about the second]) But I think I can keep myself from doing it, just as I did already, and just as I avoided the temptation of cutting myself. I just really feel like it's a way to punish myself, and even though I don't feel like if I watched and it hurt me and I was upset - that it would atone for anything at all (or even that I really have to atone, I guess I'm thinking now), but I am so angry and need to hurt someone or punish someone (probably don't really need to - I guess I just want to) and I am the only person available for the punishment that had anything to do with it. Like maybe if I hurt myself, it will be like punishing them, too? Or maybe it's not even that complex - maybe I just want to unleash some anger and it seems that those videos would allow that? I know it seems illogical - but I feel like if I get anger out, it makes little difference if it is directed at or hurts myself. I can't hurt someone else that had nothing to do with this. I can't hurt them. I feel like this is the kind of anger that requires it be directed at someone and taken out on someone - not something. I don't think it is the kind of thing that screaming into a pillow or beating on a couch or shooting my BB gun at inanimate things is going to help. It feels pretty intense and I want to get rid of it because it scares me. But the only way it seems I can do that is by purposely harming myself - and, frankly, exposing myself to those sites seems more damaging than doing something physical to myself.
Okay .... I am rambling. I will stop. Just all these things racing through my head, and all these feelings. I do feel like I've made some progress in the guilt area. The shame thing - I don't know if it will ever go away. Maybe I didn't deserve what happened, but I can't imagine ever remembering what I did and said and even just what they did - and the position I was in, and the things they did which should be most private things, and other things they did which basically mutilated my most private areas and caused so much pain - without feeling ashamed and humiliated and embarrassed. Try to think for a second what I have told you about what they did and I did and said - the details. Try to imagine it was you - regardless of the circumstances, I think you would feel massive shame, wouldn't you?
Wow. All this thinking and feeling takes a lot out of me. :)