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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate: Clearly I didn’t overcome my trust issues in a week :)

Customer Question

Clearly I didn’t overcome my trust issues in a week :) But I think it was a helpful lesson. As far as I could see, Linda never even put a spin on things. And I feel like she does care a lot – although I thought she cared before. Does it make sense why I feel I need validation or some expression from Linda or you or whoever before I know it’s okay to express my own feelings or that what I am feeling is okay?
I will try to keep identifying my feelings and tell myself it’s okay to feel them and to express them. And I will try to remind myself it’s okay to cry. I’m glad you pointed out that I’m not in danger of starting to cry all the time, anywhere. I worry sometimes, because when you and I talk, or at therapy, or some other times, I get so close to crying really easily now. But I suppose that makes sense — the stuff we talk about and that I talk about at therapy, and the stuff I’ve been having to think about are probably appropriately provocative of sadness and upset, right?
You know – I think the fact that I feel a need to have proof that I can trust everything and everyone I deal with is not only because I want to avoid hurt. I KNOW that even if I place my trust in someone erroneously, chances are that they would and could never hurt me like those guys did. And I think you said before – I do have the ability to protect myself more – and it’s not like I have to choose to trust someone then follow blindly - I can reassess along the way. I know that – now I just need to apply it. But I think the other thing is this: maybe since I always had to accept responsibility for what happened - whether I caused it or not - I feel like my trusting someone who does something bad to me is the same as me doing it to myself. I had to face the consequences either way, as a child - then with what happened. Like not only do I need to be careful about what I do - I need to be extra careful about who to trust, because I can’t control what they do, yet I will ultimately be responsible for it. Does that make sense? Do you think that might be part of it?
Are you disappointed in me because I keep going back to the same behavior/thoughts? I really am trying. I don’t want to let you or Linda down. This stuff is just hard for me. I would have an easier time with a calculus problem.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

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.


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Okay. I got an email that said my JA subscription has been suspended and they want to discuss their "fair use policy" with me. So I'll try to talk to them tomorrow, but meanwhile I probably can't accept any of your answers (I'll accept them when we get it worked out). Sorry there will be a delay. Hopefully I can still respond on this thread, though.
So - things with Debra went well. She had a good friend when she lived in another state who had been abused by her youth pastor when she was 14. She had not dealt with it, because at the time, the head pastor got the girls (there were several) together with their parents and told them the best thing for everyone is for nobody to mention it again. She started just started dealing with it after she and d were friends, when she was married and had 3 kids. D said she had symptoms and issues as though it had just happened, and she said she could barely function at times. She said it took her a couple of years to get through it, but that she was so much better now. So I didn't feel at all like she was thinking it was pathetic I wasn't over it yet.
She seemed glad and honored that I shared with her. Before we left, she said "I don't want you to feel weird around me now. ". I asked how she could know that I might. She said "because you just told me something very personal. But I want you to know I don't feel any differently about you at all, except maybe admiration because of what you've come through and are dealing with.". I thought that was pretty insightful of her to note that those things might be exactly what i woukd feel She also told me that this explains quite a bit.
So I am relieved and overall glad I told her. She asked me some questions about whethe I told my parents, anyone, etc. and I told her all that. She said she Was so sorry it happened and was so sorry I then seemed to get screwed over anytime I did try to let someone know or get help.
She was pretty understanding. Also, she asked if her coming back to praise team would give me some relief, because she understands how C can be and how hard it is to say no to him.
Well, just wanted to fill you in on how it went. I don't know how it could have gone better.
Talk to you to tomorrow (hopefully - assuming JA doesn't kick me off :) ).
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Also - I'm glad you agree about the responsibility thing. I really think there may be something to that. I mean, looking at totally unrelated things, I felt responsible for what LP did or didn't do in our fir
- even before I was a partner. I think that's why he's having a hard time with his associate. She (correctly) feels that it's his own responsibility to meet his own deadlines and obligations. I think I will also bring this up with Linda on Thursday.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

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.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yeah. I will talk to JA. I did think things went well with D. I didn't share many details, obviously. But she was telling me that her friend had struggled with guilt because she hadn't done anything about it and he did things to other girls, and because the whole thing was so twisted, the guy had her convinced that she was in love with him and that this was special, etc. I told her I thought it would be a lot worse if it had been someone I knew and trusted, and I told her guilt was probably my biggest issue right now. She didn't understand why, if it was people I didn't know. I explained that I had been drinking and wouldn't have been there if I hadn't been, and that i shouldnt have been walkinh alone, but that I did think it was a disproportionate consequence. But I told her that they used a broken bottle and that I was scared of it and I did whatever they wanted me to do/say. So I did tell her the worst thing. I didn't tell her what I did or said, though, and don't feel like I need to. She didn't show much of a reaction to the bottle thing except a wince. Her reaction was just fine. I was also appalled by her friend's church's reaction, as was she. She said that apparently all the parents agreed, and none of the girls got any help (at least then). Assuming her friend is around her same age, this would have been 45 years ago, and I know it was different then, but still ... when I told p and c and even Linda anything, I regretted it afterwards. But I still feel okay about it this morning. I wa really surprised that she knew I would be inclined to feel uncomfortable around her after telling her and that I would fear she felt differently about me. I was really taken aback when she said those things, because she was dead-on. But I feel fine about it now. And I thought it was nice that she offered to come back to praise team to give me a break. And I wasn't offended that she said this explained a lot. I would have been in the past , but I have realized that I do have issues from this, which I denied before. I was a little upset that she said it took her friend a few years to work through it once she started, and that she was pretty miserable during that time. I told her I was already surprised how hard it was and how long it was taking, and she said that's what her friend had thought, too. But she said her friend has been so much happier since she took care of it and has said that even though it got a lot worse before it got better, it was well worth it. But I think it was and will be helpful. I surprisingly feel pretty good about having told her. She was not judgmental at all, and I didn't feel like she felt that way and just wasn't saying it. An she said that as I go through this, i could talk to her about whatever I want and she will be there for me. I was surprised that she honestly seemed glad I told her. Why would she be glad? Guess my inclination was right this time!
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

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.


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.


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?

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

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?


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.


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.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.


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?

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
Shay, let's wait to see what JA is going to do before we continue. They have not let any of your accepts come through yet and I'm not sure how they are going to handle the rest. I'll still work on your answer so when they get this all sorted out we can keep working.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

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.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Ok I'll wait for the new thread

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
JA emailed me and they are having issues, so I need to open a new account. See you then.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
Ok, I'll look for it.