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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5822
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate. I think the idea of the rubber band is perfect! And it

Customer Question

Hi Kate.
I think the idea of the rubber band is perfect! And it makes sense that I would be more likely to have a flashback when my defenses are down, so the only people it may happen in front of are p or Linda, which is ok.
I looked at the link. I understand that people question their fault for being in the situation in the first place. I've gone through that, too. I know my drinking, walking alone, talking to them, and going with them to their "car" led to what happened. But I recognize it was a disproportionate consequence and that I've made much worse judgments without consequence. But it is the participation during I that I'm talking about. I've read very few things about that, although I've really looked. I read a book where the woman, although tied up, moved with the guy during the sex because he wanted her to. But that's about all I found. I try tO remind myself that I didn't want any of it. I know some people's bodies get aroused, just as an automatic response, despite the situation. But mine didn't. It probably would have been impossible anyway because I was cut pretty badly before anything much happened. I am thankful for that. That would have caused me much more confusion and guilt, I think. But I didn't want or enjoy any of it. I wasn't gaining any kind of sexual satisfaction by what I did and said. I was trying to avoid pain and, maybe, to survive. But it's not like I thought it through. I didn't think about whether it was a smart or moral trade-off. I just did whatever they told me. I obviously could take the pain of being cut down there and could be okay, but I didn't think I could. It was the worst pain I had ever felt. I thought I had to avoid it at any cost. I was wrong, but that was how I reacted. I try to remind myself that even though I asked for it and acted like I liked it, and even did things myself, it wasn't because I really wanted to. But it's hard to know where the line is. Sometimes I do things I am not maybe thrilled about doing, but it is still a choice. When I was with my HS boyfriend, I chose to have sex with him even though I really didn't enjoy it. He certainly didn't force me.
Kate, I really didn't want to have sex with them or do any of that stuff. I didn't enjoy it. I just acted like I did because I knew that is what they wanted. I just guess I thought it was better than the bottle. I wish they had just done everything they wanted without saying anything to me, even if they had to be more violent.
Do you believe that I didn't want to do any of it? Except I guess I did, as opposed to them using the bottle again. I did choose to do/say those things because I thought I could avoid being cut anymore. But I didn't wan either choice. I don't know. If I didn't do anything wrong, why do I feel like I did? I didn't want to. I really didn't. I can't understand why I did what I did, so I don't expect anyone else to understand. But I kind of hope you do.
So - as far as the feelings, you are sayin to still just allow them and I'll learn to cope and they'll get better?
Hope you're having a good weekend!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.


I see what you are saying about the participation as compared to the self blame. You are right, there is not much out there on participation, which is surprising, given that it is a common issue for survivors. It is still a part of the illusion that you are somehow responsible or involved in your own attack. There is a common misconception among survivors that they had something to do with the attack. And it is often one of the most difficult parts of recovery to work through.

I have no doubt that you did not want any part of what happened to you. After hearing your story and working with you all this time, I have never had even an inkling of a feeling that you wanted this.

People who are sexually assaulted feel guilt because they see what they did as a failure on their part. They failed to stop the attack, they failed to be objective during the attack, they failed after the attack to do something about it. Because of the nature of a sexual assault, a violation of a person's boundaries and physical self, there is an added component that most other violent crimes do not have. So it lends itself to be seen as "participation". Also, most sexual assaults are perpetrated as a means to control the victim. That not only means physical control, but emotional as well. So it's not enough for the attacker to violate the body, they must also control the actions and emotions of the person they are hurting. Only then can total control be achieved. As a result, the victim feels they participated, hence the guilt and shame.

Yes, experiencing your feelings as they occur is the best way to handle them. But use all the supports you have to help you. The intensity of your feelings is strong and you should not have to cope alone.


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
in a way, if I still feel self blame, it's basically continuing to give them part of what they wanted?M
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Screw them, then.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
Not really. The self blame is about how you reacted to what they did. You did not give them anything and still do not. They took but you did not voluntarily give. The self blame is just the result of that. They only wanted to cause pain to you because they are ill. Just as any other violent criminal is. Like you said, it did not matter who they attacked. Only that they could cause pain.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
But not only physical pain?
I don't want them to win. A**holes.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Not only physical pain. The control is about total control.

Your anger is a healthy response to what they did!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Well, I don't want them to control me anymore.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

I understand that. And they won't win this one.

I hope you have a good night, Shay! Sleep well- no nightmares I hope.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Goodnight, Kate.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
Hope you had a good night!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I did have a pretty good night, actually. I really appreciate you checking in this morning. :)
I had a hard time getting my mind off things when I went to bed, but it didn't take me long to fall asleep and I didn't have any bad dreams :). I kept telling myself what you put on one of your posts yesterday - that I didn't give, they took. Not totally convinced, but I kept saying it over and over in my head.
I got to sleep in a little later, too, because (shockingly) c did get someone to cover me for praise team this morning. All I have to do is a mic check a little later for a duet. So glad.
Hope you have a great morning. Talk to you later.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi Shay!

I'm glad to hear that you didn't have any nightmares and you got some sleep. And I am happy that something I said helped you. It is true, you did not give, they took. In every aspect you can think of.

It's great that you got some extra sleep too. After what you have gone through lately, it should really help you feel better.

Talk with you soon,