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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5839
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate. Just wanted to check in. My night was okay. I'm still

Resolved Question:

Hi Kate. Just wanted to check in.
My night was okay. I'm still sad and a bit worked up. But it's okay. I reread my thing Linda wanted me to write. It has less effect the more I read it, it seems.
Why have I become more embarrassed than I was before (about you and Linda knowing)? If I had felt this way before, I wouldn't have written it all out for either of you.
You said that the common thread throughout my letter for Linda was that I am shamed I what happened and that Linda knows about it ( and you too). That was what I was feeling and thinking Thursday, that's what we had been talking about, and that's why it was what was in my letter. But also, it's probably the strongest feelings I seem to have at the moment.
But -- wouldn't you be embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated if it had happened to you and other people knew about it? Wouldn't that be the case for anyone? These are shameful things. How can I undo that fact?
This is all so strange. I never ever would have guessed I would be in this position - talking to 2 therapists (almost constantly), a psychiatrist, sleep/nightmare dr. Relying on people I didn't even know because I can't do this without you. Sharing these kinds of things. I really thought I was okay before. I'm so glad I met you and Linda, and that's a benefit of all this. But the rest of it sucks. And I'm mad at those guys. What they did that night was bad enough. Why couldn't the consequences stop there? It's not fair. Why can they still make me feel so bad? I know they must have been miserable before they did this and probably after, but it seems they took the easy way out and made other people pay for it. but I have to pay for me and them, too, it seems. That's not how things should be. It wouldn't solve my problems to make them pay, I know. But it aggravates me that it probably made them feel better to make me pay, and I hadn't even done anything to them.
These are not pressing questions, so of you don't have time to answer before you leave for your trip, it's totally fine. :).
Happy mother' day tomorrow!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.


You may have become more embarrassed now, or at least feel it more now because you are more open to your feelings than you have ever been. Before you probably would have pushed the feelings away and covered them. But now that you are more aware, the feelings are more present.

What you are feeling is extremely common after an assault. Almost every survivor feels the way you do. And there is nothing wrong with what you feel. It's helping you work through it and to the other side that is important. While guilt and shame are normal after an assault, they are not feelings you want to experience the rest of your life.

Working through them takes some persistence. Emotionally, it is natural to feel as you do. So telling yourself to go against your natural feelings is difficult. But it can be done, in steps.

One of the first and most important things to do is to challenge the belief that you had any fault in what happened to you. A lot of the guilt and shame develop not only because the attack was about something very personal and demeaning, but because of the forced participation in the attack. Countering those thoughts and feelings are vital.

In order to do that, you can challenge each thought and feeling as it comes to you. For example, when you feel guilty and ashamed, write down what you are thinking and feeling. Then counter it with reality. This was not your fault and you had no control over what happened to you.

If you feel too overwhelmed by these thoughts, reach out to others. It helps to have it reinforced that you are not at fault and do not need to feel guilty or ashamed.

Look up the words guilty and shame. See what they mean. The very definitions show you that you are not the one who committed a crime. Those guys did.

Also, try these books:

The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula

The Courage to Heal 4e: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse 20th Anniversary Edition by Ellen Bass and ***** *****

The one book is about childhood sexual abuse, but it has a good section on guilt and shame.

I'll be checking in all day off and on so if you want to post, I'm here.


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