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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi Kate.

Resolved Question:

Hi Kate. Had appointments yesterday and today with Linda. Pretty intense. She had written me a letter today. She hadn't finished it, but gave it to me to read anyway. I would like her to finish it and would like to have it. I'll probably call her and ask her. I don't see her until next monday. We did some of the telling yesterday, but not today. There were other things I had been thinking about last night from our session that I wanted to talk about. At the end, she said "you seemed to be processing so I just let you go, was that okay?" (that she didn't push me to do more telling).I told her yes - there were other things I needed to talk about.

She said yesterday and today that she was really affected by the part of things I told her yesterday. I don't know why. I did leave something out when I wrote it out - the fact that he hit me when I was trying to clench my teeth shut. But that was of little importance in the scheme of things, and we have talked about it since. The other stuff was in what I wrote. She said that my breaking it down like I was, and hearing me describe it in person, communicated more about how things really were. She did seem really affected , and it was surprising, but kind of meant something to me. I don't know what. I'm confused a little. But I guess just like the telling out loud has more impact on me, it must be different hearing it rather than reading it, too. She was asking me today what she could say or do to make me believe she doesn't think I am bad or repulsive. She said that she was unimportant in all this and that what I felt about myself mattered. I told her that I wasn't Like preoccupied with what she thought about me in general, but since she was the only one who knew everything, knowing how that made her feel about me was kind of a gauge for me.

It has been an interesting 2 days with her. I hardly slept at all last night, despite my meds and adding migraine pills, which make me so tired. I finally had to get up and do some work for a few hours before trying again. Linda said she wasn't surprised.

Linda said something else interesting. We were talking about how it is still painful after all this time and still upsets me, but how I'm better equipped to deal with it now than when it happened, and she said "how long do you think you would be upset about it if you had dealt with it then?". I said I didn't know. She said she thought it would have taken years even at that point. Do you think so?

She was also telling me how differen what happened was from real sex. And we talked for a whole about how blessed I was to heal physically without treatment and also talked about the nightmare when I did go to the doctor and how I didn't know they were going to do an exam or what that entailed, really. I thought I'd just get a blood test or something. And how that turned out to be kind of traumatic in itself. We also talked about how sometimes I still have some pain from the tearing and we discussed epesiotomies (??). I am not sure she understands that I am not talking about tearing from there, but from the other. I thought I was clear, and I keep trying to clarify, to make sure she understands, but I don't know how. I am finding it hard to just say it.

I went to praise team tonight. It was actually nice to be back and was low stress. It was nice not to think for a few hours. I have another sleep study Saturday night. So I wont be able to go early to practice Sunday morning, but c doesnt care. I'll miss Sunday school, too, so that's good, actually.

Very wearing few days. All is well, though. None of it will matter.

Hope all is well with you.

Good night. Hopefully I can get to sleep. But if not, I brought home work to do. So either is fine.

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Wow, it sounds like you and Linda had some pretty intense sessions. From what you said, you seem to feel very tired from what you went through but good about how everything progressed.

Linda seems to be checking in with you more, trying to see where pushing you is going to help and where you need to just be able to think things through on your own. It's good that she listened to you about your needs and is working to do what helps you.

You mentioned a letter than Linda wrote to you, but I wasn't sure what it was about. Is it ok for you to share, or would you rather keep it private? It's ok either way.

I can only guess here and offer you a therapist's perspective, but I imagine that Linda is feeling very affected by your sessions because what you are working through is very powerful. Although she is there for you, she is still going to have a response to hearing what you suffered during the attack. As a therapist, you do have feelings about what people tell you. It's just not appropriate most of the time to show it, because you are there for the client and not for you. The focus needs to stay on the client. If you start to express your own reactions without it being therapeutically necessary (helpful to the client) then the session becomes about you or the both of you, which is not going to help. But Linda's reaction was helpful to you, from what you said. It sounds like you have had no way to gauge whether or not what you feel from the attack is normal or not and Linda's reaction seems to have helped you see that what you feel is normal. And it can be comforting to feel that you are not alone and the feelings you have are what others would feel.

I can understand your trouble sleeping after all that intense work. You would need time to think all of it through plus you might be physically tense from just talking about the assault, maybe more than you realized. I hope you did get some rest last night, at least.

It's good you are taking each weekend and your other obligations at church one step at a time. Being there only when you feel ok about it is going to help you feel a whole lot less stressed.

Thanks for letting me know what happened with your sessions. I'll talk with you soon,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The letter basically said that I deserved to not have the guilt and shame of this hanging over me, that what they did was horrible and criminal and I could have died at several different points and I only did what I needed to do. That the point of what they did was to humiliate me, that it was very personal and embarrassing to share, but I have nothing to be ashamed or guilty about. That I am not weak and hearing about these things makes her respect me even more and feel like I am strong, and hasn't ever made her feel negative about me. That she has a lot of compassion and empathy for that 21 year old and wishes I would, too.

It was just nice she took the time to do that, even if she didn't finish.

I got very upset Monday when we were talking. She asked if I thought, as we talked through this, I could try not to get to focusing on my feelings of guilt and shame, and focus on my other feelings. I asked if I was just supposed to hope they went away. She said no - she wanted to go over those feelings differently. She said she feels like every time we touch on something I feel that way about, my feelings are so intense and upsetting and I focus on my "participation," and she is afraid that is doing more harm than good and wants to address it differently. I told her yesterday, after thinking about it, that the guilt I felt was better than it was, maybe not the shame. But what I had gotten so upset about when we were talking Monday is that I was trying to say that whatever I did do, I feel like I paid for that night and in the weeks to follow - in physical pain alone. But all I got out was "whatever I did" and then
started bawling. I told her that I felt more upset about remembering the pain and what I did pay. After telling the part of it I did Monday (which was just the 2nd guy having sex with me and the mean one trying to put it in my mouth and then asking for the bottle and me agreeing and then him urinating and making me swallow it, it felt intense. I felt humiliated, but I also felt very sad and it was too much to think about some of this stuff in such real terms.

I get the sense, though, that part of the reason why she sometimes reacts in a way that I take as her not wanton me to cry, is that she thinks I am beating myself up about my "participation" and thinks it is harmful.

You didn't answer about whether you thought thi would have taken year's to deal with if I had addresses it at the time it happened. Also- do you think she understands what I'm talking about with the tearing?

I looked up that kind of tearing last night, because Linda has said she thought it made sense that I still had some pain sometimes. Bad idea. On the one hand, it said that sometime women experience anal "fissures" when giving birth, so maybe she does understand, in general, what I am saying. However, how they explained it and showed it, I'm not sure it is exactly the same thing. But when I googled it, there were all these links to sexual videos which advertised that they showed anal rape, claiming they had ctu. Ideo of anal tearing and bleeding and crying girls/women. Google it. I cant believe men watch these for sexual gratification. There were so many. I don't think that there could be that wide a group that actually does these things, but the fact that there were so many, and these things were described in such a way that made this pain, rape, bleeding and tearing such a draw, makes me think that a lot of men want to watch this stuff and get off on it. It scares me. Do men normally get turned on about these things? Do they find it sexually arousing? Is it normal? Would it bother you if your husband found this stuff appealing? I don't want to thinker I know would find that arousing. How would I know if I ever date someone? Men jerk off to this stuff!? I am tempted to ask c whether it's normal for that kind of thing to turn guys on, but I don't know how to ask. I didn't open any of the links. I don't need to see that. But I can't believe there was so much. I was trying to look up medical stuff. Incidentally, I couldn't find the medical stuff about it. It is really upsetting to me. I would figure that there might be random deviants, but so many sites????
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for sharing the letter from Linda with me. That is a wonderful letter! Linda makes some very good points and what she says is so supportive.

It sounds like you and Linda are starting to touch on some very deep emotions related to your assault. You mentioned the guilt feels a little better but the shame is still there as it was before. And you said that whatever you did do, you paid for it with the pain you experienced. I know Linda is working on this with you, but I wondered about what you feel you did that deserved that level of trauma? What would someone do that others would say, yes, that is what they deserve?

It is very hard to predict how you would have reacted to therapy and recovery if you had addressed it after the trauma happened. You were in a different place then emotionally. You had just left home and your parents influence on you was still strong. You had not had any of the experiences you have now either and that would have impacted how you responded to therapy. It most likely would have taken some time, maybe a few years, to address what happened.

Linda probably relates to the pain you have physically but her circumstances were different. How you came by the injury can sometimes impact your level of pain as well. But she does have a much better understanding than someone who never had that type of injury.

Men who would get turned on by the video links you saw are not normal. Men can associate aggression and submission with sex if they are raised to see it that way or have suffered some kind of trauma that directed their thinking that way. But although most men might be turned on, they would not act on it or seek that type of deviant behavior out. There is a fine line for some men between fantasy and reality and the consequences to women of that kind of sex. Lack of empathy and degrading women are two factors that affect how men view women and sex in general.

You would know if someone you were dating was into that type of sex. As you grew closer, it would become more apparent. And his behavior would also show you based on how he treated you and other women. There would be signs.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

So -- most men would be turned on by that? That upsets me. The thought of someone getting off to what was so painful for me really bothers me and scares me.

I understand that there is a difference between fantasy and reality, and that just because someone may get aroused by something - or even regularly fantasize abut it, it doesn't mean that they would ever do it, and they are watching these things not considering that these are real people or could be their daughters, sisters, wives, friends, mothers. But it still upsets me. It obviously is appealing to more than a small number of people or why would they have so many sites on the internet?

Why does it seem like guys are so different than girls as far as fantasies are concerned? Or do girls also find that arousing (to watch, not experience)?? I guess I thought these guys, or really - just the mean one - was so far from normal - that he was even able to get an erection with all the blood and pain. But now it seems like a lot of men would be able to and are ---- I don't think, by far, that most men or normal guys would ever act on it - but what I am hearing is that it is generally a turn-on. Is that correct? And if so, why? I totally get the domination thing. But there is a difference between that and physically damaging someone, I think.

Do you think it might turn the mean one on now to think about how he mutilated me in the most private way and tore me apart? Do you think he masturbated to that afterwards?? Do you think the other one did??

I know Linda's childbirth experience was not the same, and it kind of irritates me when she uses examples from her own experience, because (1) I don't need to know that; and (2) none of her examples have been close (this being the closest), and the message to me is that a lot of people experience similar things in every day life, which makes me feel weak for being upset about it. It's weird, because I used to want to hear that what I went through was kind of common, but now I feel like when I hear from Linda, for instance, that this was much more brutal, it in some ways justifies that I am still upset. Does that make sense? Am I just looking for excuses to be over dramatic? I understand why she was telling me about her experience with the childbirth (which she has now brought up several times) - her point was that she instantly went into shock, and that it was an issue, it was painful, and it took some specific treatment - and this happened in a room full of medical staff (because she was 40 and it was considered a high-risk pregnancy) and it not uncommon during childbirth. She was trying to communicate to me that what happened there was serious enough, but dealing with that without medical care would have been bad. She was trying to tell me that I was strong to be able to deal with it. I know what she was trying to do, but I wish she'd stop trying. But because she is using that as an example, I am not certain whether I explained well enough what I told her a few weeks ago (and told you, too). Did you understand what I was saying happened? It is easier to write it to you than say it to her, sitting a few feet away from me. But maybe I didn't explain it well to either of you. I tried to tell her, yesterday and either Monday or the session I told her, that I thought it was probably similar to what she experienced, except "from the other way." Yesterday, she said that although she had stitches, etc., she really doesn't know which direction it tore. So I still didn't think she understood. I told her it happened during the anal sex part, so I would think she understood, but maybe she missed that part. Do you think she understands? Or is there really no difference? I looked up epesiotomies, and at lease when they cut it, they don't do it the whole way between the two. And I am pretty positive mine didn't tear the whole way. I think I would have known, although it was hard to distinguish what pain and what blood was from what. But I can't explain to her what I mean - I guess I can say it here, although it is difficult (but maybe you already understand what I was saying before): it tore downward from my anus toward the vaginal area - not the vaginal area towards the other. Sorry to be so blunt. I just don't think I'm making myself clear, and I don't think Linda understands. Or maybe it is me that doesn't understand. Does the same thing happen during childbirth sometimes? Am I just assuming wrong? Or is it just pretty much the same thing, with slightly different placement?

And why when I was able to find medical sites, did they only talk about "fissures," which seemed more internal. But maybe that's what it was - just longer and more outside as well. I don't understand myself, and I don't think Linda understands. The reason this is important to me is because I want to explain how it felt and how I was instantly nauseous and what it felt like and how bad it hurt. I could be wrong, but I also think the vaginal area is easy to tear than the other - at least to start a tear. Am I wrong?

I am really sorry. I know this would fit into the category of "TMI," but I can't just ask someone, and I don't know if Linda understands, and if not, how to explain it.

I don't know if I feel I did something to deserve all that. I certainly feel like the fact that I was drinking and walking alone at night, and was nice to and somewhat trusted these guys made me deserve it. And At the beginning - basically when both of them had sex with me and the bottle (1st time), up through right before the urine thing, I did nothing wrong. I fought, I did what I could, but I was being totally restrained. As you know, the things that I agreed to or allowed after that, and the things I said and did, were not the best, XXXXX XXXXX wish I hadn't reacted that way. But the fact is, I did. I can't change that. I will never know what would have happened or wouldn't have happened if I had made other choices. I can't know that. So I guess I can't assume one way or the other - that they were the right choices or the wrong choices. As I look back, I didn't really think any of it through - I just did or said it. I was scared, and whether they were presently threatening me or not, I thought they would use the bottle if I didn't comply and I didn't want that pain. I made a choice that I would rather have sex, give oral sex, let hm have anal sex, move with him, ask him for it, beg him for it, and say I liked it and loved it - to try to avoid the bottle. It didn't totally work, as they used it again, but I do not know whether they would have used it even more if I hadn't complied. Nobody knows that. And although the pain and damage from the tear was extremely painful and not so good, I can't really say that the bottle used that way would have been better. I don't know. I can't know - and nobody can know.

I don't know what part of what I did was wrong and what wasn't. But whatever part was wrong, I think I paid for by just the physical pain I went through that night and during the weeks and months after.

But I feel like it's like God is telling me: you tried to take the easy way out and avoid dealing with this further at the time. You tried to bury it and thought it would go away - but you didn't face the full consequences, and so you need to face the rest of them now.


Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
Most people are turned on by seeing any kind of sex but that does not mean they find it interesting or even something they want to do. You sometimes cannot control your body's response, but you can control your mind and your actions which most people are capable of doing, including the men who hurt you.

The number of sites on the internet does not necessarily equal the number of people who are interested in that type of sex. For example, you can catch a pedophile with numerous pictures of little kids and a group of pedophiles can have hundreds of photos and sites.

Culture plays a large part in how men see women. Attitudes of a society affects it as well. For example, prostitution is acceptable in many places outside of the U.S. and even in some places here. Also, human nature and sin play a large part as well. Without God, many people allow sex to rule their lives trying to fill their soul with something, even if it is wrong and degrading. And the number of children who are abused also affects views of sexuality when they become adults. This affects both men and women.

Some women may find such videos arousing, but again you need to consider separating body reaction from emotional reaction.

And actually doing violence to someone, like your attackers did, and watching it are two different things emotionally. Men who are normal sexually would never act out any fantasy because they have a moral base to rely on. The men who hurt you did not.

There is no way to tell what the two attackers thought after they hurt you. They are very ill mentally so anything is possible. But even if they did feel sexually charged by what they did, it was still extremely dysfunctional and criminally wrong.

Linda is trying to relate to you the best she can with her example about the tearing. You're right, it does not match what you went through. And it may upset you more to hear it. If you feel that it is detrimental to hear it, you might mention it to her. Or at least talk about how you feel your situation is different. What you told me a few weeks ago made sense to me but she may just be trying to find a way to relate how serious your situation was compared to hers so you can see how strong you were to survive it. Yes, people do tear during childbirth from what I understand. And it can be painful. But I'm not sure how it tears or exactly what happens (might be a good question for Dr. M or your doctor). But in all, I think your situation was much different and that needs to be the focus. And don't worry about being blunt or sharing too much. I'd rather you feel you can describe it thoroughly than have to hold back.

Shay, I understand your feelings that you deserve something for walking alone at night and drinking and that you feel you need to face consequences for not dealing with this sooner, but no one who is attacked so brutally deserves it. Take a cookie, get a punishment, yes. Go walking at night while drinking and get attacked, no. A citation for underage drinking, sure. But brutal rape and severe physical and emotional trauma, no one deserves that no matter what they have done in their life.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I find that all disturbing - informative, but disturbing. I feel I should know a lot more about men and sex at my age than I apparently do.

I guess I wasn't clear. I don't think this was punishment for drinking and walking alone, etc. I meant to say that this would be a way out-of-proportion consequence for that. (and just for the record, I wasn underage. I was 21. Not that I made much of a distinction in college). I was saying that I don't know what things I did and said during it are punishable, maybe even none. But if I did things wrong, I think I faced enough consequences that night to pay for it. I didn't think that before, but as I retell this ou loud, I am remembering the pain and the fear and I think I paid plenty. But I do feel like I am paying thc sequence now of taking the easy way out then. I'm not saying it is punishment. I'm just saying consequences.

Maybe I should go to one of those sites and see what I think or feel or how my body reacts. Maybe that would be a good test.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

What I told you about men and sex is from a therapist's perspective. I'm not sure the general population is any more informed about motivations for deviant sexual behavior than what they hear and read in the media. So I'm not sure you are that uninformed.


Yes, I agree, what happened to you is way out of proportion to anything you would have done to deserve it. But I don't think you took the easy way out when it happened. There are many trauma survivors that have never dealt with what happened to them. What you feel is normal but you are not alone, by any stretch of the imagination.


I'm not sure if viewing those sites is such a great idea. That is very dramatic and intense deviant behavior. And given what you have been through, you may not see those sites as someone who has not been traumatized would. It's up to you, of course, but I'm not comfortable encouraging you to do that, at least until you talk to Linda about it.



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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
But I want to be able to see it just as anyone else would. It's like watching those violent crime documentaries. Eventually I will be desensitized, right? I think I am already to a point with those. Isn't that even the point of therapy -- that I go over it enough it doesn't bother me?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Also -- the people who have been through trauma and have never dealt with it, I'm sure, have consequences to that as well, whether they recognize it or not.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Being desensitized to such violence is never good. That only means you have distanced yourself emotionally from the pain of what is going on. Anyone who does that in order to watch those kinds of things is going down the wrong path emotionally.

Although you can do what you want about watching the videos, I recommend you at least talk with Linda about it first. She is going to want to help you explore why it's important to you and if you do choose to do it, she will want to help with any feelings you have as a result.

Therapy is not meant to make you desensitized. It's to help you find a way to cope with what happened to you so it becomes part of your past. Not that you forget it, but that it does not traumatize you like it does now with nightmares, sadness, etc. You will never be happy it happened, but you won't feel like you do now.

Yes, people that have gone through trauma do have consequences. They may have nightmares like you do or they are anxious or depressed. Avoiding dealing with a trauma may also result in alcohol or drug use just as a way to escape. Each person reacts differently. The hope is that eventually they seek help because the consequences are too much for them to live with anymore.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Okay. I understand. I am so angry today - about all that happened, all that is happening now, and everything in between. I keep thinking that this is not how things are/were supposed to be. But this is how they are. And I need a reason - like either guys are depraved or I screwed up, or I am weak, or I am being taught a lesson or something. I think I somehow think watching those videos and making myself more angry and miserable will achieve something. Maybe it's because at least I will be in control of it? It will be me making myself miserable instead of those guys or memories or feelings about something that happened half my life ago, or just sadness randomly popping up. You know?

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

I understand. You are hurting, Shay. It's ok to be angry and want a reason for what you went through. Somehow it makes it even worse when you don't know why something so horrible happened. But I can tell you, and I hope it helps, that those guys were screwed up. There is nothing in the world that you did wrong. Matter or fact, you did everything right. They were very mentally ill and you did the best you could with two very sick people who decided to focus their sickness on you.

It's very easy to see that watching those videos might make you feel more in control. And it may, briefly. But by watching them, it only hurts you more. You would not want to see them otherwise, if it wasn't for what they did to you. So in a way, it's responding to what they did to you by trying to see more of what they did to you.

The way you get control is to get better. It shows them they could not take you down to their level. They did not win if you can't be defeated by the deviance they brought into your life. Consider that they may never get out of the sickness they have but you will get better and move on. They will always feel awful, you will not. That is control over what happened.


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

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