Sexual Abuse & Therapy: Necessary to Describe it?

Discussion in 'Rape and Abuse' started by sofie, Mar 9, 2016.

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  1. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I have never described in detail to anyone how my grandfather sexually abused me, always feeling like as long as the therapist knows I was abused that is sufficient to address the seemingly endless string of repercussions the abuse has has and is having on my life. Yesterday when I was in my counseling appointment, my counselor asked if I had "ever talked to anyone about the abuse". Now, he knows I was abused, he knows I have been in counseling, and he knows that I have dealt in counseling with previous counselors some of the effects of the abuse on me, such as cutting and eating disorders but I told him that, no, I have never described the actual abuse. This seems to be something he thinks would be helpful for me but I feel like no one needs to hear that stuff. Plus even just thinking about the actual times rather than just the general things that happened, I go into a dissociative state and find I think/feel it in almost real time....it is very weird and I feel like he (my counselor) doesn't need to know those details.

    What is everyone else's thoughts and experiences? Have you, if you were abused, described the actual abuse in detail to anyone? What was that like for you? How did it impact your counseling, if you did it in counseling?

    Thank you!
     
  2. James5706

    James5706 SF Supporter

    Hi Sofie.
    I really feel that anyone in life that is trained to help a person, needs to know the full facts. Whether that be to fix a broken car, or, helping a person. The work he or she does is likely to have heard that kind of thing before. But having said that, maybe it's something you just can't tell that particular councillor, or any other for that matter. Only you can ultimately make that decision. Personally, if it were me, and I had "clicked" with a particular councillor, I would want to be "fixed", so I would be willing to tell my story. Whether that be a little at a time or all in one go.
    I hope you manage to find the help you need.
    James.
     
  3. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    Thanks for your insight, James. I agree that my counselor needs to know the full facts, I am just not convinced that means I need to describe the details of each incident of abuse. I have told him the range of sexual acts included in the abuse and my age when it was happening. I have explained that I disconnected from the abuse during it by hyperfocusing on one aspect of the room, such as a doorknob or knot in the wood flooring, and I have been very honest about things in my life that have been impacted by the abuse--including some very embarrassing things.....I have a hard time seeing how sitting there and describing each incident will help and I don't think anyone, no matter if they were trained for it, should have to hear that crap....but I do appreciate your viewpoint.
     
  4. Nope

    Nope Member

    No, I would think that what you described is enough. That is something for you and you alone to bring up, as a counselor asking you to relive it in detail is disgusting. That information will not aid him (unless he's a creep) or you.

    I described in detail, once, my experience with a friend who first opened up to me with her incredibly similar experience. Someone who has not been there does not get to pry into the most intimate difficulties of what happened to you. When you are ready to discuss that at length, you will feel comfortable at length, and excited to confide in someone who knows how desolate it feels. You do not need to detail your experience to this man. Politely declining, over and over if need be, is acceptable.
     
  5. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Depends on many things, I'm sure. Therapists might ask, but clients can say "I'm sorry, I can't go there right now." Over time, you might be able to open up as you and therapist get to know each other and have strong trust. I hope the therapist doesn't pry. I imagine he will ask so anything about those incidents that still hurts and bothers you can be dealt with and put well in the past. If you are not ready to talk about things, please know you can say, "I'm not ready to share that."

    I'm sorry any of this is an issue for you. Stay strong. :)
     
  6. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    It is great timing that Nope and Acy replied to this....I shared the three worst memories with my counselor just yesterday. It was literally the most painful, most shameful, and most freeing thing I have ever done before. It has put me in a bit of a panic mode of "omg omg omg someone KNOWS" while also making me realize that on some level I never really believed the abuse ever happened, even as I know it did. It has opened up a lot of pain and anger in me that I have been so successfully keeping hidden and shoved down and that is scary as hell but is also so amazing to know that someone else knows what was done to me and believes it. This is going to be an incredibly long painful road....I hope I can make it through.
     
  7. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Sofie, thank you for letting us know that you spoke with your therapist - shared some of the memories. I think it was good that although sharing was painful and "shameful" (though you have nothing to feel ashamed of!), it was also "freeing" for you. It is good to have told and feel validated! Of course it feels kind of strange that "someone KNOWS" when you've kept it all inside for so long.

    Letting out those feelings of sadness, anger, maybe rage, and grief can help us to move away from them. I sense you are strong and and I believe you can and will make it through! *hug*
     
  8. Sea Sparkles

    Sea Sparkles Well-Known Member

    Sofie,

    I think that talking about it (over time) does help. I think he was giving you "food for thought" (and he shouldn't push you for details) they should come once you feel comfortable enough to express them. It's quite OK to say, your not ready, and they are too painful to talk about. The detail may or may not help him work with you and your triggers. There are some types of abuse or subtle ways that were done that can affect people for along time. And it's not until that key point is addressed (in detail) and moved past the grief that it can be let go.

    Some therapists have (when they think the patient is ready) assign them to write a letter expressing their anger, and confronting the person for what they've done (in detail), however, NOT send it. Instead rip/ burn it up. Some people, simply can't speak about the full horrible detail in therapy for many, many, many years. And that's quite OK.

    For me, it was the guarded secret something not to be talked about. It was very traumatizing, and the person was going through cancer at the time (and using it to their advantage) to re-try to abuse me. I finally broke down, and told a close friend (after 9 yrs of abuse). Just saying, what they did, alone.. was an "OMG..." , I flipped out and panicked for days, thinking my abuser would find out. He didn't. A few weeks later, I went into some detail (very small) of what happened.. and got the same "OMG..." shame feeling.

    I was reassured and supported, over and over, that it wasn't my fault. When I talked about it in therapy, I never told her the detail. But as I learned to accept it's not my fault and these things did happen to me, by a bad person.. I was able to feel a sense of freedom from the dirty secret I was forced to keep. There is still a lot I know I need to work through (i.e comments, signal memories, and other repetitive stuff I can't work my head around).

    I shared the above, in hopes, that you'll have similar experience with feeling "free" (in time and after you calm down) that you were brave enough to talk about a piece of it.
     
  9. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    Thank you, Sea.....you described so much of what is going on for me right now. Moments of panic where I have irrational fears because someone now knows the truth, moments of "OMG the abuse REALLY did happen" as though somehow, for some reason, it was only when I SAID it that is really became real. Last night I had moments of sobbing because of the pain of the memories, moments of sobbing because I was finally having to admit that I was abused, even though I have admitted being abused for years, it was abstract and removed from me because no one KNEW what happened. I never had to connect with it and never had the fear of another person knowing. My therapist handled it SO well...he seemed to understand that I could not look at him during it and did not pressure me to....he just witnessed and listened to what I said, asked a few questions, when I explained the guilt and shame I have because of the abuse, he helped point out the reasons why I did not tell, did not refuse to do what my abuser wanted.....it was helpful, scary, dazing, horrifying, and even anti-climatic in a way....for years I have held in my head "if people only knew" and this fear of rejection, not being believed, not being heard just built and built....to finally say it and have none of that....have someone who seemed to believe me, accepted my words as truth, and the world did not implode, my relationship with my therapist did not turn hostile...so many feelings, so much fear, so much....I scheduled an appointment with him for two weeks out but think I may need to go back next week instead....just so much coming up. I hate to need an appointment in just a week....want to 'power through' but wonder if that is good to do or if it would be better to tell him all this.....
     
  10. Sea Sparkles

    Sea Sparkles Well-Known Member

    Sofie,

    It's OK to need another appointment in a week (and I'm sure he'd be OK, if he had time to see you again, this week, even), don't feel bad for needing another appointment a week away (that's 7 days!) a lot can happen in that time frame. I'm glad your therapist handled it so well and was able to help with the healing process and point you to the right mindset: that you weren't in control during those times.

    Don't let your abuser silence you anymore. Talk, when your ready, and express your feelings. And know, this isn't your fault, and you don't have to feel shame (I know that's hard to let go).

    I hope your doing OK today.

    ~ Sea
     
  11. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    Not doing the best today, to be honest....I am wavering between near tears and feeling incredibly numb and in a fog. A huge part of my reluctance to go for another appointment is simply because I do not want to put this on him (my therapist)....I go round and round with this in my head....I hate burdening someone with my crap but I know that is what I pay him for and I know what I say is not inappropriate...I have discussed this with him, admitted this part of the struggle with him but it does not make it any easier. I keep thinking that I can pull this together but wonder if that doesn't mean I am just stuffing it down more rather than dealing with it.....ugh. I keep telling myself "you did good, you did the right thing by telling him, it is ok that you told him" trying to counter that inner voice that is screaming "you didn't need to tell him, you did this for attention, you are making a mountain out of nothing"...I don't know which voice is right....and suspect a mixture of the two are....
     
  12. Sea Sparkles

    Sea Sparkles Well-Known Member

    Sofie, you should reach out to him. He needs to know how your processing this, in the therapy, and in life. It'll help him, help you. It's not a burden on him and he's specialized to help deal with these things. The right voice, is the one of your own: the one that sets you free. Yes, keep telling yourself, that you did good (because you did GREAT!), what you did was so brave!!! So don't listen to the other one.
     
  13. Nope

    Nope Member

    If you are comfortable explaining everything, you can.

    If you'd like to wait and take your time, you can. You alone are in control of those decisions.
     
  14. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    I sent him an email asking for an appointment next week.....just feel like a loser for needing it. lol.....I really thought once I left his office, I would be ok...I would just get over it but my head still feels foggy and lost and trying to be ok is exhausting. Thank you to everyone for your support in this -- this is, by far, the scariest thing I have done in my life. My grandfather fondled and raped me. And that is a truth I have to fully accept before I can cope with the effects of it. It happened. Jesus...still feels like it happened to someone else.
     
  15. Sea Sparkles

    Sea Sparkles Well-Known Member

    ((((Sofie))))

    You aren't a looser, sweetie! That is the further thing from what I get from your writing. You seem like you've been through so much, but also so brave and humble. Thank you, for trusting us, and telling us what he did. I'm so sorry you had to experience that. :- (

    Remember to breathe deep, and know that you are safe now. Do you have any movies that you like to watch? Those might help you during this time. Another thing, I was told by a therapist when I was foggy, and in a trance-unsure-what-to-do state, was create a very ridged routine for myself (i.e wake up time, eat time, things to do during the day, bedtime) and keep doing them as a sense of stability. I don't know if that would help you, but I do find it comforting.

    We are here for you, when you want to share more, when your ready, or when you just need to process your feelings. You are doing so well.
     
  16. Nope

    Nope Member

    "You aren't a looser, sweetie! That is the further thing from what I get from your writing. You seem like you've been through so much, but also so brave and humble. Thank you, for trusting us, and telling us what he did. I'm so sorry you had to experience that. :- (

    Remember to breathe deep, and know that you are safe now. Do you have any movies that you like to watch? Those might help you during this time. Another thing, I was told by a therapist when I was foggy, and in a trance-unsure-what-to-do state, was create a very ridged routine for myself (i.e wake up time, eat time, things to do during the day, bedtime) and keep doing them as a sense of stability. I don't know if that would help you, but I do find it comforting.

    We are here for you, when you want to share more, when your ready, or when you just need to process your feelings. You are doing so well."



    I agree with all of this.
     
  17. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    I have an appointment with him on Monday. I am having a really hard time and just so many things happening in my head. A HUGE part of me thinks "Just get it together, you are making a big deal out of NOTHING or at least nothing worth THIS reaction" I want to just pack this all back up and tuck it all away again and just be done with this. But that would be temporary and then I would be suicidal yet again. So then I just think, FUCK IT, might as well move into step b from the start. I still do not know if I was really abused or if I have created this elaborate thing in my head....I know that sounds crazy or like a pity party or something, but I am sincerely saying this -- I think there is a chance I made this all up and I do not know what to do with THAT. I do not know how to explain that to him and I am afraid to and have him realize that I may not have been and that I am actually just crazy. I am so messed up and I don't even know where to begin much less whether I should begin. It makes me want to just stop therapy and hold it together as long as I can and end it the next time this all pops up again. Last time I lasted YEARS so it could happen again.
     
  18. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Say to him the same way you are saying here. Therapist do not ever really give answers, but there job is helping you unravel things and get the confusion sorted in your own mind. If need take little notes of what you have written here to use as as talking points of what is on your mind so when you get there you are not trying to remember and and find the words for all over again. Be proud of what you are doing and accomplishing Sofie, it is actually really impressive that you have taken your well being into your hands and are making progress and working towards solutions and understanding. You have a right to be proud of the effort you are putting in and I hope you are proud now and get the results you deserve for that effort.
     
  19. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    I saw him today and laid it all out with him....that I am not sure if it is real, that I feel like I am going crazy, just everything about that. Then I also told him that part of me doesn't want to continue counseling at all and instead just box up the crap in my head and keep going until I cannot any longer and at that point be done with all this. Then there is part of me wants to continue counseling but not focus on the abuse whatsoever and then if I cannot get it together be done with this all. Just how completely f*cked up I am.....he wants me to keep coming....including seeing him on Monday....I feel like I am right at that line and I do not know which to cross.....it is SO tempting to say screw it, dive into behavior that will ultimately lead to hospitalization and death. And the only reason I do not do that is I am just not strong enough and I do not want to hurt my husband like that. Last night I had an epiphany that I have a third option -- get things in line while still working on things in counseling and if it just isn't going to happen that I can get better then everything is ready and I will have had time to figure things out to hurt people the least.
     
  20. Sea Sparkles

    Sea Sparkles Well-Known Member

    Sofie, how are you doing?
     
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