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nailimixam

Am I uncovering sexual abuse from my childhood?

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So, I'll try to keep this as short as possible: I've recently come to the point where I am beginning to wonder if I have to face having been sexually abused as a child. Over the past two years I've begun experiencing moment and situations that are terrifyingly suggestive.

It all started during a period of depression, which at the time I wasn't aware/didn't acknowledge myself. One day, feeling especially shit, out of nowhere the thought: "Could sexual abuse have happened to me as a child?"; followed by my first ever panic attack and paralysis/dissociation. This was followed by a dream, in which, out of a hole dug on a construction site a male, aggressive creature emerges with shining white eyes, me being terrified, engulfed in the white light and it all turning black and me just 'knowing' and now it happens.

Finally acknowledging I was in a depression I took a break and for a whole year focusing on getting myself better, which invovled therapy both ambulant as well as stationary in a psycho-somatic clinic specialised in depression for 3 months. Over the cause of my depression and slow progress panic attacks and paralysis/dissociation resurfaced several times, unconnected to the initial source of the thought.

However getting to know myself, realising that I had locked away certain emotions because at the time they were too painful and had only always really tried to model my identity the way my closest expected it, I found lots of me and recovered a good amount of my memory. (My family situation was neglectful and filled with (involuntary) emotional abuse). And before finally finding to myself in that tim, I always had a feeling that a proper path of my life was missing. My life essentially began with 14. Some foggy memories but not coherent in any way.

During this time in the clinic I had two experiences I was surprised by myself and that could be suggestive. The first: I shared my room with a roommate. One night, feeling especilly tense I woke up and felt tense and terrified, not particularly of him but the fact of him being a 'male' presence. As he then in sleep finally began moving, my body basically reacted on it's own and, breathing heavily, I ran out. Only really realising I did so once I was standing in the hallway.

The second time was also in a clinic. I went to the sauna with a friend I made there. He was gay which I knew and didn't find a problem. But then it was just the two of us in the sauna and I felt again incredibly tense. And in a similar fashion as before, he stopped being a friend but a hostile, sexual male presence that felt like it was longing for me, while I was very clearly aware that it wasn't his person. I eventually escaped keeping up appearences and went into the shower in which I again froze and dissociated, trying to get away as quick as possible, incapable of moving and images of 'him' coming after me and taking me from behind, pressed against the wall. It passed eventually and I left and was treated perfectly by the nurses there that managed to calm me down and my friend was my friend again, not the predator I saw in that moment.

I want to note: While I mentioned it during the therapy once I also made specifically clear that this is not what my focus is at this time; as I'm aware that there is such a thing as 'false memory'. These events happened independently from the actual therapy, though during a time I was especially focused on myself.

The last indication was when I was back studying again. I had overcome my depression I had found and become myself, as I am now, yet my memories are still not complete.

It was when I was in the bath, meditating, and thinking about sex and love (an issue for me). Imagining a girl I liked at the time just being sensual not even sexual. And suddenly in my mind the image of a 40 something quite masculine man appeared saying: 'This is not what you want. You want to be submissive...suck my dick. That's what you want. That's what you are'. In my mind 'fighting' whith this phantom and getting to the point of: 'No this is not what I want. How dare you'. Which then was followed by an unknown rage before, followed by a night run with punching objects.

All throughout that depression I felt lke thre was a point in my life where I scattered. This depression and the year solving it for me was putting the pieces together back into the frame. The picture is almost complete but something of me is still missing.

My relationship to sex is rather peculiar. I discovered masturbation by imagining me transforming into a prisoner-like character but also more masculine; from nerd to jock, who always was in the position of being controlled. I had a girlfriend but she often manipulated me into sex, and the last time I was with a girl I really liked, I couldn't maintain or even get up. Instead I've started 'trying' out sexual thoughts with guys, which ultimately always end in submission fantasies which feel like I almost go into a kind of 'non-existence' or even deny my own identity. And the time I actually made myself try to experience sex with a man I did not enjoy the actual physical experience yet still become aroused by the thought of control and submission.

I don't know what I expect from this. Typing all this out certainly becomes raher suggestive yet, I STILL am rather hesitant, as I don't KNOW and have no recollection of such an event. Yet, I have the feeling of not being complete and KNOWING that there is part of my memories missing. All I have are those indications that have begun to be put more into my focus. So, I guess I'm somehow reaching out in hope to find...confirmation possibly? An assessment? I don't know myself. But if you have something constructive to share, or offer any help with this I'd appreciate it.

I'm at the point where I know I am strong enough to go through suffering. I went through that heavy depression. I just want to KNOW. So I can actually begin the fight and finally, completely and utterly be me. 

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Welcome to the community, nailimixam. Though it does seem as though there might be a dissociative element to what you have been experiencing, I wouldn't know what this means about you and your past. I don't know if any of us from here can offer the answers. I hear that you want to know. Are you still working with a professional? Maybe working with a therapist could be beneficial and help you to the healing path you have been seeking. I hope that it helps to express yourself and share here too.

Take care.

 

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First, I want to apologize for the delay in answering this, but that was due to a) knowing how important this is to you, and b) how complex the question is to answer.

Next, I assume you don't expect us to know whether anything happened to you or what that might have been.  That's the trap that the false memory folks fell into;  wanting desperately to help the abused, they put too much effort into prompting their clients, and in some cases it appears that natural human suggestibility caused the clients to believe they had memories of things that hadn't happened.  A good therapist will ask questions far more often than they will make statements.

Also, no one here is a licensed professional in any discipline of psychology.  Our site is primarily intended to offer support to people who are suffering from mental difficulties.

All of that said, I'm sorry that you've struggled with these issues for most of your life, and continue to do so.  That suffering alone would justify seeking help to identify what you need to heal yourself, whatever the source of the wound.  So, simply seeking competent psychological help would be my first recommendation.

We can evaluate that advice by going through some hypotheticals.

First, assume that you were not abused.  You're still suffering, so it makes sense to get help, whether the source of the suffering is ever identified or not.

Second, let's imagine that you were abused.  Then, you might decide that you would prefer not to remember.  That, after all, is what most people I've talked to who have survived abuse attempt to do, at first.  It's easier to split the memories off and hide them somewhere.  The problem is that in order to do that, one also splits off some part of oneself, specifically the part that was abused.  In a sense, that part is punished twice, first by being abused by someone else, then by being denied by the survivor.  And, the person who remains is diminished by the loss.  Still, for many, this may be the best they can do at the moment.  No one can force someone to recover before they're ready.

Conversely, you may decide that you want to remember, whatever might have happened, abuse or something else.  That process might occur on its own;  it seems that something is leaking into your consciousness, as it is.  What you don't know is what that something might be.  Working on it by yourself, though, is a little like trying to open a shipping crate with the crowbar that's inside of it.  You might get there, but it will take a while.  So, again, you might consider finding someone with experience helping people in similar situations.  And it will almost certainly still take a while, just hopefully, a shorter while.

I hope that helps you think through what you want to do.  Of course, what you decide will also be influenced by your prior experience with therapists and the mental health community.  Whatever you decide, I hope you feel okay discussing whatever you need to, here.  That's why we're here.

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Thank you so much for your extensive reply! I really appreciate the time and energy you put into it! 
No, I definitely don't expect anyone to be able to tell me if something might have happened or not. I'm all still quite confused. I guess what mostly I'm hoping for is, to find experiences of other people that can relate or have been in a similar situation. Or if it could be true hear from actual survivors, if or how they found something out like this. 

I guess concerning therapy, at this current time I find myself to be a little reluctant. Moreover because I don't really know where I will live yet, as I've just finished my degree and am now looking to 'start' my life. And admittedly a good deal of anxiety of what to do next plays a big part.  In addition I feel the last time as given me  lot of tools to work with and revealed a lot about myself, that I'm a little hesitant about fully committing to it yet, though it may be going that way. 

I have experienced and apprently practiced the 'cutting yourself off' and over the last year I've reconnected with those parts I had cut off. By feeling the sadness, the anger, the fear but also love and courage that I cut away because at the time it was too painful for me. I guess that's another reason for being hesitant to restart therapy. I had just taken a whole year off, found myself like never before, just to come out, seemingly at the same point. Though, I guess healing so far managed to get me to the point of discovering the other issues. 

I know however that I do not want to ignore and forget, as, ironically I think having lost those parts stands in the way of living my life now. I feel like what keeps me from doing what I want an need to do, is rooted in those lost and cut off elements. So I'm sure I will be returning to therapy; and this reaching out is probably my first step in it, but I guess only once I know an interim way forward. 

But even so, there is at least one thing I know, thanks to the year I took a break to focus o myself. I know that whatever lies beneath and is waiting for me, whatever horror I know I have the strength to get through it. And maybe that fuels an impatience that i not as ideal. 

Thank you again for listening and investing your time, I think simply writing down my thoughts at this current time is very helpful to me alone. 

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