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mabear
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Hi,

I am struggling really hard right now. My relationship is crashing and of course it is all my fault. She keeps saying that after I was sexually abused last year that I have never been the same. DUH!! I know I have withdrawn and that I no longer feel like I can trust or be vulnerable to anyone else and I suppose this is what she is feeling. But I don't know how to regain the ability to trust anyone anymore. That and now that she is bringing it up all the time I am having so many nightmares and flashbacks i can't sleep, think, or hardly function. I am so tired and every time we fight (like tonight) I just want to give up fighting at all anymore. I feel like I am just too damaged to be any good to anyone anymore. Even my wife of 6 1/2 years doesn't want me anymore why would anyone else. I guess sometimes the bad guys win......

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Hi mabear

THE BAD GUYS ONLY WIN IF YOU ALLOW THEM TO !!!

Im so sorry for all the pain and heartache that you are experiencing. Im sorry you are having relationship problems, and I hope things work out for you both.

I was attacked earlier on in the year, and well i cant get him out of my head, full stop. I have trouble sleeping, flashbacks, a real fear of just about everything and anything these days.

Im sorry hun, I dont know what I can say that could possibly help you right now, just please dont give up. Dont let the person that attacked you to take anything else from you. Harming you in this sick, degrading way is enough pain for anyone to deal with, please dont give up, keep fighting.

I hope in time that your pain eases along with the flashbacks.

please take care

Jj

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Hi mabear.

I'm so sorry for all your struggles right now. I can only imagine the pain you are feeling to not only have to heal from the horror of the abuse you suffered but to also to have those difficulties in your relationship with your partner.

Relationships can be hard under ideal circumstances much less to have to navigate through the difficulties you have been through.

You're right.... "DUH" you are not the same as you were before the abuse and you will never be the same as you were before. Yeah....of course you have difficulty with trust!! Of course you are having flashbacks and nightmares!! Believe me.....you know exactly how well I do understand these feelings!! I also know, as do you, that challenging these feelings that are so painful is really hard work but necessary to come out the other side.

It's hard for anyone who hasn't been through this to truly understand these feelings. Those who love us struggle too with trying to help us and to understand what is happening in our minds and bodies. Are you sure she doesn't want you anymore or does she just not know how to want you and love you in a way that you can embrace and feel safe in????

Does she go to therapy? If she is resistant to that, what about providing opportunites for education to help her understand what you are going through?? Those we love and who love us also need support to get through the trauma we have faced.

Take care of yourself. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

Edited by danni
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Good morning mabear,

As a survivor of extremely severe sexual and physical abuses myself, all of which occurred for 12-14 years and with too many incidents (>2000) too even count, I was inundated for years with feelings of shame and guilt, being violated and not belonging anywhere, feeling dirty and ugly, permanently damaged goods, utter loss of faith in humanity-- and the years of anger, hostility, self loathing and anxiety. They were the lens thru which I saw everything. What I realized in therapy (9 years of therapy for multiple traumas) was that the abuse was only the beginning, it was the post abuse reactions that were the most troublesome.

Many people mistakenly accept as truth that victims of sexual abuse are always traumatized by the abuse, and overtly angry with the abuser. Too often, this is not the case. In talking with survivors, some state they were not traumatized by the incident (and thereby at times refuse to have the perp sent to prison). For many, the abuse, while not traumatic, affected their sense of what is and is not their boundary, their sexual interests and ability to feel sexual/sensual pleasure, trust, sexual orientation and even the lens thru which they view their romantic relationships. What does end up traumatizing them, however, is the reaction of others and their own. Could this be a large part of the problem here?

As you look at your relationship with your partner, can you say that her reaction may be exacerbating the situation? Repeatedly pointing out how you’ve changed, the movement out the door, your feelings of being damaged goods… all of these collide in a way that heighten the incident sometimes to levels beyond the act itself. It is here, where these levels remain so elevated, that I’ll begin to see emerging symptoms of depression (over 50% will develop this and/or other mental health issues if this state remains high for too long) , generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety or avoidance, and sometimes worse symptoms.

Mabear, I’m so very sorry for your experience, these are among the worst life experiences I’ve ever had and can speak to this with such understanding, empathy and compassion. One thing I will say is that at my tender age, I have very few symptoms of this type of abuse: I do have symptoms of other, much more traumatic experiences.

Having her see a therapist or see someone with you so that she can better understand her role in the healing process (as Danni wisely stated), is an excellent 1st step. My hope is that there is enough emotional energy and interest on both of your parts to start this process.

Good luck and I hope this helps,

David

Edited by David O
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The issues with the relationship continue, and I am easily frustrated, but now I am to the point of not caring. Frankly, not really caring about a damn thing. The world just seems extraordinarily overwhelming. I continue to fight the suicidal ideation daily, but this is getting extremely hard. The blackness all around just seems to be closing in and there isn't anything I can do about it.

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Guest GingerSnap

mabear: Have been wondering about you since you had not been posting. I wish I had some advice to offer you but hope that you will post a little more so that maybe with the help of others here you might start to turn these feelings around or get some direction. I am here to listen and tell you that you are worthwhile and I am just wishing you my best. :)

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Hi,

I have been reading and re-reading so many things about what my partner says she is seeing, you are right David, it is not the trauma itself but the after effects that are creeping up. I have the total emotional numbing, the chronic suicidal ideation, the self-injury, much dissociation that is often disrupting my work, feeling empty inside to the point that I feel like the world is out there and I am here on the sidelines and no one can see me. I just feel invisible. I thought I was in control, but maybe I am not. I sense that people look at me funny and this just makes me want to run and hide even more. So this is where I am. What to do next - well.....don't really know.

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Hi mabear,

There are many things I remember well about how I self protected following my sexual abuse experiences. There were days in which I would hide or run into the desert and try to spend the day wandering, crying, feeling dirty, shameful, alone, anxious, completely unprotected and vulnerable, self loathsome at times, angry at God and the world-- and then there were the nights of horrific dreams. There was a recurring dream and one that has emerged again in the last 2-3 years of me being tied up and abused… there are no faces to the men, no bodies sometimes, but there are hairy arms and big hands and absolute terror in each dream.

Over the years I have seen many survivors of sexual abuse too, and the pattern is consistent among most of them, regardless of age. Some have words and others can only draw pictures or paint or play with dolls that repeat the incidents in a semi-ritualistic manner. I’ve always known that the “soul” or psyche does things to protect itself from deeper harms. For me, it was to externalize the trauma into shapes others could sometimes see, or only that I could see, thereby giving it form and shape, and at times even a name. In the process, I at times felt watched, as if I was on stage b/c of how my pain was manifesting before my eyes, and I assumed (usually incorrectly) that everyone must be staring and possibly even talking about me--- the realities were that in most instances, I was invisible b/c I wanted to draw no attention.

Your partner can help you heal also through not only pointing out what you are manifesting (in a caring manner), but also through offering gentle support, encouragement, connection and pure affection. These actions alone can go a long way towards your becoming stronger and having more emotional resources. Mabear, sometimes the best anyone can do is offer healing words, understanding, compassion and sensitivity—this is all I have today.

A couple of suggestions would be that you consider joining a survivor’s group, either in person or online. Also consider looking into Trauma Focused CBT, which is a well researched treatment. It was designed for kids and adolescents, but much of it can apply to adults. Finally, if the pain is overwhelming, consider EMDR.

Good luck mabear and I hope this helps

David

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