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notmary
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How does one learn to live with the shame of what they have been through? As these memories continue to flood my life, it s becoming increasingly clear that these things did happen to me. I am so embarassed and ashamed. I am hving a trouble interacting with anyone, and the only thng that is keeping me functioning is the routine but I am totally detached from everyone. How do you ever feel anything other than shame again?

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Hi Notmary, I'm sorry to hear you're stuggling with issues of shame. Can you tell us a little more about it, if you're comfortable. You were probably not in any position to stop whatever happened from happening so it is a mistake to feel shame. It is so common for victims to feel shame though, even if it is a mistake since it's the other person who should feel shame, not us. I'm not a professional so I can't really say why it happens, but from having experienced it I know it's there even though it should not be... I think it's about coming to the point where you truly realize that what the other person did was wrong and that it is their mistake to own, we were powerless in the face of it ... If you feel shame you probably have very strong core values that are being shaken up, values that you hold dear that were transgressed ... the situation may be a shameful one, but that it is not a reflection on who you are or what you hold dear, it is the situation you were forced into...

If you are just now starting to truly face things that you have repressed for a long time, I think you will need to be very gentle with yourself and the feelings that are bubbling up to the surface. You may feel shame, guilt, anger, confusion, hurt, sadness, humiliation, fury, a whole range of emotions. Eventually, when you have been able to process it further, you will be able to move beyond the raw emotions into a more logical analysis of what happened.... it takes time. Don't judge yourself or the feelings that come up. Accept them as part of the healing process ... it will get easier with time.

Be strong and know that you are separate from what was done to you. You were created noble and nobody can take that away from you, especially not with selfish or cruel acts!

Edited by Symora
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Hi notmary!

I can't say I have experience yet being in a new situation freed from my shameful past, or however I should call it... but I think about this topic, too. How can I go on to a new life when the time comes to do so... healthfully and successfully?

I think of history, and of the world. I think of all the awful things that human beings have done to each other for some reason or none at all, throughout time and across space... and I know that I'd tell any sufferer You Are Not Alone!! Don't believe the silly TV sort of world, where everyone is perfect and smiling, where problems no matter how serious-seeming are solved in a half-hour minus time for advertising.

It's easy to see happy-looking well-dressed people and assume all is well and good or "perfect" in their lives. I've seen this and been shocked at what I learned later, and have been through some of it myself.

As for myself, I just try to learn all I can about coping strategies, and how to be a good person. At my age I feel I should have had all this info a long time ago, but it just didn't happen that way. I try to say "Oh well, I'll do the best I can with what's been handed to me" and move on.

I hope that doesn't sound too trite or simplistic! I'm still working on all this kind of thing. I probably will for many years yet, but I know I'm not the only one at least!

Take care and I send you Light.

Jane

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Hello notmary. I'm sorry to hear that you are feeling shame. I think the best way to free yourself from these painful feelings is to talk about what you've been feeling, explore the feelings, get inside of them, understand where the root of the feelings originally took hold so that their untruths can then be revealed to you. Once you come to recognize this, the feelings will hopefully loosen their grip on you and you will come to be free of them. Easy for me to merely type the words, I know...Healing is a process and it may take some time. Doing all of this will undoubtedly be extremely challenging, but you shouldn't have to live with shame for the actions of others. It is my hope that you have a great therapist who will guide you gently on this journey.

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I will try to

As a child of 7/8 an adult male living with my family became sexually involved with me. The memories are spotty but becoming more vivid. I can't believe what I did i sit here hiding in the dark and i dont ever want to see anyone again because of what this says about me

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Hey notmary

You were an innocent, innocent small child, unfortunately someone took from you what was NOT on offer. The shame hun, is the person who inflicted such things on you.

You are not responsible for the actions of others, and I know how easy it is to self blame, sheeze I do it myself, its the only way things can make sense for me, the only way that I can cope. But hun, seriously hiding away, is not the answer. (yep I do that too).

What do you think it says about you ?

I think to me it says that you are hurting really hurting from the things you experienced, your solution is self hatred, and to hide away in self disgust. All of which over the years has been misplaced.

You were such a small child, things are hard to understand at such a young age, and in a way we simplify things, so that our young minds can understand. You get punished when you are naughty or have done something wrong, therefore I did something wrong and Im naughty. Thats why Im getting punished. Does that make sense ? (its just my oppinion, I could be wrong)

The hatred, the disgust, belongs at the hands of the person that did those things to you, and made you feel this way.

I can relate to how you are feeling, and I wish I knew of some way to ease your pain, but know that you are not alone and that we all care about you.

Take care hun

Sue

Edited by SweetSue
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To add more about the therapist...

I read something that David wrote about after about 20 sessions, theraphy isn't very beneficial... I think that is what he was saying maybe i am wrong...

anyway this process seems to be taking so long and i am nowhere near okay. I went into therapy for something unrelated and it took so long to get to here... Is this beyond hope

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Everyone has different experiences, notmary, and have to take their own pace with things. I believe David said "most", which wouldn't include all.

I can't believe what I did i sit here hiding in the dark and i dont ever want to see anyone again because of what this says about me

The actions of an adult while you were a small child do not reflect on you, notmary. They are all about him. You were an innocent victim in this. Children deserve to be protected and kept safe by the adults in their lives. Your trust was betrayed. I think that possibly emotions can be frozen in the moment that abuse took place, so emotionally you may be thinking of this as a 7 year old would. At that age, children believe the world is about them and so anything which happens must be their fault. You know now that this is not the truth. You are not to blame for any of this, notmary. You were an innocent little girl.

Keep working with your therapist and let yourself process this in your own time. I hope you feel better very soon.

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Hi Notmary, are you feeling better today?

I've been thinking about you and sending good vibes your way. Sometimes when I think back on my dad's abuse (beatings), I try to imagine that young girl I used to be and I approach her and take her in my arms and just hold her. I can feel how confused and hurt she is, how betrayed she feels, how alone she is with no-one to help her through the mixed emotions she is living. Then I truly realize she was just a child, not prepared to deal with the meanness and agression she was living.

Is your little girl like that too? Bewildered, forced into a situation she does not fully understand and is not equiped to deal with it. She may even be feeling responsible, when in fact only the adult is responsible for it. She was perhaps even told it was her fault, I know my dad used to tell me that. Sure, I was responsible for his frustrations and his needs to beat on someone to releave stress... I'm sure that is how he excused his behaviours to himself.... Anyway, I wish I could give your little girl a big hug and then just hold her, comfort her, and tell her that things will be OK with time... She survived it, she is strong.

Hang in there, and do dare to get everything out in the open if you can... nothing worse than a monster that hangs around in the shadows nearby. Once he is out in the open he loses his power and can be dealt with...

Edited by Symora
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It is hard to say what the little girl is feeling. I feel like I am watching the events that are happening to her -- it sounds crazy because I guess the reality is that it is me that it was happening to, but i am watching it not in it. When I try to be her (sorry I know that sounds bizarre) I just feel like huge black clou d of fear and shame. I hear his voice and yes he does tell her that it is her faultand she believes him.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Notmary,

I did not read the post that DavidO sent to you and I cannot comment about what he said. What I can assure you is that there is no limit to the number of therapy sessions that are beneficial.

In your psychotherapy it is very important that you deal with your feelings of shame in addition to the sexual abuse you suffered.

I have worked with men and women who experienced this type of abuse when they were children and I can tell you that they always feel ashamed, as though it was their fault. A large part of the work I do with these people is helping them understand the shame feelings, direct their anger outwards and look at themselves more realistically. This was not your fault, not at all.

Allan:)

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Hi Notmary. I can honestly tell you that it took me 20 years to reconnect to that little girl, that for most of that time I was detached from her and tried not to look at her, like she was not worthy. With time I felt more compassion for her and could approach her once again. I remember a vision at one point where she was scrunching in a dark corner, frightened and crying. I saw a young, gentle man (a healer I felt) approach her, scrunch down beside her, and just hold her gently by the shoulders to comfort her. He kept repeating to her 'it's OK, you don't have to rush, you will heal in your own time and I will help you along'. It was a real awakening for me. I understood just how vulnerable I felt and how much I needed someone to just be there to support me and accept my process. I think I appropriated my little girl then, and was gentler with her after that....

Healing is not a linear process, give yourself time and be very gentle with yourself during this process. Perhaps some rituals would be helpful to you. Natives use the sweat lodges, some people use prayer rituals, whatever reinforces to you that this is a time of gentle healing ...

Edited by Symora
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Maybe you have to be outside of the little girl, because the observing part of you doesn't believe him. So maybe instead of it being weird, it could be that some healing could come to the little girl if you managed to communicate to her what the observing part of you knows.

I know this must be terribly hard for you, Mary, but you (and the little girl) have nothing to be ashamed of. Does it help at all to distance yourself even further, for a while? Imagine that all of that stuff is happening to a different little girl. How would the observing part of you react? What would you say to that little girl about whether she deserves any guilt, or about the fear and the pain? What do you say to girls and women on here who have experienced similar things? Maybe you could share that wisdom, that you've acquired from growing up, with your own little girl.

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I am sorry if I wasn't clear. David didn't send the message to me it was in another post.

I appreciate the compassionate words. I am unable to give myself that compassion... maybe some day if i survive this

as for today

gave up didn't go to work sitting in my pajamas wrapped in a blanket wish i could just give up forever

i keep rereading the words you have written trying to feel the hope that is in them but it isn't allowed in because of the horribleness inside of me

Instead his voice is all that is reaching me todaybetter for me not be around people

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Know this mary, we are not ashamed of you. We stand with you in your pain. We stand with you when you start to loop about flashbacks and hearing his voice, and we are ANGRY with him, and not with you, and we know that it is wayyyy too hard for you right now, but someday you will be a little stronger and not so ashamed of you. For now, can you feel us standing with you as ones who know a little what this is like for you? I'm so sorry you hurt :( I hope you can let yourself be around people again; you needed someone to help you back then, and you need people now. I know it is hard to trust when you feel so ashamed, but right now, on your own, it's too hard for you to stand up to the looping thoughts.... We are here, mary:o. Thank you for letting us be with you.

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Symora, today is a bit brighter. I at least have gone to gym, done some small tasks and showered...

But now the feelings, i don't know what they are are bubbling again...

I have tried to spend time with good friends and hubby and kids but i am not there with them i am just trying to stay present but it is almost a physicl pain this shame i feel

Everyone, I thank you for the kindness and caring. i don't feel worthy of it but reading and rereading the words is helping to ease the panic.

finding my way i am just so afraid and so tired and so sad. but thank you for your support.

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It hurts so badly to be so torn apart.:(:( It is terrifying to feel so powerless. We want to imagine that there is something that could have been done differently. That is somehow easier, perhaps, than the unfairness of such utter powerlessness. From the outside looking on, we can see how very wrong this all has been. You never asked for any of this. Someone needed to step in and intervene for you, and that didn't happen. That is pure, horrid trauma. The intervention didn't happen for your young self then, but it can happen now. We are reaching out to you both. It is horrible what happened to you. Can you help us intervene and reach out to her? She is traumatized by her powerlessness and with the notion that she could have done something to stop it. We are not ashamed of her. We hurt for her.:( The day will come when you feel your worth again; feel her worth again. We will wait with you for as long as it takes.:o

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So how do I get to that point? Alan you talk about how this is a common theme in your therapy. But how do I move past shame. I read the words that people write...I feel as if I will cry which is not something i do. The words are beautiful and caring and full of hope. I can't take them into me though because the garbage that is me just gets louder and the shame and fear get more powerful. i think that i may beyond help but your words are hopeful.

i am sorry that i am not strong enough to fight to protect that little girl then and me now. maybe that man killed me and left this worthless shell to try to figure things out.

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Hello notmary! =)

I have been reading up on this thread to try and understand the situation you're in, and I can clearly see that you're in no condition to take in any positive energy. You're torn asunder and feel like your heart's been cleaved in two, anyone would have difficulty emphasizing on positive aspects from that standpoint, so don't force yourself in trying to be optimistic.

You are worth the words of enlightenment that people tell you here, even if you do not feel you are because of your shame. Without a doubt, you have the right as any other human being, you are worth so much more than you think.

And I have seen a lot of people say this and I'll inevitably end up repeating them; back then when you were sexually involved with this man you speak of, you were young and innocent. We have all made mistakes when we were like that, but maybe not a mistake as serious as yours, yet I'm inclined to tell you that no matter the severity of the mistake you make, it is only human to make them. In addition to this, the man who took advantage of you sexually is to blame for that mistake. He betrayed your trust, and as a young and innocent girl you didn't know any better than to take the shame yourself. Honestly, putting your trust in someone is extremely curageous to begin with, and obviously we hope that the trust will become mutual. But sadly sometimes it isn't, we find ourselves taken advantage of, abused and left utterly defenseless. The betrayed cannot be blamed, it's not your fault for putting your faith in someone you believed in, sincerely, you are not to blame.

Again I'm being repetative, but you are not to blame, you are not the fault of this mistake. Maybe you aren't ready to realize this as you are now, but if you give yourself time to work with your intense feelings of shame then eventually you will come to see it. I'm sure of it!

All the best, T.M.

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Hi notmary,

I'm sorry you feel alone. At times memories can become overwhelming. Strangely my thoughts are along the same lines as yours where therapy is concerned, think Im kinda hoping though, in a wierd way that things will get better, and that the painful memories will in time ease. That therapy will help me to deal with things that are troublesoome and painful.

Although I must admit, I am so close and tempted to chuck it all in and give up on therapy, coz the healing stages of are so very painful, and harsh that I just want to try push the memories as far to the back of my mind as possible, and try living in this world again, instead of the past living in the present day.

I hope that your pain soon eases, and that you can give your therapy just one more try, maybe things have to hurt so much now, for them not too hurt in the future.

Sorry if what I have written isnt helpful, just wanted to say that well, you may be alone, but you are not alone in the way that you feel.

Take care hun

Sue

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There is judgment in shame, and in calling yourself garbage. I would think the point of therapy would be to find the one inside that is judging you so harshly. From your writing, you don't seem to even question it, it is so a part of your worldview. It got going that way, and perhaps the pain surrounding the whole complex keeps you from examining it closer so you could work with it. The pain and the memories are so overwhelming.

There is someone inside you judging you severely. Is there anyway to reach her, and hear what she has to say? What is she afraid of today?

Notmary, this is a very difficult time.:o:( You are not garbage. Some part of you needs to feel you are. I hope your therapy can get to this part of you safely, and safely hear why she needs you to be garbage so you can understand her pain.

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  • 3 weeks later...

i haven't been on in a couple of weeks because I needed to just shut down on all fronts. This is so hard. I don't know why I feel the way I do, Finding My Way, but I do feel like a piece of garbage. I know that it was said to me over and over as he did awful things to me; it played out as fact to me as no one helped me or protected me from him. It continued to be true as I made horrible choices and gave myself away over and over. I found a loving husband, have beautiful children and a great career that I am good at... but it doesn't change what I feel I am deep inside of me. I am continuing to walk this horrible line in therapy... scared shitless about what is coming next and about losing control but also scared of myself if I don't find relief.

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