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Understanding Shame (sexual abuse) [triggering]


Darkness
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"The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but that this humiliation is seen by everyone."

~Milan Kundera

This is the core essence of why we remain silent. This is why victims of sexual abuse feel so terrible about what has happened to them. When I posted in here talking about what happened to me, they asked how I could blame myself when I know that I logically wasn't responsible.

Then I realized it with this quote what is was I couldn't convey. It wasn't a matter of me being able to stop it or being at fault or guilty. At the core, it was about just that; I was humiliated, devalued, robbed of innocence, and wronged.

Whenever I have tried to reach out to a close friend for help, (now it has only been four ever), my biggest fear is everyone finding out.

I recently told a girl that was abused herself, and I made damn sure she wouldn't tell anyone. For guys it isn't the same, or at least my peers wouldn't see it that way, or I fear they wouldn't, I know a good number would mock me, but if others would stand up or not to tell them it isn't cool I don't know.

Shame isn't so much about guilt as it is about dread, remorse, grieving, depression, self-image, all wrapped into one. But most of all the most toxic elements of shame is self-loathing and anxiety.

There is anxiety when thinking about what happened, and when you do, you hate yourself, your embarrassed, you feel degraded, and you regret that it ever happened.

This, at least as I see it, is what shame is.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Darkness,

"The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but that this humiliation is seen by everyone."

~Milan Kundera

This is the core essence of why we remain silent. This is why victims of sexual abuse feel so terrible about what has happened to them.

You have captured it perfectly. I worked with many women in psychotherapy who felt the same way. It was a long time and with a lot of foreboding before they opened up and told me what happened.

Isn't it amazing how the survivor of sexual abuse is the one who feels terrible and blames herself? I fact, no one who has been sexually abused has anything to feel guilty about. It was in psychotherapy when these women opened up to me and we worked on it a lot that they were finally able to gently begin telling others about it and without shame. Some were able to join support groups of fellow women who went through the same thing.

Blame the perpertrator, feel angry at the perpertor, hate the perp.

Allan

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"Shame isn't so much about guilt as it is about dread, remorse, grieving, depression, self-image, all wrapped into one. But most of all the most toxic elements of shame is self-loathing and anxiety."

Darkness this is so true for me. i can never come up with the words to describe the way i feel but when i read this i felt like someone understood. so thank you for posting it. i hope you find peace in your journey.

Allan how does someone reach the point where they can turn the hatred away from themselves. i cant seem to take the hatred from me and direcct it to him where i know it should be.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you guys for your understanding responses. I have many a times wondered if my sex (im a guy) would have an effect on how I view it, but I see that it may not be so different after all. I don't know if I would have more rage about it or feel more ashamed if others found out because I would be viewed differently than a woman that was viewed the same for either.

I guess it really doesn't matter to a certain extent. Men and women both have different thought and emotion patterns, but I guess some things are the same in that regard.

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I think you are spot on with this darkness. I also share the same pain.

Allan I do think you are right when you say blame the perpertrator, feel angry at the perpertrator, hate the perpertrator. (maybe we should cause them the same kind of hurt, pain, not wanting to be alive and everything else that they have made us feel. Maybe this is how we will get to be able to move on with our lives.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Tash and Notmary and Darkness,

Notmary, the answer to your question is in two parts: 1. Yes, it is possible to turn your anger away from yourself onto the perp. You do it in your thinking using cognitive behavioral thinking. Remind yourself, over and over, that the other person was the perp and that you were innocent. Tell yourself, over and over, that you did not cause what happened to you. Its the truth. Make it your montra. Once you start to convince yourself you did not deserve or cause what happened to you, you can begin to let go of the hate and feel better. There are self help groups made up of women who have been abused. They really help each other and these groups are usually free.

Tash, You can imagine making the perp feel what you went through as long as you do not act on it. Do it only in your imagination. You do not want to do anything that will get you arrested because it will cause you to feel only worse.

Darkness and everyone, there is no use in figuring out who the abuse is worse for, the man or woman. However, talking about it is very important but not with friends because they rarely understand. Psychotherapy with an experienced person and, or, with a self help group made up only of men or women, are the best way to go.

Allan

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