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Thread: Don't know if this counts as abuse

  1. #21
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    Same with me but I was around 9 when it happened and not until I was about 18 I got a mini flashback which wasn't so clear. As to if anything really happened I will never kno I guess. And the stupidest thing that I did was confide in my ex bf. I told him about it and I regret it. my ex turned out to be abusive towards me and now 3 months later I'm in fort refuge 😑

  2. #22
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    Trying to learn the truth

    I sometimes wonder the same thing. I know what I fell when I think of the abuse that has happened to me, all the pain, and the constant tears, but i sometimes go on and start thinking if I had really experienced this, or was it in my head. At times it seems like just one big blur. Like a dream, other times, it becomes so real i crawl under the covers and cry in a ball. I have been wondering when does that line between what is real and what isn't separate and when does it blur. I know something bad happened to me. I remember tiny bits of details of the abuse, but i always feel like they aren't my memories, like I was dreaming them, and i was faking it the whole time. But when I start feeling the pain, and my body starts reacting like a scared child, i begin to fear that what I assumed was a dream maybe really hasn't been. My abuser used to tell me that He never did what he did to me, to this day he still says these things.Which is why i have always questioned this myself. because deep inmy heart i know i was abused. but i sometimes feel like maybe i wasn't. How do you really know when you purposely make yourself forget so you can learn to live a semi normal life..?

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  4. #23
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    Struggling to accept that I may have been sexually abused

    Hi, Fort Community!

    I don't know why it's all coming out now but about 4 months ago I began suspecting that I've been sexually abused, and I intuitively just knew that it was my Dad. The problem is that I have no memory of it, just many signs that point towards incest after-effects and every time I think about it I get so upset I just can't function.

    Since I started realising what happened, a part of me has been trying to joke about it to myself, or to tell myself that it's all in the past. Another part of me thinks that I made all this up, that I'm going crazy (I remember having this feeling in childhood too), and so I struggle to believe myself - could this have really happened? How come I was completely unaware of it until now?

    I feel like my whole life hangs in a limbo - my view of Dad whom I used to love so much, has totally skewed. I feel guilty for avoiding contact with him (we live in separate countries now), but at the same time I want to create a distance. I feel like I need to uncover my repressed memories in order to face them and believe that it really did happen. But at the same time - every time I start to think about it, I sink down this pit of despair where I want to shut myself in, cover up with a blanket and cry in my helplessness. I am not sure I will be able to cope with the impact of these memories, but I know I have to face them in order to heal. And maybe sharing them would be a way forward...

    So I just wanted to reach out and see if anyone else has been through a similar experience? I know that people aren't supposed to offer advice on here, but maybe you can share your journey - how did you uncover repressed memories? How did you come to terms with it? How did you balance other demands in life, like work and studies etc?

    I guess the most challenging thing is that - if I had no awareness that it happened - I've been living in a made-up fantasy my whole life. I had so much love for my Dad, and despite him not always being there for me, we had a good relationship, I would visit him often and looked forward to it. I thought he was just a victim of life's circumstances (we grew up in a poor family and at one point dad went completely mental with religious fundamentalism, which he has sort of recovered from now - he used to bring homeless people home to live under the same roof as his kids). I don't feel any pity anymore - it's like, in my mind, he doesn't even exist anymore. I wish I could just call him and say 'I know what you did' but I don't actually remember it, so I can't be 100% sure it really was him and that it really happened.

    Thanks for reading my post.

  5. #24
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    hey truth_hurts

    im confused, why do you believe your dad sexually abused you?

    i mean, repressed memories is when you know for a fact that something happened but you dont actually remember it. for example, i know i was gang-raped cuz i was taken to another town nearby, i remember the house i was held in, i remember the guys who done it, i remember how they got me there, i remember throwing up in the bathroom in between the rapes, i remember them talking bout whose turn is it, i remember getting home after it, with ripped clothes and various bodily damage, i remember talking to the police - theres no doubt i was raped. but for quite a while i didnt remember the actual rape. its a trauma thing, when something really bad happens people sometimes shut off, from shock. the reason it helps to remember is not for confirmation or validation or anything, its just to process the trauma, the shock, the pain, etc. to resolve it, in order to move on and not have it staying bottled up inside and poisoning my life, you know.

    false memories is a dangerous thing - on one hand its a serious accusation against your dad, not fair to him if it didnt really happen. and on the other hand, memory is a funny thing, i can convince myself of pretty much anything, its only a matter of time/determination. if i "uncover" false memories - thats gonna make my mental health worse, and will take decades of therapy to correct, kinda why would i do it to myself.

    do you have a therapist to talk to about this, to help you sort through whats going on?
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  7. #25
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    Hi Manya

    First of all, thank you for sharing your experience and I am so sorry for what happened to you :( I think it's very courageous that you can talk about it so openly on here.

    I don't know how to answer your question. It's just something I feel intuitively, but I am afraid of the same thing - what if I'm making things up? That would be really messed up. I know we can convince ourselves of things that didn't happen, and find proof everywhere if we really look for it, but this is really messing with my life, so I don't know why I would make it up. I mean, what could someone gain from false memories? Attention maybe? I guess the only way I can explain the repression is if I was too young to actually form memories.

    Yes, I agree that seeing a therapist is the way forward, I just wanted to see if anyone has been through something similar.

    Thanks again for replying to my post!

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  9. #26
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    i hear you totally.

    i dont think people "make up" false memories deliberately, and i dont think its for attention either. i mean, i guess some seriously disturbed people do that, but those i wouldnt know how to talk to even lol.

    i spoke to a few people who uncovered false memories and then realized it and tried to correct it - both for themselves, in therapy, and for the people they falsely accused, by apologizing, etc. what it seems to boil down to is that they felt something was wrong, things werent right with their life, something wasnt ok, but they didnt know what it was. so they started googling stuff - why am i lonely, why dont i trust people, why do i drink, why am i promiscuous, why did i drop out of college, why am i always so depressed and anxious, why do i have nightmares - whats wrong with me??? and they bump into red flag lists for abuse, and realize that they match those red flags to a t, and everything suddenly makes sense. they know they had a fairly normal childhood: safe home, food, clothing, no violence, no drugs, etc, and nobody was beating them up or anything. so they figure abuse musta been sexual, just cuz sexual abuse can happen in any home. they hear stories of repressed memories, or even of DID, and realize that anything mighta happen and they just dont remember it. cuz theres no other explanation for all those things that bother them and that they now feel must be a result of child sexual abuse that they repressed the memories of.

    what they are gaining is not attention, its understanding of whats happening to them and how to fix it. cept this understanding might be correct or might be not. if its a correct understanding - good for them, they'll work through the problem and resolve it and have a happier life. but if its not correct - they'll be "resolving" a problem that isnt there, create a multitude of other problems as a byproduct, and the original problem they wanted resolved will remain ignored.

    problem is - those red flags dont work retroactively and dont prove anything. they just describe a child in trouble: something is not ok in that childs life, adults around need to look into whats going on, and abuse is the most common "not ok" thing that can happen to a child. aside from abuse those red flags could mean a whole bunch of other issues. idk, autism for example. red flags just mean something isnt right. also, they are meant for adults around at the time, not for me to think back on my childhood. for example, most people remember having nightmares, depression, anxiety, in childhood. these things are on the list of red flags, so its easy to put checkmark and see it as one of the "proofs" that i was abused. while in reality - all children have nightmares sometimes, it part of normal development, and if theres any other stress - there will be more nightmares. for example, when you start going to school, when youre sick, when your parents are divorcing, when your pet died, etc. childhood memories are spotty, i dont remember what was happening when, and for how long - i might remember "always" having nightmares, talk to my parents, and realize that it wasnt "always", it was a few months after i saw that car accident (which i by now completely forgot about). you know?

    theres this thing called "emotional reasoning", one of the 10 cognitive distortions aaron beck described. its when a person assumes their feelings represent objective reality. which isnt always the case of course. for example, "i feel lonely therefore i have no friends," "i feel attacked therefore you attacked me," "i feel like i cant pass this test therefore i wont," etc. im not saying feelings dont mean nothing. im saying feelings are about feelings, not about facts. i can have plenty of friends, and very good ones, but still feel lonely. if im suffering from depression, for example. and about these false memories thing - when a person feels something is wrong with their life - thats real, and needs looked into and resolved, nobody is doubting their reality. if they feel something is wrong - something is wrong, no question about it. problem is that its much better when a trained therapist helps you figure out what specifically is wrong. cuz some people bump into abuse red flags and assume they musta been abused, other people bump into bipolar red flags and assume they must be bipolar, yet others bump into religious literature and assume some supernatural reasons for their distress - its just better when someone trained and impartial helps you sort through these things...

    for you
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  11. #27
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    I think I might have been abused

    It's mostly a feeling that I have. Basically, when I was reading the front page for the Fort Refuge Site, I came across a bit of information about what constitutes sexual abuse/inappropriate behavior: it's inappropriate to physically show a twelve year old how to use tampons.

    I just kind of realized that's kind of what happened to me. I mean, I don't know if I needed help or if it was my mom's idea; my memory is admittedly fuzzy on that episode. I don't remember exactly what happened. (I know, I know)

    So I think I might have been abused. It's just this sick feeling. I don't remember much else, but that's what I do remember.

    How do I cope with incomplete memories is the question. I mean, I know memories aren't video recorders, but it still bothers me.

  12. #28
    Unregistered Guest

    A bit of an addendum

    So, I don't know if this really makes any difference, but the second memory that I'm certain of, the second memory where I had physical help -- I did ask for help. I did need it. (I really don't know how much of a difference it makes or, for that matter, if it was my fault) And strangely enough...I don't think it really affected me until I started having recollections of an event I don't know is real in my childhood or not. Basically, said recollection being me being cleaned/having some sort of medication put on my vaginal area.

    Thing is, according to my mom and my aunt, it was pretty normal practice in their family, with the tampons (as far as I can recall). I mean, I guess it's not normal (and I wish I'd known earlier) but I didn't even think of it as possible sexual abuse. Most of the books I read on the subject didn't cover that. I...admit I have no idea what to do.

  13. #29
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    i hear what you're saying. cant tell you if you were abused or not, only you can define your experience, we werent there, dont know how it went. cultural norms differ across the world and from family to family. sexual abuse is a violation of a child for sexual gratification of an adult. some adults do it in form of plain raping their children - other adults get off on handling their privates, and come up with weirdest excuses for it. like "teaching" you how to insert tampons for hours at a time, on the span of a few years, while you're crying, fighting back, trying to figure out what have you done to deserve this, etc. clearly the only reason its done is to get off on fondling you. thats sexual abuse.

    on the other hand, if your family was overall flexible with privacy and you were comfortable with it (i dont know, using the bathroom while other people are there as well), you asked for help with tampons, got it, the issue was resolved, you didnt feel exploited or traumatized in any way - of course thats not abusive, normal family life, just different privacy standards. i mean, in some cultures people walk around naked 24/7, no concept of clothing - thats not abusive either, its their cultural norm, their kids are happy.

    i think for any child invasion of privacy is uncomfortable, even when done by doctors in a hospital - heck, its uncomfortable for adults as well, i dont know many women who enjoy pap smears lol. but for me personally the question boils down to - would i do to another child what was done to me? and would i get in trouble for doing it if someone saw it?
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  15. #30
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    I suppose. Truth is, I've always been aware of how off I am. I don't think I have ever, ever been able to gauge myself. Even the whole "inner voice" thing -- well, to be honest, I don't have a good opinion of it. I'm not good at emotional boundaries either.

    I guess that makes sense. In terms of details, I don't remember much. The first one I mostly remember a lot of emotions and such -- but I did trust my mom; I do remember a feeling of trust. But I also remember a sick sort of feeling. It's sort of like the emotions dominate it and the rest are blanks. Which just makes things even more frustrating. The second one -- well, I asked for help and I got it. It's the whole putting-it-in-for-me thing where I have...doubts. (And even the second memory's really, really fuzzy again. I don't even remember if the putting-it-in-for-me thing was the case)

    True that regarding the medical procedures. I mean, does anyone really enjoy medical procedures? Honestly. As for the question you raised -- I'd probably just give them a book on the subject, maybe. Probably.

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