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Uncovered some memories of abuse and don't know what to do...

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by sickofpain, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. sickofpain

    sickofpain Newcomer

    Hi all,

    In my TMS journey I have finally uncovered some things that happened to me as a child. You could say they were sexual abuse, but I find that so hard to write. I have thought about it once or twice over the years but have always played it down in my head and told myself it isn't that big a deal. Now I am thinking about it, if it were a friend telling me this I would be horrified. I struggle to connect the dots for myself though. I guess I don't want to admit it. I feel so scared.

    I can't talk to my husband about it which is my normal instinct, as the person is a family member and I don't want my husband to think differently about him. I almost need to tell someone to see whether it is a big deal or not. I feel sick and disgusted about it so I guess it is. I have tried journalling on it and it is getting easier, but I am still finding it so hard to write the words down.

    I can't afford counselling as I am not earning yet after having a baby. I am not a fan of the idea either. After years of repressing everything I am scared to do therapy. I know that says a lot about the need for it, but even if I wanted to I couldn't afford it. Since I unearthed this my pain has got worse, and so I know I need to work it out for the sake of my pain. But what do I do? I don't know how to move on with this.

    Please help.

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi sickofpain,

    I hear that this is disturbing and scary for you, and you're not sure what to do about this information, or the feelings coming up around it. You're also noticing increased symptoms, which you believe are related to this budding understanding about your past.

    Having increase in symptoms is often reported by people exploring themselves, and particularly around past trauma. The system of "repression so that we don't have to feel as much" kicks in. This is to be expected, and often subsides on its own with a little time. Worrying that there is something which you need to "do" about all this probably is not so helpful.

    I encourage you to gently explore this in whatever way does not overwhelm you. Having help like counseling is great, but if you cannot do this right now, you might simply write a letter or two to yourself, recognizing the confusing feelings or whatever is arising. Hold yourself with gentle love. We all have this capacity to comfort ourselves. Even one minute of holding yourself like a hurt child, attuning to your feelings can bring a sense of comfort.

    It might help to read other people's experiences with sexual abuse too, so that you know you're not alone in this.

    Simply understanding that this has happened and contributes to your symptoms is an important insight, and can help undo symptoms because you are acknowledging the true cause: "My symptoms are arising because I probably do not want to feel _______________." This does not mean you necessarily need to feel these difficult feelings. Just the understanding goes a long way.

    Sending you love and care in this tender work of your heart.

    Andy B
    Ellen likes this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Also, just so you know: family sexual experience/abuse is very common. It is not something which is really out of the ordinary, despite the secrecy and shame about it.
  4. sickofpain

    sickofpain Newcomer

    Thank you Andy, I will try the letters as that does sound like something I can handle. Thank you for your advice. I am still coming to terms with the fact that I was abused, so I am a bit scared about reading other cases, as that puts me in that category where I never thought I was in. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just haven't entirely accepted that this happened yet, or really that it means what it means if that makes sense.
    thank you
  5. healingfromchronicpain

    healingfromchronicpain Well known member

    Dear @sickofpain, our stories are amazingly similar, except that I remembered about the sexual abuse by a family member about 9 years ago (after repressing it for 32 years), so I've had more time to process it all since I remembered. But everything you describe is exactly how I've felt at one time or another.

    I'm currently writing a memoir about my journey and I'm hoping to publish it in the not too far future. Maybe when it's finally done and if I really do publish it, you'll be ready to read about other people's stories. :) But if you find yourself ready before then, two books that really helped me were Miss America By Day by Marilyn van Derbur and Secret Survivors by E. Sue Blume. The first is a personal story. The second is more generic about incest. If you're not really ready for those, maybe you can read books by Peter Levine, such as Trauma and Memory or Waking the Tiger, which talk about trauma and pain. Books by Bessel van der Kolk who writes about trauma have also been helpful for me.

    I agree, writing letters to yourself, or others you want to say something to (but will never send the letter to them) can be very helpful. I ended up talking to a therapist, but I completely understand the fear around that (never mind the expense).

    I am happy to communicate further with you. I'm pretty new to this forum, so not sure if you can contact me directly through this forum, but if not, you can through my website (www.healingfromchronicpain.com), where I briefly describe my journey and provide resources that have helped me. My website talks more about my pain journey than my recovered memory, but they are inextricably linked. I do talk about how trauma feeds physical pain, though.

    Finally, it is a big deal! I feel like the words "it's no big deal" reverberated in my subconscious mind for 32 years. And when I remembered, I could still hear the words clearly. But I've come to learn that it is a huge deal and had a huge impact on me and my body. But just know that you did NOTHING wrong, you are not alone, and you can heal these wounds. Just be patient with yourself.

    Best of luck to you, me, and the rest of us going through this!
    sickofpain likes this.
  6. sickofpain

    sickofpain Newcomer

    Thank you so much for reaching out. I have been trying to bury it all again and so I am glad that I wrote this post as it reminds me I can't do that. I have just written a letter to the person and so much anger came out. I was shaking with rage. Obviously it isnt one to send to anyone, i deleted it straight away but it felt good to do. I got the guts to text a friend and to tell her that i need to talk to her about this, and hinted to what i was referring to, but havent had the guts to actually tell her anything properly yet. i just tried to write an email but closed it down again before i write more than a word.

    A lot of my problem is that the things were quite minor. Part of me doesn't want to tell anyone because they may either tell me that no they weren't minor and wtf, or that oh yeah you shouldnt be upset about that. I need validation of it I guess. I know you will probably say that if it affects you then it was bad enough. It was so wrong what happened to me, and now I have started to wonder about this person. In my head it was in the past, but actually doing what he did to a child, even though he was a teenager, was so wrong. It was premeditated and several instances so what does that say about the person? I worry about that now as he has kids. I also worry that I am not remembering some things. It is all fuzzy.

    Thanks again for reaching out and I wish you all the best in your journey
  7. healingfromchronicpain

    healingfromchronicpain Well known member

    Wow, so many similarities. My perpetrator was also a teen. And the incident could also be considered "minor" if viewing from the outside--a one time molestation event that lasted maybe all of a few minutes. But that doesn't change the fact that it was truly traumatizing to my 10-yr-old self and that it has wreaked havoc on my body.

    And I know it's scary to tell people. By now I've told several friends and relatives, but there are still people I'm close to who I haven't told. Just do so as you feel comfortable, and if some people react with statements that aren't particularly helpful, just don't take stock in them. I had a friend say, "are you sure?" That one hit me like a ton of bricks. Because part of me still very much wanted it to NOT be true, but I knew deep in my core that it was true. (And I even confronted, through email, my perpetrator who confirmed it, which was helpful to me since even though I knew deep inside it had happened, I didn't want it to be true, so getting his confirmation was pretty big).

    But I also learned, another 9 months after I first confronted him, that he had been molested by a non-relative shortly before he molested me. At least that helped me understand why he did it to me. It's not really an excuse for him, but at least more of an explanation for me.

    Be easy on yourself as you go through this process. Do what you feel like you need to do and go at your own pace.

    I wish you all the best!
    sickofpain likes this.
  8. sickofpain

    sickofpain Newcomer

    Thank you. I keep trying to bury it and so once again you have helped me to think about it and address it. I need to get the courage to tell my friend, at least with her that means that it won't change anything. The person was my brother, my only sibling, and so part of me doesn't want to cause anything that would change our relationship. We aren't close, and this may be why, but he is family.

    I do need to be kinder to myself though, you are right. I have been giving myself a hard time about it all.
    We will get there!
    I am so glad you got the confirmation you needed. That must have helped. Like you say, you knew it happened, but it is good to hear it from them I guess. I don't think I could ever confront my brother. I just can't imagine ever being that brave. Well done you.
  9. healingfromchronicpain

    healingfromchronicpain Well known member

    Thanks :) It was my brother, too. He has lived abroad for the last 20+ years. I hadn't seen him since 2000 and honestly thought I might never see him again. Our family was(is) close, but I didn't really communicate with him directly much at all.

    Thanks for calling me brave. I just felt like I was going to implode and that I had to confront him. It's different for everyone. Plus, since he was an ocean away, I somehow felt safe enough doing so. It's been 9 years since I remembered and I still haven't seen him in real life, but our family has had a few Skype calls together. I didn't freak out as I thought I might, but it still was a little weird. But I survived!! :) Yes, we will get there! :)
  10. sickofpain

    sickofpain Newcomer

    You are brave. It must have been hard. I told my husband yesterday. He was horrified. Guess I was playing it down. Funnily enough I am supposed to be doing a family Skype this weekend... have been putting it off!

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