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Sexual Abuse Survivors/Spouses - Part 3

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hopefulkate posted 12/21/2016 09:21 AM

And feel free to remind me when I forget again too.

hopefulkate posted 12/21/2016 09:24 AM

I got a ring today...

Not a new engagement ring, but it is a ring (with the perfect blue box!), and he had it engraved!

It reads, Me, Him, I. And it's a circle. All of them got me a gift, and darn it if I didn't cry...I've become so weak.

Not all days are bad - most are good - anyway, here is a nice one to share. Would post in the other forums, but it seems best here.

derealizingMe posted 12/23/2016 02:58 AM

I haven't gone all the way back to the beginning of the thread but caught enough to want to inquire about anyone that has or is going through EMDR therapy? I started IC recently (again after 10 yrs) but had a completely different diagnosis than from the past since I was a teen and EMDR was the preferred treatment plan.

Diagnosis is PTSD, severe depression & anxiety, and some categories of DID.... but I know that I have different "sides" (aka personalities). I had been prev. diagnosed with bipolar but it is common for PTSD to be misdiagnosed. I am hoping this plan of action will be more effective - it's supposed to help rewire the brain and "heal" it. My bf's husband swears by it, my SD is currently being treated with it and there has been a lot of progress there.

I had been in a safe & strong place for 9 yrs, or so I thought, but the mounting stresses were like decay because I had neglected to take care of the foundation and structure.

I hate what I have done, and at the same time it's because of the ONS that made me realize that I was drowning and sinking even faster and HAD to get professional help. I want that to be my rock bottom and never do something as cruel to anyone, including myself, again.

hopefulkate posted 12/23/2016 13:56 PM

I thought I replied - but my computer is weird. Ignore if there are two responses.

Until relatively recently, CSA related issues were commonly misdiagnosed as borderline personality disorder or bipolar, instead of PTSD with a look as to whether DID is included. Now, with more open dialogue and further studies, PTSD is assumed more or less, and DID is likely given certain factors. Meaning, it is far more prevalent in society than anyone currently believes- outside of those who study this.

I have used EMDR for some triggers, and it would seem (see my recent vent post in general ) that I need to keep going. I will say that the DID aspect of this makes EMDR a bit trickier, so make sure you attempt it with someone with training in EMDR (many people just do it), as well as someone who knows you and all of your sides. The beginning of it is hard. You have to FEEL the very thing you are trying to overcome. Really, truly feel it. Allow yourself to become vulnerable so that you CAN use your logical side of the brain to help the emotional side of the brain relax.

Add DID (and it's a spectrum, so I won't assume how deep yours is or is not), and when those feelings start to emerge, the coping mechanism is to disassociate so that one doesn't feel them. It takes considerable effort to remain *in* it.

My husband is pretty far along on the spectrum. He has only three/four sides, as you called it, and they don't have different names - I gave them names to keep track and have something to help me understand - but they are all unique with a defined age, life perspective, wants and needs.

As he is becoming more integrated - the sides share knowledge in and out more fluidly - EMDR is going to be used to attack some recurring images/feelings. For him, it will be specific and will have everyone on board with the task at hand.

I have met his counselor and pointed out when she was talking to another (his teen is easily identifiable for me, and is now for her too once she saw the subtle changes; the kid is quite identifiable), so she is keenly aware of who is there and how he is doing.

Good luck and go for it! Really, attempting EMDR can't hurt. Aside from dealing with the pain of what has already occurred. (No small thing there, of course). But it can't cause further pain, is what i mean.

2frayedsouls posted 12/27/2016 09:48 AM

Wodnships: When my husband told his brother about his abuse it was a blurt it out type of scenario as well...and he really pulled back/withdrew for a while. The fear of really being "seen" vs. being able to choose what parts of himself were on display for others really triggered massive fear and anxiety for weeks. I am glad your W called for help and has your support. The reaction from her family is unhelpful, to say the least. As a fellow BS, I understand the struggle to want to support our CSA survivors in their healing, while also trying to take care of ourselves.

Kate: love the ring,the inscription and symbolism behind it...choked me up!

derealizingme: my husband did some EMDR. It was helpful to him. The beginning sessions were harder, as they brought more stuff to the forefront of his brain again, but he started to see improvements in a few weeks time.

hopefulkate posted 12/30/2016 11:14 AM

Merry Christmas 2frayed, and happy new year! I'm hoping the season is getting easier now that the big day has passed?? There is still that 2nd dday anniversary to survive...but then spring comes. Ahhhh only a few more weeks right??

I wanted to share a positive story. I think my husband emdr'd himself!

It has been emotional here, and sleep has not been easy for either of us, which means his demons were front and center for a while. Those dementors I mentioned a few posts back?

In a semi conscious disassociated state my H decided to let his imagination fight his imagination. And during we are talking about the actual physical changes occurring (brain chemistry, release of hormones, different parts of the brain being engaged) while he observes the others. He ends up seeing a superhero emerge and destroy those dementors once and for all in a most epic, Hollywood worthy, battle. His alters are separated by glass and can't get out. His protector is pacing, his child is sitting under a table...the superhero charges the glass shattering it, then absorbs the protector. He then charges the glass to get to the child, but when he goes to absorb the child, the child absorbs him. The child, who had been sitting under that table since his parents last email, stood up. Walked over to the destroyed dementors, looked toward my H (front brain), smiled a confident smirk, and then skipped away to the back of the brain.

When my H came to (back online? Out of the dream??) he let out a big breath, said, wow, and then, I need to go to bed. :)

A week later and he pictured the smashed villains in the hands of the hero, and it made him laugh. He is thinking of having an artist draw this scene up for him. It is highly possible they are gone now. Hopeful!!

Anyway - since disassociation occurs using the imagination center of the brain, it is pretty impressive to see how imagination can help undo it too. And this is how emdr can help. For me, I imagined how I wish my h had handled the AP, and I was able to hold onto that image for some time. And then use those emotions to connect my logical understanding with the emotional side. It worked for me anyway.

***********
So now for my healing. If anyone is aware of the wheel of awareness by Dan Seigel, it is a mindfulness technique used to show that you are the hub of a wheel, and emotions are on the tire that goes around and around. And the ones that get stuck are the ones we pull into the hub. (Check out his book mindsight for a better description by him.) we can learn to just let these pass by us, acknowledge they are there, but also acknowledge that they don't have to be dealt with "right now" (or in my wallowing state-right now and later and tomorrow).

Anyway, I have been having a hard time with this exercise because I don't want to be the hub. Meaning, I don't want to be me. Because I believe I am a failure, a bad person, unlovable and unworthy of other people's time. And I feel that way because that is what I was told/shown as a child. And undoing this is just stupid hard. Yeah yeah, compassion for H, blah....

Anyway. My homework is to text my IC with updates on how i am doing- because I don't ask for help or reach out. (I have this site anyway!) but doing that IRL?!?!

We start emdr in two weeks for this stuff. Nearly a year later than when we first started to think about it - given pregnancy, post partum, full discovery of H's level of DID...

But I can't go on much longer this way, so heading towards the dark again soon to find the light again.

devotedman posted 12/30/2016 14:38 PM

Ok, I don't want this to sound wrong and I hope that it doesn't.

hopefulkate, you are amazing and wonderful and supportive and strong and a pillar of strength whilst being a soft shoulder for your H.

_Every_ _single_ _step_ _of_ _the_ _way_ you have been _amazing_. Yes, I'm using the same adjective twice and I know well-written English frowns on that..l

Seriously - really, seriously, answer me this: How many women would have done what you've done so far? What percentage of married partners?

My hat is off to you, hopefulkate. Really it is.

2frayedsouls posted 12/31/2016 10:34 AM

Kate...what an awesome battle! Marvel wothy for sure! It is exciting for me to see how your husband is striding forward....gaining strength and clarity as he is
Integrating. I read your posts with tears in my eyes. Your FWH really has a warrior by his side...you two make a pretty fantastic team.

I am also glad your IC's homework was to really check in with yourself. Caregiver fatigue is insidious. I like the hub analogy. I have been visualizing my thoughts/feelings as objects. Focusing on consistently putting my obsessive or negative thoughts down...like I would a pen...I can always pick it back up later if the need arises.

Things are getting better here. Had some really rough times in October. Thought I was done...started looking at no fault do it yourself divorce. Had a monstrous lose my mind blowout...but the end result after hours of hard discussions was a breakthrough of sorts. With the help of our IC he was finally able to really see how some behaviors he thought were completely unrelated or that I had "exaggerated" responses to were very much related. Once he could see how those puzzle pieces fit in my brain, it has changed his outward responses to me. I hope it has also changed his inner thought processes...but I can't see those.

We still have those 2 steps forward, 1 step back days....infidelity is still crazy making shit after all 😜. I am going to try to enjoy relative A brain peace in January, and gird my loins for the bitch that February is. Then on to year 3. I hope she brings us some peace and takes some hurt and anger away with her.

[This message edited by 2frayedsouls at 12:36 PM, December 31st (Saturday)]

hopefulkate posted 1/2/2017 08:20 AM

Thank you DM and 2F, I appreciate you both so much!

DM, thank you. I often wonder how different I really am though? Isn't what I am doing just what a kind person would do? ("Kind" used lightly because I am a spitfire on occasion!) :)

2F - so glad you found your way out again!! AND that you were able to let off some steam too - regardless of the method -it led to your H getting it. WORTH IT!! I wonder if I am feeling the 'fear' of February too. (I like your pen analogy too.)

This year my H turns 40 and we will celebrate it. Very glad this was not the number last year! However, it's the same week as dday, my son's bday...and then vday??? UGH!! I will be thinking of you and holding your hand through these next weeks to come. Perhaps I will start an indoor greenhouse to watch the time pass with new growth???

COME ON YEAR 3!!

****
These thoughts about myself run deep. I may not have been sexually abused (certainly have my issues in this realm of course), but emotional abuse is pretty large. Only now am I able to see how deep this wound goes, and why I have grown into such an anxious and fearful adult. Why I feel like I am no more than a child than my own kids at times. I function very well - I can turn off that emotion bar, been practicing that since i was a kid - but the A has damaged that control valve and I find myself forced to deal with feelings I have ignored for a long, long time. Like most here, I have to dive into the pain in order to stop the flood. And it's scary - not because I don't want to feel the pain, I already do, but because I'm afraid I won't be able to put it away again. And I KNOW how much of a double standard this is while I ask my husband to go to therapy and work on such frightful memories, while I sit here afraid to do the same.

I know, I know...I'm still recovering from his blow...but it's only a matter of time before I completely crack (I can feel these feelings rising), and I don't know what that means. What that looks like.

I've been having panic attacks a lot lately. Crying at almost everything...

Anyway, taking steps to combat some of this. Took a number of stressors off the plate for the moment to simplify. Started to walk again... that self care piece that I had neglected this season. I'm sure this will help more than anything. But it's just day 2.

2frayedsouls posted 1/2/2017 09:26 AM

but the A has damaged that control valve and I find myself forced to deal with feelings I have ignored for a long, long time. Like most here, I have to dive into the pain in order to stop the flood. And it's scary - not because I don't want to feel the pain, I already do, but because I'm afraid I won't be able to put it away again. And I KNOW how much of a double standard this is while I ask my husband to go to therapy and work on such frightful memories, while I sit here afraid to do the same.
^^^this. I hear you, and understand that paragraph oh so well. I don't have SA in my background, but this whole fiasco has blown the lid off of all of my carefully packaged up emotional abuse and physical intimidation from my dad.

We share the same kind of February. We have his birthday (he did the big 4-0 last year...celebration effort was less than stellar from my end...I just could not), valentines day, Dday and then my birthday. February might be a short little month, but she's scrappy!

I had a lot of panic attacks again Oct-early December. They seem to have quieted a bit. I am back to doing a lot of writing (mostly as assignments for IC). We have a punching bag and mini-trampoline for the kids that has been taking an inordinate amount of abuse from me...it helps.

Love your "dive in" analogy...great mental picture. When the anxiety and fear or negative thoughts begin to rise like a massive wave, I am going to be more intentional about diving in. My typical m.o. has been to turn tail and swim for shore. That usually gets me tumbled and tossed up on shore with my nose full of salt water and my bottoms full of sand...lol. Perhaps just swimming into the pain will bring better results. Control is a my safe place, so I completely understand your thoughts about not being able to turn it off once we yield to it.

YouMeI posted 1/3/2017 12:03 PM

This is my first post on this forum and I didn't really know where to put it. I usually don't know where I fit in in the world given my "issues" or "history" however people say it. So here goes.

To Hopelesskate,

You are an amazing mother, wife and friend. You are and should be an inspiration to those who truly get to know you. You have handled more battles than any one can imagine, whether it be from your family, my family and all the "Me's" that make up me. And through that you still show kindness to those around you. You still show your support and strength, you are still there for others on days you don't even want to get out of bed. We have talked about these forums now for a year plus. I am just starting my journey on them but all I really know so far is I am a bunch of acronyms like "DID" and "CSA" etc. But those aren't the big words. The big word is "PAIN". I caused you pain. Pain you didn't deserve, pain from things that were never your fault. It makes me so sad to see your screen name, to have forum anniversaries, to have DD anniversaries. To have any of this is horrible. Its the worst gift a spouse can give another, and sorry falls short of the feelings I really have. I will continue on my own path of healing so I can be a safe partner, and as long as you let me hold you. I will never ever let go.

Love
YouMeI

To everyone on this forum thank you so much for your support of my Wife. Your friendship to her has been a blessing.

To DM specifically. I have wanted to speak to you for a long time. I feel as though my thoughts are translated through your words.

devotedman posted 1/3/2017 12:31 PM

YouMeI! Dude! Great to see you here! I know a bit about where you are through hopefulkate, but do check out the second post on this thread and talk about some of those resources with her.

You've come a long way. You are to be commended for your commitment to doing the hard stuff.

I'm glad that some of what I wrote resonated with you.

Have a great new year, you and everyone.

Edit - I usually don't edit so long after a post was made, but I messed up / mis-read YouMeI's name. That's an I on the end and not a ! So I'm correcting that.

[This message edited by devotedman at 7:56 AM, January 4th, 2017 (Wednesday)]

derealizingMe posted 1/3/2017 20:17 PM

HopelesKate & 2frayedsouls - Thank you for you sharing. Kate - you really are an inspiration and a rare beauty!

This is a new counselor (and technically a new town) so they do not know me. Actually, I don't know if my own H would be able to recognize my different personalities. We were out one night at a party and one of them came out and he asked me why I wasn't "like that" at home. It was my "Samantha" side that came out - don't worry, all attention was aimed at H! But it made me pause, and the next time we went out I had old Mother Hen nagging away on the inside and I did not have a good time at all. I think H picked up on that but didn't say anything.

I am scared as hell to do this EMDR therapy. He also suggested hypnotism but I read about the inconsistencies and unreliability of the technique, so I'd rather steer away. Plain and simple - I don't want to remember. It's not necessarily that I am afraid to remember... no, it more like, I am afraid to find out that I made it all up... I'm a liar, a fraud, a complete and total screwed up asshole.

hopefulkate posted 1/4/2017 07:25 AM

Derealizingme-

I am afraid to find out that I made it all up... I'm a liar, a fraud, a complete and total screwed up asshole.

I hope that you can believe me, or dive into the research and see for yourself, that given your division of self, it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to have made this up. I understand the fear. If that is made up, then do you exist? That is sort of a shortened version of this thinking, but that is also a really, really common fear.

The brain ONLY creates a split like this as a result of trauma. I have yet to find an example of any other reason - and believe me I looked and asked and read!

There is also some interesting reading on memory and trauma. Because untreated trauma remains 'in the present' so to speak, the recall of these events is often spot on. Whereas good memories, or memories processed long ago, can get a little fuzzy.

I need to go look through my notes and bring these resources back to this board. It's a lot, so I have been lazy!

I am a little unsure of hypnotism as well, with the exception of cessation of addictions. Sometimes that works really well -BUT- it can also use implanted thoughts, which to me seems a little sketchy.

How do you feel with your new counselor? Safe?

Curiosity question - you don't have to answer - would your alters like to meet your husband, or let him officially meet him?

*****

YMI - Hi. This is weird. :) But thank you for writing that. I hope you get as much from this site as I have!

2frayedsouls posted 1/5/2017 08:36 AM

YouMeI: so good to hear your voice here. Welcome! I hope you find good support here. This place has been such a lifeline for me. Having people to bounce ideas off of who get all the nuances of our stories takes away some of the isolation...

We have been pulling for the two of you for a long time. The hard work you are doing to heal yourself says a lot.

Derealizingme: those doubts in your brain? My guess is that they are just faded whispers from your trauma inflictors . It is so common to be told you are imagining things, you made things up, no one will believe you, etc. Re-read Kate's post. Read it until you can start to believe it. Your brain will always try to figure out a way to make you "guilty" ....if you can blame yourself then you have some measure of control. I hope that in therapy you can uncover what you need to and guide you in healing. I don't know your full story, but from your posts it seems like you are serious about not wanting to hurt yourself, and your significant other any more. I wish you the best!

derealizingMe posted 1/5/2017 20:18 PM

Unfortunately, I know all too well that my experiences have never been a lie. I think it's one of my unhealthy coping mechanisms that comes to surface when I don't want to deal with it. That also includes the "I didn't have it so bad" when comparing to others that have gone through something similar. I will post a thread on my history soon. Today has not been a good day (the upcoming post will explain), very emotional. I almost started a fight but quickly remembered I have no right to retaliate and attempt to defend myself (esp when there is no valid defense). Just a rough day overall. Work is very toxic and does not help. Therapy session tomorrow afternoon.

YouMeI posted 1/8/2017 06:44 AM

I suppose I need to write my story at some point. But just chiming in to say "I can relate".

I would actually hope my therapist would tell me that everything I had stated happened in my childhood didn't actually happen.

It was like a fantasy.

IC- "Hey that stuff in your childhood never actually happened"

Me- " Wow, that is weird. Guess I don't need you anymore. I am healed!!!"

That whole "thinking I didn't have it that bad". Got me in a lot of trouble. I tried convincing myself for 3 decades that the SA I had gone through and the voices in my head were all normal. I tried to convince myself that there must be something physically or chemically wrong with me because what loser is still effected by things that happened so long ago. Until I snapped.

derealizingMe posted 1/8/2017 20:20 PM

That whole "thinking I didn't have it that bad". Got me in a lot of trouble. I tried convincing myself for 3 decades that the SA I had gone through and the voices in my head were all normal. I tried to convince myself that there must be something physically or chemically wrong with me because what loser is still effected by things that happened so long ago. Until I snapped.

YouMEI - at first I laughed because I could relate, and immediately broke down for a minute or 2. My "snap" was more like a rice krispie - *snap, crackle, and pop".

I broke down last night, and was in a funk the prev night. Soooo unfair to H as I am supposed to be strong and help him heal. gawds I suck.

devotedman posted 1/8/2017 22:37 PM

gawds I suck

You do not suck. You were horribly used, abused, and misused years ago and you are still suffering from the affects and effects of horrible trauma.

Your mind has been so wrapped up in shielding you from some of that that you have very little left over. This is normal. It is also unfortunate. But it is normal.

I'm going to tell you this from experience: You cannot become a whole, healthy individual without dealing with the trauma. Without giving yourself some slack. Without giving yourself some caring and empathy and without letting yourself heal. You're human.

Years ago, with my first counselor, I told her what I expected myself to be. I also related a story that I had read years before that about a man who wanted to be so very much. She quoted the story's title back at me as a gentle admonishment: Poor Superman.

Derealizingme, don't try to be Poor Superman. You're setting yourself up for failure if you do. Sometimes a married couple are driven to their knees and have to lean on each other just to keep from falling over.

It is okay to say, "I'm so very sorry that I hurt you. I can't believe that you're still with me. Please hold me for a minute. I hurt and you comfort me beyond what I deserve."

fist bump, sister in adversity }{

Quickly-made edit: Be very careful of the "gawd, I suck" feeling. It is very akin to feeling sorry for yourself and very close to slipping into selfish. Yes, you've done things that are wrong. And you've done things that are right. We have all done the same throughout our lives.

[This message edited by devotedman at 10:39 PM, January 8th, 2017 (Sunday)]

derealizingMe posted 1/10/2017 00:23 AM

Ok, I posted my story. I couldnt sleep, and have to be at work in 4 hrs, but at least I got it out. Will print it out and give to my therapist to maybe help move things along.

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