Afraid to keep going

Charbella

Learning
I’m afraid that if I continue therapy I will learn something I don’t want to. I‘ve been sexually abused by 5 people that I know of. Ages 8-17. I wouldn’t say I ever didn’t know or remember the abuse. The details were of course were in the farthest reaches of my mind, a place Id like them to stay if only they would.

In my 20s I went to therapy and went through the courts for one, I can say that was a mistake, he went to prison, died there last year but it didn’t let me out of mine and for several years really put me through hell. Therapy was not what I’d call a success. Dealing with the memories made things worse for a long while so I put them back in their box and went about my life In my 40s now.

Then he died and they came flooding back in. I’m in therapy now, dealing with it better but as events quite literally unfold I fear what I don’t know and may discover. For instance I had a sitter at 5 who I remember her forcing me to be naked outside, that’s it, but my brother said he abused him, and he’s never said anything. Then he brought up a different sitter from when I was 4 and how he loved her, I had a flash of being in the house with her husband and being totally uncomfortable. Could be for a myriad of reasons but something tells me it’s related.

I once tried self-hypnosis, I’d tried it a few times and found it odd that things worked, during it I had a flash of being touched by my step-dad (whom I love) but unlike the previous flash my mind did not go oh yeah, it went that didn’t happen, so why is it bugging me 20 years later?

im already having to face how family dynamics played a part in it all happening and honestly I’m Not a fan. Rewriting my history is painful, and I don’t want it to be true.

As I pick and prod at this black box in the depths of my mind what else will come out of it? I’ve already had a few times where I couldn’t remember something and then it was just there haunting me. I can remember about 20 episodes of abuse but given the frequency and length of time it was going on I know there’s more, more I hope didn’t make to long term storage, but more nonetheless. I have plenty to deal with in the 20, as more and more detail gets added every time I have a flashback, or the damn body memories that I could do without. Plus some of those have peeled apart into separate memories, like you think it happened once and then facts come to light that make the one memory not possible, then they lay open as separate and I was not a fan of that process to say the least.

SoI’m thinking about throwing in the towel on therapy and some days life.
 

Sideways

Moderator
Welcome to the forum. You've had to deal with a lot, and I hope this place can be a good additional support for you.

Then he died and they came flooding back in.
This is a massive stressor. Unfortunately, with ptsd, big stressors (even stuff that we have zero control over) can knock us for six. The PTSD Stress Cup explanation is a fantastic way to describe what's going on there. It also offers a bit of help with how to cope with major stressors - doing the types of things that help empty out our stress cup can be life saving.
I once tried self-hypnosis,
Yep - but nope!

If it was for relaxation? I'd say great, go for it. But there's basically universal scientific consensus now that for trauma therapy or memory recall specifically? It's a counterproductive. Don't beat yourself up about that though, because it's not the silver bullet that Hollywood makes it out to be (or charlatan "therapists" for that matter).

I'm in a similar situation to what you've described to the extent that I remember a lot of my trauma history, and I also know there's trauma that I can't recall. It can take a while to make peace with 'not knowing'.

On the up side? There's a tonne of healing can be done without being able to spontaneously recall all your abuse. For me? I'm now quite comfortable with the concept that I may never remember it all.

As I pick and prod at this black box in the depths of my mind what else will come out of it?
Yeah, there's that. It's a little bit terrifying.

One of the things that trauma-informed therapists can do is offer recovery strategies that don't necessarily open that box and let everything flood out. That's an incredibly destabilising way to approach recovery, and there's ways to avoid doing that.

Does your current therapist have a trauma-focused approach?

To go on a different tangent, there's more standardised therapy approaches, like CBT, that can help immensely with symptom-management and getting back to a life worth living without unpacking your trauma history at all. I've done a boat load of CBT, DBT, and ACT, and that was definitely time well spent, because they offer useful tools that I can use here and now.

Anyway, welcome to the forum, sorry you have reason to be here.
 

Charbella

Learning
Thanks for your kindness.

I’ve made peace with not knowing, I wish I could just ensure that I keep not knowing!

Memories peeling apart is fine, I know they’re there, so it isn’t a shock when it happens, requires way more thought than I’d like to give it, it’s like my brain won’t let me not know that I’m missing something.

I really just don’t want there to be more, I think what I can remember is PLENTY.

My flashbacks are things that I’ve had multiple times and though they’re ever changing the 5 people are the same. Those still hit me like a ton of bricks so there being the possibility of a future flashback that is entirely new is scary as hell.

My T is not a trauma specialist, in my area there aren’t a ton of male therapist and there were even fewer on my insurance. I did not want a female one, the more I learn the more I suspect that’s an issue with my mom. However I really like him and he is certified in EMDR. Plus he goes out of his way to accommodate, for instance I journal and he reads those outside of our sessions and finds resources so he’s ready when I come. Honestly I think without the journaling which I know most wouldn’t do I wouldn’t get much from therapy, especially attempting to relate anything around the abuse, I’m not sure I can say it out loud.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Sorry that happened to you.

Your fears of remembering more are fears I had/have too. That it will overwhelm and crumble.
Like you, I put things away in my mind for decades and came to this in my 40's.
More memories have come. And it has been hard. Some more destabilising than others. But, the thing with memories is trying to hold on to the fact that it happened in the past. It isn't happening now (even though the feelings feel like, at times, it's happening now). And we're remembering now as we can withstand it.

There is also the issue that memories may not come back. Or only partially (which is infuriating as it leaves the doubt, and not the full picture, and we have to make do with what we do remember to peice it together).

Whatever happens, it's good you have a therapist you trust.

My T often says to me she doesn't need me to say the details, as we have to talk about it in a safe way. Expressing the feelings and how it impacts me is where she likes to work. For me,sometimes I need to say the details, just to get it out and talk after decades of silence. Other times, the words are just not there and I can't bare to say them.
Whatever you decide to do, go slowly.
 

Charbella

Learning
My T often says to me she doesn't need me to say the details, as we have to talk about it in a safe way. Expressing the feelings and how it impacts me is where she likes to work. For me,sometimes I need to say the details, just to get it out and talk after decades of silence. Other times, the words are just not there and I can't bare to say them.
Whatever you decide to do, go slowly.
My T says he doesn’t need the details either however I need someone to know.

Unfortunately I’m not much better with the feelings, I genuinely don’t know how I feel. We’ve spent a lot of time on how to fix that. I’ve grown to hate the feelings list so when he knows I’m feeling something but avoiding it he says he’s happy to pull out the feelings list if it will help.
 
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