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Dealing With Doubt From Parts After Traumatic CSA Flashbacks

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Does another part of you, after an intense somatic/ visual flashback (of childhood sexual abuse), ever tell you that you're just making it all up? It feels crazy making. Any suggestions on how to relate to this part that seems to push back against an experience that feels/ is sensed to be so profoundly real? & holding all of this feels so close to insanity- I'm finding it almost impossible to communicate to others how it feels inside my head. Do you ever feel this way? I suspect yes. Seeking some relational space here, I guess. Thank you.
 
I’ve definitely had that experience. I try to calmly affirm that the experience did happen and that I remember it clearly. I also try to ground myself and tell myself that while it did happen in the last, it isn’t happening occurring since emotions and physical reactions can be caught up in the flashback as if it’s happening currently.

In terms of relating to the part, it’s very hard to especially in the moment. It can feel like the abusers and people who enable them are in your head. Relating to the part or trying to understand it can feel abusive but remembering that the part isn’t the abuser and is just these things to protect you can help. It’s just a part of you trying to prevent the devastation of hearing that from someone else or it could be trying to deny the experience to protect you from it. You can probably try to talk to the part and figure out what the case is for you.

The important thing is to remember that it’s a part of you and you deserve compassion.
 
Yes, completely, it's exhausting and messes your head up.

My T has suggested the idea of just letting the parts that aren't ready to challenge the denial be allowed to deny. Let them doubt, let them challenge, and slowly keep showing up with the 'evidence' (whether that be flashback or somatic stuff or fragments of memory) and apparently, the theory is that those parts become more aware. I try and write notes to myself, and then when denial hits I try and read them, not to challenge the denial, but just to throw ALL my known thoughts and feelings known on an issue rather than only hearing the doubt. Getting into a 'its real, no it's not' internal battle never worked for me... denial always won...

Ultimately, I think those parts are trying to keep you safe as a whole, doubting and denying feels safer than the horrendous reality of trauma. Its trying to find a pace to gently get those parts to feel safe to explore stuff they're not ready to.. yet.
 
This is incredibly common. I have struggled with doubting myself the entire time I've been in therapy. I knew my body and somatic flashbacks and my responses were real but I doubted my memories. Recently during EMDR the memory surfaced that explains all my flashbacks and part of me knows, beyond a doubt, it happened. But other parts still have doubts. Sometimes it feels like someone else's story, if can't really be mine. I think this is especially common with CSA.

My T told me to trust my brain to work things out. I was skeptical but am now seeing how my brain has been processing everything. It's hard, it's weird, its foreign etc. But, trust your brain isn't bringing things up for no reason. It doesn't matter if all the derails are true. It's coming up for a reason. Trust yourself. That's been my biggest struggle and biggest take away from therapy lately. You can trust yourself.

As far as parts. Give your child part permission to share his/her story. Tell those protectors it's okay to let down the guard. It's scary but it can be really helpful. Your adult self can handle it.
 
I’ve definitely had that experience. I try to calmly affirm that the experience did happen and that I remember it clearly. I also try to ground myself and tell myself that while it did happen in the last, it isn’t happening occurring since emotions and physical reactions can be caught up in the flashback as if it’s happening currently.

In terms of relating to the part, it’s very hard to especially in the moment. It can feel like the abusers and people who enable them are in your head. Relating to the part or trying to understand it can feel abusive but remembering that the part isn’t the abuser and is just these things to protect you can help. It’s just a part of you trying to prevent the devastation of hearing that from someone else or it could be trying to deny the experience to protect you from it. You can probably try to talk to the part and figure out what the case is for you.

The important thing is to remember that it’s a part of you and you deserve compassion.
Thank you for this. Grateful.

Yes, completely, it's exhausting and messes your head up.

My T has suggested the idea of just letting the parts that aren't ready to challenge the denial be allowed to deny. Let them doubt, let them challenge, and slowly keep showing up with the 'evidence' (whether that be flashback or somatic stuff or fragments of memory) and apparently, the theory is that those parts become more aware. I try and write notes to myself, and then when denial hits I try and read them, not to challenge the denial, but just to throw ALL my known thoughts and feelings known on an issue rather than only hearing the doubt. Getting into a 'its real, no it's not' internal battle never worked for me... denial always won...

Ultimately, I think those parts are trying to keep you safe as a whole, doubting and denying feels safer than the horrendous reality of trauma. Its trying to find a pace to gently get those parts to feel safe to explore stuff they're not ready to.. yet.
Thank you. I really appreciate your thoughts.

This is incredibly common. I have struggled with doubting myself the entire time I've been in therapy. I knew my body and somatic flashbacks and my responses were real but I doubted my memories. Recently during EMDR the memory surfaced that explains all my flashbacks and part of me knows, beyond a doubt, it happened. But other parts still have doubts. Sometimes it feels like someone else's story, if can't really be mine. I think this is especially common with CSA.

My T told me to trust my brain to work things out. I was skeptical but am now seeing how my brain has been processing everything. It's hard, it's weird, its foreign etc. But, trust your brain isn't bringing things up for no reason. It doesn't matter if all the derails are true. It's coming up for a reason. Trust yourself. That's been my biggest struggle and biggest take away from therapy lately. You can trust yourself.

As far as parts. Give your child part permission to share his/her story. Tell those protectors it's okay to let down the guard. It's scary but it can be really helpful. Your adult self can handle it.
This makes me feel less alone with everything. Thank you.
 
Does another part of you, after an intense somatic/ visual flashback (of childhood sexual abuse), ever tell you that you're just making it all up?
Curiously enough? “Making it all up” (and similar) is super common amongst childhood trauma, whilst “I’m FINE!” (and similar) is super common amongst adult trauma. 2 sides of the same coin, although also 2 completely different symptoms. (Disassociation vs Avoidance).
 
Curiously enough? “Making it all up” (and similar) is super common amongst childhood trauma, whilst “I’m FINE!” (and similar) is super common amongst adult trauma. 2 sides of the same coin, although also 2 completely different symptoms. (Disassociation vs Avoidance).
Thank you. I appreciate this affirmation.
 
Does another part of you, after an intense somatic/ visual flashback (of childhood sexual abuse), ever tell you that you're just making it all up? It feels crazy making. Any suggestions on how to relate to this part that seems to push back against an experience that feels/ is sensed to be so profoundly real? & holding all of this feels so close to insanity- I'm finding it almost impossible to communicate to others how it feels inside my head. Do you ever feel this way? I suspect yes. Seeking some relational space here, I guess. Thank you.
This is something that I recently experienced. It was awful.. my therapist was helpful in labeling this as a protector part. Even thought that language drives me nuts.. I can understand! Easier to believe nothing happened vs. the consequence being our lived experiences. Wishing you lots of good vibes and sending love!
 
This is something that I recently experienced. It was awful.. my therapist was helpful in labeling this as a protector part. Even thought that language drives me nuts.. I can understand! Easier to believe nothing happened vs. the consequence being our lived experiences. Wishing you lots of good vibes and sending love!
Thank you for this. I appreciate you reaching out.
 
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