Sexual Assault Doubting of my own side of the story


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Hello, PTSD forum! I hope whoever is reading this is having a lovely day/morning/night <3

First of all, thank you so much for taking a little bit of your time to read and interact with my post, I've felt overwhelmingly supported since I joined this place, despite my few posts it has really helped me have a safe space and just someone to talk about these difficult topics. I've also noticed I never said this I think, but I'm nonbinary and use they/he pronouns if anyone needs to refer to me in the comments, so you address me the right way :)

I've been doing way better than I was last post, there's days (like today) when I still struggle a lot to find the motivation to just start my day and go with it. Despite being generally okay, there's something that is bothering me: still struggling to convince myself that I'm not lying. I think my biggest fear is that my abuser is right: that she didn't do any of the things I'm accusing her of. I'm aware I cannot change her perspective on the topic and that she most likely will never accept how she hurt me, but I'm terrified that I'm actually making everything up. Because if that was the case, I'd be accusing someone completely innocent and I'd never forgive myself for it. Even tho there's clear evidence and there's a lot I remember from it, I strongly believe that I was not in a mental state to consent the acts (i was really dissociated in a lot of instances), she also wouldn't ask consent for a lot of things and sometimes just would start to do sexual things in front of me without previous asking, there was a huge power imbalance between the two of us, she lied to me in order to get sex from me and i feel like i was in a generally fragile mental state to have such an active sex life that i didn't even want to start with, because to start with i am asexual and she knew it, but i guess the boundaries didn't mean a lot for her (plus i felt always forced to satisfy her in a sexual way because she is demisexual). But despite all of that, I still feel like my trauma is "not bad enough" and not even deserving to be considered sexual abuse. Because I even said yes in a lot of moments and there were things I did consent but all the parts I didn't I felt forced to say yes or didn't say anything at all, I remained quiet because all i wanted is give her everything she needed from me.

What has the most weight to me is how I felt when the relationship ended, I entered this period of being COMPLETELY terrified of her, I was so sure she was going to kill me or try to hurt me someway, and that she was coming to get me or something. I also felt a lot of sequels on my body, like sensations like hands all over my body (especially on my chest that's where she touched me the most), heat and excessive pain in the lower part, overwhelming emotional pain after touching myself (like I'd literally have emotional breakdowns and cry and say I've never wanted to do any of that). Also, everytime a flashback from back then comes to my mind, all I can feel is extreme shame to the point of closing my eyes and trying to make it dissappear, thinking about how I let such thing happen to me, and I've had prior sexual encounters before and that's not how it felt. Yea, it was kind of cringy thinking of my teenage myself at the time, but it's a different feeling with this. It's painful, painful memories I wish I could forget. I also had an hypersexuality period that I still struggle with. There's a lot more involving this topic, but my question is: Why do I keep doubting myself despite all of this? I don't come here expecting you to give me all the solutions, because I know it's often no place to tell someone whether they were abused or not, but I'd really appreciate some insight in my situation. I wish I could magically feel like everything that happened was bad enough. I'm also currently waiting for my appointment with a new therapist so I'll most likely talk with him about this :) so don't worry about me getting help! I'm doing everything I can to finally stablish someone who can treat me. I'm also taking my meds and doing everything I can to take care of myself.

How are you doing, dear stranger? I hope well, sending my most sincere good wishes.
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Doubting ourselves is something we all have in common. So many threads and diaries full of self doubt.

I don't know the full science and thought behind it, and I can only talk about my experience. But I doubted it and refused to acknowledge anything at all. Simply acted like it didn happen. As what else could I have done? And when things started to come back to me, it was very confusing.
Much easier to doubt ourselves and blame ourselves. We already feel shit because it happened, so doubting ourselves just adds to that view of ourselves.
Working through it in certain ways helps. Seeing the impact on you of what happened and the feelings and memories and building that confidence of why would you make this up? This suffering of it all is not something people make up. Slowly realising what happened.

I don't know if that makes any sense. But your self doubt is something so many of us have shared.
I think maybe also we're in a different brain state when going through something distressing or traumatic. For example, you wrote that you were dissociated a lot of the time when these things happened, so that would make memories of those situations feel different (less "real") than neutral situations where you're fully present mentally and can process a situation on several levels and hence have strong, reliable, neutral memories of those events.

Also, therapy is a pretty new thing in the grand scheme of things... Maybe from an evolutionary point of view, it used to be better for us to mostly forget traumatic things and "just get on with life as well as possible" except for sudden memories when a trigger arises signalling that the same danger may be nearby. I guess maybe evolution decided that a weird mix of lots of forgetting with some hyper-remembering thrown in is nature's best way of muddling through and surviving trauma? (Not so useful in modern day society, tho)
my own therapy approach has compassionately assumed that at least a portion of my trauma memories are inaccurate. human memory is not the most reliable tool ever devised, not even for ho-hum, everyday events or the 100% cherished memories. trauma memories tend to be as cloudy as visual acuity in the midst of a cloud of house fire smoke.

within that compassionate assumption, --emphasis on compassion-- all i can do is my honest and humble best in sorting and processing the information available to me
I have dealt with a lot of doubts about what happened. One thing my therapist worked on is exploring that. If it didn't happen, what would I gain by making it up? What would have lead me to create that? We've explored it in a non-judgmental way. Because *if* it were made up (it's not), our mind did that for a reason and working through all that would be healing. I think exploring like that, took away a lot of the shame. What happened is that it become more clear that abuse had happened. The reasons it might not happen were muddled and built on guilt and fear. And a lot of talk about what happened did occur, which helped me deal with the trauma.

Like Arfie I've come to grips with the fact some of my memories are inaccurate or incomplete. Humas make bad witnesses because memory is so unreliable. Add in stress responses and repeated events blurring details and you have to find the truth in overall context, not in specific memories.
I don't doubt the things that have happened, though I seperate them from partial memories. I struggled a lot with guilt and shame. Still do in some ways, though it is more a part of who I am now, probably.

I think the worst thing about traumas, or one of them, is we don't say anything and by the time we do (if ever) it doesn't feel like any of the feelings or hurt are justified, whether it's a week or a year or 50 years. Well, just peaking for myself anyway.

Best wishes to you.