Childhood How do you deal with trauma like CSA that you aren't sure even happened?

HealingMama

Sponsor
Some trauma I know about. The last few days it seems possible that my cousin molested me based on some things happening in therapy. However, I don't know for sure. I don't want to ask him. I have had what seems to be body memories and intrusive images that are sexual in nature and his name popped into my head while I was doing parts work and I had a felt sense of being suffocated when these graphic images came into my mind.

He comes from a pretty trashy family. My maternal aunts were not healthy people and didn't have healthy families. One allowed her child to be molested by her father and took his side when he went to jail. The other (mother to the cousin in question) I honestly don't know as much except that they don't have a great reputation, and struggle with addiction.

I have been sex positive most of my life since puberty but with my husband shortly after we got married I had a lot of problems with dissociating during sex or he would leave the room and when he came back I'd feel like a different person. It was confusing and exhausting. And honestly before that I was kinda playing the field avoidantly without being truly invested in anybody, and was numb in my body all the time.

How do you address symptoms that you don't know what they are related to? How do you cope with not knowing one way or another? How do I trust my mind to be giving me what it needs to heal even if it's making something up?
 

Friday

Moderator
How do you address symptoms that you don't know what they are related to?
That’s ALL I did, the first time around, address symptoms. And doing that? Got me asymptomatic. A helluva lot faster than this time through, where I am addressing trauma, in addition to symptoms.

I didn’t know my symptoms were symptoms, the first time around, or that they were caused by trauma. I just thought that this was who I was, now. And I didn’t like it. So I set about changing things. First by finding work-arounds, and when that actually changed things??? Instead of just making my life better? <low whistle> Went after any/everything I didn’t like, and set about changing those, too.

How do you cope with not knowing one way or another? How do I trust my mind to be giving me what it needs to heal even if it's making something up?
I can’t speak to these. I have thousands of traumas, across dozens of types, in something like 5 or 10 groups of related types, for over 20 years if I include all the recent shit (although 90% of my trauma history is from 96-02). I’ll never be able to process all of them, it’s just not a thing that’s possible.

If I hadn’t accidentally processed one whole type (rape & sexual assault) I can’t imagine I’d bother even attempting other groups/types/individual traumas. (It’s just so wicked cool, when one can! The effects are awesome.) I was briefly WTFO??? How the hell am I even supposed to remember half that? (And then I couldn’t stop remembering far more than half that, and lost a few years of my life). Fortunately for my own sanity, the response I got was that there’s no way, don’t even try, just deal with things as they come up, when they come up. And since I’d gotten asymptomatic before, without root-causing / going after the source of anything? It wasn’t such a daunting prospect.

Just wanted to reply to the above part, because I think it’s so much more common to hear about single traumas & trauma types? That it’s easy to forget that simply because the most effective course of action is to go after root causes, and process the indivudal traumas themselves, that there are still a helluva lot of effective courses to take, that either don’t address the trauma at all, or only address it in a partial way (like interconnecting themes, both past & present).

So it’s not like a person is shit outta luck when they can’t process a trauma frame by frame.
 

Starfire

Confident
Was once
Some trauma I know about. The last few days it seems possible that my cousin molested me based on some things happening in therapy. However, I don't know for sure. I don't want to ask him. I have had what seems to be body memories and intrusive images that are sexual in nature and his name popped into my head while I was doing parts work and I had a felt sense of being suffocated when these graphic images came into my mind.

He comes from a pretty trashy family. My maternal aunts were not healthy people and didn't have healthy families. One allowed her child to be molested by her father and took his side when he went to jail. The other (mother to the cousin in question) I honestly don't know as much except that they don't have a great reputation, and struggle with addiction.

I have been sex positive most of my life since puberty but with my husband shortly after we got married I had a lot of problems with dissociating during sex or he would leave the room and when he came back I'd feel like a different person. It was confusing and exhausting. And honestly before that I was kinda playing the field avoidantly without being truly invested in anybody, and was numb in my body all the time.

How do you address symptoms that you don't know what they are related to? How do you cope with not knowing one way or another? How do I trust my mind to be giving me what it needs to heal even if it's making something up?
I once heard it said that people don't make this stuff up and they don't suffer from the symptoms if nothing happened. The details may not ever be known. Exactly what cousin did exactly what, may not be relevant. May just be retraumatizing.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Was once

I once heard it said that people don't make this stuff up and they don't suffer from the symptoms if nothing happened. The details may not ever be known. Exactly what cousin did exactly what, may not be relevant. May just be retraumatizing.
Second this ^^


Memories came back to me in this confusing way. The way they come back creates confusion and doubt. But , why would you block it out if it wasn't traumatic? Why would you have symtopms if nothing happened?

You might get more memories. You might not.
I have in some ways. But also haven't in others. So it's building that trust in: I wouldn't be feeling this if that wasn't true.

Asking a possible perpetrator if they hurt you? I wouldn't base my sense of reality on what they say....

Sorry you are going through this. It's a confusing and challenging time. But it gets better.
 

Rumors

MyPTSD Pro
Just my opinion, I think you just keep talking about it in general terms with a trauma therapist. Don’t force anything as it will come when and if it is supposed to. Mine came in a similar way. I always knew it happened but it felt like someone else or like a movie that I watched. I was so disconnected with the child I was I didn’t recognize her. Kind of weird but I tried not to judge where I was in the process. It was shocking and difficult and I probably forced some of it bc of my OCD and “need to know”
I hope you have a good therapist that will meet you where you are and not force any memories or make you work on something you aren’t ready to think about or discuss. Holidays are particularly rough even in the healthiest families bc of dynamics. Try not to let this disrupt your holiday. However, if you have a relationship with this cousin, you might skip those family gatherings this year. Good luck!!
 
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