Childhood How would one define this? Sexual abuse? Neglect? Nothing?

Wilma

Learning
I was wondering how to definean experience I had as a child (7/8 yrs.).
My mom had this gay female friend who seemingly was into my mom.
So one night after we all or only I bathed (not sure about that part). Anyway were all walking around naked in our bathroom. This woman came to my parents bed with me and my mom. I have no idea where my dad was, probably on some business trip. Anyway as far as I remember, the friend asked me to move so she could be next to my mom. I know they ended up having sex but I did not see that as I wanted to get away and went to sleep.
 
I am not a professional to judge on people's traumas but I do know that events in people's life can be experienced very differently. A person can have nightmares about something where others think of as a 'slightly bad experience'. So it's not clear what is was to you. I wouldn't see that as sexual abuse just as questionable parenting.
I hope I could help
 

Friday

Moderator
I as questionable parenting.

Ditto.

Not even necessarily bad parenting, just questionable... as it would depend on context.

The exact same situation -as described- I could be standing in the doorway smiling warmly at the tableau, or storm in and yank people up by their hair about to raise hell. Depending entirely on the people involved, and situation at play.
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
However it's definite, something that's important is how it impacted you. Your making this post for a reason. How did it affect you? What has lead you to wonder about it?
 

Wilma

Learning
However it's definite, something that's important is how it impacted you. Your making this post for a reason. How did it affect you? What has lead you to wonder about it?
I'm basically just trying to understand where the T in my PTSD comes from. I've been diagnosed by more than one professional and just don't understand where the T is. I know it sounds strange and I do admit all the symptoms are there but the why kind of remains elusive to me.
All I remember about that particular incident is that it just didn't feel right.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
If it didn't feel right: it wasn't right.

Different cultures view nakedness differently. I come from two cultures. One where being naked outdoors and indoors with various ages is fine (mainland Europe) (spas, saunas, beaches, lakes etc etc). The other culture where that would not be considered ok at all (UK), other than in gender-separated changing rooms. So there is that element of what would be crossing a boundary culturally and what wouldn't with this situation.

Then there is what happened with your mum and this woman. If you think they had sex next to you, then in my book, that is utterly inappropriate/traumatic/abusive (whichever word feels right). You were of an age where you would pick up on this (which you did) and it would impact you.

I agree with others that the issue is how were you left feeling and how do you feel now? That's the key. So, if it doesn't feel right, then it wasn't.
 

Friday

Moderator
I'm basically just trying to understand where the T in my PTSD comes from. I've been diagnosed by more than one professional and just don't understand where the T is
All the symptoms of PTSD exist in other disorders. The only thing that’s unique to PTSD in and of itself IS the “T” trauma. But even with the trauma? That doesn’t mean someone has PTSD. 10 people can be raped, or in a car accident, or whatever/experiencing exactly the same trauma, at the same time... and have 10 different disorders.

Trauma in the psych sense? Does NOT equate to trauma in the colloqial sense (OMG! It was sooooo traumatic!). The cop/surgeon/soldier who loves her job, the kid whose amazing & loving family is starving in poverty, and a thousand other examples of where there was noooooo EEK/HORROR/FEAR are just as likely to get PTSD from their trauma history as someone whose trauma history is the stuff of nightmares. In point of fact? Even the “stuff of nightmares” people are just as likely to snort and say “WTF? That wasn’t bad!” <<< Which can be a combo of disassociation, denial, avoidance, or... it simply wasn’t that bad -to them- because they’ve had worse. Either in the trauma-sense, or the pain-sense. A really classic example of that last one is the firefighter who develops PTSD “from” his wife going into labor. Nope. Sorry. Normal childbirth isnt PTSD causing. But the 10,000 life or death calls you’ve answered (many involving life&death childbirth) are... which makes your wife going into labor either a stressor or a trigger. Another example one sees even more frequently is getting PTSD “from” being cheated on. Nope. Being cheated on doesn’t cause PTSD. Talk to them a bit, and they have a trauma history in spades but that “doesn’t matter” or “doesn’t bother them”, whilst the cheating is the most painful thing, ever. Shrug. PTSD isn’t a pain-scale, it’s not about how bad something hurts you. It’s also not a fear scale. It’s not about how betrayed you were, or how scared you were, or how much it hurt. It’s “just” a quirky way that the brain responds, with some people, sometimes, to a very narrow series of events. (Immediate threat to life, and sexual assault).

So you may have a trauma history that you’re blowing off (minimizing), or you may be misdiagnosed.
((One of my cousins I was just chatting with gets spot-misdiagnosed as either an abuse victim or sexual assault victim aaaaaall the damn time. She’s touch averse, following a blow to the head as a teenager. So a doctor reaches out to touch her, and she flinches. Or startles. Or leaps halfway across the room. Touch, to her, feels like an electric shock. She can deal with it if she’s expecting it... wearing clothes makes her feel likes she’s buzzing, and she loooooves swimming because water “feels like champagne”... but being touched when she’s not expecting it, or braced for it, causes a very visible reaction. Most doctors? Sigh in relief when she -belatedly- mentions TBI, sorry! It makes me jumpy and I have a hard time with touch! I’m so much better than I used to be, but I need to remember to tell new people, and forget, sometimes. But a few are insistent that she “must” have been raped, abused, etc. Nope. Kicked in the head by a horse. She COULD have developed PTSD from that event, or the following few years of medical trauma, but she didn’t. She DID develop an almost autistic touch aversion. And a few other neurological quirks. But people get so used to jumpy rape-victims & abuse-victims, thay they see what they expect to see. Rather than what’s actually there.>>> On a more personal note? I have combatPTSD. I’m also a chick. People see the T&A and assume I’ve been raped, if they find out I have PTSD. I have been, but that’s not where my PTSD comes from. It DOES save me the “Have you killed anyone???” question my brothers get, as they assume their PTSD is from combat, so that’s a bonus! :D But the point being? Just because someone else is seeing what they expect, doesn’t make it the truth.))

What have the practitioners who’ve diagnosed you said was your trauma?
 

Wilma

Learning
All the symptoms of PTSD exist in other disorders. The only thing that’s unique to PTSD in and of itself IS the “T” trauma. But even with the trauma? That doesn’t mean someone has PTSD. 10 people can be raped, or in a car accident, or whatever/experiencing exactly the same trauma, at the same time... and have 10 different disorders.

Trauma in the psych sense? Does NOT equate to trauma in the colloqial sense (OMG! It was sooooo traumatic!). The cop/surgeon/soldier who loves her job, the kid whose amazing & loving family is starving in poverty, and a thousand other examples of where there was noooooo EEK/HORROR/FEAR are just as likely to get PTSD from their trauma history as someone whose trauma history is the stuff of nightmares. In point of fact? Even the “stuff of nightmares” people are just as likely to snort and say “WTF? That wasn’t bad!” <<< Which can be a combo of disassociation, denial, avoidance, or... it simply wasn’t that bad -to them- because they’ve had worse. Either in the trauma-sense, or the pain-sense. A really classic example of that last one is the firefighter who develops PTSD “from” his wife going into labor. Nope. Sorry. Normal childbirth isnt PTSD causing. But the 10,000 life or death calls you’ve answered (many involving life&death childbirth) are... which makes your wife going into labor either a stressor or a trigger. Another example one sees even more frequently is getting PTSD “from” being cheated on. Nope. Being cheated on doesn’t cause PTSD. Talk to them a bit, and they have a trauma history in spades but that “doesn’t matter” or “doesn’t bother them”, whilst the cheating is the most painful thing, ever. Shrug. PTSD isn’t a pain-scale, it’s not about how bad something hurts you. It’s also not a fear scale. It’s not about how betrayed you were, or how scared you were, or how much it hurt. It’s “just” a quirky way that the brain responds, with some people, sometimes, to a very narrow series of events. (Immediate threat to life, and sexual assault).

So you may have a trauma history that you’re blowing off (minimizing), or you may be misdiagnosed.
((One of my cousins I was just chatting with gets spot-misdiagnosed as either an abuse victim or sexual assault victim aaaaaall the damn time. She’s touch averse, following a blow to the head as a teenager. So a doctor reaches out to touch her, and she flinches. Or startles. Or leaps halfway across the room. Touch, to her, feels like an electric shock. She can deal with it if she’s expecting it... wearing clothes makes her feel likes she’s buzzing, and she loooooves swimming because water “feels like champagne”... but being touched when she’s not expecting it, or braced for it, causes a very visible reaction. Most doctors? Sigh in relief when she -belatedly- mentions TBI, sorry! It makes me jumpy and I have a hard time with touch! I’m so much better than I used to be, but I need to remember to tell new people, and forget, sometimes. But a few are insistent that she “must” have been raped, abused, etc. Nope. Kicked in the head by a horse. She COULD have developed PTSD from that event, or the following few years of medical trauma, but she didn’t. She DID develop an almost autistic touch aversion. And a few other neurological quirks. But people get so used to jumpy rape-victims & abuse-victims, thay they see what they expect to see. Rather than what’s actually there.>>> On a more personal note? I have combatPTSD. I’m also a chick. People see the T&A and assume I’ve been raped, if they find out I have PTSD. I have been, but that’s not where my PTSD comes from. It DOES save me the “Have you killed anyone???” question my brothers get, as they assume their PTSD is from combat, so that’s a bonus! :D But the point being? Just because someone else is seeing what they expect, doesn’t make it the truth.))

What have the practitioners who’ve diagnosed you said was your trauma?
I know everything you've written and there's other stuff. I just wanted to know how that one experience could be classified.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
I just wanted to know how that one experience could be classified.
You would need to have clearer recall of the event, unfortunately. These two things:
So one night after we all or only I bathed (not sure about that part)

Anyway as far as I remember, the friend asked me to move so she could be next to my mom.
...leave some possibility of sexual abuse.

You may have been feeling badly, deserted by your mom, questioning why your mom was being intimate with someone other than your dad. You were upset. That in and of itself, not a PTSD trauma.

You may be forgetting something that occurred during the bathing. And you don't have a clear recall of what happened between walking around naked and then being in the bed with your mom, and being asked to move. In both those sections of the narrative, you could have been sexually abused, which would be a PTSD-qualifying traumatic event.

Of course - even that doesn't mean that it definitively caused PTSD.

That would be my assessment of what you've described. And I of course am not a doctor, or trained in trauma assessment - so you should take my thoughts with a grain of salt, only.
 

Friday

Moderator
...there's other stuff. I just wanted to know how that one experience could be classified.
Not all experiences tied up in trauma stuff have to be Capital T “Trauma”.

As an example? Say someone gets PTSD from getting hit by a car. Whilst the first trauma is the car accident, followed by medical trauma.... that doesn’t mean that the perfectly normal assholes they come across, and their experiences during their recovery, aren’t going to tie themselves right in there. Being stared at, being ignored, being so alone, being swarmed over, etc... and a lot of things? Are often going to be far more pervasive & difficult to deal with in the long term than the accident itself.

Being stared at? Isn’t even in the same universe as CapT Trauma. But it can still trigger them to right back where they were immediately following the accident, with people just staring at them as they bled in the street. Or staring at them as they lurched down the hospital hallways with only partial control of their body. And it can still come with flooding grief, and pain, as people aren’t staring with a come hither twinkle in their eye at them, but In shock or revulsion.

On a similar tack? Having PTSD doesn’t immunize anyone against the slings and arrows of life. CapT Trauma doesn’t mean that nothing short of CapT is going to hurt, shape, or affect you.

So... Like I said before, as described? No idea if that was a warm family scene, or the beginning of the stuff of nightmares. Depends on a lot of missing context. But the T in PTSD only has to happen once. Not every time. Nor is it all alpha-omega, the beginning and the end. It’s just a piece. Even in the “simplest” of traumas.... there’s going to be one whole helluva lot of other stuff going on.
 
B

Briana

Okay but only you truly know what happened so it's kinda hard. But if you saw them having sexual behaviors towards each other could be considered abuse for exposing a child to sexual stuff. Like, i just wonder how you're so sure they had sex? Did you heard anything or saw anything? But maybe it was just about you being unconfortable being naked in a situation that nobody asked how you felt about it. My tip: think about it ir a little, write it down and search for a professional.
 
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