Sufferer I feel like I don't deserve to be traumatized


New Here
Hi all,

I'm Ellie, 23F. I was hoping to try and meet someone who has had a similar experience to mine.

When I was 15 I met a 21yo man online who proceeded to groom me and mentally/emotionally manipulate and abuse me for the next two years. His grooming led to a snowball effect that ended up with me engaged at 19 to a different man who did all but beat me and forcibly imprison me. At 20 I broke things off and it's been a long, hard road of recovery.

Overall I'm doing okay now. I'm halfway through school, I've repaired relations with my parents, and I have a healthy, happy relationship with a stable man who treats me well.

All that being said, I still have nightmares and flashbacks to my groomer. Not my ex-fiance, who raped me and controlled my life, but the man who I only ever spoke to online. The things he said and did scarred me, even though it was all online. Because he never physically touched or physically harmed me I struggle a lot with imposter syndrome. I feel like I don't deserve to be traumatized by what he did. Logically I know this isn't correct, and I have a concrete PTSD diagnosis, but I still feel like I don't deserve to be traumatized.

Has anyone else felt this way or experienced something similar?


Well, I think in reality no one deserves anything. And certainly not what you’ve been through! Abuse is abuse and you have the right to "respond" in the way your brain does. When I’m doing okay I don’t see why the ptsd dx. But soon enough something happens that reminds me why. What counts is that you deserve support. And congratulations for having got yourself out. It isn’t easy. Domestic violence and grooming are nasty to heal. But it’s possible. Welcome, by the way!


Logically I know this isn't correct, and I have a concrete PTSD diagnosis, but I still feel like I don't deserve to be traumatized.
Medically speaking… both a scratch that doesn’t even draw blood, and having your leg ripped off is physical “trauma”. Meanwhile? The scratch can kill you (tetanus, blood poisoning, etc.) whilst a person survives with one leg, just fine.

The degree of initial injury & the result of that injury are not causally linked. In most cases? Pfft. It’s just a scratch. And it is. In some? It’s lethal. Whilst having one’s leg ripped off usually results in death, it’s also often the least of one’s problems, if living in a first world country with access to badass medical. But, for very good reason, 2 people who’ve just experienced physical trauma (a scratch, and having their leg ripped off) will be seen in order of severity in the ER / A&E. Both are “trauma”. Both have WILDLY different severity levels. Both can have wildly different results. Just being physical trauma? Doesn’t actually tell you anything. You need BOTH the severity AND the results.

There’s a HUGE scale in colloquial, medical, and psych as to the definition of trauma.

The only tiny facet in that spectrum that the psych looking at PTSD is concerned with? Is called CritA (Criterion A) Trauma.

Criterion A (one required): The person was exposed to: death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence, in the following way(s):
  • Direct exposure
  • Witnessing the trauma
  • Learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma
  • Indirect exposure to aversive details of the trauma, usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, medics)

All of this is a loooooong lead up to…

You were raped and abused.

That other things hurt MORE, or have caused more problems in your life? Or that they directly lead you into a situation where you experienced CritA trauma? Or made that situation seem minimal compared to what had come first? Doesn’t mean you don’t have PTSD. It means that other things, aside from the Crit A trauma… hurt more. And have caused more problems in your life.

That’s OFTEN the case.


PTSD is NOT a pain scale. It’s not like, if it hurts THIS much it’s PTSD, but if it only hurts this much? It’s something else.

PTSD also isn’t a problem scale. It’s not like, if it causes THIS many problems in your life it’s PTSD, but if it only causes this many problems? Pfft. Not PTSD.

You’re “allowed” to both have PTSD AND other problems, and other pain. That both tie into your PTSD, and have nothing to do with it. Because that’s life, and that’s most of us. We have PTSD. We also live life, with it’s heartbreaks, and tragedy, and joys, and triumphs. Simply having PTSD? Doesn’t excuse any of us from also having lives. With the good, the bad, the ugly, all included. Both before & after diagnosis.

People get PTSD from jobs they loooooove, and are amazing at. That they love their work, and are incrediable at it? Doesn’t mean it’s “not” traumatic, or “not” PTSD. When you’re looking at a trauma disorder? Ditch the idea that “trauma” is painful, or problematic. That’s not what this disorder is about. At all.
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