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My experience & chronic shame


Alright. I've decided to start trying to write about what I'm feeling instead of bottling it all up, because I'm in a vicious cycle right now and I feel so discouraged because I was doing much better before (or maybe I wasnt, but the fact that I wasnt seeing a therapist let me ignore all of these things).

To begin, some background: warning, I'm sorry if it's a bit ugly. I feel terrible. I need to put it down somewhere before I explode from the shame of it all.

I have a bad habit of comparing my trauma to others'. I was never touched, never raped, but I was exploited online for more than a decade of my life. I was degraded, humiliated, threatened by people who claimed they could find my address and kidnap me. I feel that online abuse is so new, but it's so discouraging to have it happen to you. Because I was never touched and that removes the ability to say 'hey, here is what happened to me!'. But the fact that child porn of myself is floating around there, being passed around from pedophile to pedophile, never knowing which state the hundreds of men I've let use me live in, what they look like, their real names, KILLS me. Even worse is what I've done to myself since then. And that's more or less what my recovery is focused on trying to heal: these toxic, horrible habits that EAT AWAY at my self worth and happiness.

Since I was abused, I've thrown myself into situations where I know men will hurt me. It feels so horrible and depraved. The more I think about what I do, the more I want to do it. Because I figure, hey, if I let myself be abused, I obviously like it. And I dont, but the shame has driven me into this corner and I dont know what to do. I feel like I cant confide in anyone, because how would I say it? "You don't know of this dark part of me that wants to be hurt" I feel so fundamentally disgusting now that I dont see how anyone could think otherwise

Ive been seeing this new therapist for a few months now and I'm hashing out all this painful stuff. Ive been in therapy for years but Ive never been honest about what I do to myself until now. Or Id lie and say I was raped because I felt like Id never be taken seriously as a survivor if "all" that happened to me was cruelty online. this ACTUAL recovery thing is very very new.

A "sexual bender" would be the best word to describe what Im doing to myself right now: all Ive been thinking about for weeks has been "how do I get someone to hurt me? how can I put myself in line of fire?"

Overall, I feel different from other survivors because why would anyone revictimize themselves over and over again? I feel sick with myself. Ive been reading "the sexual healing journey" and it's the first time Ive ever felt like maybe other people are stuck in the same hole I am.

TLDR: I'll be posting here about how this recovery thing is going. Right now, it's not going too hot. I'm so put together on the outside, 4.0 GPA at a top university with a full ride, but at the same time, I'm not okay, and I feel so ashamed that I've done this to myself. I have no one to blame but myself for what has happened to me past when I stopped being a child and made the decision to continue this cycle, and it makes me feel like a chasm has opened up inside me. I see no way out of it because this has been my whole life.
I have a lot of issues crying in front of people, and today I feel like I had a sudden realization as to why.

I was thinking about my parents and how they treated my negative emotions when I was a kid. My t has asked me this multiple times and I got flashes of things Ive been told: this one time I fell off my bike and into a huge pothole, I had to walk all the way home with blood all over me. I get home, and my mom asks "well, did you learn anything?" instead of asking if I was okay. If I cried when my parents yelled at me, theyd yell at me for crying, which just made me sob harder. Or, the infamous: "I'll give you something to cry about!"

It feels so obvious in retrospect that theyre a huge reason I cant open up to people now. My t has commented before that he can see the profound sadness in me , like it's lurking just behind my facial expression, and it's so stuck there. I realized that Im so afraid of opening up because Ive been taught that I need to learn from my mistakes and move on, and that my crying is a burden on everyone else. Just the idea of crying for comfort with somebody makes me feel stripped raw, and now it's finally coming together.
Hi and welcome. I am so sorry those things happened to you. I can understand it makes things more complicated. You are very far from being alone in compulsively putting yourself in harms way after. And of comparing your trauma. If you look around here you will find that out very quickly. And the emotional neglect or bad parenting stuff can totally sabotage the way we look after ourselves and get help. And in fact is often why we end up being put in harms way. I know for certain that many things that happened may not have if I had been taught the basics a child should be taught when it came to boundaries, expression of emotions and other things.
Welcome @jackques . I relate to many things you shared. The repeating the abuse, not allowed to have feelings or express them. Not being nurtured. I feel many here are going to relate too.

It does help to know we are not the only one carrying shame. But it also helps to know that there are many ways to heal. Glad you are here. Take your time.
You are very far from being alone in compulsively putting yourself in harms way after. And of comparing your trauma.
Thank you so much for your message, it really means a lot to get more perspective about what Ive been through

@ladee thank you as well, and for sharing that you relate. I feel like I'm slowly feeling less alone with my experience, and it's really making a difference.
Just saw my t and I feel really torn up. We talked a lot about my emotional isolation, and how I feel so responsible for keeping my persona up that I push all my emotion to the side. We also talked a lot about my past experience in being treated like the "stable one"

The people I keep in touch with from my old high school always joke around that I'm the stable one, because I was always doing well, "overcoming", I was one of the only ones who didnt get hospitalized for mental health issues. I told my t this and he asked "well, should you have been?" And I just felt bowled over by the validation that I WASNT okay, that I had NEVER been okay. I had just been pretending this whole time, and it had been ruining my life. It was the first time someone had really looked past that facade of mine.

We also ran through an experience I had when I was around 14 or 15. I was eating dinner with a friend's family. Her mother was a social worker, her dad a therapist. We talked for a bit and they both said "WOW! You're the most stable teenager Katie knows! We're so glad you're friends with her, you really seem to have everything together!"

And I just laughed and agreed. The idea that no one ever truly saw my suffering is so immensely sad to me now. No wonder I feel so isolated, people rarely acknowledged that hurt because I seemed like I was coping so well, when in reality I wasn't coping at all.

Just talked to a close friend of mine about the pain the session brought up and I feel incredibly invalidated by it even though I know she means well. It's just like my t is saying: people are so used to me being 'stable' that they can't just let me hurt and comfort me.

This friend of mine was trying to explain to me that as a close friend, she knows I'm doing GREAT despite everything. That I'm "good" now. That I'm healing rapidly. It's the exact opposite from my perspective: I've never been okay, I've been ignoring it all. I've projected that I was fine, but I havent been.

I just need someone to tell me that it's okay to not be okay, not to tell me that I'm actually doing great. I know she means well, but it hurts.
I could have written this myself two years ago, maybe I did, here somewhere. I don't remember.

It is very sad that we are such good actors that no one really saw or sees the pain under the determination, the self discipline. Just this past week, I was given the ultimate gift by someone right here on this forum. She told me how she saw me.

And validated how much work I had done 'alone', and had no one to 'mirror' that back to me. Know what makes me very happy??? YOU will be in a position to have 'mirrors' now. And I will be the first to tell you, it's ok to not be ok.

It's a sure sign of healing, to not be ok! It means we don't have to pretend anymore, at least not here. We can talk about how sad we are that people misread us our whole lives. And how much we suffered , alone.

Now, neither of us have to do that anymore. We have support here, that truly gets us! That hears what we 'don't ' say, what we have a hard time expressing.

It IS ok, to NOT be ok. So happy you are here!! Understanding hugs if you accept. :hug:s
It is very sad that we are such good actors that no one really saw or sees the pain under the determination, the self discipline.

It's definitely something I'm having an Entire Time figuring out and processing. I'm very grateful for this new therapist I have: he definitely sees through me and has guided me through realizations like this that I've never even considered before. It's so sad to me that so many people experience this, but comforting knowing that I've dealt with this sense of emotional isolation for so long.

It's a sure sign of healing, to not be ok! It means we don't have to pretend anymore, at least not here. We can talk about how sad we are that people misread us our whole lives. And how much we suffered , alone.

Another thing I'm processing for sure. The "wall" is something I'm dealing with when it comes to talking with others, but on here, knowing that other people understand that hurt really helps me be candid about this in a way I'm not used to.

Understanding hugs if you accept. :hug:s

Thank you again, hugs!
I've been fooling people (including myself) for my whole life. I've been that straight-a student, the super-achiever, the one everyone said 'Wow you went through all that, and you're doing great, look at you, you're a survivor!' And one day, I just burst out and said, 'I'm not doing great. I lived, but I'm not doing great.' And started bawling. I'm in therapy now, and gradually learning to let people see that I'm not OK - and coming to terms with being not OK. I think that when people tell me that I'm doing great, they mean it as a compliment, as encouragement. I see it as invalidation. Like - can't you see how I'm suffering?!?! (lol)
I'm glad you've got a great therapist. :) Seeing that you're not OK is the first step to healing. :)
This past week has been hectic... But I’ve been grappling a lot with the fact that I couldnt have consented as a child. Even though I was very insistent and sought out that attention, I’m trying to question it. Like, what wasnt I getting from my parents and friends that made me, at age 9, so attached to sexual relationships with older men? That made me feel adult enough to feel that it was a fine thing to do because I was “so mature”?

It’s so hard to allow the responsibility for what happened to fall on the men who did this to me, because my entire life has been about how *I* need to be responsible for myself, for my actions & their consequences....
Very hard to unlearn those lessons.
I couldnt have consented as a child
Absolutely 100% correct: I don't care what you did, you could not have consented as a child. And - no matter how insistent you were, only a pedophile would go along with it. No normal adult would be sexually attracted to a child, no matter what the child did. We all, as adults, need to be responsible for our actions - but kids just aren't responsible. They're kids.
@jackques , hard to learn those lessons, but not as hard as what we went thru to get to this point. It's 'unlearning'. Getting the 'should's and aught's' out of the way to have a more clear head to do the right and loving things for ourselves.

I was also made to believe unfair and unjust things about what was MY responsibility. I look back now, and think, exactly what were the adults in my life doing while implying I was at fault for being young, not having enough life experiences, and yet should have known what my responsibility even was.

No, the adults in our lives let us down and expected too much from children, that would seek out attention from older men or act out things we should not have known anything about. The sad thing is, yes, we were manipulated into thinking we were 'mature'. So the double bind created was, what ever adults did was ok. After all, we were responsible young girls..

And that is all so much manipulated bullshit. Unlearning is not harder than what we had to experience for all the wrong reasons.

And there is not one thing fair or right about us having to take 'responsibility' for our healing. But it's not like we got to experience much 'fair or right' to begin with.

Inner-child work played a huge part in healing this part of my life. It may start out rocky, because we had to abandon that little girl to survive. But it gets better. So much better. It's only a suggestion, I just know how much it helped me to go back and ME being the one to cry for the choices she had to make. And to let her know she would never be alone again.

It's never too late for a happy childhood. And if responsibility is something we know inside and out, this one is a lot more healing, and ends up being so much fun. Yes, fun! My Little Ladee is so much fun. So carefree and just gets to be a kid. THEY took that away from us, but I made sure she got it back.

And no, it is never ever ever your fault. I know that to be true for myself today. And had to get in touch with some anger about all that. But I wasn't alone and had a T that understood and helped guide me. It ended up being very healthy anger. Justified anger.

I wish for both of us, that I did not understand this. Letting you know you are not alone in how you feel and what lies ahead. Keep in mind what lies ahead is FREEDOM, not just pain and self hate and self loathing.

Put that word FREEDOM on some sticky notes and put them in different places in your home.. when things get so hard, you will be able to look up and remind yourself, I do get some great things from this work. I get ME back..

Thinking of you, sending tender uncomplicated hugs to you if you accept. You are not alone. :hug:'s