Research Repeated patters from childhood and adult sexual assault.

RCReal

Learning
Putting on my Moderator Hat for a minute.
@somerandomguy Instead of telling members what they should write about, where they should post it, & what so called dues they have to pay before they do any or all of that... if you have a problem with a post; either in content or location... you’ve been here long enough to know to hit report and let Staff handle that, rather than taking it upon yourself to dish out bad info. Which is exactly what you’ve done. Threadbanned.

@RebeccaReal Staff move threads to forums they’re better suited in, all the time, and it’s of no worry or concern. Social, in particular, is the forum most new members miss-post in when wanting to connect with other members on group-style issues / comparing and contrasting notes. Someone shoots us a report, if we don’t see it first, and no fuss no muss, we move it. I apologize that this usual process was hijacked and used instead to chew you out. It was completely undeserved.

Hopefully, now, we can all return to the OP... and as always, if anyone wishes to discuss this post further? Please use Contact Us to get in touch with Staff directly, rather than replying to this post.
Thanks! I appreciate it. :)
 

RussellSue

Not Active
I mostly struggle with career-related issues, axiety/concentration and relationships with family and friends.

For instance, I have a master's degrees and did very well in school but since I graduated 3 years ago, I have had one job for about a year and it was a minimum wage job.

My anxiety is often high enough that I really struggle to keep my attention on auditory information, so listening to a boss (or anyone) talk is very hard for me.

Outside of my PTSD.com, I have my husband and my best friend and no other real bonds outside of family. My family bonds are strained because of abuse, trauma and other issues. For instance, my sister always wanted a "normal" life but because I have a cleft lip, she didn't have that until she was an adult. She still seems bitter but I don't know how to address it considering that "normal" was taken from me in the womb.

Not sure how helpful that is but feel free to ask questions if you need/want to.
 

RCReal

Learning
I mostly struggle with career-related issues, axiety/concentration and relationships with family and friends.

For instance, I have a master's degrees and did very well in school but since I graduated 3 years ago, I have had one job for about a year and it was a minimum wage job.

My anxiety is often high enough that I really struggle to keep my attention on auditory information, so listening to a boss (or anyone) talk is very hard for me.

Outside of my PTSD.com, I have my husband and my best friend and no other real bonds outside of family. My family bonds are strained because of abuse, trauma and other issues. For instance, my sister always wanted a "normal" life but because I have a cleft lip, she didn't have that until she was an adult. She still seems bitter but I don't know how to address it considering that "normal" was taken from me in the womb.

Not sure how helpful that is but feel free to ask questions if you need/want to.
This is very helpful! I really appreciate the specifics. I have a few questions, but please feel free to ignore them if you don't wish to share more.

This is actually very similar to what I experienced... like oddly the same.

I am highly "accomplished" but used to struggle to make real money. I could never seem to break through a certain level of income... Is this true for you? making minimum wage now, but have you made more money in the past?

I also had issues with auditory information, comprehending when people would give me instructions and I was often annoyed by loud noises, like people playing loud music or bass or things like the refrigerator running... Do you find that noises bother you?

You mentioned you are married. Did you find it hard to meet new people or keep close friends when you were single?


thanks for your help- i really appreciate you sharing. :)
 

RussellSue

Not Active
In my early 20s, I managed a sign shop and made a little less than $10 per hour. That was in year 2000-2002, and minimum wage was $6.25 in 2001 in that area at the time. That was the best I ever did after finishing high school with a 4.0 all the way through.

Noises don't bother me much anymore. But I just realized something -- I maybe shouldn't be giving you information because I actually don't have an active PTSD diagnosis, anymore. I have not for a couple of years. Though, I still have GAD.

Sorry that didn't register until now. I am still part of this group because I made friends here, may relapse and suffered major long-term cognitive effects from PTSD (many of which I still have) and because I am still very much a trauma survivor. Nevertheless, my last three symptom screenings (or whatever those things are called) said I was not reporting enough symptoms to have a PTSD diagnosis.

I'll finish answering in case you are able to use this for anything. I've always been pretty social and meet people easily but have had few close friends since high school - maybe 3. I am 40, now.

But I did meet partners and develop relationships. I was actually engaged 2 other times but both men died while we were together. We had good relationships/there was no abuse. However, both had utterly failed to manage their diabettes and both died very young (early 40s) as a result. I believe the underlying reason was depression in both cases. Both men were 15+ years older than me when we were together. For many years I had very little contact with anyone my own age because I got sober young and didn't relate to people my age.

Hopefully some of that is useful. I did have a PTSD diagnosis for quite a few years but like most, certainly should have had it much earlier.

Take care!
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
My brief story:
Emotionally neglectful/harmful parenting (which I only truly realised in adulthood). Sexual assault aged 11. Drink and drugs followed, with rape and CSE, and then controling relationships in teenager and young adulthood.

Having money: I started working very early so that I had money (initially for drugs but also to leave home as soon as possible). I have a massive drive to be financially secure. Have always worked. So for me: I've prob got a trauma response to my financial situation and stability (I have to rely on me and me alone and money gives independence and security. I had to leave home as soon as I could. I needed to run away from everything there and I could only do that with money).

Relationships: I turned this around. Have healthy supportive friendships and a healthy intimate relationship. It takes me a very very long time to trust and open up, but when I do: I'm very happy with my friends. They are my chosen family. Before I would just do whatever the other person wanted and had no agency/autonmy at all.

What I struggle with now, as a woman in my 40's:
I spent so much of my childhood 'not being'. Not drawing attention to myself. Not expressing myself. Not feeling emotions. Not knowing how to self soothe.
I disassociated A LOT as a child and young adult. And I realise my parents do this too.
So I cope and cope and cope and cope and then it fell apart.
Denying my emotions and my experiences only worked for so long.
So I am learning what my emotions are.
Learning how to take my space and express myself
Learning how to let others take care of me
Learning how to be vulnerable and be ok with that.
So it's this understanding of me, reducing anxiety, accepting the past, that I struggle with.
I'm also now struggling with sex.
And triggers.
Certain people: drunk, loud, unpredictable people put me on edge. Groups of men put me on edge. I immediately get frightened, passive, submissive, and lose me.
And my family: I can't resolve how I interact with them and can't decide whether to stop contact or what to do.
 

RCReal

Learning
In my early 20s, I managed a sign shop and made a little less than $10 per hour. That was in year 2000-2002, and minimum wage was $6.25 in 2001 in that area at the time. That was the best I ever did after finishing high school with a 4.0 all the way through.

Noises don't bother me much anymore. But I just realized something -- I maybe shouldn't be giving you information because I actually don't have an active PTSD diagnosis, anymore. I have not for a couple of years. Though, I still have GAD.

Sorry that didn't register until now. I am still part of this group because I made friends here, may relapse and suffered major long-term cognitive effects from PTSD (many of which I still have) and because I am still very much a trauma survivor. Nevertheless, my last three symptom screenings (or whatever those things are called) said I was not reporting enough symptoms to have a PTSD diagnosis.

I'll finish answering in case you are able to use this for anything. I've always been pretty social and meet people easily but have had few close friends since high school - maybe 3. I am 40, now.

But I did meet partners and develop relationships. I was actually engaged 2 other times but both men died while we were together. We had good relationships/there was no abuse. However, both had utterly failed to manage their diabettes and both died very young (early 40s) as a result. I believe the underlying reason was depression in both cases. Both men were 15+ years older than me when we were together. For many years I had very little contact with anyone my own age because I got sober young and didn't relate to people my age.

Hopefully some of that is useful. I did have a PTSD diagnosis for quite a few years but like most, certainly should have had it much earlier.

Take care!
Thank you again! this is all very helpful. A specific diagnosis isn't the important part- I am more interested in the longer term effects of trauma and I am looking to do research in the underserved areas, which actually may be more specifically working with people who don't meet the criteria for PTSD but still have specific patterns or struggles. My studies are in neuroscience and epigenetics... and I am most interested in people with past trauma and how that relates to seemingly unrelated physical symptoms, or things that seem like weird coincidences. For example In your case, you were engaged twice to older men who both had diabetes and depression. Im not suggesting that specifically had anything directly to do with your trauma or psychology, however if that were a common trait among women with past trauma... that is the type of thing I am looking for :) You have been most helpful and I truly appreciate you sharing!


Have you looked into Imposter Syndrome? What you are describing regarding lower paying jobs despite that you are clearly very intelligent and a high achiever. My past research has looked into Trauma induced imposter syndrome and the overlapping characteristics.

My brief story:
Emotionally neglectful/harmful parenting (which I only truly realised in adulthood). Sexual assault aged 11. Drink and drugs followed, with rape and CSE, and then controling relationships in teenager and young adulthood.

Having money: I started working very early so that I had money (initially for drugs but also to leave home as soon as possible). I have a massive drive to be financially secure. Have always worked. So for me: I've prob got a trauma response to my financial situation and stability (I have to rely on me and me alone and money gives independence and security. I had to leave home as soon as I could. I needed to run away from everything there and I could only do that with money).

Relationships: I turned this around. Have healthy supportive friendships and a healthy intimate relationship. It takes me a very very long time to trust and open up, but when I do: I'm very happy with my friends. They are my chosen family. Before I would just do whatever the other person wanted and had no agency/autonmy at all.

What I struggle with now, as a woman in my 40's:
I spent so much of my childhood 'not being'. Not drawing attention to myself. Not expressing myself. Not feeling emotions. Not knowing how to self soothe.
I disassociated A LOT as a child and young adult. And I realise my parents do this too.
So I cope and cope and cope and cope and then it fell apart.
Denying my emotions and my experiences only worked for so long.
So I am learning what my emotions are.
Learning how to take my space and express myself
Learning how to let others take care of me
Learning how to be vulnerable and be ok with that.
So it's this understanding of me, reducing anxiety, accepting the past, that I struggle with.
I'm also now struggling with sex.
And triggers.
Certain people: drunk, loud, unpredictable people put me on edge. Groups of men put me on edge. I immediately get frightened, passive, submissive, and lose me.
And my family: I can't resolve how I interact with them and can't decide whether to stop contact or what to do.
Thank you for sharing this with me. I appreciate you being open and honest about your struggles. I have a few questions; please answer whatever you feel comfortable sharing- or ignore if you prefer :)
If I understand you correctly, you biggest struggles are with reducing anxiety and what you call accepting the past- are you struggling with certain emotions when you think of past events? such as anger, or fear, shame, or is it something else?

You also mentioned struggling with sex, and you are in a supportive relationship. Have you always struggled with sex, or is this something that has surfaced more recently?

The family issue is actually something I still struggle with as well. In my case I no longer interact with 2 people who directly abused me- however I struggle because both of my parents still have close contact with them. It feels a little bit of a betrayal that my parents still communicate with my abusers, however I tend to keep my distance from my parents, and keep my relationship with them "surface level" so far it seems to be keeping things in balance... I have been interested in studying this -however it still hits a little too close to home for me, so I think it's best that I don't use this for my research topics.


Thank you for your help!
 
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RussellSue

Not Active
Have you looked into Imposter Syndrome? What you are describing regarding lower paying jobs despite that you are clearly very intelligent and a high achiever. My past research has looked into Trauma induced imposter syndrome and the overlapping characteristics.
Thank you. I have considered Imposter Syndrome, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, etc. I know that the bottom line is anxiety and I also know that a lot of my trauma surrounds having others not relate well to me because of growing up with a cleft lip. My formative years involved rejection from family and the outside world and so I am just plain missing a lot of the programming that would help me to succeed professionally.

I am working on it, though. I still have a lot of limitations regarding being live and in-person while working with others. I was making a lot of progress in this arena but chronic pain over the last couple of years has set me back because it has a serious effect on my ability to talk and concentrate, at times. Ultimately, I am hoping to work in fundraising and am on my second year of volunteer grant writing. For some reason, I can't fit in the holes that are easy to get into and so even after grad school, I am paying dues in order to get into work that ultimately still doesn't pay that well. Sigh.

Hopefully, I am on some sort of right track. I don't care that much about money but making a living wage one day is a goal I have. 😆
 

WillyKat

MyPTSD Pro
I agree that men may also need help, however being a women I know that I can relate and empathize better with what women experience, and I am perhaps am not equipped to empathize with the specifics of men's suffering. I am in no way discounting that men who have experienced abuse or trauma face unique and difficult challenges in overcoming this, however I do know my limitations within my own experience. I am studying gender neutral solutions in my classes, however in my targeted research I have chosen to explore what I am more familiar with.
I think though that including men in your research might actually help you understand things, even if you want to focus on women. For example, as a man, I don't worry too much about going into the dark parking garage at work (pre-covid). I'm 6'3" and about 220, so I don't get hassled very much. On the other hand, men generally are less likely to seek help, less likely to open up, and those things have a major impact.

In short, I don't think there's much difference in the crime, but the recovery issues are important. Comparing women's experiences to men may highlight things in ways you can't predict.
 

RCReal

Learning
I think though that including men in your research might actually help you understand things, even if you want to focus on women. For example, as a man, I don't worry too much about going into the dark parking garage at work (pre-covid). I'm 6'3" and about 220, so I don't get hassled very much. On the other hand, men generally are less likely to seek help, less likely to open up, and those things have a major impact.

In short, I don't think there's much difference in the crime, but the recovery issues are important. Comparing women's experiences to men may highlight things in ways you can't predict.
I understand where you are coming from- and you aren't wrong- however I have studied the effects of trauma on both men and women in my research- at this point I am narrowing down- the tighter I make my "niche" the more specific I can get to actually making a difference- I can't be everything to everyone, and trying to stretch too broadly actually limits my ability for effective research... I am not saying that anyone's suffering is lessor or greater by making my choice... Just like any Medical Doctor- they pick a specialization- I am much more familiar with what women experience, because I am a women and have personally experienced childhood and adult trauma... In addition, much of my research has been looking at Epigenetics and how trauma responses are passed down generationally, ( in-Utero) - and biologically this leads me back to studying women, by nature. I have a few colleagues who are studying trauma and childhood abuse specifically in men. The research is definitely happening :)

Thank you. I have considered Imposter Syndrome, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, etc. I know that the bottom line is anxiety and I also know that a lot of my trauma surrounds having others not relate well to me because of growing up with a cleft lip. My formative years involved rejection from family and the outside world and so I am just plain missing a lot of the programming that would help me to succeed professionally.

I am working on it, though. I still have a lot of limitations regarding being live and in-person while working with others. I was making a lot of progress in this arena but chronic pain over the last couple of years has set me back because it has a serious effect on my ability to talk and concentrate, at times. Ultimately, I am hoping to work in fundraising and am on my second year of volunteer grant writing. For some reason, I can't fit in the holes that are easy to get into and so even after grad school, I am paying dues in order to get into work that ultimately still doesn't pay that well. Sigh.

Hopefully, I am on some sort of right track. I don't care that much about money but making a living wage one day is a goal I have. 😆
I totally understand where you are coming from... missing out on the "programming" you are talking about... for years I truly believed there was some secret handbook to happiness, and I was absent the day they handed it out in school... This may sound a little too whoo whoo- but look up Dr. Joe Dispenza- He is all over YouTube etc... At first he comes across as a snake oil salesman- however the more research I do in neuroscience and epigenetics- he actually does know what he is talking about- and he applies his principles in a more spiritual approach than traditional medicine (ie Meditation and the power of your own mind) - this makes is much easier for anyone to benefit-- and I also think this maybe the downfall to why traditional psychology and psychiatry have so many gaps... the more time I spent working through my own trauma and especially now I am doing more and more research- I am starting to realize that the people who seem to recover the best are those that take a much more active role in their own diagnosis and recovery- vs going to a Dr. or therapist and hoping someone can " fix them" ... Im NOT AT ALL suggesting that this is you... It's clear that you dove in head first and have worked very hard to come to where you are. You seem to be pretty self aware, and that's like 80% there. Another resource I have read is a Book called "A Theory and Treatment of Your Personality" by Dr. Gary Flint- I think it is often dismissed because of its seemingly simple approach to a complex problem- It's a "thick" read-- because he explains a deeper understanding of the mind- however there is a simple application of something like a meditation that I feel made a huge difference in how I listed to that voice inside me head... The other thing that helped me immensely was when my therapist told me that- all the time I am worried what other people think of me is wasted- because people don't actually think about me as much as I think they do... hahah she's right- most people don't bother spending time thinking about others... which is both a good thing and a bad thing. :) Hope some of this helps - and by the way if you are volunteering doing grant writing that is huge- 2 years of experience is like gold- I know it's not about the money so much as the sense of accomplishment and being able to put food on the table... but I know of several organizations that pay top dollar for experienced grant writers! You've got this!! I believe in you! :)
 

Elsewhere

Learning
Hi Rebecca,

I recently posted on the Introductions thread, so my backstory (child abuse) is available there, if you like. BTW, my professional background is also in scientific research, so I appreciate what you’re doing. I’m glad you’re interested in learning about our experiences.

I dissociate a lot, have all my life, and it has caused me a lot of problems at school, at work, and in social interactions. I’m often “not present“, and I regularly miss out on information. This has led to a lot of shame (another huge problem for me) and avoidance (I guess because I’m afraid of “getting caught” not knowing things that I should know, but missed).

I also get triggered a lot from social interactions (probably due to lots of early emotional abuse at home and bullying at school). I often perceive threats in others’ words and actions, and even subtler things, like tones of voice and facial expressions. These perceived threats run the gamut of rejection, ridicule, accusation, being belittled/disrespected... I’ll then tend to ruminate endlessly (and very much against my will) on memories on these kinds of episodes (even ones that occurred decades ago). It’s exhausting and depressing and takes up mental energy that could otherwise be used productively—very frustrating!! It also makes me dread interacting with others (for fear of getting triggered, or worse, developing new triggers) and sends me into my shell, which in turn makes my world very small = missed opportunities.

As for physical symptoms, I have several that seem as though they could be trauma-related (and several of them could be autoimmune). They include severe rashes/skin inflammation in response to stress; aches (esp. neck) from constant body armoring; stabbing pains in my gut or chest; bruxism; periodontal problems; vitiligo; and joint inflammation.

I also have major problems with insomnia and with misophonia for certain types of sound. I used to get panic attacks with some regularity, but those have largely disappeared in recent years.

And then, there are other symptoms I experience that I’d say have had less of an impact on my life, but are still problematic, like hypervigilance, hyperarousal/startle-response, a tendency to catastrophize, and regular suicidal ideation.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.
 

RCReal

Learning
Hi Rebecca,

I recently posted on the Introductions thread, so my backstory (child abuse) is available there, if you like. BTW, my professional background is also in scientific research, so I appreciate what you’re doing. I’m glad you’re interested in learning about our experiences.

I dissociate a lot, have all my life, and it has caused me a lot of problems at school, at work, and in social interactions. I’m often “not present“, and I regularly miss out on information. This has led to a lot of shame (another huge problem for me) and avoidance (I guess because I’m afraid of “getting caught” not knowing things that I should know, but missed).

I also get triggered a lot from social interactions (probably due to lots of early emotional abuse at home and bullying at school). I often perceive threats in others’ words and actions, and even subtler things, like tones of voice and facial expressions. These perceived threats run the gamut of rejection, ridicule, accusation, being belittled/disrespected... I’ll then tend to ruminate endlessly (and very much against my will) on memories on these kinds of episodes (even ones that occurred decades ago). It’s exhausting and depressing and takes up mental energy that could otherwise be used productively—very frustrating!! It also makes me dread interacting with others (for fear of getting triggered, or worse, developing new triggers) and sends me into my shell, which in turn makes my world very small = missed opportunities.

As for physical symptoms, I have several that seem as though they could be trauma-related (and several of them could be autoimmune). They include severe rashes/skin inflammation in response to stress; aches (esp. neck) from constant body armoring; stabbing pains in my gut or chest; bruxism; periodontal problems; vitiligo; and joint inflammation.

I also have major problems with insomnia and with misophonia for certain types of sound. I used to get panic attacks with some regularity, but those have largely disappeared in recent years.

And then, there are other symptoms I experience that I’d say have had less of an impact on my life, but are still problematic, like hypervigilance, hyperarousal/startle-response, a tendency to catastrophize, and regular suicidal ideation.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.
Hello, Thanks for your response!!! This is actually very helpful. I appreciate another scientific mind! :)

I actually have experienced much of what you are talking about- the Misophonia is huge for me... the sound of people eating generates a visceral feeling- it's better now that I have been able to release my trauma... however under extreme stress I still get bugged by it and have to leave the room.

I completely understand the missed opportunities... I always felt like I was missing the Secret Handbook to Happiness or something... and always feeling shame because i knew I wasn't living up to other peoples expectations- they thought I was a total flake! I would try to counter act this with hypervigilance ... and then I was going through a burnout cycle. I was totally dysregulated.

You mention autoimmune issues-- there is actually a ton of research on this and there is a very significant correlation between autoimmune issues and childhood trauma. You may already know this- but for everyone else who doesn't speak NERD :) The reason for this is the epigenetic response from trauma.... I guess the easiest ways to explain this is- Trauma memories are like a black cloud that are stored in the body not the mind... the cloud basically covers the cells of the body- and cuts them off from normal and natural function of the brain... the brain sees these cells as a threat- ( even though its the trauma that the threat) and attack those cells... which then " turn on" genetic markers of disease and things...

I hope that made sense :) Have you tried somatic therapies?- it works to release the trauma memories from the body... this will help to turn off these genetic markers... I did this with a trauma informed Physical therapist - and also with some self hypnosis--- sounds all whoowhoo -but if you go into dissociations, you are actually in a "trance state" its a form of hypnosis, so this might work well for you.

Would you say that the Dissociation, physical symptoms - (chronic pain and autoimmune issues)- and insomnia are your biggest issues?
 

RCReal

Learning
My brief story:
Emotionally neglectful/harmful parenting (which I only truly realised in adulthood). Sexual assault aged 11. Drink and drugs followed, with rape and CSE, and then controling relationships in teenager and young adulthood.

Having money: I started working very early so that I had money (initially for drugs but also to leave home as soon as possible). I have a massive drive to be financially secure. Have always worked. So for me: I've prob got a trauma response to my financial situation and stability (I have to rely on me and me alone and money gives independence and security. I had to leave home as soon as I could. I needed to run away from everything there and I could only do that with money).

Relationships: I turned this around. Have healthy supportive friendships and a healthy intimate relationship. It takes me a very very long time to trust and open up, but when I do: I'm very happy with my friends. They are my chosen family. Before I would just do whatever the other person wanted and had no agency/autonmy at all.

What I struggle with now, as a woman in my 40's:
I spent so much of my childhood 'not being'. Not drawing attention to myself. Not expressing myself. Not feeling emotions. Not knowing how to self soothe.
I disassociated A LOT as a child and young adult. And I realise my parents do this too.
So I cope and cope and cope and cope and then it fell apart.
Denying my emotions and my experiences only worked for so long.
So I am learning what my emotions are.
Learning how to take my space and express myself
Learning how to let others take care of me
Learning how to be vulnerable and be ok with that.
So it's this understanding of me, reducing anxiety, accepting the past, that I struggle with.
I'm also now struggling with sex.
And triggers.
Certain people: drunk, loud, unpredictable people put me on edge. Groups of men put me on edge. I immediately get frightened, passive, submissive, and lose me.
And my family: I can't resolve how I interact with them and can't decide whether to stop contact or what to do.
Hello, thank you for sharing all of this with me. I have a few questions if you don't mind :) .. you mentioned you have a massive drive for financial security - and it has served you well to help you escape... do you ever feel like you have a " glass ceiling" or have trouble making money- regardless of the motivation- there is some research that might suggest that the drive to make money can be very strong because of survival- but that child abuse survivors may have difficulty breaking income caps etc... this may not be case- just exploring this concept ...

Dissociations I totally understand - I struggled with this
Reducing anxiety is definitely one of the most common issues i think... I am definitely going to include this in my research looking into alternative ways to accomplish this.
thank you for your help! :) I appreciate it !
 
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