Therapy is helping but also opening doors I was not prepared for

David1959

Confident
I have now been in weekly Therapy sessions for about 12 weeks. I am lucky in that I found an amazing therapist who specializes in CSA and I can absolutely say she has picked me up off the floor and allowed me to function. I am still dealing with some of the old demons like blaming myself for my abuse as a child by a professional pedophile (I never told anyone until I was 55) but I am making progress in that and other areas.

I always assumed that my PTSD was all tied to my CSA from 10-12 and it is a big part of it. With that said, what has caught me by surprise is her addressing not only my CSA but also other traumas that had a major impact on me until I was about 19 that has made my PTSD much more complex. This discussion has forced me to look at my parents whom I loved dearly, in a different light (they both passed a long time ago). My parents had a lot of their own personal issues but I have always viewed my upbringing as pretty standard, what I have learned is that it was far from normal. Because I was so close with my parents, especially later in their lives it is very hard dealing with the facts of my youth. I wish they were both alive so I could ask them a few questions:
  • How did you not realize that there was something wrong with a non family adult taking a child on overnight trips? (Still largely my fault for not saying anything)
  • How did you not realize that I had fallen into severe drug use starting at 13 thru 18 but you never said anything?
  • How did you not ever address the fact that I was doing horribly in school? (I am very bright and if I had been listening and doing my work I would easily have had straight A's)
  • How did you never discuss college with me, I never went and have paid a price?
  • How did you not realize that I was screaming out for help in so many ways, yet no one came?
  • How is it that I was basically abandoned in many ways like a wild animal fending for myself
I could go on and at first as my therapist began to uncover all of this I did not want to believe it but the realization that in a million years none of this would have been acceptable with my own children, I would never have put them in these situations. As I look back with guidance of my T and begin to recapture memories and put them in perspective I realize I was pretty much on my own with no skills or ability to deal with all this as a child.

I am not angry with my parents because they did the best they could and I am only partially aware of their own issues which probably impacted me negatively. I think I am more surprised and don't understand how they did ignore my issues. Maybe I did a good job of hiding my own problems to avoid adding to theirs?
 

grit

Not Active
Hi @David1959
Thank you for sharing your journey and inner thoughts. I find you similar to me when I started therapy and following you to learn more about it as I keep going. So thank you for that. You are much better digger in the process than I have been. One major difference is I went to therapy when both my parents were alive and also my parents (especially my mother) was hostile and violently abusive ...my dad is abandoneer and basically a figment of my imagination in my childhood even though he provided the life.
All that being said, one way of maturing, individuating and ultimately becoming our own - the ultimate person we are is taking all the parental input, ideals, ideas, and relational aspect (as painful as mine were and others) and as dubious they may be for those who remembered the loving parts but the dark sides were hidden or not as overt as others, is that we see our parents as flawed, as violent, as sometimes cruel and evil and yet also as our love for them and our dependency on them and taking some of their good parts (hard to imagine as my life was) and mix it in a big bowl. Then take what is needed and leave the rest as that is my past.

A lot of adults who had similar childhood like you where the parents appear normal but damaging when put the light on (as in therapy), end up often saying well my parents fed me, buy me what I needed, did better than their own parents so they did not particularly did this or that - they did the best they could. I always ask them why dont you do the same for your own child then? And the tune change. The only difference I learned is that when we become conscious we cannot go back easily to darkness and sometimes as our parents were doing their best - they were not conscious and not aware of their dark side!
I know maybe this is not what you need right now, but no matter how awake we are, even if you do everything right, your child will go to therapy in the future, and will relay how much you missed the mark - their mark! even though you may become so conscious to do the right thing we cannot ever do perfect for others.

I am close to your age and most of my life pursued freedom from my parents and probably that single idea or dream saved me from control loss of autonomy in my ptsd but here I am also learning how much I am like my mother except I am not acting out on my impulses and see them as thoughts or feelings not something I need to revenge on. I can wish forever my mother had some conscious or impulse control but then I think if she did and was still unconscious, she would not beat me but would probably transferred those feelings and thoughts into me organically and thank goodness she did not. I did dissociate successfully to accept her in the reality...fell into cocoon space. Even her overt abuse became a better option for me than if she was covert and confusing...that would have for sure render me at more severe level of ptsd than I am experiencing.

We can only do as good as we are conscious and I feel you are becoming conscious and seeing the reality as it is and it is that bad. What I sense is you have love as much as hate was hidden from you...and i hope you continue to use that love inward to bear witness of what was hidden that you are digging up now. All the best in your journey. It aint pretty but it does help for the long term.
 

RussellSue

Not Active
I have now been in weekly Therapy sessions for about 12 weeks. I am lucky in that I found an amazing therapist who specializes in CSA and I can absolutely say she has picked me up off the floor and allowed me to function. I am still dealing with some of the old demons like blaming myself for my abuse as a child by a professional pedophile (I never told anyone until I was 55) but I am making progress in that and other areas.
I am so glad to hear this! You were blaming yourself pretty harshly last I remember reading one of your posts, so it's great to not only have you report that you are making progress but also to see that you did not blame yourself at any point in this post. That's huge.

I am not angry with my parents because they did the best they could and I am only partially aware of their own issues which probably impacted me negatively. I think I am more surprised and don't understand how they did ignore my issues. Maybe I did a good job of hiding my own problems to avoid adding to theirs?
My mother was abused by her mother and most likely has high-functioning autism. She had my cleft lip and palate to deal with which was no small ordeal. She missed a whole lot of what went on with my stepfather's sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, and didn't realize when my sister needed help or when she became a danger to me. I developed severe symptoms of depression before I was 10, and those also went without notice. My life has been very affected by my mother missing things, ignoring things, denying things, and otherwise not grabbing hold of things and dealing with them.

I also protected my mother from my symptoms when I started getting sick. I never said a word because she was doing all she could to manage my sister's problems and work her 60-hour workweek. She has asked me multiple times why I kept my mouth shut, and I don't know that I have ever told her, but she had a lot going on and I didn't want to make it worse.

I'm not angry at my mother. She did what she could do and while it was not enough to manage a healthy household, we're all still alive. 😆

I don't have children. I was WAY too aware of what generational trauma had done to me and my sister to be interested in paying it forward and I knew that I would because I knew I couldn't function well enough to raise healthy children. That said, I can't determine what I did right or wrong with my own children or why I managed better than my own parents -- all I can do is assume that my parents thought they were functioning much better than they were. It may have merely been fear of being that same unaware person that caused me to choose to not have kids.

Anyway, I think that it's really great that you are not angry at your parents. I am angry enough at my father to pretend I am angry at both of mine.
 

Rumors

MyPTSD Pro
. Because I was so close with my parents, especially later in their lives it is very hard dealing with the facts of my youth. I wish they were both alive so I could ask them a few questions:
  • How did you not realize that there was something wrong with a non family adult taking a child on overnight trips? (Still largely my fault for not saying anything)
  • How did you not realize that I had fallen into severe drug use starting at 13 thru 18 but you never said anything?
  • How did you not ever address the fact that I was doing horribly in school? (I am very bright and if I had been listening and doing my work I would easily have had straight A's)
  • How did you never discuss college with me, I never went and have paid a price?
  • How did you not realize that I was screaming out for help in so many ways, yet no one came?
  • How is it that I was basically abandoned in many ways like a wild animal fending for myself

I am not angry with my parents because they did the best they could and I am only partially aware of their own issues which probably impacted me negatively. I think I am more surprised and don't understand how they did ignore my issues. Maybe I did a good job of hiding my own problems to avoid adding to theirs?
Oh yes....so many things ring true for me as well. How could they not notice I was struggling? I can tell if my son has a headache, is emotionally stressed, has an upset tummy, is tired... I am dialed in to him like an atomic clock. ha! I can tell you there may be a time where you are angry with your parents. My mom passed away a long time ago. My dad is alive but I don't see him and have no relationship with him. Hang in there!
 

Friday

Moderator
How did you not realize that there was something wrong with a non family adult taking a child on overnight trips? (Still largely my fault for not saying anything)
If it helps at all? That’s pretty normal in many of the cultures I’ve lived in, including my own family’s culture. In 2 different ways :

- In American culture it’s a kind thing to do for the parents ...giving them a night off, or a weekend off. Often on a regular basis. On a rare basis a whole week/month/holiday (summer break, winter break, or a work trip).
- In the more collectivist cultures I’ve lived in, it’s a kindness to the kids, giving them time with role models/ mentors/ future allies. Building their relationships & ties, whilst giving them a leg up in life.


I think I am more surprised and don't understand how they did ignore my issues. Maybe I did a good job of hiding my own problems to avoid adding to theirs?
As a parent yourself, you’d know you have to TEACH children to tell you things... because kids think parents are omniscient, as a rule. To the point that, as adults & parents ourselves, it can STILL be hard to wrap our heads around our own parents not knowing every detail of our lives... even win the lengths we may have gone to, to be included in our children’s lives... and the lengths we went to as kids to have our own independence & privacy.

Shrug. It’s just a ‘be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water’ kind of heads up. If you had a fantastic relationship with parents who loved you & did their best by you? Yeah, they might not have cared about the same things YOU care about as a parent, in the same ways, or to the same degree... but they still cared about you. Different people have different priorities. Maybe they knew you were having a hard time, and felt it was more important to build your confidence than ride your ass. Maybe a thousand other things. The good bits you wrapped up into raising your kids, the bits you didn’t like binned. Just as your kids will avoid treating their kids the way you treated them, that they don’t like/agree with, & keep the parts they loved about their childhoods. Doesn’t make you or them bad parents, for putting your/their own priorities first. Just different parents. <<< Which can be even harder to reconcile with than full scale badness / with a greater potential for rift.
 

David1959

Confident
I am close to your age and most of my life pursued freedom from my parents
That is what caught me by surprise with my T. I would give anything to see both my parents today, I miss them and loved them so much. My Father who passed about 35 years ago was my best friend and we lived together for a number of years before I got married. My mother who passed 15 years ago actually lived with us for the last 6 years of her life and I miss her. She was part of my kids lives at an impressionable time and she was a wonderful grandmother.

This is what caught me by surprise in Therapy because I never took notice of the flaws in my upbringing, I just thought it was normal. I would give anything to hug them both again
 

grit

Not Active
That is what caught me by surprise with my T. I would give anything to see both my parents today, I miss them and loved them so much. My Father who passed about 35 years ago was my best friend and we lived together for a number of years before I got married. My mother who passed 15 years ago actually lived with us for the last 6 years of her life and I miss her. She was part of my kids lives at an impressionable time and she was a wonderful grandmother.

This is what caught me by surprise in Therapy because I never took notice of the flaws in my upbringing, I just thought it was normal. I would give anything to hug them both again
That to me sounds like you were loved and felt love and they were humans with flaws. Mine were opposite. I learned hate and searched for love for the rest of my life...just now realizing also the futility of that search too and that I am just enough.
 

talon

Policy Enforcement
I have now been in weekly Therapy sessions for about 12 weeks. I am lucky in that I found an amazing therapist who specializes in CSA and I can absolutely say she has picked me up off the floor and allowed me to function. I am still dealing with some of the old demons like blaming myself for my abuse as a child by a professional pedophile (I never told anyone until I was 55) but I am making progress in that and other areas.

I always assumed that my PTSD was all tied to my CSA from 10-12 and it is a big part of it. With that said, what has caught me by surprise is her addressing not only my CSA but also other traumas that had a major impact on me until I was about 19 that has made my PTSD much more complex. This discussion has forced me to look at my parents whom I loved dearly, in a different light (they both passed a long time ago). My parents had a lot of their own personal issues but I have always viewed my upbringing as pretty standard, what I have learned is that it was far from normal. Because I was so close with my parents, especially later in their lives it is very hard dealing with the facts of my youth. I wish they were both alive so I could ask them a few questions:
  • How did you not realize that there was something wrong with a non family adult taking a child on overnight trips? (Still largely my fault for not saying anything)
  • How did you not realize that I had fallen into severe drug use starting at 13 thru 18 but you never said anything?
  • How did you not ever address the fact that I was doing horribly in school? (I am very bright and if I had been listening and doing my work I would easily have had straight A's)
  • How did you never discuss college with me, I never went and have paid a price?
  • How did you not realize that I was screaming out for help in so many ways, yet no one came?
  • How is it that I was basically abandoned in many ways like a wild animal fending for myself
I could go on and at first as my therapist began to uncover all of this I did not want to believe it but the realization that in a million years none of this would have been acceptable with my own children, I would never have put them in these situations. As I look back with guidance of my T and begin to recapture memories and put them in perspective I realize I was pretty much on my own with no skills or ability to deal with all this as a child.

I am not angry with my parents because they did the best they could and I am only partially aware of their own issues which probably impacted me negatively. I think I am more surprised and don't understand how they did ignore my issues. Maybe I did a good job of hiding my own problems to avoid adding to theirs?
You have a right to feel angry and abandoned but as parents we are all a mixed bunch and although my children have always seen me as a great dad i also know there are moments where i could have been better. my children have both done well and now have their own . Sometimes living through and surviving these experiences makes us stronger people two and a half years in my childhood did much damage but i still have things i am proud of . We cannot look back only forward i am here when i can be to help if i can but you are not alone
 

David1959

Confident
You have a right to feel angry and abandoned but as parents we are all a mixed bunch and although my children have always seen me as a great dad i also know there are moments where i could have been better. my children have both done well and now have their own . Sometimes living through and surviving these experiences makes us stronger people two and a half years in my childhood did much damage but i still have things i am proud of . We cannot look back only forward i am here when i can be to help if i can but you are not alone
Thank you for the support. I would not say I am angry more disappointed and confused
 
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