Sexual Assault Therapy isn’t working

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justasimplecat

Policy Enforcement
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Hi,

I posted here some months ago about my ordeal with past gang rape and how it resurfaced again and how the trauma has been tormenting me: (Sexual Assault - Was this rape? )

Anyway, I finally got a new therapist after trying to take my own life (and almost succeeding!) not long ago, and just like every single other therapist I’ve had, they just keep making me talk about it and re-live it all over again.

It’s obviously making me very very uncomfortable and re-traumatizing me by talking about it.

I’ve expressed to my therapist that I just want to move forward with my life. I want to forget it all again and move on, just be happy for once in my pathetic miserable f***ing life! I told them that I don’t want to keep going over it, and they told me that in order to heal, I need to revisit past traumas and address them, blah blah blah.
But can’t they see? It’s killing me! I physically cannot do it any more.

After every single therapy session, I just feel drained and tearful.

My sex life now is pretty much completely dead. My husband and I don’t have sex any more and although he’s been amazing and supportive, and hasn’t complained once (to me anyway?), I’m terrified that eventually this will all become too much and he will get fed up of our sexless marriage, and cheat on me and/or dump me for another guy who will give him what he wants.

He’s never said this, I just worry that’s all. I’m scared of losing him, but I just can’t bring myself to do it, even if I take on the top role, I just can’t bring myself to do it. :/ I’ve become so useless. I still blame myself partly, for what happened to me. I know they are at fault, obviously! But I still partly blame myself.

The truth is, I had been raped twice before this took place (by two separate guys, but they were on their own; this particular incident was three of them!), so I feel like I should have seen this coming somehow; I should have seen the signs. I should have escaped or stopped it or SOMETHING. Obviously I did try to tell them I didn’t want it, but they wouldn’t listen to me. My then-boyfriend was calling the shots. He gave them “permission” to do it to me, on my behalf, despite my protests.

It’s been a few years so I can’t report them either. I have literally no evidence. It would be my word against theirs, and I know exactly what they’d say: that they had consent to do it to me (albeit not actually MINE but my then-boyfriend’s!), and that I didn’t fight back. Which is true; I totally froze after the initial few tries of trying to escape and being pinned down by them.

I just feel like therapy isn’t helping. It’s not just this therapist, it’s every therapist I’ve ever had; they want me to talk about my traumas and revisit them to try and come to terms with them. But all that seems to do is re-traumatize me all over again. I just want to move on. I want to forget. I managed to get it out of my head for a while but my therapist dragged it all up again and wants me to “confront it”. I don’t want to. It’s far too painful and I fear I might try to take my life again if I do. I came out of hospital after my attempt, and after a stay in the psychiatric ward after that, and was doing a lot better. I was actually feeling POSITIVE and in a good mood. I felt like this time I could do it. But then in therapy, we had to confront it all again, and now I feel like sh** again. I honestly cannot do this.

I want to bury it all away again and just be happy, restart my life again maybe, in a way. Part of me wants to move away from this area, even though all my family and friends are here, my career is here. I just want to run away and start fresh. I literally cannot keep going over what they did to me in therapy; it drives me literally insane and I hit rock bottom again. Basically, right now and for the last few years, therapy just isn’t helping. I’ve tried so many times and typed, and it’s all the same. And yes I’ve tried every damn medication under the sun; that doesn’t help either. Nothing does. Nothing helps.

I just want it all to go away and move on with my life.
 

grief

Sponsor
It’s obviously making me very very uncomfortable and re-traumatizing me by talking about it.
typically when a person does begin to do the things like exposure therapy the first thing that must be done is that the individual requires to build up tolerance to distress. if the therapist you are seeing is failing to do this aspect with you of being able to tolerate being in distress and to discussing it then it will unfortunately result in this. pushing you to discuss it when you are not ready is not appropriate or acceptable professional behavior. i regret that you are currently experiencing this and am hopeful that your way forward is more peaceful in the future. welcome back.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
I tend to be one of those that believes that it is not always helpful to go over traumatic events over and over again.

But...

It’s obviously making me very very uncomfortable and re-traumatizing me by talking about it.
Talking about a trauma will be uncomfortable. Can't get away from that. And I know I felt retraumatized again, initially. But as @greif said, it's your therapist's job to move at a pace that isn't *over*traumatizing. At the same time, you have to be willing to do some work, and it sounds like you just want to forget about it.
they told me that in order to heal, I need to revisit past traumas and address them, blah blah blah.
Yeah, many therapists say this, but there's no guarantee that doing so will get you past them, and it's possible that, over time, their effect on you will decrease. I stopped directly processing specific traumas (after years of going over and over them), and I did much better in some respects. None of it actually went away, though. I just learned over time to deal with the feelings differently.
After every single therapy session, I just feel drained and tearful.
When I first started therapy, I felt like this after all of my sessions, too. I think there is a certain amount of that to be expected, but if you remain like that for a long while, then it could be your therapist is moving too fast for you. Do you tell him/her how you feel after?
My sex life now is pretty much completely dead.
Are you saying you think this is because of the retraumatizing from therapy? Because it's far more likely it's from the original trauma.
I still blame myself partly, for what happened to me.
And *that* is something you need to work through, don't you think?
they want me to talk about my traumas and revisit them to try and come to terms with them.
Well, there is more than one way to treat trauma. Maybe it would help to sit down and talk with your therapist about what is working and what is not and what you would like to get out of therapy?
I just want to move on. I want to forget.
Yeah, honestly? I've never known anybody who can do that. I think most of us wish we could just forget and move on, but it's really not that simple. It stays with you, even if you do everything you can to avoid, bury, or put it out of your mind.
It’s far too painful and I fear I might try to take my life again if I do.
Ok, so this is something you need to talk about with your therapist. S/he needs to understand how painful it is for you, so some adjustments can be made in therapy that will not leave you feeling so bad. Or give you some tools to deal with whatever does come up between sessions.
I want to bury it all away again and just be happy
Burying it will not make it go away. Chances are, the feelings will surface in ways that create other issues for you. I so understand that desire to just bury it all. And I've tried to do it myself, over and over. But it *always* surfaces in some way.
 

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
Are you seeing a trauma therapist? If so, what kind of processing are you doing? Processing trauma is important, but simply talking about your trauma isn’t processing. Repeating your trauma in every session will just reinforce negative neural pathways. It’s akin to walking the same way through the forest over and over and beating down a path. Your mind needs to form newer neural pathways in order to become “unstuck”. This is how my processing worked. PTSD is pretty much our minds getting stuck in a particular moment or moments. Getting unstuck is the key. I highly recommend reading up on the concept of neural pathways in the brain and how negative neural pathways get reinforced so we need to find a way to change these pathways in the brain. Sorry if this is confusing, but it’s like this. Thinking about something over and over leaves an imprint of sorts in the brain, a pathway. We must change the pathways in order to move forward and become unstuck.
 

justasimplecat

Policy Enforcement
Not Active
Are you seeing a trauma therapist? If so, what kind of processing are you doing? Processing trauma is important, but simply talking about your trauma isn’t processing. Repeating your trauma in every session will just reinforce negative neural pathways. It’s akin to walking the same way through the forest over and over and beating down a path. Your mind needs to form newer neural pathways in order to become “unstuck”. This is how my processing worked. PTSD is pretty much our minds getting stuck in a particular moment or moments. Getting unstuck is the key. I highly recommend reading up on the concept of neural pathways in the brain and how negative neural pathways get reinforced so we need to find a way to change these pathways in the brain. Sorry if this is confusing, but it’s like this. Thinking about something over and over leaves an imprint of sorts in the brain, a pathway. We must change the pathways in order to move forward and become unstuck.
Yes I am.

I’m having CBT therapy, and the therapist I see has said to me that I need to work on my avoidance, so she’s been trying to give me exposure therapy. That’s why I have to keep talking about it; but when I say talking about it, what I mean is she’s not getting me to keep going over and over the details in graphic detail or anything, she’s been trying to get me to acknowledge what happened to me and stop hiding it away and pretending it didn’t happen, and she also wants to do something called image rescripting? Or something like that? The thing is, I WANT to forget. I know she’s trying to get me to stop being frightened of talking about my traumas, and she wants me to accept them before I can completely work on them, but I don’t want to.

I literally just want to forget they ever happened and bury them deep deep away.

I know I won’t be able to do that forever and that it’s easier said than done because that’s not how trauma works, but when I keep myself busy, it helps me. Others see it as “avoidance” but so what? They think it isn’t helpful but it’s helpful for ME.

I just feel that a lot of therapists have this very one track mind when it comes to treating those of us with trauma, and want us to keep talking about it and “process it” and not avoid it, but they need to realize that it isn’t one size fits all! I hate myself for what happened to me and I do partly blame myself for not doing more to stop it. Society would blame me. A defence lawyer would blame me. There must be a reason WHY that’s the case, logically speaking. I mean I wasn’t strong enough to fight all three of them off me, so I froze. I know this. I know this is the case; anyone would argue that this is true.

So I get it. I accept it.

I don’t like it of course I don’t, but there’s nothing I can do now, so I just want to forget it.

When I get re-triggered, I get suicidal or I self harm. I do just want to forget and avoid it, yes, I don’t want to be forced to keep remembering or processing it. It’ll drive me to death one day.

I want to forget. I think it’s the only way for me to have a relatively somewhat normal life.
 
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Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
You may want to try a different type of therapy. I started with cbt. It was full on exposure and that therapist didn’t offer me any coping. I asked her what I could do to help myself between sessions and she said “words of gratitude.” Not so far in, she sent me off to my current T who does emdr and a variety of other stuff. We spent a few weeks working on calm down tools before looking at the trauma. My daughter sees a therapist who focuses more on coping skills. Cbt—but not the trauma exposure type. She doesn’t have diagnosed ptsd, so she may qualify for a lighter approach.

Therapy is hard work. If or when you face the trauma it is really painful. I haven’t made it to the other side yet, but it has gotten easier. It can come in waves, though. Have you talked to your husband about this stuff?
 

justasimplecat

Policy Enforcement
Not Active
You may want to try a different type of therapy. I started with cbt. It was full on exposure and that therapist didn’t offer me any coping. I asked her what I could do to help myself between sessions and she said “words of gratitude.” Not so far in, she sent me off to my current T who does emdr and a variety of other stuff. We spent a few weeks working on calm down tools before looking at the trauma. My daughter sees a therapist who focuses more on coping skills. Cbt—but not the trauma exposure type. She doesn’t have diagnosed ptsd, so she may qualify for a lighter approach.

Therapy is hard work. If or when you face the trauma it is really painful. I haven’t made it to the other side yet, but it has gotten easier. It can come in waves, though. Have you talked to your husband about this stuff?
I guess so, but I’ve tried so many therapies and therapists now, I’m beginning to just feel like they’re not worth it. Nothing seems to work.
I was prepared for it to be painful, but it doesn’t seem to get any easier at all. Ever.
:(

Yes I’ve talked to my husband.
 

Sues

Confident
I did talk therapy for over a year and felt the same way. I felt I wasn't getting anywhere and it's so hard to talk about the traumas and made me feel worse. I'm now doing EMDR and have seen a lot of success and improvement. With EMDR there is very little talking, there is some. You have to name the trauma. You have to think about it while doing the EMDR (bilateral stimulation of some sort- eye movement, buzzers, light, etc). It works. It helps, and I see a difference. Is it difficult and painful? Yes, but with a purpose, with an end result that is tangible.
 

justasimplecat

Policy Enforcement
Not Active
I did talk therapy for over a year and felt the same way. I felt I wasn't getting anywhere and it's so hard to talk about the traumas and made me feel worse. I'm now doing EMDR and have seen a lot of success and improvement. With EMDR there is very little talking, there is some. You have to name the trauma. You have to think about it while doing the EMDR (bilateral stimulation of some sort- eye movement, buzzers, light, etc). It works. It helps, and I see a difference. Is it difficult and painful? Yes, but with a purpose, with an end result that is tangible.
I already tried EMDR twice and found it did nothing for me :/
I get the feeling it’s one of those placebo therapies unfortunately. They work for some who believe it’ll work, maybe?
For me, it didn’t work at all.
Tried a second time with somebody different, thinking maybe it was because of the therapist last time, but sadly no.
Didn’t work.
So now I just don’t believe in it at all, and I don’t understand why it is pushed so hard on trauma survivors? For myself and another friend of mine who suffers with similar (but also other) traumas, EMDR was ineffective so I don’t believe in it. Sorry.
I also tried EFT years ago and it did absolutely nothing either.
I just don’t think any therapy will work for me to be honest. :(
 

Better Days

New Here
Hi,

I posted here some months ago about my ordeal with past gang rape and how it resurfaced again and how the trauma has been tormenting me: (Sexual Assault - Was this rape? )

Anyway, I finally got a new therapist after trying to take my own life (and almost succeeding!) not long ago, and just like every single other therapist I’ve had, they just keep making me talk about it and re-live it all over again.

It’s obviously making me very very uncomfortable and re-traumatizing me by talking about it.

I’ve expressed to my therapist that I just want to move forward with my life. I want to forget it all again and move on, just be happy for once in my pathetic miserable f***ing life! I told them that I don’t want to keep going over it, and they told me that in order to heal, I need to revisit past traumas and address them, blah blah blah.
But can’t they see? It’s killing me! I physically cannot do it any more.

After every single therapy session, I just feel drained and tearful.

My sex life now is pretty much completely dead. My husband and I don’t have sex any more and although he’s been amazing and supportive, and hasn’t complained once (to me anyway?), I’m terrified that eventually this will all become too much and he will get fed up of our sexless marriage, and cheat on me and/or dump me for another guy who will give him what he wants.

He’s never said this, I just worry that’s all. I’m scared of losing him, but I just can’t bring myself to do it, even if I take on the top role, I just can’t bring myself to do it. :/ I’ve become so useless. I still blame myself partly, for what happened to me. I know they are at fault, obviously! But I still partly blame myself.

The truth is, I had been raped twice before this took place (by two separate guys, but they were on their own; this particular incident was three of them!), so I feel like I should have seen this coming somehow; I should have seen the signs. I should have escaped or stopped it or SOMETHING. Obviously I did try to tell them I didn’t want it, but they wouldn’t listen to me. My then-boyfriend was calling the shots. He gave them “permission” to do it to me, on my behalf, despite my protests.

It’s been a few years so I can’t report them either. I have literally no evidence. It would be my word against theirs, and I know exactly what they’d say: that they had consent to do it to me (albeit not actually MINE but my then-boyfriend’s!), and that I didn’t fight back. Which is true; I totally froze after the initial few tries of trying to escape and being pinned down by them.

I just feel like therapy isn’t helping. It’s not just this therapist, it’s every therapist I’ve ever had; they want me to talk about my traumas and revisit them to try and come to terms with them. But all that seems to do is re-traumatize me all over again. I just want to move on. I want to forget. I managed to get it out of my head for a while but my therapist dragged it all up again and wants me to “confront it”. I don’t want to. It’s far too painful and I fear I might try to take my life again if I do. I came out of hospital after my attempt, and after a stay in the psychiatric ward after that, and was doing a lot better. I was actually feeling POSITIVE and in a good mood. I felt like this time I could do it. But then in therapy, we had to confront it all again, and now I feel like sh** again. I honestly cannot do this.

I want to bury it all away again and just be happy, restart my life again maybe, in a way. Part of me wants to move away from this area, even though all my family and friends are here, my career is here. I just want to run away and start fresh. I literally cannot keep going over what they did to me in therapy; it drives me literally insane and I hit rock bottom again. Basically, right now and for the last few years, therapy just isn’t helping. I’ve tried so many times and typed, and it’s all the same. And yes I’ve tried every damn medication under the sun; that doesn’t help either. Nothing does. Nothing helps.

I just want it all to go away and move on with my life.
I am so very sorry for what you have endured. I have found that EMDR therapy helped me so much to sort thru things without having to relive that horrible horrible day. (My partner shot her self in the heart in front of me)

If you have not tried EMDR, you might consider it.
 

justasimplecat

Policy Enforcement
Not Active
I am so very sorry for what you have endured. I have found that EMDR therapy helped me so much to sort thru things without having to relive that horrible horrible day. (My partner shot her self in the heart in front of me)

If you have not tried EMDR, you might consider it.
I have tried EMDR twice and it did nothing for me.
Please see my reply above
 

Friday

Moderator
First off.. no therapy “works” for everybody. They just don’t. Or there would only be a small handful of therapy types; this for trauma, that for OCD, this for eating disorders, that for ADHD, etc. Instead? There are hundreds of therapy types overall, and dozens for trauma, alone.

EMDR is one of the most effective trauma therapies out there but...it’s never going to “work”
- if you only address 1 trauma and ignore ALL the others (not only would you need to do EMDR on all 3 rapes (correction, possibly dozens/hundreds, as I just went back and re-read your OP), not just the most recent gang rape... but also the traumas surrounding those, like being in an abusive relationship, and the court case that followed, and countless other things)
- If you try and treat complex trauma like it’s one off trauma. There are EMDR protocols for complex trauma... but they’re fairly new (just a few years old) and very very few practitioners are trained and certified in them.

EMDR for complex trauma? You’re most likely looking at several years of EMDR therapy in conjunction with “regular”/“normal” trauma therapy. Not the 5 or 10 or 25 sessions someone with a single rape may be looking at. Because complex trauma spiderwebs. This is attached to that, which sets off this, which is tied to that.

Yep. A single rape, once in an otherwise golden life, with no disorder to treat whatsoever, can easily take 6-12mo of EMDR to totally process. As some people may only take 5 sessions, whilst another may take 25.

But that’s not what you’re looking at. You’re looking at an extremely abusive relationship and all the hundreds of traumas contained therein (sexual, physical, verbal, emotional)... PLUS... previous trauma, including some which tie directly to later trauma.

There simply isn’t the time elapsed for you to have gone through that all with someone once, not even including the months of Stabilizing before treating that most people with PTSD need (sigh, some of us need years, super vexing; but as a general rule of thumb; if a person hasn’t just experienced trauma but developed a disorder from it? It usually takes several months of skill building before processing can start)... much less twice.

^^^ I don’t do EMDR, so this is NOT me waving a flag around for my favorite therapy, or trying to convince you to go. It’s not, and I’m not. 😁 But it’s like hearing someone say they tried antibiotics and it didn’t treat their infection, and then hearing they only took 1 pill. Um? Of course that wouldn’t work. If you want to treat the infection you have to take the whole course of antibiotics. ((But that’s hardly a guarantee that taking the whole course would treat the infection. If the infection is resistant to that antibiotic? A different one would be needed. Or if it wasn’t a bacterial infection to begin with, but viral or fungal or parasitical? You could take antibiotics for the rest of your life & never Help the infection heal one iota. )) So I’m really not pushing you to go back to EMDR, do several months of stabilization, and then begin treating complex trauma for the next couple years after that. It’s just that an attempt to treat 1 trauma, in a SEA of other traumas with EMDR? Is going to have about as much effect as taking a single antibiotic pill, and thinking it will treat your pneumonia.
 
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