Monika

Telling your story vs. learning to cope

40 posts in this topic

I'm definitely curious to hear your opinions.

I have come across literature and conference information that suggests that telling your story and talking about details of the abuse is nothing more than retraumatizing (most of this is said in relation to CSA as opposed to what they termed one time rape). These people go on to say that the "old way" of searching for abbreaction and catharsis did not work but rather it caused people to decompensate and become dysfunctional. The process of talking about details evoked strong affect (fancy word for emotions/feelings) that survivors were ill-equipped to deal with. They note people who have had to take disability leaves, become suicidal, self-injurious, develop eating disorders, become profoundly depressed and sometimes psychotic all as a result of attempting to deal with their abuse histories.They also note many surivors are reluctant to go into detail about their experiences, many who report they "can't say it."  They recommend not disclosing the details or memories and focusing on how the abuse affects your life today and learning to cope in relation to that. They say that identifying how abuse influences your thinking and actions and then effecting change in those areas will increase the quality of your life and there is no need to go into any detail about what happened.

So, I'm wondering...what do ya'll think about this?

Rain

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I'm not dealing with csa but it wasn't one time rape...it was several times rape over months.  Talking helps me.  Before I go I'm a wreck and sick but after I've done it I feel strong...I've helped to make it so one less person has to come here.  In  less than 2 hours I'm talking with a reporter with the news paper...I'm in the mess part right now.  But after it's out I know I'll feel wonderful

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Really interesting thread, Rain!

My experience wasn't with CSA, but with rape. Like so many areas of life (nature vs nurture anyone?), I think there's a middle ground between talking and coping. I don't think silence is the answer, personally. I tried it and it #### near killed me. But I also know I have to be careful with talking. It's easy to be overwhelmed with emotions.

This is really relevant to me right now as I have been doing a lot of really hard work in therapy. After some sessions I've come home very upset, overwhelmed, definitely feeling poorly equipped to handle what I've invoked. Interestingly, though, for me these feelings seem very "old." I was assaulted almost 15 years ago and went through #### trying to pretend it didn't happen. Your post mentioned SI, depression, and a host of other problems survivors can face. These were issues for me when I *didn't* talk. I feel they were a byproduct of silence.

I can handle all this now, as I never could before. And that's what I remind myself when I feel overwhelmed.

Talking about what happened is extraordinarily difficult. Still. But I have felt a kind of release aftwards, like a long-held tension inside me unclenching. This has been a profoundly transformational time for me.

Identifying how abuse influenced your life and effecting change in those areas is a good idea, and I think it's integral to healing. But I don't think you have to make a choice between that and not disclosing details. There's no rule book, though. It's different for everyone. There may well be some people who cannot survive the telling, who need to develop coping skills instead in order to live. I imagine that for these people, talking might come later (putting myself in this category). But it's not for me to say what's right for someone else'e healing.

Take care.

L

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Rain

******t******

What an interesting thread!

<i>These people go on to say that the "old way" of searching for abbreaction and catharsis did not work but rather it caused people to decompensate and become dysfunctional. The process of talking about details evoked strong affect (fancy word for emotions/feelings) that survivors were ill-equipped to deal with.</i>

My question here would be: what were the dynamics surrounding their telling? Did the survivor themselves feel the need to tell? Were they in a position of feeling they HAD to go through the details in order to move to the 'next stage' of healing? Did the therapist present 'telling' as the only way to healing? Was the telling done slowly or quickly? Was the survivor's input gained at all stages to feed back into the process? Was adequate work done prior to the telling in ascertaining what other forces/issues were at work in the survivor's life? e.g. did they have good coping mechanisms? did they have space in their lives between jobs and relationships to put in a lot of time to healing? was medication available if required?

<i>They recommend not disclosing the details or memories and focusing on how the abuse affects your life today and learning to cope in relation to that. They say that identifying how abuse influences your thinking and actions and then effecting change in those areas will increase the quality of your life and there is no need to go into any detail about what happened. </i>

I don't think that this is untrue or unwise, but I would say that it was a partial representation of the healing process. As I 'unwrap' my memories, and reactions I feel more liberated, and more free. Words I thought I could never type can now come out of my mouth. I feel a more complete person, and as though I am beginning to integrate the internal and external 'me'.

One of the problems is our uniqueness - as well as the abuse there are thousands of other factors that have shaped us. It's extraordinarily difficult to say who I would be now if I had never started this journey, or who I would be if I had started it earlier or later.

I believe 'healing' encompasses a plethora of choices, but I do firmly believe that 'telling' has been at the root of *my* personal healing journey. I was so profoundly ashamed of the details of my abuse, but now I am much less so. This lack of shame has permeated through to other areas of my recovery. Being able to say 'I was raped anally' has made it easier to say 'I have a desire to SI'. It has made me less ashamed of *me*.

Well that's my thoroughly unscientific two cents

Take gentle care

Emma

xoxox

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Here's my two cents worth, Rain...

I believe there is some validity in the statement that retelling can be retraumatizing - but I also believe that for true healing to take place that the telling of the story is vital.

I think the question is - is the "decompensation" of people in working through abuse the cause of the problems or was it the abuse itself?  The proverbial chicken or the egg arguement...

CSA promotes the development of very effective childhood ways of dealing with surviving the abuse and getting through it - you name it, survivors have done.  They were reasonable, creative, wondrous things that a child dreamed up and put into action that got them through whatever it is that got them through it.  The problem is when you take those childish things into adult life and the problems get bigger and the coping mechanisms become less effective.

Dissociation was a gift to me as a child - as an adult, it has not served me well and as I have worked through and walked the path of the "talking sure", it is a response that used to be an automatic response to stress that I have not experienced in nearly two years...

Numbing was also a dear friend - it served me very well not to feel - but it has led me to some poor choices in relationships, robbed me of the richness of many aspects of my life.  How I avoided the pitfalls of drug and alcohol addiction was by sheer will, but oh, how tempting it was for me - so much so that I knew in the depths of my being that I had to run from it.  It left me dead inside that although to the rest of the world I looked so together and "functional".  That appearance of functionality led me to the course of events that led to a series of rapes by the same person, which led to a pregnancy, which led to an adoption (that I have never regretted the choice), which has led to the heartache that only a birthmother can tell.

Not telling led me to the brink of disaster - I just looked functional.  It was because my inability to deal with my past that led me to decompensate - not the telling of my story because I still wasn't talking to anyone!

I do agree that folk who don't know what they are doing retraumatize csa survivors when the only thing they know how to do is get people to talk about what happened to them, but they don't know how to help them know what to do about it.  The telling of your story over and over and over again isn't necessarily helpful - the telling is only one part of the process, only one step...

I don't believe you can force people into talking about their experience before they are ready is helpful - it can only do more harm.  It is one of the reasons why hypnosis is scary for me - if my mind isn't letting me in on it, it must know something about me that I don't - which is that I am not ready for that information and if and when I am - it will come to me and I can embrace it, knowing that I am ready to deal with it.

Focusing on how the abuse affects your life today and learning to cope in relation to that, identifying how abuse influences your thinking and actions and then effecting change in those areas will increase the quality of your life...  It is work that must be done and I think it should be a focus in treatment and in the healing process.

My most recent therapist comes from a cognitive therapy background - in fact he is one of the leading researchers and experts on that form of therapy.  He specializes in working with depression and I was his first client that he really worked with that dealt with ptsd and the level of sexual abuse issues that I had.  I think he would tell you that the telling of my story was a major turning point in my personal journey from his perspective as a therapist - but the work we did together also helped to identify some basic core issues, that my past was a part of creating, look at how it was affecting me in RL and how to develop more effective coping mechanisms...

If folks had had effective coping mechanisms to begin with, would they have come to bits when they talked about what had happened to them - probably not to the degree we are talking about.  I'm afraid that approach can easily minimize the initial trauma and delay true healing.  If people aren't ready to deal with the abuse, then there is a need to focus on the other stuff and help them develop better life strategies - but the other issues will always pop their ugly heads up at the most convenient time, it will always demand attention until it is dealt with - one way or another.

We all walk a similar but very unique path here.  It's why it is so important to find help that knows what they are doing.  There are a lot of therapists making money off of keeping people in pain.  There are also some who are making money from these folks because they aren't willing or able to do what it takes to move past it.  

Enough of a ramble - hope is makes some sense...

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I have found myself to develop more problems the more I keep the details in.  I believe for myself in order to ever get out of this pit, I need to purge my soul so to speak.  In other words I need to get out the poison.

I don't think I am either coping or healing at this point.  More like being a coward and hiding from it ...

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I have always been very cynical towards the "you have to tell it all in order to be able to heal" thought...

I really don't think that for me it's necessary.

Telling everything into detail, remembering everything,... I don't even want to.

I do think it's important to tell parts of my story.

Like... erm... suppose my T and I are talking about shame. And she's telling me how she doesn't think I have anything to be ashamed about. You know how you can think at a point like that : "If only you knew..." Well I do think that whatever is on your mind on a moment like that is something you should tell, because it's obviously a major issue, that is influencing the way you feel and think. But not every detail, not every (hidden) memory has that power.

I'm also very cynical about "forced" memories... You know, where you and maybe a T work real hard to get memories to surface. I think it's dangerous. Memories will surface when it's their time. Forced memories... I think that indeed they will do more harm than good. But that's just my opinion and I'm not a professional in any way.

One more thing though...

My T keeps telling me that one of the most important needs of a person is to be validated in the way they feel.

Of course you need to tell at least part of your story to be validated.

I think my conclusion for now is that it's probably different for everyone.

The most important thing I think is to follow yourself, follow your own needs, and not let you force into something by anyone just because they happen to have a degree.

If you need to talk, talk.

If you need to remember everything, look for your memories.

It's our journey. We decide.

Els x

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There's a lot of wisdom here, which I adore. Em, you'd be a great person to test the validity and reliability of research ;)

It seems to me that telling someone that they "can't" talk about what happened b/c you know they can't handle it would be both shaming and disempowering. It would  somehow reinforce the myth that csa, sa and multiple rape is unspeakable. At the same time I can understand the fear that telling could be retraumatizing or at the very least bring up strong, intense feelings that will be difficult to ride out. In that vein it makes sense to me to do work around safety and coping first... to make sure that the survivor has the requisite skills needed to deal with intense emotion that is invoked throughout the healing process.

I've never told much about my own experience. I think I'm releasing more and more at a very slow pace. When I look back I don't see how not telling served me. I developed a severe eating disorder and engaged in extensive SI...all the while being plagued by my experience but not talking about it (people wanted to focus on what I was doing to myself and never wanted to get to why I was doing that to myself...oh, not to mention that I flatly was not believed when I attempted to tell on a few occasions--but that is a story for another day.)

At this point I appreciate shoring up coping skills as I 'wake up' emotionally and learn to be more present in my life. And at some point I think I just may see the telling in therapy as freeing... or at least I hope. I'm not there yet and won't be for a while. But knowing telling is an option to me helps...as opposed to feeling like there is some moratorium on it b/c someone has decided that I couldn't deal with it (and maybe I can't, who knows, that all remains to be seen) that would only increase my already great sense of shame.

And, yes, I definitely respect survivors who have no desire to tell... it is different for everyone. For some reason that made me think of Judith Herman's "trauma dialectic" the intense need to tell coupled with the intense need to avoid it at all costs. I understand that greatly... I'm betting a lot of us do.

Take gentle care,

Rain

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A tough topic, but a good one.

I think I can relate to both the "telling is freeing" and the "telling can lead to disaster" theory.

Personally, I have dealt with everything in silence, and the silence was killing me, I developped an ED, SI'd, suffered from depression...tried to kill myself...until I somehow overcame all this crap and stuffed my memories far far away.

I thought I was "over it" and I was finally where I wanted to be in life after my graduation from high school.

But some months later, I felt something coming up again, and as I had internet by then, I thought I needed to talk about it to find closure.

I went into random chat rooms looking for people to talk with anonymously and then disappear again.

Most people thought it would help to "get it out" and talk about how it happened in details...I found myself crying in front of the computer, but fortunately, at that time i was emotionally stable enough to be able to do it without being  triggered...I can only imagine how devastating this would have been if I was in the emotional situation I'm in right now.

But telling was freeing and empowering and helpful in the first place...I ended up finding someone online who was very understanding and became my boyfriend, I found different survivor sites and after some months there I felt comfortable telling some people in real life.

I know that it was basically shame that kept me silent, and by telling I have broken that shame, I can accept the fact that I have been raped without fearing the opinion of others.

But...talking about the rape and dealing with my issues has brought more memories back...memories of the abuse from my ex that I had never seen as bad enough to hurt me before, flashbacks, anxiety, depression, SI, EDs...recently very strong thoughts about suicide...I have failed at uni and in my function as a scout president, and I'm basically as lost and helpless as I was at 15 when "it" happened.

I often wish I had not opened that door and kept silent because before telling I was fine, and I know that talking has triggered everything to come back.

I don't know, I guess it would have come back sooner or later if I had kept silent, and I know the problem was not telling but telling without being in the situation to do so, without having the necessary coping skills.

As I am on meds now and am starting therapy, I think I will be able to do it, and I think that telling will have a great part in my heling, but I can definitely see that telling your story without the emotional equipment can be extremely dangerous.

Art

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Just to add the thought that being forced to tell your story by a therapist and then being send home triggered and without any coping mechs does suck.

Just got to know that first hand...still growling at the T

Art

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wow, great thread, i am interested to know what organization is writing about that, and to an extent I agree.

I think that there are some therapists who think that if the person has a strong cathartic experience it is a good thing, because the therapist has their ego tied into experiences of intensity.   My background is yoga and chinese medicine and in oriental medicine 5 elemnt theory we have 5 core emotions that we want to be able to access to be whole: courage, righteous anger, passion, compassion, and reflection.  There is a stress emotion asociated with each of these.  Abused children often get contracted into one of these roles, they become either a perfectionist, caretaker, invisiible or rebellious.  When you just keep telling your story over and over again and get retraumatized because the therapist does not have the skills to help you access the other emotions, you are just stuck. I cied and cried about everything and only felt depression and grief and compassion for my abuser, and the people helping me thought they were raally doing a good job because of the intensity of my experience. BUt I was a broken record.

It was financially and emotionally draining and did not help me until I found a teacher who could help me work with the other emotions, and who gave me some brain integration skills to synthesize the information in a different way.    I was so sick of paying people to just cry. On person told me that I just had to cry until all the tears were shed, but it was wrong.  I have been told that what I am describing is flooding.  Probably though this is pretty individual.  I have to take really good care of myself whenever I disclose in any way.  take care, sister moon  

 

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ok, i'm a victim of csa. for awhile i had to tell the details because i was remembering what happened and needed to get it out. now i don't need to do so anymore. however i do tell people i was molested because it had such a tremendous impact on who i am now. also i'm not ashamed of what happened anymore. i know now it wasn't my fault. just saying that i was molested seems to be enough for the people i say it to. i don't need to hide what happened anymore.

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boost

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Rain.

Great question.  This is where my gf is.  Wondering.  In fact her therapist (a cognitive behavioural therapist) has asked her if at times she wishes she had never said anything.  She broke her silence almost a year ago.  I have experienced serious abuse of another kind, and talking about it has really helped me.  It's given me a whole new sense of calm and strength.  But that's me.  Talking didn't necessarily help my gf, especially in the months following her disclosure.  It has shattered so many of the things she told herself for years just to keep going in her life.  Confronting the issues around other people's cruelty has not been easy at all for her.  She's gone through a long "quiet" phase, also brought on by some key people's denial of her story.  Now she's starting to read the boards here, she's posted twice and I'm putting my faith in her instincts and the care of her therapist (who I've met ... she's wonderful).

Kevin

(Edited by dream of water at 3:32 pm on Mar. 24, 2003)

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I think it is good to talk about the details. When a memory comes up, talk about it. I used to try to keep the memories locked away inside and concentrate on coping in life, but I came to realise that the two go hand-in-hand. Without talking about the details of my memories, without telling my story, I wasn't able to cope and to heal.

Just my two cents. :)

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Here's an article about this.

Adjustment to Trauma-Related Stress Helped by Repressive Coping Style

Joan Arehart-Treichel

Those who repress their anxiety seem to be better shielded against heart attacks and PTSD than those who experience anxiety or try to repress it but fail.

Ever since the 1970s, certain people have been known to be anxiety repressors. That is, their heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tone, and other physiological measures reveal that they experience anxiety, yet they manage to repress conscious thoughts about their anxiety.

What’s more, persons who have had heart attacks are known to be in danger of both acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Thus, some Israeli researchers decided to conduct a study to find out how good an anxiety-repression coping style is at shielding patients from acute stress disorder and from PTSD. As they reported in the September/October Psychosomatic Medicine, the coping style seems to be effective.

Karni Ginzburg, Ph.D., a lecturer at Tel Aviv University School of Social Work; Zahava Solomon, Ph.D., a professor there; and Avi Bleich, M.D., chair of psychiatry, selected as their subjects more than 100 patients who had been hospitalized for a heart attack. While the subjects were hospitalized, they filled out a 58-item psychological questionnaire to reveal whether they were anxiety types (persons who feel anxious when threatened with dangerous situations), defensive types (individuals who try to repress their anxiety but fail), successful anxiety-repression types (individuals who tend to repress their anxiety and succeed at it), or low-anxiety types (persons who experience little anxiety when faced with threatening situations).

While in the hospital, the subjects were also assessed with the Stanford Acute Stress Reaction Questionnaire, which is based on DSM-IV criteria, to determine whether they were suffering from acute stress disorder. Seven months later, they were evaluated at home with the PTSD Inventory, a self-report questionnaire based on DSM-IV criteria, to determine whether they had PTSD.

As Ginzburg explained to Psychiatric News, clinical interviews are definitely preferred when a diagnosis of PTSD is made for clinical purposes. However, for their study purposes, they believed that their standardized self-report questionnaire was superior, not just because it was easier to administer, but because it had both high validity and high specificity.

After Ginzberg and her coworkers analyzed their data to categorize their subjects in one of the four stress-reaction groups, they determined how many subjects in each succumbed to either acute stress disorders or PTSD. This way they could see how the repressive-coping types compared with the other three types.

They found that 31 percent of their subjects were anxiety types, 26 percent were defensive types, 25 percent were successful anxiety-repression types, and 17 percent were low-anxiety types.

They found that 36 percent of the anxiety types, 21 percent of the defensive types, 4 percent of the successful anxiety-repression types, and none of the low-anxiety types experienced acute stress disorder.

They found that 19 percent of the anxiety types, 17 percent of the failed anxiety-repression types, 7 percent of the successful anxiety-repression types, and 20 percent of the low-anxiety types experienced PTSD.

When Psychiatric News asked Ginzburg whether there might be a contradiction between their finding that no low-anxiety subjects experienced acute stress disorder and their finding that 20 percent of them experienced PTSD, she replied that there was not. The reason, she explained, is that other researchers have found that levels of anxiety experienced immediately after a stressful event are only marginally predictive of whether a person will ultimately experience PTSD.

So, putting all these findings together, they suggest that "the repressive coping style may promote adjustment to traumatic stress, both in the short and longer term," Ginzburg and her coworkers concluded. In other words, this coping style appeared to be superior to both anxiety and defensiveness in preventing acute stress disorder, and superior to anxiety, defensiveness, and low anxiety in preventing PTSD.

The findings are useful to psychiatrists, Bleich told Psychiatric News, in that they "promote knowledge of the possible psychiatric consequences of myocardial infarction and suggest a direction for early intervention and therapy when needed."

The study was financed by the Israeli Ministry of Health and the Sarah Peleg Research Foundation.

The study, "Repressive Coping Style, Acute Stress Disorder, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder After Myocardial Infarction," is posted on the Web at Psychosomatic'>http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/cgi....somatic Medicine 2002 64 748[

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**possible trigger**

Just for myself, I have to go over the parts I know about that happened (I was drugged.)  But I believe it is more difficult to deal with an incident like rape when you have been drugged.  This is because (I believe) the memory is still there somewhere in your mind, needing to be dealt with. I also believe that things do need to be faced and dealt with for any kind of recovery to really take place. That is my opinion, of course.

When someone is drugged, they still know what happened because the symptoms are there afterwards, as real as anything, and they can't be denied. I'm speaking of the pain and other evidence. But your mind isn't able, consciously at least, to  go over the incident and leave it behind. But I believe (I guess I could be wrong) the emotional and psychological scars are still there, in the subconscious, especially if the victim were not totally unconscious the entire time the incident was going on. I believe this was the case with me because is remember bits and pieces. But of course the drugs erased it from conscious memory.

 

Hugs -- Lee  

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Hmmm. I think everyone is different. And also the kind of T you have will also determine, whether you tell all the details or none of them.

But i fully believe (when i can) that inorder to heal the wound, you need to wash out all of the infection and then get to the grit (ie the details) which need to be gently extracted, inorder for the wound to heal completly. And there will always be a scar, but a scar is easier to hide, and for those who don't want to hide it, a scar is easier to show/tell, rather than a disgusting open wound.

I have always had this feeling or intution that i need to tell (probably just the once) the actual r*pe. And i need to say and the words out loud ( i still can't).

Anyway thats my thoughts

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I cant tell a person directly, about the details of my CSA.  I can write about it here, but I cant tell anyone, not even counselor.  I can talk about most of it, but somethings i just cant say out loud, I dont know why but I cant.  

I kept my CSA a secret for 15 years, and finaly after talking to loved ones, counselor, and all of you here, I feel alot better.  Sometimes I have flashbacks while talking about it, but in the long run I feel better.  I dont think that Secrets can be healing.

Tinette

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In a sick sick way, I envy the majority of you all. You all seem to be fortunate enough to remember your traumatic experiance. However I'm not. I remember the major details, the most disturbing ones, but not everything. Since it happened, I've remembered more over the last three years. Therfore I have never had a 'straight story' this upsets me because the person closest to me doesn't believe making it ten times harder to seek help through fear of being called a liar once more.

Any advice?

Shen.

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I'm not sure if this is ok to do or not. I just told my story b4 xmas. I feel awful. I've been going to therapy for a year, originally for other stuff well it's all related so it's all the same I guess. I've been trying to cope for 12 years and I've relived the trauma so many times I have no idea how I did it. I THOUGHT I would feel better once the story was out, at least in therapy, but I spent the first four days of the new year at home crying, feeling horrible and very alone. I've been here a lot, and it makes me feel less lonely. I know this is a process, but I just don't feel like I can participate in my own life right now. I feel really depressed, tired, I have trouble sleeping and working. I feel pretty angry too, I'm not even sure why or with whom. I know the rape has taken a huge part of my life, influenced all of my desicions, and keeping it inside me without asking for help has totally damaged my sense of self and my relationships with others, but I had no idea that speaking about it would leave me so devastated. I've a friend who worked through her own assault, and she tells me this is pretty much how it goes in therapy. I sought help because my coping was not helping, it was actually hurting, and I came into therapy very hopeful that if I did the work things might change, and that I might feel better. Now I don't know. I honestly don't know, because I feel a lot like I did 12 years ago after it happened, just tired and lonely and like I don't want to talk to anybody. Realizing how much this affects me, how much work is ahead of me, how much pain I've felt this whole time, how hard it is to communicate and relate to anyone is just overwhelming. I feel like someone just blew up my head and it's going to be a very uphill ride from here. And frankly, I'm not even sure it's worth it. BUT, this may very well be completely different to others who speak out. It's just not my case right now. I wish it were.

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This is an amazing thread. I need to print it out and read carefully.

Focusing on how the abuse affects your life today and learning to cope in relation to that, identifying how abuse influences your thinking and actions and then effecting change in those areas will increase the quality of your life... It is work that must be done and I think it should be a focus in treatment and in the healing process.

I can't afford a therapist right now and have had less than helpful ones in the past. I want to try to do this work (cognitive-behavioral) on myself. I am finding that dwelling in the telling is stressing me out and definitely not moving me ahead. I have told my husband first, then friends, and I wrote a long, angry letter to my abuser which I may or may not mail. Now, I need to get to work on what is ahead for me. I feel alive, in pain, scared, sober (I used to be "high" on all my defenses, mild self-medication, religious and mystical manias.) but somehow hopeful.

For myself, because I can't go back to working in another field, it seems, I may have to invent some work that helps survivors and helps prevent abuse. That may be the only thing that will finally heal me, or is that another manifestation of the perfectionist, the achiever who is going to PROVE, if it kills her, that she is not nothing, not wrong?

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for me talking about it helps because it makes me feel as if people are listening and that they care and that getting it out there and out of my head makes it more real to me

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It took me many, many years after telling my mother (she didn't believe me) to come here and tell my story. I've carried part of this (her not believing) and two subsequent rapes since around in my head each and every day, analyzing, blaming myself trying to come to terms with it. I've written up through my 1st marriage. I stopped there so I could work through the thoughts and emotions that came with writing it out. I honestly don't know if I would have ever really accepted how the rapes affected me and began trying to change had I not written what I have. I know that I need to continue wrting, but have been putting off writing about my last marriage. It was extremely psychologically abusive, every single day for almost ten years. I feel if I don't write this, I will be stuck right where I am, and that's not where I want to be. I really wish I could hand write, but I have a disability that makes it extremely hard. I envy those that can hand write in beautiful journals, but am glad I can type.

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I told my story last week. It wasn't the first time but it was the first time I felt validated by the counselor. The first counselor I told had said to my mom that "one time was not enough" to cause me to behave the way I behaving. I felt crushed and felt like I had to lie to make it worse so that I felt validated. This time I have nothing to numb the pain. No self injury, no eating disorder. I told it and had to sit with the pain and feel like. It sucks but its starting to fade and I see myself getting stronger. If healing is like an onion than I see my progress. Layers are coming off but it still stinks...just like an onion.

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