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Sharing not comparing

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#16 Anabela

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 03:33 PM

The only thing I can think to say (at this time) is that if you came to be in Pandy's, you need to be here.

Anabela x

#17 bloogirl

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 05:17 PM

Sometimes our own feelings are our validation - it's just that sometimes recognising that we have a right to our own feelings can take a little time....
Feeling how you feel is validation. And you have every right to feel the way you feel. What you feel is inside you and nobody can judge that, or take it away. Pain knows no limits

thank you, lara.  this reminded me of my first call to the rainn rape crisis line.  i told the counselor what happened, then finally got up the courage to ask her, 'is this ...(pause)...um.  is this...uh.  well..."  "are you asking me if this is rape, hun?' she asked.  i could barely whisper, 'yes.'  and she told me to look at what happened for the past 3 weeks, look at how my body responded.  there was my validation.  if this wasnt rape, my body would have had no need to be extremely dizzy and nauseated for weeks.  if this wasnt rape, why was i stuck in bed for weeks and unable to get up?  
that convinced me.  i hold onto that as evidence.  my body does not lie - my body would not do that reaction randomly.  

I also think that people sometimes tell themselves "Well, mine wasn't that bad, I don't deserve to be here" as an unconscious defense of sorts. If "it's really not that bad" then they don't have to feel the full brunt of the pain attached. It's psychologically protective in one way, while quite invalidating and damaging in another. But sometimes that is what the person can manage in the moment until s/he journeys towards accepting the horror and tragedy of what happened to him/her.

thank you rainbow's edge, this answers the question 'why do i minimize my experience?' - something i hadnt had the courage to even ask, let alone answer.

#18 Cira

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 02:04 AM

Feeling how you feel is validation.

OK, I don't remember who said this now, but something *just* occured to me.  Literally a year later, this occured to me.  ...And I used to think I was pretty quick to catch on.  LOL.

Anyway ~ Last year, when I remembered what my oldest brother did, I was completely at a loss.  I didn't know if what I was remembering qualified as abuse or if I was basically just a dirty whore.  And I didn't have anyone that I cared to ask.  So, I found a site that provided free counseling via e-mail, wrote an extremely brief description of the abuse and asked if it was, indeed, abuse.  I'll never forget the reply.  He said that he thought it sounded like abuse, though part of it would depend upon my age at the time ~ or something along those lines.  And then he said, "What really matters more is whether or not you feel it was abuse."

I was thinking earlier about this thread and the quote above and it hit me -- THAT is what he was trying to get me to see!  He was trying to get me to validate myself, to use my emotions as validation.

I did eventually get to that point naturally, but I cannot believe that I didn't see that before.



#19 Beth

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 07:56 PM

I struggle w/this aspect of things too. The post that said, "Well, what would you think of your story if someone else was telling it to you?" rang very true to me.
Some time ago, when I was getting some counseling for panic attacks, my counselor was trying to teach me "positive self-talk" as a means to help myself when I had an attack. Boy, was that HARD! I just COULD NOT be kind and caring to myself--everything was the boot camp drill sergeant saying,"Enough of that! Get yourself together! Stop your damn whining!" and so on. I mean, I really seriously COULD NOT treat myself nicely, it was absolutely impossible! When the counselor, after watching me struggle with this, finally asked me,"Well, how would you respond to a friend who was experiencing this same situation w/panic attacks?", it became so EASY to offer comfort, to be gentle and loving.
The point I'm trying to make, I guess, is that the 2 phenomena seem to be part of the same mindset--that we each feel that we as individuals are not as "worthy" of kindness, caring, etc., as other people, that other people's problems are worse somehow. Don't have any great deep insight into why that is--but if a person has any doubts about whether or not a problem or feeling is "real" or "deserves attention", I'd sure suggest the little viewpoint shift of imagining someone else telling you that THEY are feeling what you feel.

#20 Guest__*

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Posted 19 December 2003 - 02:15 AM

I used to be one of those people.  The "My wound is so much bigger than yours" kind of people.  I judged the extent of one's wisdom on the amount of trauma someone had suffered in their lifetime.  But that's the thing.  What we know is what we know.  Just because your experience if different, that others might judge it 'less' than another, that doesn't take the pain away.  The hurt is there and it doesn't exist on a sliding scale of how "bad" your experience was, or how long ago it was.  As for my wounds, they've healed for the most part, and I think its wonderful the support this board allows to those with all measures of wounds and scars.

#21 kimberly a

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Posted 22 December 2003 - 07:51 PM

I just want to say thank you to everyone who's posted here (although, admittedly, I skimmed some of the responses...sorry!).

Anyway, when I first came here, I compared myself to others.  I was afraid to call it "rape," and I thought that since I didn't have any physical bruises or scars, and because I was unconscious for the vast part of the event, I didn't have the "right" to talk about my pain.  Immediately, people reassured me that I did.  And I will forever be grateful for that.

Three days ago, I found out that on that same night, I allegedly performed a sexual act with someone else that night.  This was the only other person who was there that night, and he was the one I trusted, the one I didn't think did anything wrong.  I actually went to him because I thought he would support me.  But he didn't.  And this may be why.  And now I have to deal with not just one rape, but two.

After I found this out, I didn't have any question in my mind that this was rape.  On both counts.  And I want to thank everyone here from the bottom of my heart.  I couldn't even use "the 'R' word" (as I used to call it) for the longest time.  And now I can.  Because you're all right: the pain you feel is validation.  It's not a competition.  We're all here because we're hurting, and we're all here because we deserve to heal.

Again, I thank each and every one of you with everything I have.

#22 mockingbird

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 11:19 PM

Thank you so much. I really needed to hear that. :hug:

#23 serena

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 11:47 AM

The first time I went to a rape crisis center.

They provide short term crisis counseling and I kept thinking "it was 15 years ago, does that qualify as crisis?".

I still remember what she told me, if you are trying to deal with it, and you need help, that is crisis. That's what we are here to help you with.

#24 kittyrock05

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 06:49 PM

I still struggle with fighting comparisons as well. I feel like because my SA ended ten years ago that the pain that I feel is just me creating a problem for myself. I feel like I'm dwelling on an issue and the more I hear from other people that I should just "get over it" the more the guilty feeling spirals out of control.

#25 Lisamarie2011

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 04:02 PM

<font color='#000000'>Hey people

There's been quite a lot of discussion lately about people fearing that what happened to them isn't "serious enough" to be heard because others have been through "so much worse".

I do think that considering somebody else's lot and saying "that was more severe than I experienced" can give our pain perspective, but NOT if it's something that silences us and makes us afraid or ashamed of expressing our own pain.

I think that socialization plays a powerful part - at least for me, I've had to overcome deeply internalized cliches such as "there-is-always-someone-worse-off-than-you-so-just-be-grateful". To say nothing of course, about the myriad social messages about rape being "no big deal", "get over it", "lucky it wasn't "violent", "but he didn't actually penetrate you, aren't you lucky" etc.

Because my rapist was my partner, I was consistently told it wasn't real - "just think of that poor girl dragged into a car, Louise - THAT'S a REAL rape". This is secondary wounding - something many of us have faced, and that can really stick with us for a long time, making us think that everybody will similarly reduce our pain.

As well, many of us have known people who practice one-upmanship bullshit, you know - "you call that a wound? Wait till you see the size of MINE!"

I like to think I've overthrown many of these messages but I'll admit there are still times I've felt some embarrassment at posting about feeling traumatized by events that happened nearly 2 decades ago when we have members who were raped last week and are obviously in more immediate crisis. I feel guilt for taking focus away from them, whom I percieve to be more deserving.

To all you people who feel that your pain isn't "enough"; this board is for YOUR healing.  If what happened to you hurts you, that matters.  You're not here to be silenced again - this is YOUR space to speak about YOUR pain.

Some people are struggling with wondering if what happened to them was rape, or have unclear memories they're not certain of, and they wonder if they have a place here. You have; please let us be a part of walking through your confusion with you.

I'd love your thoughts. What can other members suggest about overthrowing this troublesome comparison factor? How can we counter it? What secondary wounding experiences have you had that imply or directly state that your experience isn't worth hearing about?

To those lovely members who compare their pain unfavourably to others, please have a look at this thread started by wonderful Jes awhile back:


Love to all

Lou xxxxx</font>

Thank you for writing this, I got teary eyed because what you said is me. I feel like my pain isn't "as bad" and maybe I shouldn't be here because so many other's have been trhoguh so much more. that maybe I am being selfish in wanting help and I should just get over it. I can't explain why I am doign this but you saying that it's all the same has helped. Why do we seperate our selves like that? I don't get it. I will try to not compare. I will defintely try, but that is my main struggle right now.

#26 msbella

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 06:28 PM

After reading so many incidents, some horrified me, made me cry, made me mad, etc. I started to feel that what I experienced wasn't so bad. I really needed to hear this. Thanks for all you do here on this site. This site has helped me trememdously.

#27 serena

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 12:49 PM

I've done this too.
Maybe it's one of those things that is easier to believe, it wasn't that horrible. Like it wasn't real rape, it was my fault, and he didn't know what he was doing.
I remember my first rationalization, "it wasn't a classic rape case".
I told that to my friends - they said "it never is".

15 years later, here, one of my earliest posts was in Grey Rape, that's still how I saw it.

It was like IPSA exept we didn't live together, just in seperate dorms on a college campus. My first post to that forum began "I don't know of this counts".

The only episode of SVU that really triggered me was Olivia sitting in the couselors office saying "I feel like I don't deserve to be here". I could absolutely relate to that. It's how I felt when I called the rape crisis center.

I couldn't tell my story out loud, I still can't. It took three meetings but I worked up the nerve to give her the story I posted here.
She read it before my next meeting and I asked, is that rape.
I think it is the first time I could really accept the YES.
After all, mine wasn't that bad.

#28 pinkshell

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 08:52 PM

This is such a powerful post and I love and relate to EVERYTHING you all said. I agree; pain is pain! If I get a paper cut and cry it may look like it's small but it still hurts. I heard that simple analogy somewhere and it made sense. I wonder if these thoughts are how we have been conditioned to think; from the outside world, as well as our perpetrators. Mine used to tell me this was for MY own good. We are groomed to think like this and I still do all the time. The comment I grew up with, "Think of all the starving people in China." A comment like that can really make us feel unworthy of our own pain. I was abused as a young pre-teen as well as raped twice as an adult. When I look at my situation I can think what happened to me as a kid was horrible; but somehow being raped as an adult was my fault and not that bad. Someone told me that it is known that survivors of child abuse are more often victims of rape and crimes as adults. I'm not sure I understand that. Any thoughts? Gee, now I feel like I'm rambling too. I guess I should say that I loved all your posts. As I read each post I cried for each one of you; because you are all coming from a place of pain and want to heal. Sometimes I don't post because I don't know what to say or think my posts sound stupid. I have a couple of degrees and everything; but feel like an idiot. I just want to give everyone here a big hug. Because we are in this together! No matter what; because we hurt.

Thanks for listening to me.

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