Stop Telling Me How To Feel

I mentioned in my previous blog that I was a victim of sexual abuse. This blog is somewhat about that, so please be mindful of the subject matter as it is not going to be for everyone. 

I recently have been seeing a CPN and a psychiatrist in regards to my mental health. And, I’m doing well. So well in fact that my pyschiatrist has decided to take me off my medication and just do a trial of me not being on it and just working with the mental health team, and possibly seeing a psychologist as well. That’s just my little update before I get into the main subject matter. 

My psychiatrist suggested that I might find useful tools online to help ‘come to terms’ with the things I’m feeling. There are some very useful resources out there, but one thing keeps cropping up that makes me so angry. It’s the word ‘forgiveness’. 

Now, I’m a Christian. And of course, forgiveness is you know, our ‘thing’. So really, I should not have an issue here. But, just to throw a spanner in the works, of course I have an issue. 

These resources and these people who have made videos in regards to their own experiences mention that the main important thing to do in this situation is forgive. Forgive your rapist, your abuser, whatever it may be. And the idea of that kind of makes me sick. 

I’m told by these people that I need to ‘let it go’ and ‘forgive’ and ‘close the chapter on that part of my life’ and I don’t understand how I’m meant to. Or why I even should. The very phrase “Let it go” makes me feel like I’m being told I’m pathetic and that I need to just ‘get over it’ and I can’t. At the age of 6 or 7, a person that I knew and that I trusted very much sexually abused me. In fact, the World Health Organisation defines rape as “physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration – even if slight – of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object”, and if you go by that definition it kind of escalates my abuse. But that’s about as much detail as I’m going to probably ever go into, online or offline.

It makes me sick. Anyone who commits that kind of a crime against anyone makes me sick. Anyone who gets off on that kind of crime makes me sick, even if they ‘just’ watch it via porn sites. And again, there’s another story involving that last bit that I may or may not tell later on down the line if circumstances allow me to. 

But, to tell me how to feel, how to process what this was, what it’s still doing to me, no. That’s inexcusable. Everyone’s situation is different, everyone’s thought process is different, everyone’s coping strategy is different. 

I can be out with my friends and the topic of conversation can turn to something like sexual abuse or rape or whatever (it’s a current news story, I don’t have bizarre friends) and I flashback to my abuse. And I can’t stop it. It’s like when you’ve switched something onto the TV and you really don’t want to watch it, but the remote’s fallen and you can’t find it, but at the same time wherever it’s fallen it’s pressing the volume button so you’re watching whatever it is and it’s getting louder and louder and you can’t shut it out. That’s what a flashback of my abuse is like. And it’s terrifying in general. To be out in public and have it happen and not be able to explain to anyone what’s going on? It’s indescribable. I literally cannot find words to describe that feeling. 

It takes me ages, if ever, before I fully trust people. Right now – bar immediate family – I can name 2 people I trust fully. One of them has been in my life more than 6 years. The other less than 6 months but he’s more than proven he’s worthy of my trust on countless occasions. (That’s an awful description, like I think I’m better than everyone. Trust me, I don’t think that at all.) I mean, I trust people. But at the same time I’m not going to be surprised if they turned out to stab me in the back. That’s what this situation has done to me. I hate being by myself once it’s dark. Public transport when I’m by myself is one of the most terrifying things, even during the day. 

So, no. I can’t just “let it go” and “forgive him”. Yes, I need to work through this. And yes, I need to get to a point where I can say “This is no longer something that causes me fear”.

But forgiveness, I struggle with. And as a Christian, I pray that I can one day forgive him. But right now, forget it.

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4 thoughts on “Stop Telling Me How To Feel

  1. For what it’s worth, I don’t think forgiveness is as clear cut as the Church has made it out to be. Or if it is, we’ve not done a very good job of extending grace to let each other get there. I read somewhere recently (because the whole forgiveness thing keeps popping up for me too) that there are a some things you don’t “get over,” there are some thing you just kind of “make friends with, because it’s been following you around for years like a stray dog.” I don’t know why, but thinking of it that way helped me immensely.

    Press on, keep working through. Keep working with your team (the professionals who are coming alongside you and your family and the friends you trust). One day, you’ll find it doesn’t hang you up quite as much as it once did. Or that you’re not feeling the anxiety as intensely. Or you not thinking about it as much. And it’ll be a gradual, day-by-day thing that just kind of happens over time.

    And for what it’s worth, I’m proud of you.

    • Thank you 🙂 I really appreciate that.

      I know that it’s going to get easier over time, but right now to be told that I need to almost ‘forgive and forget’ is just something I can’t do. And I don’t think it’s right for a stranger to tell me that that’s what I need to do. If that makes any sense at all.

  2. You are a beautiful soul. I am not going to write about this on my blog so all of this is for you only. This past week for me has been very emotional. My family is safe and sound but earlier in the week there was a incident at my son’s school. My wife and I handled it and it is over. This weekend my best friend found out his wife has been fooling around on him.

    He will be filling for divorce and has to fight for the rights to be with his three kids. Terrible and very sad. I spent the better part of the weekend with him, trying to keep him from doing something stupid. He is a sharp guy, but in his wrecked emotional state I was truly concerned.

    I never once suggested that he should try to forgive her. That is so weak and shallow. If You were my daughter, who is currently eight and she found herself dealing with the nightmare you have to live with, here is what I would say to her.

    I LOVE YOU! Now that I said that here is the other things I would say.

    I would never suggest that you should forgive your abuser. My hope and prayer, for my friend and for you is that you can release the pain. Right now, you carry an emotional backpack that weighs you down and holds you back. You can never take it off, but maybe each day you can find a way to pull just once ounce of pain out of the backpack and toss it away.

    If the backpack even weighed 1000 pounds it would take 45 years to shed the weight. That is a long time so the point is that you will always carry this tragedy with you. And you will have to find a way to live with it. The wonderful thing is that it is possible to live with it. The wonderful thing is that you are actively taking the proper steps to live with it. The wonderful thing is that this was done to you. At that time you were a perfectly innocent young girl and you did not deserve to suffer this abuse. I said it is wonderful because you did nothing to deserve it and you deserve zero guilt because of it. (Unlike my friend’s wife who has been having this affair for over a year, she is guilty and deserving of the issues that she has brought into her life) YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG!

    It needs to be said again, you did nothing wrong and it is not your fault. Hear me say it “IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!” It sucks that you have to live with it but I would think that your choice going forward it acceptance of this and that it is a part of who you are. It is your story, uniquely yours and no one who has not ever been abused can tell you what you feel. That includes me.

    The Bible says that Jesus has been tempted exactly as we are. Do you think that he had a problem forgiving people? I do. Now I am asking you a question and there is no answer on this side of Heaven. What if he was sexually abused like you were. Do you think he would feel like you?

    Keep smiling Becca, You are a beautiful soul.

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