New to site, need advice on counseling

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Pressing
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 3/9/2008 3:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I would love some advice at this time if anyone can help.
I had started going to counseling for the first time in my life about a month ago. While in my second session the question came up about sexual abuse and I finally disclosed that it had happend to me for the first time.

It was something that happened for quite a few years by two different men. One I can remember clear as day and the other I remember the whole situation but not the face.

I have a suspision that it was my step dad, due to a dream , also nightmares of a monster or bad guy coming after my family, my step dad was always the one who was being attacked in the dream. He was also an alcoholic and drug addict at the time.

The other reason I believe it was him was because he was married to my mom at the time that one of the incidents took place

It could be that it was not him at all but for some reason I am scared to death to even go into detail about it fearing that the memory may totally surface to the point of seeing the face. If it were him It would change alot about my life and family dynamics, he is still married to my mom. I see him all the time and there is no way that I could possibly let that out. My siblings and my mother would be devistated and wouldn't believe it. I am not sure why I can't see the persons face but remember other details, it may be because I was only about 5 or 6 at the time.

Is it totally normal to be so freaked out about having to discuss these things in detail for the first time in my life? I guess I'm somewhat scared that I will lose control. I have no idea about all the emotions that will be involved, this scares the heck out of me. To the point of not wanting to show up at the session tomorrow.

Had anyone else felt this way when about to disclose details of sexual abuse?

Pressing


Pressing,
I am sorry but I had to edit your post..due to rule #1 of our site. We have to be very careful as we have alot of minors that visit us.

Shy

Post Edited By Moderator (ShynSassy) : 3/10/2008 6:08:51 AM (GMT-6)


getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40602
   Posted 3/9/2008 4:28 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Pressing,

First of all, welcome to the healing well depression forum.  We are here for you and you don't need to be afraid.  Everybody here is very understanding and nobody will judge you.  So I hope that you will feel comfortable enough to continue posting.

First and foremost you need to remember that none of this was your fault.  Often people who suffer with past abuse will tend to blame themselves one way or another.  So I want to make it clear that you aren't to blame for anything.  I am sure your counselor has told you that also.

One thing to remember and feel safe about is that our mind is only going to disclose the amount of information that we can handle.  Our mind protects us in this way so that we don't freak out so to speak.  That would most likely be the reason that you cannot see the face of the abuser.  That will come when you are able to handle it.  I think that you should go to your next counseling session to explore this.  Evidently you feel safe with your counselor or you wouldn't have come this far.  You could be dealing with post traumatic stress disorder at this time and I feel the counseling is a very iimportant aspect here.  And if the person becomes visable to you, what better place could you at during that time?  You trust your counselor and they will guide you through it in a way that you can handle it.  You would be amazed how you will feel when this is revealed to you.  The person cannot hurt you anymore and you will arrive at the conclusion that you are in a safe place now.

I am so sorry for what you have gone through, but think of this as a healing process.  I read a book a few (quite a few) years ago called "the healing journey" that dealt with what you are going through now and it helped me a lot.  Also "healing the child within" is another good book.  You can most likely get these at a reasonable price through the internet.

I hope that this has helped you some, you have come to a good place.  There are many wonderful people here who would love to try to help you.  But I do strongly suggest continuing your journy with the help of your counselor.  In the meantime keep posting.

Hugs,  Karen


  Moderator-Depression
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


Pressing
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 3/9/2008 6:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Karen,

I have been going to counseling for about a month and a half now, and its all so new to me.
I left my counseling session last week feeling totally frustrated and saddened. I can't show my emotions. Now that we have finished up the whole evaluation part we started to begin the therapy part; I started discussing the easiest stuff about my past which is not so easy.

However, I showed no emotion just talked. I have yet to ball my eyes out in the session. Maybe I just have a hard time crying in front of people. On top of that I don't even know what I feel sometimes, I can't explian it, and yes, it frustrates the heck out of me. I use to cry alone in my room at night, now when I start to tear up, I just can't cry, maybe its me shutting down. I have no idea.

My counselor keeps telling me that I have to feel my life and I don't even know how. How do you tell her that?

I have been diagnosed with moderate depression and PTSD; however, I don't take meds, I decided to wing it because I was not looking forward to the side effects especially with my crazy nursing school schedule at this point.

I guess I should share a little about my abuse so you know where I am coming from, I must say its easier to do it here than face to face with my counselor. Maybe I am just not comfortable enough with her yet, It takes me quite awhile to trust someone. I have always been to type to do everything for myself and handle things alone, so I guess it will take some getting use to.



I did tell my mom and step dad when they returned home; my step-dad punched him in the face, threw him out, and that was the last time we saw him. And the first and last time what happened was even mentioned. My parents just let it go. So we lived with it for a long time without ever talking.

I don't even really remember how I felt about some of the things that happened to me. I remember the start of things right up until the point where the scary stuff happened and then I can't remember anything from there, how I felt during, after, nothing.

When I questioned my mom about my step dad seeing she was married to him at the time of my earlier abuse, It was in my teen years that I questioned her without pointing a finger just asking if she was with him at the time etc.. she flipped out on me and said how dare you even think that of your step dad, how dare you want to hurt him like that after all he has done for you. I shut down, I was her daughter and was just blown off. It made me want to keep things to myself even more, because what did it matter.

So I had not mentioned it ever again till in my first counseling session when I was questioned about whether someone had ever hurt me, I couldn't lie.

I suppose it left me sucking at communication, I suck at being intimate with people, yeah I have a few friends that I have known for a long time, but all at a surface level.

Perhaps, I worry about what they will think if I share some of my past issues with them.

Maybe thats why I suck at sharing with my counselor. Last week she asked me how I was feeling about how things were going with counseling and the first thing I thought was, wow she's probably getting frustrated with me because I have not shown any emotion, perhaps I am being subjective, I tend to do that but I felt like total crap leaving there. I found myself feeling bad for her cause I know shes trying and I feel that I am just not helping any. Ok..so can you tell I am somewhat frustrated at this point? I mean how can someone with a 4.0 GPA feel so utterly stupid talking to one person, in a private room?....ugh..

Pressing



Again,I had to edit your post.

Shy

Post Edited By Moderator (ShynSassy) : 3/10/2008 6:10:32 AM (GMT-6)


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40602
   Posted 3/9/2008 7:35 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Pressing,

I think that it is only natural for you to be slow to warm up to people.  I don't think she is frustrated with you, I think she is concerned.  I saw a therapist for years and one day she said to me "Why can't you break down and let it all out?"  I couldn't in front of her.  But I was able to by myself and she helped me through some pretty intense stuff.  So I wouldn't worry about that or how long it takes you to get it out, I would just keep going.  Because it is obviously helping you.   I have the same trust issues with people, I feel if they get to know me, I will be volnerable (sp).   I keep to myself a lot.  But I am able to communicate on here and it is helping me to open up to people.  But I think we always will keep our guard up so to speak. 

All of the things that you are wondering will come to you when your mind is ready to accept them.  It may take a while, or it may happen on your next visit.  Whenever you are ready.  So just keep working at it and trust yourself.  You will know and you will be able to handle it.  We are a lot stronger and smarter than we give ourselves credit for.  For years I didn't know how I felt about things.  That is all a part of growing.  So don't feel like you are wierd or anything because you are not.  We go through different stages of getting to know ourselves at different times.  It is like our destiny or fate.  It is the mystery of life.  And we should accept it gracefully and open minded.  You are going through this right now.  And part of learning your past is a part of that.  It will come to you in it's own time and it wont be tragic or dramatic.  It will be what you make it.  And you will be ready when the time is right, just let your counselor guide you through it.

Please don't feel guilty for pretending that you were asleep when the man came into your room.  You were just a little kid and you were protecting yourself.  You shouldn't have even had to make that decision because it should never have happened to you or your sibling.  So don't punish yourself for something that you had or had not done.  It is not your fault.  I promise you that.

I went through life for a long time not showing emotions, not opening up to people.  That was my choice.  And I still have my limits.  I trust my psycologist to talk.  I have learned to trust my husband, but I share with very few people.  I am more open here than with most of my friends.  Though I know some of them I could be totally honest with, I would rather not.  And I think that is your decision also and I don't blame you.  In time you will be more open, but what you have inside of you is yours and nobody has to share that if they don't want to.  So you are completely normal in that way.  But I do share with my therapist, because it helps me.  She is completely honest and objective.  I think in time you will open up, when you are ready.  And I think that your therapist knows that and is going to be willing to wait until you are ready.  There is no need to rush that, if you do, you will find yourself looking for answers that are not there yet.  So just work with you therapist as well as you can.  I know this will show itself in time.  Ptsd is kind of a mystery that way.  But it is real and you will find the answers when you are completely ready to accept it.

I hope that this helps you, I am always popping in and out to be here to listen.  So post whenever you feel the need.  There are also other marvelous people on the forum who can relate to what you are going through. 

Luv and hugs,  Karen.......


  Moderator-Depression
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


ShynSassy
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3036
   Posted 3/10/2008 5:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Pressing

I too suffered abuse when I was younger.
It took me alot of years to tell someone,and I still have a hard time talking about it today.

Suffering with nightmares,and there are times when the "thoughts" just pop out of no where.

Now that you have finally talked about it,then you just need to take it one day at a time. Your emotions are going to be at a long time high right now because you are finally dealing with it.

You will always be affected by what happened... it will just get easier to push the thoughts aside later in the years.

Take it one day at a time,and always remember that you did nothing wrong,that the abuser is the one that is guilty.
Shy


Mod- Depression

Chronic Depression, Panic Attacks,Anxiety Attacks,Anorexia


Pressing
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 3/10/2008 8:12 AM (GMT -7)   
Sorry you had to edit Shy,

I didn't think it would offend anyone since I did not go into detail. New and still learning the ropes.

Thanks for your comments and yours too Karen.
I am actually just beginning to talk about the abuse. I have not spoke about it in detail with my counselor as of yet. We decided to deal with a somewhat easier issue of growing up with seeing my mom abused by my step-dad because of his alcoholism and drugs and how that has effected me before getting into even more painful stuff. My mom was also involved with alcohol and drugs so many times I was the one who had to be the adult and care for my siblings.

I have been getting along fine in life, it has just now began to hit me in my early 30's. I had many ways of coping that worked, although I realize some of those ways need to be changed. However, I did go through a period of agrophobia and major panic in my early teens, yet, somehow I was able to learn to talk myself out of them. My parents thought I was just being rediculous, they had no idea how difficult it really was for me. It was the hardest two years of my life. But I did what I had to to get myself through. I have always been really strong like that but now I feel as though I don't have alot of fight left, which is probably why I have now been diagnosed with depression. Dealing with the feelings for the first time is not really helping, it just frustrates me more. Whether thats a good or bad thing I have no idea.

Sometimes I think of giving up on counseling because its not a cure so to speak, many people have to continue to go back throughout the years, so I often wonder if I should really open up this can of worms and spill it all out.
Lots on my mind, which may be why I am so hesitant with my counselor. I am pretty much confused as to what to do and that is not me, I am the type of person who always have everything planned out. I'm just left feeling extremely frustrated and confused at this point.

Thanks for listening
Pressing

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40602
   Posted 3/10/2008 9:23 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Pressing,

I am new to moderating, I guess I should have edited your ppost myself, I am still learning. 

I was in my 30's when I went through ptsd too.  I really suggest you continue with the counseling though.  Keep trying.  She willl help you through this.  And remember that you didn't do anything wrong.

I am here if you need to write more.  I will listen and give you the best advice that I can. 

Do what is comfortable for you at the time.  But counseling can't hurt.  But if you are uncomfortable with it I guess that you should follow your heart.

Luv and hugs, Karen


  Moderator-Depression
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40602
   Posted 3/10/2008 10:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Pressing,

I just wanted to let you know that if you want to email me you can. Just click on my name and it will take you to my profile and my email address is there.

It is up to you.

HUgs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


Sadsong
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 3/10/2008 5:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Pressing,

I'm usually over on the Anxiety Board, but I noticed your post and thought I'd reply. I've been to several therapists over the years, and I've found that once I was willing to work on an issue, the therapist always helped me to figure it out for myself. Be it past sexual abuse or relationship issues. I was always the one who talked about what I wanted to discuss. I've never felt comfortable with therapists who force their way into my life and are the ones telling me what I need to talk about. So, when I've come across one like that I find a new one. 'Cause therapy should not make you feel uncomfortable. It should help you to heal and if you're walking away more frustated than when you went in, you aren't getting what you need. And since you're the one paying the bill - you should find a therapist that meets your needs.

Pressing
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 3/10/2008 7:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Sad Song,

I am not sure whether its my counselor or me. It takes me quite some time to warm up to people, to trust them so to speak. Though I must say its much easier to talk here on this board without a face or name:)

I think I will give it a little more time, though I have been tempted to ask her if she has dealt with alot of sexual abuse; I certainly want someone experienced, but haven't had the nerve to ask her yet. I guess I am thinking if she takes it too personal it could interfer with the counseling.

She seems expereinced but since I have never talked to a counselor before I am not quite sure what to expect. She has been counseling for over 12 years now so I imagine she must have experience with it.

I think most of it is my hesitation, so I will hold out a little longer and if it goes no where, I will look into someone else. If my insurance lets me switch :)
I am also in nursing school fulltime and I don't want to totally lose it and not be able to function properly for my schooling, this may be another reason why I am hesitiant.

Thanks again. Sad

And thank you Karen for your offer and for your support, I just may take you up on that:) You've been a great help already.

Pressing

Sadsong
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 3/11/2008 4:12 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Pressing,

I also tend to take a while to warm up and even longer to trust people! :) I'm glad to hear that you're willing to give it a little more time with your therapist. I really think it's important to build trust with your therapist. By all means, ask her about her background, any specialities that she ask, what range of issues she typically treats, as well as the age ranges of people she sees, what techniques she typically uses, and anything else that would help you get a better idea of the type of treatment that you'll receive. I've done this many times and they are always glad to help explain where they are coming from and what you should expect from them. 'Cause I agree, it can be stressful trying to find another therapist, but please do remember that you should feel comfortable with your therapist, since they are there to help you in the best way they know how. Just make sure that the way they approach things is the way that will help you the best.

behindtheseeyes00987
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 191
   Posted 3/12/2008 10:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Pressing, and welcome.

It is sad to hear your story. Maybe it would help settle your nerves if you looked into dream interpretations. Sometimes I talk to my counselor about dreams that I've been having and they help me interpret them and connect them back to things that happened in my past. Scary it works!

I would encourage and advise you to continue discussing this in therapy. Not only will it make you feel more relaxed, especially if this therapist is one you completely trust and feel comfortable around, but after a few sessions things will become clearer.

If you still feel after a long time it might have been your step-dad, I think you should discuss with your mom. Tell her about the dreams because they must have some significance.
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Pressing
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 3/12/2008 11:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Sad,

In the very beginning my counselor told me that she specialized in psychoanalytic and cognitive style therapies. She also told me she has been counseling for 12 years. So I am sure she has a good amount of experience.
I know she has recieved her masters and is a Licensed certified professional counselor.

So she did share important info with me, though I have not asked her how experienced she is with sexual abuse.
Has anyone ever heard of speaking to your inner child, my counselor had mentioned something about intergrating my inner child. Making her feel safe, which also may make some of my memories surface to a greater degree.

Since I have never been to counseling until now I have no idea which techniques are best etc..

I did start to cry in the session the other day which was a big break from me, but still not much, I am still hesitant. I suppose time will help.
Since I am still finding it hard to discuss things in therapy, my counselor suggested writing in a journal. Picking a memories, describing the scenes, how am I interpreting what I am seeing, how what I am seeing make me feel. Then taking that to counseling session and discussing that. I think it may actually make it a bit easier. She thinks that its not that I don't want to talk to her but more that I still am a little untrusting and shes right.

Hopeing the journaling helps.

Behind these eyes,
I have heard about dream interpretation but I think the counselor has to be experienced or trained in that background. I can inquire about it but I am not sure if my counselor is. She says the whole purpose behind looking at memories is to see what I interpret from them or what I have taken from them and carried in a negative way in my present life, so we can change those thoughts that are affecting my present life.
I can count on one hand how many dreams I remembered from the past 5 years, guess I sleep really deep:) The one I was speaking about in the post came from when I was younger. However, I did have a dream last week about someone attacking me and woke up pretty scared, its been along time since I have had one of those.

Thanks for your advice.

Pressing

Sadsong
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 3/12/2008 5:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Pressing,

I'm glad to hear that you've talked with your counselor about her experience and specializations. Feel free to also ask her about her training with sexual abuse. If interested, you may also want to check out the local rape crisis center or similar organization that helps victims deal with sexual abuse. I volunteered as a rape crisis counselor for a time and the people involved are truly compassionate, understanding, and supportive. Be sure to listen to your head and your heart as you move through your healing process, you'll know which techniques and methods work best for you.

Also, trust yourself as sharing anything as painful as you're been through will take time and courage to divulge. Don't be too hard on yourself, thinking about these things can be emotionally draining. When you're ready to fully cry you will. Also, when you feel comfortable you'll be able to let down your guard and talk about your feelings. Just be patient, you'll know when you want to open up and share.

Pressing
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 3/13/2008 4:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Sad,

I know its going to take some time:) I told my therapists that the emotion I am feeling most now is frustration, she then asked what frustrates me. I told her the therapy, in trying to make sense of eveything that I remember. And of course trying to express it.

Pressing
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