Telling a close friend about past sexual abuse, a double edged sword?

AnxietyChildhood Sexual AbuseDissociationPTSD

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So, one of the things that we’ve covered in my therapy sessions in recent months since really diving into my past trauma as a child, is at some point being able to have more multiple people to reach out too as a support sytem, besides just my therapist.  The theory is, as I understand it, is that it aids in healing for a couple reasons:

1- Desensitizes you – the more you talk about it, the more comfortable you get and hopefully over time, begin to feel less like a victim.

2- When your therapist isn’t around, and you feel like you need to or should talk, you have other outlets of people that you trust, to be there for you and to listen, without judging.

For all I know there could be more reasons, but I suppose if there is, I’ll learn about them in time. Remember, since I started this website not long ago, I’m using this a therapy blog to help myself and maybe help others who can relate in some ways to the struggles I face. So, I’m learning as I go.  I’m finding that some techniques in therapy are trial and error because not everything works everyone the same, but let try stay on topic here shall we…. 🙂

So, I’ve been in the crisis stage of healing for months now, and from what I understand it’s not all that uncommon for this stage to last quite some time, but I think mine is lasting way longer than it should.  Anyways… So in this stage I often have flashbacks, sudden onset of sadness, depressed thoughts, anxiety, worry.  They can hit literally at any time, although mine usually happen in the evenings, or on weekends when I’m alone. 

To this point, nobody in my family or my circle of friends, knows what I’ve been through to any real extent. My parents know that there was abuse when I was kid, at the hands of a family friend and neighbor,  but that’s all they know. No specifics, no tragic details, times, circumstances, etc.  My ex-wife also knows about that much as well. Generally, that it happened but nothing more. I’ve done a helluva job over about 3 decades of keeping this a secret and completely bottling it up, suppressing feelings over the years. Little did I know that all this time, those events have affected every part of existence. I’m just now learning how it has done just that and honestly it’s as scary as it humbling, fascinating as it is creepy, and as enlightening as it is irritating.  

So, these flashbacks, and feelings hit me throughout the week, and by the time I get to my therapy appointment, I’m ready to burst with everything I need to get off my chest!  Sometimes I”m so full of anxiety and on edge with everything I’ve experienced that it takes me no time at all to start talking. I typically do an Emergency Calm mindfulness Meditation on my Calm app on my phone just to compose myself.

Other times I come in there so dejected, sad, and just worn out that you can see the pain on my face, plain as day.  No matter which state I’m in, therapy days can never come fast enough for me.

She noticed this pattern over time, and had me try an exercise in preparation for broadening my support system. I had to do an exercise of writing down names of people that I trust.  Then I whittled down that list to a few people who I feel would be trust worthy enough to reach out to and use a support system in between sessions. 

I had and have my doubts because I don’t trust anyone with this. My therapist is the only one in the world that knows the specifics of what happened. She knows more about me in the year that I’ve been going to see her, than 99% of the other people in my life do. I’m ok with this, I trust her, I can reach out and be real with her and not be judged. She’s honest and has a great “bed side manner” but she’ll still “give it to me straight” and be real with me.

So while hanging out with a friend of mine this past weekend, I actually asked if I could share something with them about my past. I warned them it’s part of why I seek therapy, it’s not easy to hear, and I’m looking for support. They were very open and receptive and assured me they would not judge and would listen to me.

After that reaction, I was still skeptical but decided to give it a shot. I proceeded to tell them that I was sexually abused as child, by a teenager who lived close by. That it happened multiple times, and that I still carry that burden today.  I didn’t go into much more detail than that.

They reacted as good as anyone could ask for. They were supportive, kind, soft spoken, and said they were so sorry for what happened to me. Even cried as I was telling them. They were proud of me for speaking up and felt honored that I shared it with them. 

And you know what? I honestly made me upset! It sent my brain into a bit of an overload and I kind of freaked out inside and just clammed up. I didn’t do anything outwardly, but in my head it was like a war zone of emotions all hitting me at the same time. I was angry, hurt, sad, frustrated, and wishing I’d never said a word!

I have no idea why I reacted this way. I wasn’t expecting too. Maybe I wasn’t as ready as I or my therapist thinks? Maybe I didn’t present it properly? Maybe I should have told someone else? Or maybe I just need time to digest this more. It’s been about 24 hours since then, and while I was OK today for the most part, my Emotions tracker sheet has several entries during that time, listing anger, frustration, and confusion as moods.

So needless to say, it didn’t give me the relief that I assume it’s supposed to. I don’t feel any more desensitized to my past trauma, nor do I feel like I’ve gained someone to talk too in the future.  I certainly don’t blame them for this, not at all. I just need to try and not over analyze this for now, if possible…yeah right, and use this experience as a learning tool. For now I’ll just hang on until my next session, to get some insight on why my mind reacted the way that it did.

-Lyric

847c5c806b7247eec7709d49a90e694a?s=100&d=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.survivingmypast.net%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F08%2Fsurvivor-ribbon-avatar-teal-large Telling a close friend about past sexual abuse, a double edged sword?
Blogger-Podcaster-Advocate for Mental Health.

Matt is survivor of childhood sexual abuse & narcissistic abuse, living with Dissociation, Anxiety, & PTSD.

This blog exists to inspire all who have survived the trauma of abuse. All posts, podcasts, and videos are my life as a survivor shared openly and honestly to help inspire as many as possible to speak up, speak out, and not be ashamed.

3 Responses to " Telling a close friend about past sexual abuse, a double edged sword? "

  1. […] « Telling a close friend about past sexual abuse, a double edged sword? […]

  2. […] of course the anxiety level has been elevated because of telling a friend about my past, coupled with this medication reducing my opportunities to keep my trauma fresh in my head. It has […]

  3. […] that know some of what happened. Really only bits and pieces. One that I’ve know for 20 years, I just told recently and the other has known for about 6 months now. While neither knows very much, both have offered […]

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