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Sexual assault-experiencing shock now I have admitted this to counsellor?

(142 Posts)
pumpkinpie5 Fri 01-Aug-14 23:14:27

I've have been reading some threads on sexual assault but really need some support/advice/not sure what?

I have recently been seeing a counsellor due to dealing with my partner of nine years leaving me. We have a daughter together. I've been doing great with the counsellor and felt it was making a difference but last week got into territory I didn't anticipate and whilst talking to her admitted that he had done things to me without my consent. Counsellor asked me in more direct terms whether I had been raped. I had not ever intened to deal with any of this.Counsellor also said that much of relationship sounded like it had elements of sexual and emotional abuse. I came away from meeting, looked at various info online and have been left reeling by seeing my whole relationship in a new light and can't believe I've been in denial so long.

However, this last week since all this I have been sick, shaky, constant nervous feeling in my chest-hard to explain, and just constantly distracted and on edge. I booked another appoint with counsellor in the same week as I just didn't know what to do, I feel awful. Went to the appoint,net today and she has been amazing, suggested it is likely to be shock. Has been supportive, also suggested I ring rape crisis.

I need advice. I feel lonely, confused, don't know what to do, talk about it -which seems impossible at mo, or try forget it and feel normal again? Should say that I still see my ex at handovers etc and on occasion he does still 'try it on' :-( confused. X

EBearhug Fri 01-Aug-14 23:25:49

She's right, it probably is shock. It's the sort of realisation that will turn your whole world upside down.

Have you rung rape crisis? They may help you talk and work through some of the confusion, and if it turns out you can't talk, they'll be okay with that, too.

Do you think you would be able to forget it if you tried? I don't know that I would, and I think now that it's come up, you will have to think about it a bit, particularly if you're seeing a counsellor because of him leaving you -it'll all be wrapped up in it. But I am not you, and what's right for me isn't necessarily right for you.

In any case, you don't have to do anything right now. Take your time. If you're not ready to do anything about it, then that's okay. If it takes you a day, a week, a year, a decade, that's okay. Be kind to yourself. thanks

pumpkinpie5 Fri 01-Aug-14 23:45:41

Thank you. Yep it feels exactly like my world has just turned upside down. Really don't know what to do or where to go next. Rang rape crisis but was out of hours, relieved tbh as don't know that I could say what I need to say anyway. I have left a brief message and times that they can call me back.

No I can't forget it, it's just I feel so awful and lost right now having started to admit this that I think I'm just trying to back pedal and not deal with thinking about this anymore :-( I know it's not going to go away tho.

I feel close to tears h whole time but just can't cry, even when speaking to counsellor was just v numb although she could see I was shaking. I just don feel strong enough to deal with this right mow but now that I've confided a little it won't go away. I've spent my whole time reliving things, researching things, then trying to forget things, and it's just taken over. Feel like I have no resilience at all and hate being so weak and stupid

HumblePieMonster Fri 01-Aug-14 23:50:27

Will it help to think that you're not alone in experiencing such things, and not realising at the time how abusive it is? People 'make do' in their lives, they rationalise, they hope for the best. You aren't weak and stupid, you're strong and surviving. Its bound to be traumatic.

mignonette Fri 01-Aug-14 23:56:46

Hi Pumpkin

Did your counsellor give you any advice and direction about where to go to discuss these feelings whilst you wait for your next appointment and did she suggest bringing your next appointment forward or offer you the chance to contact her to do this?

You shouldn't be left high and dry with nowhere to take these feelings after you have disclosed something traumatic. These feelings are normal especially if at first (upon disclosure) you felt it was cathartic (brought your a feeling of relief). What I would suggest is that you call your local rape crisis helpline and just chat to them and let them know you have recently disclosed a sexual assault. They will be experiences in this and will help you manage these feelings in a positive way.

I wish you all the luck in the world, that you will be able to move forward and find a safe space for these feelings flowers

mignonette Fri 01-Aug-14 23:57:52

Sorry for repeating the word 'feelings' about eight million times blush. I sound like a broken record.

FabULouse Sat 02-Aug-14 07:36:31

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Appletini Sat 02-Aug-14 09:39:48

I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to you. It can be very overwhelming and shocking to realise you've spoken about something you've previously been keeping buried or silent. I don't know if it will help you to know this, but it is very common to have a big emotional and physical reaction like you're experiencing now. After all, if it wasn't a very big deal to talk about it, you would already have been talking about it, if that makes sense.

Sometimes in counselling the line between the life we think we've had, and the life we've actually had, can become more visible. Try to remember that you don't have to figure everything out now - what to do with this, how to cope, how to continue with life when it looks different to how it looked before. Try to break things down into smaller steps - getting through today, getting to your next appointment. Self-care is really important too, which means looking after yourself, getting enough sleep, eating etc.

You aren't weak or stupid. You have lived through something horrendous and somehow adapted and survived because you had to. When you are living through something intolerable, denial is a powerful defense mechanism that happens in your brain to help you survive something awful. Later, when you discover it, it's like ripping off a plaster only to find that the scab hasn't actually healed.

Please try to be gentle with yourself.

pumpkinpie5 Sat 02-Aug-14 11:31:48

Thank you for your replies, it does help to know that this reaction is ok. I have been panicking about it and that has made it worse. This has just hit me out of the blue and I didn't expect to feel such a physical reaction to it all. It's hard just to function right now.

Mignonette - thank you for your words. Yes, my counsellor looked up the rape crisis info for me then and there, helped me to approach what questions I may want to ask them and told me to ring them that eve - that it would've hard but that was my plan. She also put in an appointment for Tuesday and told me I can text her in between if I am in a bad place or situation changes and I am panicking. So I do feel supported by that, it's just very lonely on my own struggling with this, and I have my daughter with me which is a good distraction but also hard work when I have all these thoughts in my head, which sounds awful as she is my absolute world but Im feeling so sick right now.

Appletini - thank you. Everything you said makes sense and has hit home, especially realising the reality of the life I thought I had lived versus what it actually was. The smaller steps things really helps a lot. I have tried to take on everything and panicking about what to do, where to go, how to cope in future, how will I get over it etc? I have been counting down days til counselling appointments literally, and counting down hours through day until I get some alone time at night (then all I do is drink and smoke so that I get tired and chilled enough to try and sleep) I never smoked in my life until this all kicked off with my ex :-(

I thought I was being completely pathetic counting down days until my next appointment, but as she is the only person I have told I feel like it all builds and builds in my head until I can see her, and then when I do I don't say it all anyway because I just can't. But the way I felt this week with being physically I'll and shaky I went in there and really just talked more than ever because I felt on the verge of going crazy, so in a way that was a good thing as I am getting some more help now hopefully.

Sorry, this has turned into a long post, just trying to make sense of everything :-(

mignonette Sat 02-Aug-14 12:12:46


You have a decent sounding counsellor smile. I am often appalled at how many of them don't put in these safeguards and don't understand the risk after somebody discloses traumatic events.

Can you find some solace in being around other people or do you feel like you want to be somewhere more private? Do you have any soothing friends who wouldn't necessarily expect you to talk about what is on your mind but could just be with you (presencing).

Otherwise maybe make yourself a safe place in the living room with your daughter, get something lovely to eat and drink (even if you feel you cannot eat or drink), watch some funny, lighthearted films or ones that you can get engrossed in and spoil yourself. Or a decadent bath with a good book, some scented things, music etc.

Fact is after sexual assault and rape it can help to treat your body and psyche kindly by lavishing attention and spoily things upon it. It can centre you, help you find that still place that combats all the chatter.

Finally can you write all of it down? Get it out of you and onto a page or screen? Highlight the things that really stand out with a highlighter pen and take it with you to the counsellor. It is normal to count down the days in these early stages of post disclosure and it is a good sign that you are forming a therapeutic relationship with her. A good counsellor will then work with you to enable you to take back your internal locus of control (the sense that you self determine what happens and how you react) over time. But for now she is there for you to lean on.

The physical effects are all normal too so let then happen. Think of it as getting all that toxic stuff out- the rage and pain and fear and everything else. It is like vomiting after food poisoning to a certain degree. However if there are ways you know of helping you manage how you feel about these physical signs, try to use them, especially if you think the physical manifestations are becoming too bothersome or interfere with your everyday activities.

If you have intrusive thoughts, I often find that clients who learn to tell themselves 'stop it' (out loud if necessary) can build up to a point where the command is enough to switch them off.

Or find something else that distracts you- computer / phone games are great because you physically and mentally cannot play these AND worry about something else. Or go for a walk with your daughter and distract yourself by playing a game with her (if she is old enough) like doing a nature hunt. Anything that combines physical and mental activity.

And practise good sleep and bedtime hygiene- wind down, a bath, no over stimulating books or films, make sure bed is inviting. Don't lie there ruminating if you cannot sleep- get up and do something else. And take a multi vitamin and mineral, drink plenty of fluids., Try to eat little and often. Looking after the body will help you heal your mind.


pumpkinpie5 Sat 02-Aug-14 17:02:01

The u. Your message is very informative and I'm trying to take on board some of what you have said.

I feel like being on my own more than anything right now. My daughter is with her dad tomorrow so I am going to curl up iN bed I think and just try sand get some sleep which hasnt happened the last few nights.

I did do some writing down the other night- eight pages of a4 and I covered only a fraction of what I was feeling but it did seem to help a little. I'm just hoping this feeling starts to ease soon, I am finding it hard to function and am dreading work Monday trying to hold it all together.

Am feeling upset right now too because a lady from my local rape crisis centre has just phoned me back and put lots of doubts in my mind. She asked me if I was sure I wanted to speak to someone else about all this because if I have only ever told one person (that being my counsellor this week- after many sessions) then was I sure I wanted to go thru it again with someone else as it would be very traumatic. Also said she was a volunteer- proceeded to tell me had been a volunteer for 30yrs, and it is very diff talking to a volunteer if you are used to talking to a counsellor. Don't want to be ungrateful because she sounded very lovely but she also sounded a more mature lady and very old school, and I'm thinking how c an I tell her all th things that have happened to me? I haven't even gone into any detail with my counsellor right now and she is someone I've formed a good bond with and is very down to earth.

I'm panicking now. I have an appointment booked for next week with this lady but can't see myself going,I just don't think I can go through it all with her, I hadn't even planned on it with my counsellor and the way I feel this week I jus can't risk anything that's going to make me feel worse:-(

mignonette Sat 02-Aug-14 17:31:37


Could you maybe separate out the talking about what actually happened from talking about how you feel? Sometimes you don't need to 'go through' anything unless you actually feel you want to.

These talking sessions with the RCC should be very much guided by what you want because of course the RCC wants you to start to regain feelings of control over what happens and one way of doing this is to not force upon you a proscribed way of doing things.

What I will say is that as a volunteer, this RCC lady will have heard it all and although your experience and feelings are uniquely yours, there is nothing you can tell her that she won't be equipped to deal with and she will have support too in the form of supervision to help her work with you and the feelings she experiences in relation to the people she counsels.

AS you likely know, we relate differently to different counsellors/volunteers- some we 'get' immediately, some we take longer to form a relationship with and some we just don't click with. Maybe she was a little clumsy in how she expressed herself? Maybe she was trying to prepare you for the difference in approaches? She will be there to listen to you as opposed to working formally through your thoughts and feelings as a qualified counsellor would and wanted to establish these boundaries so you don't develop false expectations about what it might achieve.

Re Monday- try to focus on the here and now because from what I can see, when you think ahead, and write on here what lies ahead (or what you think might lie ahead) it triggers panic and maybe thoughts of things going out of control or being unpredictable?

Try not to imagine what might or might not happen, tomorrow, monday, later in the week. Worrying about What you might or might not be like or what you fear you might be like in the days to come uses up precious emotional reserves that are better spent on managing what is happening right now. Try to think of ways to stop your thoughts turning to 'the future'. What can you do to stop them- useful tricks like listening to music that has good associations, maybe coming up with a 'stop' word to drag your thoughts back to a more healthy place?

That is good that you are writing. Keep on. Keep on getting it all out and I promise that in time, with help and support (and some hard work on your part- it won't come to you on a plate sadly), things WILL become easier to manage and live with and you will find happiness again. There will be light again for you and although you won't forget, there will be better thoughts and feelings helping to keep the bad stuff in check.

mignonette Sat 02-Aug-14 17:32:57


and as for the appointment with the RCC volunteer, you save that decision for the day. Plenty of people change their minds about appointments so don't worry about whether you can go through with it for now. Just focus on today. And tomorrow, focus on that day too.

pumpkinpie5 Sat 02-Aug-14 18:50:19

Thank you.

You are right, I do tend to panic when I think about how I am feeling at a particular time and then think of upcoming days/events.I tend to do that a lot anyway. Really do need to focus on getting through each day at the moment. Everything just feels overwhelming right now.

I am still trying to deal with things I originally went to see counsellor for- the break up, ex partners affairs, and my daughter spending time with him and other woman - all off which have been overshadowed now by these latest things but which were troubling me enough to seek help in the first place.

I'm worried because I feel myself sinking and not knowing how to move forward. I had been prescribed anti depressants (citalopram) when my partner originally left but came off them at the end of last year, I really don't want to go backwards again and had been making such good progress I thought. Now that I'm feeling so rubbish I feel like I'm being affected more by all the old issues again too. I don't know, feeling swamped right now.

Thank you for your messages today mignonette, today has been a struggle and they have been a lifeline x

mignonette Sat 02-Aug-14 19:24:55

Hi Pumpkin

Did the Citalopram help do you think? A lot of people come off them prematurely when they start to feel better when it might have been best to have remained on them a little longer.

Taking an antidepressant wouldn't be going backwards if you did think that- try to see it as another way of bolstering yourself, of gaining more strength and volition to make changes and work through the painful feelings.

If you learn to ride a horse you know that it is going to be hard work, involve falls and aches & pains to the body and that one way of preventing or mitigating injury is to wear a hard hat and a back protector. The anti depressants and the therapy are their equivalents- you have to learn to ride that old horse, but there are ways of protecting you from the absolute rawness of that process.

You aren't going backwards you know- I think that disclosing what happened to you has left the door open wider than it usually is and so other stuff creeps back in (Boy am I busy with the metaphors today- sorry smile). That often happens and again, time and counselling will help you acquire and strengthen the tools you'll need to exercise some door control, not let too much in at opportune or inopportune moments.

It is normal to feel swamped, in fact of course you would feel swamped- anybody would. Try not to impose all these 'should's - 'I should or shouldn't feel like this' because they make you start comparing yourself to a standard of feelings and reaction that will be impossible to live up to.

You are human and you can only take so much. Your psyche is telling you that now is the good time to seek out extra support and sensibly you have listened to it. Good on you smile

WildflowerMarmalade Sat 02-Aug-14 19:41:48

Hello pumpkin. Just read your thread and wanted to offer some support. It sounds like you have been through a lot.

mignon has given you sound advice.

Spend tomorrow in bed, maybe with your diary writing things down if that helps. You are wise to look after yourself in the way that feels best for you.

Eat something if at all possible. And remember the water and multivitamin, like mignon suggested. Being in shock burns up a lot of energy so you really need to look after yourself.

With regard to the RC volunteer appointment, do you need to go into any particular detail with her? Surely it would be fine to just explain that in counselling you have now realised that your previous relationship was much worse than you ever understood at the time. Or whatever you feel comfortable saying. You contacted Rape Crisis, not Paddington Station lost property, they know roughly what it's about.

Just a thought. I have no idea how it works, but maybe someone else will. And don't go if you don't want to on the day.

WildflowerMarmalade Sat 02-Aug-14 19:43:52

I meant to suggest that you could simply talk to the Rape Crisis people about what you are feeling now and they could perhaps support you with that. Don't say more if you don't want to.

pumpkinpie5 Sat 02-Aug-14 20:27:39


Yes the citalopram did help, but it had side effects too, I was massively tired all the time-so much so that I would fall asleep when putting my daughter to bed then wake 12 hours later having to start a new day and feeling completely disorientated. Plus I gained a lot of weight, which I have just about lost again. Not that those are reasons not to take them again, it's just it was one of my biggest achievements coming off them last year and starting to deal with things on my own so I really don't want to take them again. Although that sounds silly as I'm obviously not coping on my own right now.

The horse analogy does ring true though, and I can relate as I love my riding - maybe something to get back into in time to rediscover myself, can't remember the last time I did something for me.

I am definitely hoping that counselling will help me find a clear route through all this, at the moment I just need to see a way through everything I am swamped with, I don't know where to start :-/ but I can see that I am going to need to find strength, resilience and boundaries, and they all seem far away right now :-( I am determined to get back to a positive me one day though, for my daughter if nothing else. I feel like I have waste so much of my life :-(

Wildflower marmalade- thank you for your support. I will try to eat, I'm feeling so shaky and nauseous that it's difficult but know it won't help not to eat.

You are probably right about the counsellor, I don't know what to expect so it's that tas freaking me out really, i guess it wil lbe how I feel on the day that determines whether I go or not. I know I won't be going into specifics, I haven't done that with anyone and hadn't planned to say anything at all, I'm not quite sure how I even admitted it to counsellor. Despite everything, I think I'm glad I did, it was always going to come back to haunt me so Im trying to feel good about myself that I have asked for help -as mignon said.

LondonRocks Sat 02-Aug-14 20:32:33

You've had some cracking advice from Mignonette.

Does your therapist offer CBT practical coping techniques? Autogenics can be very helpful with dealing with anxiety and distress.

Wishing you well thanks

LondonRocks Sat 02-Aug-14 20:33:20

Btw, well done on admitting it. Takes a lot of strength.

pumpkinpie5 Sat 02-Aug-14 20:42:36

Thank u. I don't know, don't know what techniques etc are offered. Just know she is v professional, and down to earth, and I trust her. She has a good reputation. To be honest, I was referred to someone through employee assistance at work and saw them for a bit but didn't achieve anything, then I tried to find someone and had one session but it was useless so I've had bad counsellors and know that although this latest trauma has knocked me hugely right now, I was making progress and feeling much more positive about things.

I'm not good at opening up at all so I really want to stick with someone I've built this trust with, that's why I'm so worried about seeing a new person, even if I'm just discussing thoughts rather than incidents, I still find it hard.

Sorry, long reply, meant to just say I don't really know what method
Or techniques she is trained in, just that the way she has been supporting me has really helped.

Thanks for your message, people have been so supportive on here today, don't know what I would have done without it xx

WildflowerMarmalade Sat 02-Aug-14 20:51:21

If you can't eat, you can't eat. That's why the multivitamin is a good suggestion, at least your body is getting something to keep going.

You are reaching out for support; with your counsellor, here, Rape Crisis. You seem determined to get through this - and you will.

pumpkinpie5 Sat 02-Aug-14 20:55:52

I hope so

WildflowerMarmalade Sat 02-Aug-14 21:01:25

thanks + cake + brew to you.

Your counsellor does sound good which is a brilliant thing. You tried several and you were obviously determined to find the right one for you. Sounds to me like you are a resourceful, focused woman who is going to come through this and thrive.

LondonRocks Sat 02-Aug-14 21:42:03

The main thing is you feel comfortable with her. That's fantastic and so important.

Take care of yourself.

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