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Anyone know how to make the shame go away?

(34 Posts)
snowflake02 Sat 03-Jan-15 20:53:24

From rape/sexual assault. I'm even ashamed of feeling shame. Hoping to see my therapist this week but the money has run out really. Are there any good books I could try instead? Thanks

Balders74 Sat 03-Jan-15 21:04:11

Hi Snowflake
Is there nothing your GP can help with as far as counselling?
You really have nothing to be ashamed of, this happened TO you and us not your fault. I'm sure you have been through this in your therapy sessions.

Can your therapist recommend some books maybe?
I hope things improve for you flowers

Reallyme71 Sat 03-Jan-15 21:11:41

I'm so very sorry that I have no advice for you and can't personally suggest any books but didn't want to leave this post unanswered. All I can say is be kind to yourself and take care.

Joysmum Sat 03-Jan-15 21:13:19

I really feel for you. I've never felt shame but I've felt guilt because ive minimised and didn't report. Wish I had a magic wand for that to disappear sad

snowflake02 Sat 03-Jan-15 21:14:10

Thank you for replying. I did try counselling through GP but the counsellor only made me feel more guilty and ashamed of myself by asking what part I played in it, among other things.

I will ask the therapist I am currently seeing if she can recommend any books.

snowflake02 Sat 03-Jan-15 21:15:55

Thank you everyone.

BastardGoDarkly Sat 03-Jan-15 21:19:17

snowflake ((hug))

Your last counsellor sounds shit, maybe go back to the gp and try again with another one?

Someone wise will be along in a minute with book suggestions I'm sure, just wanted to offer my support, and say we believe you.

Take good care.

weedinthepool Sat 03-Jan-15 21:57:19

Have you contacted Rape Crisis? I am currently undergoing therapy and EMDR with them and don't have to pay for it.

I don't want to minimise your choices or patronise you but I have been raped & I'm not sure how far a book could help me. IME it needs conversation and reassurance from an objective 3rd party, especially to counteract the shame & guilt aspects. A book can not look you in the eye and insist that it is not your fault and they believe you.

It's shitty & painful & embarrassing & painful to interact & communicate with another human being about rape. But in my humble opinion it is necessary. I hope you are OK.

OutsSelf Sat 03-Jan-15 21:59:52

You've probably talked through the idea that the shame isn't yours but is your abuser's with your therapist? I found it really helpful to work with the idea that the shame was the key to my freedom, it was an embodiment of whatever negative forces that my abuser(s) couldn't handle so they gave it to me and I could either handle it or risk "having" to pass it on, as my abusers "had" to. Obviously this is a personal narrative that was about me coming to terms with my shame - I actually wrote "blackness" rather than shame when I first wrote this as that's how I conceptualized it. Anyway, like I said I found it helpful personally to think in these terms and in no way am I suggesting that abusers are not responsible for their actions.

I also found it useful to work with shame as an experience rather than as some sort of intellectual puzzle that would be "solved" if ny therapist would only say the right words, or someone could tell me the right thing that would make it all lift. So for me, shame was black, heavy, and made it like I couldn't breathe. And I spent a long time just letting myself feel that and noticing that it didn't kill me and if I breathed through it, it would start to fade. I borrowed a Buddhist exercise called tonglen which I read about in Pema Chodron sorry, I don't remember which one. I'm not a Buddhist but found her way of thinking helpful; tonglen is a meditation practice (I'm not a meditator) where you imagine yourself taking in pain and darkness from the world and transforming it, or you would if you were Buddhist or a meditator, I just "used" the structure of the exercise where you let yourself flash the pain - so for me I just let flash of the blackness happen - then you breathe in "hot, dark and heavy" and breathe out "cool, white, light".

This really helped me because it gave me something to do rather than think. It also helps you visit your very worst nightmare/ memory and survive. I found that so valuable because it realised me from the ongoing sense of crisis which I think came from imagining that at any moment, the whole sorry nightmare would overwhelm me.

avocadotoast Sat 03-Jan-15 22:07:22

I'd second Rape Crisis. There may be services local to you that can support you by phone or email, or face to face. They're very good.

heyday Sat 03-Jan-15 22:08:17

Why is it always the victim who ends up feeling shame? It truly makes me sick that the innocent party has to suffer so, so much. It's so unfair.
This terrible thing has happened to you and I believe that only by talking, to a suitably trained person, that you will ever begin to find closure to this wretched time in your life.
I wonder if the assailant feels guilt and shame? Somehow I doubt it.
When I was assaulted (not sexually) I was bloody determined that the violator was not going to totally destroy me. He lost me my home and my family due to the turmoil he brought, but I am adamant that I will hold my head up high and know that I was not the guilty party and I didn't deserve what he did to me. Some days are just so hard but please try and hold your head up high. You were abused. I truly hope in time that these dreadful feelings that you have will slowly begin to pass.

snowflake02 Sat 03-Jan-15 22:08:45

Thank you. I have been seeing my current therapist for a while now so reluctant to start again with someone else, especially as I can only get 6 sessions through my GP. Only realised today how ashamed I feel.

OutsSelf Sat 03-Jan-15 22:09:44

Should add that I did all this in tandem with excellent therapy. My therapist gave me a sense of being able to contain all of this, I talked stuff through with him and worked on stuff semi-independently. Really seconding the get-good-therapy advice.

weedinthepool Sat 03-Jan-15 22:10:11

OutSelf the technique you described is a lot like EMDR. It consciously dredges up the images/flashbacks from the attack(s) which obviously pulls up the feelings. You then face/feel them & realise that you survived. You are still breathing. That awful shame/pain/powerlessness didn't kill me.

I need the therapist to guide it though because I don't really know how to do it by myself.

The shame thing is weird. It is internalising another's behaviour & making your own responsibility. I don't know how you can navigate that entirely on your own without the internal voices getting in the way.

OutsSelf Sat 03-Jan-15 22:12:01

I saw my therapist every other week because of the expense. Have you got any financial flexibility at all?

OutsSelf Sat 03-Jan-15 22:16:10

I haven't heard of EMDR, I'm sure it is especially useful to be guided through it. I did my stuff like I say in the context of an ongoing therapeutic relationship which I trusted but I did practice that technique on my own. I have used it for a couple of different things now but "discovered" it and used it during my therapy for childhood sexual trauma.

snowflake02 Sat 03-Jan-15 22:18:24

I am thinking of trying to go every other week now, rather than weekly. I agree that it would be much better to be able to talk to someone rather than rely on a book, just worried about the cost of doing that. Perhaps it is worth calling Rape Crisis, I just need to get past the feeling that I am wasting their time first.

weedinthepool Sat 03-Jan-15 22:20:18

Heyday psychologically shame is a 'tool' the mind uses to try & make sense of a behaviour that you have no control over. Shame allows the abused person an emotional input & in my case it allowed me to disassociate from the two rapes I have experienced. A bit like an out of body experience but psychological not physical.

Again (I know I sound like I'm just going into therapy bullshit speak) internal voices allowed me to have an internal dialogue with myself that I was in some way responsible & asking for it. The fact that I have been raped by 2 people compounded it. Something about me makes people rape me basically, according to my internal voices & shame, therefore I had a bit of a role, a bit of power, a bit of input. Bonkers but I can see why in my post traumatic state I could find comfort in that. Sorry OP, that's my experience of shame. Hope you don't think this is a thread hijack.

OutsSelf Sat 03-Jan-15 22:23:02

I agree shame is strange. I had to "accept" the feeling of shame to get over it and it took ages because I couldn't see, for a long time, the difference between accepting my feelings and accepting blame/ responsibility. Then I read some mad statistic about how abusers are themselves abused and thought that all these people were passing on/ acting out their unacceptable feelings and that's what my abuser was doing to me. I thought, it ends here, I won't be passing this on, I'll accept this a sort of "pain baton" and I'll bloody work to put the fucker down instead of passing it on. Obviously this is a tidy story in which I rationalise and overcome my situation but it worked for me.

GristletoeAndWhine Sat 03-Jan-15 22:23:34

I was going to also suggest EMDR. It can be effective with just a few sessions.

snowflake02 Sat 03-Jan-15 22:24:32

Not at all Weedinthepool. I relate to what you are saying as I have more than one experience too, so part of the problem is that in my head I must be at least partly responsible. Or making it up. Or over reacting etc.

OutsSelf Sat 03-Jan-15 22:30:29

Def ring rape crisis, they'd have no truck with the idea that you "might not qualify".

I did the therapy AND read about a million books. The brilliance of this is your therapist can easily bring you back to reality if you go off half cocked. I don't really trust myself in the realm of self-help, unaccompanied.

weedinthepool Sat 03-Jan-15 22:30:47

snowflake if I ever heard of Rape Crisis telling someone they are 'wasting their time' I would go on national TV naked! They would never ever belittle or minimise anyone's experience of any sexual assault. Just like you would never minimise the impact of a friend of yours being punched in the face. An assault is assault.

They have heard it all before. I went to them with a decade of familial childhood sexual abuse & rape and rape and decade of physical abuse by my stbxh. I asked them if they thought my case was serious enough for them to meet their criteria. 20 years of being abused. And the response? If a woman comes to them with an experience of abuse then they will work with them. It is not their job to investigate & the therapist said in 25 years of working in Bradford she had never treated a liar.

snowflake02 Sat 03-Jan-15 22:36:57

Thank you. 'Not qualifying' is exactly how I think of it. The punch in the face analogy is a much better way to look at it.

OutsSelf Sat 03-Jan-15 22:39:28

Ugh, tell your doubting self to have a quick look at the debilitating shame you are dragging round. That, you need help with. The shame is real and you deserve help. Everyone here thinks you need help with this, we all see you as genuine and reasonable and in need of support. We believe you.

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