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Do you ever stop feeling like a victim?(11 Posts)
Feeling despairing this morning.
I've written about this before here- was emotionally and sexually abused by a teacher of mine from early teens to early twenties. Fucking awful situation. Hate him but ten years down the road now. He was sacked from his school, his wife took him back... The usual bollocks. I'm now married to someone I adore, great career, beautiful DD.
Rarely think about him in any real way.
Was jus driving home yesterday night and saw him crossing the road. Instantly felt sick and scared and threatened. Had to stop car and gather myself.
Now since last night I feel edgy, can't stop thinking about him, feeling awful about everything that happened, feeling sick.
I know it will pass and in a couple of days I won't feel like this but just feel in despair- will it ever stop? It's only really in the past few years I've felt comfortable calling myself a victim of him- before that I just kind of saw it as a bad relationship. So is this some kind of PTSD? Will I still be feeling like this if I see him when I'm 60 odd?
Just needed to vent this somewhere as didn't even tell DH I had seen him and don't want to discuss in real life really.
This is a very personal response, and what is true for me may not be true for others.
I find that it comes and goes. Some days/weeks/months I don't feel like a victim. But then, inexplicably, it can all come rushing back in an instant. It feels like living with an explosive jack-in-the-box that can burst out at any moment. There isn't always an obvious trigger.
I am having therapy, and it does help in terms of taking control of the situation and realising that only I can change the way I feel and react. However sometimes, if I'm honest, I get really angry about the fact that I have to go through it all: I feel rage that it's me who has to think about my reactions, me who has to work so hard to get past it. I spend a lot of time thinking 'Why me?' about many events in my past life that are highly unusual and upsetting. I didn't ask for all these things to happen in the first place! And now the burden is on me to sort myself out when I'm the one who was abused? UNFAIR, life! UNFAIR!
But there is a very simply answer to that question of 'Why do I have to do it?' And that answer is: because no-one else can or will. And that is essentially unfair. But it is nonetheless the brutal reality. I am currently struggling to accept that burden, and to wash away all those myths that life is somehow a level playing field. I'm trying to accept that my experience does make me different from other people, it does mean that there is this whole area of traumatic memories that aren't generally shared. Some people are just passively 'normal' and 'OK' - I have to run to hard to get to that point. So be it.
I also think that a big part of this acceptance is getting outside of my own psychodrama - the narrative of being an indelibly marked victim is a very seductive one, but ultimately a self-destructive trap. You can end up stuck in a place where it becomes your identity, and that identity invites in more negativity - it has a constant soundtrack of wailing violins which drowns out other, more positive music. Accepting the need to heal as a burden of everyday work and de-dramatising it can be tremendously releasing.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.
I have had therapy and haven't seen him even on the street for more than three years. I'm not saying I thought I was cured as I definitely still have issues surrounding him and that time in my life- but I'm shocked by how strong my reaction was to seeing him.
I made the mistake then of googling him and found he's working and living nearby. I'm normally great with googling- I know no good ever comes of it!- but I was on a roll of self destruction last night and sabotaged myself by looking him up.
I guess that yes, it seems hugely unfair that I have to live with and cope with this and he's just walking around, scot free with his job and his wife. Fucking bastard.
I have also had this struggle throughout life. It's so unfair and no one ever seems to 'get'it'. So isolating. Noone will ever understand what has happened to me so I don't expect understanding like I used to.
It's a hard lesson in life to face the fact the only person who can help us is ourself. It's hard work but ultimately life enhancing to learn how to cope.
It is something only I can deal with and have no alternative but to find my own strategies, develop coping mechanisms and be very aware of how I react. This with the help of therapy, counselling etc.
I decided to accept my situation and not fight against it. I'm unique, I'm very different, but also I determined many years ago not to let anyone unravel my life. Noone.
When stressor and triggers arise I go into the pain, and let it out usually to agencies [Samaritans, help lines etc], express myself, let the poison out. I'm only prepared to give the people concerned 24 hours of my time, I've cast off some toxic people, it's such a release. I live my own life....not the one others expect of me.
I will have the past I have had for life, but as long as I am in control of my own life the vast majority of the time I've won. And I am winning. I appreciate every day I live and make the best of each day.
Having spent the past few years defining yourself as a 'victim', it's time for you to recognise that your days of victimhood are long over and what you are now is a 'survivor' with all of the strength and determination the word implies.
As cafe has said, regardless of therapeutic input/intervention from professionals and understanding shown by compassionate friends/family members, only you have the power to turn your negative experiences into a positive force which will enhance your life.
Given your traumatic experience have you thought about EDMR? I was offered it when I saw DD with her Dad and although I participated in mediation with the fuckwit for fifteen months, I was taken aback by the strength of feelings I had when seeing him with her. I didn't undergo EDMR in the end but DD (8) is now being offered it because her father's decision to terminate contact with her, has triggered visions of him assaulting me when she was 2.5.
I am a not a victim but a survivor. However, the shit DD has to process because of her father is very upsetting but I try not to be too hard on myself when I'm feeling vulnerable because I know for me, the feeling is temporary.
Be kind to yourself.
Brilliant post by shovetheholly
OP if you don't want to move areas (and why should you) then I think some more therapy might be in order, perhaps someone who can work with you on plans and tactics of what you could do if you did come face to face with him.
I'm not sure from your description if you have PTSD but there are certainly unresolved fears going on there, which can be addressed.
I have recently moved back to an area near (same county) where my abuser lives. He will now be 70 or so and I feel my reaction if I was to see him would be overwhelming anger and any fear I feel is more of what if I attacked him and ended up getting arrested, TBH. The really sad thing is that I don't think he would recognise me anyway.
But this "what if" scenario rarely crosses my mind. I consider my abuse issues resolved many years ago and I haven't experienced flashbacks for a very long time (decades).
You can and will move on to a better mental place where you feel more in control.
I have recently been bullied for the last 6 years. I saw her for first time in a year. She was laughing and joking. I began to physically shake and was saddened by that.
You have my sympathy.
Are there some legal ways you can stop him getting off scott free ,then maybe you'll feel less victimised?
Thanks all. Feeling generally better today than I did- been keeping myself busy.
For all those suggesting more therapy, I think you may be right. I've had quite a bit but maybe need a new "stage" of therapy if you know what I mean.
The thing I struggle with when I see him is the 14 year old girl that's still in me and wants his validation and attention and approval. So a big bit of me wants to see him and talk to him and get him to love me. Even though it's not the "true" part of me now, I really have to fight against that part of me when it strikes because I just want to phone him. It's awful too because the way things ended, I don't even think he would want to talk to me so it feels like rejection and then I'm angry with myself because I don't even WANT to talk to the duplicitous immoral wanker. I'm not articulating this very well but it's a massive lroblem
Sorry posted too soon- it's a massive problem in my head.
As for can I do anything legally.... I don't know. Maybe. I reported him ten years ago but the police didn't care. That may have changed. But I know deep down that I don't want to report him because I don't want him to hate me. Which is ridiculous. And I don't want to seem like I've not moved on. But yes, deep down I would like to have some justice for what he did to me.
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