Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 783062

Shown: posts 1 to 23 of 23. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger*

Posted by antigua3 on September 15, 2007, at 15:03:10

This is really just a rhetorical question, but how do we get past the blame and the shame when a parent has sexually abused us? Logically, of course, I know that I wasn't to blame, but the feelings are still there, and I've talked about them to death.

You know what I feel like? I feel like a grown woman stuck in the Oedipal Complex, ridden with the blame, guilt and shame because it came true, no matter how horrible and terrifying it may have been.

I love my father. I hate what he did, and to me it's like he was two people. I know that's a natural reaction, but it keeps me from getting over this, to blaming him for what happened.
Sigh, just a few thoughts,
antigua

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* antigua3

Posted by RealMe on September 15, 2007, at 17:41:38

In reply to How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger*, posted by antigua3 on September 15, 2007, at 15:03:10

antigua

Here is the problem as I see it. I was not abused by my father but by others in my life as a child. But here I have been doing evaluations with sex offenders and also used to work with them in treatment. This is how I see it. No one is all good or all bad; in fact we are all just people with good points and bad points, good behaviors and bad behaviors, etc. So, is it confusing about your father? Of course. He was not all bad in his behavior. There were good things about him even then too. I don't claim to know the answer, but I would hope he has at least apologized for his behavior. There is no excuse, but there were probably things going on in his life that contributed to what happened to you. Note I say things going on in HIS life. It had nothing to do with you as a child/person. It might be worthwhile to talk to someone who works with sex offenders, and in particular incest perpetrators. It might help, but then again it might not. I don't know you really, and so I can't say.

RealMe

 

Re: How do we really forgive .**csa trigger* RealMe

Posted by muffled on September 15, 2007, at 19:44:08

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* antigua3, posted by RealMe on September 15, 2007, at 17:41:38

Realme, I admire that you help these people.
I could not.
Mebbe I am around these people when I volunteer downtown(I am not right now). But I don't KNOW. If I knew it would be different.
If I knew they hurt a kid.
It would be very different.
I could say alot more.
But I won't.
Cuz it would be bad.
I deeply respect what you do Realme, maybe you stop them from hurting someone else onetime.
Legal system does sh*t.
I will stop now.

 

Ah hell ,sorry antigua, got off topic, sorry :-( (nm)

Posted by muffled on September 15, 2007, at 19:54:31

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive .**csa trigger* RealMe, posted by muffled on September 15, 2007, at 19:44:08

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger*

Posted by muffled on September 15, 2007, at 22:21:16

In reply to How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger*, posted by antigua3 on September 15, 2007, at 15:03:10

Maybe, maybe if we can't actually forgive, maybe we can just accept that we are imperfect humanity, and we DO and WILL screw up cuz thats the human condition? And whether or not there is blame to be had. maybe, maybe, its about being human.
dunno.
:-(

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* RealMe

Posted by antigua3 on September 15, 2007, at 22:26:43

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* antigua3, posted by RealMe on September 15, 2007, at 17:41:38

My father is dead, and most of my knowledge of the abuse didn't surface until after he died.

I know all about his own troubles and pain growing up, in many ways I have no trouble forgiving him. As a matter of fact, I just jumped right over anger to forgiving.

It's facing the truth of what was bad that's so hard. I can see having loving feelings for him, but in this case they are very warped, or let's say they aren't appropriate to the situation. He wasn't a good man, and I'm probably the only person on this earth, besides his mother, who loved him. He wasn't deserving of the intensity of my love--or anyone's-- and that's why I feel I'm stuck in the Oedipal Complex and would like to find my way out, to see him for the man he was and the lives he ruined, and I'm not just talking about my own. He was a narcissist throught and through, and was never held accountable by anyone for his actions. He never felt he had to be. He left a long trail of damage and everyone in my family hates him.

Not easy to explain.
antigua

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* antigua3

Posted by Daisym on September 15, 2007, at 23:05:07

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* RealMe, posted by antigua3 on September 15, 2007, at 22:26:43

I wish we were all in the same group together. Everyone in my group hates their abuser - father, grandfather or brother - and I'm the only one who has mixed feelings. I hate my father and I love him too. And I'm the only one with an ongoing relationship, such as it is.

Perhaps you can't forgive yourself because there is nothing to forgive. You didn't do anything bad intentionally -- even if you see yourself and/or those acts as bad. Even if you could somehow get angry at your dad or hate him, that wouldn't necessarily mean you'd let yourself off the hook. I also know intellectually it is never the child's fault. But I beat myself up with millions of questions: "What if I'd never gotten out of bed at 7?" "what if I'd been a boy?" "Why didn't I tell anyone?" And on and on.

My therapist tells me that part of the work is to allow myself both extremes and to not feel guilty for loving the good parts of my dad. He was, after all, my dad. We've talked about how sad I get when I lose yet another piece of the good dad as I remember more and more. And we also talk about how the hate feels and why it is OK to hate, not just the acts but him. I can hate the dad who did these things. This is a new concept for me, and it rattles me.

And somewhere mixed up with all of this is the idea that I could have done something to prevent it. So am I trying to forgive myself for not doing that?

I'm closer to letting go of the self-blame than I am to forgiving him. But sometimes I wonder if I can't stop blaming myself because then I'd have to completely blame him and recognize that HE had the power to stop it. And he didn't. And recognizing that means accepting as true that what happened can not be changed.

I sometimes think I can't forgive myself for remembering all of this. Or for not being able to just shrug it off. If only I could just get past it...

It sounds like you are hurting. I wish I could help.

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* antigua3

Posted by RealMe on September 15, 2007, at 23:07:31

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* RealMe, posted by antigua3 on September 15, 2007, at 22:26:43

I am sorry for all that happened. That was not fair to you, and as I deal with my own csa, my therapist keeps bringing up my mother and how she did not protect me and tried to keep me all for herself. I don't totally understand but sort of do, and I don't like the notion that in her own way she was abusive too.

I never really knew my father other than to be a real jerk to put it mildly. He kicked my mother in the stomach when she was six months pregnant with me, and she almost lost me. Sometimes I think that would have been for the best. In any case, she left him then and there, and the divorce was finalized when I was 13 months old. I never saw much of my dad growing up, maybe one per year. He was an alcoholic and abusive. He re-married an alcoholic, and both eventually quit drinking. My mom never remarried or even dated again in her life. I think that is said given that she was only age 29 when they divorced. Her sisters all said she had children to take care, and that was that. So, when I wanted to go to college, the jerk father would not help me out. HE was willing to pay my brother's way through college. My father said borrow from my brother. Oh sure, the crasy physically and sexually abussive brother.

The doctor I had at Menninger's who was my hospital doctor while inpatient (different therapist) and who was my therapist as an outpatient was like a father to me. I loved that man, and I know he was really proud of me when I finished my postdoc and won the writing award. He was just beaming. I couldn't have had a better father. He really did literally save my life.

So, as I meander here, I do understand what you are saying. I guess I wonder if there has been anyone at all in your life who was more like a father than your real father?? I was able to get myself unstuck as you say with a male therapist who was like a good father figure. Now I have a therapist my age who is triggering all sorts of other stuff, and I don't want to talk to him about it.

So where is the anger??? It sounds like it is there if you let it be there. Until you can be angry, I don't see how you can really forgive. Perhaps I am wrong. And what does your mother say about him and his behavior toward you???

I truely am sorry for what you went through.

RealMe

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* RealMe

Posted by Daisym on September 15, 2007, at 23:29:58

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* antigua3, posted by RealMe on September 15, 2007, at 23:07:31

I'm curious, not to hi-jack Antigua's thread, but how does it feel to treat abusers when you've been abused yourself?

I went through a period of time when the very thought of my therapist treating someone who hurt someone like me, after listening to me, just freaked me out. I was trying to imagine him being gentle and understanding and looking for the good parts of this person. And it made me crazy angry. We did talk about it and it turned out that it has not been his choice to work with perpetrators since he works on the other side of it most often. And I figure out what it the anger was really about. But it is such important work - someone needs to help these people stop their behavior. that much I really do get.

Just curious.

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* Daisym

Posted by antigua3 on September 16, 2007, at 0:26:24

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* antigua3, posted by Daisym on September 15, 2007, at 23:05:07

Thanks, Daisy. Everything you say is true, and I've heard it and been through it a million times but it doesn't fit. something is wrong with how I feel. I can't explain it. I understand about holding opposing view points, etc., but my feelings are out of proportion to the situation. From experience, I know this and I'd like to fix it.

I know there is no way I could have prevented the abuse. I was just a body, conveniently available to him. He had women all the time--not even affairs, but just sex. So I've worked past the "I was special" part to knowing that I was irrelvant; it's as if I was a lower form of life--there was no consideration of me as a human being, much less his daughter. That's an awful thought to ponder...

I know I couldn't tell anyone--there was no one safe to tell. I couldn't hurt my mother; he was hurting her enough as it was, and I had a sick younger brother she had to care for.

So why do I hold onto this love for him? And why can't the shame go away?

Well, there's always something to work on...
best,
antigua

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* RealMe

Posted by antigua3 on September 16, 2007, at 0:40:26

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* antigua3, posted by RealMe on September 15, 2007, at 23:07:31

Lots of good questions. My father once threw my mother down the stairs when she was pregnant, and the baby died, and I'm so glad that didn't happen to you! It wouldn't have been better. You are here, you are valued, you are making great contributions to us here at babble, and I'd bet you're a pretty fine lady, so get those negative thoughts out of your head!

No, there has never been anyone else. I loved my father-in-law--he was a great guy, but I didn't love him like I love my father. I've never had male mentors because I despise authority figures so much! and I've tried to stay away from men who remind me of my father (my little alarm goes off, and I go running). I am trying to deal with this with my pdoc, but I don't have great hopes for it working out.

My mother hates my father, as does everyone else in my family. He left us when I was about 9 or so, but I ended up back with him when I was a teenager.

I told her about the abuse a year or so ago and she responded that she would have called the police on him. She was very kind. But I've never discussed the abuse in detail w/her and never would. I am dealing in therapy with my anger toward my mother and I think it's going well. I tend to protect her.

You're right about the anger. It needs to come out, and I've tried and tried, but I end up taking it out on myself with self-destructive behaviors (or I used to). Daisy will tell you that I do have a soft bat that I have used to beat against a wire fence, which helps sometimes, but it doesn't get to the root of the problem.

Thank you for your compassion. And I'm sorry for what you had to go through, too.
best,
antigua

 

P.S.

Posted by antigua3 on September 16, 2007, at 1:07:02

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* RealMe, posted by antigua3 on September 16, 2007, at 0:40:26

The love is getting in the way of my anger.

And before anyone corrects me, I know for girls it's known as the Electra Complex.
antigua

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* muffled

Posted by antigua3 on September 16, 2007, at 1:09:58

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger*, posted by muffled on September 15, 2007, at 22:21:16

He wasn't even human; he was subhuman!
antigua

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger*

Posted by Daisym on September 16, 2007, at 1:18:05

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* muffled, posted by antigua3 on September 16, 2007, at 1:09:58

Can you tie your shame to something? Is it about loving him or is it about having sex with him? Is it about having a response or is it about *still* trying to figure this out?

Shame is usually introjected from abuser and you can't hand it back because he died. That doesn't mean you are stuck with it, I think it just makes it harder.

I have a weird question for you. Do you ever feel shame when you hurt yourself - even if it is an accident? Like running into something or cutting your finger?

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger*

Posted by antigua3 on September 16, 2007, at 8:38:21

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger*, posted by Daisym on September 16, 2007, at 1:18:05

Good questions, again. That's what I like about you guys--you always make me think.

The shame is that I duped myself into believing all the falsehoods in order to survive, that I actually believed my father cared. Like I said, I was lower than any form of life. Hard to explain. Kind of like, "Ha, I actually believed that I had some worth?"

In the old days, when I hurt myself when I was drinking or something, it would bring on great shame. Now that I don't drink, I still find shame when I hurt myself accidentally--like the bruise I still have because I wasn't careful enough and stepped off the curve. Those kinds of things can bring back the shame.

antigua

 

Re: P.S.

Posted by seldomseen on September 16, 2007, at 9:53:02

In reply to P.S., posted by antigua3 on September 16, 2007, at 1:07:02

After years of therapy, I've learned that just because you love someone that doesn't mean that you can't be really really mad at them.

The two don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Anger doesn't have to destroy all the good things that you experienced with your father, in fact, it's not destructive or bad at all. It's just an emotion, that's all. Nothing more nothing less.

I know what you are talking about when you say it was like your father was two people.

For me, it was like I had two childhoods and two sets of parents - one filled with animals and vacations and really really good stuff. The other was almost unbearable.

But in reality, they were the same childhood adn the same people were my parents. Just because one part sucked doesn't mean that the other was awful too.

It's okay to be angry, because I don't think it in anyway negates love.

Just my thoughts, take good care.

Seldom.

 

Re: P.S.

Posted by muffled on September 16, 2007, at 10:46:22

In reply to Re: P.S., posted by seldomseen on September 16, 2007, at 9:53:02

> After years of therapy, I've learned that just because you love someone that doesn't mean that you can't be really really mad at them.

> But in reality, they were the same childhood adn the same people were my parents. Just because one part sucked doesn't mean that the other was awful too.

> It's okay to be angry, because I don't think it in anyway negates love.

*I have a similiar dilemma regarding my 'higher power'.
It exactly parallels this.
How can I accept a God that allows children to be hurt?
I am told this SAME God loves me.
Its a, ohhh, Alex used the word, something bout a dichotomy..
My T says its OK to be furious with God.
But then how can I love Him?
Its so confusing.
M

dichotomy: 1 : a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities <the dichotomy between theory and practice>;

 

Re: P.S. muffled

Posted by seldomseen on September 16, 2007, at 11:26:04

In reply to Re: P.S., posted by muffled on September 16, 2007, at 10:46:22

Well, I think (and this is just my opinion) that when you are faced with a dichotomy that you are having trouble with you have two choices.

1. You can recognize that the way you are thinking about it (your parents, your god etc...) may be wrong, thus leading to contradictions. So you may need some revision in your assumptions.

or

2. You can work to simply "hold" the two opposing viewpoints.

I think as humans, we really are into classifying things into neat little bundles. All good or all bad, all black or all white, all right or all wrong, all anger or all love.

I think that people like us, are even more apt to adopt this kind of thinking because in order to survive we pretty much HAD to classify things that way.

In reality life is really more of a continuum.

As adults, I think we get slapped in the face with the idea that things can't always get wrapped into neat little bundles and it causes us a lot of conflict.

Accepting the continuum, however, is the key to peace.

That's just my thoughts. I'm not perfect at it, but when I pray, that what's I pray for - just accepting the way things are.

Seldom.

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trig antigua3

Posted by Honore on September 16, 2007, at 14:15:41

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* RealMe, posted by antigua3 on September 16, 2007, at 0:40:26

Sometimes, when your anger is so intense, maybe it can't ever fully come out, or can only fully come out slowly, in a moderated way, over time.

In a way, although there's this idea that we need to express or even expel it, I'm not sure that's possible. I do think it can become less over time, maybe jsut with practice-- that is, when you feel overwhelmed or overcome, trying to feel that it's okay to be angry, and trying to accept the anger, without having to justify it (he was horrible, he did horrible things)-- but just as *your* anger.

It may be --at him-- which he deserves, but also maybe it isn't helpful to you to to into detail about what he did-- because it only sort of reenacts it on yourself, in your mind-- and builds your anger, rather than helping you to accept and perhaps forgive yourself.

I think that (perhaps) what we can't forgive is our anger, not so much because the other person deserves the anger (and it's therefore justified and forgiveable), but simply because we deserve to be forgiven (or to forgive ourselves) for *our* anger. Because I think it's not so much that you can't forgive yourself for needing your father's love, or even for thinking your had it (mistakenly-- although maybe not so mistakenly-- maybe that was, in his confusion, the only way he could express love, ie in a twisted, destructive way)--

but it's more that you can't forgive yourself for being so angry. I mean, in this regard, at this moment. So maybe it's better to focus on forgiving yourself for one thing at a time-- that is, more important to focus on forgiving yourself for the anger, than justifying, or explaining, the anger, which is a separate thing.

I mean, maybe you could just focus on forgiving yourself for being so angry-- whether it's justified or not. Because, when we try to forgive ourselves for being angry, we tend to start justifying it-- ie focussing on the other person-- when we need to simply forgive ourselves, ie focus on ourselves, and the feeling per se.

I know I might not be clear here. But I think it's really not important, as far as forgiving yourself, what your father did, or how awful or blameworthy he was. I think it's really just about forgiving yourself for-- being human, having feelings, being ashamed, being "weak"-- whatever it is that you have trouble accepting--and, especially, for being angry.

You can almost leave your father out of parts of it-- in order to be able to forgive yourself.

Forgiving him, and forgetting, or anything else-- you know-- it's almost another very difficult, taxing struggle. But you don't have to do everything at once.

I wish I could get this down better.

Honore

 

Thx seldom, gonna bring in and talk to T bout it. (nm) seldomseen

Posted by muffled on September 16, 2007, at 16:51:53

In reply to Re: P.S. muffled, posted by seldomseen on September 16, 2007, at 11:26:04

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* antigua3

Posted by RealMe on September 16, 2007, at 17:55:49

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger*, posted by antigua3 on September 16, 2007, at 8:38:21

This is the thing for me too. I have not been angry with any of my abusers, four before I turned 17 and then we won't go what else happened at age 17, at least not now. Anyway, I have been trying to talk about stuff in therapy, at least the first two which were prior to age 11. But I don't feel angry. I feel hurt and betrayed, yes, but not angry.

So I just realized yesterday as I was reading and writing stuff that I am feeling very angry with my therapist right now. I think he is going to get the brunt of my anger. Well probably not now that I realize this, but I started to feel angry with him and wanted to tell him I don't need to talk about my brother's physical and sexual abuse, the guy down the street, my mother, etc etc etc. I am sick of it. Let's just forget it, I want to say. I am just too busy now.

I have my job, and it needs me 100% when I am there, and I have been developing a social life, something I have neglected for years. So I just want to tell him to go to hell. That's how it is. I want to quit therapy too. No more.

Maybe I am angry about only once per week for two weeks, but I don't think it is that. I am actually feeling grateful that I have had a chance to recuperate from last Wednesday except of course the food poisoning. Oh well. I wonder what anyone things of this.

antigua, have you gotten angry with your therapist??? I can't remember if you have a male or female therapist. I am thinking it is probably a good thing I do have a male therapist, and I think he knows he is going to get the brunt of some of my anger.

RealMe

 

Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* Daisym

Posted by RealMe on September 16, 2007, at 18:15:07

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* RealMe, posted by Daisym on September 15, 2007, at 23:29:58

Well right now I just do evaluations on SO's for court, and even my T asks me how it feels to do this. I am not sure except that they didn't abuse me, and I don't know the person or persons they abused, and so it seems sort of impersonal to me. That sounds awful as I write it and read what I wrote, but I do tend to compartmentalize alot. It is my survival technigue. I have to remain objective so I can do my reports without seeming to slant one way or the other. In addition to what I write and how I write my reports, my objectivity has been something that all attorneys, defense and prosecutors and judges have liked about my work.

So for now, they are them, and I am me, and never the twain shall meet. I also used to work with persons who were abused, at Menninger's during my postdoctoral training, and that was not so difficult for me even though I had not dealt with my stuff. Again, I had everything neatly compartmentalized. My stuff was put away. They and their abusers were not me. So, no problem. Even after my postdoctoral training I worked with not only adults but young children who had just been abused. No problem. I did really well with them. The problem arose two and one-half years ago when I started to develop all sorts of physical stuff, and then I think I just started to feel more vulnerable all the way around.

Even though the physical stuff has been mostly resolved or is being treated, I still can't seem to get away from what I ignored for so many years. At Menninger's they knew about some of it, but not all, and they did not push me. Their philosophy was and probably still is that it is okay. You do the work you can do, and someday later maybe you will do the work that still needs to be done. So, I don't kick myself. Now is the time; that is all there is to it. Well at least I try not to kick myself. We all do only that which we can do at the time, no more and no less.

RealMe

 

Getting angry with our Ts RealMe

Posted by antigua3 on September 17, 2007, at 13:19:59

In reply to Re: How do we really forgive ourselves? **csa trigger* antigua3, posted by RealMe on September 16, 2007, at 17:55:49

Oh, one of my favorite subjects. I have a female T, and I have a lot trouble getting angry w/her, especially when she is a stand-in for my mother. But I have told her when I've been angry (when she didn't call back fast enough for me, etc.), but this is a big issue between us. Actually, I'm thinking of bringing it up again when I see her next week.

I also have a male pdoc, who I do therapy with (see, I have both a mother and father for therapy) and yes, I get mad at him a lot, and I tell him. It's to help work out the anger toward my father. This guy can make me SO mad that my usually reserved self sometimes actually flies off the handle! I'm not sure it's going to work out w/him, but for now it's nice to have the outlet.

antigua


This is the end of the thread.


Show another thread

URL of post in thread:


Psycho-Babble Psychology | Extras | FAQ


[dr. bob] Dr. Bob is Robert Hsiung, MD, bob@dr-bob.org

Script revised: February 4, 2008
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/cgi-bin/pb/mget.pl
Copyright 2006-17 Robert Hsiung.
Owned and operated by Dr. Bob LLC and not the University of Chicago.