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"I want to tell everyone!"


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It seems to me that there's a certain point (near the beginning) of healing where you want to tell everyone about how awful it was. Not that this happens for everybody, but that it's a commonality.

Does anyone have any readings to back that up?
 

I'm struggling with it again. I value my privacy and I really regret telling some people in the past. But there are things that I want to share, too. I know that the obvious solution is to put it on my blog. But even that sort of scares me. But then there's the compulsion to share, too. It's irritating me.

I guess I want to know what's going on with that.

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Part of how the brain and mind process trauma is by talking about it or writing about it. Putting the events into the context of a story is a big part of how we make sense of trauma. It, in fact, is the basis of cognitive processing therapy and a couple of other effective, evidence based treatments for trauma.

 

It makes total sense to me that you have the desire to tell the story.

 

Tell it as much as you need to to get it out there in a way that helps you.

 

If you're having a hard time finding people to listen or you feel like you're "burdening" others, try a support group or therapist or advocate service.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've given up telling anyone anything.  The posts I've made on here are probably the most information I've shared in 10 years, and you guys know that's not very much.

 

I wish I felt like I could share.  If I felt like that, I might try to get it out through art or through writing or something like that where I don't have to deal with other people's reactions to it.

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sys, for what it's worth, the most healing for me came in being able to put together a coherent story of what happened. I had to piece it together in flashes of memories and stick figure drawings at first.

 

From those images, I was able to start making a narrative. It seems like once I was able to have the narrative, it was more possible for me to view it as an external something that happened.

 

For a long time I said I wanted this story to be part of the patchwork quilt that is my life. For some reason there is something about the "trauma narrative" (as it is called in cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure, and trauma-focused CBT) that helps make that happen.

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In that vein... when you're in the midst of making your narrative it really fucking sucks.

Or, at least, I blame it for a lot of the struggles that I'm currently having. Because it's branched out over many people (some of whom I likely don't know yet) the lack of chronological order is driving me up the wall. I keep putting things on poster paper and re-arranging them, but it's never adequate.

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Heh... I TOTALLY get that experience, Rosie.

 

That's why I started with note cards and stick figures. I could rearrange them.

 

Trauma narrative blows goats to walk through putting together. It is probably one of the hardest, most gut wrenching things I have done. I did not read it out loud to anyone. The process of writing it was enough for me.

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I get the desire to tell people.  I tell a lot of people that I am a sexual abuse survivor, or that I was sexually abused by my parents from the time that I was a baby.  I don't talk about details, they are pretty sketchy anyways.  But telling has been an important part of helping me believe it myself.  I have gotten a lot of validation for talking about it, and don't regret telling anyone.  People who know me know that I am a survivor, and that is ok with me.

 

The only people I have talked details with are my therapist and my girlfriend (and it took me 5 years to tell her).  I generally don't think people want to know the details, they are so disturbing.  But my girlfriend told me she was glad I shared. 

 

Oh, I did write details out on a sexual abuse survivors board, but I am not sure anyone read them.  I have not been able to read other people's stories because they trigger me too much.

 

As far as having a trauma narrative, I don't really have one.  I know certain people did certain things to me at certain ages, but the memories are all jumbled up in knots.  I get more than one memory at a time.  I also don't have a clear ending date of when things stopped either, maybe because they stopped at different ages for different perps, but it's all confusing to me.  I know that the longer I have been at this, the more clear things have become, but I don't really have a goal of assembling a trauma narrative.  What I have is horrible, and acknowledging that is enough for me right now. 

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I spent a really long time not telling anything. Then I started to be able to talk about it and it felt good to get it out so I started sharing a lot, but then I had some friends tell me that what I shared was too much for them and that made me really self-conscious again.

 

I also recently told someone about something that still happens to me sometimes. I think I told because I was drunk (which is rare for me) and had taken benzos too, plus I was scared at the time and alone and she just called right at that vulnerable moment when I couldn't stop the impulse to talk. I wish I hadn't said anything now because she wants to save me. Thats sweet but I want to protect her from getting involved in any mess. There was a moment when I felt relief when I told though. Sometimes it would be nice to be able too tlak about it. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I spent quite a long time telling anyone who would listen any time it came up. I was so angry that I had been forced to keep silent for so many years, and so overwhelmed with finally having the freedom to speak without endangering myself, that all I wanted was to shout it out to the world. I had this attitude of "I didn't do anything wrong, why shouldn't I talk about it?" In some ways, I think it was really, really healthy for me. At the same time, I think I did overshare at some points, and I think it's possible that that did some damage to one of my relationships (although it was already spiraling the drain anyway, so I don't know how much that matters). I don't really do that anymore. In fact, I barely even talk about it with my tdoc. That probably swings too far in the other direction. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

When I finally admitted it to myself and talked with my therapist, I did want to tell other people.  Some reacted very negatively and made it clear they did not want to hear anything about it or have it mentioned around them.  Others validated my feelings and sharing.  

 

I don't feel like the things that happened to me are my secrets, although I don't talk about it as much as i used to.  If anyone needs to be the holder of the secrets, it should be the perpetrators of the acts the secrets consist of.  If the secrets are to be kept, those are his secrets to keep, not mine.  I can do anything i want with them.  One very healing aspect of sharing is the shock and the obvious disgust expressed at the deeds that were done to me.  When that happened, I knew for sure i wasn't the only one that thought those things were awful, it was the general consensus.  That gave me some kind of permission that I shouldn't have needed, but did need--to feel how I felt.  To believe what I believed about my life.  

 

Sharing is mixed bag--it can be very healing, with the right people, and it can also bring lots of negative consequences from the wrong people.  Like having it thrown back in your face.  That's happened to me many times from my ex--who happens to be one of the abusers.

It has to be done with wisdom and we have to not beat ourselves up if we do share with the wrong person.  

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I always thought I talked a lot about it, and then I realized that I don't.  I used to talk about it, I think, or maybe I meant to, or I was with someone for a few years right afterwards who had known me since I was 13, so I didn't have to talk about it.

 

One problem is that now I notice that it hurts people when I tell them.

 

How much of a narrative might one have?  What level of detail are we talking about here:  atlas of the world or google street view? Why would one want to construct such a thing in the first place?

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I had multiple people tell me to stop talking about my abusive ex. After I left her it was hard for me to stop talking about the experience, about how horrible she was. I wasn't looking for sympathy or pity or anything really but understanding. Not that I actually blame anyone for not doing it, I really do wish someone had told me to see a therapist. It took me another 15 years before I connected the dots sufficiently to see what I needed.

 

I guess I am a bit terrible at self awareness. However, I do identify a lot with several of the posts on this thread.

 

sys,

 

It never crossed my mind that telling people would hurt them. That gives me a different perspective. 

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I know that sharing things hurts people. It's one of the reasons that I don't.

I have no real ideological reason to hide the fact that I go to therapy, and I have no real reason not to say "why? Don't fuck children" when asked why. I certainly have enough bravery/strength/courage/whatever too (or maybe it's a form of anger).

But I don't do that, because then the person who had to hear that gets all hurt and upset, and I rarely feel like dealing with them in that state. So I don't induce it in people.

 

That's a good point though, about sensitivity. Maybe we become more sensitive to others' needs as we become more sensitive to our own.

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I've had to learn this on a case by case basis. That is, I learned that individual anecdotes hurt people, so I stopped relating them, but the idea that it was that kind of anecdote in general took me reading this thread to figure out.

 

But my brain is a mess of acronyms and diagnoses that I am still sorting out.

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