advertisement
Question
Posted by: SURVIVOR! | 2010-05-05

trauma after rape

I recently started to behave very strangely. E.g. I started getting anxious when being intimate with my husband etc etc. I started to look into it over a period of 3 weeks and asked God to reveal to me why I am behaving in such a weird way. I came to the realisation that I was raped by my first love when I was 14 years old. All the little things I started doing, feeling etc. these past few months and mostly from the age of 14 onwards (and my " boyfriend''s"  behaviour afterwards we broke up for a number of years onwards) became evident and crystal clear. I started menstruating immediately when I realised what happened to me (I found out a week ago). I now cry uncontrollably at times, I get angry and can''t control it, I am afraid of the dark, get nightmares, simple sounds startle me, I would laugh uncontrollably at times etc. etc. etc. The thing is - I can only remember snippets of the event. And I want to know how my brain managed to " cut it out"  for so many years _ I''m now 33. At that stage, when I was raped - my family was going through an extremely difficult time emotionally. I now know that would I have admitted it to myself then - it would have caused my mom to have a total breakdown. I told my husband because I realised that I should not keep this from him. He''s extremely supportive. I would just like to know exactly what happened that day. Will it all come back to me? Can the way that I am behaving now be something that my mind is making up?

Not what you were looking for? Try searching again, or ask your own question
Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

It's obvious you are feeling really miserable, but the cause is far from clear. It is EXTREMELY rare for anyone who has actually been raped to EVER forget about it, and even rarer for such a person to suddenly "recover" the memory for such an unforgettably horible event. It does not happen like that, and memory does not work like that.
However there are many trashy but misleading books and quack "therapists" who teach the very opposite of these truths, and who strongly encourage people to "recover" what seem to be convincing "memories of such events even when they definitively did not happen. And they falsely inform people that creating "memories" of such events are very helpful and therapsutic, while there is absolutely no good evidence that this is so.
So I wonder what was happening to you before you "came to the realisation" that this happened. Had you been reading such books, or otherwise exposed to these cultic beliefs ?
Ones brain does NOT "cut out" memory for such events. When we move on to find a satisfying life we may indeed no longer think about it or have it high on one's menu of memories, but that is not the same as the cultists describe as being unable to remember it and then being stunned to suddenly recall it in gory detail.
YOu say you remember "only snippets from the event" - this isn't at all unusual with false memories. These are constructed from whatever one has been led to expect of the "memory".
Now to your closing questions/ It is NOT absolutely NOT necessary for you to remember any more details, and it would probably be bad for you to see any therapist with a special interest in such "recovered memories" or late effects of assumed child abuse - they usual;ly have their own axes to grind, and I know no good evidence that therapy of the sort they use is ever truly helpful. It is impossible to ever recover memories of all that happened on that day ( supposing that anything happened ) - memory is never like a video-tape merely recording the details of events, and is not recovered in that way - and it is neither necessary nor helpful to do so.
Yes, it indeed very possible that your mind is constructing these "memories" - it happens more often than most folks realize. It doesn't mean in any way that you are lying or faking or anything like that - but under various circumstances we can create such apparent memories when in various ways it has been suggested to us that we should do so. After real trauma of the sort you are thinking about, one does NOT forget that it occurred, and one does not then suddenly "recover" the memory of it and with all those emotional reactions.
However, you are acutely distressed and feeling bad and that must be respected and deserves some help. It would be useful to see a good general psychologist, preferably one who works with methods like CBT ( Cognitive-behaviour Therapy ) and NOT someone working with obsolete methods like psychoanalysis. With realistic attention to your current distress and help with any current problems, you should soon be able to feel much better and stronger and confident, and let this concern about a possible past nasty experience fade back into the gloom it came from.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

3
Our users say:
Posted by: survivor | 2010-05-12

Thanks Cyber Shrink and Anon for your valued response. I haven''t read any books on the subject nor have I been in contact with any cultic events. Sorry, English is not my first language so " come to the realisation"  sounds a bit suspicious now that I''ve read my post again. I can recall the event. I just cannot recall exactly what happened - except the excruciating pain, my confusion and thoughts " what the hell is happening to me"  and then his words: " let''s just hope you don''t get pregnant."  It was my first time of anything. I grew up in a very small town in a very protective family with no reference to sex, rape whatsoever. So imagine the shock when I recalled this particular incident again for the first time since it happened 19 years ago, being able to put a name to that what happened to me. I''m extremely embarrased for being so naive back then. But I really want to deal with it because it is causing me a lot of emotional pain at this stage of my life. I don''t know if he used his hand or his " what''s his name"  - I had a t-shirt, my skirt and all my underwear on - he too - but I''m convinced he could have unzipped his pants while still " having his clothes on" . Even if it was his hand - I truly didn''t know what the hell was happening and did not give permission for it. I was in shock! Compared to what I have experienced later in life, my body didn''t send me any signals of " oh - how I would like this guy to now do this and this."  I''ve realised that I was not arroused or anything. At that stage, I was only wowed by the kiss - to me - that was more than enough in a very innocent way ... I was 14!

Reply to survivor
Posted by: anon | 2010-05-07

I think it is possible to forget about it, as I had a breakdown when I was 17, and at the age of 25, still can''t remeber everything that happend that year, before and after. It seems that my brain cut out all the ugly things that I wouldn''t want to beleive really happend.

Reply to anon
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-05-05

It's obvious you are feeling really miserable, but the cause is far from clear. It is EXTREMELY rare for anyone who has actually been raped to EVER forget about it, and even rarer for such a person to suddenly "recover" the memory for such an unforgettably horible event. It does not happen like that, and memory does not work like that.
However there are many trashy but misleading books and quack "therapists" who teach the very opposite of these truths, and who strongly encourage people to "recover" what seem to be convincing "memories of such events even when they definitively did not happen. And they falsely inform people that creating "memories" of such events are very helpful and therapsutic, while there is absolutely no good evidence that this is so.
So I wonder what was happening to you before you "came to the realisation" that this happened. Had you been reading such books, or otherwise exposed to these cultic beliefs ?
Ones brain does NOT "cut out" memory for such events. When we move on to find a satisfying life we may indeed no longer think about it or have it high on one's menu of memories, but that is not the same as the cultists describe as being unable to remember it and then being stunned to suddenly recall it in gory detail.
YOu say you remember "only snippets from the event" - this isn't at all unusual with false memories. These are constructed from whatever one has been led to expect of the "memory".
Now to your closing questions/ It is NOT absolutely NOT necessary for you to remember any more details, and it would probably be bad for you to see any therapist with a special interest in such "recovered memories" or late effects of assumed child abuse - they usual;ly have their own axes to grind, and I know no good evidence that therapy of the sort they use is ever truly helpful. It is impossible to ever recover memories of all that happened on that day ( supposing that anything happened ) - memory is never like a video-tape merely recording the details of events, and is not recovered in that way - and it is neither necessary nor helpful to do so.
Yes, it indeed very possible that your mind is constructing these "memories" - it happens more often than most folks realize. It doesn't mean in any way that you are lying or faking or anything like that - but under various circumstances we can create such apparent memories when in various ways it has been suggested to us that we should do so. After real trauma of the sort you are thinking about, one does NOT forget that it occurred, and one does not then suddenly "recover" the memory of it and with all those emotional reactions.
However, you are acutely distressed and feeling bad and that must be respected and deserves some help. It would be useful to see a good general psychologist, preferably one who works with methods like CBT ( Cognitive-behaviour Therapy ) and NOT someone working with obsolete methods like psychoanalysis. With realistic attention to your current distress and help with any current problems, you should soon be able to feel much better and stronger and confident, and let this concern about a possible past nasty experience fade back into the gloom it came from.

Reply to cybershrink

Have your say

Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
advertisement