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Jess~ Offline
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Guilt.. - February 19th 2017, 06:49 PM

so I've been in counseling since October for being raped last March. a few days ago i started my first support group which my counselor has been urging me to do.

idk how i really feel about it all.. it kinda made my self-esteem go lower and my worries go higher.

there were like 4 other victims and 3 facilitators so 8 people in the room total. it may not seem like a lot of people, but the group was set up in a circle on chairs, and that kind of set up makes it so much more personal and intimidating. although i'd probably feel that way about any set up, based on the circumstances.

at school we do these things called "socratic seminars" where there are two rows of chairs set up in a circle. the front row are the speakers and we're required to rotate from the back row to the front throughout the seminar. i've probably done about 12 socratic seminars and only spoken maybe twice total? i've even ditched school one day i knew we were having a big, heavily graded seminar and was able to make up the points in writing an essay -- and as psychologically proven, people are much more open to expressing their honest selves through writing rather than public speaking, for obvious reasons.
ANYWAY, my point is that the set up is similar, and in the school seminars i rarely can even bring myself to speak... even if i WANT to.
however, in the group, i feel like it's my duty to participate in order to help my other group members. i was actually speaking up a lot more than i thought i would.
but i still felt major anxiety about speaking and sharing my feelings and thoughts because.. #1 i'm not used to sharing ANYTHING academically, and #2 i'm not used to sharing anything PERSONAL even when one-on-one with other people.
i mean i guess it makes it easier because i know everyone else is feeling vulnerable and uneasy as well. but still, i can't help but feel like everyone is judging me and i'm the "strange one" that noticeably sticks out from everyone else when speaking.

after every time i said something in the group, my sentence(s) replayed over and over obsessively through my head... almost like they were echoing. i was so focused on over-analyzing what i was saying that i wasn't entirely "there" mentally, if that makes sense.
i used to do this type of obsessive replaying after ANYTIME i said anything, even when i was with my friends. i'm not sure why this was, i always looked into it online and the only conclusion i could come to was social anxiety. so while i never self-diagnosed myself because that's obviously not good, that's always been the only thing i could think of.
so it's good news that if that's truly what i was going through that it's getting better, because now i'm one of the loudest and most obnoxious people in my group of friends. yay?

so it's been two days since the support group and i'm still replaying the seemingly stupid things i said over and over. it often starts out replaying back to back obsessively and loudly in my head, almost overbearingly, and then slows down until i just randomly recall it. even the things i felt good about saying. i don't know.
i just can't help but think of how stupid everything i say is, and how i shouldn't even speak at all because nothing i say is worth hearing. like i said, i don't think like this all the time, just in these type of "seminar" settings.
i think a big part of this is because i grew up so shy and quiet, very, VERY few friends at all, little to no socialization with kids my own age (i was home-schooled). i started public school my freshman year of high school and was bullied immensely for being so shy and quiet and socially awkward. and slowly i learned to grow a pair, stop caring about what other people thought, and kind of just be an asshole. actually now, whenever anyone insults me to my face, it really doesn't affect me anymore. it's like i have this shield built in where it just bounces off, and i rarely ever think of it twice.
this would be great if my self esteem was higher, but since it's so low it's like... i don't need them to insult me, i already insult and hate myself enough to kind of "do their job for them". and there are definitely some things about myself i feel good about... my art, my style, my hair. and it's not even that those are the things that get the most compliments... people often don't understand my art, people say i dress like a hobo, and when i do my hair (which to me just means putting gel and hairspray in that mofo and making it manageable) people tell me it looks like i didn't do it (in an insult-y way, not a "wow i thought it was naturally like that!!" way.) it's just that those are things i feel comfortable in and about so no one's shitty opinion on it can make me even bat an eye.
goddammit i'm sorry for the rambling, this is just really bothering me.

one big thing that was really bothering me at the group was when they had us go up to the board and write our relationship to our abuser/rapist. most of them were family members, one was a stranger, and one was a friend. but mine was "ex-boyfriend" and i couldn't help but feel like shit about that.
not only was my rapist my ex-boyfriend (and ex-boyfriend at the time he raped me, not like we were dating and then it happened) but we were friends with fucking benefits when he raped me. i hate explaining it to people, but we had an agreement of oral sex only, because i was a virgin and didn't want to lose that to this guy. but if that doesn't scream "asking for it" i don't know what would.
i feel like a lot of people would look at that and be like, "i mean... yeah? couples have sex, get over it??" because nowadays that's just the norm... even young high school couples have sex. it seems like it's just the expectation when dating someone now.
and when i say "my ex-boyfriend raped me" i'm afraid that people think we were dating when it happened, and we broke up because he raped me. but no we broke up months before... but stayed friends with benefits, so that doesn't make my scenario any better.

i just feel like my rape is "less legit" than everyone elses'. like at least i was sexually attracted to my rapist, and was already doing sexual things with him. not like i was raped by an uncle or my father or a filthy stranger.
i almost feel guilty calling myself a rape victim in front of these people, because mine should've been expected. and i knew all he wanted from me was sex, i just didn't know that oral wasn't enough for him. it's kinda like... if i really didn't want to have sex with him, then why was i messing around with someone who only wanted that from me?

again, so sorry for the rambling, i know i covered a couple different points here, so sorry if it doesn't fit good enough in this category.

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Re: Guilt.. - February 19th 2017, 10:31 PM

Having trouble talking in the support group is completely understandable, especially when you mentioned how the setting is big and airy. I can see why it is difficult for you. But, attending and speaking up despite being nervous about it shows your strength.

Maybe next time you go to the support group, you can share how you feel about speaking and how you analyze what you've said. Other people may be able to relate, and perhaps someone could share some advice about it. The support group is a safe place to be able to share your thoughts about analyzing what you say.

Is there anything you can do to make the support group more comfortable? For instance, I used to wear a jacket and some bracelets to my group therapy. Something about having my arms covered made me feel safer, and I'd fidget with the bracelet. You can consider bringing something to fidget with, or something that represents comfort to you. You could bring a blanket into the support group if you wanted and I don't think anyone would bat an eye.

A lot of people are abused by their family, or by strangers, but that doesn't make your experience with rape with your ex-boyfriend insignificant. And, it doesn't scream that you were asking for it either. Bear in mind that you're not obligated to explain things to people. So, if you don't want to, you don't have to say that you had been broken up before, or that you had an agreement with oral only. You don't have to justify yourself to anyone. Even though your ex-boyfriend only wanted sex, he had no right to violate you in the way that he did and being around him during that time does not make it your fault in any way. The fault belongs on him.

I think it might help to share how you feel about your rapist being your ex-boyfriend with everyone in the group. You can get it off your chest that way. The relationship people had with their rapists doesn't change the fact that they were raped. Rape is rape, no matter who perpetrated it. You were raped just like the other people in your support group and you are allowed to refer to yourself as a rape victim. I know the guilt can be intense and I hope that dissipates over time.

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del677 Offline
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Re: Guilt.. - February 26th 2017, 09:27 PM

I looked up "Socratic Seminar" since I've never been in one and I wasn't clear on how the chairs were arranged, and the very first article I came across was this one:


It seems to describe your experience.

(I'm still not clear on why there are two circles of chairs all facing inwards. Maybe Socrates liked being the center of attention?)
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