During my session this week I expressed my frustration at not having more than the one memory. My therapist seemed confident that more memories would come over time and while I balked at that, I appreciate that she never tries to lead me in any direction. She simply has confidence in the process. She told me that she has a client who was ritually abused and after over 15 years in therapy, her memories just started coming back within the last several years. I of course don’t like the idea of taking that long but I got her point and I’m sure it’s different for different people.
I told her that for me, I would take just one more memory. Just one, to validate what I feel and let me know that more than “the kiss” happened. I told her that I wish for that so I could explain my own compulsive behavior and fantasies. She understood but just reminded me of the process and that it takes time. She did say that my behavior does not make sense if that instance was the only one that happened and I agree but again it’s the “Am I a pervert?” argument in my head.
I asked her if she had heard about the new sex abuse case involving the Syracuse basketball coach. I told her that the male victim that came forward had the courage to call the coach’s wife on the phone and record it. In the recorded conversation, the wife admits to knowing that her husband was abusing him and even says that she believes there were other boys. I was so jealous of that confirmation though. I felt awful for the victim, but it was like he had something that I want. I wish I could call my aunt and just ask her, but I would never know if I’d get the truth or not.
Is that so much to ask from my subconscious? Or is there nothing there?
I brought up a past experience with my therapist and I was surprised how seriously she took it.
I told her that when my husband and I were first married, we had sex one night and afterwards an image of my uncle kissing me between the legs flashed in my mind and I started crying for no reason. At that time in my life, if you had asked me if I had an Uncle *****, I would have had to think about it for a second and then go, “Oh yea, I guess I do.” because he was not a part of any of my thoughts. I can clearly remember thinking about him exactly two times in my life before therapy. Once was when my mother started telling me what her brother did to her and she asked me if he had ever touched me. I told her know but I said that ***** had. What I love about this story is that she ignored what I said and went back to her own story. Anyway, that was time number one and I never would have remembered him if someone hadn’t outright asked me. The second time was the one I mentioned above.
My therapist thought that it was very telling that I had that flash of imagery at that point which was completely out of the blue and when I had no outside reason to think of him. The reason I told her about it is because when I get doubtful with myself, I remember the fact that that happened. Why would I have thought of him then? Why that instance and why would it make me cry? She thinks it means something and I tend to agree. Of course what exactly it means is another matter. The point was that, I had never had sex before I was married so I had no sexual experience until then, and that’s the image that popped up. Now I realize that if something sinister happened between my uncle and I, then that may not have been first sexual experience, but I’m looking at it from the point-of-view I had back then.
The other thing I told my therapist this week is that I was trying to read a book about PTSD that is caused by different circumstances, like war, seeing a violent death, assault, sexual abuse etc. and I had a strange experience while reading. I’m curious if anyone else has something similar happen to them. I told her that while reading this book, I was able to read many of the stories in the book, including stories about sexual abuse. While I felt horrified and saddened for the victims of sexual abuse, I did not react strongly to every story. With certain accounts though, something that had happened a while ago starting happening again: I would feel like I was losing consciousness. You may remember that I had this problem a long time ago. I would stop reading and then try again and then feel like I was losing consciousness again.
My therapist first told me not to rush myself on that stuff and that it’s best to put the book down and come back later when that happens. Her thought was that the stories that rang familiar to me were the ones making me feel that way and that’s why not all the stories affected me that way. For her that was a clue into possibilities about what happened to me. Again, she didn’t push the idea. She was more concerned with me not continuing to try to read something that my mind is not ready for.
So I’m curious: Do any of you find that you react differently to different accounts of sexual abuse? Can you read one story and be fine, and by “fine” I don’t mean that you don’t feel bad or sickened, but maybe you don’t react the same way as you do when you read a story that is closer to what happened to you?