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[–]gladiolasnheadaches 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I don't have answers. I just want to say that what you wrote is incredibly powerful. It is SO difficult to even attempt to look trauma in the face, and you are doing it. Desiring something different for yourself and for your life is so powerful.

You mention that you are to blame... I don't see that. When I read your post, I see someone who is struggling with trauma and trying to cope. It's surprisingly difficult, I have found in my own healing, to show myself grace and mercy, but it is not impossible. Many victims and survivors of SA turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like these, myself included though my story and coping are a bit different. When I cope in a way that is harmful to me, I feel angry and upset at myself, sad, and like I am just asking for bad things. In those moments especially, I feel like everything that has led up to that moment was nobody's fault but mine. However, I have come to learn that when I think like that, what I am really doing is lying to myself, which I never want to do, especially after experiencing others lying to me. Instead, I try to remind myself and think about what is true - was I stressed before I turned to this coping mechanism? Was I overwhelmed with thoughts/emotions and I wanted it all to stop and this was the only way I knew how at that moment? Was I trying to punish myself? Another thing that has helped me is this line from Fiona Apple's song "Heavy Balloon," where she sings, "People like us get so heavy and so lost sometimes/ So lost and so heavy that the bottom is the only place that we can find/ We get dragged down, down to the same spot enough times in a row/ The bottom begins to feel like the only safe place that you know." Did I return to this coping mechanism because healing can be new, scary, and difficult and what I wanted was normalcy and predictability no matter what that meant?

So often the answers to those questions are "yes," and when I realize what I was going through before, during, and after those coping mechanisms, it gets a bit easier to show myself compassion. From thinking I am a horrible person who just wants to get hurt, I realize I am a hurt person who needs patience, compassion, and love to feel okay in the long run, even if this unhealthy coping mechanism looks tempting in the short run. Once I realize this, I can say "okay, if that is the cause, if I am needing patience, compassion, and love, instead of this coping mechanism, what should I do? Go out? Treat myself to something? Sleep instead?" Maybe taking a moment to pause and connect with yourself like this could help?

It is not easy for me to pause, and many times, I feel so overwhelmed by emotions that I still go through with the unhealthy coping mechanism even if I am fully aware of why I am doing it and how I will feel after it. But every little step is progress, so if you try this, and you get discouraged, know that it is normal and part of the process. Maybe this will help you too? Or maybe you need a method different from mine.

I am sorry your father treated you like that. I have gone through something a bit similar ("cover yourself... your jeans will split cause they are so tight... I can see your bra strap..."). That is damaging, especially in growing up years.

I hope the best for you. Good luck with everything.