I went through a lot today and it was hard, but things are looking up because I have support and hope.
I talked to my psychiatrist about the religious OCD and related symptoms. She doesn’t know anyone presently who offers the exposure therapy and CBT that seems to help. But, she talked to me for nearly an hour and a half. Just wow.
I do think I know where part of the horrible human and being stupid intrusive thoughts stem from, because everyone keeps asking (and asking) and I’ve been pondering.
I know there is one event from childhood after my parent’s divorce where a beloved family member made me feel extremely horrible and I had no idea why, but I remember crying and clutching my sister because we were such bad children (still to this day have no idea what our offense was).
I know then through my teens, after what one therapist termed a “traumatic childhood” (isn’t that for me to say, not her?) came the reinforcing event that solidified my existential stupidity. My rape.
A prior detail I left out upon my telling (and blaming myself), was that I think the aftermath may have been part of the problem. I was too ashamed to tell anyone, which I know is very common for victims. I did finally confide in a friend, which I feel was a mistake. He showed up at my house with another mutual friend and told me I needed to tell my mother what had happened. I was terrified! So our mutual friend agreed to go tell her what happened to me. They left.
Perhaps the true trauma is my mother’s response? She came to my room and proceeded to scream and yell and blame me. I was stupid for letting this happen, I had told her I wasn’t going anywhere with alcohol and I lied, how could I do that? I feel like she hit me (I honestly don’t know if she did, I think she may have), I remember laying on the floor in a ball crying because I felt every word she was saying. She was right, it was my fault, I was so stupid for lying.
How to Heal?
After much discussion, my psychiatrist came to see that I feel I will always see my rape as my fault. She asked: who could tell you otherwise? I gave that much consideration actually, would even the rapist admitting his fault change my mind? Internally the answer is no. The answer I gave her…
“It would have to come from the lips of God.”
She figured I would say that. I hadn’t. How do I have God ever tell me it’s not my fault, when I fear come judgement day and the accounting of our actions (the great big file box of all your deeds) he will determine that to actually be all my fault and I will just fall on my face in shame. (This is very anxiety inducing).
I know he offers forgiveness for all our sins. He forgives me for lying. He forgives me for drinking. But that does not stop me from feeling like it is my fault and all the subsequent emotions that follow with assuming blame. It is likely where my compulsive need to apologize comes from, feeling everything is my fault, everything I do is bad, and everything needs forgiveness. For the past 2+ decades.
Speaking of my compulsion for apologizing… tonight I started very heavily saying sorry for everything. My husband actually handled it 1000 times better than most things before. I started to apologize and explain I felt I needed to apologize and he said, “I know, I forgive you, now you don’t need to keep apologizing because it’s all forgiven.” No arguing as to why I don’t need to, just acceptance. Calm acceptance.
I feel so much of today was a break through, especially because my husband is my world (I do understand I have a somewhat unhealthy attachment), and now he understands better.
Now to see if my Pastor maybe can help somehow with… somethings. I do need to go to church sometime for the ERP. My goal is to attend without any/minimal intrusive thoughts. Dream big y’all, dream big.