It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. My visits are becoming more infrequent, which I think is a good thing. I know I’ve posted about this same topic here before, but it came back today.
Almost two years ago, I was, what I believed to be sexually assaulted by my ex partner. I didn’t realize this until about 7 months later, after we had broken up and I was in a healthy relationship (I am still in this relationship). I went to therapy almost right away because I was experiencing symptoms of PTSD including flashbacks, “freezing”, and dissociation. I was never diagnosed with PTSD, was thankful that I was being treated because it really helped me get through those times. Though those flashbacks are nearly nonexistent now, there are still things in everyday life that are reminders and, occasionally, triggers, off the incident.
It wasn’t until last night and today that I really thought about it again. I have a friend who was assaulted and is currently working with the Title IX coordinator of their school to get some help. It was already on my mind a bit from talking about it, but today I worked on my mandatory sexual assault and harassment training for work. As I was reading through definitions and laws, I realized that I had been raped. That word didn’t seem right when I first realized it happened, because of the way in which it happened (I won’t go into detail here). I knew it was wrong because it felt wrong and I suffered, but I even struggled to call it assault. I also learned about something called “tonic immobility.” If you’ve heard of flight or fight as a stress response, there are actually two more: freeze and fawn. I’ve learned that my stress response is freeze, especially in anxiety-inducing situations. I don’t know if I experienced this during the assault, but I probably did since it’s what I do during anxiety attacks and it’s a trauma response. I certainly experienced it while having flashbacks of the incident.
The thing I struggle the most with is validation in my situation because it’s not easy; not that these cases ever are. Thankfully I have therapy tomorrow morning and my therapist knows everything that’s happened, and I also called my partner for support. I also feel like I should bring it up to my roommates, but I don’t know how. (I know they will be supportive, I just feel awkward talking about it - if I even can talk, since I can’t talk often due to the immobility).
I guess I don’t really know if I’m looking for advice or just someone to tell me it’s going to be okay. I don’t know if I ever got closure on my last relationship, and I think that’s also a factor. I’m going to bring this up to my therapist tomorrow as well. I don’t feel like my experience was valid. I don’t feel like it’s “bad enough” to be called rape. I feel like I’m a walking paradox - I don’t suffer, which in turn, makes me suffer. Meaning, I suffer because I am not suffering - I wonder why I am not suffering, shouldn’t I suffer if it was that bad? I have a LOT of self doubt and I know this. I’m just rambling at this point. Can someone tell me I’m doing the right things? That what happened was real, and it’s okay to not be as hurt by it as I thought I would/should be?
Thanks for reading.