Therapist suggested it might help me understand what I need if I could articulate what the feelings I'm sorting through are, exactly--and also, what they are not--in this case, being completely clear about each feeling, itself, and also the value judgments that might be placed on it.
Paramount is the feeling of sadness. When I explain this to others, I receive in return a smörgåsbord of reactions which only serve to confuse me more.
What it is:
1. There is definitely regret linked to this feeling. There was a possibility of childhood friendships maturing into adulthood. The cousins in my family were very good friends and enjoyed a closeness that was delightful and joyful. This might have continued indefinitely. David's treatment of Jeff and me, and his attempts to molest still more of his cousins, destroyed that possibility. That makes me sad.
2. I have never been able to comfortably see someone in distress without feeling a desire to ease their discomfort. This is an impulse that is no respecter of persons. It happens with strangers and family members. But it is simply that--an impulse--a response to a situation. And it makes me feel sad.
What it is not:
1. This is not me saying, "Hey! I forgive you for raping the crap out of Jeff and me! Let's be buddies!" Not even close. I don't want to cultivate a relationship of any kind. I'm happy with complete disconnect from David. And whether or not I've forgiven him does not enter into the feelings of sadness. They're separate.
2. This says nothing about my character. I am not "heroic," as one person told me. I'm not special. I did not choose this. It just happened. I'm not kind, or amazing, or any other adjective one might apply. I am also not a freak, nor am I sympathizing with my abuser. I'm sad. That's all.
Accompanying this sadness is a great deal of distress and confusion.
What it is:
1. I'm experiencing something unexpected and uninvited. Given the circumstances, I expected to feel angry or vengeful. I didn't.
2. This is not the first time I've experienced this type of confusion. It overwhelms and sometimes immobilizes me. It affects the way I interact with and feel about the people who are closest to me. My emotions are unstable and I don't ever really know how I'll react to anyone or anything. It's a little bit exhausting and I'm experiencing a high amount of depression right now.
What it is not:
1. This is not an indication that I'm losing my mind. Once previously, I did end up in the hospital on suicide watch. Again, this is overwhelming and immobilizing. That's difficult to cope with. I don't believe anyone would welcome such a state of being. Sometimes I need help. I think it's okay that I went to a place where such help could be obtained when I needed it.
2. This is not s sign of weakness. Anyone can become confused--and I'm not looking for someone to explain how I should cope right now. That's something I need to figure out. And I will.
I suppose what I need are the following:
1. Time. I need to have time to think and cry and feel confused and sad. And I need time with people. That's a tough one. I'm working a lot of hours while Darrin searches for work, so I'm not readily available. And other people work and have limited time, as well. I might not be able to have this particular need filled, but it's important. I'm not sure how I'll deal with it. Right now I'm ignoring it.
2. Reassurance. I need people to understand that I'm doing all I can to make it through this. I need them to trust me to find my own answers. I need to be told that I'm still loved, and on days like today, and yesterday, and the day before, I need to know that I'm still important; that I have worth; that someone misses me because they love to be with me.
3. Empathy. I'm guessing most people look at what I'm going through and think I'm making a very big deal out of nothing. Yes, I had to spend my grandmother's funeral in the same room with the cousin who raped me - but I didn't have to talk to him and he never approached me. It was pretty quiet, all things considered. Yes, I had some weird feelings, but that was more than a month ago. Surely I'm over that now...except I'm not. Spending time in the same place as the person who raped me was more stressful than I thought it would be. Seeing him, hearing his voice...it was sort of awful. It could have been worse. It was bad enough. And as for the feelings, it would be nice to hear people say, "That sounds awful. I'm sorry you have to go through this. It must be really hard."
Because it IS hard. And it hurts. A lot.
4. I need a hug.