Invalidation – Part 3

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Hi again. My mom was upset with me for looking at him on Sunday. She doesn’t want him to start anything because I’m ‘giving him hints,’ and I understand that. She’s talked to me about this before, but I never got to explain why I was doing it. Sometimes it’s conscious, and sometimes it’s not. I’m not trying to look at him. It’s because I’m so paranoid that he’s going to do something else, and I feel I need to be aware of my surroundings. 
I finally told her how I felt. However, she didn’t understand. She said, “Why should you feel paranoid? You have no right to feel that way. You’re playing the victim.” I was shell shocked, then angry. I’m not proud of myself for this, but I started yelling. I asked, “How come you keep saying I should be over this and that it’s not a big deal?! I can feel how I want.” She responded by saying I should be over this by now. I tried to explain to her that sometimes I have bad days and other times I have good days, but she didn’t understand. 
Later on, she told me that she wasn’t trying to make me feel like my feelings weren’t important. But isn’t telling me I don’t have the right to feel a certain way doing exactly that?
She’s trying to convince me that being in that church and seeing him is a mark of strength. She told me that we couldn’t leave the church and that we all have to see people we don’t like sometimes. I understand what she’s saying about the strength, but it’s so hard. This isn’t just me not liking him. What he did was a crime, and I am still upset about it. I struggle to understand how he could have done this in the church and how he’s still an altar server. I’m wondering how to trust people again after what he did and after the invalidation I’ve dealt with. Seeing him hurts me. 
Sometimes she’ll talk about how she doesn’t feel safe when I’m near him, and there are other times when she’ll tell me I have to be over it. She’s not being consistent, and it’s unpredictable. 
As of right now, I’m doubting myself. Deep inside, I know my feelings are valid, but trying to convince myself of that this week has been so difficult. I’m wondering if I am playing the victim and giving this more importance in my life than it deserves. 
What makes it worse is that I’ll have to see him for two or three days in a row (starting tomorrow). I’m dealing with my own self doubt, and seeing him for so long will hurt me more. I don’t think I’ll be able to get out of it. 
I’m wondering what to do. I stood up for myself, and it didn’t work. I’m feeling kind of helpless and lost. 


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22 comments

  1. Hannah

    Hey there,
    I’m glad that you recognize your feelings are valid. That’s so important to remember. “Playing the victim” is such a harsh phrase and you shouldn’t feel like that. The fact that you feel paranoid and uncomfortable around him is completely logical. You shouldn’t have to be forced into that position. It’s hard when those close to us don’t reciprocate how we want them to. Your mother is probably confused, which would explain the back and forth position, but you just need to keep being honest with her. Keep going. You’re making progress in healing and don’t let your mother hold you back. I’m sorry you still have to be around him. That isn’t fair to you at all. Keep voicing your opinion and maybe the honesty and transparency will help your mom realize how you feel.

    Stay strong and keep us updated.

  2. Gavin Bonar

    You deserve better than to be treated so inconsistently. You were clearly the victim and I believe you. Thank you for continuing to share. It helps over time the more you open up!

  3. MinZRivers Volunteer

    You are a victim! He was the one who violated you. But you are now a victim turned survivor. And you have every right to feel the way you do! You are going to have to find some way to get closure from it, so it doesn’t consume you. I wish you the best of luck?-Kia

  4. Kailey2298 Volunteer

    Hi, music2799
    I’m so sorry you are going through this. Everything you are feeling is valid and your mom is wrong. She should be more supportive and try to understand what your going through. Do you talk to anyone like a counselor? Maybe if you and your mom could it down together with someone and you could express to her how you feel with someone there it might get through to her. The healing process is different for everyone and no one should ever make you feel like your feelings are invalid. You shouldn’t have to see him if you don’t want to. Please keep us updated and let us know if there anything else we can do to help.
    Kailey

  5. Jacqui

    Hi there,
    I’m sorry for the way your mother reacted- it seems very confusing, and I’m sure she has no idea what to say or do. But I wish she was more supportive. Maybe you could write her a letter and write out how you’re feeling. In my experience, if you use “I ” statements, instead of “you” statements, the person doesn’t feel as attacked, etc.
    Just as Kristen said, you were the victim. How you are feeling is valid. I wouldn’t know what to do if I had to see my rapist as often as you do.
    I hope you’re doing okay. You are not alone.

  6. kelly Day Captain

    HI, music2799. You have the right to feel however you want to feel. Your feelings are yours and your have a right to them. Your feelings are valid. Whenever you start to doubt yourself, just keep repeating that in your head. Your mom is wrong. I’m sorry she’s treating you like this when she should be supportive. It sounds like she’s going through her own stuff right now, but that doesn’t mean you are responsible for it. Do you have anyone else to talk to about this? I know our first instinct is to go to our parents for support and protection but sometimes that’s not the best option. It’s important to surround yourself with people who support you when you’re going through something like this. I know how hard it can be to get rid of that doubt, but try to remember this isn’t your fault and your feelings are valid. We’re here for you if you want to come back. We support you.

  7. Kristen Eby

    Hey music2799,

    At the risk of being too blunt, your mom is wrong. Very wrong. Being in that church and facing someone who did this to you is not a mark of strength. Sexual assault – and coping with it – is not character building. It is a violation, it is a crime, and the resultant pain should not be the victim’s cross to bear. And you’re right, this isn’t just you not liking him. Having a coworker who annoys you is “having to see people we don’t like sometimes”. Facing someone who abused you and committed a sex crime is not. You should not have to deal with that. Your mom’s inconsistency is frustrating and I wish she were handling it better.

    As for “playing the victim”, how much importance this has in your life is your decision. Your feelings are valid. What happened was unacceptable and you have every right to be as upset as you are. You aren’t “playing” anything; you WERE a victim.
    But again…you get to decide how “big” this is for you. I’d like to use my own experiences as an example: I was sexually assaulted when I was 20. It was traumatizing, and I’ll deal with the effects maybe forever. However…I was sexually assaulted again when I was 23. It messed me up too, but the situation was different and I was able to get some closure. Although *technically* that experience was more aggressive, for whatever reason, it simply didn’t feel traumatizing, and I wasn’t going to let myself be convinced otherwise. I made that choice myself, for myself.
    Basically, feel the way you do. Express it if you want to, because it’s real and it’s valid. But if you reach a point where you think you’re holding yourself back from healing because you think you *should* continue to be in pain, know that you get to make that call. I’m not sure if that makes complete sense, but I hope it helps somewhat.

    Thank you for updating us, and please come back and talk more any time.

    Kristen

  8. learningcommunityladies Day Captain

    Hi music2799,
    Your feelings are valid. You have the right to feel the way that you’re feeling. We’re sorry that this happened to you and that you still have to see him at church. We’re also sorry that your mom isn’t on your side but we are. Church is a place that’s suppose to feel safe and we’re sorry that you don’t feel safe there. Seeing him is a mark of strength but it should be your choice if you have to see him. Thanks for trusting us with your story let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.

  9. Ashley Day Captain

    music2799,

    Feeling fearful around someone who inflicted harm upon you isn’t abnormal. The fact that you expressed your feelings to your mother is admirable; I’m thinking it would have been nice if she would have taken the time to understand your words. When it comes to healing, there’s not a specific timeframe that needs to be followed. I can tell this isn’t a case of not liking someone; he did commit a crime and you’re allowed to feel upset.

    After being around him for several days, how are you feeling?

  10. Katarina

    Hi there,

    You need to heal in your own time and it might be hard for your mother to understand that, but it’s your journey and not hers. I know you think you stood up for yourself and it didn’t work, but it did, the act of you speak out was a success, for you confronting your story, that was a success. You shouldn’t have to keep seeing him. Can you refuse to go to church? We are here for you, please stay strong! x

  11. Jamie Marie Volunteer

    Your emotions are 100% valid, and I know how difficult it is trying to explain yourself to someone who doesn’t understand a thing we go through.
    Put yourself first, and surround yourself with others who want to help you heal, no matter what.
    It’s difficult knowing our family are not as supportive as we wish they’d be, but you’ve got us.

  12. Marissa Day Captain

    Hey music2799,

    I’m really sorry this happened to you, and that your mom is having trouble understanding how you feel. Have you told her how her inconsistency is affecting you? Maybe she doesn’t realize how she’s behaving. Your feelings are completely valid, and it’s okay to put your foot down and do whatever YOU need to do to feel safe and comfortable. Take care of yourself first. You’re so strong. Please don’t hesitate to come back if you need to talk any more – we’re here to help!

    -Marissa

  13. calshaw Day Captain

    music2799,

    You’re feelings are valid. It is okay to be paranoid. It is okay to still feel hurt and ‘not be over it.’ Do not doubt yourself, you are strong. You do not have to go back to church yet if you aren’t ready. Sometimes it take more than a few times to stand up for yourself. I’m sorry that this takes a process to get through, especially with someone who just wants you to get over it. You can do this! write back any time you nee to. We are all here for you

    -Shawn

  14. Juliana331 Volunteer

    We are all unique individuals and as unique individuals we feel things differently just as we experience things differently. You are not “playing the victim.” What you are feeling is valid and you should be supported through those feelings. Is there a way to distance yourself further from the person that hurt you? It must be hard to see them and have those feelings brought up over and over while you are trying to work through them. You are strong and brave. Keep letting yourself work through your feelings at your pace. We’re here if you need to share more.

  15. shann246

    Hi there. I just want to let you know that your feelings are valid and you have every right to be upset. It must be very hard that your mom is not being consistently supportive of you. You don’t have to be “over it”. You can take as much time as you need to heal from what happened to you. Thank you for sharing your story with us and we will be here to support you whenever you need us to.

    Love,

    Shannon

  16. himynameisamos

    Oh wow. This is a lot to deal with, and I’m incredibly sorry. I think you said it best when you said that you have good days and bad days. You experienced something traumatic, and as you work through it, the bad days will lessen. While your mom’s reactions aren’t helpful, I think she doesn’t know what to do with the feelings she’s having. She’s having trouble discussing them too, as it seems by what you’re writing. “Getting over” something like this takes time, and looks different for other people. Your feelings are valid and you should have the space and freedom to express those how you need to. I’m glad you feel safe to do that here.

  17. rkr18 Volunteer

    music2799, You are brave and strong for standing up for yourself. I am so sorry you are going through this and that your mom is inconsistent with her feelings towards you. Your feelings are valid and you were violated and its very individual how long it takes to stop feeling a certain way. Have you sought therapy or counseling or a mediator that can offer help communicating with your mom? Please keep us posted.

    -Marie

  18. Edjay Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    It’s troubling to hear that your mom is being inconsistent with what she tells you. It’s totally understandable that you’re feeling paranoid about what he might do, and it’s unfair that your mom told you that you don’t have the right to feel that way. You’re right that you can feel however you want. It’s great to hear that deep inside, you know your feelings are valid. The next few days sounds like it might be difficult for you. Not knowing what to do can be confusing, but please know you can always reach out to us for support. Stay strong.

    Edjay

  19. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear music2799,
    I am so sorry that your mom is not helping and supporting you in this situation. No one can tell you what or how to feel and you ABSOLUTELY have every right to feel whatever you are feeling. You are in a very difficult place because you mom is not understanding what is happening within you every time you see that man. Your body goes back to that exact moment when it was in danger and it does what it needs to do to try and protect itself. Would your mom believe/validate your feelings if she heard about the effects of trauma or recovery from abuse from someone/somewhere else? Could you find resources to help her understand what you are going through? If you think that would work, we can help you find those resources. Take care of you and do what you need to do to feel safe, even if it causes your mom to be upset at you. Maybe standing your ground with her will help her understand how hurt and scared you really are. You can also text VOICE to 741-741 to be connected with a trained counselor for free. There is also RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE or rainn.org. Please come back and let us know how you are doing and if there is anything we can do to help you.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  20. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hey music2799,
    I’m so sorry your mom said that to you. It’s good to hear back from you. I’m sorry it’s not on better terms. You have every right to feel how you want to feel. Your mom can’t dictate how you feel. That’s not okay. Sometimes it’s hard for parents to understand this kind of thing because it wasn’t spoken about when they were young. Nevertheless she should still support you and validate how you feel.
    It’s okay to look at him when you see him. If you are scared to be in a room with him, it makes sense that you are looking to make sure he’s not going to hurt you. It’s totally understandable because he did hurt you and now he scares you, but don’t show him that you are scared. That will make him think that he won, but he didn’t because you are strong and can overcome this fear. Just remember he isn’t going to hurt you if you stay by your moms side. I know this is hard, but you can make it through this. If you need to you can text VOICE to 741-741 for immediate help or write back.
    We are all here for you. You are strong and can make it through this. Thanks for updating us.
    -Alyssa

  21. Turnschaosintoart Day Captain

    music2799
    Never let someone say your feelings aren’t valid. Because they are your feelings not anyone else’s and no one not even your mom can speak for them or you and say how or what you are feeling. And I wouldn’t say you are “playing” victim. What happened was real. And you have reasons that are very real to be looking around and being very sweet of your surroundings. And also it is something that is very hard to just “get over. ” I am sorry your mom isn’t understanding our being very supportive. If she won’t leave the church can you? Do you have to go? You shouldn’t have to be forced to be at a place you don’t want to be especially if it is around someone who has hurt you. Don’t doubt yourself. You know. You are smart. You know what happened. And your health and safety and the way you feel is very important and deserves all the attention you can give to it. You number 1 concern is you. You need to protect you and make sure you are ok, safe and heard. If people aren’t listening when you stand up for yourself make them listen. This is your life. If you don’t want to be around him those days, don’t. We are also here always to listen and stand by your side. Remember your feelings are valid. I’ll be thinking about you.

  22. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Your feelings are 1000 percent valid. Your mom does not have a right to tell you how you feel. Nor does anyone have a right to, especially about what happened. No one has the right to force you to be around the person who hurt you in this way. You do not have to be there. It is incredibly strong to still be able to be around this person-but it’s not something you have to or should have to do. It’s not fair for someone to ask that of you. This is hurting you. And that is not okay. You were brave to stand up to your mother, and I’m sorry that she isn’t supportive. There is a difference between having to be around people you don’t like and being around someone who abused you. They are not equatable experiences. And to think that they are is missing the mark. I am so sorry that your mother does not understand this. Is there any way you can stop going to church, but your mother can still go? Let us know how else we can help you-we are here for you.

    Erin