Pain and Recovery

408 21

The last few days have been interesting.

Sunday was exhausting and excruciatingly painful. I was struggling with the fact that I even had to be there, and I was upset because of my parents’ response. It doesn’t seem fair that I’m around him, even though it may be physically unsafe, and it’s emotionally draining in so many ways. Yet this small voice in my head is whispering, “Is seeing him a big deal? He didn’t go all the way.” I’m realizing that this might be my parents’ voice. I’m trying to get it out of my head, but I still think about that from time to time, even though I know that assault is assault. It’s wrong, and there’s no scale for it. I was also angry at him, especially because he’s still helping the priest after all this. Seeing him on that altar infuriates me.

I noticed another feeling. When I first realized it was assault, it was extremely painful. During the services, I used to dig my fingernails into my arm – not enough to create scars, but enough to be slightly painful. I was trying to drown out the emotional pain with physical pain. I’ve gotten much better at not doing this, but when I have a terrible day, I end up doing this. I did something similar on Sunday, and my thoughts were spiraling to a negative place which I had never been to before. Thankfully, the second my thoughts spiraled, I realized what was happening and was able to change it. The rest of the service – and the day – was still difficult, but my thoughts didn’t spiral anymore.

It took me a few days to recover from Sunday. I felt sad and frustrated about the situation, and I was trying not to discount my feelings. This is when things started looking up.

My guy friend and I were texting, and he asked how I was doing. At first, I wondered whether to even talk about this. Then I thought, “I’ve been wanting to get better at communication for a while, and I want to be honest with him. This honesty could help our friendship.” I explained the anger and frustration I had been dealing with, and he was so understanding. He wondered why my parents weren’t letting me stay away from the church and told me that my feelings were valid. He thanked me for telling him, and I thanked him for his support. He said that he only listens – that he doesn’t do much. I told him that it meant a lot to me. Having someone listen to you, especially if other people have belittled your feelings in the past, is amazing. I felt like I could breathe and let down my armor.

Speaking of my guy friend, it’s been great with him. We’re able to joke around, and I’m able to be completely myself. I asked him if I was texting him too much, and he said no and told me not to worry about that. We’re letting each other into our lives, and it feels great. Reaching out after 2 years was worth it.

Even though Sunday was so difficult and I felt like I was hitting a breaking point, I’m glad that I was able to tell the people I trust about it. Since it’s summer and we’ll be on vacation soon, I’ll be able to take a much needed break from seeing him. I’ll use that time to enjoy my vacation and decompress. I’m feeling much better than I was a few days ago, and I’m glad that I’ve reached this point.

Join the Conversation


  1. Jordan L

    Hey there,
    Thank you for the update! As I like to say the healing process is like a roller coaster; it will be up, down and all over the place. Healing from assault is all about figuring yourself out and becoming a new person. Never feel like your feelings are invalid. I’m sorry to hear that your parents aren’t understanding about your trauma from the assault. It’s hard to know that people don’t understand how we, survivors, feel after going through an incredible amount of trauma like that. I am glad to hear that you have the support and can confide in your friend. We always need someone we can lean on when things get tough.

    Remember we are always here for you. We support you. Thank you for trusting us.

  2. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    Thanks for updating us , it’s great to hear from you again. Know that your feelings are valid and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m sorry your parents are making you feel the way you’re feeling.


  3. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    Thanks for updating us , it’s great to hear from you again. Know that your feelings are valid and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m sorry your parents are making you feel the way you’re feeling.


  4. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    Thanks for continuing to update us. You’re feelings are valid and I’m sorry your parents aren’t being more supportive. You have every right to feel the way you do. Over time, your parent’s voice in your head will be there less and less. But I’m glad your friend has been so helpful and supportive. That’s great news! Anytime you’re able to just be yourself is really great. It’s also exciting to hear you have a vacation coming up. You definitely deserve it! You are continuing to have a good mindset as you work through these challenges. You’re very self-reflective and aware of your own feelings, and that’s definitely a good trait to have. Keep it up! You’ve got this.


  5. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi music2799,
    I’m sorry your parents don’t understand how hard assault can be. Don’t think that just because he didn’t go all the way doesn’t mean you should ever downgrade your feelings. You can feel however you want to feel about this situation.
    I’m happy your friend was able to help you! He sounds like he is really sweet.
    Thank you for updating us. Let us know if we can help you in any way.

  6. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    Thank you for coming here and trusting us with your story. This is a safe space and we are all here for you. I’m sorry that you have to see him at these events. That voice is definitely wrong. You and you alone know if its a big deal or not. Your parents don’t get to tell you it’s not a big deal. It is definitely frustrating that he is allowed to help at the church knowing what a horrible man he is. Just know that God knows how fake he is and that although he puts on this good exterior, he knows the truth. It’s great to hear that you were able to change your thoughts so they wouldn’t spiral. That shows just how strong you are. It’s great that you have a friend who is able to listen to you and is willing to help you work through things. Glad you are feeling a bit better.

    Stay strong

  7. mkyuellig

    Hey Music2799,
    It is completely understandable that you find it difficult to be around your assailant. I can’t imagine how draining it is to be so close in proximity to him every week. I’m sorry that your parents seem to be invalidating your experience and your pain because of the details of how “far” the assault went. That kind of thinking is what has kept survivors silent for centuries, believing that their experience wasn’t “that bad” when compared to someone else’s. The fact that someone may have experience a more intense or just different kind of suffering than you have, does not make your suffering any less painful or legitimate.

    I’m really glad that you have been able to talk with and confide in your friend. He sounds like and excellent support, and a great a friend. Maybe if you talk through some things with him, it may make it easier for you to explain certain emotions that you are feeling to your parents. If your parents understand how much you are truly suffering every time you are near your assailant at church, I would like to believe that they would understand why you can’t be there. You can’t live like that forever, living in fear, waiting until the next time you see him. You deserve happiness and security, and to feel safe. I hope that your parents will eventually be able to understand that.

    Stay strong and be gentle with yourself,

  8. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear music2799,
    It is obvious that your parents mean a lot to you, you put your own comfort on hold in order to please them, even when they haven’t provided you with the support and understanding that you need. You are very loving and forgiving. It is good to know that you are recognizing signs in yourself and that you know to bring yourself back to a safe place. You have worked really hard and come a long way on your journey. It is great to hear that you are building a relationship with your friend and that you are able to have honest conversations with him. You deserve to have a friend you can trust and rely on. You deserve to have happiness and joy in your life.
    Sending you love and strength,

  9. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    I am so glad that you have such a great and supportive friend! I am sure you feel much better now that he knows as well and you can talk about things with him. You have every right to be upset about seeing the person that hurt you; that is very normal. Enjoy your vacation and stay strong; we are always here for you <3

  10. Lizzi

    Hi music2799,
    I’m glad that you’re feeling better than before, and I hope that things continue to get even more positive for you. I’m sorry that Sunday was so rough, and it’s understandable that those thoughts and feelings would come up being put into that situation. I wish that others were more understanding of what you’re going through so you didn’t have to be around him. Your guy friend sounds amazing and I’m so glad that you have someone that listens and validates what you’re feeling and going through! I think it’s so important to have a person like that in your life, even just one, because that’s the kind of person that will be there for you through anything and always have your back. Your post inspired me to think about reaching out to people from my past. Have fun on your vacation!

    Much hope,

  11. Megan Volunteer

    Hey music2799,

    It sounds like you’re doing well! Everyone has more trying and difficult times than other times, but the important part is that you are able to get through them! You have come so far and it’s incredible the progress you have made! It’s also great that you are able to find support from your friend.

    Keep doing what you’re doing! It seems to be working well! Much love,

  12. Graciegrace22


    I am glad that you are in a place to be able to recognized and process the feelings you are going through. They’re is no time stamp on what you went through so please do not feel like it is not going away fast enough. Everyone heals at there own pace. What happened to you was not your fault but I am glad to hear that you have a friend to confide in and whom can support you. I hope things keep getting better for you.

  13. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Music2799,

    First of all, I’m sorry that you are still forced to see him each week. Second, I’m really proud of you for recognizing your thought spiral and how you sometimes use physical pain to mask emotional pain. Recognizing behaviors and emotions is a really big step in recovery, and it sounds like you’ve got a firm grasp on it. That’s awesome. I’m so glad that your guy friend has been supportive and understanding. Enjoy your vacation and much needed break from church. We’ll be here if you need anything.

    All the best,

  14. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    It sounds like you are doing much better and that sounds amazing. I hope you continue to stay strong and heal. We are here for you!

  15. colton95 Volunteer

    It sounds like you are doing better and I think that that is so awesome! I really hope that you will continue to stay strong and heal.

  16. rkr18 Volunteer


    Thanks for the update. It sounds like you are doing better step by step. Having a trusted person to confide in is so necessary and helpful. Have a peaceful and wonderful vacation. You deserve it!

  17. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there,

    I am so sorry that your parents aren’t more understanding and supportive about how this experience effects you, and I’m sorry you still have to see him. I think that vacation you were talking about will be a great way to get away from everything, and I hope you enjoy it! It sounds like you have a really amazing friend that supports you and listens. I’m happy that he is so great to you. I hope that you have a great weekend, and know that you are always welcome here. We support you. Stay strong.


  18. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi music2799,

    I’m sorry you had to go through the past couple days. You don’t deserve the pain you’ve gone through, and it certainly doesn’t help that your parents aren’t supporting you 100%. Even if they don’t understand what you went through, it’s completely unfair of them to invalidate your feelings. Please know that we are here, standing behind you, no matter what.

    I’m so proud of you for recognizing your spiraling thoughts and taking control of them. That must have been so difficult, and you are SO strong for being able to do that. Personally, I’m trying to work on that, so it gives me hope that I will get to your point some day. So thanks for giving me that to look forward to! I really appreciate you sharing with us 🙂

    I’m so happy that you were able to open up to your guy friend, and that he is so incredibly helpful and respectful of you. That’s so helpful – he truly sounds like a blessing for you! Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you. Just take it easy this summer!

    Stay strong!!

  19. Jess Volunteer

    Thank you for updating us. I’m sorry to hear that your parents are still invalidating your feelings about going to church with him. However, the strength that it took you to be able to do that, recognize your spiraling thoughts, and keep yourself from continuing down that path is IMMENSE. Recognize that strength within yourself. That is amazing by itself.
    I’m glad to hear that you’ve been able to talk to your guy friend and it’s been a positive experience for you. It’s so great that you’re receiving the support you haven’t been. The fact that you’re able to recognize the good within the bad is another strength. Keep using that strength for good. <3

    Thank you for continuing to update us. We always love hearing how you're doing. <3 If we can help you in any other way, please let us know. We are always here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting!

  20. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I’m so sorry that you still have to see this person-I know how painful that is, and you shouldn’t have to go through that. I’m glad your guy friend is being really helpful and supportive-you deserve that support. Glad you’re going on vacation-definitely use that as a break! I’m about to go on vacation, too, and I can’t wait to decompress. Let us know how else we can support-thank you for coming back to share with us.


  21. Solongago Volunteer

    I am glad you opened up to your friend, and that he responded positively, validating you and being helpful. I am also glad you are going on vacation and will be away from the guy that is causing so much discomfort.

    I feel really badly that this is souring your experience with your church home. Are you Catholic? I’m not but I listen to a lot of Catholic radio, and can understand a little better why your parents are so insistent about continuing there. Can you go to a different service at your church, or go to a church in a neighboring parish? My church is a great source for connecting with folks and comfort. I took my niece (my oldest brother’s daughter) to church there from the time she was 4 until she was about 7. And then her parents started bringing her. That is when I stepped away from the church. My brother plays piano, and he’s a guy, and since there are only some guys going, I just couldn’t be there watching folks seeing him and thinking he is such a great guy.

    I am their daughter’s godmother, but they didn’t even tell me when she was going to be confirmed, so I missed it. That sucks. My brother and his wife and daughter fell away from the church in the years following her confirmation. Now I am back there. Some of the same folks are there, that were there then. I am glad I am back, but if my brother came back, I would leave again. So, I can understand how you feel when he is there.

    In order to heal from this stuff, we need to build a support system and use it. Like you opened up to your friend, that is great. But we need more than one person. More than a partner. More than a therapist. More than a pastor/priest. We need different levels of friendships and people who know us and care for us. If at all possible it is great to have folks that are family that knew us then, and know us now. Having folks that have the same interests as you do outside of work, for me this is my German Shepherd people. And a good church-home, were we can be welcomed and accepted by folks older and younger, richer and poorer, every level of education and social status. There is a spiritual aspect to sexual assault/abuse, and healing can really be helped by a good church community.

    I don’t know what the answer is for you. I know praying the dude will be struck by lightning isn’t right. But he is a stumbling block for you, standing in the way of your health and spiritual growth and wellbeing. I am afraid that if your folks don’t figure this out, you can be turned off of church altogether.