I’ve been feeling worn out. 

My feelings have been all over the place ever since I realized it was manipulation. A couple of weeks ago, I went to church and saw him. I was feeling okay until he started singing. The second he started singing, this feeling of panic rose in me. I had to leave the service for a few minutes, but it didn’t really help. I was so scared. I told a couple of my friends at church a little bit of the story. I just said that I had a bad experience with someone in the church and that I’m paranoid around the person. I didn’t want to tell them anything else, especially because they could find out who it is. They were relatively supportive, and talking to them helped me get through that day. After church, I remember feeling this pressure on my chest. I felt unsafe for a few hours. That reaction seemed to come out of nowhere. Now that I look back on it, I was extremely stressed about school. I learned that when I’m stressed, it tends to spread to the other aspects of my life. That was why I had that severe reaction. 

Last week, I felt better. I was less stressed about school, so I felt like I could truly make myself feel safe. I kept reminding myself that my feelings were valid and I thought about the things you all have said. That helped me get through that service. Your support has helped a lot throughout this process, and I can’t thank you enough. 

As of a few days ago, my mom was talking to my grandmother about this insensitive comment my relative said. This relative decided to say that people shouldn’t report their assaults if it’s been over a year since it happened. I was infuriated when I heard that. It’s so hard for people to talk about what happened, let alone report. My mom was infuriated too. She said that the comment was extremely insensitive and talked about how traumatized people are due to assault. 

I think my mom is beginning to understand what survivors go through. However, it’s hard for me because I’m remembering what my parents have told me in the past. They told me that I needed to move on, that it was my fault, and that it wasn’t a big deal (and some other things). When I confronted them a few weeks after they said those things, they said that that was how I should think of it when moving on. I personally don’t agree with that. I think we have to accept our feelings and learn how to work through them without invalidating ourselves. 

They said those things when they were angry. I’m struggling with this because I’m wondering how much of what they were saying was truth. Maybe they were thinking those things (in a less severe way), and it came out in a more severe way because they were angry. I’m not sure. Maybe since he didn’t go further than groping, my mom doesn’t see it as a big deal. For me, it was a big deal because it was nonconsensual, it happened in a church, he was an adult, and I felt violated. It was the first time I had ever been kissed and groped, and that was nonconsensual. 

Maybe she still blames me for talking to/agreeing to meet with him. I remember her saying a while ago that I shouldn’t have gotten into that situation in the first place (meeting him in that room), but she also said that him assaulting me wasn’t my fault. I really don’t know how I feel about that. Just because I agreed to meet him in that room doesn’t mean he had the right to do what he did. I told him that I wasn’t ready, and he disregarded that. He was the one who asked me to meet him, and he was also the one who initiated the sexting. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I never met him in that room. I try to tell myself that I’ll never know what would have happened. 

In some way, it’s kind of hypocritical, and I’m not sure how to deal with this dissonance. I haven’t talked to my parents about this in months, so I’m not entirely sure where they stand right now. 

My trust issues are also suffocating me. It’s been hard for me to confide in people lately. I get scared, and I guess some part of me keeps thinking I’m a burden. I’ve been telling myself that I’m not a burden, but I don’t think I’ve fully accepted it. I don’t want my friendships with people to only be based on me talking about my feelings. I want them to share things with me. I don’t want it to be one sided, which is why I haven’t been confiding in them recently. 

My thoughts have been all over the place. I’ve been busy with school and research, and I feel like I haven’t had a break. I’m just very tired, and I don’t know how to deal with any of this. 

Thank you for reading this update. 

Join the Conversation


  1. Maria

    Hey I can understand I know it must be hard because I go through this myself alot with panic attacks what happend to you wasn’t right and you should know that and if someone says otherwise there wrong because what he did was not right I know it’s been hard for you to cope maybe try relaxing your mind listening to music I find helpful but I also find helpful doing grounding and using all your senses also distracting yourself like school or any hobbies you like and make some you time it helps alot I believe in you stay strong maria ps I really appreciate all your supportive comments thank u but I believe in you 🙂

    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Thank you, Maria. I think those things could help. Maybe taking some time for self care could help whenever I feel like this. I’ll try not to beat myself up when I’m not very productive.
      You appreciating my comments means a lot, and I’m glad to read your updates. I believe in you too!

  2. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Hey Music
    i can understand being all over the place. I am so sorry your parents have said those things. i know at the moment your parents might have said it out of anger which still isn’t right. i can understand why it’s difficult for you to understand others and what happened to you is a huge deal. i am sorry you had to go through it all but just know we are here for you for support.

    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Thank you, Northlane1991. I understand how they’re feeling about this, and I don’t want to be angry at them. How I feel about their role in all this is confusing. I am frustrated because sometimes it feels like they don’t understand, but I know that this is also hard for them to deal with. I guess that will take time for me to figure out.

  3. kelly Day Captain

    Hey, music2799. I can relate to feeling all over the place. It seems like everyday I have a new feeling or take on what happened to me. I’m sorry your parents said those things. Maybe they feel that way, maybe it was just out of anger, but either way it sounds like they do love you and want to support you, they just might not know how. It’s not up to you to sort that out for them and you don’t have to talk to them about it if you know their response will not help. I can see why all that would make it hard to trust others. You’re not a burden. Good friends are supposed to be there for you in times like these and it doesn’t have to be one-sided. If you confide in a friend you trust, it might make them feel safe enough to confide in you. I think what happened to you is a big deal, and you have every right to feel the way you do about it. It was not in anyway your fault. Obviously I don’t think you should expect to be sexual assaulted anywhere, but how were you to know that would happen in one of the places where you are supposed to feel the safest? Thanks for keeping us updated. Try to fit in a break or some self care if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You’ve been doing a lot of hard work and you deserve it.

    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Thank you, Kelly. You have a point about confiding in my friend. Now I can remember times when she’s trusted me with her feelings, so it doesn’t feel as one sided. As of now, I won’t bring it up to my parents, but I guess I’ll figure out what to do if they bring it up. I think doing some self care may help me relax, especially because I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. Again, thank you. I’ll write back if I need anything.

  4. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Music2799,
    It is completely understandable to be exhausted at this time. Everyday life can be tiring for anyone, but when you are still trying to heal from abuse, the current state of our country can be overwhelming. Even if you are actively avoiding the news and social media, it is still out there in the air like fog and it is impossible to keep all of it from getting in. In your case, it was thoughtless comments from a relative and conversations and feelings in response. Recognizing, accepting, and finding small ways to work through them are what keeps us from a complete downward spiral. You recognized those feelings building in yourself and you found a way to manage them in the moment. You are able to reflect and make a plan for the next time it happens and that is a huge step. Doing small things to take care of yourself and finding ways to manage anxious moments are what gets us through. Others below gave great advice and there is no need to repeat that except to say that it was NOT your fault!!! One of my favorite bands has two really good songs about consent, society’s views on women’s’ safety, and it’s protection of men. Listening to them helps me connect and understand that what happens in these situations is the fault of the perpetrator and that we shouldn’t have to walk around constantly protecting ourselves from being hurt. We have the right to make choices, wear clothes, exercise, express interest, have conversations, walk down the street, and to not give consent to be touched. If you want to listen to the songs, they are: Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams and Face of God by Camp Cope.
    Sending you love and strength,

    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Thank you, Roxie. I guess even though I haven’t been feeling great, it’s good that I’m aware of it. That can help me figure out what to do next. I’ve never heard of those songs, but I’ll check them out! They sound interesting, and maybe they could help me if I start blaming myself. Thank you for the recommendations, and I’ll keep adding things to my plan (for relieving stress throughout the week/when I’m in church).

  5. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi music2799,
    I’m sorry things have been rough. Just remember to breath. Whenever you feel like you are anxious, stressed, or worried just close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and breath. Everything is going to be okay. If you ever feel like you can’t do all of your work, just break it up into sections. You can get it all done one section at a time. I know dealing with this is hard and makes you feel alone, but you aren’t alone. You are strong and will make it through this tough time. Just keep fighting because you are a warrior. Thank you for updating us. If you need anything else you can always write back.

    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Thank you, Alyssa. I have a feeling that that will help a lot. I’ll try not to beat myself up for not finishing everything in one day – it’s unrealistic and overwhelming. This journey has been long and tiring, but it’s also been enlightening. Even though it feels difficult now, I still have hope, which is good. I’ll write back if I need anything – thanks again.

  6. Jade Volunteer

    I am so sorry for what you went through and are currently going through. You always deserve to feel safe. That man had no right to put his hands on you and that was not your fault at all. It’s completely understandable that you feel the way you do, that you felt scared, stressed, and all over the place. It’s not easy to deal with what you’ve gone through, but that’s exaxtly what you’re doing. You’re pushing through the pain and it takes a tremendous amount of strength to do that. You are truly a strong individual. I know it probably doesn’t seem like it now, but you will make it through this, stronger than ever! Keep on fighting and stay strong! You can do it, I believe in you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out again, we are always here for you!

    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Thank you, Jade. Experiencing this is exhausting, especially when I’m seeing the perpetrator so often in a place where people find refuge and feel safe. I tend to be an optimistic person, so I try to remind myself that everything will get better. Thank you for writing these motivating words – they’re helping me feel better about these past few weeks.

  7. sfmbelle413 Day Captain

    Hey there music2799,

    I’m glad you provided us with an update. It seems you’ve learned some great coping skills – like walking out of church for a few minutes when you felt uncomfortable and overwhelmed. I know you mentioned it didn’t help much, but the fact you could recognize that it might be helpful and gave it a try says so much. Stress from other parts of life can definitely be triggering as well. It’s inspiring you were able to open up to some church friends and start sharing your story.

    Speaking with family after a traumatic experience can be hard. They too feel and may not know how to express it. This is absolutely no excuse for the comments they make. What happened to you was not your fault. It can be devastating to hear them not be as supportive as you need them to be, though. What are some other coping skills you’ve learned along the way that may help you continue to deal with all of this?

    You’re doing an awesome job. And we are here for you, always. Keep on fighting – sending you lots of light.


    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Thank you, SFM. Sometimes walking out works, but I was feeling worse than normal. That may have been why it didn’t work as well that day. I’ve been coping with this through writing, positive self talk, talking to my friend when I feel comfortable, sleeping after the service, volunteering for AVFTI, taking breaks, and spending time with people I care about.
      It is hard when they’re not supportive. I’m still wrapping my head around this, and some days are difficult. However, I’m still fighting through this, which is the positive thing to take away from this.

      1. sfmbelle413 Day Captain

        Those are some amazing coping skills, music2799. I find that writing is a powerful way to help release some of those emotions that are bottled up. Sometimes bottling up emotions and holding them in can be draining and exhausting. Positive self talk, chatting with friends, sleeping and taking breaks are all great ones too. It seems you have a solid self-care plan in place for when things get hard.

        It can be truly devastating when friends and family and not supportive. We want so bad to be heard and understood by those we care and love about. The fight you have is inspiring, truly. Seeing you fight gives me hope and reminds me to fight as well. Thank you for that.

  8. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for keeping us updated and reaching out again! I am glad that your mother defended you from the insensitive comment and that you have found support in friends at church as well. Nothing that happened was your fault; just because you meet with someone alone does not give them the right to your body. I am sorry that you still have to see this person and feel the stress and pain you feel around him. Healing takes time and is different for everyone; it may take you a while before you feel you can trust and confide in people about certain things, and that is ok. Do what is best and healthiest for you in your healing process. Have you tried to speak with a therapist about this or maybe your mother again if you are comfortable? We have resources on our site too that let you talk to someone in real time on he phone or even through text if you feel safer doing that. Please let us know what we can do to help you further; we are here for you and we support you. Stay strong <3

    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Thank you, Julia. This is a process, and I’m still figuring out who I can trust and how to trust. I’ve had issues with trust for a long time, and understanding why I’ve had these issues has been interesting yet exhausting. I haven’t spoken to a therapist about this. I think I might talk to a professional and see how I feel or use the resources on this site. I don’t know if I’ll talk to my mom about it – as of right now, my instinct is telling me not to say anything. I’ll let you all know if I need anything, and thanks for your support.

  9. Solongago

    I am sorry that your relative said something that made you so upset. It is a lot easier to hear things that don’t follow our way of thinking from folks that we do not know very well or look up to. Sometimes it makes sense to try to win someone over to your way of understanding, or to at least let them know that you see it differently. And sometimes it is better to leave well enough alone, and understand that that person is not someone you can talk to about certain things.

    It is a loss. I think you are grieving that loss. And grieving losses is exhausting.

    I could write a book about the dynamics of the parent-child/adult child relationship. Maybe I should. But it would be all messed up because I am not expert. And my folks are awesome in some ways and abysmal in others. And I think that makes it harder for us. I mean if they were totally abysmal, it would be a lot easier to throw whatever they say about everything under the bus and come to our own conclusions about everything. Instead our parents make a great deal of sense about a lot of things. They are right about a lot of things. They are caring and even loving in a lot of ways. They hate to see us struggle and want for us to be better.

    And then they say things that are totally off the page of any understanding whatsoever. Or they make it absolutely clear that they are not open to certain topics. And we have to make a decision to openly fight with them to be heard, or to respect their inability to cope with what we are going through and accept that we have no support from there. And we maybe get onto the verge of that spot, when they just can’t leave well-enough alone and say something that either makes us believe that we can get what we need from them, or that it is so frustrating that they continue to badger us, though they do not understand at all.

    I wish I could say something positive about this, or that it will get easier. That if you follow this 12-step-program, you and your parents will have the best relationship ever. But there are no magic wands, big or little, that can actually do anything across the board. Sometimes, when we become more healthy, our relationships with family gets less stressed, and they get better. Sometimes when we radically accept them for whom they are, we can adjust our expectations and not be so let down by their behavior, and it does get easier over time. I take my eyes off of television, fake-book, and novels, and read the Bible with the focus on family dynamics. And I see over and over and over again how parents can’t seem to do well by their children, adult or otherwise.

    Jeptha, loved his daughter more than anything, and when he won a battle he promised to sacrifice to God the first thing that came out to meet him on his return. It was his daughter. Abraham, threw Hagar and his first son, Ishmael out into the wilderness with a wineskin of water and a loaf of bread, when Sarah didn’t want them around anymore. David sent his daughter to minister to his son, he raped her and turned her out, and David did NOTHING. His other son Absolom ended up murdering this brother over it. but King David was totally dysfunctional. He knew about it, was angry, but did nothing. And don’t even get me going about the non-existent mothers in most of the stories. For me, the point is that since time began this is a strained relationship, and sexual assault, abuse, trauma, incest makes that relationship so much more difficult, probably because of the guilt or simply the helplessness that so many family members and parents in particular feel.

    Sorry, if that came out wrong. Feeling exhausted, and everything else is totally understandable. Take time to do all the healthy things you can for you. ACT OPPOSITE when you feel like doing nothing or not taking care of yourself. These are temporary dips that we will make less deep and last less time, if we pay attention to what our bodies and our minds need. And I tend to spend a lot of time trying to understand significant relationships because I always want to try and improve them, then to give up on them.

    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Thank you, Solongago. Wow, what you said is so accurate. Family dynamics are interesting.
      I’ve read the story about David before, but I didn’t think about it in that way. Thank you for providing a new perspective. I think part of the reason for their response is because they don’t know how to respond, and the other part is because I don’t think they’ve ever dealt with this. I can understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, but it can be so infuriating, which is why dealing with this has been so difficult. It’s not like my family is all bad. They’re still caring and loving. They’re still so angry with him about what he did (even though I think they blame me for meeting him, even though meeting him did not mean he had the right to do what he did). At the same time, I’m thinking, “It’s not right to take your anger out on others.” That’s why it’s been so confusing.
      I think acting opposite will help because taking care of yourself and doing what you need to do is an active process. It’s like Newton’s First Law – every object remains in rest (inertia) unless there’s an active force influencing that object. Well, my nerdy side is definitely making its entrance. Anyway, I’ll try my best to do this as well, so thanks for the tip.

      1. Solongago

        I just wish your family would go the extra mile and try to understand how to best give you support. I think the people my age, whose kids are managing mental issues or this stuff, are a little more open to things like support groups for families of people struggling. Maybe it is getting better, or it will be better for folks that come after us. Or maybe I am just trying to give our folks a pass. Yes, they do not know how to respond. They think they do, at least mine do, because they have also been abused. They survived, and think that how they did it is the way to go — not talking about it, getting over it, not dwelling on it, setting up the same environments their parents did that made it so easy for the perps then.

        Karen seems to think I can forgive them, and still be angry at them, and I can talk about them and still love them. I can love them and still hold them accountable for parts of it. It’s all very confusing.

  10. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi there,
    I promise you that no matter what anyone says it was NOT your fault. I am sorry that your relative made a comment like that. They are not right. It is always okay to share your story and report something that happened that was not okay, no matter how long ago it happened. I know it is hard right now, but you are right — your feeling are valid and what you are going through is not always easy. Stay strong. You are on the right path. Don’t forget to take time for yourself, and relax a little bit. For me, sleep is a great way to destress and taking a shower. Two simple things that can allow me to breathe and work on my mental health. So keep going, don’t forget to take care of yourself, and come back to share with us anytime you would like. We are here for you!

    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Thank you, Natalie. It helps so much to share your story with supportive people and ask for help. I don’t think this relative really understands how traumatizing this can be. I also think I haven’t been taking as much time for myself recently, so I’m going to get back to doing that and managing my time better. I’ve been overwhelmed with everything I need to do, which has been leading to procrastination. I’m going to actively work on this. Thank you for the reminder, and I’ll share with you all as well.

  11. Marissa Day Captain

    Hey music2799,

    I’m sorry you’re feeling so stressed. I know how that feels, and it’s tough to get your mind off of it. I’m happy to see that you at least know that you’re not a burden, but convincing yourself of that is the hardest part. I can’t remember, have you talked to a professional? That way, you (hopefully) wouldn’t feel bad for confiding in them about how you’re feeling since that is literally their whole job.

    No matter what anyone else says, it was NOT your fault. The only decision that results in assault is the decision to do it. Your presence does not give anyone the right to touch you, no matter what. You’re not an object. You’re a strong, amazing person. Please keep your head up. We’re here for you! Make sure to write back if you ever need anything.


    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Thank you, Marissa. It’s really tough to get out of that mindset. Maybe spending time with my younger cousins or my friends will help. I haven’t talked to a professional yet. I think I might soon – it may help me get things off my chest.
      I have to keep reminding myself of this whenever I think about the incident or when someone else blames me. And you’re right. I wish people understood this. I’ll make sure to update you all if I need anything. Thanks again.

  12. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I cannot reiterate this enough. Absolutely no part of what happened to you is your fault, no matter what your mother or parents say. This was NOT your fault. It was the fault of the person who did this to you. It is not our job to prevent ourselves from being harmed by others; it is our job to not harm others. That’s it. This is never the victim’s fault. We are here for you. We support you. I think what you describe may be some symptoms of a panic attack-I’ve had them before. Have you thought about connecting with a therapist? You can find some in your area on our “Find Help” tab. Let us know what else we can do for you.


    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Thank you, Erin. I keep thinking I’ve gotten through the self blame, but I guess I still have more to work on. It makes a lot of sense – we can control our actions, but we can’t control what other people do.
      I remember that I couldn’t fully breathe that day either. I’ve had similar experiences a couple of times, but it hasn’t been consistent. There was one time about 6 months ago when I had to see him for a couple of days in a row. By the end of the second day, I was in tears and shaking. I felt that same pressure on my chest. I can’t explain how scared I was that day. I remember talking myself through that, and I started feeling better. Yet it took a while for me to feel fully normal.
      I wondered if those experiences could be considered anxiety attacks. However, I didn’t want to classify it and end up calling it something it’s not. Maybe I could ask a professional and see what they think. I’ve thought about connecting with a therapist. Maybe an online option could work for me. I’ll try to look into it.