Update

Thank you for supporting me. These past couple of weeks have been the worst I’ve had in a while, and your kind words are helping me so much. I’m so happy that I am able to talk about my story and what I’m experiencing here. 
After seeing my assaulter for a couple of days, I was exhausted. Seeing him was upsetting, but the worst part was that the invalidation I faced was making me feel more upset. I was trying not to doubt myself, and I was dealing with all of these conflicting emotions. 
Whenever I feel okay about the situation, my parents say these comments, which end up setting me back. I know now that I’m more upset about the invalidation than what happened to me. I’m healing from what happened, which is the positive thing to take away from this. Of course, I’m still paranoid and upset, but it’s not as bad as it used to be (a couple of years ago).
I’m still hurt by what they have said in the past. They know how difficult it is for me to talk about my feelings, yet they’re saying things that discourage me from confiding in people. They can somewhat empathize with older adults, but when it comes to their own kids, they can’t. It’s like they think our struggles pale in comparison to what they’ve gone through. Our struggles are simply different. They don’t have to understand, but it would be nice if they could at least validate our feelings.
When I confided in my guy friend about what happened, they got extremely upset with me. They asked me why I was so emotionally invested in him. It’s because he has shown so much compassion and validated me. He’s empathized with me in such a special way. They thought it would lead to a relationship, and they were worried about how much I was telling him. Their concerns are valid, but what they said to express those concerns hurt me. I’m unfortunately not talking to that guy friend now. It may sound a bit convoluted, but I don’t want to talk to him behind my parents’ back and lose their trust in me. But I miss him so much and I know my decision to trust him was right. 
Having a counselor or mediator sounds like an interesting idea. However, I’m wondering if my parents would deny that they’re doing this. I don’t think they know how much it hurts to hear those comments, but I don’t know if they’re willing to accept it. They get very defensive when we have contrasting opinions. When my sister brought up an invalidating comment from the past, my mom asked her why she has this list of things that they’ve [my parents] done wrong. Then my mom said she never said that. Their defensiveness is the problem I’m facing now. I fear what they’ll say, which is why I’m not being more assertive. 
These are all the thoughts that have been circling in my brain for a while now. Again, thank you for encouraging me to update and share my feelings. I could not be more grateful.


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17 comments

  1. brittneyhahn

    Hello,

    I am overjoyed to hear that are positive words are comforting. Thank you so much for sharing and being brave (seeing you assaulter and sharing with us, your parents, and friends.)
    Friends advice can be tough. Sometime the intention behind something has a different impact than intended through dialogue and expression. When expressing the idea of a counselor, I found that it was easier to find some local resources to bring to the conversation. My parents are consistently in denial for the decisions and I think it is because they are worried about how their peers view them. It is heart breaking to not feel like you have that support. I have tried avoiding conversations about what they are doing wrong and given them feedback on how and why I need their support. Maybe, you could then suggest therapy?

    brittney

  2. Ashley Day Captain

    music2799,

    It seems like the last two weeks have been emotionally draining. You have the right to receive validation, especially from the people who are in your life. The fact you worked on not doubting yourself while managing a mixture of unpleasant emotions demonstrates persistence. It makes sense the comments you receive from your parents are affecting your ability to move forward. I get the impression that your parents shy away from accepting their shortcomings; owning up to the mistakes we make is important because doing so can foster growth. Although you feel discouraged about confiding in people, I commend you for having the courage to confide in us. Regardless of age, everyone has experienced challenges and it’s not okay to push feelings to the side. I’m thinking you wanted your guy friend to support you in a non-judgmental way, which isn’t too much to ask for.

    Our community has your back.

  3. calshaw Day Captain

    Hey music2799,

    I’m sorry your parents make you feel invalidated. But always remember your feelings are valid. No one controls them, but you. When you are ready counseling has helped many ppl. You may even find a way to involve your parents in a counseling session. But only when you are ready. I’m happy to hear that you are positively progressing with what has happened to you. That is very important. Always concentrate on that, bcz that will help with validation. You know what happened. You know how you feel. And you know how you have grown and changed. Your insight is the most powerful thing you have.
    Everyone has different types of parents. Which doesn’t make it any easier. But I know that when I’m upset or hurt and,i try talking to my parents, they also invalidate me and get defensive. They tell me to suck it up and move on. I’ve learned that they do this because they think/thought it gave me more strength and that it would help me in the long run. Which it doesn’t. Maybe this is how your parents are. Maybe they are trying bestow strength upon you. When you are ready start using those “I” statements and start asking about counseling or that you need someone to talk to. It’s hard, but you are strong, never forget that!

    -Shawn

  4. Jacqui

    Hi, I’m so sorry that your parents are holding you back. I understand that need to have your parents trust, even if it hurts you. But even if they’re your parents, they do not have a right to hurt you. Why do they not want you telling others? It’s your story and if you have someone you want to confide in, that’s okay. You didn’t do anything wrong and have nothing to be ashamed about. Have you thought about writing something out to them? This way, you can get all your thoughts out and they cannot interrupt. It helps to use “i” statements, instead of saying “you do this,” say ” I feel…” that way they do not feel attacked.
    I hope this helps. We are here for you!

  5. Hannah

    Hey there,
    Your feelings are always valid. I know it’s hard to remember that when everyone around you says differently, but just remember that what you feel is totally valid. I’m sorry they get defensive when you try to bring up these issues. That’s tough to work around, but maybe a counselor or mediator can help you find ways to deal with the situation.
    I’m glad you found AVFTI and that you enjoy opening up here.
    We’ll always be here to listen to you.
    Stay strong and keep us updated.
    Hannah

  6. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi again,
    Thanks for coming back to share with us again. I’m very sorry you are struggling with this. It is very important that your feelings are validated and supported. I understand your feelings when your parents do not seem to validate your emotions. A counselor might be a great way to have a conversation with a mediator involved who can help you make sure your parents understand where you are coming from. If anything, a counselor will be able to help you deal with the feelings that you have. You are very strong and can get through this! We are here for you! Please come back if we can help in any other way.

  7. blashea

    I am so sorry to hear that. I hate that you had to lose someone that you care about and trust. I truly hope that your parents find some understanding soon. I think suggesting mediation/therapy is a great idea! I hope they’ll be open to trying it and open to actually hearing what you have to say. I hope everything gets better for you soon. Never forget that you are a warrior and you’re strong and brave. We are always here for you. Please never hesitate to talk to us.

  8. MinZRivers Volunteer

    You are welcome to come back here and share your feelings whenever you feel like it. We are always here for you! I’m sorry your parents are acting out the way they are. They are probably so defensive because they don’t feel good about not being able to respond to you the right way. People get defensive when they fall short, instead of just admitting they dont know. As far as your male friend, they probably had a hard time knowing he could offer you comfort, them as your parents couldn’t. However; I think it may have been best to part ways with him for a while until you heal more. I urge you to speak with a counselor. They can teach you how to cope. Its always darkest before the dawn. Your recovery is near and I wish you much success! -? Kia

  9. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi music2799,
    I’m so happy we could help you. I’m sorry you have been having a hard time. I know how hard it can be to see your assaulter, but you just have to remember how strong you are and that you won because you are standing tall. If you ever need validation you can always write back and we will help you or you can text VOICE to 741-741.
    It is okay that it is hard to talk about your feelings because when you have feelings from being sexually assaulted it is hard to explain, but that is why we are here. We know exactly how you feel and it is 100% okay to not know how to explain it because we have all been in your shoes. We are here to help you.
    Your parents should not be invalidating you and I’m so sorry they are. They should be supporting you and wanting you to get better by validating your feelings. It is likely that they do not understand as much as the younger generation does because (not trying to call your parents old) the older generation never talked about this kind of stuff, so they do not always know what to say, but it does not give them the right to invalidate your feelings.
    Your friend was very insensitive and that is not okay. If you trusted him with your story he should have saw that and showed more support and care. I’m happy you have us because we will show you all of the validation that you want and need. I really am sorry that you have so much invalidation in your life. It is not okay.
    Try to talk to your parents about therapy because it is so helpful if you have the right counselor. My parents were not keen on me going to therapy, but after seeing my improvement, they became happy with the idea of therapy. If you explain to them that this is something you feel like you will benefit from and help you they should understand. If you want we can help you find a therapist.
    Its good to hear back from you. If you need anything let us know.
    -Alyssa

    1. music2799 Day Captain

      Hi Alyssa,
      Actually, my friend was the one that validated me. He asked me questions and told me to tell him if I was uncomfortable with answering. He said he would be there for me and that he was sorry I was struggling. My parents got upset about us talking because they didn’t want me to reveal so much. I just wanted to clear up the confusion, and I realized that this part may have sounded weird. 🙂
      I might talk to a counselor at my college – I think it would help me understand my emotions and what’s going on.
      Thank you so much for responding.

      1. Alyssa Day Captain

        I’m sorry I got confused. I’m happy he could validate you and make you feel better even though he made you feel uncomfortable. I think talking to a counselor at college is a great idea!

  10. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear music2799,
    It is wonderful to hear that you have found support in our community. Hearing that always makes my day. I am so sorry that your parents do not validate you and ypur sister and that they change/deny what they have said in the past. That sounds a lot like gaslighting to me and it is a way to control someone. I just left a 17 year-long relationship because of the same situation. It was extremely difficult because I had to be secretive in order to make sure that I could extract myself and my daughter. Sometimes it is important to do what needs to be done to protect ourselves. If I read your stories correctly, I think you are at least 18. If so, you legally can talk to whomever you want. I am certainly not telling you to do something that is going to make life worse for yourself. I just want you to see it from an outside perspective. If you aren’t able to talk to your guy friend, I would at least suggest using our crisis line by texting VOICE to 741-741. You will be anonymously connected to a trained counselor for free and they will be able to give you specific advice for your situation. Please come back and update us as often as you would like.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  11. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for coming back to share. I understand how frustrating it is and upsetting it is to be invalidated, especially by your own parents. Many survivors discuss that the invalidation feels just as traumatizing, or often worse than the sexual assault itself. Unfortunately, invalidation is all too common. I understand not wanting to lie to your parents, but if this friendship with your guy friend is good for you and helpful, you deserve that friendship. Recovery is about you and you alone, and what is best for you. And that’s important. Let us know how else we can help you-we are here or you.

    Erin

  12. kelly Day Captain

    Hi, music2799. I’m sorry your parents aren’t supporting you. I know how lonely that can feel. You should be able to confide in other people you trust like your guy friend. It’s completely normal and healthy to want to build a support system outside of/in addition to your parents. I’m sure your parents love you, but they might not know how to handle this situation right now. I think a counselor sounds like a great idea, with or without your parents. I think you already have an idea of how your they might react to that, not to say you shouldn’t try, but as a survivor of sexual abuse it becomes important to start gauging who is a good person to talk to about it and who isn’t. Getting a bad response when you disclose something like this can be very detrimental (as I’m sure you’ve experienced) so we have to learn to protect ourselves. If you decide your parents aren’t the best people to talk to about it, it doesn’t mean you don’t love them or they don’t love you. And maybe they will be more supportive in the future after they are more educated about on subject. But it’s important to be careful with yourself right now when you are feeling so vulnerable. There are people out there who will support you and validate you. We will. Thanks for updating us and please come back if you want to share more, we’re always here for you.

  13. Kristen Eby

    Hey there. I understand. For me, the worst part of being sexually assaulted was not the assault itself; it was the first response I got after. I tried to tell my friend and she said, “Well, what did you expect?” That simple statement caused me to remain silent for four years. We already feel violated, ashamed, guilty, angry, and betrayed. Having all of that invalidated makes the pain exponentially worse.

    Do you think your parents would be willing to do some research on sexual assault? Most of the time, people who invalidate survivors do so out of ignorance. They don’t understand our reality or what it’s like to go through something like this. Unfortunately, there’s endless stories online explaining it, as well as scientific research about why victims struggle to express their feelings, and the psychology behind healing from sexual assault. Perhaps some education would help them realize their defensiveness is unnecessary.

    Thanks for the update; as always, we’re here for you.

    Kristen

  14. Kailey2298 Volunteer

    Hi music2799,
    Thank you so much for the update we love hearing the progression in situations. I’m happy your working through what happened and it’s getting a little less painful to work through. Your feelings are valid and the unnecessary invalidation from anyone including your family should be blocked out and ignored. Of course I understand there your family and all but try not to listen to them, you should be around support and comfort and nothing less. If you feel safe and comfortable here then come here and well all be here for you. I’m glad you feel comfortable with talking to your guy friend. In regards to not going behind your parents back Maybe tell your parents that your gonna continue talking to him because he supports you and hes there for you. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what your parents want but what you need. Please keep us updated and if you need anything let us know!
    Kailey

  15. Turnschaosintoart Day Captain

    Hi music2799,
    Thanks so much for your kind word and keeping us updated. We always want to hear from people and continue to hear their stories and how they are doing. We want you to know we care and you are important to us and that we are thinking about you and always here for you. So keep coming with those updates
    So never let anyone one let you thing anything you say, feel, or believe is not validated because it is. Even if it is your family. Your feelings or experiences are yours. I know it’s hard because it is your family but don’t let them make you feel that way. When parents make comments it is always the worst. We expect them to come with a band aid when we fall and scrape our knee when we are kids and kiss it and make it all better. So we would expect them to listen to us and not make crappy comments and when they do it is crushing. And it sucks really bad because they basically left you on the side walk bleeding with a scraped knee. I know you talked about possibly seeing a counselor or someone. Maybe if you did a few family sessions might help as well.
    It is great to hear too do have support from your guy friend. It is important to have a least someone. Even if it is only one person. It sucks tho that you feel you can’t talk to him because of your parents. I know you don’t want to go behind their back. So maybe talk to them and explain that he is important to you and you feel he is helping you heal and cope and that you need a friend. Or just talk to him anyways. You have to do what is healthy for you. I really hope you keep writing to us and keep pressing on and things get better with your folks. I’ll be thinking about you. Much love
    Kristin