My Flashbacks have returned.


After several years, several therapists, etc., my flashbacks have returned. Those things that I. once thought I had conquered have been "reactivated". Beginning last Nov, after a deadly serious illness, a depressive state began to seep into my emotions. By mid-May all I could do was cry each time I was alone. It is now mid-July and I spend an estimated 5 of 7 days a week, continually on the brink of tears. I am widowed, alone in the house, but I did let my kids know the emotional state into which I had fallen after so many years of good times. I also informed close friends to keep a closer check on me. I contacted a therapist and starting off with 2x a week now see him once a week. I also have "come out" to all my children and my friends.

It seems that after this shadow of sexuality was removed, I am now dealing with flashbacks from the oral rape I was victim of at age 50. I can't make them stop and I can't understand the reason why they are appearing out of the blue. The perpetrator died several years ago. I tried to forget about it. The therapist says I need forgiveness for the man. And me, I just want the pain to stop. I really do. I want to stop crying and I want to laugh again. A seven month depression is hard. Any suggestions on the "forgiveness" issue? I really have never given it much thought, but it seems if I do that once again I give permission for someone to have used.... (child sexual abuse from age 4-17). The other issues I will just deal with one at a time.
Thisman, sorry to hear you are having such a hard time with the depression and the flashbacks. I don’t know how forgiveness would help so I cannot offer anything on that.
Take care
Hi ThisMan

I am sorry for what you are going through. Flashbacks are hard to get past and it seems to be ok then something trigger you again and they start all over again.

Forgiveness is important. Just think of it this way you don't have to see or talk to anyone. Just forgive them for yourself. You are the one that is important here not them. The forgiveness is for you not them they don't deserve it but we do. I is very easy to say, but it is very hard to do. I forgave my Dad for all the things I feel he did wrong to me while growing up. I did not to him I told myself I forgave him and then I looked after him for the last few years of his life. It was the only way I could be there for my Mom who I looked after for her last 8 years she had a bad stroke and needed help with lots of stuff.

Hope that helps a little.
Take care


Thank you, guys for the words. I am just tired now... tired of the constant struggle to remain stable and rational. It seems I have forgiven so much, but this rape stuff is different. It has affected me differently. And I guess I am still pretty F bombed about it.


For myself the only version of forgiveness that I believe in with regard to abuse is this... Letting go of the belief that the past could have been any different.
Understood! I have not forgiven anyone of sexual crimes committed against me. Been told I need to do that. Also been told I need to grieve the losses I feel because of what happened, I have not been able to do that either.
Hello @ThisMan that is hard to cycle through, and then feel the depth of it. I'm glad you've tried to share where you are with others and here. Others reflections about forgiving ourselves is the same for me. It's been hard to accept there were circumstances I was forced to endure, and that's where we find ourselves looking into being gentle with ourselves. It's not easy, I have cycles of low self esteem and what you share resonates with me. Clinical or chronic depression has hit hardest with more active life stress, loneliness, and lowest self esteem. It's so very hard, and I'm sorry you're dealing with it. I've compassion to you, understanding you, and hope you'll find some ease soon.

Like Esterio, I won't forgive the rapists. Never. And that's not hurting me, I don't obsess on it. I used to feel worthless that it happened, and that's what I forgive myself. Slowly that worthlessness has changed, and some self esteem is returning. You're worth looking into the process that eases your pain.
I read your post yesterday and couldn't respond because of your therapist's suggestion you forgive the perpetrator. That offends me mightily. It strikes me that your therapist really doesn't understand trauma that he would believe forgiving the perpetrator would somehow give you relief. That isn't what you need, in my opinion. Yes, you want to release the grip the past has on your present but that has more to do with finding compassion for yourself not forgiveness for the perpetrator. I don't care if the perpetrator was himself the victim of abuse, which may have been the case. What you want is to get him out of your head where he has no business being. Yes, that is what trauma does to us but that is why healing is focused on taking care of ourselves in the present moment so we don't need to relive the past. You didn't deserve to be traumatized as a boy. None of it was your fault. Whatever you did as you grew up to relieve yourself of the pain of the past is simply another chapter in the abuse. Please be gentle with yourself TM. You deserve compassion. Your perpetrator deserves nothing.

Erik Zachary

We hear your struggles and stand in solidarity with you against the troubles.

I made a post about forgiveness that I believe was titled "Who Deserves forgiveness". I personally do not like the idea of forgiving my perps. I do not hold rage or anger towards them. I refuse to apologize because I forgave so many times and I do not want to give up my new power I worked so hard to get. It is not up to me to forgive them. I don't want to forgive them and I never will. You are not alone in this struggle and have a brotherhood of men that are here and support you no matter what you choose to do.

My first therapist once that insisted I forgive and let go, labeled me a sex addict, required I go to SexAholics Anonymous and “get over what happened so many decades ago. When the darkness of the pit deepened I finally found the strength to get a different T. One with a trauma background. One that helped me to forgive myself for not fighting, not stopping it, for not “just being a man and controlling myself”. My trauma T helped me realize the Perp deserves condemnation and exposure not forgiveness.

Only when I started to forgive myself, accept my acquiescence as part of my people pleasing nature recognized and exploited by the Perp, could the guilt and shame begin to lift. Like you the Perp was dead but the more I liked myself the less I would wake to that smell, those no longer present sounds and long absent sensations. The only forgiveness required was of myself but it also woke me to the fact that I’m SA most of the other attendees were perps taking notes from my shares on what worked to exploit me - they pressed forgiveness of the Perp so they could feel better about themselves NOT something I needed or was in any way justified.

We are here for YOU. You are worthy. You are no longer alone.