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I feel like I am lying to get attention. That I want my T to think I was hurt so that he will take care of me. That I am manipulating him into protecting me, which doesn’t even make sense because I don’t need protection now. I am ashamed of myself.

I sit here and think, “God, Bee, why would you feel the need to lie to him? What is wrong with you?”

But then I go over everything I have told him and realize that it was all true. Why does it feel like I am lying? Why do I feel like I am so bad for telling him?
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Nannabee, I can really relate to this. In fact, I have out right told my T that sometimes it feels like I am lying and manipulating him. For me, I think it has a lot to do with two factors:

1. A fluctuating narrative of reality during my upbringing with a probably narcissistic primary caregiver. I was told reality wasn't true and things that weren't true were and you had to live within that construct in order to survive. Whatever her reality of the day was, buying into it as completely as possible or at least trying to overlook the glaringly obvious inconsistencies, was the safest possible way of coexisting. I was also threatened when I attempted to assert my version of the truth, so there is a protective part of me that constantly denies "dangerous" realities by convincing myself they might not be true.

2. Dissociation. My perception of things that happened having been true and even my feelings about them being true is so transient. So, I will be near crisis one minute and completely numb to my prior distress the next. So, it will literally feel as if I have lied about things that happened or my emotions, because I am completely disconnected from "whoever that was" that felt that way. If I try really hard, I can sometimes remember that I honestly was that scared or sad or anxious in that moment, but it doesn't FEEL real or true. Rather, I intellectually know that it was.

Anyway, I don't know if these reasons resonate with you at all. It took me months to sort out exactly where some of these internal "lying" and "manipulating" and "drama" and "attention seeking" messages came from, but many of them are straight out of the mouth of one of my abusers and I internalized them so long ago that it just is a part of my world (and self) view...that to try to speak up means I am bad, because I am misleading or trying to get attention. But, that is a bit ridiculous, because I know (objectively) the things I've said aren't a lie and if it was someone I cared about, I would tell them that bringing attention to something that needs to be addressed and fixed is the absolute best thing to do for healing and growth...

Funny how it doesn't apply to one's self, though.
Yakusoku and Deepfried, it helps a lot to know that I am not the only one who has struggled with this. A lot of what you have written really does resonate with me.

I think part of the issue for me is that I feel like I survived, so whatever I went through can’t have been that bad, and thus I must be lying about it. It still feels wrong to label what happened to me as “abuse”.

******Trigger Warning- mention of physical abuse and CSA*******

My parents divorced when I was two. My mom couldn’t deal with life for years afterward, and I became the parent. I raised my younger brother as best as I could. My older brother enjoyed hurting me. Mostly he would just beat me up. Sometimes he would use a knife or he would choke me until I passed out. I tried to protect my younger brother from him as much as possible.

We would visit my father in the summer. He would come into my room at night and force himself on me. I don’t remember many details, but enough to know it happened. What I remember most of all is floating up on the ceiling. (I used to think that I was magical because I could float. It wasn’t until I was in a psych class in college that I learned about dissociation.) During the day he pretended that everything was normal and so did I.

*****End Triggers******

The thing is, though, that even though I know all that happened, I also can remember a lot of good stuff happening too. It’s not like my life was always miserable.

I do feel like I am bad for wanting attention. I feel like because I didn’t get any attention when I was little and yet I was able to be strong and take care of myself and my brother then I shouldn’t need anything now.

The dissociation angle is interesting to consider, because I also often feel like I am lying to myself. When I think about my father, it doesn’t really feel like anything happened to me, because I was on the ceiling, not in my bed. But intellectually I know that it really was me in the bed.

Yakusoku- I really think that psychological abuse like having to deny one’s reality in order to survive can be even more damaging than other types of abuse. I can only remember one time when something like that happened to me and I still feel sick about how I betrayed myself.

Deepfried- I totally smiled to myself thinking about you setting your T up to “fail”. You sound like you are in a really good place with your T now, even if it took a long time to get there.

Gosh I totally relate to what you are saying here. I feel exactly the same and am wondering why I do it.

I wind myself up with obsessive thinking and I feel like I have been denying the fact that I can function in everyday life and things are okay. I've even been attempting to manipulate myself into thinking that I am terribly depressed and made myself not eat for a week.

It has been harrowing to admit to myself that I did all this out of my own efforts.

Whats more is that I crave the sympathy my therapist gives to me. So when I 'felt' down, I liked her sympathy. And the first thing she said was 'Are you okay?" in a really concerned way, I loved it. I loved her care. But underneath I feel that I did it for attention because I crave her so much and her adoration. I don't like it when she does not smile or does not look concerned. It feels to me that she doesn't care or something and then I leave the session not feeling much.

The attachment I have for her is lovely and I want it too much. I am desperate to keep a hold of it and never let it go. When she showed me a smile I was addicted to it. I wanted to hug her and not let her go at all. I started laughing at one point because she continued to show me a concerned look and I thought 'You're faking it to make me feel. You're silly. Stop doing that'. At the same time I fear that I must be scared of it too..Perhaps.

I also feel like I survived. I feel like all is fine now. When my T once said 'Its not good what you went through and you are not being silly', nothing hit me. I just felt neutral. I wanted to cry so she would sympathize but I couldn't. Just sort of stared at the floor and said 'Yeah'. I don't tend to 'feel' much even if tears do come out.

I also feel that other people go through a lot more so my problems are invalid. I feel silly for saying things went wrong.

I wish you luck in working through this. I know exactly how you feel. x
Found this old thread as I was searching for this very topic. I wasn't even sure how to label it as a new thread so was very happy to find this.

Wanted to share some feelings about it. ***Trigger mention of CSA***

In the last year, I have finally started talking about this. Before, I would just tell people I didn't have any abuse, CSA or emotional or neglect. But I always felt that couldn't be true. My memories however feel like dreams. In fact I do constantly dream (well, nightmares more like it) about it. I can also remember such specific details but I can't put times together, age, sequence or even faces sometimes (or maybe I just don't want to believe the faces to be true.) I can remember smells and feels (body memories) and I think that would be hard to make up. Yet, it does feel like a lie. I can also remember being able to "fly". I wasn't on the ceiling though like I have read most people posting about. I was instead flying outside through the sky and jumping incredible lengths over the sky. Then I would come back to it, like it was a dream happening to me and then I would be jumping through the sky again. It sounds so crazy to me that I wonder if I am lying too. But as my T explains, there is no way I would remember smells and have body memories (meaning sometimes I feel the pain when just talking about it) and I also feel the pain when I am intimate with my husband. She also says it is highly unlikely for it to not be true based on my intimacy issues with my own husband. I constantly jump or snap if he ever touches me from behind without warning. Every time he rolls over and sets his hand on my in the middle of the night just to snuggle, I jump and throw his hand off. I get angry and my mind tells me that he only wants one thing and that is to "use" me to get himself off. That is obviously a very distorted thought process to have towards my own husband whom I know loves me so much, adores me and would never do anything to hurt me. He is always gentle with me.

Thank you for reading this.
I can relate to this too. I decompensate very badly and have had to be hospitalized after 3 different major admissions to my T. I know with absolution the things I remember - as a theme at least - are real. Sometimes I do feel manipulative. I am lucky to have a T who loves and compassionately cares no matter how I'm feeling or what I'm talking about. It helps with knowing I'm not being manipulative necessarily because I "get" nothing different or a subconscious reward.
It is so weird reading my old words here.

I had only been with my T for a few months when I posted this. Now, three years later, it feels like a lifetime ago. The level of trust I have in my T now was unthinkable back then (not that there still isn’t a long ways to go on that front.)

It’s pretty cool to read this though and see how much I have changed. I do still get hit with a shame-storm occasionally about feeling like I am manipulative/lying, but nowhere near as frequently as I used to, especially in the last year. My father's death a few months ago has made a huge difference in being able to admit to myself that he really did abuse me. Another huge thing has been discovering the parts of me that hold memories and emotions from when I was a kid. The pain and anger they hold is overwhelming and I can only tolerate small amounts before I dissociate, but just knowing that I do have emotions and really was affected by what happened to me helps with the shame.

Kmay- my memories of my CSA feel like dreams as well. I know one child-part of mine has much more vivid memories, and she will show them to me in dreams sometimes, but it doesn’t feel like “me” in the images. The memories I do have are mostly sense-memories (a touch, a smell, a “something bad happened” feeling), and I also have body memories sometimes when I talk about it. I’m glad your T believes you and can explain why it is extremely unlikely you are making it up. My T will tell me he believes me in almost every session. It feels hokey sometimes, but it is also comforting.

Rebuilding me- I’m glad you can feel less alone with this. I know when I first posted it helped a lot to know that other people felt the same way.

Catalyst- Having a T who you feel like you can’t manipulate is really important, and you definitely are lucky to have a T like yours. It’s funny, though, I both long for a T who I can’t manipulate and also feel scared by it. Like nothing I do can change how the T feels about me- that is both safe and scary at once.

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