Sexual Abuse Flashbacks and Rage

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2008
Sexual Abuse Flashbacks and Rage
Mon, 02-02-2009 - 4:13am

Hi everyone. I was wondering if anyone else is dealing with similar issues. Warning: this post might trigger. It's also a bit long. Sorry about that.

I started facing the fact that I was sexually abused at the age of four when I was nineteen. Before then, I just remember being terrified to go to bed, and doing all sorts of things to keep myself awake. I didn't connect these acute feelings of terror to anything specific. Also, the abuse wasn't recurring. It only happened once or twice.

When I was nineteen, I was in bed with my then-boyfriend, and I started having a flashback. It was a terrifying experience, and I reacted to it with rage and fight. I started screaming at him to get away from me, stop touching me, etc. After that experience, I started piecing things together a little bit. I had some great friends who helped me through the ordeal. I realized that there were bits of my childhood that I didn't remember; it was like someone put a wall up in my head. I'm still not sure of the details. From what I've been able to piece together, it occurred during a time when this woman used to babysit me. The images that have come to me in flashbacks since that time suggest things that just don't make sense, such as being in a car with a strange woman, and being in a strange room with strange men.

After the flashbacks started, I had to leave my relationship. My then-boyfriend had been physically violent with me a few times, and at that point, I couldn't take it anymore. After that, I was so focused on getting a job and making a living, that I didn't want to deal with the abuse stuff.

When my husband and I started dating, I told him about the trauma, and the fact that I had had flashbacks in the past. He has been extremely supportive. During our time together, I have struggled with flashbacks, and the rage that comes with them. I am not physically violent, but I become very verbally abusive. I hate this. I have been seeing a therapist, and she is really great. I am still afraid that I might never get past this rage. It feels stronger than me, sometimes. There are times when I want to leave my husband to protect him (even though I love him and would never WANT to be away from him).

Has anyone else experienced flashbacks and the rage that can accompany them? How did you cope?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-13-2000
Mon, 02-02-2009 - 11:27am

Hi. I'm JennyB. I just wrote a post to Fluppet below your post(reply #6) that talks about that exact issue. I had tremendous rage when I had flashbacks or was remembering. I literally had to be protected from myself.

The other thing you might be interested in is that SA "echoes". It will continue to return at different points in your life. If you have kids, you will remember things as your kids hit different ages, on the death of someone, anything traumatic in your life such as a major surgery or car accident. But they get easier to cope with. And eventually, they serve to remind you of how strong you are to have survived. Instead of causing you to go into rage, they will bring a sort of peace that it's over and you made it.

Please read my post to Fluppet(Imagination or Not????). Rage is normal and good.

gentle hugs.............JennyB

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-18-2008
Tue, 02-03-2009 - 7:17pm

Hi welcome I am glad you found us.

My name is Brenda and I am the cl here.




Community Leader
Registered: 10-22-2001
Wed, 02-04-2009 - 1:45pm

Rage is sometimes a coping mechanism for sealing with sexual abuse.
When I feel angry I walk or write or just talk to someone I trust.
I don't feel this as often as I used to but just getting it out helps.
Even though we know it wasn't our fault and we are not to blame we have ALL these emotions.Sadness, anger and others to.
Giving myself permission to feel again...not just being numb or afraid has been invaluable.
I am who I am...and I love me.
We have to deal with feelings of shame and we always protecting everyone one in our lives while sometimes having had to protect ourselves...and wondering who protected me???
Bitterness...why me?
So much involved in our healing journeys.
I still get flash-backs and experience rage but find it happening if I am under a lot of stress or not taking care of myself.
My heart goes out to one ever seemed to care about me when they found out they were more concerned about my abuser.
I have no regrets though telling because it set me free.