The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 2

SexualHJ_02

Okay. Here we are. The journey proper begins.

But before I start, let me just say that there’s this big part of me which is all like this:

SeekingSafetyWanting to hide, feeling unsafe, wanting to protect myself, dreading everything that might be about to come. Unhappy that it has to be so difficult. Wanting to just cover my eyes and pretend to not be concerned by any stupid journey. But despite those feelings, this part of me is still being good, keeping silent, at least. No panic, just a littke unwillingness. And it’s just one part. The other part still wants to go ahead. So here I am, setting out for the journey.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Part one of the journey is called “becoming aware” and consists of four chapters. This is the first of those four and it’s called “realizing there is a sexual issue”.

The central statement of the chapter is that it says many survivors of sexual abuse don’t realize they have sexual issues and/or don’t want to face the fact that they do, because it’s embarrassing and personal and hard to face. Yeah. I agree. The chapter also said that often there’s a key moment or “flash of discovery” when people realize they do have a sexual issue.

Then the book prompted me to consider if any of those four apply to my own life:

  1. I’m acting in strange ways that don’t make sense.
  2. My sexual problem isn’t getting any better.
  3. My partner is hurting.
  4. New circumstances have made me more aware.

And that’s basically the chapter.
Phew! I’m relieved. Nothing too bad yet.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So here I am, giving those questions serious thought, even when I am pretty sure that I already realize that I do have sexual issues. But it can’t hurt to add some structure to the realization, so here I go. If you are sensitive to sexual content or feel offended by it, you might want to stop reading. Please make a safe decision for yourself.

1. I’m acting in strange ways that don’t make sense.

Bull’s eye. That’s pretty much the most obvious thing about my sexual issues. I am often acting in strange ways that don’t make sense. But that puts it mildly. I’m acting and reacting in strange ways that make me feel utterly disgusted and sickened with myself. I feel deeply embarrassed over many of those behaviors. At the same time I can’t switch them off. I’ll name a few, despite the embarrassment, so I don’t end up beating around the bush, as I guess that’s not the goal of “realizing”.

So what strange ways do I act in?

  • I have a sick tendency to look for sex with random men as a form of self-punishment. I make myself available for whatever they’d like to do, kinky stuff, stuff that hurts, whatever.
  • Imagery of sexual violence haunts me and torments and arouses me at the same time. I hate it. Sometimes it stops at the mental images, sometimes they come with urges to act upon them.
  • I misunderstand innocent affection within the family for sexual attention and react accordingly. Or I get ideas all by myself and behave inappropriately towards dad and sometimes mom, too.

There are more things, but those are embarrassing me enough already and you probably get the idea. All those things don’t make sense, because I’m in no way living in an environment that appreciates or promotes those behaviors anymore, I really don’t want to behave that way and the behavior generally has unpleasant results. Even so, I behave that way.

2. My sexual problem isn’t getting any better.

I have been having those issues ever since I was removed from my family. That’s 11 long years ago this January. During the time I lived in and out of hospitals and group homes the problems haven’t changed one iota, but then, I never really cared about it. Ever since I came live with my new family, I have tried to keep the behavior under control, but it’s often not successful. Still. So it’s not really getting any better. Check.

3. My partner is hurting.

I don’t have a partner. I’m not anywhere near having one. I don’t even want one. I’m glad. So that, at least, isn’t a problem. But if I had one, that partner would probably be hurting.

4. New circumstances have made me more aware.

Well, the circumstances aren’t brand-new anymore, but even so: check. Coming to live with my family has definitely made me more aware that I have, indeed, issues. See, when I was living in hospitals and group homes, I was living with all those other people, other girls mainly, who were also a few cards short of their full decks, many of whom were not behaving that much differently from myself. So even when I was having problems because of my issues, I wasn’t the only one and I could still feel like this was somewhat normal. Well… now, living with my family, I’m definitely the odd one out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay, so altogether this was a fairly gentle start to the journey. The realizing part is okay with me. It’s embarrassing to write about, but even so, still okay. So it was an easier start than I thought. I’m doing okay. I’m relieved.

Tomorrow’s chapter is called “acknowledging the abuse”. We’ll see how that one goes. Tomorrow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Missed the past episodes of the journey? Here they are:

A Project for 2013
The Sexual Healing Journey Begins, Chapter 1

 

Book source:
MALTZ, Wendy (2012): The Sexual Healing Journey. A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse; Third Edition; Harper Collins. New York.

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vwoopvwoop
    Jan 02, 2013 @ 13:24:29

    this is fantastic, i hope you’ll be going through each chapter here, i find it immensely helpful to read what you’re learning. you’re right those are tough questions, and for me at least sort of relieving! it’s like, ohhh i knew those things were bizarre for me but this is like a structure to put them in to make sense of it all. the things you listed as acting in ways that don’t make sense, i can totally relate to that. the many times i have instigated sexual contact even though i don’t really want it, the thoughts of sexual violence (i would never admit it, at least not yet, but yes, the fears of acting out some of the things done to me on others….way creepy, right?) and misconstruing “regular innocent” affection.

    you’re doing great, this is difficult work, and the book seems to understand that each chapter or step should be little. 🙂 great job so far, here i am cheerleading you on! 🙂

    • Lola
      Jan 02, 2013 @ 13:50:13

      Thank you, Hats! ❤ I really appreciate your support.

      Like you, I find it helpful to approach the whole issue with something that provides a structure and a framework to put things into, because the topic ends up overwhelming me so easily, one thing inviting the next, and before I look it's this great big avalanche that sweeps me away. The book seems to consider that fact. At least I could cope with today's chapter and everything stayed contained for starters.

      And while I'm sure sorry that you can relate to the 'acting in weird ways that don't make sense' part, it's relieving to know that you can relate. How I know about ending up in sexual situations that I didn't really want, yet invited. Terrible. And I find the sexually violent thoughts way creepy, too. 😦 I really hope the book will help me get a handle on those things, even if it takes long. (Part of me actually wishes it's gonna take long, so that the hard parts still lie a loooooooong way in the future, please.) And yeah, I'll be going through every chapter that I work on here, too, because I find it really helps me to bring my thoughts together coherently, like I do when I know someone might be reading it, too. 🙂 Again, thanks for encouragement and the support. 🙂

  2. simplybluey
    Jan 02, 2013 @ 14:43:18

    Awesome! You are so brave to tackle this here. It appears that the book will indeed be useful and tough but I believe you, all of us that read your posts, will benefit in a positive way. I will be here to cheer lead for you as well. 🙂

    • Lola
      Jan 02, 2013 @ 14:59:26

      Thank you very much, simplybluey! 🙂 I appreciate your support. And if the journey ends up being beneficial to other people on top of being helpful (hopefully) for myself, then I’m really glad. 🙂

  3. mightyplans
    Jan 02, 2013 @ 20:56:20

    A thought on the “My partner is hurting”…
    (this is what my therapist did to me once and it made me stop and think) Kudos to you (first of all) for knowing and accepting that you are not at a point that you would really be ready-and/or beneficial- for a partner. And for being able to actually say that.
    Secondly… a thought though. In some ways, your family members are your partners. Maybe not specifically from a sexual perspective (no, I didn’t miss the point of the exercise- just go with me on this) but in many ways your family fills the “partner void” — they care for you, they wish the best for you, they are there for you when you hit rock bottom and don’t run away, they provide for you… they love you. So in many ways, your family is like your partner.
    The hard part of that line of thinking– I guarantee they are hurting. Just as much as you are. (boy is that the pot calling the kettle black or what!!) (Remember I have BPD too so a lot of what I say to you has already been said to me and applies to me as well so I’m not just preaching at your or anything.)
    But the beauty of this journey– yes, first and foremost is your personal healing and well-being. But don’t forget- your healing will bring healing to your family- your “partner” as it were. 🙂
    Cheers!
    Keep it up, lovey! You’re doing spiffy!

    • Lola
      Jan 03, 2013 @ 07:12:54

      Yes, I suppose you are right. In a way my family members are my “partners”. At least they are the significant others who have to live with me. And they probably ARE hurting. Which makes me really sad, because I don’t want to be the cause for anyone hurting, but I guess the good part about my family is that they notice what’s up.

      In fact, just now my mom noticed the worried look I gave her and asked me what’s up. I asked “do you hurt because of me?” and once she had learned what the question was about, she smiled and likened it to helping me out of a thicket of brier wood. They can choose to do it from the sidelines, staying out of the briary, just shouting directions at me and waiting. Or they can do it by coming in and helping me get out. She said we’re a family, we’re in the mess together. And when walking through a briary, having thorns scratch you, even when you walk carefully, is to be expected. So we are careful and try to keep the hurt down, but yeah, they hurt too. Not because I want to hurt them, but because you can’t get out of a briary without some scratches, and rather than watching me stumble about in it alone, they want to go with me.

      Which almost made me cry, because I don’t want them to get hurt, but then again, I don’t want to be all alone in thorny bushes either. And mom assured me they manage, as long as we’re working on getting out eventually. But on the good side that means you’re right, that less hurt for me means less hurt for them, too. I’m looking forward to that. And thank you for the encouragement. 🙂

  4. Diversity is Art
    Jan 02, 2013 @ 21:47:26

    That book looks interesting, it must be hard to write about it and work through it but thank you for writing, it was very helpful for me.

    Since this post is about awkward sexual issues I guess I can talk about it, I can relate to what you wrote, I have intrusive thoughts of sexual violence and other scary sexual stuff that are creepy and upsetting and arouses me, I don’t seek partners, I never had one or had sex so that is out but I hurt myself sexually, people scare me too much and I don’t talk to them so no way to have a partner or sex with others, I did had sexual talks with strangers on the internet when I was a kid/teenager, actually I did all of that starting when I was a kid, which is really weird, I was never sexually abused that I know but I don’t have childhood memories and the rest is a blur so no way to be sure, I have no idea where this comes from, I was so isolated when younger that I didn’t get most sex jokes kids my age spoke but acted in strange ways, maybe I’m just weird.

    Sorry about the comment you just got me thinking about it and thanks for writing about this, it must be hard.
    I’m writing too much on your blog today.

    • Lola
      Jan 03, 2013 @ 07:19:41

      Yes, it’s challenging to write about, but I suppose if I stay where it is easy all the time, I won’t get anywhere much. And I’m glad you can relate. It’s so reassuring to learn that I’m not the only one who has weird connections in her brain. Isn’t the ‘getting aroused by creepy and upsetting shit’ part so upsetting? I find it really torturous.

      I’m sorry you don’t recall sexual abuse or childhood memories as a whole, that probably makes it even more confusing. For a long time I didn’t recall much of my own sexual abuse, and still don’t recall many of the details, so I can relate. One good thing about the book is that it doesn’t start out requiring me to recall anything. Just noticing that those four sentences apply to me in some way is enough for starters, and I was quite glad about that.

      And hey, there’s no such thing as writing too much (else I’m screwed! 😉 ). Thank you very much for your comments. 🙂

  5. nobodysreadingme
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 14:07:46

    Brave girl Lola. And the photo of Little Lola saddened me a great deal

    • Lola
      Jan 03, 2013 @ 15:58:52

      Thank you, Dunk! 🙂 I’m sorry the photo of Little Lola saddened you, though. 😦

      • nobodysreadingme
        Jan 03, 2013 @ 16:02:30

        I’ll live. 🙂
        And you know you asked why we bother about living? Well sometimes it’s because we can read things that change us. See I’m still smiling that you’re smiling about the shed blowing up thing

        • Lola
          Jan 03, 2013 @ 16:10:47

          Haha, yeah, I’m still smiling about that. Right now, in fact, since you mentioned it again. 🙂 Well, and you know, maybe you’re onto something there, that it’s about changing in some good way, this whole bothering to live thing, and maybe also about relationships, getting influenced by others and influencing them. At least that’s when my life suddenly seemed more worth living – when my family became meaningful to me. Before that it was more a matter of being too stubborn and too angry to surrender that kept me alive. But the relating to others thing and changing through that feels better.

  6. Trackback: The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 1 « Who needs normal?!
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