Protected: The Sexual Healing Journey, Discovering Triggers (Part 3)

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Protected: The Sexual Healing Journey, Discovering Triggers (Part 2)

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Protected: The Sexual Healing Journey, Discovering Triggers (Part 1)

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Stuck with the Sexual Healing Journey, but here’s the plan

Maybe you’ve noticed that it’s been quite a while since my last sexual healing journey post. The reason is that I’m a bit stuck and in a dilemma about what to do. On the one hand I’m stuck because this second part of the healing journey, the ‘making changes’ part, is less linear and I’m a bit overwhelmed because there are so many individual things within each chapter of the book that I don’t know which to tackle next and how. But I guess I can figure that out.

On the other hand, however, covering the ‘making changes’ part requires some more in-depth thinking and focusing on the sexual abuse itself, and I feel a bit uncomfortable making myself vulnerable to everyone’s eyes by describing those things. I’m a suspicious gal. I’m afraid people who don’t come to read here for good reasons, but because they have abusive mindsets themselves, might read about my experiences and get some sick kind of satisfaction out of it. I’d hate for the things that hurt me to be the jerk-off material for sickos.

So while I plan to continue, I  will password protect some of the upcoming Sexual Healing Journey posts. If you’d like to read them and I “know” you already from your blog, or because we’ve been “talking” here on my blog and I have a good feeling about letting you read, just raise your hand and the waitress will serve you. 😉

Just thought I’d mention that before the password protected stuff pops up. 🙂

The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 6 – Collage Day


With today being something of a rotten day, I still decided to have a go at continuing with the sexual healing journey. I have entered the first chapter of the second part. The second part of the book is all about “making changes”. It introduces various ways and areas in which changes can be necessary to go from an unhealthy idea of what sex and sexuality is to a healthier one.

I didn’t feel up to much writing and reflecting today, but the book suggested to make a collage of the unhealthy view on sex that I have, as well as the healthier view I would like to develop. You know, to get a better idea of what my current understanding is, as well as to get an idea of what I’d want my future understanding to be like. So that was what I started the day with today.

*TRIGGER WARNING: the ‘now’ part of the collage is graphic and contains explicit imagery.*


Okay, so here we go. Here are the two collages I ended up with next to each other:


And if you want to see better, here is my current, unhealthy idea of sex:


And here is what I would like my healthy version to be like, the goal I am working towards:



What’s interesting is that when I started out, I had absolutely no idea of what my ‘goal’ side was going to look like, but then it kind of came together easier than I thought it would be. So I guess the good the collage making did was that I realized that my current idea of sex is really nasty, but also that I actually do have something of an idea of what I want to work towards. That’s more than what I thought I had before I made the collage. So I guess that’s a good step into the right direction.

Okay, off to do something nice with my mom now.


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

A project for 2013
The Sexual Healing Journey Begins, Chapter 1
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 2
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 1
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 2
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 3
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 4
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 5

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

The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 5


With the headache having gone away a bit after having had a walk outside, I feel like I want to continue with my sexual healing journey, because I need something to keep my mind occupied. Today is my goal making day. It’s the last chapter of part one, and it’s called “deciding to reclaim our sexuality”. That sounds good.

This chapter asks me:

  1. to identify the reasons why I want to reclaim my sexuality.
  2. to identify and tame my fears.
  3. to create realistic goals.
  4. and to recall that I am doing the journey for myself.

So here I go. I will share my thoughts on those areas in the above order.


1. What reasons do I want to reclaim my sexuality for?

Quite frankly, because my own behavior sickens me. It sickens me that I behave so much like someone who did nothing but hurt and abuse me wanted me to, and that I don’t even have an idea if I have any own wishes or behaviors separate from that. I mean fine, my stepfather taught (or rather conditioned) the way my sexuality works, I can’t change that. And yeah, my mother was never shy to remind me that a cheap whore was exactly what I was going to grow up to be, I can’t change that either. But I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of actually BEING that way, by the way I behave. I want to develop healthy attitudes towards the whole issue. I want to stop feeling involuntarily aroused by sick shit. I want to be able to be more in control of my sexual behavior. And I want to stop the sexual acting out within my family, because that’s not really me! That’s really my stepfather’s fucked up behavior still alive within me. And I hate that! I hate that he still has got that control over what I do! I want to have that control back! That’s what I want to reclaim my sexuality for.

2. What are my fears and how can I tame them?

First off, I am afraid that this whole focusing on sexual things will make my issues worse. That my PTSD symptoms will flare up and drag me down. That I will get triggered into sexual acting out. That I will do stupid things and that I will feel worse than had I just left well enough alone.

Then I’m afraid that memories may come back. Like, memories I still suppress. Maybe there’s stuff I can’t cope with. Maybe I will learn awful things about myself. My memories have the tendency to resurface when I focus on the issue and I’m afraid of what might come back to me.

I am afraid that if my mom, who’s helping me on the journey, learns about stuff, she will think I am disgusting and despicable and won’t want me for her daughter any longer. I know this one is unreasonable, but it’s really hard to shake that fear off.

And lastly (or last I can think of at the moment) I’m afraid that I’m gonna fail. That I try hard, give it my best shot, get my hopes up high, and then fall flat on my face.

And how I am taming those fears? Hm… I try to remember that the only failure lies in not trying and that the rest are mistakes to learn from. I let mom remind me that she’s okay with the ugly stuff, too. I make sure I feel safe with my family and in a good enough place for journeying before I start. I let mom remind me that she’s here to help me if things overwhelm me. I test that a bit. That’s all the taming I can think of right now.

3. What do my realistic goals look like?

The book asks me for three general goals and suggests I split each one up into three target goals which the general goal consists of. Okay.

General goal 1: Behaving sexually appropriate within the family.
– keep from making sexually suggestive gestures etc. towards my dad and brother and other family members.
– don’t undress in front of others, and don’t dress lewdly at home (or elsewhere).
– know touch and affection within the family to be non-sexual.

General goal 2: Discontinuing my use of sex for self-harming reasons.
– I understand that sex and punishment are not the same thing.
– I manage to keep myself safe even when I have the opportunity to use sex in a bad way.
– I learn to tell appropriate sex partners from inappropriate ones.

General goal 3: Becoming more comfortable with my sexuality.
– I learn to tell that (and why) sexuality itself isn’t bad or dirty or harmful.
– I learn to be more okay with my own body.
– I learn to value whatever positive aspects about sexuality might be.

Mh… I think that wasn’t too bad for starters. So let’s see, what was last… ah, yes, I remember.

4. Who do I do this journey for?

Yeah, I recall it, for me. The book says this can be hard, because we have a tendency to want to do it to please others, for example, or because we feel pressured. And I must admit that I do feel guilty for making it so hard for my family sometimes. After all, they have to deal with all my inappropriate behavior. They don’t put pressure on me, but, well, they don’t exactly love my being this way either. But I will try to do as the book says and keep in mind that I am doing in most of all for my own sake. To get rid of my stepfather’s influence. And that is true, I wish to get rid of my issues for that reason with all my heart.

I guess that’s a good beginning. And I feel like I did okay with today’s tasks. The previous part of the journey was harder.


Next up will be part two of the journey, which is called “Moving Forward – Making Changes”. I’m a little nervous reading that and hope it doesn’t move too fast. But then, I suppose I can move as fast as I want, right? So I stay optimistic. After all, having a look won’t hurt and I’ll just see how I like the making changes part.


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

A project for 2013
The Sexual Healing Journey Begins, Chapter 1
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 2
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 1
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 2
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 3
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 4


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


The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 4


After my little break over the weekend, I’m now ready to continue with my sexual healing journey. Today’s chapter is called “identifying the sexual impact”. The book identifies six areas that will typically be affected by sexual abuse.

  1. Attitudes about sex
  2. Sexual self-concept
  3. Automatic reactions to touch and sex
  4. Sexual behavior
  5. Intimate relationships
  6. Sexual functioning problems

Today’s part of the journey will be for me to identify what kinds of impact my experiences of sexual abuse have had. The book provides a checklist with common impacts for each area, which I will not reproduce here, but if you are interested, the book is only about $10 / £7, so not really expensive to get. Instead of reproducing the whole list, I’ll list only the items that apply to me, personally, and add my own.

So the big question of this chapter is “What kind of impact has the sexual abuse had on me?” Here are my answers.


1. How sexual abuse has impacted my attitudes about sex:

  • I feel like sex is a form of punishment.
  • Sex feels dirty and degrading to me.
  • I think sexual desire makes people act unpredictably.
  • I feel like sex is something I have to endure until it’s over.
  • I feel like sex is something to pleasure men.
  • In my mind sex and sexual abuse are the same thing.
  • I feel like sex is aggressive and hurtful.
  • I feel like sex gets dangerous if I don’t comply.
  • I feel like sex is a way for one person to dominate another.
  • Sex feels humiliating.

2. How sexual abuse has impacted my sexual self-concept:

  • I feel like I am an easy sexual target.
  • I feel like sex is the one thing I can be of use for.
  • I feel like my sexuality is disgusting.
  • I hate my body’s sexual responses.
  • I feel like I want sex for all the wrong reasons.
  • I feel like I don’t have the right to deny my body to anyone who wants it.
  • I feel like I am still a girl, sexual development wise.
  • I feel like I am either inviting abuse, or have no sense of being sexual at all.
  • I feel like if I want sex, I want abuse, and am as sick as an abuser.
  • I feel like I deserve whatever I get during sex.
  • I feel like I’m inferior to people because of my sexual history.
  • I feel like I am damaged goods.
  • I feel like I am really disgusting for having done certain sexual things.

3. How sexual abuse has impacted my automatic reactions to touch and sex:

  • I normally have little interest in being sexual.
  • I sometimes seek out inappropriate sexual possibilities.
  • I am bothered by sexual thoughts I can’t control.
  • I get sexually aroused by thoughts of sexual violence and abuse.
  • I have a sexual response in situations where I shouldn’t.
  • I easily misunderstand touch to mean that somebody wants sex.
  • I have flashbacks of sexual abuse during sex.
  • I feel emotionally distant during sex.
  • I experience negative feelings (shame, disgust with myself, anger, hate…) when I’m done having sex.
  • I experience physical pain after having sex.

4. How sexual abuse has impacted my sexual behavior:

  • I am unable to say no to sex.
  • There are no limits to what I would do during sex.
  • I feel confused about how and when to be sexual.
  • I manipulate others into having sex with me.
  • I don’t care whether sexual partners are involved with someone else, if they are in the right place at the right time.
  • I had more sexual partners than was good for me to have.
  • I feel confused about what is appropriate and what is inappropriate touch within the family.
  • I often can’t stop myself from engaging in sexually suggestive or explicit sexual behavior within the family.

5. How sexual abuse has impacted my intimate relationships:

  • I have no interest in proper intimate relationships and have never had one.
  • I engage in casual sex that I invite myself, because I’m afraid of letting someone else determine time and place, knowing I am unable to say no.
  • I want nothing to do with people I have had sex with, because I find them disgusting for having had sex with me.
  • I feel like anyone who wants to have sex with me is a despicable person and a pedophile, because I still think of myself as a little girl and because I definitely look and behave an underage person, too.

6. How sexual abuse has impacted my sexual functioning:

  • My sexual behavior aims at relieving tension, not at achieving pleasure.
  • I don’t find sex pleasurable.
  • I don’t find sexual arousal pleasurable.
  • I don’t find orgasms pleasurable.
  • I do not like to touch myself, sexually or for reasons of hygiene.
  • I experience pain with sex.


Okay, so what have I learned from that, and how do I feel?

First of, I find it quite shocking to see so fucking many items on each list! I mean I knew I was messed up, but seeing the mass of items is really depressing. It’s not like any of the items would be real news to me, but still… seeing them all written down in plain words, so many of them, that’s different than just kind of knowing they are there and then quickly looking elsewhere. 😦

And how I feel . . . well, really embarrassed. Some items make me sound like a really sick person. I am afraid that everyone will think “whoa, she’s fucked up, who would think/feel/behave that way?! She must be one really dirty slut!”

But at the same time there is this stubborn part of me that says “Shut the fuck up! It’s not me who chose this, it’s what happens when people get abused, so I won’t sugarcoat it only to look better, because it’s not me who ought to feel guilty, but any asshole who assaults innocent kids or would consider me an appropriate sexual partner!” I mean really, I try to be respectful of everyone, but when I think back at the people who I’ve had sex with, there’s not a single one I feel even one shred of respect for. Anyone who looks at me and thinks I’d make for an appropriate fuck, despite the fact that I look like a teenager and that my sexual behavior is way inappropriate, especially those who actually carry through with it, THOSE should be the ones feeling guilty and embarrassed!

So I resist the urge to delete this whole post and remind myself that I haven’t chosen any of this. I have not chosen any of those behaviors! They are the impacts of shit other people did with me! I don’t feel good about any of them! In fact, I do what I can to avoid anything sexual altogether, because it’s so threatening and fucked up for me! But the impacts are there and I really, really want to get rid of them.

The next chapter is called “deciding to reclaim our sexuality”, and I look forward to that. I very much wish to reclaim it!

Thank you for reading, and I’m sorry if this was a hard or depressing or fucked up read.


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

A project for 2013
The Sexual Healing Journey Begins, Chapter 1
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 2
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 1
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 2
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 3

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

The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 3


Today I am going to finish chapter 3. This part of the Sexual Healing Journey is about “remembering sexual abuse” and “telling others about the sexual abuse”. And I think I’ll jump right in.


Remembering sexual abuse

Like many people who have been sexually abused, I have memory issues. It’s quite amazing to consider it, actually, but after sexual abuse having been a daily (I think) part of my life for 15 years, after I had gotten removed from my family, I forgot about it. Thinking back I find that creepy, that I could just forget it, like it never happened. My sexual behavior was still way different than what’s normal for 15 year old girls, but I managed to forget that I had been abused. The memories only resurfaced lots of years later, many months after I had come to live with my family. I started having flashbacks and memories returned.

Even so, I still don’t have coherent memories of the abuse to this day. I have memory fragments, a collage of a plethora of memory snippets, but I have a hard time determining what goes together, a hard time putting them in order and sometimes even a hard time really making sense of the fragments, because they are so small and isolated. Some of the fragments consist of visual memories from my own perspective, some appear like scenes from a movie, from an outside perspective, some consist only of feelings and a vague sense of something happening and no real visuals to go with them at all… it can be quite confusing.

Usually I do okay with the memory fragments that I have. Sometimes, however, something scary happens. I suppose it’s some kind of flashback thing going on. Then memories will appear before my mind’s eye, and I feel like I am seeing a memory clip of sexual abuse happening under a stroboscope light, so that rather than smooth movements I see rapid successions of pictures, along with the eerie feeling that goes with the strobes effect. It feels like not being able to breathe properly. It’s a really fucked up thing to happen.

So I guess I have memory issues and remembering sexual abuse properly is a challenge. The book says that’s okay, though. It also says that while it can be helpful to retrieve and make sense of the memories, it’s not absolutely necessary for healing, and that the mind probably knows best what to remember when and that it can’t and shouldn’t be forced. I like that. And what I find important is that the book says to trust memories or feelings of abuse when they do appear. Sometimes I get visual snippets of some seriously sick shit, and I don’t know if those are to be trusted or if they are just my own imagination being really sick. But I am working on trying to trust them. A little.


Telling others of the abuse.

Okay, so remembering was one thing. Telling others of the memories is another. The book says that often people don’t tell anyone of the abuse that happened. That can be

  • for fear of others not believing us or downplaying it
  • because we feel ashamed
  • because we don’t want to be seen as victims
  • because we were told not to tell
  • because we’re afraid the other person can’t handle it

and probably various other reasons, too.

I think I am at least partway lucky (if you can speak of luck in such a context) insofar as I don’t have memories of being told not to tell. I was told it was normal, something all good little girls had to do. As a child I would have never told anyone because I didn’t want to call anyone’s attention on me, did not want to give people ideas, and most of all, because I would have felt way too embarrassed and exposed to ever speak about it. I think I tried to pretend the sexual abuse didn’t even exist the best I could, so acknowledging it was indeed real by telling someone else about it? No way! To my mind there was nothing I could have told anyone, especially not nosy teachers who were concerned about me.

But on the positive side this means I don’t have to struggle with disobeying anyone now that I am older and can tell someone of what happened. Even so, at first I still struggled with all those feelings I knew from when I was little, after memories of the sexual abuse had come back. I didn’t want to tell mom because I was ashamed and felt exposed and vulnerable and like she might come to see that I’m nothing but a sleazy whore after all, causing her to abandon me because she doesn’t want someone like me for a daughter. Yeah, so that caused me to act out quite severely, which in turn caused mom to be all over me, so that in the end I didn’t know which was worse anymore and ended up telling her.

I’m still her daughter, so all is well, and very slowly I learned that it’s okay to talk about the abuse in appropriate contexts. I’m speaking about it right now. So I guess I am doing okay acknowledging the abuse, even when my memories are still upset and there still are things that get in the way, like my feelings disappearing when I talk about the abuse, or the opposite happening (especially when I talk about it with mom).


Okay. So with the acknowledging chapter behind me, I think it is time to go on tomorrow. I’m a little sick and tired of acknowledging, to be honest. So tomorrow I will deal with “Identifying the Sexual Impact”. Stay tuned if you want to learn what it’s about! 🙂

And I think a thank you is in order to everyone who is following my journey, who leaves kind comments and words of encouragement. I really appreciate that. Thank you. 🙂


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

A project for 2013
The Sexual Healing Journey Begins, Chapter 1
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 2
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 1
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 2


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

The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 2


After yesterdays part of the journey about understanding sexual abuse, today’s part will cover overcoming blocks to recognize sexual abuse. And this part, too, is still part of chapter 3 of my journey, so I’m still busy “acknowledging the abuse” here.

Overcoming blocks to recognize sexual abuse.

The book mentions three common blocks that can make it difficult to acknowledge sexual abuse, and deals with each one more in depth. The three blocks are:

Block 1: Feeling unsure how to evaluate a particular experience
Block 2: Feeling confused by the special nature of the abuse
Block 3: Holding on to your own personal biases and discounts

According to the book, each of these three things can prevent people from acknowledging that sexual abuse took place. So I guess my challenge today will be to look at each of those blocks and see whether, and if yes how, they apply to me. Stop reading, obviously, if you are uncomfortable with the mention of sexual abuse and sexual abuse related stuff.

Block 1: Feeling unsure of how to evaluate a particular experience

Piecing together the memories of abuse that I have, I can conform that it’s not always easy to decide whether something was actually sexual abuse or not. I mean the really explicit stuff that I recall obviously was, but what about when my stepfather had me sit on his lap while he was watching TV and pulled me against him, stroking me? I have plenty of memories of watching TV like that, trying to focus on the TV instead of him, because I didn’t like it and was afraid he’d want to ‘play’. (That’s what he called the sexual abuse, he called it ‘play’ or ‘playing’)

So nothing really happened many times when I watched TV with him, but I was thinking of the abuse all the time and constantly stressed because I never knew whether we were going to end up ‘playing’ this time or not. Was that, in itself, already part of the abuse? Is that a memory of abuse? Or was this just my stepfather actually trying to be nice? I have a couple of memories of this nature, where I don’t know if it counts as sexual abuse at all or not, because nothing really happened, except within myself. But then, oftentimes sexual stuff, like thoughts or so, happen to me while I am with my family now, too, and I’m 100% certain that they are NOT being sexually abusive. So… confusing. Which leads to:

Block 2: Feeling confused by the special nature of the abuse

The book says that especially when sexual abuse got labeled as something else (like “medical checkups” or, I suppose, “play”, like my father called it), or when it happened gradually or was indirect, like by passive exposure, it can be confusing and hard to tell whether something was abuse or not. For example it took me a long time to realize that my stepfather making me watch child porn was sexual abuse already, even though he didn’t touch me and let me have candy, which was rare for me to get. But I think while those two blocks still exist for me, it is really the third one that I struggle most with.

Block 3: Holding on to your own personal biases and discounts.

See, in hindsight I can tell that I was brought up, basically, in a way that aimed at getting me to go along with sexual abuse. I never really resisted, and . . . gee, this is hard. As in really hard. It’s so embarrassing and makes me feel so guilty. I’m with mom and she assures me it’s fine, but even so it’s hard. But I guess I’ll bite the bullet and say it. I wanted it. Kind of. I mean not really. But then real enough. For one thing my mother accused me of “wanting it”, and hated me for “stealing” my stepfather from her. And for another he kind of made it in a way that had me end up asking for him to continue. He always made it seem like I had a choice. For example I have this memory of him touching me, like in the porn he had showed me, and then asking ‘do you want me to stop?’. But I didn’t say ‘yes, please stop’. Ever. I don’t think I ever really said it. I remember crying and feeling awful, but I don’t remember ever saying I didn’t want it. The only thing I remember is the question “do you want it, too?” and that my answer was always yes. So instead of feeling abused, I feel horrible and guilty and like I invited and deserved what happened and really have no right to feel abused.

And while I KNOW that’s not true, and it’s helpful to read in the book that of course it still was sexual abuse, and rationally know that playing along was probably my safest bet at survival, because my stepfather could get incredibly violent if he was cross, try telling my feelings that. Not in situations such as now, where I’m relatively calm and feel safe and contained and okay, but in situations when I’m emotionally upset. In those situations I feel like it’s me who is a dirty whore, bad and deserving of only the worst, and like I have no right to whine or blame anyone besides myself, like everything is my own fault.

Hm… I kind of feel like this was a pointless post today. I didn’t really learn anything new. I knew all those things before. I don’t feel particularly connected to my words either. I’m toying with the idea of pressing delete, because I was only rambling, because what I know and what I feel don’t really match, and while my feelings still have those blocks, my thoughts don’t anymore. I don’t know. Whatever. I’ll post it and hope tomorrow’s part of the journey will be better. Next up will be memories.


ADDENDUM: mom just read what I wrote and asked me whether I feel ‘all there’. I don’t. I think my emotions dissociated away while I wrote. Which might be why I have no connections to my own words anymore and I feel like the post is insignificant rambling. So I guess I’ll try to sort the dissociation out somehow now.


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

A project for 2013

The Sexual Healing Journey Begins, Chapter 1

The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 2

The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 1


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


The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 3, Part 1


Here we are again. Hello back if you’ve been following. Hello and welcome if you are new to my journey.

On yesterday’s part of the journey I realized (formally) that I have sexual issues. This was the first of four chapters of part one of the journey, which is “becoming aware”. This is the part I am still at.

Today I will look at the second chapter of “becoming aware”, which is called “acknowledging the abuse”.

The central statement of this chapter is that it’s important, but not always easy to recognize sexual encounters as having been (or being) abusive when they really were (or are). It says that the areas important to acknowledging sexual abuse are:

  1. Understanding sexual abuse.
  2. Overcoming blocks to recognize sexual abuse.
  3. Remembering sexual abuse.
  4. Telling others about the abuse.

The book deals with all of those separately and at quite some length, so it’s too overwhelming for me to work through everything at once. Therefore I’ll start with the first item on the list.


1. Understanding sexual abuse

I know from experience that sexual abuse comes in many shades. The book confirms that and provides information on various different kinds of sexual abuse, to make it easier to recognize sexual abuse. It names and explains all those kinds of abuse, which can overlap. I’ll mark the ones that I think apply to me with an (X):

  • getting involved in sexual acts as a child with other children
  • incest (X)
  • molestation (X)
  • stranger rape
  • date or acquaintance rape (X)
  • marital rape
  • sexual assault
  • exhibitionism or exposure (X)
  • voyeurism (X)
  • obscene phone calls or e-mail massages
  • sadistic sexual abuse (X)
  • sexual exploitation (X)
  • sexual harassment
  • gender attack
  • gay bashing
  • sexual violence (X)

Phew. To be honest it gives me no little shivers to see that many X-marks there. I have a strong tendency, almost an urge, to downplay the gravity of the sexual abuse I experienced. All those X-marks don’t really agree with that, so I have a hard time not going back and erasing most of them, only leaving one or two. So maybe while I have no problems with acknowledging that I was sexually abused, I do have problems with acknowledging the seriousness of it. Ah well. That’s probably why there is a chapter that is called ‘acknowledging’. I’ll leave all X-marks and see what happens.

Anyway, the book also names four key features of sexual abuse to determine if sexual abuse took place:

a) lacking ability to consent
b) betrayal of a trusted relationship
c) violence or control
d) that you felt abused

For me, personally, those are all true. I don’t think a child can in any way consent to sexual activity with her stepfather, and I have memory snippets around from when I was very young, like three or four years old, so I wasn’t even anywhere near being able to consent. I think if someone who’s supposed to be a parent gets sexually involved with his stepdaughter that is a betrayal of a trusted relationship – except that I can’t recall ever trusting either him or my mother. I also have memories of violence and control and yes, I felt abused. At least in a certain way. I don’t know.

I grew up believing that that’s what girls are there for, period. My mom knew about it, it happened openly within the family. It wasn’t ever really hidden. That’s so sick. But it made that I didn’t feel abused, but more like I was a bad girl for not liking it. Gosh, and then it seems like I DID like it, but didn’t like it at the same time. It’s so confusing. Everything moves around in my head, this way and that, while I think, and I go from ‘I felt abused’ to ‘I never felt abused’ to ‘I hated it’ to ‘but I liked it’ to ‘crap, nothing makes sense’ within seconds. It’s all a jumble and it feels like crap and makes all those conflicting sexual thoughts come up. In one moment I feel like if somebody wanted to fuck me right now, I’d want it too, and the next I feel awful and want nothing to do with it. 😦

Sigh. But I guess the bottom line is that I can probably safely say that I have been sexually abused. And probably a lot more than I want to acknowledge. Acknowledging that seems like a first good step for today. The rest is probably still riddled with blocks. At least it feels that way. And I will look at the blocks, too, I promise. Tomorrow.


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

A project for 2013
The Sexual Healing Journey Begins, Chapter 1
The Sexual Healing Journey, Chapter 2


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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