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

SexualHJ_06

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.*

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

CollageBoth

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

Collage01

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

Collage02

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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

SexualHJ_05

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

SexualHJ_04

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.

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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.

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