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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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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