Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘shame’

Trigger warning- references to teen sexual abuse and a part’s way of dealing with such

So, I have been having a very hard time over the last several weeks. I have been dealing with difficult material in regards to my father in addition to some anniversary effects related to my grandfather. What I haven’t mentioned so far is that my dog has developed untreatable cancer. She has a 6 inch tumor in her right lung that has metastasized to multiple organs. It is a very aggressive form of cancer and she doesn’t have long to live. There is an immense amount of grief over this impending loss in our household.

Therapy has been difficult. I have been encountering resistance from some parts to going to therapy. I hear wails of, “I don’t wanna go!” when I need to get up and get dressed so I can go to my sessions. As a result, I have started to be one or two minutes late regularly, sometimes even three or four minutes late, when in the past I have always been there when the previous client leaves her office. In addition, parts have been throwing up barriers more often, making it harder for Mama Bear and me to connect.

Last weekend, I wrote something which I sent by email to Mama Bear. It got to the core of what I am most ashamed of about my experiences with my father. I won’t go into all of the details, but if I can trust my mind, my dad continued to have sex with me until I was 15. At that point I was completely aware of how horribly wrong it was, but I also felt that I had no choice in the matter. I also was at a point developmentally when I was at an age where my body was more ready to feel sexual feelings and I normally would have been dealing with sexual thoughts and urges. A part of me seems to have developed to deal with the impossible stresses of everything that I was dealing with in regards to my dad in combination with the biochemical developmental stresses. For her, my father wasn’t my father, my father was ‘Him’. She didn’t think about what was going on, she just felt the sensations, because none of the rest of me could tolerate the terrible tension between the mental agony and the physical pleasure when my dad had sex with me at that age. It wasn’t always pleasurable, but he could make it very much so.

It has taken me years and years to get to the point where I can begin to look at this part and what her role was. From ‘my’ broader, more experienced, more compassionate point of view, I can start to see how such a part would have developed and how her presence would have helped to hold the rest of me together. Even with her there, bleeding off some of the strain, things could be almost unbearable. At the same time, though, my mind wants to reject the very possibility of her existence and say that it just seems like something out of a sick fantasy.

Once I told Mama Bear about this part by email, I fell apart even more. I remember that I called her over the weekend because “there is a part that you haven’t met in person yet who needs to know that you will listen to her.” My sleep deteriorated to an even worse state than it had been before. I felt like I was wandering around in a dissociative fog with a constant underlying layer of terror.

I got to my session 5 minutes late that Tuesday, which is later than I have ever been, unless I am in another appointment that is running late or something. The reason that I was so late was because I had been dealing with a swirl of parts that desperately did not want to go to the session. I walked into the session still partially in that dissociative swirl. A corner of me noticed that something seemed to be kind of off with Mama Bear, but the rest of me was caught in that swirl and ready to talk with her about the sleep issues which where making me feel pretty desperate.

The session was kind of odd. We made some progress, but I never felt fully there the entire session and that corner of me felt that something was off with Mama Bear the entire time, even though that part was far enough back that I couldn’t have articulated the concern at that time.

That evening, though, I became more and more certain that something was terribly wrong between me and Mama Bear. I was sure that she was angry with me about something. Then I realized that I was certain that I had either completely disgusted her with what I had emailed to her or that she had decided that what I had said was so unbelievable that she was going to turn her back on me. I was sorry that I had trusted her with what I had written and certain that I had messed up our relationship. I felt terribly alone and started to think that I wouldn’t even be able to ever see her again. Writing this out now, I can see how far fetched these fears were. For one thing, after I sent her that email, when I spoke to her on the phone, she reassured my parts that she would talk to absolutely any parts that wanted to talk to her, no matter what they had to say. She knew what she was freely committing to. Even if she did not believe that things happen exactly that way, she has said before that confusion in parts isn’t a reason to reject them, it’s another reason to help them.

However, on Tuesday evening, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I was too caught up in my fear of abandonment. I was thinking clearly enough to recognize that my thinking was distorted, though. I realized that I could either check out with her whether there really was a problem or I could let myself become more and more miserable and certain that things were over with Mama Bear.

I did the right thing, I sent her an email, although it was late enough that it didn’t reach her until the next morning, right before she left for work.

“I wrote a whole long email that was mostly about other things which I’m not sure whether to send or not.

I also asked a question in a much more sophisticated way than I’m going to now. Am I on trouble? I feel in trouble. Something feels wrong with you and did in the session. Some part, I guess a protector just wants to hide myself away from you because I’m afraid that I’m being rejected.

And I’m sorry that I’m so much trouble, that I can’t just be quietly cooperative and easy to deal with.”

Her response was:

I just got this and can not respond further right now other than to say no; you are not in trouble with me. I think that is what you were asking. You may be upset with me for redirecting the discussion when you were unable to speak. You are not sleeping well and there are other ways to help you, other than to go deep into all the parts.

Her response helped. At least I had her assurance that nothing was terribly wrong, but I still had the feeling that something was off.

A bit later, she texted me:

C, this may be an opportunity to ask adult/present self whether I was being hurtful.. If not, bring some reassurance to the child.

To which I replied:

Hi. No you weren’t unkind. But something felt off the whole session. Can believe it was from….. My disorientation from dealing with so much inner turmoil from the get go.

And her final reply:

OK, we will discuss more. For now, use your adult/present self to help yourself calm. And, yes, much going on for you. Come as much…..on time as possible so that we have as much time as possible.

Aha. There had been something. She had been bothered to some extent by my being late. Mystery solved. Normally I would feel ashamed for “getting in trouble” about something like this, but this time I was able to look at it and see it as a normal, everyday problem. It was a relief to have it be something that I could relatively easily do something about. After all, I agree with her that we need every minute of each session. Ideally, the sessions would be 15-30 minutes longer.

I had indeed correctly sensed that something was off, but I was so primed by the huge shame topic that I was ready to attribute any relational issues with Mama Bear to what I had shared with her. The reality was that what I had shared had not created any problems between us from her side, but it certainly had created problems from my side. While the rupture between us had been a perception that pretty much was all in my head, it still had been painful and left me feeling less secure in my relationship with her.

I could either stay where I was and wait until the next session to try to get things on sounder footing again, or I could take a chance and share some of the thoughts that I had previously written out and see where that took me. I have the luxury of having met Mama Bear over 20 years ago and while the work that we have done over the last 3 years is far deeper than anything we ever did the previous times we worked together, I have seen time and again that she has my best interests at heart, despite whatever my parts might fear. I decided to take the risk.

For some reason, Mama Bear decided to write back more than she normally does. We used to get into trouble with my misinterpreting her email responses, so she decided that it would be best to keep any meaty responses to our sessions. This time she responded to each point that I made though and her genuine affection for me and wish more my well being came through clearly. Somehow, that response just eased all of the worries that my parts had left. What I had told her really hadn’t changed the way that she felt about me. My fear was that I was going to be left all alone with my shame, but the reality is that I am not at all alone.

Read Full Post »

A lot of my memories are very physical in nature. I remember a lot more of what happened in the abuse via sensations/ emotions/ just knowing than I do via visual memories.

One of the memories that I have been struggling with lately is the sensation of wishing for my father to do good feeling things to me. Needless to say, this has brought up intense feelings of shame, horror, disgust, and self loathing. It took me a few weeks, but I finally managed to talk about it in session with Mama Bear last week and she brought up several good points that I will talk about in a bit, but she missed the most obvious one: I knew that the abuse could feel just bad or a mixture of good and bad, so when I knew that something was going to happen, I would hope that it would be something that mixed the good and bad sensations.

There were things that my father would do that were pleasurable for my body, sometimes very much so. Bodies, including children’s bodies, are set up to have defined physical responses when they are stimulated in particular ways at certain locations. Even some young children can be stimulated to orgasm some of the time. It isn’t a case of anything being wrong with the child, it is a case of the child’s body being used against her.

It is extremely confusing to experience physical and/or emotional pain in combination with sexual pleasure. In some ways it adds another layer of pain to what is happening. At the same time, for me, having some pleasure was easier for me than not only just feeling negative physical sensations, but also experiencing the loneliness of feeling like an object that was being used and thrown aside. If he cared enough to make me feel good, then in my mind that meant that he cared about me and he remembered that I was there and I was a person who felt things.

Being sexually abused is extremely objectifying and dehumanizing. It was more so with my grandfather who set out to make me feel like a ‘thing’, but even with my father, who had different goals, it was the case. After all, my father could not have really been looking at me and fully seen me, his daughter, in all of my individuality and personhood. If he had, he could never have done what he did. He had to have seen me as an object for him to use to deal with his demons. I could never have articulated this at the time, but I certainly sensed it.

However, there was no way that I could have understand the complexities of the situation that I was in as a child or even early teen. All I knew was that I was in an impossibly painful situation. My mind had to deal with what I had been dealt the best that it could; it seems that part of the way that I dealt- some of the time, at least- was by feeling like I wanted to be with him and feel pleasure. As Mama Bear pointed out, I had very little physical contact or even concentrated attention from my father other than through the abuse. I yearned for his love. Given that set up, it shouldn’t be a surprise that some parts of me value that interaction with him. When he intensely paid attention to me and did things that made me feel good, I felt closer to him than at any other time. But other parts of me loathed what was happening and are furious at me for trusting him and want to tear my skin off for physically feeling anything.

So I am left with these strongly conflicting feelings that I need to accept were all valid. It would be so much easier if I could only remember hating and rejecting the abuse by my father, but that wasn’t my reality. It was with my grandfather- there wasn’t the slightest bit of connection with him, because he was purely a monster with me. My father was much more confusing for me to deal with. He hurt me, physically and emotionally, but he could also make me feel loved and physical pleasure. I didn’t want what was going on and wanted for it to stop, but if it was going to happen, I wanted for it to happen in the “good” way. Worst of all, though, he threatened my relationship with my mother. This was something that I couldn’t tell her, because I was so convinced that she would pick him over me. Actually, I am convinced that I tried to tell her that something was wrong. I wouldn’t have said just what was wrong, but even crying after school every day for months at a time I only got sympathy, not her trying to find out what was so terribly wrong.

I couldn’t get her understanding and support for the terrible bind that I was in back then. I had no one to help me deal with the adaptations that I had to make in order to survive the situation as intact as possible. As Mama Bear keeps on reminding me, things in the now are very different. I have external support, but, even more importantly, I now have the internal resources to start to give myself what I so desperately needed then. Today, I need to set aside my repulsion for what I did and look at it with compassion as ‘what I had to do’. I did what I had to do. I would never have chosen to have sexual interactions with my father, if I hadn’t been forced into the situation. I simply found the ways to deal with it that made it all as tolerable for me as possible. Sometimes these options weren’t open to me and what I experienced was purely awful. Comparing the two, I am glad that I had something available that was able to soften the edge of the abuse, some of the time.

It swirls through my mind: it doesn’t matter what I did to get through what happened. I didn’t hurt anyone, after all, I just tried to find the molds to put myself into that would make me someone who could survive an untenable situation as well as possible.

——-

I felt stronger while I was writing this, but now I am feeling more vulnerable. This more compassionate understanding of myself is all too tenuous. We will see whether I can tolerate leaving this post up or whether the shame and fear of being judged wins out.

Read Full Post »

Kentucky Dogwood Natalie Sewell

Kentucky Dogwood
Natalie Sewell

Last week, I talked with Mama Bear about one of the memories that has ranked highest on my “impossible to tell” list. Actually, when it first came back again about a year ago (from my journals, I see that it first, first came out years ago, but I had forgotten it), I was so shocked, horrified, mortified, and repulsed that it was one of the two or three things that I had to call her about immediately after the memory came out and struggle through telling her what the type of abuse was, just because I felt so crazy with what I was remembering. At that time she gently helped me to say what I needed to, reassured me that the type of abuse that I was talking about wasn’t unheard of and that it wasn’t my fault, and did her best to help me find as much comfort and grounding as possible. Within a day or two, I wrote an e-mail to her with a few of the details, asking her to “hold” them for me, and then hadn’t mentioned it since then. I certainly never said anything about it to her person.

There are three types of memories with my grandfather that I consider the worst. The first I talked about with her earlier this summer and I see that one as being the most intensely overwhelming type of abuse for me. The abuse that I am talking about now left me feeling subhuman and was the most demeaning and disgusting. The last type was the most terrifying. Around the time that I talked about the first type of abuse, I almost talked about this abuse as well, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do so.

One of the perils of hiding things that I have discovered is that all of those things that I don’t deal with can pile up against each other and suddenly I may find myself in a place where I need to deal with Z, but I have been hiding from W, X, and Y, which need to be dealt with before I can hope to deal with Z. That happened last week. I realized that I have Z issue that is affecting my relationship with my husband, but that is related to Y way of experiencing myself and touch, which is linked into X memories with my father. That particular abuse by my father was especially toxic because it became linked to W abuse by my grandfather. To even be able to start to address this in therapy, I was going to have to go all the way back and start to deal with these memories with my grandfather and then work my way through everything else that I have been hiding from Mama Bear.

It was a fight to even start to get anything out about it because I was so overpowered by my feelings of shame, revulsion, and the deep expectation that she would withdraw in horror. I asked her to move a chair to sit next to me and hold my hand, so I could feel that tangible physical support and connection, while I flailed around inside, struggling against everything that was trying to keep me silent.

“This is so hard to talk about. I am so ashamed and disgusted by it.”

“You do know that it isn’t really yours to be ashamed about, don’t you? He is the one who is responsible for what happened.”

“Yes, I understand that. I really do. But inside I just don’t feel that way. I just know that it seems like what happened makes me believe that I have to be as horrible and disgusting as I felt while it was happening.”

There was another long pause as I struggled some more and then she said, “You really want to tell me about this, don’t you?”

“Yes, I am so damn tired of being alone with it. I don’t want to be alone with it anymore. I have been for too long already!” I paused and then pushed out, “Do you remember when I told you about W?”

Mama bear took a slow breath and gently said, “Yes, I do.”

I then just doubled over with my face on our hands and sobbed while shaking. I let myself feel held by her calm and caring presence as the young part of me who has carried this burden all of these years could finally let go of clenching it close to her in hiding. It was safe for me to let out all of the feelings of disgust, confusion, terror, and the certainty that if anyone knew what had happened, they would never be willing to touch me again. Shaking the whole time, I went back and forth between crying and talking.

“It just felt so disgusting while it was happening. It still makes me feel disgusting and dirty!” I don’t remember what she said in response, but I do know that those feelings have eased a bit now.

“It was just too much! How could anyone do something that cruel to a child?” I looked at her, feeling bewildered.

“We don’t know what happened to him to make him that way, but it seems that he might have been a sadist.”

I stared at her, “You think?!?”

“Remember, you haven’t told me as much about what happened as you think that you have! But from what you have said, yes, I do think that it is safe to say that he was a sadist.”

I cried again, because it was such a relief to hear it said out loud. I have long been convinced that he enjoyed being “inventive” with all of the ways that he could hurt, humiliate, and terrify me, but I wasn’t sure that anyone would ever believe me that he got pleasure out of hurting me. There is something that is damaging in a particular way when you experience someone else getting a kick out of finding different ways to reach inside and harm you. For me it was particularly dehumanizing, because it made me feel like some perverse toy that was only there for his pleasure.

But now, while I still wasn’t able to talk about all of the details of the experiences and how I felt, I was able to talk about some of them and I was able to experience my feelings while someone compassionately listened to me and held me both literally and figuratively. It was safe to be human. It was safe to feel. It was safe to share the real me and what I have experienced.

I looked at Mama Bear, “Deep inside, I absolutely expected for you to withdraw in disgust and horror.”

“Do you feel me withdrawing?”

“No.”

“What do you see on my face?”

“Concern. Caring.”

“No disgust?”

“No.”

“Good, I feel no disgust what-so-ever for you, C. And I feel no need to withdraw from you.”

Often, after such an intense session, I experience some sort of repercussions, but I didn’t that day. Instead, my experience was that the child part that had shared still felt safe and my protector parts hadn’t been aroused. That would come, but for that day, I just felt relief at finally being able to talk about what happened and cry while holding the hands of someone whom I know loves me. I needed to be held while I told my mother what happened over 40 years ago, but I was convinced that she would withdraw in disgust. I can’t change what happened then, but at least now I can finally tell.

Note: I struggled over whether or not to state in general what the abuse was related to, because while it was unusual, it is not unheard of. It also isn’t talked about, though. And not being able to talk about it only helps to give the abuse power but it keeps all of us who have lived through it in isolation, thinking that no one else experienced the same depravity. I am not at the point where I can name it, though. Simply talking about it at all is the best that I can do for now. Maybe someday. Maybe even before very long I will be able to write and say what it was, because it really isn’t my shame. It was my body that was involved, but my grandfather was in control. And while I don’t want to trigger people, I also think that it needs to be OK to say, “There are some really sick people out there who do these things to children. It sounds too awful to be true, but it really does happen.”

Read Full Post »

Leah Day Torn Tree

Leah Day
Torn Tree

Some days, the best that a person can do is to just hold themselves as gently as possible and do their best to not be hateful to themselves. Going forward is impossible. Going backwards would be all too easy. The urge to give in to the desire to drown in self hatred feels almost impossible to resist.

Sometimes a person might start to slip- hopefully not too badly- because it can feel as though you are being unrelentingly drawn down through a funnel into a dark pit. It seems as though all of your instincts are shouting at you that you have to be hurt. “You have to pay in blood and pain.” It doesn’t matter that you have no idea why or who or what you have to pay for. You start to see images of blood- blood pooling, blood swirling in water. Even though you have never cut, you start to think about what it would be like.

Then, deep in your brain, you hear the word, “slut.” And it is like you are pulled into a nightmare world of imagined sexual degradation. It is as if your mind pulls out all of your worst fears and you know that is all that you are good for. It is like you are being told that you are trash that any man should be able to use and that you have to be available to be used.

Then the despair hits- “I can’t abandon my mother and if I stand by her, then I can’t be true to myself.” And it feels so overwhelming that it is intolerable to live with. You find yourself making plans as to how you could kill yourself and arguing with yourself about how in the end your spouse and child would be better off without you.

Your mind continues to go round and round in a self destructive haze, desperate to act out the desire to harm yourself. Eventually, in desperation, you do something slightly harmful, allowing you to break out of the cycle. But that brings its own sense of shame that you have harmed yourself. You take yourself off to the couch, wrap yourself up in a blanket, curl up with the cat, and concentrate on breathing until you are finally able to reach through and give yourself a bit of comfort.

That was last night for me. Today has been an exercise in trying to not slip back into such a damaging place. It is pretty obvious that I have some very young, very traumatized parts that are currently in a tremendous amount of pain. So I am doing my best to be as gentle and non-judgmental with myself as possible. It occurred to me last night, after I finally calmed myself, that in some ways I had been acting like a panicked animal, caught in a trap, that was trying to gnaw its leg off in order to escape. There was a characteristic of desperation about all of the impulses that were thrown at me last night.

I’ve also realized that while I am dealing with some difficult things and am probably prone to being triggered right now, I also have something going on biochemically that probably is exacerbating the effects. So, a trigger that might otherwise be a 6 or a 7 is turned into a 10 or more. Historically, when I return from a trip to a very sunny place during the winter to a very dark home, I go through a depressive crash. I think that is happening right now, but it is intertwined with being so triggered, that it is hard to untangle what is going on. It actually is a big help for me to realize that this completely over the top reaction might not all be me- it might partially be my brain reacting poorly to the lack of serotonin. This is one of the things that Mama Bear has been trying to help me learn to recognize- my reactions aren’t always entirely about the trauma. Sometimes they are biochemical- for instance, we are wondering if the antidepressant that I am on is making me anxiety prone. Sometimes they are more about current issues than past trauma. Learning to not attribute everything to being a trauma reaction can be useful.

Anyways, I am no longer experiencing the urge to heap self hatred and thoughts of self harm on myself and I sincerely hope that I am done for now. It isn’t entirely gone, though. I can still sense just around the corner of my mind the simultaneous understanding of what it feels like to know that telling myself to harm myself is both the wrong thing to do and yet to also believe that it is the safest/best/most pain free thing to do. I know, it makes no sense.

Inside, I am in disarray and shock to some extent. I have a session tomorrow and to some extent I want to work on what some of the triggering factors were, but at the same time, I also just want to work on putting myself back together again, so I feel secure.

I don’t understand why I go through these very destructive self hate storms periodically. I think that this is the third time that it has happened. I don’t think that they are going to stop, though, until I come to some resolution about my parents.

I know that I can’t be the only one out there struggling with thoughts/impulses of self harm. I also know that I have no idea of what the best course of action is for anyone else. However, I do invite anyone reading to take a steadying/grounding breath with me and for this moment do the best that you can for yourself. That’s what I am going to be doing- moment by moment.

Read Full Post »

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Read Full Post »

Caryl Bryer Fallert, Flying Free #2

Caryl Bryer Fallert, Flying Free #2

I think that I am starting to understand at least part of the reason that I have had such a hard time writing off and on over the last few months. I have been experiencing a tug of war inside between needing to be heard and feel understood and needing to hide away everything that is unusual or “challenging” about me.

Yesterday in session, Mama Bear said something to me that demonstrated that she has been listening and she understands a lot more about how I function internally than I would have guessed. I have been aware of desperately wanting and not believing that I would ever get that level of understanding but while she was talking, I thought to myself, “Why don’t I feel happier and more relieved to hear her saying these things?” Instead, when she asked me what my response was, I realized that I was very frightened at the idea that she might actually understand me that well. I was so frightened that I couldn’t even begin to figure out why I was frightened or what might help me to feel less frightened. In fact, I was frightened enough that I can’t even remember exactly what it was that she said.

This afternoon, I was thinking about the fact that all of my life I have been afraid to make any waves. I have had an extreme need to be a “good girl”. If I have something that I need to say that might be difficult for someone, it won’t be said. I have a very difficult time standing up for myself when I am wronged and will go to great lengths to deal with it in some manner that does not involve a direct confrontation. I very much need for the people that I like to like me back and their disapproval is not just uncomfortable, but frightening to me. For a long time, I have assumed that these dynamics derive from my interactions with my mom and my fears of being abandoned by her if I put too many demands on her. I’m sure that is a big part of it, but there is more there. Today I realized that I have a young part who believes that if only she can manage to be “good” enough, “likable” enough, or otherwise acceptable, then finally someone will step in and want her enough to take her away to someplace safe. This part of me still has no understanding that the threat of being abused is long gone, but still believes that I am in danger. And one of the rules that this part lives by is that I cannot ask for help or let anyone see what has happened, because if I do, they will be disgusted and I will never be acceptable enough for anyone to want for me to be near them. The only possible way to safety is for no one to know what happened and what a disgusting child I was. If they knew who I really was, the only people who would let me near would be people who “knew how to deal with someone like me.”

What a bind. “No one safe will ever want to touch you, if they know what you did” and at the same time “I desperately need for someone to hear me, believe me, hold me.”

I don’t think that there is any quick or easy way to work through the fears and lies that through revealing what happened and all of myself, I will make myself unacceptable to everyone who I would want to be loved by. My guess is that it is one of those things that is going to take slow and steady work, with me working to support this part through looking at, trying out, and taking in different possibilities. Thankfully, the world isn’t as bleak and threatening as this hurt part believes it is; there are people in my life who are willing to love me despite what happened. But right now, I can really feel the fears of this part.

Read Full Post »

Artist: Mark Horst

Artist: Mark Horst

I’m going to take a deep breath and write about something because from the bit that I’ve talked about it with Mama Bear, I know that it isn’t uncommon, but I’m also not seeing others write about it. Besides, damn it, this is an effect of the abuse, it isn’t something for me to be ashamed about, and I have seen that bringing a “shameful” topic out into the open helps to lessen the shame.

It took me a very, very long time to admit to Mama Bear that sometimes I have urges to harm myself. Like 20 years! I have a self image built around being a person who wouldn’t harm anyone, so admitting to those urges was a very big deal, despite the fact that I know that many, if not most abuse survivors struggle with the urge at some point. In fact, before I finally talked about what I was experiencing in an e-mail, she gave me multiple openings in our sessions to talk about the very topic. I am very fortunate, because I have rarely acted on the urges and never in way that left a permanent mark. I have read about how self harm can serve several different functions, and for me the main function seems to be as a distraction from seemingly intolerable amounts of emotional pain.

Generalized self harm seems to be fairly commonly acknowledged in the abuse community, even if it is a topic that most of us are pretty uncomfortable with.

As difficult as it was for me to admit to this type of self harm, admitting to Mama Bear that I have a part who strongly believes that I should be hurt sexually was even harder. Actually, even simply allowing myself to recognize that I was experiencing this was mortifying and frightening to me. Even though I experience this part very separately, she is a part of me, so in actuality, I have those beliefs at times. These are all acts that most likely would be physically painful or at the least I would find shameful and they are things that in my right mind I would never chose to do. So why is a part of me convinced that these harmful acts have to happen? It isn’t as a distraction from emotional pain, I don’t think.

The only bits of sense that I have been able to make of this compulsion to do sexually harmful acts is that this part of me sees it as a way to gain some bit of control over the acts themselves and as a way of proving that even if the acts were to happen again, I still won’t go back to the hell that my grandfather created for me. But there have to be healthier ways to prove those things to myself. Harming myself cannot be good for me in any situation. Sexually harming myself really wouldn’t be good for me. For now, it has eased, but I don’t know if it will come back again. It has already come back twice, although not with quite the frightening intensity of the first time.

As I implied at the beginning, when I told Mama Bear about my struggles with the belief that I had to make sure that I was sexually harmed and in a great deal of pain, her response was to reassure me that she has heard other clients talk about the same thing. As horrible, perverted, and alone as I felt with those beliefs, I really wasn’t alone. There was no need to feel such shame; when I reached out for help, I encountered understanding and compassion, no blame. This really is just another example of how my brain does things that are very odd and difficult to understand in the attempt to heal. I don’t fully understand it, but accepting it, managing it, and moving on will do me a lot more good than feeling ashamed about it and fighting it.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »