Therapy and telling your story is very hard and it brings a lot of buried, hard memories...but in the long run it does help...believe me.
Good Luck (((HUGS)))
actually my story is now on the last page
[This message edited by deena at 9:22 AM, March 10th (Wednesday)]
I have never even thought of going and watching children that are around the same age I was. I think that would be therapudic for me, since I still blame myself for what happened to me. I know logically that it wasn't my fault, but emotionally it is much harder to accept.
I am trying to hold me head high and fix the sad little girl that is inside of me. I know therapy is going to be hard... that is most of the reason why I am so afraid of doing this.
Thank you for the hugs and I wish you well on your journey for healing. It is sad to see that you H has not been more supportive of your struggles. I had never told my FBBF about the abuse I suffered as a child. After the A I realized that the SA was the root of all my problems and that I should have told him about it a long time ago. I didn't use it as an excuse, because there is no excuse for an A. It did help him understand me a bit more. Currently, he is kindly supporting me as I start to deal with my abuse. He knows it is very hard for me and just wants to see me heal.
since I still blame myself for what happened to me. I know logically that it wasn't my fault, but emotionally it is much harder to accept.
I do understand this feeling immensely. The shame..a bad person...guilt. These are our thoughts that we developed as a little child...it is ingrained in our heads and we have to be shown how to think as an adult. Therapy does that. It does not go away completely...but then we have been thinking like this for a long time and it is hard to do an about face and change our thinking suddenly.
I think that my WH did not know how to deal with it with me and I did not know how to help him deal with it at the time and it all went downhill from there and I don't think we can climb out of the mess we made.
Lots of luck to you...be strong...once you start it does get easier...it's that first initial visit that's hard.
Feel free to PM me any time you just need to talk...I am usually checking out this site.
It's just that I feel so unsupported by her.
I mean, she had the EA, but she is not taking any steps to reconcile (other than going to IC for her SAB).
I feel like that is not enough. At least it's not enough for me. But that is all that she is capable of right now.
[This message edited by wincings_sparkle at 9:09 AM, March 12th (Friday)]
Unexpected Song: You are a wonderful inspiration to so many and I value your insight and support. So thank you.
DIR: Do you mind if I use your list to explain some of the revelations that I have had throughout my journey so far? Thank you for your post.
It's just that I feel so unsupported by her.
You are right, it is very unfair. Now, since she is incapable of supporting you right now, can you get yourself into IC? The therapist will be able to provide you with support and give you a safe place to vent. It is actually very important that you also get therapy as the spouse of a SAb survivor.
I mean, she had the EA, but she is not taking any steps to reconcile (other than going to IC for her SAB).
Has she stopped the affair?
Is she being transparent?
Do you two talk about the affair?
My appointment yesterday went fairy well. I think I have a solid treatment plan and my contact at the SAC was so extremely understanding and supportive. I got realyl emotional during some of the intake questions and I know that talking about this isn't going to get any easier. I am going to hold my head high and get through this for myself, which will in turn be something that will help all of my interpersonal relationships.
Thanks for the support everyone.
I will try to update as my healing journey progresses.
1) Low self esteem and the sense of worthlessness.
I was basically trained as a child (my first memory starts at 4 years old) to enjoy sex. I learned to do what I was told, to be a “good/bad“ girl. My sister was part of the team I now call the “Terrible Three”. She told me to be good, just to let them do “whatever” and that I’d like it. They used my little body like a toy, encouraging me to let them grind against me, touching my chest. genitals, french kissing me, making me kiss and suck on parts of them. Later, they taught me how receiving pain can make the following pleasure even more pleasurable. The carrot and the stick.
They called me there sweet little whore, their pretty little baby and their toy. Sometimes it was all three of them, sometimes it was one or two. During one encounter with the boy (T) their father came in, instead of stopping his son, dear ol’ dad decided to join in. This memory is hazy but I remember some pain and being wet after it was over. My mom told me that I was bad for peeing my pants and when we got home she scrubbed me in the tub. WTF?? I don’t know if I peed my pants or not but that memory makes me sick to my stomach. The people that molested me would always do so in the dark. For as long as I remember I was always afraid of the dark. Now, I know why. (There is more but ya’ll don’t need more details.)
I was 11 when I learned about “good touch-bad touch” in school. When I told my mom, she told me not to lie. Long story short, I got to hear the mother of the abusers call me a lying little bitch etc… My mother made me swear on the bible that I was telling the truth. After I did, she sent me to my room. I felt like I was in trouble for doing the right thing. I felt like I was bad. I did not tell her of my sisters involvement. Maybe if I had my sister would have stopped then, but her “playing” with me went on for about a year longer. She was my sister and I had to live with her. Maybe I didn’t tell because I thought she would be mad at me and not love me anymore? Maybe I didn’t tell because she threatened to kill “Suzy”. (Suzy was my favorite doll.) I Don’t know.
I got my first vaginal exam at 11, my hymen was intact. I remember my mom telling my dad, “At least she’s still a virgin.“ When she saw me standing there I was once again sent to my room. Once again, I was bad. My mom still took me to their house over the next two years and the abuse continued. Mom made the rule that I was not to ever be alone with T and his sister (S). Right, like that really works when all the adults are doing their thing (playing cards, talking, etc…). *eye roll* Of course T caught me alone (S had moved away and wasn‘t there often). There was still groping sometimes I got away and sometimes not. As I wriggled to get away he would laugh. The final time T ever touched me I couldn’t get out of the room. I got away, got in the closet where he couldn’t reach me. I screamed for my mother and she came in, found me and took me home. (I didn’t understand why I liked to sit in the closet with a flashlight, my book and my doll until now.) After that we didn’t go back…until I was about 17. I was old enough to look at the Nasty MF and sneer. I was able to look at him and tell him to go to hell. I felt like I was better than that dirty POS.
I’m going to back step. After the confrontation when I was 11 years old, life moved on. I put it away (Right? Right.) I was around 13 when I went with a bunch of girl friends to a party I wasn’t supposed to go to. I was told by my rapist (our ride home) that he wouldn’t take us home unless I let him fuck me. I was on my period and a virgin still. I told him I didn’t want to. His response was, “It’s going to happen the easy way or the hard way. I don’t mind your period, I’m gonna pop that cherry anyway.” (What is a cherry? Now, I know but not then.) I didn’t fight, I didn’t say no, I just laid in the dark, listening as he called me dirty names and let him rape me. After all, I knew what to do. It didn’t really hurt. I was a bloody mess when I got home…I got grounded for getting home late. Mom found a letter that I wrote to my best friend. Mom came to school and dragged me out by my arm. She took me straight to the doctor. I had my first PAP at 13. Not fun times. Again, I was bad. Again, I was sent to my room. Mom informed my dad that I was not a virgin anymore. (I felt like that somehow made me worthless.) My mom told me it never would have happened if I had been where I was supposed to be. My dad wanted to kill the guy but I only knew his first name. My father cried that night. All of this, I put it away. Stuffed it. What else could I do?
I met my first boyfriend at 14, he gave me a ring, we had sex and he was sweet. Until I wouldn’t experiment. He told me that he found someone who would do what I wouldn’t. We broke up. What followed was a string of boyfriends that I would do anything with, and when they were done, they moved on.
That, as they say, is the history. I was always abused in dark places. The dark was where I believed I should and could be “bad“. I felt like in the dark I could be the “bad” girl that I thought I was, that everyone “knew“ that I was. I would screw around with whoever. I would reenact my abuse over and over again. (Not that I realized that was what I was doing at the time.) In the light, I was a happy, good girl that got straight A’s and was the perfect student and daughter. I thought that the molestation and rape were my own fault, I was bad, and I deserved it. I thought that it wasn’t a big deal. I wasn’t hurt. I did not ever have even the smallest bruise. It made me stronger because I knew what people wanted and expected of me. I didn’t ever acknowledge the abuse and rape as significant in my life. It happened. I thought that sex was what relationships were about. As long as I was good at it, people would love me. If I was a good girl my family would love me and the adults (teachers etc…) would like me. That is how I became day and night. I learned to disassociate the day me from the night me. Examining all of this, I realized how big a foot print the abuse, rape and my mother’s reaction to them left on my life. I know now that I wasn’t bad, I didn’t do anything wrong, I wasn’t responsible for the actions of adults that should have taken care of me. I don’t deserve to be full of shame for the abuse or rape. I am not dirty for my bodies responses. I am strong, I know I survived. Yes, I was damaged in ways that I couldn’t see. Yes, I there was a split right down the middle of my soul. It is stitched together now. It is healing now. Sometimes it still hurts. Hearing my husband and my psychiatrist tell me that it was not my fault, not my shame to hold, and that I was innocent went a long way. It went a long way to jump start my acceptance of my abuse for what it was, a crime against me. Talking about my abuse makes it easier to release the toxic emotions that poisoned my life for so long. Each time I talk about the abuse it shrinks a little more and hurts a little less. I am not worthless. I am worth so much more than I ever believed. I have accomplished more than I ever thought I could or would. I am a whole person that doesn’t have to separate my feelings into two different worlds to survive. I am sunrise and sunset, both light and dark, good and bad. I am worthwhile.
**Feel free to ask questions. Disassociation is next.**
[This message edited by wincings_sparkle at 11:55 AM, March 12th (Friday)]
I hope IC has helped you!!!
My family wasn’t all bad. I have happy memories, safe memories, loving memories. I had a decent home life all and all. (Not being delusional here.) I wasn’t beaten, starved or emotionally abused. My family had it’s problems, we were all neurotic as all get out, had mental illness oozing out of our ears, and enough trauma to choke a herd of horses. I filled out a Social Re-adjustment Rating Scale (basically a stress evaluation tool) and my score was off the charts. My psychiatrist said he didn’t know why I wasn’t completely insane or dead. (Love the honesty doc.)
Deena: My IC has helped me tremendously. I have been in therapy for over 3 years and the ground work that I have under my belt has helped me face the childhood abuse without falling to pieces. I honestly don’t think I could have worked on my adult issues and childhood issues at the same time without seeing my IC twice a week or more. *bleh*
If they can survive that, I should be able to survive my experience.
Deena, you have already survived. Now you just have to look at the abuse and reconcile the emotions and impact that it had on you into the adult that you want to be. Once you can see the effects abuse has made on your behavior and life, the power of those effects begins to fade. They lose their power over you and you gain control by recognizing the behaviors that they have caused in the past.
If someone would have told me at 20 that I had a self esteem issue I would have laughed in their face. I was a cocky confident teen and at 20 I thought I had it all together. I can see it now though. The need to be loved, to be told I was good, to be accepted. Sure everybody likes to be told they are accepted, good, and loved. I needed it.
Now, if I need it I tell myself. There are days that I feel needy. Straight up, there are days that I want someone to just hold me and tell me that I’m good, pretty, strong. When days like that come along, I hold myself. I get a bubble bath, a book, a candy bar or shrimp. (I like shrimp. ) I can look at my accomplishments in life and say, “I did that.” I can look and say, “I survived that.” I can step back and take a look around and figure out what I can do to make myself feel better. (Believe it or not, sometimes doing laundry works.) I like who I am now far better than I liked myself before. I like who I am becoming and who I’m growing to be.
[This message edited by wincings_sparkle at 6:43 AM, May 13th (Thursday)]
Believe it or not, sometimes doing laundry works
Works for me too and really cleaning the house. Must be something to do with wanting to "be a good girl" attitude that I developed as a coping skill.
I went inside myself during the molestation and rape. I concentrated only on the pleasure that my body was feeling, not the reason it was happening, only that it felt good. Sex later became a coping mechanism to disassociate from emotional stress/trauma. Sex made me feel good and made all the pain of Real Life go away. The abuse taught me how my body liked to be touched and while my body enjoyed being touched I could forget the outside world. After my first boyfriend told me he had found someone that would do the sexual things that I wouldn’t. Sex became a tool to ensure that my boyfriends would stay with me. When my dad got cancer it was horribly hard at home. Having sex made me feel good so I used it as an emotional crutch. It was escapism at it’s finest. I didn’t think about this. It was just the way it was. There really was no conscious thought involved. I didn’t associate my behavior with stress or my past. I was a teenager and I lived in the now. In the moment. I lived in the dark side of myself so that the good girl could hold up in real life. No one knew I was living in the dark. No one ever bothered to try to pull me out of the dark. I didn’t ever tell anyone where I was. I was completely disassociated (or split) between my good and bad side. The first time that both sides collided was when I met my husband to be.
My husband was the first man that ever just wanted to be with me and not have sex. (I thought he was weird, in a good way.) I fell hard for this man that loved me for me and not my body. I loved him loving me. I loved him being so strong and confident. He pulled me into the light. After a series of stressors happened early in our marriage, I became depressed and used having sex with him like a drug. After a fix, I could go through another day. I was so insecure at that point in my life. I thought, as long as WAL was “getting laid” he would always come home and that he still loved me. I didn’t associate my sexual behavior with my past. I believed I was being a good wife. In my head, everything was good. Subconsciously, I was dissociating everything hard or bad in my life into it’s own little box. Even though I was separating the good feelings from the bad feelings, I was holding my life together. I was strong enough to handle myself…so I thought. The reality was the depression was just the first thread pulled that began unraveling my carefully constructed self.
I am not diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder. The fact that my reaction to stress creates a dissociative responses is situational and the good/bad self split is something that I only apply to myself. Neither of these reactions fit the criteria for either disorder alone.
The fact is everyone, EVERYONE, has traits that match mental disorders. The trick is that to actually be diagnosed with a specific disorder you have to have more than one or two (usually more than 5) traits for that diagnosis.
“Abuse victims learn to minimize the abuse. After all, if they convince themselves its not abuse then they are not victims...who wants to be a victim. Or if they convince themselves the abuse wasn't all that bad then don't feel the urgency to face it to deal with it.”
The abuse and rape lived in their own little compartment in my mind. They were not allowed out and I didn’t visit. The problem with compartmentalization is that once I started integrating my life in therapy, compartments began to open. I struggled to understand why, what and how I could blow up my family for a cheap thrill, a fantasy, a far inferior person than my husband. What led up to my actions, my decisions? Why am I bi-polar? Why didn’t I know before? Why did it all happen now? All sorts of the compartments start opening up. A lot of my issues stemmed from feelings related to illness, dying and death. Pain, suffering, and trying to be everything to everybody. Feelings of failure. I could and did compartmentalize with the best of them. I even believed myself when I told myself that things didn’t matter. The abuse didn’t matter, nothing that upset me really upset me, I was strong…uh-huh. Not so much.
More later. I'm feeling
[This message edited by wincings_sparkle at 10:43 AM, March 15th (Monday)]
I learned not to tell. My abusers “The Terrible Three“ were my sister and the children of mom’s friends. I was told it was a secret game, told that if I told that I wouldn’t get to come over any more, that “they” would take me away, etc… The rapist threatened not to take my friends and me home. My mom taught me that telling made me the “bad” girl. I learned that secrecy was the only way to protect myself.
Secrecy killed part of me. I didn’t ever trust anyone completely. Not even my husband. I let secrecy kill my marriage by not talking to my husband, by not being open. I was even being defensive, critical and angry if any mention was made about me not being “OK”. To keep my secrets I had to be strong…The truth is- secrets are a weakness. True strength is the ability to open yourself up, to be vulnerable, to trust...
Now, I don’t have any secrets from my husband (or my shrink). I still have secrets from my family (Mom, brothers, sister). I don’t want or need to tell them my secrets right now. That might change, but I’m not holding my breath.
6) Self blaming.
Cripes, yes. I blamed myself. I should have told. I should have known that it was wrong. I liked it so, that made me bad. (I didn’t want people to know I was bad.) I enjoyed the physical sensations and the attention so, that made me bad and wrong. As a teen I believed that I was “damaged goods”. I liked it, let it happen… why not keep doing it? I wasn't a virgin anymore, I wasn't saving “it“ for anyone. My innocence was already long gone. There was nothing left to save, so let the good times roll. Good girls don't act like that.
I desperately wanted to be a good girl. I wanted to be different. At 16/17 I started going to churches looking for something. Forgiveness, a way to be clean. I believed in God, I had survived to much to doubt His existence. I believed in Jesus and His sacrifice. I just didn’t believe that He really could forgive me. Sure, I was a little kid during the abuse but my teenage promiscuity was my choice. How could God forgive me for doing something over and over again that I knew was wrong?
7) Lack of empathy.
I didn’t think that a lack of empathy was a problem with me. Really, I didn’t, until I started typing this. I tend to be a “suck it up and move on” person. I don’t think of that as not having empathy. I feel for people, I recognize their pain. I recognize and empathize with heartache, loss, and suffering. I tend to go the route of: “It happened, you can’t change it, deal with it and let it go.” You’d think by now that I would understand that it isn’t that easy. Hmmm, sometimes, I still think that it can be that easy.
***I guess I’ll have to work on this one. I’ll ask the next time I see Dr. N.***
8) Distorted sexuality.
“Sex becomes something that is based on control not on love and pleasure. The victim sees sex a way to get "secondary gains". If I submit to this then I will be liked, loved or even just left alone.”
“They see sex as unpleasant, as hurtful, as being less of significance. In short they take those skills of minimizing, disassociation and apply it to their sexuality. Sex is less about pleasure and more about who is the boss.”
I don’t know. I don’t see sex as unpleasant. I like sex. Sex is always pleasurable for me. I don’t associate sex with “who’s the boss”.
I did see it as less significant. It was just sex. A physical thing. My husband is the only man in my life where sex was more. More than physical, more meaningful, real and actually intimate.
I broke that intimacy with my Affair.
I also know that I will probably not ever see sex as significant as some people do. I know how it is significant to me. I know that I only want to share that part of myself with my husband for the rest of my life. I won’t, can’t and don’t want to, share my body with anyone else for any reason.
I used to be able to say that sex didn't mean anything. That is the biggest lie that we tell ourselves. Molestation, rape, promiscuous sex, extramarital sex are all devastating. Molestation and rape have clear victims. Promiscuity is insidious in that it’s victim is yourself. Extramarital sex devastates the betrayed spouse, the wayward spouse and their friends and family.
So, that's the bare bones for me. Not everything that I've parsed through, but the basics. In looking at how each of these topics apply to my self and my situation I could look at myself clinically. I could say, "Yep, that is/was me." I could then decide if what I was seeing was something I wanted to keep or discard. Was it that easy? Is it that easy? No, not even! I made myself sit down and write it all out. I stopped and left it for days at a time. Self analysis sucks. It was necessary for me. I can't and won't let something that happened to me so long ago control me now. I won't let myself be destroyed by what happened to me anymore. It is not my fault. The fault lays at the feet of my abusers. It's not my shame or guilt to carry. I lay it at their feet and walk away from it.
How does this relate to my Affair? It really doesn't. I made a bad decision and had an Affair. I can see the similarities between my abusers and the AP. Scum tends to all look alike. I went back to all of my old bad habits. Using sex like a crutch, feeling worthless etc... I could have gone to my husband, I chose not to. For whatever reason, I selfishly chose not to.
Was my CSAb a factor in my Affair? Well, I had practice compartmentalizing, minimizing, dissociating and with secrecy which made it easier to slide down the slippery slope.
What does it all mean?
It means that I control me, not my memories, not other people, not my illness, and not my emotions. Not fear, anger, shame, guilt.
It means that I can say I'm not a victim.
It means if I have a moment where I feel vulnerable, I have the wherewithal to talk to my husband openly and honestly.
It means that “they” didn’t break me. Cracked me maybe, but didn’t break me.
It means that I am not worthless. I know that I am not worthless.
It means that I have the power to change.
It means that I can love my husband in a healthy way without baggage weighing me down.
It means everything to continue to stand on my own.
It means everything that I can stand on my own and share that with my husband.
[This message edited by wincings_sparkle at 5:20 AM, March 16th (Tuesday)]
I don’t know. I don’t see sex as unpleasant.
I don’t associate sex with “who’s the boss”.
I did see it as less significant. It was just sex.
I also know that I will probably not ever see sex as significant as some people do.
This is how I feel, too.
I used to be able to say that sex didn't mean anything. That is the biggest lie that we tell ourselves. Molestation, rape, promiscuous sex, extramarital sex are all devastating.
Wow. I'm blown away. I can't believe I never made this connection.
How does this relate to my Affair? It really doesn't. I made a bad decision and had an Affair.