A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘sex’

Righteous indignation

I have been reading some new blogs. I am impressed with all the people who participate in writing as a form of expression of themselves. I actually started writing as part of my therapy. It has helped a lot. But I am disheartened by the content of so many blogs that I read. They are so many hurt people in this world. My vulnerability is showing and I do not care what people think of that. I have in my soul a place that feels deeply for so many. Maybe it is the Christmas music playing. Maybe it is because it is Charitable Tuesday. Something is weighing on me. This time of year brings out the good and wondrous, but also misery seems to increase. Maybe it is because we want the good at this time of year, the bad seems more heinous.

I like Christmas but I do not like all the commercialism. We have an event here called Roc the Day. It is when there is an all-out campaign to hit people up for money in the county. It is competitive by organization and it is very popular. Our organization had three entrees on the website for donations. I gave to one, but I also give at other times. The thing that bothered me was I overheard our foundation person talking to someone about how successful this is because of Christmas. People are more generous now and so they created this huge marketing plan in an attempt to get more donations. It works. But I do not like the idea of playing people.

And this led me down my path of righteous indignation tonight, especially after reading some blogs. What makes adults play on children, or should I say prey on them. What in the world creates lechery? Why would someone intentionally kill the spirit of a child for their own pleasure? I think part of why I struggle with this is because of my own experience. I will never understand why things occurred in my life; at least not while I am still in this plane of existence. I think it will be clear someday. I hold on to that as a concession. But tonight, it is overwhelming.

We accept that soldiers of war suffer from PTSD. But talking about childhood trauma and sexual abuse is still taboo. PTSD is not talked about or widely known as a medical condition for non-combat women. I think, and this is my personal theory, that it is because it is taken upon by the victim as a badge of shame. That they (we) feel they deserve what happened, or there is something so wrong or broken with them,(us), that they,(me), have a hard time sharing it or even talking about it. I know I do not speak of my childhood experiences with just anyone. And for the most part, I cannot articulate my experiences unless I write. I cannot speak about it. That is why I have such a feeling of companionship from the blogs.

Tonight I read about some pretty sad situations. This is not judgment, it is their story and to say it is anything but that it was sad would be not real. Even though the people have made a success out of their lives, at what cost? I think what potential was lost. I think of that often for myself. What could I have done with my life if I had not escaped by marrying the wrong person at such a young age? What could have become of my children if I had become a mother by marrying someone else? What-if? So many what-ifs? And the answer is “live for today.” Well, in reality, there is no other choice.

But back to my righteous indignation. Why is sexual abuse and child abuse not going way? I do not get this at all. I see parents walking kids to school for fear of them being abducted, yet they have no idea Uncle Ernie is playing “Hide the weenie” with their daughter. They turn a blind eye when their spouse crosses the line or a sibling playing house takes it too far. And why do we punish the victim and not the perpetrator? I know there are answers but why is this still an issue? It needs to stop.

But the thing that is sticking in my craw more tonight is why can’t we fix the adult that has had things happen to them? Why is there no big campaign to raise funds to help women (and men) who suffer from PTSD from childhood abuse? Why is this so difficult to heal from? I read how the past inflictions have made a living hell for so many. They suffer from chronic illnesses, fear and many are unable to work or function in the world as it is. They had the where-for-all to create a little pill to make a man get a stiffy. Really? We can’t fix the thousands of zombie-like adults who traverse this world? We cannot find some way to heal them to live their full potential, with our fear and shame?

I do not find this acceptable. I am angry and want to do something beneficial to change this situation, to help people heal, and become whole. I am so full of regret tonight that I am sitting here crying. I want to have another chance at this. I want to be twenty and able to go to college and train as a psychologist or therapist of some kind. But I am forty years past that and so I must find another way. I really feel I am wasting my existence more now than when I was younger.

My husband and I were talking about Christmas presents tonight. He is upset because I truly have nothing I want as a gift. But there is something I want and that is to find the purpose to my life. I am not sure how this post tonight got to this point, but I let my fingers do the talking. So what started out to be a post to bolster acceptance and power has left me feeling useless and in tears. So I am stopping writing for tonight. That is the first step. I do not need to beat myself up anymore.

Sharing dirty little secrets

The following blog  SEX is written by an extremely brave and courageous woman. It is hard to comprehend how she feels unless you have been there. I can imagine how much spirit it took to write this and even more strength to share it. The issue is not the event. It is not the past. It is the present moment and the reaction one has to various stimulus NOW. You cannot erase what happened and so any therapy that makes a person relive the trauma or go over the details of their past are often only re-traumatizing the client or patient. A good therapist gives the patient tools do deal with their trauma and their feelings and reactions in the present moment.
Pat writes about how she interprets sexual feelings now. She knows that any sexual advancement made by an adult to her is taken poorly; she does not enjoy it. She transfers sexual feelings to touch with her own son. Of course she does. It is safe. He is safe to her. She feels it is wrong, and it would be wrong if she were to follow through, which I am sure she didn’t. She loves her son. The problem is that she has attached so much garbage to any intimate relationship that when she feels the physical touch and closeness of a hug from her son, it triggers a response she deems inappropriate. But how would she not when the time and place in her life when she first had sexual relations was when she was a child. There was safety in the body, the smallness of her son. It has nothing to do with intercourse. It was about the intimacy she craves and the safe sensation of being touched by someone who does not want anything from her. THIS is how the cycle of sexual abuse CAN be continued, but Pat knows this is taboo. Instead, she carries so much shame with her. That is the gift that keeps on giving. (sarcasm)
My life is very similar in the sense that I do not like to be touched by anyone. It is extremely difficult for me to relax in any type of physically intimate relationship. My father deemed all women sluts and dirt. The only woman he did not have a comment about was my mother. Their relationship was the strangest growing up. They were never demonstrative. My mother and father never hugged or even sat close. The only kiss I ever saw them give each other was her on his bald head. But I discovered later why she was so Victorian in her manner about sex. My father used to berate me from the time I had boobs that I was a whore, which is incredibly funny since I was anything but promiscuous. There was no healthy sex education growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in white suburbia. Sex was naught and dirty and only “hoods” did that sort of thing.
To be safe and actually unbeknownst to me at the time, the “boyfriends” I had in high school were all gay. They were not out back then, but they were into the arts and gentle young men. I never pushed the issue of sex, and they did not either so it was safe. My best girlfriend was a toucher. She liked to tap on your hand or arm when she was talking to you. Finally one day she asked me why I pulled away every time. I just said I did not like to be touched and she was ok with it and was mindful.
My first sexual encounter as a young woman was disastrous. But I quickly learned that if I got drunk or high, I could relax enough. This became my pattern. My ex-husband was fine with it because I do not think it was ever about intimacy for him. Eventually, sex was the only thing I had to control in my life, so I withheld. He went quickly elsewhere. (Actually he was elsewhere before, during and after our marriage) When we first met, and I felt safe with him, I enjoyed walking hand in hand, cuddles and other intimate gentle touches. That soon turned to grabbing at me, dominating stances like having his arm on my shoulders and slapping my butt. The relationship deteriorated until it became sexually violent and that was when I pulled completely inside and put up the wall. For me, the wall was weight more than anything. I cannot say honestly that I did not want to have a sex and so I was a horrible flirt when out with the girls. But I never went through with anything. For me, it was the need to be desired more than anything.
My relationship with my now husband is platonic. It was established as such and remains. It works for the both of us.
The issue of touch is very touchy (ha ha) for me. The therapy I was in for two years was all touch therapy. It took three months for the therapist to be able to even begin therapy and touch me. The therapy is called Associative Awareness Technique. It is a system that used touch stimulus as part of the therapy in the form of different series of applications such as stroke, tap and pressure in very deliberate patterns and places. The concept is that it helps to deregulate the nervous system from going into flight fright or freeze when touched. It is much more than that and you can read about it here: http://www.rochesterptwellness.com/
As part of my healing process, I also took classes in Spiritual Healing Touch. I really enjoy applying touch therapy. As part of the class, you have to be the client and take turns. It was very hard for me but since I have taken a series of classes with the same girls I have gotten better at receiving. Sometimes it is amazing how I feel afterwards. There are certain partners that I am very comfortable with. I have to completely get out of my head when I am working on someone but because I am the one touching it works. One time they did a group healing on me and I have to say I was shaking I was so frightened. I was on the table and four ladies who I know well all were working on me at once. It was too much and I felt trapped.
The sensation of feeling trapped is very important and I am going to take a moment to explain. Sexual trauma or for that, all physical trauma is based on the premise of being in a situation beyond your control. Having your freedom in some manner removed is what triggers the fight, flight or freeze. You can run away, you can turn and fight for release or you can play dead and freeze, hoping the predatory will pass over you. Being trapped can sometimes not have to have another person physically confining you. You can be trapped mentally and it creates an even more profound sense of helplessness and defeat. This is often the case for people who are in a domestic violence situation. I will write more on this in later blogs. Do not judge, because those chains may be invisible, but trust me they exist.
For a young child, being in a violent home can feel like being trapped. You cannot tell anyone of your situation because that would excommunicate you from your source of survival. Children cannot see that there are alternatives and adult prey on them with that threat. “Tell someone and you will get sent to an orphanage.” “Tell someone and I will really get you the next time.” Children do not have the cognitive ability to see beyond their present moment and they have nothing to compare with.
I am still amazed that there are so many people out there who did not and cannot understand imperfect childhoods. I thought growing up with alcoholics was normal until I became old enough to visit other families whose parents did not get drunk. When and where I grew up, kids were on their own and invisible. Parents disappeared during sleep overs. I always thought they were doing what my folks did and that was sequestering themselves and getting drunk. Parents did not haul their kids everywhere. You walked or rode your bike. It was not until I was preteen that I saw a different structure in family life and once I did, I spent any moment I could out of my house and at my girlfriends. I never had a sleep over at my house. Only once did I have my friends at my house for my fifteenth birthday. My parents and I had moved into a three bedroom apartment and four of my girlfriends and I were in my bedroom listening to music. My father burst through the door, swearing about the “nigger music” we were listening to (it was a folk group) ripped the record off the turntable and smashed it. My friends left in a hurry. Forty years later two of my girlfriends and I got together for a reunion. I told them the whole story and they had no idea that that was what my home life was like. It was one of my dirty little secrets.