Don’t Lament Time Lost Healing – Recovering From Sexual Abuse

http://positiveoutlooksblog.com/2012/11/03/right-time-quotes/ Click to visit the original post I used to struggle with this one. I guess I still do a bit – the idea that I am only now growing up and taking charge of my life, that I missed out on a ‘normal’ childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. That type of thinking gets us no where fast. Better to think that all those earlier years were not lost, not wasted, but shaped us into who we are now. Of course that thought was not comforting at all when I did not like myself, or even accept myself. Actually added to my ‘life is pointless’ train of thought.  I guess every abuse survivor gets stuck on the “Why me?” every now and then. I don’t have an answer for that, and I suppose I never will. But I have mostly accepted that and am now able to define myself in other ways. Yes, I am an abuse survivor. Yes that shaped who I am. But it didn’t shape all of me. I have been me all along. And the parts that have been shaped, are still capable of being shaped. People are much more like clay than stone. Life makes impressions on us, may even flatten us at times, but it is never too late to get back on the potter’s wheel and take another spin. Every day we have another chance to shape ourselves – and the possibilities really are endless!

I have recently discovered so many parts of me, my attitudes, my inner thoughts, my beliefs, my actions, and my perceptions were all shaped by my childhood. I have discussed before the need to sever the taproot of my monstrous father that was still feeding me foul, putrid lies. Many of my beliefs came crashing down on me this past November when I questioned again, if I could ever be happy in my marriage. We had come so far into the world of intimacy – I felt closer to my husband than ever, closer to him than to anyone, closer than I ever thought possible. But then I panicked. I felt trapped into ignoring my past, pretending I was not in daily pain and triggered with horrifying memories when he touched me. I realized that disassociating my present mind into some other safe place had become such a habit that I didn’t even know I was doing it. And then I didn’t know if I could stop. I wanted to turn back time and un-realize this. I didn’t think I was capable of healing my sexuality. I thought the task was too large. I thought that my Dad had done too much damage to my spirit to ever allow someone to connect to me spiritually. I was wrong. I started reading The Sexual Healing Journey, by Wendy Maltz, a few months ago. I finally finished it last week. This was NOT an easy task, to read this book, to face my troubles, and wonder if there was any hope. I highly recommend this book to any adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse – but only when you are ready, and only if you have support. I had my therapist and my husband, all 3 of us working together to understand, and then to heal.

The book starts out fairly early with a chart that literally blew my mind. I had no idea I had so many unhealthy thoughts, attitudes, habits, behaviors, and feelings about sex. I have included the chart below. I’m not listing out which ones I had specifically, but let’s say only about 3 of these fell onto the healthy side. I was literally shaking and in tears after just reading this chart and realizing all the work I had to do to heal myself, and have a healthy relationship with my husband. It was honestly all too much, combined with Thanksgiving stresses (I have not shared that story yet – just too much to tell) and I felt like I had to start on my own, without Hubby any where near me while I sorted things out. And that was another huge reason for our healing separation back in November, when he stayed at his parents’ house for a while. We weren’t bickering about taking out the trash or disagreeing about raising kids – we were trying to recover from my childhood trauma. Something worth mentioning here – Hubby did not have many unhealthy views of sex at all. And he had no idea, that all these years, these were my inner thoughts. It was devastating to us both. To think that I had 18 years of marriage with so many unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. At first I was so saddened by this that I could not function. I was angry at life for damaging me. But then, slowly, I started to read more of this book, talk more to my therapist and Hubby, and started thinking, “What if I can get better? I could have a whole healthy life ahead of me to look forward to, to share with a man who loves me! What if this book is right? What if I really can actually heal, and not just tolerate being hurt and unhealthy?” And so I jumped in to this messy business of healing. I threw out every idea I had, and was ready to start over. I’ll try to fill in some of the details of the past few months in a few more posts here, but as you can imagine, this is not easy to write about, and even harder to hit that publish button. But I know I am not alone in my struggles, and if my words can help even one other person, be it someone who was abused, or someone who loves someone who was abused, well, then, I can hit publish.

Sexual Abuse and Addiction

Healthy Sex

Sex is uncontrollable energy Sex is controllable energy
Sex is an obligation Sex is a choice
Sex is addictive Sex is a natural drive
Sex is hurtful Sex is nurturing, healing
Sex is a condition for love or devoid of love Sex is an expression of love
Sex is “doing to” someone Sex is sharing with someone;
sex is part of who I am
Sex is void of communication Sex requires communication
Sex is secretive Sex is private
Sex is exploitative Sex is respectful
Sex is deceitful Sex is honest
Sex benefits one person Sex is mutual
Sex is emotionally distant Sex is intimate
Sex is irresponsible Sex is responsible
Sex is unsafe Sex is safe
Sex has no limits Sex has boundaries
Sex is power over someone Sex is empowering
Sex requires a double life Sex enhances who you really are
Sex compromises your values Sex reflects your values
Sex feels shameful Sex enhances self esteem

Chart From the Sexual Healing Journey, by Wendy Maltz

 

 

 

More resources from Wendy Maltz at http://www.healthysex.com/

10 thoughts on “Don’t Lament Time Lost Healing – Recovering From Sexual Abuse

  1. Thanks for posting this, Roots to Blossom. This is really helpful. It’s also a little funny as I work on my next romance novel. I see the unhealthy views in so many novels. Drives me crazy. I choose my favorite authors by how healthy their views are. I’m going to have to come back to this from time to time and review where I am. I’m so happy for you.

    • I have also begun to realize how many unhealthy views are portrayed in novels, movies, and everywhere really. In fact I have been turned off of the romance genre, and I think this is why. I’d be interested in your list of healthy authors if you don’t mind sharing, other than yourself – I am already enjoying your novel 🙂

      • Some on my yes list aren’t so much healthy as I learn something from them, like Lucy Monroe. Her perspective is that lovemaking scenes should reveal something about the characters, besides their skills. I like that the characters accept responsibility for their physical desires. Diane Gaston tries to stick to healthy. Anne Gracie and Elizabeth Rolls. Tara Taylor Quinn is an abuse survivor and shares it in her characters. They all have lovemaking scenes. In between writers are Gail Delaney and A.R. Norris. Among my inspirational favorites are Carla Capshaw Kathryn Springer, Linda Goodnight, Teri Wilson, and Arlene James. I actually have a list of about 74 authors I collect. They vary in heat and genre, from contemporary to Regency to paranormal. I also have a list of approximately 1,000 authors I’ll either never read again or will only read on occasion. Yes, I have an actual list. I was tired of repeating mistakes. It depends on what you’re looking for. Over at Laurel Hawkes as a Favorite Reads page and over at Ladyhawkhollow you can click on the TBR in the cloud and it has books I enjoyed. I never blog about books I hated.

  2. Pingback: Understanding Does Not Mean Instant Change | Roots to Blossom

  3. Thanks for this R2B. I struggle so much with resentment over the past. How many of the “important” moments of my life were overshadowed by abusive people in my life. I can be angry that I didn’t respond to these people in the way I would now (although, I didn’t have the ability, tools, or knowledge to respond in that way back then). Kind of a catch 22 situation. I’m trying to be patient with myself and accept the changes and growth as it comes, but it can be so difficult.
    I appreciate you sharing your story. You are so brave and courageous and I’m always amazed at the work you are doing to overcome your past.

    • I know exactly what you mean, it can be hard to accept that you have new knowledge and skills and understand that you did not have the ability in the past. Self acceptance has to apply to your entire life. Understand we always do what we can, when we can, with what tools we have at that time. So hard to do this though. Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement, and I wish you well on your own journey!

    • I want to believe that is true, I really do. I hope by posting my thoughts here for anyone to find, that maybe a few souls will feel not quite so alone in this world and be able to reach out as well. People need people, we do. And the world is full of loving people, that can be hard to find when you are down and feeling alone. Blogging has become such an important tool in my recovery. Thank you so much for your encouragement! xx

  4. Pingback: Sometimes it is Better to Go To Bed Angry | Roots to Blossom

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s