Tag Archive | sex

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/

Reactions to another post, Protecting our children from sexual abuse

I read this post at another blog and had so many reactions to it. Some were very intense, and I was not able to immediately write and share. I am finally ready. Thank you to Morven for posting such a difficult, but important topic.

Please note, my intention is not to agree or disagree, but to share my point of view after reading something like this as an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and as a mother of young children. I’m going to copy and comment on parts here, but you can read the original at the link below.

http://morvensblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/protecting-our-children-from-sexual-abuse/#comment-1068

Teach children to use the proper names of their body parts. Just as you teach your children to call their nose a nose, they need to know what to call their private parts. This knowledge gives children the correct language needed for understanding their bodies, for asking questions they might have, expressing concern about parts of their body, and for telling about any behavior regarding sexual abuse.

I did not grow up in a world where the proper names were proper. As a child, I certainly knew the proper names for vagina and penis, but I would have been scolded or punished for using those “dirty words”. Those words tend to make people uncomfortable and can actually distract from the conversation. I am still uncomfortable using those terms with children. As a teacher, I used the general term “private parts” when necessary to avoid embarrassing kids – or myself – further. It just is not reasonable to ask a 1st grader who slipped on the playground if she hurt her vagina. So we need to have common words, but depending on the age, social situation, and location, sometimes the proper names may not be needed. My own children, still young elementary and preschool aged, call it a “pee-pee” or a “pee-er”. Because that is what it does – it pees. They can also say crotch, privates, butt, boobs, behind, chest, etc. Lots of words, and never any confusion. My eldest niece was raised with the proper terms, and made everyone uncomfortable by asking loudly “why the dog was licking its penis?” at age 3. Socially, it just makes us uncomfortable to hear those words from children, and I think that is ok. As long as you have a word that you and the child understand and everyone is comfortable using, this can vary by family. 

Teach children to set boundaries. Have a child practice moving your hand away from their body within a simple safe touch (like a shoulder or hand) and saying something like, “please stop.” This prepares children to set boundaries with a more uncomfortable or dangerous type of touch. Teach kids that it’s okay to say “NO” to touches or situations that make them feel uncomfortable. You might also consider having them practice interrupting a busy adult to say, “I need help.”

This one bothered me greatly. Just reading this paragraph filled me with fear, anxiety, and anger. Why? A few reasons, but perhaps mainly the thought of even pretending to inappropriately touch my own child, to make them uncomfortable, does not seem right. I could never do this. My young children would not understand anyway. Touching their shoulder and having them say stop will not prepare them for someone all of a sudden touching their privates.  Now we do enforce that “Stop” means stop and support and empower whoever says stop. More so with the siblings wrestling or tickling, that they need to respect each other and stop immediately.  I understand this suggestion, but would never actually do this. Just reading this, made me remember actually saying “stop” and “no” to my brother and my father, who both molested me during my childhood. But these words only work on people that already respect boundaries. They were useless to me as a child. The only way I could actually stop them from touching me, was to leave the room, and that was not always possible. And I didn’t even know I could actually leave the room, or even should leave the room until I was much older. When I was in preschool, I did not understand the sexuality part, and did not even feel uncomfortable enough to say no to Daddy. It was just how he touched me. In preschool, my privates did not seem any different from my knee tickle, or a tummy raspberry, and if Daddy wanted to touch me, I didn’t really care. I remember liking the attention and feeling very special that Daddy loved me so much, and only me. It took a few more years for me to realize what he was really doing. And not until my twenties to fully realize the extent of his grooming, brainwashing and abuse of me. This may be shocking to some. But when you don’t know it is wrong, you just don’t know it is wrong.

I have often thought what happened to me, and how it could have been prevented. But I always come up blank. My Dad knew exactly how to control his family, and orchestrated every step. Could my mom have helped me? If she had done some of these suggestions? If she had talked to me? Well, I think if Mom had talked to me, or actually, had listened to me – ever – then my whole life could have been different. But by the tame I came around, the youngest child, into a family already so dysfunctional, with dad as supreme being and everyone else bowing down to him, Mom just barely survived herself. She did not know exactly what happened in my room. Should she have? Well, I say yes, but, to move on with my life, I can’t just blame her for not stepping in, not following dad when he left her bed each night, for keeping her blinders on. We all feared making daddy angry. Mom was also a victim, and so could not always be a mom. I do think she knows he went into my room, but I have to believe she did not imagine he was capable of molesting me and never thought she needed to protect me from that.  I am not excusing her completely, just trying to explain how complicated living with a brilliant, pedophilic, psychopathic father really was.

that no one is to touch them in their private areas—and that their private areas are the areas their bathing suit covers. Teach them that the “safety rule” is that other people should not be touching or looking at their private parts unless they need to in order to provide care (like a doctor)—and even in those cases, a parent of trusted caregiver should be there with them. Explain to the child that “you need to tell me if anyone—no matter who it is, or how much we love them—breaks this safety rule and touches you inappropriately.” Also explain kids that it is unacceptable for someone else to use manipulation, blackmail, coercion, control, etc to get them touch someone else’s body.

Yes, absolutely! Except for the last sentence. Children don’t understand those concepts, or even those words. Possibly for teenagers, not my little ones. And the problem here, is that my dad made it clear he was the only one supposed to be touching me. My mom never told me that “no one” was to touch me.  I never told anyone when I was little because Daddy told me it was alright. Now my Mom never told me these things, she never told me much, other than not to interrupt her and other grownups. So I do wonder if she had known to tell me this, would it have helped? I’m thinking no, because I think it would have been impossible for a 3 year old to mistrust her dad. Daddy was always right. Always. So these suggestions may help older children, which I think many people assume sexual abuse happens to girls who are sexy, but pedophiles start grooming quite young. Way before sexy.

that their bodies belong to them and they can make choices related to the boundaries of their bodies.Let children know that it is okay for them to decline a friendly hug or kiss, even from a friend or family member they love. Making kids feel obligated to kiss or hug people when they don’t want to, sends the signal that they must use their bodies to make others happy or that they are responsible for the emotional state of others.If your child doesn’t want to sit on Uncle Joe’s lap and read a book, or if he doesn’t want to kiss Gramma or hug family friend Phil goodbye, don’t force the child. Teach your child multiple ways of greeting people, like high-fives and hand-shakes…or do like the Bromley’s and pass out fist-bump-explosions. 

I do follow that one. My kids have never been required to hug, kiss, sit on laps. Not Grandma, not Auntie, not even Santa. We encourage affection, but respect boundaries. If a kiddo wants to hide behind me while a very loud Auntie seeks out a way too big kiss, well, then, I am happy to be a physical boundary to enforce that psychological boundary. I remember being forced to kiss relatives goodnight and sit on all kinds of laps as a child. It was never my choice what to do with my body, and how or when to express affection. I never learned to be affectionate, only to follow commands. Even now, I don’t naturally feel like hugging anyone, even my own kids sometimes I must remind myself to touch them, that they need it, and it is ok. Once I do, it feels right, and we get all snuggly. But it is not automatic for me. I learned very young that affection was to be hidden, kept secret, or “special” as daddy said.

I decided to finally share this post today because my daughter asked me last night what “sex” is. What??? Panic. Sweat. Die. Run. Smile stupidly while brain races for an answer.

(So I froze up at first, wanted to die rather than answer this, but somehow managed to ask her where she heard the word.  Girly reads many years above her grade level, so characters in her books are older than her. Hmmm. She said someone read a book in her book, and said “it was OK but needed more sex” . I then provided a simple answer based on her context. I said “It is what mommies and daddies, or husbands and wives do together to show they love each other”. She said, ” Oh, like kissing?” I said “yes”. She was satisfied, so I stopped there. I know more will be needed. I hope I did ok for now. I hope she continues to ask me questions, but really I don’t want her to at all. Deep breath. OK. I did it. And I didn’t die.

Oh man, my babies are growing up. I need strength and guidance to continue raising these kiddos, prepare them, love them, guide them, empower them. I am going to make mistakes. But it seems that if the mistakes come from love, then it all works out eventually. Life is meant to be a bumpy ride. So we can’t remove the bumps, but we can give our kids helmets and bandages.

Going to Bed Early is Easier when Not Alone

Not trying to brag here, well OK, maybe a little bragging, but mainly sharing another tip for getting a good night’s sleep and having a good morning. (wink)

Go to bed early – with your husband! (blush)

Yes, you got it. Hubby is such a good listener these days, and so ready to help me. I told him I need more sleep, but didn’t want to miss out on our time together, usually spent watching TV while kids are in bed. So he suggested we watch just 1 TV show each night and then both go to bed early. (Isn’t he thoughtful?) He gets up at 5:30am for work, and I’ve been getting up with him for a while now, to reset my internal clock and spend a few peaceful morning minutes with him, and then alone before kids wake up.

So we get the kids in bed, go downstairs and snuggle on the couch, pour a drink, have some cheese or nuts to offset carbs in the drink, and start watching a recorded show that we both like. Currently into Warehouse 13, White Collar, Psych. Anyways, we umm, have not seen the end to most any show we start, because the snuggling turns to petting, the petting turns to kissing, and well, we’re quickly ready to go upstairs to bed.

Yes. Every night. Yes, I’m bragging again, sorry. It is just so amazing! For nearly a decade we barely knew we lived in the same house. I can not believe this transformation, and how good it is for all of us. Mom and dad being so connected is felt by the kids, even if they don’t know exactly how we’re connecting. They just know we are together now, and not fighting, not yelling, and giving each other playful looks, whispers, and swats. They know we are happy and it makes them feel happy and secure.

So, just recommending this nightly ‘exercise’ regime right before sleeping plan, as it paves the way for a truly restful night of sleep. I’ve never looked forward to going to bed early in my whole life. I know I did not invent this idea, but I think it would be novel for many couples married so long.

And then in the morning, we have the alarm set early enough for either another round of ‘exercise’, or just a flirty snuggle, that keeps us connected all day long and longing to go to bed early again. We send some flirty emails throughout the day to seal the deal. (Oh behave!)

 

 

Too Sexy for Myself?

I had planned to write a sequential history of my perceptions and feelings about sex. I published part 1 and made it to fifth grade. It is unbelievably difficult to put those middle and high school years down on paper. Too much trauma and confusion to sort through right now.

So I am skipping ahead to a current dilemma of mine. I place very strong judgments on the women I see daily and get very angry at times at what they choose to wear. I get crazy angry at the mothers of young girls who let them wear skimpy clothing. I get super angry at those restaurants that feature busty waitresses in tiny tops. I am nauseated that an “exotic dancing” club is in the mall lot, right next to Target and Kohl’s.

I didn’t realize how deep and strong this anger was until a few days ago. I’m still trying to sort it out. I drive past a billboard for “Tilted Kilts” that advertises itself as the best looking sports pub around. Another has this busty chick holding a tray of beer “Beer has never looked so good”. I want to scream. I hate it.

OK, so no one forced those girls to work there. But it makes me so angry that they do it. It just seems so cheap. Would you like anything else, or just another look at my cleavage? I don’t understand. Anyone I know would be so uncomfortable to eat there.

And yet, I have no problem with girls wearing even less at the beach. And the girls on So You Think You can Dance sure don’t wear much, and no anger there. So I know it isn’t exactly the outfit that bothers me, I guess it is the selling point. The lack of art. They are not dancing, they are selling beer. The difference in cheap thrills, porn and fine art. I don’t know.

I discovered about a year ago, that I had lost all my own femininity. I was hiding all my curves under baggy sweats, XL tshirts, and even often wore hubby’s clothes. Nothing cute, nothing frilly, and certainly nothing flirty. I did not actively choose that, I think it just sort of happened in my efforts to be invisible. I did not want anyone looking at me. I felt like nothing, and wanted to look like nothing.

I have some prettier clothes now that I adore wearing. I pay more attention to my hair and nails. I even have more than 1 pair of shoes now, though I still wear athletic sandals most days, as comfort always comes first. I bought lipstick for the first time since college. But I noticed it is so much easier to flirt with hubby when I think I look pretty. He never said he minded the boyish cover everything clothes, but I can sure tell he enjoys the curve-flattering styles much more! Now, I still dress quite modestly, especially compared to some of my friends. I just don’t feel right showing cleavage to the whole world, that’s just for hubby. I have some tops that hint at cleavage, which to me, is much sexier than letting it all hang out.

Now here’s where it gets difficult. If I wear something sexy or naughty at home, for hubby only, that I equate with those cheap waitress outfits, or worse, with strip clubs, can I respect myself? Does hubby really respect me? I think I do. I think he does.

And I think I answered my initial question then of where this anger comes from. I have no problem with the outfits, but with the girls sharing their goodies with the general public. And for tempting good men to think less of them. To then think less of all women. I guess I think until we no longer have women willing to sell their bodies, we will always have men ready to see them as objects and vice versa.

I grew up as an object, but it was not my choice. I just wonder how those girls convince themselves it is ok. And I fear that whatever monetary gain those waitresses have, will never make up for the loss of self-respect, even if they don’t know it yet.

I wonder how much my past will guide my future. I have not yet let my daughter wear a bikini, short shorts or skirts. Now we’re not extreme, but I dress her like a little girl, not like the current trends. I would also be uncomfortable letting her be a cheerleader. Our high school has extremely short skirts, with a side slit. No idea why they do this to our girls. And Dallas cheerleaders disgust me.

So there. That’s how I feel. Not right or wrong, but personally how I feel. I hate that I think less of those girls, but I do. And if I were trying to run really fast or catch a ball, I certainly would not want a bunch of buff shirtless men strutting around screaming. How are cheerleaders exactly helpful? Oh well, enough, I just don’t understand this world and why some women put themselves in lesser roles. Or what I perceive as lesser roles – maybe I’m too judgy here.  Should I just lighten up? Am I the strange one that I feel embarrassed for these girls?

Getting Naked, Proceed Carefully – part 1

(mature and triggering content)

I started this blog to delve into issues in my life caused by childhood sexual abuse and show that I survived. My father molested me and sexualized me from as early as I can remember, so I assume he started before I was 3. My much older brother molested me for about a year, fuzzy memory here, but I think I was in third or fourth grade. This has of course affected every part of who I am, and made a natural exploration into my own sexuality as an adolescent or young adult impossible.

I’m going to start with some early thoughts and make this a series that gets closer to my current thoughts, if I am brave enough to hit publish on the current ones, that is. Somehow writing about my childhood and adolescence no longer seems like me, and I am able to remove all (some) guilt from my choices. My goal here is to document these early memories and thoughts for myself to examine my progress and growth. My secondary goal is to open discussion to others that were hurt in childhood and offer a safe place to see we are not alone. I can finally discuss these topics with some perspective, and I think (hope) it will no longer trigger terrible depression and anxiety. I guess this is kind of a test for me to too in that way.

I started pursuing boys in Kindergarten. I remember wanting them to like me, no NEEDING them to like me, and to think I was pretty all through elementary school. I needed their attention. I stole kisses in the back of the bus or behind a tree on the playground. I was obsessed by boys, and devastated when they did not return my affection. None of them were friends, we did not play together or even talk much. I always had a boy on my mind, and would doodle his name, draw goofy heart pictures with our initials, practice writing my name with his last name, and always tried to prove my love in terribly embarrassing ways.

By third grade, I had already seen so much porn, and been told so many dirty jokes, that my vocabulary was mature and disgusting. I would try to impress others with this knowledge, and get only blank stares back. I assume they told their moms what I said and were told not to talk to me. Or they just chose not to talk to me on their own, but my dirty mouth never got me any where. I learned not to share my inner world, and became known as “quiet” and “shy”, even though I am not, and never was.

By fourth grade I learned that boys like lace and short skirts, and makeup, and nice hair, and perfume. I was still somewhat a tomboy in appearance, talking trash and climbing trees, but would attempt to “wow” everyone on special dress-up days. I remember one day getting ready for spring pictures. I had a brand new lavender frilly dress, new shiny shoes with small heels, and I asked my mom to do my hair. She had me sleep in her hair rollers, the pink spongy kind, and by morning my hair was huge! That is not recommended for natural curly, way too much hair on one head, like I have. She finished me up with a curling iron and hair spray, and my typical bouncy curls that used to reach mid-back, was curled up with so much volume it was above my shoulders. Think of the wife on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” but much, much bigger. My mom also let me use some lipstick. She told me I looked beautiful and sent me to school, and I felt higher than a kite! I stepped into homeroom, and EVERYONE including the teachers, secretary and principal laughed at me and had to go get other teachers to see me. I can kind of laugh now, but that was devastating. I recall one kid saying I looked like I fell off a boat. Sigh. I ran to the girls’ room and vomited, and then asked to go home. The rest of the year, I did anything to NOT get attention at school. I stopped talking, never dressed up, and got really good at being invisible.

By Fifth grade, they taught us “Life Skills” and I learned many facts about what I had seen in porn and from what my dad and brother were doing to me by that age. I became obsessed with puberty, as in I thought I was ready for it. I thought if I focused hard enough, I could will my body to sprout breasts and start menstruation. I wanted my body to look and feel like my internal thoughts. I wanted boys to love me. I wanted boys to stare at me like Angela, the girl with Double D cups already (ok, probably not, but since most of us had no cup size at all, sure seemed that way in my memory here). I hated her for the attention she got. I thought maybe if I looked grown up, those grown up activities would make sense. I still did not know at that point that it was not normal for dads and brothers to molest little girls. I assumed this happened in every family, and funny (not funny at all really) how life works, but that fact was proven to me in my choice of friends. I connected with another quiet little girl that moved in down my street. I went over there to play on her monkey bars and play that board game with the dice in the pop-up bubble. Very normal kid things. It never crossed my mind to tell anyone that while we played in her room or yard, her grandfather was raping her older sister. We just knew to leave to before he done, lest he come after us. One day he took off his belt and started beating my friend for allowing me to come over, and then he took a step towards me with the belt raised over his head. I ran home, never looked back, and never spoke to her again. I was afraid to get her in trouble. I thought it was my fault she got hurt, and thought she’d be fine if I left her alone.

Hitting Publish on Private Posts – Do I Dare?

Sometimes hitting the publish button takes a bit of extra strength and energy, as I decide if I really want to subject my private life, thoughts, and my little world to the general public. I mean look at those options, visibility: Public. Yes, anyone can read it if they find it. Publish immediately. Yes, right now. Hitting Publish means ANYONE can read it IMMEDIATELY. And so I hesitate at times.

But publishing on a regular basis, I think has been responsible for so much of my personal growth and healing over the past year or so. I started blogging about fluff. Cute things, things that made me happy, all happy, happy positive. I attached my name and photo to that blog. I never spoke of my abuse, and my troubles. But then I started reading some blogs that were intense, and personal, and I admired their bravery, and I wanted to reach out to them, but felt I could not, not with my real name.

And so Roots To Blossom was created to share ALL of me. Not just the nice and cute and positive. I do share that too, but now I have complete freedom to share any thought at all.

My blog is mainly for me. My brain gets all jumbled up with too many thoughts, and writing has always helped to settle my emotions, bring about a sense of peace and closure to an otherwise chaotic mess. I also periodically re-read old posts to see how I used to feel and compare it to now, for therapeutic reasons, and to get to know myself better. OK, So why post publicly?

It keeps me real. I can’t explain, but it does. I feel I need to be honest, more precise, and write clearly if there is a possibility of someone else reading it. Even 1 reader makes me re-read, edit a bit, and give most posts a point. I don’t promise to get to that point eloquently, but it is usually in there some where. My personal journals with no external readers lack this focus and were not as helpful to me. Fascinating really. The internet has brought people together in such amazing ways. I can’t believe the connection I feel to other bloggers here, like my extended family now.

But sometimes I really struggle to hit publish on my private thoughts and actions. Especially the ones about sex and intimacy with my husband. Part of me thinks this should remain private. But the part of me that hits publish, wants to reach out to anyone else who may stumble across my blog, and has been sexually abused, and offer my little view of the world. And I think my blog would be lacking important information if I skipped over the fact that childhood sexual abuse creates problems in adulthood sexuality.

Sex is a part of my earliest memories. I recall my dad was touching me when I 3, and I assume it started in infancy. He made me watch porn with him. He told me dirty jokes.  I can write this now without vomiting. I have accepted it, grieved for that baby girl in me, and I’m still working on becoming whole. My dad stole a part of me that may never be fully whole again. I have accepted this too. It does not mean I will stop trying, stop growing, but it does add the idea that I’m OK right now. I’m OK even if I don’t become whole.

This idea is so important I think, and what is missing from most self-help books, and most counseling sessions. In my experience, books and counselors actually add to the notion that we are damaged humans, and that we must work hard to fix that. Maybe I added the judgment that I am not OK until I fix that, but I do think it a message supported in psychology more than any other medical field. I’d like everyone who is hurting to know that they are OK right now!

And right now, I have made it through a bit of a sexual identity crisis. Not a gender or homosexual thing, just figuring out my sexual side, like I should have done in my adolescence or as a newlywed but was not ready to do then. Hubby and I have been a bit like teenagers in the bedroom lately, except with maturity and experience to make it even better, re-connecting mind, body and soul. It has been wonderful for us both, as we both feel loved and desired. It has been wonderful for our marriage.

But it was not easy to get here. Not easy at all.

So I keep debating, do I write about the sexual side of marriage, and actually hit publish? Yes, I think I need to. I mean what’s the big deal, no one out there can see me blush.

Boundaries in a Healthy Marriage

Survivors of childhood abuse often have trouble establishing healthy boundaries in relationships. I am currently struggling with this in my marriage.

I have been reading about learning to trust, building intimacy, and lots of other abstract terms that seem frustratingly out of my reach.  I want to trust my husband – but I don’t. I trust him more than I used to, but I’m not sure trust can be a percentage and still be called trust. I’m trying to let him in, to tear down my protective walls. But that little girl I used to be, built quite a sturdy foundation and these walls are thick. My father started abusing me before I can remember, which is age 3, and I guess that little girl hid her true self so deep down behind those walls for self-preservation, before she even understood what it was.

And yet, those walls are coming down, and now I want to know just how far they should come down. I mean, should a husband and wife share absolutely every inner thought, desire, fantasy, fear, or dream with each other? The romantic part of me says “yes”. Yes we should give ourselves to each other completely, mind, body and soul. That the line between us may blur a bit as we don’t know where one stops and the other begins. But the part of me remaining behind the wall says “no”. Actually that part of me screams “NO-Don’t you dare let him in here you fool!”

I have read conflicting advice on this as well. Some happy couples share everything (but do they really?), and some need some privacy. I know we have to figure this out on our own, develop what feels right for us. But how do  we do this? I don’t even know how to bring up this type of conversation, and when I try, that hidden little girl starts screaming again and I just stop. But the other thing is, I’m not sure he wants in, or wants to let me in at that level.

Argh, so how do you have complete trust but also withhold major parts of who you are?

Like this blog, for example, hubby knows it exists, but to my knowledge he does not read it. I’m not that careful about logging out, but I also have never directly invited him in. He does not ask me about it either. Is this respect or disinterest? Is he content to let the bloggers handle these tough topics?

2 days ago he found a rough draft of a topic I have not yet been brave enough to post: concerns about sexuality, and sharing needs and fantasies, and my opinions and research on the use of pornography by either spouse in a healthy marriage. We have not yet talked about what he read, other than the fact he read it – and it is killing me to know what he thinks. But sitting together each night, it is so much easier to just watch TV and let these things go unsaid. Why? Because I am afraid of what we may find out, and things are going so well here otherwise. This talk has the potential to bring us even closer together, but what if it doesn’t? You can’t unshare a deep dark secret.

So tonight I have to bring it up, to follow my 3 day rule. Stupid rule. Deep breath. I can do this.