Hi...new here...

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Hi...new here...
3
Sun, 05-11-2003 - 9:19pm
Well...I almost can't believe I'm here posting about this...I've never wanted to "play the victim" despite having been abused sexually as a child, but I know that it's been a very big part of my problems relating to my husband sexually and if I don't get over this we're going to end up divorced.

To put it short I was molested by a babysitter's 16 y/o son when I was about 6 but I'm not sure of many details having blocked things out for so long. Also I was abused by a classmate..I don't know..within a year of the first abuse...not sure on that either.

I've been married for 9 years and have just about shut down completely sexually. Most reasons I've dealt with including a near-affair on my part and my husband's affair three years ago, and I've taken steps to deal with the health problems that have contributed. Dealing with the abuse is pretty much the main thing blocking me...

how do I get past a very deeply ingrained feeling that if I'm not even remotely in the mood to not touch me? for anything? how do I get to be able to enjoy being held, touched without wanting to close up right away thinking all he wants is sex if he so much as puts his arm around me?

growing up in an emotionally distant family in which not only were we virtual strangers, I was hit often by my older brother, and as a rule we weren't physically demonstrative...that didn't help much for me to be able to be physically intimate with anyone...also I was 14 when my house was broken into and my mother raped and stabbed...

I hate being like this...

Avatar for opal45
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 11:04am
It sounds like you've lead such an emotionally void life. I'm so sorry. I think that's what sets us up for abuse by predators like your babysitter's son. We're just open prey b/c we never received the nourishment of real love.

When you said "play the victim", man, I can remember this feeling so well. I spent years trying to rise above my abuse. I couldn't give into it, that's how you get victimized, right? By being weak and needy! Unfortunately, this strategy only continued my emotional isolation. I was like a walking zombie when it came to intimacy. It was and still is much easier for me to have sex with someone where the emotional bond is very shallow. Getting intimate with someone who God forbid cares for me, or at least says he does, turns me to stone.

I couldn't take living like this anymore so I knew it was time to "play the victim" and I had to seek *real* therapy. I had been in therapy on and off so many times in the past but I never addressed the issues head on. Going in this direction of really facing my past was such a hard decision given how much I resisted looking at those feelings over those years. However, I do believe it's the only way of cracking through this stuff. I'm 47 years old and recently divorced so I understand your fears. But I also have 3 children who were also living the emotional isolation from me that I got from my family. Oh, I hugged them more but I also knew the depth of love wasn't all the way there. I had to do this for them and for me. I felt determined to break this loveless cycle.

I doubt there's a person on this board who doesn't understand your desire to avoid those victim feelings. They SUCK! You might want to pick up a copy of "The Courage to Heal" by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis and/or "The Sexual Healing Journey" by Wendy Maltz. These books, especially the first, are wonderful books for survivors.

And FWIW, here's my take on being a victim vs. a survivor. I truly believe I can't be a THRIVER until I connect with being a victim, then purge those emotions that I've held within so long. And I've survived long enough, I want to THRIVE!

Good luck and many gentle hugs to you,

Gail

**gentle hugs**

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 5:08pm
I don't know if I can do this...I've spent so long of my life trying to prove I was strong and could handle everything but the abuse came on the heels of my parents' divorce (with allegations that my dad molested me too, but I've never believed it)...and yeah, it was pretty emotionally dead growing up...

it's only been in the past couple years that I've begun to feel ok as a woman and wear my hair long and wear dresses and skirts (outside of church) but I still hide myself away especially behind being overweight.

I learned early on that being female meant trouble would come your way...having a very feminist "men are crud" mother didn't help although I realize now most of that is from her own reactions to her own abuses....

it certainly was easier to be intimate with my husband before we were married...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 7:25pm
I think Opal has given you great advice about seeking therapy for your sex-related issues. I also second her recommendation for the books she mentioned. (I picked up cheap copies of both on half.com!)

I relate to what you shared about your weight issues. I have been a compulsive overeater since the summer after ninth grade. I am finding lots of healing in overeaters anonymous. They have a great website http://www.overeatersanonymous.org in case you're interested in checking it out. I have found that about half the people I've met in OA have sexual abuse histories.

Please keep coming back. The decision to heal is a huge commitment--but you're worth it. Recovery is hard, but the payoff is completely worth whatever pain it takes to get there.