Posted by: Marie | March 22, 2009

(35) The loss of innocence

Post #35
[Journal entry written to my therapist on Sunday, May 11, 2008]

Hi, Mark –

Thinking back on this week’s session, I want to capture, for posterity’s sake, a number of concepts that I learned from you:

1) I like how you captured my current feelings about marriage – that I’m not interested in marriage right now because I am only interested in relationships that have escape hatches built in.  That is very true.  Someday, I will need to look at my fear behind that so I can enjoy the blessings associated with being in a fully committed relationship.

2) I now understand that my fear of being hurt is more specifically associated with the fear that I will be rejected by someone with whom I have shared my core being – that is what I feared when I pulled away from you.

3) I learned it is actually healthy/normal to be concerned (even fearful?) about being rejected – I shared a huge amount of very personal stuff with you in a very short period of time, maybe before we developed a commiserate level of trust – that increased the risk for me.  I hear that you are suggesting that I take my time in sharing the more personal aspects of myself with a potential romantic partner – allow time for a relative level of trust to develop before I share deeper stuff – this decreases the risk and my fear, and increases the chances of success in the healthy progression in the relationship.

4) I understand that I tend to share personal stuff more quickly than is usually appropriate.  I like your suggestion that I follow the other person’s lead – allow the other person to open up a new level of discussion and then meet him or her there.

5) I am becoming aware of my dating habits in high school, college and during my internship – I handed the guy the entire “book” of my life/being and demanded that he accept the entire story all at once – in response, the guy always turn and ran.  Then, when I left the fellowship of the church, I gave up on sharing “who I am” and started sharing my body, instead – again, granting full access to my body on the first date.  The honorable men ran and the less honorable men took advantage of my body and then left me.  Now, I am willing to try a whole new approach – a bit of mystery!

6) Given the exploration I find I need in redefining my masturbation/fantasy habits, I am guessing that I will need the same type of freedom to explore and change my mind as I invite a romantic partner into my bed – as I learn to enjoy sex for the sake of pleasure.  I don’t even know what I like!  It is very important that the person with whom I next choose to be intimate be a gentle, patient and understanding soul – I need someone who will grant me the time and space for, and who will willing participate in that exploration.

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I continue to experience islands of time where I am deeply sad for my early-life experiences – not just being molested, but all the experiences that helped to shape the belief that I was fundamentally damaged, broken and unlovable.

I am sad for the romantic relationships I didn’t have, the experience of unconditional love and total acceptance from a partner that I never experienced, the years of profound loneliness I endured and the millions of times I asked myself, “why not me?”

I am sad for all the opportunities people didn’t take to say to me, “this isn’t a permanent state – this is fixable – go get help!”  I’m sad for the years of shame I carried on my shoulders because no one told me it wasn’t my fault.

I am sad for the little girl who was only trying to please the adults in her life, who didn’t have a choice, who was “shushed” into silent endurance, who was not given permission to complain, who had nowhere to turn for help, who disconnected from pain and reality in order to survive.

I am sad for the loss of my innocence at such an early age.  I am sad that I had to carry, and integrate into my soul such vile and degrading images for which I didn’t possess context or vocabulary.  It was a crushing burden.

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I’m doing okay with the sadness – it feels like all I can do is let it come out, little by little, and take the time to sit and reflect, and feel – it seems it is something I have to do for myself, by myself – something you (Mark) can’t really help me with.  Sometimes it gets pretty intense, but not overwhelming – sometimes it is intense enough that I want to scream or yell or groan, but I haven’t given myself permission to do that – it still feels like I have to be silent – that is the only part that concerns me right now.

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On days where I am more “goal” and “action” oriented – when I’m not feeling the strong emotions tied to all of this, I find myself thinking that it there is no way I could have been molested – it just didn’t happen – I must have made it up or imagined it.  On those days, I find myself really believing nothing happened.  When I go back and forth on this (believing it strongly one day, then not at all on other days), it is really hard to process and organize it.

I want to move beyond this, to stop always thinking/writing about my sexuality, but I guess it is going to take a while to get through this.

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I know it is a step forward that I have started masturbating again – as long as I had that part of me shut down, I could avoid the risk of being aroused by my old fantasies – the fantasies that I now know are real memories.  If I allowed myself to be aroused by the memories of my own rape, it would be easy to perceive myself as organically bad.

So, by resuming masturbation, I accepted that risk.  And, a couple of times, I have seen or heard something that triggered my arousal response to the violent rape scenario – and I returned to pornography in the less violent end of the spectrum to reach orgasm.  That left me with a relatively disgusted feeling.

I have to remember that I am shifting a behavior that has been a staple of my life experience for 30 of my 40 years – the triggers run very deep.  Also, I am still sorting through the “middle ground”, the grey area of fantasy – I am clear that fantasizing about degradingly violent rape is unacceptable, and that fantasizing about gentle, loving and generous lovemaking is very positive – I am still feeling out and identifying what is acceptable and healthy in the middle.

I am holding tightly onto what you told me in our sessions – that I can rest assured that I am organically good because my fear of being bad is so great – proof of my goodness can be found in how shear instinct compels me to fight with every fiber of my being to expel the destructive habits (the “bad”) and to embrace healthy habits (the “good”).

– Marie


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