Posted by: Marie | March 30, 2009

(38) The sexual pleasure I experienced

Post #38
[Journal entry written to my therapist on Sunday, June 1, 2008 – Part 1 of 2]

Hi, Mark –

Well, this has been a neat week!  It has been a time of being part of something bigger than myself.  It is so cool to see people come together, seeing strangers becoming friends and all of us working our butts off.  One of the three “special needs” people we took in got a permanent place right behind us.  I am glad because I have gotten rather attached to him and would like to stay in contact – we can holler at each other over the fence, LOL!

Since my focus has been mainly on disaster relief efforts, I haven’t taken time to specifically work on my therapy stuff.  However, in the fleeting quiet moments, I have been experiencing intense emotions and significant revelations – they come hard and fast, as soon as I am still for any length of time.  I guess the community spirit and the dramatic displays of emotion and goodwill (by others and by me) has really opened up (something?) in me and has brought my own buried emotions and memories to the surface – an unexpected benefit of the tornado!

I know this is a lengthy document – that is the result of having a week of intense remembering and new awareness/understanding.

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I’m still processing my recollection of the details of my sexual abuse – when I recalled it, it felt like I was making up the story (like creative writing), it felt like I was not drawing from my own experience.

However, I had to be drawing from my own experience because the story flowed effortlessly from deep within me – I didn’t have to think through the details or the logistics, the detailed integration of the various components was already complete.  Given the fact that writing novel-type stories has always been difficult for me (I prefer technical writing), I have to believe this story came from first-hand experience – it is a story I have known for a long time and have known well.

I thought remembering the detail might bring a new level of pain for me; however, it has not.  I was already experiencing the pain, shame, guilt, etc. – remembering didn’t increase it.  Remembering actually connects some dots for me – it makes the abuse more real and believable for me; which, in turn, brings a level of relief – it further confirms that I’m not crazy, bad, overly-dramatic or recalling a “movie”.

When I allow myself to re-experience my abuse, I am acutely aware of the sexual pleasure I experienced, and the power I felt in knowing I was so special and desirable that, when the time was right, I would have no problem pushing his wife out of the picture – those were the pleasurable parts, and the source of most of my current shame and conflict.  (I struggle with seeing myself as a victim because I experienced pleasure and power, even though I logically know I was not old enough to have the ability to consent.)

I think the reason I have had difficulty recalling the details is because, to do so, I had to recall the pleasure and how hard I fought to pull him away from his wife.  It is my current theory that, at some point during the abuse, I became aware that the pleasurable parts were “sinful” and had to be kept secret.  I am guessing he told me to keep it “our secret”.  Also, my gut feeling is that I tried to tell my mom about what was happening and she reacted in a horrified, incredulous manner, which led me to believe I had to keep it secret.

I think my belief that the pleasure was sinful/secret was enforced when I later learned about “the birds and the bees” (when I was nine years old), at which time I was taught that I was not to be sexually active, or even sexual, until I got married.  In order to be virginal/non-sexual, I had to devalue and “forget” the pleasurable part of my memories/fantasies – alas, the violent rape theme in which the “fantasy me” experiences no pleasure but the “real me” orgasms (empathetically?) with the “fantasy man”.

I am also aware that I disconnected from my body during the painful parts of my abuse – so, my memories of the painful parts are more detached/mechanical than emotional.  (Does that make sense?)  The same thing is true of when my dad was whipping me – I remember watching from a distance (my viewpoint was from above, looking down) and being aware of the pain but not really feeling it or internalizing it – like it was happening to someone else.

Yet, I can remember feeling overwhelmed by the ugly parts of the sexual abuse – I had no one to tell, no safe place to go to – it was a very unbearable feeling – the monster was not just a figment of my imagination, it was a living and breathing reality that I had no choice but to embrace.

When I tried to talk about “it”, or talk about any feelings/experiences, no one listened – I felt ignored, invisible, a non-person – and a non-person has no control over her own body (only real people have control over their own bodies).  Not only was my body not my own, I wasn’t entitled to the normal trappings a real person can expect (relationships, fun, expression of my feelings, etc.) – I am discovering that I still feel this way, to a large extent.

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People have suggested that I binge eat to fill a void, but that has never felt accurate.  I have come to realize that I eat food (mostly ice cream) as a way to push down the feeling that I’m about to explode – I think that feeling is my anger trying to escape – if my anger escapes, I’m afraid I will become violent, so I have to have the chemical “buzz” that comes from eating the ice cream to cool that feeling – it is the only way I know to control my anger.  I struggle with wanting to eat ice cream everyday because I have that “about to explode” feeling everyday.

Of course, I binge eat in general to avoid being attractive because the price of being attractive is too high.

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I’m assuming you still are wanting to do role-playing so I can express my emotions . . ??  I am very, very afraid of doing role-playing.

It is funny to me to hear you say that I need to express my emotions – I thought I was expressing them because I have allowed myself to use dramatic language with you to describe what is going on inside of me – I would never allow myself to use language that dramatic outside of our communication – and I would never let someone see me cry as much as you have seen me cry.

You pointed out (and I agree) that it is easy for me to cry for others but it is difficult for me to cry for myself.  I also agree with you that I am very angry and very frustrated.  Again, as you pointed out, part of that comes from not learning how to express my feelings – my mom doesn’t express emotion at all – she has a warm heart but shows her heart with action (service) rather than emotion.

You also made the point that it was easy for my dad to cry for others, but not for himself.  Yet, he didn’t want me to express any emotion because that would be “weak”.  If I felt pain (physical or emotion), he would tell me, “Oh, quit your crying, it’s not that bad!  Don’t be so dramatic!”  He taught me how to endure great fear and physical strain.  I was never allowed to complain.  I was never allowed to have my own desires, opinions or preferences because that would get me into trouble – he said he could see himself in me and he wanted to keep that part of me from developing.

I know, absolutely, that everything my dad did was done because he loved me and wanted the best for me – he did the best he knew to do – he would have died for me.  Yet, I can see that his methods caused me significant damage.

I am angry at how I was raised – I am feeling guilt for having that anger.  Thank you for creating a space where it is okay for me to be angry for that experience – I’ve never been given that gift before.  I’m still working on being okay with that anger, but at least I know it is okay with you.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


Responses

  1. very good article on the topic , gives insight on victims point of veiw

    • Thank you, Rohan . . . the ‘remembering’ was very different than I would have expected it to be — I would have guessed it would have come in one big rush, complete with most of the details. But, it came in pieces, like a puzzle that I had to fit together — that is why I doubted it so much in the beginning — I thought my imagination was working overtime. But, over time, I have been able to confirm some of the tangible details.

      Thanks for reading!
      – Marie


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