Posted by: Marie | May 21, 2012

(636) A melting iceberg – Part 4 of 5

Post #636
[Private journal entry written on Monday, June 6, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Edward: Do you remember a time when it was easy for you to allow yourself to feel pleasure?

Me: Yeah, when I was a little kid. I remember playing like I had no cares. But then, when I was nine, something happened that caused me to move from being a carefree child to feeling broken and damaged.

That is when I started wanting to die . . . but, I’m not sure what happened to cause that shift . . . the sexual abuse had happened maybe five years before that, the worse of the physical abuse stopped about that time . . . so, I don’t know why I started feeling damaged at that point.

Photo by Martin Chen

Edward: Do you have any ideas?

Me: I do . . . I think it had to do with the fact that I was nine years old when I first learned about sex and I started putting the pieces together . . . that’s when I took on the idea I was bad and broken. That is when I started wanting to die on a regular basis.

Edward: Did the desire to die stay with you or did it come and go?

Me: It has always been around – starting at age nine and continuing since then, until now – it’s just shown up to varying degrees during different stages of my life.

Edward: Tell me about the events that happened that caused you to start putting the pieces together . . .

Me: It started with the “birds and bees” talk with my mom . . . I started putting together the pieces of the details of my rape fantasies with the “facts” given to me by my mom. I hadn’t understood rape – my rape – I hadn’t had language for it or a biological understanding of it.

As I started putting together the pieces, I had questions. But, I couldn’t talk to my mom about it, so I turned to my friends for more information. When I indicated to them that I was turned on by rape and pain, they indicated to me that I was weird and perverted. So, I quit talking about it and concluded that I was bad for having such perverted thoughts.

Edward: Why couldn’t you talk to your mom about it?

Me: Well, I tried talking to her, but she wouldn’t answer my questions – she would answer them vaguely, but she wouldn’t really answer them.

Edward: Tell me more about that . . .

Me: I remember being aware of my parents having sex and being curious . . .

Edward: How were you aware they were having sex?

Me: (Taking a moment to think back and remember) I could hear them . . . my room was in the basement and their room was above mine.

Edward: How could you hear them? For example, could you hear the headboard hitting the wall?

(I found myself becoming very uncomfortable with his questions and I started shutting down and struggling with rising anger.)

Edward: Are you okay? What is happening right now?

Me: I’m getting angry with your questions . . .

Edward: What about my questions are angering for you?

Me: I think because, in order to answer them, I have to go back into my memory and remember the details . . . and uneasy feelings are coming up along with the details.

Edward: Can you tell me more about that . . . ??

Me: Sure . . . I just need a minute to remember . . .

Edward: Take as much time as you need – we aren’t in any hurry.

Me: (After a moment) I could hear the floorboard squeaking . . . and, I could hear my mom . . . I guess I just assumed it was my mom . . . go to the bathroom. We only had one bathroom and it was in the main hallway . . . and I wondered if she went into the bathroom so she could clean up her privates after having sex.

(I paused to see if he had more questions . . . he didn’t say anything – for which I was very glad – so, I continued . . . )

Me: I asked my mom about it . . . I asked her if they were having sex . . . if the noises were created when they had sex.

Edward: How did she answer?

Me: She denied having sex . . .

Edward: In what way did she deny it?

Me: She said that she didn’t know what I was talking about – she didn’t know what noises I was talking about.

I could sense her embarrassment and I knew I had crossed some line . . .

(I started getting emotional, tearing up) I just wanted some information . . I just wanted information, that’s all . . .

Edward: Of course! Of course you wanted information!

You naturally had questions – you were just trying to figure things out. You turned to the person you thought would most likely provide answers and she shut down your natural curiosity.

Me: I remember feeling shame after she denied knowing what I was talking about.

Edward: Were you feeling her shame or yours?

(That question caught me off guard and it took a moment to absorb it and to come up with a response.)

Me: At the time, I guess I took it on as my own. She was very forthcoming with the first conversation – “the birds and the bees” talk. I thought she would respond the same way the second time to my questions. But, she didn’t. Her embarrassed denials let me know I had gone too far with my questions.

(I dropped into silence as I granted myself the space to remember the feelings of shame. After some more tears, after some more remembering, I continued . . . )

Me: I think I took her shame on as my own because of the reason we got into the first conversation – “the birds and the bees” conversation. She sat me down for that conversation because I was asking how women who were not married kept from having babies . . . how did their bodies know they weren’t married . . . ?

I asked that question because I was concerned I was going to become pregnant.

I don’t remember why I was concerned about that . . . I mean, I can guess, I just don’t know for sure. I don’t know if I still remembered being sexually abused at that time or not . . . I was four when I was molested and I was nine when we had “the birds and the bees” conversation . . . I don’t know if I remembered it still when I was nine . . .

Edward: I’m sure you remembered . . . if not the implicit details, at least the body memories . . . right?

Me: True . . . I was trying to match up what I was learning with what I felt in my body . . . the arousal . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. i have spent some time talking about pleasure with my therapist, sharon. it’s not only sexual pleasure that i deprive myself of, it’s the pleasure of slowly enjoying food, going for a walk in nature, slowing down and experiencing the world with all my senses. i associate pleasure with being sexually abused, as that was how my body responded. pleasure is therefore something that was “done to me” rather than something i am actively engaged in. it is a very passive experience. she asked me what a more “active” pleasure might look like for me and i had a horrifying thought, what if were to turn around and abuse a child. it was a reflexive thought, because i don’t believe i would ever do that. but somewhere i am scared of that. it really helped me see how my idea of pleasure has been warped by my early childhood experiences. i am starting slowly. breathing. being aware. trying to not dissociate. feeling with all my senses. and we will take it from there.

    • Hi, OBD –

      For me, it seems it should be such an easy thing . . . to take a few minutes and do something pleasurable . . . but, I feel terror when I consider doing so. It is amazing how powerful that programming is, isn’t it?!

      I trust you are/will continue to make progress in this area!

      – Marie

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