Posted by: Marie | July 12, 2013

(846) Defining reality – Part 3 of 7

Post #846
[Private journal entry written on Friday, May 11, 2012 – continued from previous post]


(I flipped the papers to the next email . . . )

Me: So, this is the email I sent to you on April 27th . . . oh, wait . . . I guess I didn’t get these printed in chronological order . . . oh, well, I guess it doesn’t matter!

Edward: No, I don’t think it matters.

Me: No, it doesn’t . . . maybe I’ll go to the May 5th email next, instead . . .

Edward: (Suddenly animated) Oh, I almost forgot . . . while you were reading the first email, you mentioned that you thought the baby in the dream might relate to your abortion . . .

Me: Yes . . .

Edward: Can we take a moment to go back and talk about that?

Photo by Martin Chen

Photo by Martin Chen

Me: Oh, sure!

Edward: Can you tell me how you feel about it now? We haven’t talked about it much so I’d like more information.

Me: Sure . . . what would you like to know?

Edward: How old were you when you had the abortion?

Me: Well . . . um . . . my dad died in November and I got pregnant the next spring . . . so, I was 23 . . . wait, no, I was 24. My dad died when I was 23, so it was when I was 24.

Edward: How did you reconcile the religious and moral values you had been taught with the reality of having an abortion?

Me: As a kid, I was told that, if you ever had an abortion, there might be physical ramifications and there definitely would be psychological ramifications. I was told that women who have abortions often become suicidal . . . and they are plagued by unhealthy relationships and they will carry so much guilt about the baby they killed that they will be unable to do a good job of raising their children . . .

Bottom line, I was taught that abortion is a sin, and there are terrible consequences to sin – the term I always heard was “the wages of sin” – and that the consequences of having an abortion are some of the worse consequences you could experience . . . really dire.

I had just started breaking away from the teachings of the church a couple of years before the time I got pregnant. By that point, I had rejected the idea of “sin” . . . that God holds a rule book in his hands and he passes judgment on us every hour of every day and that all of our thoughts and actions and emotions must be dictated by this rule book. However, I hadn’t yet developed a replacement philosophy. So, I didn’t have a mature internal psychological infrastructure with which to process that set of events. Therefore, I was still greatly influenced by what I had been taught.

I recognize that I am currently experiencing some of the consequences I was warned about. However, based upon my current psychological infrastructure, I don’t think the abortion is the cause of that – I think the difficulties I have with relationships, and the guilt and the depression are the result of childhood trauma. And, I think the abortion is yet another result of what happened to me as a child. I don’t think the abortion caused these issues. I’m sure it didn’t help them, but it didn’t cause them.

On the other hand, I can see how having an abortion could be traumatic and could cause additional psychological damage . . . but I don’t think it was that traumatic for me because I’m so detached from my body. It most certainly did not generate all the really awful, terrible consequences I was taught it would . . . I was taught that an abortion was worse than almost any other sin and the direct consequences would be awful and terrible.

Edward: Like a hell on earth?

Me: Yes.

Edward: Who told you that?

Me: Well, my parents and the church . . . they told us that having sex would be bad, getting pregnant would be bad, having a baby out of wedlock would be even worse . . . but the absolute worst would be to have an abortion.

Edward: So, those teachings were designed to scare you into not having sex?

Me: Exactly, it was a scare tactic.

I’ve always been a little surprised that I haven’t been as impacted by it as much as I was taught I would be impacted. In fact, a lot of the “torment” I’ve experienced has come from my wondering what was wrong with me that I didn’t feel worse about it . . .

For example, I had the abortion in like April or May . . . maybe I got pregnant in April and had the abortion in May . . . or maybe it was a month earlier . . . I can’t remember for sure . . . but, anyway, I had a strong sense that the baby was a boy . . . and I had calculated that he would have been born in January.

When January rolled around, I was aware that he would have been born about then . . . I felt an obligation to feel sad or grief-stricken or guilty or something when that date rolled around, like I should have a day or mourning or something . . . but I never experienced feelings like that or a need to have a day of mourning. I was aware of the significance of the passing date, but I was rather ambivalent about it.

I did wonder, back then, if I was just burying my emotions and if they would show up years later and create problems. But, it’s been more than twenty years and I still have not felt much emotion about it. I’m thinking that is not going to happen.

I think the reason I remained so ambivalent about it is because I was so disconnected from my body . . . and from my sexuality and from my femininity . . . I think my pregnancy was never real for me. It never really sunk in that I was pregnant. I think it never connected for me. I didn’t have those emotional consequences because it was never real for me.

Edward: As child – an even as a young adult – can you remember having emotions about anything?

Me: Well, sure . . . I would be excited about some accomplishment or some neat opportunity, but I don’t remembering being angry about the abuse or sad when someone died . . . I always remained ambivalent about that kind of stuff.

Edward: I suspect that you didn’t have feelings because your dad was not okay with your having feelings, especially feelings that didn’t support what he wanted and how he wanted you to behave.

Me: That’s true . . . I couldn’t really have authentic feelings or a full range of feelings.

We didn’t have a TV and I wasn’t allowed to go to the movie theater, so on the rare occasions I did get to watch a TV show or a movie, I remember having very strong vicarious emotions, especially sadness. I remember how I cried and cried when they showed us the movie Old Yeller at school . . . I was grief-stricken for days afterward. But, I couldn’t feel grief when people close to me died.

I definitely wasn’t allowed to have feelings around my sexuality . . . my dad taught me that, not only was I not to be sexually active, I was not to be sexual. Well, I had all the stories running around in my head about the rape fantasies and all of that crap. I knew I was a really bad person because I was being sexual by masturbating, and I was being sexual in a very sinful way by masturbating specifically to rape fantasies. So, I had to stay totally in my head and not allow myself to feel feelings around my sexuality and about being molested . . . I had to bury all that . . . not allow it to exist.

Edward: I wonder if there is an additional reason for the absence of your feelings around your sexuality . . .

Me: Like what?

Edward: I wonder if the absence of feelings was a defense mechanism.

Me: Oh . . . yeah, I suppose . . .

Edward: I suspect your masturbating to rape fantasies while not allowing yourself to feel emotion was a form of dissociation.

Me: Oh, absolutely!

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

Quotes 756

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