Sexuality Struggles Part 3

****trigger warning**** Abuse mentioned

I realized my earlier assertion that my masochism began before any abuse is incorrect. In addition to clear memories as an older child, I have a very early, unclear memory of potential sexual abuse. This memory seems to haunt me more than known memories. I’m not sure why, maybe because I’ve managed to rationalize that every other thing that has happened to me was somehow my fault or I participated, etc. and therefore I only recently began to view as abuse. Or maybe because it involves a family member who, unlike other family members, has never hurt me.

Anyway, this memory occurred around ages 4-5. I know this based on location because we moved when I was 4. I also know there are parts of the memory that are incorrect like I remember the floor of my bedroom as its’ current pale blue, but the carpet wasn’t changed until I was 9. I know my timeline is correct, and I wasn’t 9, because the memory includes being rocked to sleep and the PJs I wore were ones I did not fit into at 9. 

The memory is not a recovered memory from therapy; I have always remembered it. Perhaps, even if it is false, it still shaped who I am today. Maybe regardless of the memory’s truth, its effect on my development in neither good, nor bad.

My earliest recalled masochistic fantasies were at age 5. I believe it was this early because they involved grade school teachers. Each year, the participants would change to that year’s teachers. Therefore, their onset might have occurred after abuse… or not…

But then, maybe a nefarious origin is beside the point. Should sexuality formed by abuse matter more than sexuality formed by first consensual experiences? Does it make masochism wrong, if it was formed by abuse? Whether or not it is wrong and whether or not it was formed by abuse (real or imagined), do you think I can recondition myself to enjoy typical sexual activities?

People tend to believe conversion therapy is both wrong and ineffective for homosexuality. It is definitely unethical to do with children or people who do not want to change. I think it would be best if people could accept themselves. However, would conversion be okay if someone tried, but couldn’t accept themselves and wanted to change? If it was okay, could it work for masochism?

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Sexuality Struggles Part 1

I recently reconnected with a previous Master (dominant) or rather, he reached out to me. Nonetheless, I’m struggling with myself again.

What kind of advice is be yourself when myself is a freak_Claudia_ Warehouse 13

I know my masochistic and submissive tendencies were formed at some point before accurate memory begins, including before any abuse. I don’t know whether they are inborn or created by other early experiences like my 6 month long NICU stay or childhood surgeries resulting in pain and restraints because I didn’t understand and tried pulling out tubes.

This matters to me because I don’t question my family’s or friends’ identifications as bi, homosexual, or another variation of attraction. They are who they are. If my masochism and submission is more akin to that because it is inborn, as opposed to environmental, perhaps it has more validity.

On the other hand, I believe sexuality can be conditioned by experience. For example, IMHO, if someone identifies as bisexual and their first few sexual experiences are with women, I think it is possible, they would begin to favor women as partners because women are now paired with sexual pleasure, whereas men are not. This is a controversial belief because it is uncomfortably close to some fundamentalist Christian beliefs that same-sex child abuse can create homosexual urges. 

Although, my mom used to counsel childhood victims of sexual abuse and she says a common theme was fear or disgust at arousal reactions to abuse. Kids worried they invited the abuse and sometimes they became attracted to older people whereas before the abuse, they did not recall such attraction. I am not saying this happens to everyone, or ever a majority.

Do you think sexuality is always innate or can it be learned? 

I’m afraid I’ll get backlash for these thoughts. So, even though I have more concerns related to my own sexual preferences, I’m going to stop here and post Part 2 later.

ETA: I’m really sorry if this offends or hurts anyone. That is absolutely not my intent!!

Strong enough?

I’m nervous about Ginny leaving because I don’t know if I’ll handle things as well without her. I would never have disclosed to anyone 2 weeks ago, much less asked my boss for help dealing with my student’s identical history.


people-have-a-tendency-to-go-away-miss-them_dawn-summers_buffy

Thursdays are bad news apparently because this Thursday I ended up in tears at work again! This time, one of my new students (a different one) disclosed abuse. I was “normally” upset; I felt sad and worried for him. However, I flipped out when I heard my boss’s boss called his PARENTS instead of calling the child abuse hotline.

I was furious. I abruptly turned to leave the room, but Ginny yelled at me, “Don’t storm away from me!” She knows me well enough to know I was probably about to self-injure. I stopped in my tracks and she took me to the same empty office we talked in last week. It took me some time to explain why I was upset and when she understood, she teared up. I was scared for him! He refused to get on the bus for a long time and I said I wouldn’t have gotten on that bus either! I understood what he felt, to a certain degree, because I tried to disclose my situation once and realized the school counselor would report me based on her probing questions. So, I recanted and never told anyone until last week. DFS wouldn’t get an investigator to his house that night, meaning he was alone. I remember a separate incident where I accidentally said something to a teacher, which my parents thought could get DFS involved. Their reaction was highly emotional and they’re relatively normal people. A few things were thrown at me and more than a few things were broken that night. I was imagining the worst for my student, whose story was much more straightforward. 

Thankfully, he came to school the next day and he impressed me with his control. He eloped a few times and hit, but also talked to us and vented. He had more self-control than I did.

I would have self-injured the day before if I hadn’t talked to Ginny. When I turned to leave the room, I wasn’t thinking rationally anymore, I was going to look for a blade. I would not have stopped on my own, but her yelling bought me time to talk and calm down. My boss promised she will never be a part of that again and Ginny said she is going to try to convince the administration to have everyone undergo mandatory reporter training to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I hope it works! However, I’m worried the next time I encounter something triggering at work, which seems to happen frequently lately, I won’t be able to handle it.

On another note:

I wonder why Bulimia is correlated with childhood sexual abuse more than other eating disorders. I can’t stomach anymore journal articles right now, but I wish I could find out why.

Mind Wipe

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Please?

My urge to join the Dollhouse has returned!

I’m not sure why I’m ruminating on this so much. It isn’t like these are “recovered” memories. I’ve always had them. Then again, I didn’t always know that student had the same types of memories and I’ve never told anyone. Now whenever I see either that student or the 2 people I told, that is the first thing that pops into my mind.

its wrong, I'm wrong buffy - Copy

All Cried Out

This week I cried more than I have in years.

Monday

My boss, Ashley, told me I was getting a new student from another part of our school. Ginny (my BCBA friend) and the other classroom teachers were in the meeting. I thought I was doing an okay job covering my emotions, but I looked angry because Ginny texted me on the way home from work saying my boss was worried about my reaction.

I was definitely mad. I cried while driving and hit 80 MPH a few times. I had no problem with that particular student. I was angry because we were getting an entirely new student, but Mark got that student. Whereas, I got the easy kid. Plus, one of the harder kids in our program switched to the 3rd Classroom Supervisor’s room. My interpretation of that was: No one trusts you with challenging students They don’t think you’re good at helping children; that is why you have the easy students.

Ginny helped me see that I was misattributing the student changes and Ashley did trust me.

Tuesday

I told Ashley I was upset yesterday, but only because I was disappointed I wouldn’t get to work with the new student and I was excited to see how the dynamics of my classroom changed. Plus, I didn’t want to give up any of my current students.

Wednesday

Ginny tells me my new student has a trauma history. I head bang immediately because it hits close to home. Way to be professional MM! I cry at home because I doubt whether I can handle it if my student discloses their abuse to me. However, by the next day, I’ve decided to try.

Thursday

Claire gives me further details about my students’ trauma and I realize it mirrors mine. I find Ginny and say, “I don’t think I can handle this.” We go into an empty office and I tell her what Claire just told me. Then I start tearing up and ask her to get Ashley. We sit down and for the first time, ever, I tell someone what happened and I’m hysterically crying in front of my boss and Ginny. Clearly, this is an unresolved issue for me. I’m terrified of somehow passing on the shame I feel to my student if I react emotionally.

Fringe_olivia fire room

It was awful and embarrassing.  I’ve only focused on minor events and foggy memories in EMDR and on this blog, not the full extent of things. Ha, can’t even type it here. I’m pathetic like that… 

For the rest of the day, I’m exhausted and on edge. I don’t feel safe driving home, so I stay at work an hour and a half late to calm down. I finally drive home and tell my parents I’m sick.

Later that night, I realized some of my tears were compassion for my younger self. If I couldn’t blame my student for enduring the exact same thing as a young child, how could I blame myself? I can’t.

Fringe_Peter finds little Olivia in LSD cartoon

After talking to Ginny about what I should do, I sleep until the next morning.

Friday

I’m still exhausted and frayed, more crying before the kids arrive. Ashley puts herself in my room for the day. The behavior assistant in my room complains to Ashley about my work, in front of me and my students! I’m livid and trying to juggle intrusive memories. Thankfully, they weren’t flashbacks.

Ashley asks to talk to me midday. She says she talked to Mark and we’ll switch classes. I feel like she thinks I’m too weak to handle my new student (AHAHA, first I’m too weak because I’m getting this student, now I’m too weak because I’m not… My brain is fun.). I’m going to lose my current kiddos. However, there are plenty of positives.

I stay late again because my brain wanders to triggers when the kids leave for the day.

When I check my email at home, I see my academic advisor’s message saying I can’t use my practicum site as a practicum, what?!?! I cry AGAIN and panic. I message Ginny and we talk about it.

She also tells me she is leaving for sure. I’ve known this was coming for a while, but the timing sucks! I write a quick note to the Dean of my school asking for an exception.

Then I spend the night arguing with my mom over nothing because I’m stressed out.

Saturday

I go to breakfast with Ginny and I’m able to talk about her departure, the practicum fears, and trauma without breaking down! I’m extremely proud.

When I get home, I receive a reply from the Dean granting an exception!!!

I spend a few hours looking up statistics on specific types of incest. That was unwise. There were more tears. Eventually, I find my way to PTSD coping techniques because the intrusive memories were still bothering me. It is weird that the mere act of admitting something happened magnified the salience of the memories and thoughts surrounding it. It isn’t something I spend much time thinking about, but now it is constantly on my mind.

Sunday

I have a final exam this week, which I am not prepared for. I’m currently procrastinating, yet worrying about getting my first B.

Through all this I basically didn’t use behaviors! I drew on myself with red marker and accidentally left a bruise and I restricted a little bit. However, I did not cut or purge and my fasting never lasted more than 25 hours.

Clearly, it isn't Monday

dean supernatural laughs then gets serious

Oops. As usual…failure on my part.

I’m actually feeling up to writing a little bit, yay! There are some long stories involved, but for now, I’m just going to run down the litany of changes in my life over the past 2-ish months.

1. Took a medical leave from law school because passing was impossible with how far behind I was and I really don’t know what I want to do…

2. Looking for a full-time psychology job to try to determine if that is what I want to pursue. Since I only have a Bachelor’s degree, my job options are limited to Mental Health Technician (glorified baby-sitter) or entry level research tech. I’ve applied for about 10 of those positions around town. I’ve had 2 interviews, but no job offers.

3. I broke up with the Doc. Honestly, of all the people I’ve dated or even had a crush on, I liked him the best. I clicked with him on a different level. I’m not sure how to describe it. I broke it off because he couldn’t accept my limits. For example, he didn’t want to use safe words.

4. I’ve had lots of suicidal ideation and I’m still struggling with basic things on most days, but despite threats, no hospital yet.

5. My family is disappointed and angry because I’m ruining my life, I want to fail, I can do so much better, I’m just a personality-disordered mess, etc.

6. I’m still giving dating a shot. Since breaking it off with the Doc, I’ve had 2 dates. I skipped one (with a plausible lie because I was freaking out too much). They were with different men. The one I didn’t skip was fine. (Given #4, I find even 1 date is miraculous)

7. I’m making a concerted effort to rekindle friendships and familial relationships that I’ve damaged through isolating

8. I told my mom about IT and… her reaction was surprising and I wish I hadn’t told her. She wasn’t angry and she didn’t blame me, but she won’t let it go.

 

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You'll Never Know the Truth: Childhood Abuse

On my way home from school, I was perilously close to tears the whole way. At some point, that thing I never ever talk about out loud popped into my mind. I tried talking about it out loud once. The conversations didn’t end well. My therapist at the time wanted me to talk about it and she’d encouraged me for months to open the topic. Once we did…Let’s just say I almost didn’t go away for college. My therapist told me I should work on the issue, but if I worked on it, I’d need to be inpatient because I was clearly a danger to myself.

It sounds so immaterial. On its own, I guess it is immaterial. That is reason #1 why this topic makes me hate myself. The memory itself is inconsequential. I have no right to be bothered by it, at least not compared to other people who experienced real trauma. Therefore, I am weak and pathetic for getting so emotional over nothing.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had one or two odd childhood memories floating in my head. In the first memory *hands pause above keyboard* …I still can’t even fucking type it! I’m continuing this post from yesterday and after a few hours I was okay again last night, but trying to explain this is putting me on the verge of tears. I have this maelstrom inside me tied to 2 short, old memories. The gist is potentially sexually abusive actions occurred, but the memories aren’t necessarily abusive. The first one involved foreign object insertion. The second involved touching. However, both have potentially benign explanation. For example, intramuscular injections of medication in the ventrogluteal and dorsogluteal muscles. As for the second memory, well…little kids have to learn about genital hygiene at some point.

Possibility 1: The memories have benign explanations.

For instance, the ones I proffered above. (Assuming this is the truth) Reason #2 to hate myself is that I’m a sick, twisted, weird, evil, dirty, bad freak for ever considering the idea that someone who cares about me would do that! Reason #3 is that I’ve dealt with all this fear and guilt for years over nothing. In fact, even now, I think part of my trouble relating to people romantically stems from this…nothing.

Possibility 2: These events never occurred in any form. At some point, I made them up.

On one hand, I have no doubt false memories are implantable through suggestion. Numerous psychological studies show it. On the other hand, these memories bothered me before age 12 (when I started therapy). So, no accidental therapeutic suggestion could cause them.

However, even without suggestion, false memories occur because our brains are just not perfect. When we remember an event, we change it. When we think about a memory, it isn’t as though we replay a video tape and when we’re done remembering we put the same video tape away. That is not how memory works. retrieving a memory can alter it and when we “save” the memory for later we save our most recent memory of the memory. So, the next time we retrieve that  memory, we are not watching an unadulterated movie of the event, our memory consists of what we recalled the last time we remembered the event.

It is kind of similar to these 2 examples: You are certain when you were 6 you had a black border collie named Keko. You ask your mom about the dog and she tells you there was a dog, but it was named Miko and it was a multicolored (including black) Lhasa Apso. Or you remember visiting a friend’s house when you were 4 (let’s say you know you were 4 because you moved neighborhood right before you’re 5th birthday and the friend didn’t move into your old neighborhood until after your 3rd birthday) and you remember the gigantic, scary, steep hill in her backyard. Then you watch old home movies and the camera shows her backyard in its entirety. You see the “big” hill, but as an adult you realize it was tiny. We see things through lenses clouded by our personal perception of the world (be that age, height, life experiences, anger, fear, etc)

Therefore, I can never know what is real and what is false without outside evidence because I cannot trust the reliability of my recollection of the events. I’ve had at least 18 years to “remember”, but with each thought, I could be altering the “memory”. At the same time, certain important events remain as clear as the day they happened in our mind. Also, evidence shows even pre-verbal children remember things and I was older than that.

(Assuming this possibility is true) Reasons #2 and #3 apply here, except it would be even worse! If this possibility is true, I made it all up! Everything! There wasn’t even a benign memory to misinterpret! What kind of freak am I?!?

Possibility 3: These events occurred and have sinister origins

There are unquestionable things (Here, meaning things that occurred in the recent past, as in I have no reason to question my recall) that support and oppose this possibility.

Support

  1. Some family members are odd about physical affection.
  2. Once I complained about the oddness using the word “touchy” and no other descriptors and my mom flipped out! Her demeanor immediately changed; she was horrified and scared. When I complained about the oddness I was not covertly referencing sexual abuse. Furthermore, she should have easily known what I meant. I brought it up at the time because she had recently complained about it!! Despite her own complaints, her immediate conclusion when I asked why someone was “touchy” was sexual abuse from a loving family member! I’m pretty sure that is an abnormal reaction. Most people deny a family member could possibly do that to a child. So, why the assumption on her part? My only answer is she heard, saw, or knew something.
  3. As a teenager or pre-teen I realized the possible implications of these memories. Since I have a lengthy complicated medical history, I asked my mom if I ever had intramuscular injections of medication in the ventrogluteal and dorsogluteal muscles. She said, No.
  4. Numerous therapists/doctors told me I “act like someone who was sexually abused” as a child and they won’t even believe me when I insist I was not abused!
  5. I brought up the false memory possibility that one time I tried to process all of this and my therapist did not agree that was likely because if it was fake, why did my mind keep returning to that point in time? She has a point. However, not the one she meant to make. I think it is possible it is a fake memory, but I’ve carried it around all these years almost as if it was a memory of abuse because I’ve gone over these arguments in my head a million times and I’m damned no matter what the truth is.
  6. Multiple times my mom has asked what bad thing happened to me as a child without me saying anything to instigate that conversation.

Opposition

  1. No one in my family is capable of incest.
  2. If something occurred, why only when I was 4 -6 years old? That doesn’t make sense!
  3. If my mom freaked out when I asked about “touchiness” because she knew something I do not know, then how could she leave me alone with any family member she could not prove was innocent?!?!?!?! She would not do that.
  4. I have no clear memories of abuse, no actual sex. Potential sex acts, but not sex.

And so (again, assuming the current possibility is true) Reason #4 to hate myself is I considered the fact that my mom knew something and did nothing or Reason #4a My mom knew and did nothing, so…what? I must be garbage. Reason #5 On the continuum of childhood sexual abuse, this is a .00000000001, if 10 was the worst nonfatal sexual abuse you can imagine and 0 is no abuse. People who endured much more are relatively well adjusted. Me? FUBAR.

Also, like WTF?! NO MATTER what the truth is…even if it is the worst possibility (3), the memories in my head don’t have to be bad. I am afraid it is…In a way, I made it bad. Like even if abuse occurred, the memory did not have to be interpreted that way. I could have forgotten or passed it off as nothing. BUT NO!!!! I had to think about it.

Lastly, thinking about all this right now and last night makes me want to flay myself because I feel like a bad, sick person regardless of the truth.