“I’m a predator.”

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
Where I’m at is that if I talk about my sexual desires with anyone (which I never do) then I believe I am grooming them.

This is a T issue. I am single for a few years and I don’t talk about my sexual desires with friends or coworkers because I would feel like a predator.

My T said she never felt like I was a predator or grooming. I told her I trust her to hold the boundaries but if I heard the words coming out of my mouth I would judge them to be grooming and I would get very angry at myself and stop talking.

I know that in my marriage and past relationships I dissociated during sex and did not communicate my desires or needs. My ex didn’t really care because he was mostly focused on his own desires and needs so that was a good fit for him.

But if I ever do date again and that person is somewhat healthy-ish mind, it would likely be frustrating for them to notice me dissociating and not talking about my desires.

Since my csa happened when I was a baby I have a belief that I’m a predator at my core because I can’t recreate that baby-caregiver attachment in order to heal my ability to trust anyone with my needs.

I wonder how I can work on exposing my desires to a trusted person without shutting down in anger and leaving.

Something good for me to remember is that when I first went to T I could only have trauma fantasies and it took me about two years to get rid of those and they are definitely gone. Now I fantasize about consent and attunement and encouragement.

So I know I can change. I wonder how small I can start. One time I asked T to ask me neutral questions about sexuality to help desensitize me. All she asked was how old I was when I got my period and I felt like I wanted to flip a desk because I was flooded with painful emotional flashbacks from that age. I said, that’s enough and we never returned.

T says I have to work harder at forgiving myself and using art to counter my tendency to shut down when talking or thinking about myself. Maybe I’m not strong enough yet.

Advice and support appreciated.
 

that_1_girl

Confident
Hi @OliveJewel ,

I feel totally unqualified to answer this adequately, NOT because I don’t *nearly entirely* relate—only my God and a few *close* “chosen/safe” family members and my regular T know *just* how much I *DO* relate to this post—but because you’re a “MyPTSD Pro” and I’m *barely* just “Learning” in terms of status, for what it’s worth. So I feel totally unqualified to actually HELP, other than by empathizing! So if I’m unhelpful, triggering on any or all level(s), I truly apologize in advance. Also I have just in the past 9 days been diagnosed with DID/OSDD, and literally yesterday my T and I agreed it’s far closer to the DID end of that particular (DID—OSDD) spectrum, in addition to CPTSD. I had NO CLUE I had ANY csa trauma—except one VERY minor sexual abuse/non-r*** situation when I was 17 (and the man was twice my age and three times my size) which is above the Age of Consent in my state, which I had a VERY disproportionately strong “trauma “fawn” reaction to. My description of that single event and my subsequent dissociative reaction clued a former T (in my mid 20’s to mid 30’s, he turned out later to be a source of a LOT more psychological/mental/verbal/emotional trauma) into a likely history of csa. That when early on when he was still halfway decent but because most of my csa turned out to come (I strongly suspect) from my childhood T (who I saw weekly from 3-10 1/2, and again 13-14 after my first csa assault, that my parents still do not believe me about). So that former T in my 20’s and 30’s (10 years) was the first to suspect a history of csa but then refused to talk about hardly any of it and he was convinced I was “the worst case of schizophrenia he had ever seen” (I guess it was DID all along?? And comorbid CPTSD.)

*Sorry* for going so far into my story, my point was to illustrate that nearly *every* memory of csa prior to the age of consent in my state (16) (and *all* but 2 very specific and puzzling and upsetting, but definitely NOT traumatic memories of the entire time I was in therapy with that childhood T), are dissociated into “parts” called “Littles”, who will ONLY share with me their non-distinct body memories and moderate-severe nausea, that comes out of literally nowhere, when they are OUT and I am semi-aware of them but not in conscious or unconscious control of the body. I only visually remember a very few very *minor* (barely even traumatic) encounters with various “random” pedophiles, who did *next to nothing* to me on the grand scale of what I’ve seen/felt in flashbacks when I was in the bathroom after EMDR, which often causes flooding and retraumatization in people with undiagnosed DID. I no longer do EMDR.

(Basically, I don’t visually remember much of anything csa-related except quick snapshots that my conscious brain has retained from other parts’ flashbacks, before I knew I had parts. Which is a fair amount. And a lot of circumstantial evidence. And a TON of very distressing emotional/physical flashbacks with just a specific person’s face associated, when I’m myself and in full control of “the” (I hardly ever say “my”) body. None of my supposed abusers (csa) have ever been formally accused or prosecuted and I refuse because I can’t be 100% sure. Despite all the traumatizing nightmares with dream-invented stand-in abusers and non-visual flashbacks with specific rooms or faces associated. I digress again.) SO sorry! I am neurodivergent (severe ADHD, exacerbated at the moment, by being triggered by this topic—NO need to apologize whatsoever!!!—and *my own* anticipated response…)

However, what I’m really trying to say is I have hardly any conscious memories of csa throughout my childhood and adolescence, but SOMETHING(S) must’ve happened or I likely wouldn’t have as extreme a diagnosis as Dissociative Identity Disorder and the following additional and very distressing “symptoms”:

—I dissociate during sex and any sexual or intimate activity beyond fully clothed snuggling or quick pecks on my boyfriend’s lips, and become a (very) small child at times, or have floods of flashbacks. I flat out refuse to do anything more with him even though I’ve known him since January/February 2019, and we’ve been together twice, seriously, and this time for several months, and I’m wearing his promise ring and he’s wearing mine and we both consider ourselves “taken for life” and fully intend to have a real family together even if it’s just the two of us. Pushed that boundary for like 2-3 days and literally just open mouth kissed him and a little more intimate snuggling (ALL intimacy *neck and up*) and let’s just say it did not end well for me and my parts…and we both decided to take about 10 huge steps backwards in terms of our physical relationship but *not* our romantic relationship. Let me just say this man is one of the THE TWO safest (straight) men I know, the other being my “safe/chosen Dad”.

—I refuse to have children of my own or possibly even adopt or foster any age children, even though my boyfriend and I are quite serious and have talked about starting a family.

—I often refuse to even look at children under the age of literally 21 (not exaggerating! And yes, I know you’re technically an adult from 18-21…) or go anywhere near even my very beloved niece and nephew (7 and 5, both ages when I *suspect* I was being regularly and repeatedly abused by—likely—my childhood T), because ***I’M TERRIFIED I’M A PREDATOR/PEDOPHILE***

—I have had serious talks with my 7 (then 6) year old niece (my nephew has significant developmental and language delays, due to Autism, so not with him yet) about “Your body is YOURS and NOBODY, not ANYBODY, not me or anyone, is allowed to touch you in ANY way you don’t like NO MATTER WHAT. ‘NO, I don’t like that’ is ALWAYS OK to say to adults when it comes to YOUR own body, and the same goes for everyone, do you understand?” (And yet I’m *still* terrified to go near her or her brother except occasionally to hug them “hello” or “goodbye”!)

—I have NEVER babysat in my entire life including my only blood sibling who is my 11 years-younger brother, not have I EVER changed a diaper because every single time I have been in my brother’s changing room when he was getting his diaper changed—“necessary touch”—I would involuntarily visualize myself “doing bad things” to him and I was beyond disgusted with myself.

—I am just generally terrified of being a predator or worse a pedophile and have been since a young age, at most 11 or even younger. I “did stuff” to my baby doll when I was little (probably re-enacting what was done to me), plus I decided at 3 (I DO remember this) that my baby doll was a “bad baby” and would beat her and physically assault her (I was NEVER physically hit or beaten, that is the one type of abuse I have never experienced, for sure. I’m pretty sure 3 is when the serious csa started but there may have been earlier stuff. I or someone else inside “the” body have had one strange random flashback that I remember a tiny bit of, of strangers changing my diaper in a hospital (I was definitely potty trained by 2 1/2, I was also hospitalized for 5 days at ~2) and doing stuff to me while my diaper was off. But I’m pretty sure that isn’t real/is fake/made up because how could I even remember that early?

Anyway, sorry this is so long and probably triggering. (My pastor who has been in my life for 7+ years and who is trustworthy and gentle and compassionate, also knows this fear of mine. She is a trauma survivor herself has told me that she always has one eye out for ALL children, women, and any other vulnerable people in the church, and the other eye out for ANYONE who could POSSIBLY be unsafe in any way, and IF she thought I was unsafe in any way, she would require me to be constantly supervised on church grounds by a safe and reliable adult. BUT that I DO NOT set off her “unsafe”, “predator”, or “potential pedophile” radar at ALL. When I still didn’t believe her, she said “If you were *actually* a pedophile/predator, YOU WOULD NOT be worried about it!” Fair enough.) I have made similar posts to yours on other CPTSD boards and gotten responses that these fears are much more common among csa survivors than most people are willing to own up to.

Therefore, I would say you are DEFINITELY NOT A PREDATOR. Or you wouldn’t be worried about it. I’d also commend your *bravery* and *courageousness* for being SO vulnerable and posting this post and not deleting it!!

YOU ARE NOT ALONE, even in these HORRIBLE feelings. I’m right there with you. And I know I myself have a *LOT* more work to do on this specific topic…eventually. **safe hugs** We’re both going to be ok…someday.
 

Friday

Moderator
then I believe I am grooming them.
That’s the f*cked up thing about grooming… remove the sexual assault?

That’s. Known. As. Friendship.

So you’ve equated the open, honest, reciprotory nature, connectedness, and other facets of friendship? With rape.

Upside? If you’re perfectly easy/comfortable making & keeping friends? You’ve already done the hard work, on eliminating that Trigger/Stressor. ((Cause, cha. It may be a core belief, but it’s ALSO a textbook trauma trigger. Pretty dress = rape. Friendship = rape. No pretty dresses! No friendship! Aieeeee! Run for your life. 😉)) Now it’s “only” the aspects of friendship that cozy up to / are a part of sex.

Double Upside? If you ARENT perfectly easy/comfortable making and keeping friends, you get 2 birds w/ 1 stone. As working on this trigger/stressor will not only make sex waaaaay more fun, but you’ll be smiles deep in friends and acquaintances. Whether that’s a shy 2 people, caring handful, or an outgoing 200.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
I’m right there with you.
Thank you for your support @that_1_girl . I feel your care and hear your struggle 🫂
thing about grooming… remove the sexual assault?

That’s. Known. As. Friendship.
This was helpful.

I don’t know how I will be able to get past the self-judgment. One thing is that if I somehow managed to say the words and then somehow managed to stay present and then saw that I wasn’t abusing them then maybe it would prove to myself that I was wrong.

Here’s the conversation in my head. “Why would I tell this person about my desires unless I was trying to get them excited? Let’s not provoke anyone.”

Then I try to override that and say it anyway with T. Then I feel reality closing in around me. Then I feel angry that I’m sitting in a room trying to abuse someone and they are practically encouraging it. Then I’m confused about life and desperate to leave. At this point I have stopped talking and forgotten whatever it was we were talking about. Then I go to the bathroom and keep the light off and take forever. Then I return and talk about how great everything is at work and with my kids and schedule the next appointment, trying to make it as far out as possible, knowing I have to try again and stew over it for weeks and send her tiny snippets of insight where she says good job.

Return to T weeks later, avoid facing it until the last 15 minutes, and try again. This kind of feels like the only thing I work on and each time it’s like for 10 minutes max, and it’s exhausting.

I think there is some progress. I mean I know I am capable of developing my perspective and my thoughts. But I don’t know how to get through this. It feels very closed off, like a done deal.

I just thought of something. Back when I was a teenager I was terrified of sex and penises. If saw anything related to either of those I would have body memories of my infant csa which was still unconscious. I had such a phobia I thought I would split in half if I had sex and I thought I would scream or vomit if I saw a penis.

I had a friend in high school who found out about my fear of penises and we were on a school trip and she did exposure therapy with me and it ended up working. I did agree to it and she had great fun. She bought a deck of cards with cheesy pictures of naked men on them. Then she looked through all of them, laughing, and started with the least offensive. She would describe it to me first so I wasn’t thrown off guard and then if I agreed she would show it to me. This was a trip to Europe and we were in a hotel in Greece.

She helped me so much. I guess she was co-regulating with me. I think she ended up becoming like a life coach for her career. I remember another thing was she normalized sexual desires for me. If I saw just a picture of a sex toy I would panic and have body memories. I asked her, “What would you do if you went in someone’s room and saw a dildo?” (In my mind I would run away and be afraid of them and it would ruin my day.). And she giggled and said without hesitation, “Smell it!” That never occurred to me! And that she said it so perfunctorily kind of shocked my ego and also greatly impressed me. She seemed to have like a superpower in her perspective.

I bring this up because those were some of my very first thoughts and feelings about adolescent sex. And I was so wrong. I knew I wouldn’t literally be split in half but I felt so scared that I might as well be. My high school friend helped me realize that my fear was disproportionate to the objects of my fear.

And maybe that’s the case here. That my fears of catastrophe coming from me talking about my sexual desires are disproportionate to the object of my fear—conversation with a caring respectful adult about my sexual desires. (I feel like crying now. Why does that thought trigger sadness? Why do some thoughts about this trigger anger and others trigger sadness?)

I forgot about how sadness is also a rescue emotion. Anger gets us out of a situation we want to avoid. Does sadness do that too? I don’t think so. I feel drawn into the sadness. Like it’s a clue that I’m talking about something important.

Anyway, the point is that I think I am doing the right thing to force myself to talk about it. I think T and I have established that. I think I have established that inside myself. I don’t know if I have enough self-forgiveness to say the words without dissociating. I think that working on my eating with the nutritionist might be helping me develop my capacity for self-forgiveness too. I believe I might be able to develop enough self-forgiveness to say the words without dissociating.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I have had feelings that I am a rapist. For me, I think it stemmed from my child/trauma brain deciding that I was to blame and I raped me. So at certain points: I had this notion that I was a rapist. I had to break it down as the things that made me feel like a rapist were things like: me not communicating in sex and going along with a sexual act being done to me that I actually didn't want. And that made me feel like a rapist. No logic in it at all when looked purely from what was happening, but total logic in my trauma mind because "I'm bad, it's all my fault"


I don't know if that is the same or not for you, but what I think these thoughts and feelings are , are signs of unresolved trauma. So needing to work on accepting and healing what happened, with the hope and aim that these thoughts will change when you are engaging in sex now as a consenting adult with another consenting adult.

It's all so hard and confusing.
I'm still walking through my journey.
I hope yours gets easier.
 
I don't know if this will help at all, but I grew up with the cognitive distortion that I was automatically a rapist just by virtue of being male. This distortion was exploited by my abuser in adulthood, which left me with what I thought was absolute proof that I was a rapist (even though, of course, I had never actually raped anyone).

I worked on this distortion in therapy for many years, and it had started to soften up somewhat when I went for a course of EMDR around it. After a few sessions of EMDR, the distortion disappeared entirely.

I hope that everyone here can shift their thinking around this. It's a horrible thing to think about yourself.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
What is seduction. That’s like an answer to a question on Jeopardy. I’d like to help with this but it’s a really confusing question I think If you have CSA. I want to have sex I don’t think that makes me or anyone a predator. There’s a lot though even to that. Thanks for posting this . It’s a very difficult topic to address.
 
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Geopolis

Confident
I can relate to this so much! My sexual cross section is with voyeurism. Its a behavior I developed as a child to dissociate from my abuse. Today its inextricably tied to my desires. When I met my wife I was filling her in on my "kink" as I called it and I heard crazy chatter in my thoughts about grooming her.

I find that for me its not about the desires or where they originated from. Its about the shame I carry. Shame that I even have such "f'd up thoughts". Shame that they affect me sexually. Shame that I have to talk about them. Shame about what the other person may think and shame about my motives for telling them in the first place.

As my wife prodded and poked I revealed little by little always monitoring her reactions for even the slightest judgment but I got none. She even suggested incorporating it into our sex life which left me excruciatingly vulnerable. I'm lucky in that way but I can guarantee that eventually I would have found someone I would never groom to share my secrets and get vulnerable. Because its about less shame for me in any way I can get it right now.

You're doing superb work and I'm following closely 👏👍👊
 

8888

MyPTSD Pro
I’m sorry to hear you are struggling with this. I’ve never abused a child but sometimes I see myself as a pedophile. I’m a CSA survivor so it must be related to that. So you’re not alone.
 
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