CSA stole my ability to be intimate

Vickster

New Here
Oh, boy... here goes: This is a true story, one which causes me Extreme shame because it is So hard to not think there is something wrong with me.

I turn 60 tomorrow, and I am a virgin. Not because of religious beliefs, but because of the extreme nature of the abuses in my early life. Not only that, but I have never been on a date or been kissed romantically before. Truly...never. (Any and all physical activity done to me or that I was forced into, is excluded because that stuff should never be confused with the normal processes of life. Perpetrators cannot, by definition, take away someone's virginity, in my opinion.)
Sorry, but I had to say that...

I suffered tremendous rejection at birth- even before I was born. I believe my father forced himself (raped) my mother on Valentine's Day 1961. She absolutely did not need or want another child then. She was in a Horrible situation with him, and I do understand why she rejected me- so many huge issues, I'm sure she was barely holding on. Nonetheless, she was not able to take care of even my basic needs. No one else was either. Look up "a failure to thrive" if you want the full picture.

This is all to say that I learned that I had no value and that I was unlovable (both incorrect but I wouldn't fully realize it until last year when I found true self-love.)

Then throw in years of sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and even sexual abuse by clergy where I was blamed for my father molesting me (the priest was my uncle)....

I'm sorry to put this all out here like this, but I'm trying to show how and why and how much I can't "DO" intimacy.

I 've only ever experienced emotional intimacy with a few friends and animals. Pets have been my saving grace, They are almost the only place I have ever felt love and safety. I just can't get really close to people, I've never had many friendships even to have fun. Deeper friendships, rarely. And, as I said, no dates ever. I don't trust people, and even though I completely long for any form of safe touch, I haven't gotten it because I'm too traumatized to let people be close, physically or emotionally.

So...my terror of intimacy has created a ginormous void in my heart and such a profound need just to be safely touched I don't know how I survive it. We truly have strengths way beyond what we can imagine.

I'm sorry if this just felt like complaining. I share it in an attempt to help others.

Feel the pain when you must. But celebrate your strengths as well. Peace.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
@OliveJewel

More and more I believe the most important lessons in intimacy and love are taught quite far from words. Ideally, we should be well grounded in both intimacy and love before we are introduced to sex. In my own case, I was introduced to sex long before I knew either intimacy or love. That distortion left a HUGE gap in my ability to trust. Trust is a critical element in both love and intimacy.

In my own heavily theraputed approach to this psycho snot know has been radically accept these sucking black holes in my childhood conditioning and watch for the elements which live beyond words. I am studying how to trust my senses far more than the words.

For what its worth
Children are also my most trusted guides in this study. A 5 year old cannot grasp any of the euphemistic distortions, but they sure can act them out.
Don't tell me. Show me.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
do value yourself and know intimacy intristicially
Thank you. T says I’m telling myself stories that aren’t mine. I can see your words becoming my affirmation, “I value myself and I know intimacy intrinsically.”
much I can't "DO" intimacy.

I 've only ever experienced emotional intimacy with a few friends and animals. Pets have been my saving grace, They are almost the only place I have ever felt love and safety. I just can't get really close to people,
I relate strongly. I can see the few friends from my past that I call angels, who gave me a safe place to be myself, and all the animals I placed my soul upon.

Now that I’m safe enough I want to try to learn intimacy if possible, but I have my doubts—maybe I’ll have to do it even if I feel uncomfortable knowing that I will gain a reward of improving my intimacy abilities. Like “fake it til you make it”.
Trust is a critical element in both love and intimacy.
I wonder if rebuilding the trust is related to self-care…. I will work on trust. Accepting help.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
I never considered the link before, but it resonates that rebuilding trust might, indeed, be related to self-care far more than accepting help. Maybe. Consideration in progress, but my initial thought is that "Help" is often unavailable and/or yet another road to hell paved with good intentions. The help I thought I needed turns out to be yet another attempt on my part to control, manipulate. and/or feed my denial of places I already know need attention.

With self-care I often see that I really do have everything I need to address my latest worries. Tending my strictly personal needs with what is already available often leads me to far deeper healing than the quest to find "Help."
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
My ptsd does not stem from CSA, so I can't truly know the impact it would have on intimacy. For this reason, I might be talking out of turn, but it seems sad to me that it can result in people giving up on love and intimacy altogether. Part of my motivation to heal from my past has been to try and restore some level of my capacity to love and feel safe in the world. I don't want my abusers to have the final word in who I am and how I am with others. I've been reading about Betrayal Trauma Theory, originated by Freyd, and she talks about how the damage to trust is not just an incidental casualty of abuse, but the core of it. Maybe this doesn't have to be the case for everyone, but for me, the restoration of trust and intimacy is a must. When I realized that my boyfriend was trustworthy (unlike my exes), I put my heart on a platter to give him a chance to take care of it, and though I felt exposed and went through a lot of anguish, over time, I did learn to trust him and am experiencing genuine, full-on love.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
rebuilding trust might, indeed, be related to self-care far more than accepting help. Maybe.

With self-care I often see that I really do have everything I need to address my latest worries.
I see it. I’m writing this down. And drawing an arrow to the word “trust”.
Maybe this doesn't have to be the case for everyone, but for me, the restoration of trust and intimacy is a must.
I think it is the case for everyone. I think it’s the basis for why therapy can work because if an inborn drive to self-regulate.

I think the feeling of giving up is related to the feeling that one’s self-concept isn’t working anymore. “I can’t keep doing this to myself.”

Now I’m questioning the the validity of blaming the csa. It’s not so much what he did as *who he was* and what cultural “habits” allowed people like him to behave that way. Growing up there was nothing to compare it to. The shedding of the old self is a shedding of “normalcy”—exposure therapy. And one of the most frightening feelings is exposure to myself when I suspect I’ve been inadvertently behaving badly. That I’ve been manipulating and cheating people without care.

Old story. For some reason ex wanted me to feel that way. He said I gave him every reason to believe I was cheating on him. But he accepted me anyway. And I was unloveable anyway because of my OCD, so he was the only one who would love me with all my anxieties.

So now I’m confusing my dad with my ex. I don’t know why I do that. Probably because I was living with both of them as I slowly discovered I was a willing captor.

So maybe it wasn’t csa. Because my life is bigger than that. I think there’s this sense in my head that “if he hadn’t done it when I was a baby” then my brain could have developed in a way where finding trust and intimacy would happen in a way that I took for granted.

Playing the “what if” game is a waste of my time because it doesn’t solve anything. It just happened. Same as the the events with ex. They happened. Nothing is ruined. That is a judgment against my ability to grow and my very existence proves that I grow.

Reframe: My ability to be intimate is growing from a very small place of truth that was always within me and is accessible to anyone.
 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
In public conversations, I most often translate "Intimacy" as yet another euphemism for sex. Privately, I believe that euphemism is as damaging as the "Love" euphemisms for sex. Love and sex are a truly divine match, but far from the same thing. Ditto for Intimacy and sex. Divine bedfellows, but far from the same thing. Personally, I can live without sex far more easily than I can live without love and intimacy. Love and intimacy are also divinely compatible with serving coffee to a stranger or piddling in my garden.

Or? ? ? Am I lost in metaphor again?
I adore this. This is my Kind of metaphoring . It makes things so clear .

And also - yes .


Apart from ….

I think something that needs to be added to this idea that we can view the love and sex balance differently depending where on the sexuality axis we are. I’m demisexual. I partook in a fair bit of casual sex I didn’t enjoy and thought it was me that was ‘damaged ‘ before working out I am really only sexually attracted within the confines of a loving relationship- because appreciation of beauty or - lack of physical repulsion 😳- and being turned on are different too - and truthfully I didn’t really know that until after I met my husband . I can fall in love quickly - but I need love, connection, ( and illusion of..) safety to feel sexually aroused. So - I think for some of us who are somewhere along the asexual scale …. Especially only just on it, this can be really confusing.

For some people the literal proximity or lack of mutual exclusion of these words exists, for others it doesn’t.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
I adore this. This is my Kind of metaphoring. It makes things so clear .
thank you, mee. it is all still kinda muddy in my strictly personal social anxiety. i get lost in metaphor with the greatest of ease.

as a child prostitute in a psychotically incestuous family, i learned about the euphemisms for sex long before i was exposed to the concepts being used for the euphemism. i had to learn, as an adult in recovery that, sex is not the same thing as intimacy, love, etc.

i still haven't sorted my sexual preferences. all depends on how much you're paying, oh horny one.
 
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