Childhood Dumb question about csa

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
First of all, I am sorry that I have to ask this. It feels really dumb and gaslighting myself. But my brain is doing a lot of discouraging stuff and I’m trying to push back. Also sorry for the description of sexual activity toward a baby.

Can someone please explain to me why a dad encouraging his 2yo to watch him masturbate to orgasm is traumatic? I don’t understand.

More dumb questions.

If a dad puts his finger in a baby girl’s vagina how is that traumatic if a doctor can do it too?

And if a dad puts his private on the mouth of a baby how is the person traumatized?

I understand how slapping and hitting hurts children. I understand how it hurts a child to make fun of them. But I don’t understand how those baby things mess up a person in the head.

Please don’t be mad at me for asking these questions. I looked up on Google and all I found was how to know if a baby has been sexually abused. I don’t understand how those things cause trauma since a baby doesn’t know what’s happening and doesn’t even know it has a body. I feel really stupid asking this. I know I would never do that to a baby and I would want to murder anyone who did that to my own baby, if I had a baby, but I don’t understand on a biological level how those things traumatize a person for when they grow up.

In my head I think the baby csa was not traumatizing it’s just that he did hit me a lot when I was a kid and teen and one time choke me when I was older and he did mock me and I think those things hurt me.

Also, my only confirmed memory is the first thing I asked about, the other two things are body memories, but I accepted them as true for my own sanity and once I accepted them as true the body memories stopped, but I don’t want to argue about memories.

Thank you for your help. I appreciate if you just talk about it in a biological way, not like needing any emotional support.
 
These are all actions that are inappropriate for children because they are not understandable by children. Children - especially very young children - do not have the emotional or physical capacity for sexual activities. Done by someone who is supposed to be a trusted caregiver, it can be emotionally overwhelming, confusing, and hurtful.

If a caregiver is using his or her child as a means of sexual release, this blends the caregiver/child relationship in a way that may harm the child. Will it harm every child? Maybe not. But there's a real reason why this is taboo - because it's wrong. Children cannot consent to sexual activities.
Can someone please explain to me why a dad encouraging his 2yo to watch him masturbate to orgasm is traumatic? I don’t understand.
This, for example, is an activity that has to be performed in secret, and the father is going to have to tell the child not to tell anyone else. Not healthy for a child's emotional development, and not healthy for learning appropriate family or sexual boundaries.
If a dad puts his finger in a baby girl’s vagina how is that traumatic if a doctor can do it too?
A doctor does not do this.
And if a dad puts his private on the mouth of a baby how is the person traumatized?
Again, this has to be performed in secret. A baby cannot say no to something like this - but no child, no matter how young, is going to consent to this activity, ever.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
I'd add - there's a clear conflict of role and environment. Babies do form bonds to their caregivers very quickly, and they understand the simple things - pain, hunger, comfort, relief. Anything that has the potential to feel uncomfortable or painful (which inserting a finger would), will be hard to reconcile if it's done by an individual the baby is bonded with. Not bonds in an intellectual sense, we're talking smells and sounds here.

So, a visit to the doctor for a baby can be traumatizing all on it's own, if it's physically uncomfortable. But it doesn't have the additional intuitive conflict of a primary nurturer inflicting pain.

I also think that infants are quite in tune with their surroundings. If someone doesn't like babies, or is afraid of babies, even if they are acting happy for the baby - the baby won't respond to them positively unless it is in extreme need and has no other recourse. So it stands to reason that an adult doing an action that they know is taboo or wrong, even if they are pretending it's not - the infant can pick up on that negative energy, and it makes them uncomfortable even if it seems on the outside like they couldn't possibly understand. They don't know why a penis in their face is wrong, but it's alien, and it's coming from someone who feels wrong in that moment.

More dumb questions.
They aren't dumb questions, either. They are understandable and rational questions.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
secret, and the father is going to have to tell the child not to tell anyone else.
This did not happen. I didn’t think anything was wrong, it seemed like he was just a human with a body. Also, I forgot that 2yo’s can talk, thank you for reminding me, because in my mind I had no ability to talk, but I could have. I wasn’t able to “tell on someone” yet though. I just took in whatever happened.

I can see how the secrets thing might mess with someone. In my case there was nothing like that. He didn’t act like he had done anything wrong. If he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong then it’s even less abusive. And he didn’t keep doing it, only once, so maybe he did know it was wrong and he just made a mistake. Because of how his dad was a real pedophile. I can’t tell if I’m finally realizing that my dad was just stupid and not a sexual predator or if I’m gaslighting myself. I don’t have to decide right now.


an adult doing an action that they know is taboo or wrong,
At the same time, I’m pretty sure that most adults know it’s wrong to invite a 2yo to watch them do that. Even if the 2yo just walked up while they were doing it I’m pretty sure that a reasonable adult would stop. The fact that his dad was a pedophile helps me understand but does not excuse it. I think I’ve talked about this before on here in the very beginning. Even if his dad was a pedophile it’s wrong. He was 30 years old. I keep thinking he was only like 21 but even if he was 16 still wrong. And the fact that his dad was not convicted of pedophilia or anyone even knew about it until after he died still does not excuse it. Because a reasonable adult does not do that. Ok, I believe that.


will be hard to reconcile
That’s kind of where I’m at. “Hard to reconcile.” So maybe not traumatic exactly but stressful enough that it’s hard to coexist with him harmoniously so I don’t interact with him anymore.


are understandable and rational questions.
Thank you. I’m sorry to myself for putting myself down. I think that hurt my own feelings. I will rethink my original position. I was regressive when I wrote it. Felt like a young teenage part stepping in because the adult parts couldn’t handle it. I still don’t understand how it affects an adult other than to be confused.

Then again, if I try real hard to be an adult I might be able to come up with some possible ways it could affect an adult:
Difficulty with intimacy
Depression
SI
Low self worth
People pleasing
Addiction
OCD
Being in abusive relationships
Dissociation

It’s hard to know which symptoms are from the physical abuse, the emotional abuse, or the csa. And also how many are from being married to the eX who did the emotional manipulation too. Plus the other sexual assaults from people not in my family. But that’s just PTSD land. From reading others’ stories I know it’s not a simple “this caused that.”

conflict of role and environment.
These words are kind of crashing around in my head. Can you talk a little bit more about this? They sound like the main point but I don’t understand. What is the environment? The dad seeking gratification in the baby’s personal body space? And the role is caregiver?
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
I found a website which is a lawyer’s website for parents who need to hire lawyers to help them get justice for csa of their child. And I want to list what they said were the lasting effects of csa. Putting aside the biological effects based on the age of the victim, it is rather curious how many of the effects I have, if it didn’t affect me. Only going to list the ones that affect me.

1. Depression and Anxiety
-Frequently feeling down
-Thoughts or talk of suicide
-Abnormal eating patterns, such as inability to eat

2. Negative self-esteem/ self-worth

3. Substance abuse (borderline for me as even though I drink every day it’s only about 2 beers and I use THC gummies sometimes appropriately sometimes too much.)

4. PTSD
-Agitated behavior
-Phobias
-Dissociation

5. Difficulties with Sex (I was surprised at how many of these I have, if the experiences didn’t affect me.)
-Survivors might not feel interested in sex, develop a phobia of it, or avoid it all together
-Survivors might view sex as an obligation because of how their abuser coerced or manipulated them through the abuse.
-Survivors might not feel aroused during sex
-Survivors might not connect with their partners emotionally during sex
-Survivors might be plagued with disturbing thoughts or images during sex
-Survivors might participate in hyperactive sexual behavior, meaning they need to have sex and have it with an excessive number of partners
-Survivors often have trouble initiating or maintaining intimate relationships with others
-Female survivors may have difficulty reaching orgasm

Something I don’t have is sleep disorders.

I can sense myself gaslighting myself that all those symptoms can be caused by other things, which is true. But it is rather curious that I have so many symptoms of csa if it didn’t affect me.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
No such thing as a dumb question.
I'm hugely qualified in gaslighting myself, so totally get how this feels. For me, given that I pretended for decades that nothing happened, and even if it did, it didn't impact me, it wasn't bad, I'm over it etc etc etc. So I've come to the realisation that if a feeling doesn't feel real, or an event doesn't feel real. If it feels outside of my body and sort of detached from inside or a real feeling that seems tangible: that it is likely to be real. I don't know if that makes sense?

I think listing things like you are is a good way to try and drip feed this into yourself.

Think about how attachment styles are formed.
Being sexually abused will break attachment, create fear and insecurity?
How can a baby predict what might happen?
A baby is wholly reliant on a parent for safety.
A baby can't protect itself.
A baby can't take itself out of a situation.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Idk if this is at all helpful, my apologies and disregard if not.

Sometimes if stumped by a question I ask:

(As you have children), would this be ok for someone to engage in with your child? Why or why not?
Would you engage in this with your child? Why or why not?
Would you engage in this with someone else's child? Why or why not?
Would people on average support this behaviour, why or why not?
What was the purpose of that behaviour?

IMHO, we look back at ourselves as children, or think of what a child processes through adult cognition. But children do not/ cannot. It's for the same reason children are scared of what adults are no longer scared of, and not scared enough (not assigning meaning or having understanding) of things adults realize the gravity of. (For example, it's not until approximately 6 years old children understand the concept of what death means, at all.) I think memory is tricky (though no less disturbing or traumatizing) when we try to know fully what we felt or interpreted at a time we simply didn't have a capacity to understand or tease away what we think as adults.

For example, I had a friend who, at a party at his house, found his small child under the table being fed KD, in his words "like a dog". It so disturbed him that he quit drinking then and there. For his son's part, Idk if there is a memory, or if it was negative, neutral or positive. But I can imagine that future memories were likely more secure and positive.

Idk if your dad used substances, but it is one part of context that frequently accompanies behaviours that otherwise are not present when not using. Similarly, that can occur/ increase with the presence of mental illness(es), especially if cyclical. Not that anything is an excuse for adult choices, as adults are expected to address their behaviour, but there are complicated webs usually present (as you said with intergenerational trauma). People can be very ill and make very deleterious choices and leave a lot of damage in their wake to those around them. Even not wanting or intending to. But the stuff that can occur can be pretty mind bending.

Or another example I can think of, is at 2 I could not remember my father each time he returned home. So (apparently) he would proggressively sit closer, then on the floor, etc, til we got 're-introduced' in a few days, each time. I would never think I would do that, or have felt that, and I have no memory of that, but apprently that was the case. I did not trust him.

One question I would ask is: what were the norms in your household? (Though that presumes you remember them.)

No, the questions are never dumb. Hopefully you find some clarity and peace.
 
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joeylittle

Administrator
Can you talk a little bit more about this? They sound like the main point but I don’t understand. What is the environment? The dad seeking gratification in the baby’s personal body space? And the role is caregiver?
Yes, but much much simpler.

The environment = familiar place, familiar smells, where any baseline experiences of fed, sheltered, warm...it doesn't have to be a happy household for these things to also be true. We're talking about sensory input for an infant.

The role (of the father) = familiar smells, familiar sounds.

For the baby, this feels like one thing. The role is an extension of the environment.

When the role (of the father, in this case) becomes = unfamiliar smell in familiar sounds - even something that small - can cause discomfort. If you add in that the father is tense in any way? The whole situation becomes very uncomfortable. If this is repeated behavior, the baby will develop in one of two ways - either they will remain uncomfortable and uneasy around the caregiver that brings discomfort (in this case, the father) - or, they will reconcile discomfort with safety. They will make sense of it - because that's what very early learning is, it's attaching physical sensation to feelings.

It becomes normal. Normalized.

Either way - the baby becomes conditioned to this as part of the father's role - bringing discomfort. One way, they'll learn that father = discomfort = normal = danger in the safety place (home). The other way, they'll learn that father = discomfort = normal = love and care.

Either way, this is abusive. It exploits the infant's place/person of safety and their lack of bodily autonomy, and will condition them to expect pain and discomfort as part of what a caregiver does. Whether a baby "understands" genitalia or not - they are being conditioned to accept it. And that will radically damage their future understanding of bodily autonomy, of love, of safety.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
how attachment styles are formed.
Being sexually abused will break attachment, create fear and insecurity?
Yes
if your dad used substances,
No he did not. In fact he was obsessed with his health routines.
what were the norms in your household? (
The pedophile grandpa was a nudist. So my dad didn’t think it was wrong to be naked. Except he knew that his half sister, who their dad adopted, cried about being naked and that their dad teased her. He didn’t force us to be naked like his dad did to them.
would this be ok for someone to engage in with your child? Why or why not?
Would you engage in this with your child? Why or why not?
Would you engage in this with someone else's child? Why or why not?
Would people on average support this behaviour, why or why not?
What was the purpose of that behaviour?
It would not be okay because it’s illegal. I would not do this with my child because it would feel wrong. I would not engage in this with someone else’s child because it’s illegal and also feel wrong. People on average would not support this behavior because they would think it’s wrong and disgusting. I don’t know what was the purpose of the behavior. When I think about that I think “he made a mistake he didn’t mean to” which then makes me feel guilty of being no contact, which is why I have to remember the physical abuse to make it meaningful. But at the same time do I really believe that an adult is unable to stop masturbating in front of a toddler? Also, what if he was just lazy? What if he didn’t stop because he was selfish? Being lazy or selfish are not the same as being aroused by a toddler watching. I’ve never in my life thought about this so much. I keep thinking that I’m being too harsh on him. Maybe I am. But the thought of ever talking to him again makes me want to puke, does not give me a good feeling.


unfamiliar smell in familiar sounds - even something that small
The penis in mouth memory was a taste and smell and feel memory. The body memories pinpointed it. Smell of specific lotion and soap. Taste of bitter. Feeling of big warm thing at my lips. These were all separate haunting memories which I put together after going no contact.

There were also inappropriate play and jokes I made growing up which confused and shamed me. I didn’t know why I would do or say such sexually charged things. I wouldn’t even notice until others became uncomfortable and said something.
reconcile discomfort with safety. T
Yes.
the father's role - bringing discomfort.
Yes
discomfort = normal = love and care.
This was so confusing to me as a child. I didn’t understand how any child could love and trust their dad since dads are “scary and gross.” Eventually my conclusion was that people just ignore their discomfort and pretend to love them.
expect pain and discomfort as part of what a caregiver does.
Yes. And I think I still have this thought, now that I’m aware of it.

I have also developed awareness through this site and through recovery that there are people who deeply love their dads without pain and discomfort to push past. I am aware there are people who do not have pain and discomfort with their dad. I don’t know what that feels like, but I am aware that it exists. It sounds really nice. In my brain the nicer the dad the more frightening because my brain thinks they are hiding something or planning something.

I appreciate this conversation so much. Helping me understand attachments and gain perspective.
 
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katz

MyPTSD Pro
Since I was so young when "he" started, I just came to learn that pain down there is normal. I learned to tolerate it. To ignore it. I can remember sitting in my room on the floor in tears and just telling myself that "this is what life is".

To this day, if I hurt - anywhere on or inside my body, I do nothing. I just let it go and continue going. Not saying "ouch" or doing anything about it. When people ask me if I hurt, I say "no". Because to me - this is life.

As I got older... and more people hurt me, I just went on. I can look back now and remember a terrible time when I was running home from an attack by a stranger, and just thinking "that wasn't so bad." I look back now and I'm appalled to think that I went thru this with this kind of thinking. Yet, I still feel this way about a lot of things. Even though I'm an adult. I was just conditioned from such a young age to not hurt - no matter how you feel. Just keep it secret.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
To this day, if I hurt - anywhere on or inside my body, I do nothing. I just let it go and continue going. Not saying "ouch" or doing anything about it. When people ask me if I hurt, I say "no". Because to me - this is life.

As I got older... and more people hurt me, I just went on. I can look back now and remember a terrible time when I was running home from an attack by a stranger, and just thinking "that wasn't so bad." I look back now and I'm appalled to think that I went thru this with this kind of thinking. Yet, I still feel this way about a lot of things. Even though I'm an adult. I was just conditioned from such a young age to not hurt - no matter how you feel. Just keep it secret.
This is exactly me too @katz . Though I was very fortunate because as a child for me it was mostly only just neglect, not CSA in FOO, though there was also 'stuff'. I feel very badly for you and the others. 😢💙🤗
 
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