Repressed memories and sex as a weapon of self-destruction

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Gomby

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The only person in the world that knows anything about any of what I'm about to right is my partner, who's always been very supportive. I'm not diagnosed with PTSD, so I don't know if that's what's going on. I was diagnosed bipolar 1 but it never felt right and I never took medication. I've had many depressions and seriously considered suicide a few times. I am diagnosed autistic. For the past four years, my mood's been very stable. I haven't had any depression. I have had moments of extreme anxiety and panic attacks. Despite that, I feel very resilient, and maybe this feeling of resilience is what's allowing me to think about this. I don't know.

As a child and teen, we moved around a lot, all over the world, once or twice a year. In and of itself, this was very difficult, and I think it did contribute to issues I'm still working through at 34.

When I was young, I remember being terrified. I would have nightmares of monsters and demons every night. I was scared that bad men would come into my room and hurt me. I don't remember any specific event that led to this, and though I always felt as if something "had happened", I always brushed it off. I have a very good memory and if something really "had happened", I should remember it.

The fantasies started, I think, when I was about twelve. Rape, mostly, but other stuff too, twisted stuff which profoundly disturbs and disgusts me. And with them came porn, which only anchored the fantasies deeper. One fantasy, mild in comparison to the others, has been more constant : I'm on my knees being used like a toy by a stranger.

Plagued by the horrible thoughts and behavioral patterns (looking at this pornography), I've come to see myself as a duality, making a clear distinction between myself and the monster that inhabits me. As if we were two distinct entities living in the same body. As such, it was my ethical duty to repress the monster at all costs. I would say that this led to me being obsessed with living the most ethical life, by my own standards, in other words : be kind and cause no harm to others.

I've never been attracted to men. Never trusted men either. Romantically, emotionally and even sexually, I'm only drawn to women. But that constant fantasy is about men. And because I'm the victim in the fantasy, I've never perceived it as an ethical violation to reenact it. The first time I gave in to the urge I was seventeen. A stranger on the internet, in the woods at night, with me on my knees.

Seventeen years later, I've reenacted this scene hundreds of times, sometimes multiple times a night, usually when I'm going through a period of extreme stress. I've put myself in situations where I was in danger. I've been assaulted more times than I can remember, but it was always at least partly consensual, because I'm a big enough man that I can fight back, so they usually don't go too far even when they try to force themselves on me. Every time I go there, I experienced the same shame, disgust, guilt and humiliation, which appears to be the driving force behind those urges.

I've come to consider sex as a weapon of self-destruction.

I've cheated so many times I can't count. And yet, it never felt like cheating. It was a "moment out of time", an irrepressible urge that if I didn't fulfill, would lead the monster to escape. If I didn't at least feed the monster a little bit, it would eat me up or, worse, take over my psyche. By completely disassociating myself from those moments where I would go out into the night to find a stranger that would use and abuse me, I was able to maintain otherwise healthy relationships with my partners. Sure, I had dark secrets, but they weren't really mine, they belonged to my monster. My current partner is the only person I never cheated on, not because I didn't give in, but because she knows.

Though I've had hundreds of experiences with men, I've never been attracted to a man. Anything that would make them "real" would immediately kill off any desire. Hense they never had a name or a face. Never the same man twice, always strangers. Young, old, ugly, sexy, doesn't matter, as long as they're clean, I'll be the toy they want me to be.

On the other hand, with women I have what appears to be a rather normal, very gentle sex life, minus the fact that I don't know if I've ever had sex without escaping into some twisted fantasy in my head. But the fantasies were always about the unreal, and any opportunity to make them real immediately kills off desire. For example, I only fantasize about people that don't exist for me. I've never been violent or had a violent urge, as that always belonged to the monster, which I only allow to breath when there's no real person around.

A few months ago, I was sitting on my couch and contemplating all of this. For the first time in my life, I pictured a time and place which somehow fit the emotional experience. Still, no memories. I had gone through this a thousand times before, trying to remember how or when this started. But I've never considered that place, that city, when I was eight years old. I lived there for one year, and though I don't remember much, I have good memories. I'm in Canada now and that was in Australia, on the other side of the world, a place I never went back, never thought twice about.

All of a sudden I got up and had to search for it. I type the name of my school, NGS, on Google and add "sexual assault". I read the first results : "institutionalized sexual assault". I scream. I see a name : Reverend GL. I shouldn't remember that name, but somehow I do. I want to vomit. Then I see his picture, amongst pictures of other people, and I recognize him right away. I don't know what's happening to me. I want to throw my computer as far as I can. I'm shaking, crying and howling. I'm not "here" anymore, I'm hovering over myself, wondering what the hell is going on. Everything feels unreal.

I look at Google Maps for NGS. I see the cathedral. If you go out the back, it leads to the deanery. That's where he lived. How do I know that? I have no clear memory of anything. Feelings. Terror, disgust. Three words: "pretty little thing". A bookshelf, a desk, a mattress, a camera. Another child. A shower with a sliding door. Nothing else. Am I making this shit up? Are any of those memories real? But GL did live there, I confirm it by looking through court documents. In fact, he's on trial this week for having sexually assaulted a 15 year old boy back around the years I was there. And there was indeed a way into the deanery through the back, just as I remembered. But that's a logical assumption, right? Maybe I just made a logical leap?

For a week after that discovery, it felt as if I had finally touched something real. I was broken inside, but at least I knew where it came from. Then, nearly as suddenly as it came, it felt unreal again. Did I make everything up? Am I deluding myself? Am I just making up these memories?

My current partner of four years knows about my urges. She's incredibly supportive and non-judgmental. We both have our issues, and we help each other through them. But last, we had a "fight", or at least as close to a fight as we ever get, indirectly related to my urges. At some point, I felt disgusting, repulsive. That feeling that belonged in those moments out of time overpowered me. I broke down, emotionally. I couldn't let it go. I went to sleep feeling broken.

That night I had a nightmare I hadn't had in a long time. But it was the first time it was do vivid. Usually, there were monsters or other symbolic entities involved. This time is was clear, unambiguous. I was a child, about eight years old, there was another child next to me, we were both naked, everything else was dark, and there was a disgusting man, a repulsive man, that was coming on me, it smelled horrible, it felt horrible, I wanted to throw up, I felt disgusting, repulsive.

When I woke up the next day, it was as if I was a consciousness floating above a body. Nothing felt real. I just felt like screaming and crying. I had to drive to a city two hours away, and on the way it was as if I'd disappear for a while and reappear, not knowing how I got from point A to B. This feeling lasted two days, but it came back last night when I was talking about it, and it's back again now as I'm writing about it. There's like a knot above my stomach. It makes me want to throw up.

And I don't know what's real. Am I making this shit up? Am I just crazy? It's so f*cking confusing. If something had happened, I should remember. I don't remember. Every memory feels as if it belongs to someone else, as if it's a memory of a memory. I'm so confused. For the past months I've just been randomly crying and melting down, I don't even know why, but most of the time, I feel nothing at all. Right now, as I'm writing this, I'm oscillating between wanting to throw up and feel completely calm and disassociated, as if I'm writing the story of a fictional character.

I'm sick of the self-destructive urges. I need to understand what's going on with me. I feel more resilient than I ever felt, but also more vulnerable. I've attracted a lot of predators in my life, the curse of many autistic, but I'm only recently becoming aware of it. But for the first time, I'm also allowing myself the room to entertain the possibilities that some awful shit actually did happen. But is it possible? Is it possible that I'm *not* making this up? It's it possible to go through something like this and *not* remember? Could the monster inside me really not be me?

Sorry about this long post. I don't know why I'm writing. I'm so confused. I just want to live a good, normal life and sex life. I'm so tired of the self-destructive urges. I'm so tired of not knowing up from down...
 

Sideways

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Welcome to the forum:)

But is it possible? Is it possible that I'm *not* making this up? It's it possible to go through something like this and *not* remember?
It’s possible. It’s also possible it didn’t happen. Figuring that out is definitely something done with a therapist that specialises in trauma, because there are risks that if you “go looking” for answers? Your brain will fill in the blanks with memories that may or may not be accurate.

Do you currently have a therapist? If not, it would probably provide you with tremendous support to work through this stuff. Because the addictive self-harm you’re describing is familiar (to me personally), scary common, and utterly treatable.

If you aren’t ready to go down the route of a trauma specialist, you would probably find that an addictions specialist would be helpful, since the situations, dangers, habitual intrusive thoughts, distress, and dysfunction you’ve described - they’re all super common to people wih sex addictions. It actually doesn’t matter whether you get “formally diagnosed” with sex addiction - genuine sex addiction support groups and therapists can be tremendously helpful and reassuring that no, you aren’t a monster, and there is no monster inside you. It’s most likely a neurology issue going on, caused by an unknown element.
 

Gomby

New Here
Welcome to the forum:)


It’s possible. It’s also possible it didn’t happen. Figuring that out is definitely something done with a therapist that specialises in trauma, because there are risks that if you “go looking” for answers? Your brain will fill in the blanks with memories that may or may not be accurate.

That's what I've always been most afraid of, and why I never wanted to go there.

I do have a therapist. We haven't discussed that. I know I'll have to. It just makes me want to puke when I think about it. The idea of talking about it isn't appealing at all. I have to, but it's terrifying.

I wouldn't call it a sex addiction, whatever it is. I've been doing this less and less, and in the past year, maybe twice. That's not an addiction by any standard. It never took over my life, it was always something in the back of my mind. Even at the peak, a decade ago, it was rarely more than once a month. It's more a form of self-mutilation, and it's something I turn towards when I'm feeling the most vulnerable. In the past years I've come to accept it and I put myself at much less risk than I used to, but the underlying motivation is still distress.
 

Sideways

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Sorry, when you said “hundreds of times” I took that at face value.

As to the sick feeling? Put aside the “I have to talk about it”. Actually, with psychotherapy? You don’t. And a whole heap of trauma therapy goes nowhere near the explicit detail of what you went through. It’s not all about reliving past experiences, it’s about healing the damage left by those experiences, so that we can get on with life in a fulfilling and meaningful way, nix all the distress and shame we carry round. Don’t wanna talk about it? Don’t have to:)

What may also be good to know? Is a tonne of members on this site are recovering from trauma where they don’t have conscious memory of what happened (which can be for a tonne of reasons - memory is a tricky bugger!).

So, you’re not alone, you have multiple options with how to proceed, and you’re in control of your recovery. So you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.
 
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Gomby

New Here
Sorry, when you said “hundreds of times” I took that at face value.

It adds up fast. I've been doing this for seventeen years, on many if not most times multiple times in one night...

As for the sick feeling? Put aside the “I have to talk about it”. Actually, with psychotherapy? You don’t. And a whole heap of trauma therapy goes nowhere near the explicit detail of what you went through. It’s not all about reliving past experiences, it’s about healing the damage left by those experiences, so that we can get on with life in a fulfilling and meaningful way, nix all the distress and shame we carry round. Don’t wanna talk about it? Don’t have to:)

That's actually so reassuring. I don't know how that works at all. I have a therapist, I like him, but I don't know if he's equipped for this.

What may also be good to know? Is a tonne of members on this site are recovering from trauma where they don’t have conscious memory of what happened (which can be for a tonne of reasons - memory is a tricky bugger!).

So, you’re not alone, you have multiple options with how to proceed, and you’re in control of your recovery. So you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.

Thank you so much for everything. I have no idea how to proceed from here, but just knowing that I might not be condemned to be haunted by this forever feels so good to hear...
 
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