Sexual attraction towards abuser/people who remind me of abuser

Roland

Confident
Yes, I agree with this. I'd add that it's not always that your mind is confused, because sometimes it can be that the mind is processing the abuse in a reasonable manner - and with awareness, hopefully it can be a way to get over it.

Some people have specific sexual fantasies precisely because they fear those specific sexual realities and never want them to be realized. We've all heard of rape fantasies here. Personally I know of someone who strongly fears betrayal, and sexually fantasizes about being betrayed. Trouble is, thinking itself can become a habit, even an addiction. I'd guess for that person, trying to sexually fantasize about something else more positive - such as love and loyalty - might be a helpful way forward.

A therapist once said a wise thing: "Let's not over-pathologize what you are doing. It might be a reasonable response to an unreasonable situation. Let's have a think about how your mind might be giving you exactly what you need. Let's try to harness that and put it to good use."
That’s a good way to put it. You’re right that you can be aware and processing, it’s just a confusing process I think. Interesting about sexual fantasy and betrayal, I tend to think things like that, even rape fantasies are okay as long as the person can control the environment, that they are safe now and not being betrayed or raped. It’s another way to take back control and process things. But I suppose it’s also fair the need to fantasize about other things as well.
 
Thanks. To give you a bit more detail, I'm a huggy person, and being affectionately touched by friends doesn't tend to bother me. Some years ago, after having felt the awkwardness of a male friend getting a hug from me I felt ashamed at having messed up and stopped.

The unsolicited therapist's touch didn't bother me in itself too much. It was more what it symbolized that bothered me. It was another piece of evidence that the well-meaning therapist's boundaries and own awareness needed more work, and I wasn't paying to be in the room to help her with herself. Clearly, the exact opposite - which is why I decided to end treatment.

Let's remember that for very many therapists, their preferred mode of self-development or personal growth has been to become a therapist., and this is very well documented inside the profession.

Even asking for consent to hug could be problematic. Request for consent can feel like pressure from the person with power - power which a therapist certainly has. About 20 years ago a dentist, mid appointment with my mouth open and his equipment in my mouth, asked for my consent to kill one of my teeth. Of course I said yes, because I thought he was the experienced professional and I was the ignorant patient. Today, dentists tell me that it shouldn't have happened.

When I was a younger man I interviewed people for a living in a non-therapeutic line of work, sometimes about the death of their next of kin. There was one occasion when a woman interviewee was crying as she recounted the death of her father. I held out my open hand, palm facing upwards. She took it, and we shook hands. I'm proud of that occasion and I hope in future to resort to that way forward.

So personally I'd be happier if your therapist had asked you what you feel you needed right then, rather than asking you the suggestive question about the hug. Still, I am very glad it was right for you and that she didn't mess up.
The funny thing is, as soon as I'd posted that comment I thought what if someone felt pressured to say yesbut actually didnt want physical interaction? Lets face it, I'm sure we've all done/agreed to something we've been asked at some point in out lives because of pressure. Such a mind field isn't it, and I don't really know the answer because I guess what we all need can be so different.

To be honest, if my therapist had asked what I needed I wouldn't have known how to respond because the only thing that would have come to my mind in that moment is physically impossible. As I say, I was very grateful for her offer, her kindness and compassion, but at the same time very much understand your comments

Me and my therapist approach this as "meta-therapy." As in, we discuss therapeutic modalities and touch and boundaries within the therapeutic relationship, openly, rather than leaving the framework unsaid. It's infinitely helpful for someone like me who has years of education on the subject and who has special needs within therapy.
You're so right. Discussing this openly and honestly could be very beneficial. Setting boundaries as it were. I wonder if the power dynamic could still be problematic for some though? If someone agrees during discussion but feels pressured to do so (especially if like me wouldn't know/be able to verbalise what I need so take suggestions from T), or maybe their needs change as therapy progresses. All so confusing isn't it.

I'm so glad this approach works for you. It makes total sense to me, but has also made ne wonder if I'd had this conversation, would I have agreed to hugs etc? If I'm honest, I may well have said no at the beginning. Definitely food for thought though
 
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