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Author Topic: am i the only one?
tiffanyan
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its a question i find myself asking time and time agian. am i the only one that feels like im only worthy for sex and nothing more? no matter how much good i do it never seems enough if it wasnt done with sex. am i the only one that feels this way?
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Heather
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You're not. Plenty of people go through periods of time of feeling that way, especially sexual abuse survivors.

Of course, you've also made clear that it STILL doesn't feel good enough even IF it was done with sex.

Have you pursued the counseling we last talked about?

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tiffanyan
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yes i so far i had two private sessions i went to one support group meeting. the support group seems to be to much for me to handle right now. the private sessions were okay im just not comfortable talking about myself.
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Heather
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That's great you've gotten started, and it's fine you found private is a better fit for you than group.

But counseling and therapy do take time. It taking more than a couple sessions to really get talking and share what's going on is not unusual: after all, it takes time to build trust, including with therapists.

Have you been able to take any more of the steps we talked about?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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i started the book A Courage to Heal but stopped reading it. all i want to do is have sex. i know that sounds bad but its the only thing that makes me feel good about myself. i know we talked about this already and i shouldnt have to have sex just to feel good about myself but its the only thing that works. i started to mastrubate and i like it but it doesnt feel the same. if im not having sex with someone im masturbating because i dont know what else to do to feel good about myself.
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Heather
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Okay, so it sounds like this is pretty clearly compulsive behavior.

So, if you earnestly want a change, you're just going to have to take a positive risk, step outside your comfort zone, and tell the therapist you are seeing or some other kind of healthcare provider about this very honestly so they can help.

I do think you need to watch how you think about this. Compulsive sexual behavior not only clearly has not worked for you at all -- you've been very clear about that, and if it was, you'd feel great right now, no? -- it also is not likely the only thing that will make you feel good about yourself. You simply may need to try and stick with more things and get some more help.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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shes going to think im disgusting. its caused me a lot of problems but i still havent stopped. i should be able to stop on my own right? if not then i will tell her about it.
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Heather
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No, she's not. I absolutely promise.

And no, often times people can't stop long-term, destructive behaviors on their own, but need help.

Look, even if I didn't know better and thought you "should" be able to stop doing things on your own that are making you feel bad, it's clear that you CAN'T. Know what I mean? You know you can't, so that means you need to ask for help.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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i know what you mean. but i dont think i can tell her im to ashamed of myself for letting myself get this bad off. i dont think i can handle having someone know how dirty i am.
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Heather
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The thing is, a therapist who works with sexual abuse and assault survivors doesn't think anyone is dirty. Those of us that work in any of this just don't think that way. YOU may feel that way about yourself, but you're projecting your ideas about this and you unto someone else.

If you want things to be different, you have to take these kinds of positive risks, and you have to step out of your comfort zone. I know that it's hard, I do, but this is just the deal. If you don't start doing things like talking honestly to people who are there to help you, this isn't going to change and you're not going to feel any better about yourself.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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how do i start off a conversation about this? [Frown] i dont want to straight out say that i think im addicted to sex or is that what i need to do?
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Heather
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I'd just say you need to talk about how things have been for you, and explain the way that you feel about sex and how you have felt like it's very out of control for you like you have here. Then, the therapist will likely start asking some questions so that you don't have to lead, you just need to answer them to fill her in.

Or, if it's very hard for you to say any of this out loud yet, you can just write it down, or even print out some of the conversations we've had here, and give that to your therapist.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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good ideas thanks. i will bring this up in my session next week. it may not seem like i want to get better but i really do. im just ashamed of myself but thats something i just have to get over so i can get better.
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Heather
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I don't think you don't want to feel better. My sense is that you're just finding it very hard and very scary, and are feeling very stuck and scared of taking steps to get unstuck.

I personally don't think anyone needs to feel ashamed of the ways they react to pain or abuse. It's very hard work to heal, especially without any help, and especially in a world where it's all too easy to find ourselves surrounded by people who can personally benefit by our NOT healing.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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you are right. thanks. i have to go and take care of something. these feelings make me wonder whats purpose i have for being here? if i dont come back before my session i probably will after i have it and let you know how things went. you have helped me a lot and i appreciate it. thanks!!!
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Heather
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Really glad to be of help.

When you come back, I think it's important to recognize that while crisis can be a good time for truth, when we are feeling completely overwhelmed managing crisis is usually NOT the time to try and figure out what we are here for and what we're going to do with our whole lives.

I mean, that's a pretty darn big question to try to answer when you aren't even at the point of being able to figure out how not to do something that's making you feel crappy. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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You're right but after all the mistakes I've made it's pretty clear I should have learned something by now. I'm still having unprotected sex every chance I get but for what, to feel loved even if it is only for a mere few seconds? And I do it anyway knowing it's not the right thing to be doing and knowing what the consequences could end up being. It's like I'm asking for it. To make matters worse I feel like the only thing I'm good for is sex yet I'm never satisfied. Even though it's not the right time to be trying to figure out the answer to that question right now, I feel like even if I wasn't in this postion I would still be asking myself that question because if it isn't this there's always something else that makes me want to jump off a cliff!!!
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Heather
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It sounds to me like it is critically important that you make very clear to your counselor that this is going on, including being clear that you are putting your life and health at very serious risk.

I really can't state that strongly enough. By all means, feeling like hell about yourself, having pregnancy you don't want is bad enough. But you are also risking things like HIV. At this point, my feeling is this has become almost suicidal behavior for you.

Can you recognize that it's not just you choosing to have dangerous sex that is putting you at serious risk, but more to the point, your refusing to tell someone who CAN help you is putting yourself at risk?

You know how to take risks: you are obviously done it a lot. So, please take a risk for something POSITVE than can actually help you.

Unfortunately, because we're online, there is only so much we can do. If I had the power to do more for you directly, I would, but because I am not right there in person and in your area I can't.

Once more: you can't do this on your own. You have GOT to ask for help. You have asked and been honest here, but we can't give you the kind of help that you need. You can ask someone who can in the same way you have asked for help here and get that help.

If I sound strong in my words it's not because I am upset with you but because I am very scared for you and feeling very concerned about you. You have essentially asked me to be concerned, and I am concerned, deeply. But until you take more steps to help yourself, I'm the helpless one in this, not you. There is help available to you: you simply have to use it to its fullest extent.

I am hoping keeping my statements strong will make clear how important I think it is you seek out in-person help, asking for all the help you need, being honest. Since you keep coming to talk with me, I'm going to assume you must respect my opinion at least somewhat, so I hope you can hear me in this.

[ 05-30-2010, 10:14 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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I do respect your opinion you are very helpful. I never thought of it as suicidal behavior but lately I have been feeling like I don't belong here. What good am I doing here and what good is there here for me? I've made a lot of mistakes and I've learned from them I just can't keep myself from making them agian. There was one mistake I think I could make again but make a different decision about it in the end. I know that sounds stupid but I wish I knew the reason for me being here. Don't worry I will talk about it at my session I have tomorrow.
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Heather
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Personally, for the most part I don't think there is some kind of predetermined purpose that any of us are alive and on this earth.

Rather, we decide what we're going to make our lives, what our purpose(s) is going to be and what we're going to contribute.

In other words, this is in your power and your control. You get to decide your own actions and choices, and you get to decide what you do with your life. That's not up to anyone else, nor do I think it was decided for you. I think you decide.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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Maybe you're right!!!

It's just hard when you have nothing or no one who really cares for you. I just don't know what to think or make of myself.

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Heather
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I know that hen you're very alone and isolated it's hard to remember, but do remember that that is temporary. Because life is like that at any given time doesn't mean it will always be that way.

As well, you can choose to invest the same kind of time and energy you are in seeking out sexual partners that don't care for you into making and cultivating friendships so you DO have people who care for you. If we don't seek out caring and loving friendships and other relationships, it's going to be mighty hard to find them, and caring is a two-way street in adult life: we have to invest care in others to have the same back. We also have to care for ourselves: if we don't care about ourselves, it's hard for other people to.

But you've taken a good step to getting help with that, so do try and be patient. And for sure, this is all great stuff to ask about in therapy.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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You're right I just have to find myself. I don't know I just have to figure it out.
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tiffanyan
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I showed my counselor some of the conversations I have here and she says you give amazing feedback. She also told me I don't have to be scared to talk to her about anything.You were right, she doesn't think I'm disgusting.
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Heather
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Oh, what a lovely compliment!

I'm so glad you were able to show this to her, and were able to find out that she was accepting and non-judgmental as I expected she would be. [Smile]

That's so great you were able to have that kind of interaction.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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I'm glad too!!! We decided I will abstain from sex for the time being. I can still masturbate so if I feel the need to do so I will. I'm not a dirty or bad person and in order for me to stop feeling this way I have to refrain myself from this bad behavior. You've told me that before and I tried but now I'm going to try even harder.
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Heather
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I'd also suggest you try calling it something other than "bad."

It's not "bad" to have wanted sex. But it's not beneficial or healthy to have sex out of compulsion, to try and avoid things you need to address in order to get to a place where you feel good about yourself, or to try and use sex to create self-esteem. It's also not beneficial or healthy to put yourself at a big risk of infectious diseases or pregnancies you don't want or don't feel ready for.

So, my suggestion? Dump "bad" or "dirty" for this and replace it with something like "unhealthy" or "unwanted" or "not helpful." Sometimes changing our language for something more positive can be a help in changing our behavior to something more positive.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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You're right, I like "unhealthy." Unhealthy is more like it because that is exactly what my behavior was unhealthy, not bad. Thanks for the suggestions. [Smile]
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tiffanyan
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I have the urge to cheat and it's so strong. I really want to have sex but I don't want to mess up the progress I have made. I feel like if I have sex I will disappoint myself. It seems like masturbation is not enough. The urge goes away but then the urge comes back within a few minutes. My counselor told me to try letting the urges build up before I masturbate so that I would have a better release doing so. I tried that but it does not work. Any ideas on what I can do?
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Heather
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The thing is, I don't think this has anything to do with orgasm or the feeling of physical release.

From the conversations we have had, my sense is that you're most often motivated to have sex with others because you want to either self-injure, or want what winds up being a very fleeting self-esteem boost, one that once the moment passes, leaves you feeling even lower than before.

So, can you remind yourself of those longer-term results? As well, what are you doing for yourself lately to really work on your own esteem, to help you feel good about yourself in ways that actually net you that result?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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I have been working on getting enrolled in school for next term and abstain form sex. I was able to accomplish getting back into school but thats about it. My counselor told me to try making some friends and find ways to be social but thats to hard. The only time I'm a social person is when I need sex.
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Heather
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That's a huge accomplishment! Good for you! have you done anything special for yourself to celebrate that, like taking yourself out to a nice dinner, for example?

Per making friends, you can change that.

Really, the skills we use to meet and make friends aren't that different from the skills we use to meet sexual partners. How are you doing that?

[ 06-09-2010, 06:52 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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Thanks, I'm so excited I only have about two more weeks before classes start. I'm pretty sure classes are going to keep me destracted from thinking to much about nothing. I never thought about celebrating but I don't know why I would no one really cares.

Getting new sex partners was never hard for me all it took was for one guy to tell other guys about me and they were all up for it so I don't know how that would work with making friends. Friends that wanted something other than sex.

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Heather
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You'd celebrate because YOU care.

Well, that still works with friends. We make one friend, and often then that friend will tell others how great we are, or suggest we come out sometimes with other friends of theirs. So again, not that different. [Smile]

I think the big barrier here is just going to be you knowing you are as valuable a potential friend as you may have been as a sexual partner, if not more so. So, at first, you may need to just take some chances with that, even if you don't believe that about yourself just yet.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tiffanyan
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You're right, I guess. I don't know. I just never had any real friends so I don't know. I just don't want to be around anyone who doesn't wan't me to be around them.
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