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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Emergencies and Crises » Feeling lost

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Author Topic: Feeling lost
kamille
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Member # 42270

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Hi,

I engaged in unprotected anal sex last night. I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking for right now...help, advice, a shoulder to lean on...I just feel confused about my behaviour. And I don't know how to stop putting myself in unfavourable situations like these. I need to somehow figure out what I want, learn how to make decisions and be true to that.

Sometimes when I find myself in a situation like this, I wonder where my ability to say no went. How do I so easily cast my eyes down and "take it"? Another situation I vividly remember is the morning after my boyfriend at the time had broken up with me. Without words, no words were spoken at all, he went through the motions of fingering me, put on a condom, and turned me around to penetrate me (vaginally). I felt pretty sick after that.

I need some help. I think these problems stem from various areas in my life. And I need to change. I need to be brave, I need to be courageous and decisive. How?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Hey, kamille. I'm sorry to hear you agreed to something (assumed it was something you agreed to) you didn't feel good about, and that you're feeling crummy now.

I guess I'd start first by asking if, when you step into any kind of sexual relationship or interaction, you feel very able to assert yourself right at the gate.

If you don't, then the first step is to make sure you simply don't put yourself in those situations until you at least have that assertiveness to draw on. Because without it, it's very easy to have a hard time setting limits and boundaries, asking for what you want, and feeling like you can.

It also sounds like it's possible the situation you're describing with your ex may have been a sexual assault. Had you two had any agreements about sex without verbal consent before then?

I ask about that because if and when we have been abused or assaulted, setting sexual limits and really making our own choices can sure be a whole lot tougher.

--------------------
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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kamille
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I have always feared that it may have been sexual assault...but the people who I've discussed it with have always been dismissive.

I'm not sure if I agreed to it or not (oh boy, the indecisiveness coming out again). I did, and I didn't. I didn't really want to, but I helped guide his penis inside.

I do feel very much like I have been abused/assaulted/taken advantage of in the past and I think that it contributes to my inability to be assertive...

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Heather
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Well, here's how this works with me: the person who gets to decide if something was abuse or assault or not is the person who decides they were abused or assaulted.

This isn't a court of law, after all -- in other words, you're not naming names, filing charges: what you say here has no impact on whoever did or may have abused or assaulted you -- and this is about you. And really, you're going to be the expert on knowing what happened and how you felt about it. Not anyone else.

But, let's go ahead and talk about this with the understanding that you might well have had abuse/assault history. And also with what you've said here, which seems to be that you don't feel able to be assertive.

How might you feel about setting hard limits with yourself on not entering into any sexual or potentially sexual situations until you have had some time to sort through that and improve with it so that you KNOW, walking in, that you most likely will be able to assert yourself, and feel confident in your ability to do that?

--------------------
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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kamille
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Yes, that would make a lot of sense. I need to be abstinent right now. It's been difficult to say, "no." It's been difficult to just stay away from it. For example, I recently developed an online friendship with someone. He coerced me into phone sex...which I enjoyed. But we have talked a lot about our sexual histories and decided to not cyber anymore because of our past. It wasn't healthy for us to partake in it.

I think another element that might come into play here is self-worth...I'm feeling a bit low.

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Heather
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So, what I'm hearing is that one of the ways it's been difficult for you is because of other people being coercive. If so, that's not on you, that's on them. But we can certainly talk, if you like, about how to exempt yourself from those situations.

But it sounds like you think there might be some other reasons it's difficult for you to stay away from sexual situations right now: can you tell me about what you think those are?

(FYI, "abstinent" is a pretty loaded term for a lot of people, which isn't surprising, since it has a religious basis. So, personally, unless that term is something that feels empowering for you, I suggest we maybe come up with some other language for this. Like, for example, "I need to only be sexual with myself for now.")

--------------------
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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kamille
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Even so...whether or not it was them, or me, or a combination of the both of us...what is in the past, is in the past. So I think that, for me, what I need to focus on is the present (healing) and looking toward the future (change), knowing that I can have the strength to say no. Or to release myself from situations like these, and find help and love to surround myself with.

I'm not sure why I'm finding it difficult. I think I'm looking for something in casual hook-ups that they can't provide. My friend and I were talking about this particular situation last night. She said, why do you feel like you need, or want to be intimate with this person? And the first thing that popped into my head was that I felt like I needed to be there for him, that he required me for some reason, that I could help him. Lost helping the lost.

I'm finding it very difficult to figure out what I want...in general, in life, what I want from myself and who I want to be. Silent reflection, or meditation upon anything hasn't been helping...I don't know where to start. I just feel like I've been on a really winding road for so long and it's making me feel sick and I'm not getting to my desired location.

I'm also feeling embarrassed and ashamed right now-- for my behaviour. After we had sex, he said something along the lines of, we can't continue doing this because you might have feelings for me. And I felt insulted, because it was an assumption, not a question, and it sounded like an accusation. Then I felt hurt and manipulated, because even though I don't have romantic feelings for him, I still placed trust in him, and I felt embarrassed and ashamed because I felt foolish for having been so reckless.

[ 01-28-2013, 01:39 PM: Message edited by: kamille ]

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I totally respect whatever you feel you need, and your own ability to assess that.

In your second paragraph, I hear you framing sex as "helping" someone. And the idea that when people are motivated to engage in sex, it's about feeling lost and needing you, as a guide, to help them find...themselves? Their sexuality? Satisfaction? What do you think?

I don't think you have anything to be ashamed of here. You haven't done anyone any harm, you haven't done anything with any kind of malice or anything like this. You've just been making some choices, it sounds like, that aren't serving you well. And you know, none of us -- of if anyone, a rare, rare few -- walk into any part of our life, especially a part as complex as our sexualities, magically knowing how to make the choices that serve us best. It's a process, something we all have to figure out, and a process that takes time for everyone. And we're all going to stumble along the way to one degree or another.

If you're generally feeling without direction or aim or purpose in all the other parts of your life, it can be awfully hard to feel grounded enough in yourself and what you want in general to "do" your sexuality well, too.

I have a thought: if some of your sexual choices and motivations have been about needing to feel needed, and you also are feeling without direction in your life, I wonder if maybe finding some volunteering where you are EARNESTLY helping people, in ways that don't ask you to out yourself on the chopping block, in ways that aren't sexual, in ways where someone really does need you -- with things that are actual needs, not wants -- might bridge some of this for you, or at least start to? Something like that might fill this desire to be needed in a much healthier way, and in a way you could actually feel very good about.

--------------------
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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Heather
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Hey, Kamille, I just wanted to let you know, since we got started digging into some deep stuff, that I will be AWOL from tonight through Thursday.

You can certainly pick this up with a volunteer if you like, and they'd be more than able to talk about this stuff with you, but I didn't want you to feel like I blew you off.

I'll give a holler when I'm back so you know when I am if you want to keep talking. [Smile]

--------------------
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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kamille
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Hi Heather...hope you're back.

I'm not entirely sure about the whole helping bit. When I sat down to consider it for a second, "to help the person" was the first thing that popped into my head when my friend asked me why I want to be intimate with him.

Perhaps, though, more accurately, I'm needy looking to feel needed. I'm not sure. It makes me feel kind of sick. I really want to see myself in a positive light, to see the good in me, and to notice all the potential I have. Right now I feel totally and utterly lost...

And you're right...I haven't hurt anyone, but by the same token, I feel like the decisions and choices I've made that aren't serving me well...maybe are hurting me. I like this line, "And you know, none of us -- of if anyone, a rare, rare few -- walk into any part of our life, especially a part as complex as our sexualities, magically knowing how to make the choices that serve us best. It's a process, something we all have to figure out, and a process that takes time for everyone. And we're all going to stumble along the way to one degree or another."

I appreciate those words...yet at the same time I look at myself and wonder, you're suppose to be a responsible adult...but I just allowed it to happen/continue...I can be quite over-critical of myself.

And your suggestion about volunteering is a good one. I have actually already had a meeting with a volunteer coordinator, however, unfortunately, that was about a month ago. And I say unfortunately because I had to wait a month until the orientation date (which is in a couple of days), and a lot has happened during that time...a lot to think about and consume me, when I should be trying to get my mind off of it and focusing on trying to get better, to feel more passionate, more fulfilled.

By the way, I just graduated university in December. So this is a bit of a turning point in my life. I'm a writer/filmmaker who feels at a total loss right now...even though things seemed to be going so well...I just need to find some motivation and passion somewhere...

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Karybu
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Hey Kamille, Heather won't be back at the boards until tomorrow, but if you want, I'll be here for a few hours and am happy to talk. (Just don't want to intrude on the discussion you had going with Heather!)

--------------------
"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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kamille
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Sure, if you'd like to contribute, I would be happy to hear a second opinion. I feel really nauseous and have felt this way for a couple of days now. Anxious and nauseous...
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Karybu
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Okay. So, one thing that jumps out at me about your most recent post is the comment about how you're supposed to be a "responsible adult." It's something that's a lot easier said than done, really, and there isn't a certain time in life when a switch flips and suddenly you don't ever make mistakes or choices you aren't happy with ever again. Wanting what's best for yourself is great, but no one's perfect, so give yourself a bit of a break, eh? Recognizing that the choices you've made aren't serving you well is already a huge step in a really positive direction, and you seem to have a lot of self-awareness, too: neither one of those things are minor things, so give yourself some credit for being proactive and figuring out what you need to do to be good to yourself.

It's totally understandable that you're feeling at a loss right now, as well. Finishing university is a big change; for a lot of people it means losing the structure of a routine that's been in place for quite a long time. What are you doing now? Do you have any projects you can throw yourself into, whether it's for someone else or just for you? What else are you doing to take care of yourself in general, especially to deal with the anxiety you're having? (Happy to help you brainstorm some techniques if you're not sure where to start with that.)

--------------------
"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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kamille
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You're right. I do need to give myself a bit of a break. Nobody is perfect...the fear of being not perfect is difficult to overcome. I'm not really sure what the problem is. I feel like I've totally lost touch with myself.

I'm still continuing to put myself in positions where things get sexual with this person. He has no feelings for me. I don't really have feelings for him either, but my vision is clouded because I'm in a vulnerable position of feeling needy. If you know what I mean? That's what I feel it is, anyway. I don't actually have romantic feelings for him either...and yet I trust and allow myself to be caught up in situations that, like Heather said, don't benefit or suit me well anymore. I don't understand what I want from him...I don't actually want anything from *him* ...what is going ON! Why do I need validation so much?

I'm not doing any projects, I haven't been doing anything for myself (this person in question is visiting for only a couple more days before he returns home, so I've been showing him around the city etc.)...even though I've taken a few yoga classes and done some acupuncture, I'm not really doing anything for myself...

I want out of the cycle!

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Heather
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kamille: it seems to me that the first step you need to take here, so you can start doing all of these things for yourself and start to break this pattern is to get out of all of this with this guy.

What do you think you need in order to stay AWAY from those situations with him -- or him, period -- and get away from this?

For instance, a friend or family member to remind you of what you really want, a clear statement to him that you two need to be done and an agreement he'll stay away, some counseling or coaching....?

--------------------
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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kamille
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He's leaving tomorrow...
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Heather
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So, are you saying that in terms of this particular person, this is taken care of for you because you won't be able to have any contact with him again?

--------------------
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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kamille
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With him, I probably don't have to worry anymore. I will see him sometime in the future, but by then I really hope to have a handle on this toxic cycle I've gotten myself into.

I feel a sense of relief though, now that he's off. I feel like I can final take a couple of breaths, find an excuse to be by myself, and figure out what I need...but how do I do that? I don't know...

Also, just as a side note, I got my period on Saturday...slept with a tampon...and ever since then have felt incredibly irritated and itchy. My period blood is also quite dark, almost purple. And, although my period is usually anywhere from 35-37 days, this cycle it came at 28 days. I'm wondering if you have any suggestions on how to ease the irritation during my period...I think it might be a yeast infection, but I'm not sure.

[ 02-05-2013, 11:25 PM: Message edited by: kamille ]

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Heather
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In terms of figuring out what you need, how about you take those breaths, first? In other words, why don't you start by just taking a little time now that he's gone to experience being on your own in a real way, outside a sexual relationship. feel whatever feelings you have, catch that breather.

Per vaginal irritation with your period, why don't you start by only using tampons during the day?

--------------------
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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