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Author Topic: abuse flashbacks / kink fantasies?
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Neophyte
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Scarleteen has been an amazing resource for me, although I'm a bit self-conscious about how much I'm still just figuring out at 24. Recently one issue has been bothering me a lot-- I submitted it yesterday as a sexpert question, but I'm only dwelling more and more, so I thought I'd voice it here as well. Sorry if that's redundant and annoying!

From ages 17 1/2 to just turned 22 I was in an abusive relationship with a guy 8 years older than me. We both came from troubled backgrounds (his mom had just been murdered, mine lived on the other side of the country and my dad was pretty absent). His intellect deeply stimulated and encouraged my own ambitions. Because of this mix of factors, the lines of consent became really really blurry. By the point where we were living together (I was 19), our sex was getting really Me-Submissive-- with him dressing me up, bending me over, getting me to say I'm a slut, etc etc etc.

I totally get that those types of sexual behaviors can be okay between two consenting adults. I guess where it gets confusing is that while at the time I was turned on by them, I now see how they were completely wrapped up in the toxic, abusive power-play of our dynamic. The relationship crumbled with him cheating and me feeling broken, exploited, and easily triggered.

I've done a lot of recovering since (some of it thanks to this site!) and am now happily married to a friend I wrote letters back and forth to for four years. The dynamic is worlds apart- we deeply value and respect our autonomy, and have been long-distance for the last few months while I'm in grad school. When we visit each other, we have healthy and mutually satisfying sex.

Yet whenever I get back into my own private space, I find myself having really intense female-submissive fantasies, that sometimes don't look all that different from sex with my ex. Although I know I should, I am terrified to tell my husband because not only will he think it's totally not up his alley, but also he will likely see it as a perverse psychological remnant of my own abuse. Personally I am having a lot of trouble (this is where the dwelling comes in) in figuring out if these fantasies ARE a form of self-triggering, or if I am just inclined towards submissive sex and should just accept that. If I should just accept that, how should I share this with my partner in a way that won't freak him out? How can I separate it from toxic associations with my past? If it isn't healthy, how can I phase myself out of those types of fantasies, if that's even possible?

Thanks for all your help!

[ 01-22-2011, 01:11 PM: Message edited by: another language ]

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Heather
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Here's the deeply unsatisfying answer to a question like this: we can't know. And you probably can't, either.

For sure, sometimes we process trauma by trying to reenact it. Doing so, either in our heads or in action, in ways in which the same things are happening, kind of, but where we are in control and they are wanted can often be a powerful way of healing. It also isn't uncommon at all for sexual trauma or abuse to hijack our sexuality in some ways, or for some periods of time.

At the same time, who knows if this fantasy and this sexuality was part of who you are and what you want before your abuse. You can probably have some idea about that.

As time goes by -- years, decades -- you will probably be able to answer these questions yourself, but probably not for a long time.

In the meantime, though, I think there are some better answers. In a word, if you enjoy this fantasy, and think you might enjoy power-play in your sex life, there are ways to engage in that which are not unhealthy or abusive, and that comes down to primarily three things: your desire to do so, full consent from you and everyone else involved in doing so, and engaging in this kind of sex in a way in which it is both optional and negotiated. Maybe any of that is something you do in action, or maybe it's just what you do in your head, but either way, all of that is a VERY different thing than being abused.

Obviously, if you have a partner you feel very confident will not want to engage in that kind of play, or who has made clear they don't, that's just not an option. However, I'd hope you've made such a big commitment to someone who would respond to you talking about it with more care or sensitivity than to psychoanalyze you or call what you're feeling or fantasizing perverse. Do you really think he'd respond that way?

Per whether or not this is about you trying to trigger yourself: getting triggered tends to feel pretty crappy. How do you feel when you're having these fantasies? Do you feel good, or do you feel traumatized?

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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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Neophyte
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Thank you so much for your response-- your work is so valuable and important!

To answer your question, I end up feeling a conflicted mix of both. They feel good and "do the job" in the moment, but usually I end up feeling pretty confused and kinda guilty about it after. I'm not sure I feel "traumatized" as much as I feel dishonest, surprised at myself, and sort of like I have internalized misogyny. They seem to kick into turbo-speed during PMS, when I tend to be hornier yet also prone to big-time dwelling on past hurt. My mind boggles-- was I more sexually compatible with my abuser than with my current supportive *husband*? Even though I know I feel good with where I am personally and that I want to be with him, I start questioning things I probably shouldn't. So, no straight answer (of course!).

I'm starting to think that the best step will be to talk to my partner about it. Although I do suspect it will mildly weird him out (at least at first), I wonder if it will really surprise him all that much either, since he's seen so much of my recovery process and also has a good idea of what my body responds to. As I learned this last day or so, even just writing my thoughts out has really helped, so maybe I can even write it to him (especially since we connected to each other so deeply that way).

I think from there it will be easier to tell if this is something that can be worked into our own sex life in a way that's healthy for us both, or if it's something that can stay in my own head, or if it's something lingering that maybe shouldn't last.

So we'll see. I do know that I am already starting to feel better, so thanks again. <3

[ 01-22-2011, 11:31 PM: Message edited by: another language ]

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Heather
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To make sure it's clear, because you asked if you were triggering yourself, a trauma trigger pretty much puts us psychologically/emotionally back in the moment of being traumatized. When we're strongly triggered, we can literally feel like we are, for real, RIGHT back in that moment or event. It's very disorienting. When it's less profound, we will still kind of tend to feel disoriented in the moment, and fearful, scared, upset.

It sounds very much like that is not at all the experience you're having, so I think you can rule that out.

It is also possible, weird as it can seem, to have a great sex life with someone abusive. In fact, I've read plenty of fist-person accounts and case studies where that was one of the things that made it hard for people being abused to leave. So, good sex and abuse aren't actually mutually exclusive. However, if the sex you had with your ex wasn't negotiated, and was within the context of abuse, while it may have been sex you enjoyed, it may not have really been good sex on the whole, if you get what I mean.

I'd also not take that big jump about compatibility before you actually have discussions about this. Of course, maybe you're saying that about more than this issue and know or feel you did marry someone with whom you're not sexually compatible: I can't know that because we haven't talked about that. But all the same, it sounds like these are talks/communications you haven't had yet, so how about having those first?

Do you feel like you need any help in communicating some of this to him?

--------------------
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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Starfire&Shadows
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Also, bear in mind that you can actually enjoy something, and if someone does it to you when you don't want it then it's still not your fault and it's still abuse. Lots of people enjoy PIV intercourse with the right person at a time they feel like it, and they can still be raped.

I hope you keep feeling better in yourself and that your current relationships go well.

--------------------
We are all made of Star Stuff...
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...Their eyes beheld, first of all things, the stars of heaven.
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Neophyte
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Hi,

I thought I'd give an update to my situation here, which has developed quite a bit but has become no less complicated.

I tried very, very hard to open up lines of communication with my husband, regarding my process of wrestling with these issues and coming to terms with my sexual self. Letters and e-mails with no response. Despite the openness we had as close friends and pen pals, for some reason, we became more and more communicatively closed off in our marriage. He flat out did not want to talk about this stuff, on his end or my end (he never talked to me about sexual desires, deep emotions, etc.). To me, this is integral to what marriage is about, so understandably it became a problem, despite my love for him.

We decided to separate at the end of June. A couple days after this, I *could not stop thinking* about my ex. I contacted him, and he'd told me that he'd tried calling me a couple days before-- he was abroad, so it was an "UNAVAILABLE" number and I didn't pick up. That's right: he called me the DAY my husband and I decided to separate, after months of no contact.

After talking about it, we decided to explore the possibility of seeing one another again after he got back into the country. I had done a lot of reading about BDSM and feminism, and plenty of soul-searching about the possibility that just because a partner "devalues" you in a sense doesn't necessarily equate it with abuse if there is unanimous consent. I began to think that framing our dynamic in terms of "abuse" maybe didn't acknowledge the level of agency I had had in it (despite it ending really badly with me getting the shit end of the stick). I realized that I should accept that these sorts of thoughts and fantasies are a part of me, and that stigmatizing them or trying to "cure" myself of them (and hide them from my husband) was counter-productive. They weren't going to go away... and, I was starting to realize, neither were my lingering feelings over my ex, so maybe acknowledging and exploring that side of me would be a good thing.

We saw each other about six weeks ago, and it was AMAZING. I felt at home, incredible sex, feeling like I could be open about who I was, etc.

Zoom forward to now, and I feel completely trapped. I finish grad school in December and have tons of work, plus I am, y'know, going through a divorce, and planning the next chapter of my life. And yet we have been seeing each other every other weekend (he lives 2 hours away), having crazy sex and staying up late and saying "I love you" and going through intense emotional catharses and realizing that we basically don't know how to be apart. Sometimes it feels that this means we should be together. Sometimes it just feels fraught and impossible. On top of it, a gal that he had a romantic fling with while abroad this summer is coming to visit him at the end of the month for 2 weeks. She doesn't know about me. She is 23, he is 33. When I point out how the age disparity carries a power differential that bothers me and was part of the reason why our relationship was fucked up and confusing to begin with, he understands it on an intellectual level but emotionally gets pretty defensive (I should just "accept" him/I don't know her/etc.). He's in college so he has a lot of flirty gal friends who are that age, and it bothers me-- yet I know I'm in no position to take issue (we're not in that kind of relationship, nor am I ready to be) and, it even includes me (sure, our history is more complex, but I am 25 also).

I thought that if I stayed in the driver's seat in this situation, I could handle it. But it no longer feels that I am trustingly ceding control of my own volition. I am just losing control. I'm wondering again about the whole BDSM aspect (maybe I was deluding myself with the rationalizations, I don't know), and I am realizing that the dynamic of complicatedness and hurt with this person is still prevalent. For example, his mom was murdered when I was 18 and he was 26, and after this he would come into my room at night when I was sleeping and get into my bed and hold me, try to talk to me, sometimes touch my breasts. I didn't know how to respond. We had been friends and sometimes lovers for about a year at this point, and a few months after this we moved in together, and the dynamic really got started. I realize that we both have deep undercurrents of loss/grief, a hunger for love, and huge swaths of our identities wrapped up in one another.

We decided to not visit each other for a while and see if it is possible for us to be "just friends." I really worry because I tried for several years (therapy, journaling, etc.) to "get over" him to no avail, yet I don't know how to keep this person in my life in a way that is healthy and acceptable. I don't know what to do. It is 8 years now with a "can't-live-with-him-can't-live-without-him" situation. I don't. know. what. to. do.

I'm sorry that this is so long, and I realize that I'm outside of the intended age demographic at this point (but maybe this might help younger people who may be embroiled in something similar?). Reading this over, I realize that trying to cut him out would make the most sense. But, despite all my accomplishments and all that I have already survived, I don't know how to pull it off and I don't feel that strong. Any thoughts?

Love and gratitude,
<3

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Heather
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What about figuring that maybe just RIGHT NOW, while you have SO much other stuff on your plate, isn't the time to try and have anything but perhaps a very part-time relationship with this person?

In other words, what if you figure that you put this on the backburner while you go through your divorce and get that sorted, and finish grad school?

This just seems like a helluva lot to have on your plate right now -- for anyone -- and I'm not at all surprised it all feels so overwhelming. To boot, it's pretty typical for people just starting a process of divorce to leap into something else fast, and while I totally hear that this is hardly a new relationship for you, but one with a lot of history, I also know how tough it can be to evaluate what is what you want when you're only starting to have figured out what wasn't and get clear of that. Know what I mean? Since it seems like there is also history with nonconsent and abuse from this person, that, personally, doubly concerns me.

Maybe think of stepping back not as ditching it entirely, but putting a pin in it while you do all you need to do first to have any chance at a) really being grounded in it and your choices with it and b) your life as a whole?

--------------------
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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I realized I also didn't ask something. Around the desire with BDSM, have you ever had a sexual relationship that included BDSM with someone with whom you did NOT have a history of previous abuse?

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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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Neophyte
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No. That's the thing. My whole thinking about submissive sex is pretty much wrapped up in this person. After trying to open up to my husband about it, reading other women's perspectives on BDSM, accepting my own thoughts, etc., I thought I had separated my orientation towards it from this person, but now I'm starting to realize that maybe that didn't actually happen.

I like your response a lot and will take some deep breaths to accept that I *don't have to have it all figured out right now.* But after so many years of sharing our selves, struggling with our relationship, trying to move on, etc., I am just exhausted and wish I had some clarity!

You are probably totally right that clarity here may come from first finding some clarity in my own life and choices. So, time to get some work done and do first things first.

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Heather
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Do you want some of my feedback and feelings then on this relationship and engaging in BDSM in it? I'm glad to take the time to share them, if so. Might help with the clarity. Might not, too, but if you're interested, I can give it a shot.

--------------------
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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Neophyte
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Honestly I would love it. Besides my enormous respect for you, obviously enjoying being called "slut" in bed is not something I can really talk to a lot of people about, which just complicates things even further because I have to keep a lot of my conflict over this stuff to myself.

I don't know if this sounds like I'm defending a lost cause here, but for what it's worth, when we agreed to see each other again I made clear to him that I was interested in being dominated (somewhat mildly by BDSM community standards). He subsequently read a lot of feminist-minded sub blogs and articles too. So he's not just going into it as a total bro-dude with no consciousness of its complexities. Maybe that doesn't make a big difference though given everything else that's wrapped up in our dynamic and history.

What do you think?

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Heather
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I understand.

The very first thing I would have wanted to know before you even started talking to this person again is what, if any, work he had done for himself on learning how NOT to be abusive. And I'm talking about real work, not reading an article here on there: in-depth counseling and help over time from at least one qualified professional. If the answer had been none or very little, and you'd have asked me what I thought about even contacting him again, let alone seeing him or engaging in sex with him, my answer would have been to stay steered clear. After all, abusive behavior isn't something that people tend to just effortlessly or casually unlearn. It's often very difficult to learn different ways of interrelating, a process that tends to take a lot of time and effort. It's also one that when people have really done that work, you're rarely, if ever, going to have them even suggest another intimate relationship with someone they previously abused, because they will know how emotionally dangerous that is for them and that person.

One of the toughest things for a lot of people in abusive relationships is that often, these sex doesn't suck. And in some, it's even really good. I think the expectation is that that, like so much of the rest of the relationship, must be awful and will be, but in reality, it's not for a lot of people. And I'd say that's even more likely for people who want and enjoy powerplay in their sex. The trouble is that, for an abusive person, it isn't play at all. They're not playing a role. Know what I mean?

While we're on tricky issues, it can be very tough to be someone who is orientated towards BDSM but is also an abuse survivor, for exactly some of the reasons you're talking about here. How do you sort out the difference between BDSM and abuse? In some ways it's easy: is it consensual, negotiated, etc. But i other ways or in some situations, it can be more tricky. To me, one of the questions to ask is, "Is it healthy behavior for everyone, or is anyone in it using it as a way to cloak unhealthy sexual behavior?" And to me, with someone with a history of being abusive, that'd be a big red flag on that question, because the probably of them doing that seems awfully high to me. I'd say that if you abused someone before, topping seems like an AWFULLY precarious thing to do, especially, again, without a LOT of work before doing that to learn not to be abusive.

On your end, I think one thing to think about is if some of the appeal of this with him, specifically, for you, isn't experiencing the kind of dynamics you did when he was abusive, but feeling more like you have some control. Because I think that could obviously be something that feels very powerful to you. In fact, it's one reason sexual abuse survivors who enjoy BDSM often voice it feels healing to them, because they are NOT in a position of nonconsent, but of a lot of consent and negotiation. The things is, they're not usually engaging in that sex or sex play with the person who abused them. That, to me, just really does seem very emotionally dangerous.

On a similar note, like with the insensitivity you feel this person has still in some areas, I think the thing you have to know is that if the relationship you had with this person before was unhealthy or abusive, it's much more likely to be or become that way again than it is not to.

I think that, if nothing else, before you cement yourself to this person at all, you owe yourself a couple of things. One, I'd kind a kink-friendly therapist to talk with about all of this. I'm happy to help you find someone if you like. That IS someone you can talk to without the kinds of biases you're validly concerned about.

I also think that you owe it to yourself to explore BDSM with someone who has never abused you or anyone else. Now, hopefully it's obvious I'm not suggesting you go seek out a relationship or sex with someone when you feel no desire to do that or no desire for that person. Rather, what I'm suggesting is maybe that, after more of your dust settles, you date people you haven't before. You pursue BDSM with a partner who shares your interest, and interest in you, where you can see what it's like when it isn't -- at least in that interpersonal relationship -- at all connected to abuse and see how you feel about it. Some of doing that is about maybe getting a better sense as to how connected, or not, these things are for you. Some of that is seeing if it isn't the case (as I suspect it isn't) that BDSM sex with THIS person is SO AMAZING, but just that that kind of sex you want period feels amazing to you to have. If you have all that focused only on this one person, and without them, that gets no airtime, of course you're going to feel very tied to this person, beyond the history and abuse dynamics which may be part of that tie. Know what I mean?

--------------------
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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Neophyte
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Hmm. Yeah to all of this.

He has been saying that he needs to see a therapist, but he is rather disorganized and to my knowledge has done preliminary paperwork at his school but not set up a concrete appointment time. I agree that he himself is navigating a lot of deeply rooted issues (grief, violence, his own previous divorce from a young marriage, etc.) which likely factored directly into the dynamics (and timing) of our relationship. And I'm interested to see what comes of it, if he does follow through on getting some help and perspective.

I wonder though if maybe I used the word "abuse" too loosely at the beginning. For me, understanding our relationship through that lens was very helpful for a time, to begin a process of reclaiming myself apart from him (which, I guess, didn't end up entirely working). I suppose it would be more accurate to say "power imbalance"--if there's a difference--because I was never afraid of him/he never hit me/he never undermined me/etc. (on the Abusive Partner Checklist, the jealousy issue is the only strike). Of course, there were some blurry boundaries (i.e. getting into my bed while I was sleeping); he also, for example, convinced me that his flirting with the girl he ended up cheating on me with was all in my own head, which I bought until I had to experience the fallout. At this point we had become so dependent on one another that we continued to sleep together even while he pursued a relationship with this girl (he didn't tell her about this, naturally). I ended up moving across the country to essentially get as far from the situation as I could, and eloped seven months later.

Coming back to now, it seems that I took the signs that some progress was being made as a go-ahead, too soon, instead of waiting until the progress had actually been DONE. That's not very grammatical but I think you know what I mean. I just hope it didn't undo all the progress I was making on myself.

Sometimes I worry that it's *both* of us who aren't playing a role... that being called "slut" betrays some deeply rooted issues of my own regarding worth, objectification, etc. I would guess that seeing a kink-friendly therapist could help me sort that out, and I would definitely appreciate your input on that front. Your question of if BDSM is a cloak for unhealthy sexual behavior does resonate a bit, although I'm not sure I have the answer yet. And what you said about using it to claim more control resonates for me too...but like I said above, I don't really feel in control anymore, even though we started out with much more awareness and caution. It almost feels like an addict who says "oh, I can have just a little bit, right?"

I also think you're right about dating someone new, although at this point I don't feel ready at all and the thought kind of terrifies me. It is definitely true that the sex with this person doesn't suck and I think we are both afraid that we will never meet anyone who satisfies us as much (as silly as that sounds). It does strikes me though that I have known both him and my husband since I was a teenager, and it is probably a healthy next step to start something new with someone not so wrapped up in my past. I think I'll finish grad school first though [Smile]

Sheesh this stuff is complicated. Thank you for helping me wade through it.

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Heather
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Of course.

One piece of this is something I want to be a bit more clear on:

quote:
And what you said about using it to claim more control resonates for me too...but like I said above, I don't really feel in control anymore, even though we started out with much more awareness and caution. It almost feels like an addict who says "oh, I can have just a little bit, right?"
I'd just make sure it's clear that right now, I think this is an issue that is more about engaging in BDSM with THIS person with whom you have THIS history, rather than you and BDSM altogether. Obviously, we can't know that now, since your only experience with this has been with this person, but I think we CAN know that when it comes to this and this person, that yes, your analogy to addiction stuff like that is probably pretty sound. I'd just not leap (or assume I am) and apply that to all your engagement with BDSM with a broad brush.

How about you sit on all of this for a day or so, marinate in it a bit, and then check back in and we can take this from there if you like?

In the meantime, if you want help finding a kink-friendly therapist, you can shoot me your city, town or zip code in an email, and I can see who I or other colleagues know of there and get you started with 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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Sounds good, thanks!
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Neophyte
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Hi once again. Here is an update (probably the last?).

My ex stopped contacting me once his 23-year-old summer fling came to the US, and I was surprised to feel that I was not disappointed or jealous in any way. I just felt relieved. And my sudden contentment with having the space and time to do my work and enjoy some solitude made me realize that I *HAD* to end it. So after she left last Friday I called him and told him that interacting with him was too much for me, and that I'd get back in touch when I was ready (...if ever, although I left that part out).

I guess it hit me that sure, there were swaths of him that I loved, and sure, he was important and formative in my life etc., but that the complicated and unsettling questions that arose in our interacting (was it REALLY abuse? was BDSM a part of me, or just wrapped up in previous fucked-upness with this one person? was I deluding myself and making a mistake? etc.) were just WAY TOO MUCH to take on. I thought, if only I could solve these questions, I could move on, I'd have the answer. But when I finally had some space, I realized that the questions themselves simply consume way too much of my energy and impair my ability to function.

Meanwhile (you'll probably think I am crazy!), I had been engaging in a friendly and open email exchange with my former husband, thinking we were falling back into being pen pals with an excitingly honest communication style like we had before. I knew it obviously wouldn't be exactly the same and that it would be tricky to navigate given everything that had happened, but the depth of my feelings for him had not changed, so I made it clear that I would be open to articulating some kind of post-marriage relationship that balanced a need for autonomy with a little more security and definition. He answered my emails and sent me cute photos via text and sent me a box of wine in the mail but never really got to the heart of what I was asking (he said he was busy). Post-breaking-things-off-with-my-(other)-ex, I was really happy to explore my sexuality in a way that was fully my own and not so clouded by trauma, and on Friday I sent him an email along the lines of "I still want to be open about this with you."

He called me an hour or so later and said he had gone on a date the other day with his fairly recently hired employee, and that I should probably know that before continuing to send him emails like that. I don't begrudge him the date (besides the employee thing)--we separated months ago--but as the conversation unfolded about the course of things and how to proceed, it struck me how angry I still was about how when I tried to be open with him during our marriage about my sexuality and recovery struggle, he shut me out, as if talking about it was a burden to him. He *still* acted like this was the case, saying--quote--"I'm not your therapist." I said "I never asked you to be my therapist. I asked you to be my partner," and told him that I would eventually contact him when I was ready but needed to take a major break from communicating.

So! I have ended relationships with two important people who I have known since I was a teenager in the last week. There have been some hard moments, but I know that it is the right step to getting myself back completely. To owning my sexuality without 1. having to question if my desires are my own or someone else's 2. having to stigmatize it because it's not a clean and acceptable way of healing from trauma in the eyes of someone else. I look forward to eventually (and I mean, reaaaalllyyy eventually) finding someone who will 1. not become abusive to begin with 2. not place conditions on what I could and couldn't be open about in my recovery, and leverage it against me as if it's a personal affront to him. I am pretty saddened by how things have turned out given how much I really did believe in the connection with my husband... but I am glad to be re-claiming my own interpretation of the events of my life. I deserve someone who will respect me for what I have survived-- nobody deserves abuse, NOR do they deserve being made to internalize guilt over it when they're trying to navigate it honestly.

In general I am still unsure to what extent BDSM will continue to be a part of my sex life/fantasy life, but that will just be a new exploration when I do find a partner who meets the above criteria [Smile] . It doesn't seem to have the same strength it did before, but we'll see, and that's okay.

All in all, I am glad to be starting a new chapter. I finish grad school in 3 weeks and will be moving to a place where I can do the kinds of work I want to do. I know that I probably did make some missteps along the path of trauma-recovery, but I don't regret any of it, because I like the direction I'm headed in now (despite how cheesy that sounds).

I just want to say thank you for being here and for listening to me when I really didn't know who to talk to about some of these deep, dark issues. I am so grateful to you and your work. <3

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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What HUGE stuff!

It's great to hear back from you, and it sounds like you've made some really healthy changes, and have been having some awesome epiphanies.

I'm of the mind that there really isn't any "right" path in healing from trauma, just our own, unique paths. And it's sounding like yours is getting you to some really great places. I loved this:

quote:
I am glad to be re-claiming my own interpretation of the events of my life. I deserve someone who will respect me for what I have survived-- nobody deserves abuse, NOR do they deserve being made to internalize guilt over it when they're trying to navigate it honestly.


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