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Author Topic: Need help. Problems from being traumatized arising again...
snowgirl1
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I'm not sure if this is in the right section, but here we go...

First off, let me say that I thank you for clicking this to read it. It's something that's been bothering me for quite a while, but that I'm afraid to go to anyone about it for fear of being deemed "disgusting" or "sick" because of how taboo these mental images that I so desperately want to rid myself of are.

Let me start with saying that I'm 17. A few years ago when I was 14 and a very lonely girl, I met a man online who was 20 at the time. I developed a relationship with him that was online only (I never met him in person), but extremely sexual. For nearly a year, he used and manipulated me for his sexual pleasure. At the time, I enjoyed the attention. It made me feel beautiful and loved. But when he stopped wanting me and I ended it all together(I haven't been in contact with him since), I was left traumatized. I hated and was ashamed of myself on the deepest of levels, and feared all men in and out of my life. I felt that not even the men in my family (whom have never hurt me in any physical, sexual, or mental way EVER) could be trusted. I would imagine them hurting me, taking advantage of me, raping me. It would haunt me even in my dreams. I went on in this depressed state for many months until going into therapy in late 2006.

A few months ago, that therapy stopped as my parents insurance didn't cover it anymore and we couldn't afford it. I can say that it helped tremendously, and I really felt that I was better and over it. But as of late, those fears seem to be coming back. Not necessarily a fear really, as I know in my heart that the male members of my family wouldn't hurt me... but just those same mental images of them sexually taking advantage of me scare me. The main person that I see in these mental images is my step father, but it's not limited to just him.

I see these images most often when I'm masturbating or looking at/thinking of something sexual. It starts out alright, me thinking of another man that I find attractive, but then those images come to me... my step father being sexual with me. And the thing is, in these flashes that I see, sometimes I'm actually enjoying what he's doing to me. This is what differs so much from when I had imagined myself only being reluctant and terrified-- Most of the time, I see myself actually liking it.

It absolutely disgusts me; I see this man as practically my father (I've never really had a father figure until he came along), and here I am imagining him and I together in that way. I DON'T enjoy seeing these things, and I've never EVER been sexually attracted to him... it's honestly repulsive to me. (This is coming from a the girl that has never even seen him with his shirt off because I'm grossed out by it... any more skin and UGH. I don't even want to think about it.) So, no, I do NOT in any way get off on picturing an incestuous relationship with him. Let me make that clear. BUT... seeing these mental images so much, especially since they come to me when I'm pleasuring myself, has messed with my head and I end up doubting what my true feelings are.

Now, I can't be around my step dad without seeing those mental images of us, and it's starting to affect our father/daughter relationship. I try to act as if everything is fine, but I now dread seeing him, hearing his voice, being around him, seeing anything at all that would remind me of him, etc. All these things bring back those images and I can't stand it... like I said, it's starting to convince me that I actually WANT what I see when I know that's the farthest thing from the truth.

So here I am. I would just like some honest input on what could be happening here. Is this normal for someone who's been traumatized in the way I have? To picture yourself actually enjoying things that you KNOW you wouldn't? What could be done to STOP it all? I don't know, but I sure wish I did.

Again, thanks so much for reading this... it was a long one, I know. heh.
SG

[ 12-20-2007, 10:38 AM: Message edited by: snowgirl1 ]

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jamie_dawn
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I have some kind of understanding of what your saying. I'll tell you most of my story:

When I was 11 yrs old I stayed at a friends house and her step dad was watching porn in his room and me and my friend walked in on him watching it. My friend was 12 and drank occasionally and he said to me "if you do what the girl is doing in the movie, to me, I will buy you two beer".(it was a younger girl giving an older man head). After that I told my friend, his step daughter, that I couldnt go back to her house because I felt unsafe. Well sadly my dad was friends with her mother and they agreed to let me stay there without asking me if I wanted to. Well apparently my friend told her step dad and he confronted me about it saying I should be mature and keep this a secret between the three of us. That was the last day I ever stayed there or ever talked to that family again including the daughter because she actually wanted me to do it with her dad. So I felt unsafe, insecure and so many other things. Well I told my best friend of 8 years about 3 years ago. She couldnt believe I didnt tell my father or anyone. I just couldnt though. It has been 4, almost 5 years since then. But right after the fact I was so weird around the men in my family or even guy friends. But about a year and a half after that I was comfortable around the guys in my life.

It's not the fact that you want it. Thats not it at all. But being through something like that makes you picture things that you dont want to. Like rape victims, their offenders often appear in the minds and it terrifies them.

Its not only you. Just know that your step father loves you and wouldnt hurt you. That is how I got comfortable with men. He wants you safe. And he cares about you.

I hope this helped.

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jamie dawn<3

Posts: 18 | From: altoona, pa. | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Snowgirl, did your previous therapist talk to you about post-traumatic stress at all? If not, know that what you're experiencing is perfectly normal, including having parts of your sexuality essentially "hijacked" by that man.

We really can't stop sexual fantasy, and it's often said that when people try, it tends to only get worse. What might be helpful would be if you just accepted that those fantasies are what they are, that they are NOT about what you want to do. They are simply the result of what happened. It's also completely normal to have the kinds of fears you are after being exploited in the way that you were. And it can often take a lot of time to heal from rape and/or sexual exploitation, and also have some stops and starts: times when things are pretty mellow and okay, and then another time when they aren't again.

It may also be helpful to look at some of your triggers. If, for instance, you're masturbating in a house with an older man in it, that in and of itself -- even given it's someone you trust -- might be triggering you. I know it really stinks to have to stop doing something that's about your own, healthy desires because of what someone else did, but for now, it might be a good idea to chill on the masturbation until you have what earnestly feels like a safe space for you to do it in.

It does sound to me like you could use some more counseling to help get you through this. I don't know where you are in the States, but we'd be happy to look up rape crisis (and given this man's age, that is what we're talking about) support in your area for you. Often, services are free.

--------------------
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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snowgirl1
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Jamie_dawn -- Thank you so much for your comment. It did help. I'll try to think the way you are-- that the men in my life wouldn't hurt me, that they cares about me. I'll try to remind myself of that when these fears come up.
I'm sorry that you had to experience what you did, but I'm glad you didn't let that man have his way with you.
I can understand that fear of telling someone. After having ended it with the online man, I spent weeks locked in my room, crying and having little interaction with anyone around me. I was just so scared of anyone finding out about the 'dirty' and terrible things that I had done. Of course when I did end up telling, my mother was tremendously distraught (she's one of the few people that know. Even my step-dad doesn't know.) and couldn't understand, but it was only when I stopped bottling up what I had done that the healing process began.


Heather -- Thanks for replying. I'm pretty sure my therapist did talk to me about post-traumatic stress disorder, but she never brought up that picturing things like I am now was normal. Of course, I never told her about these 'fantasies' either because I wasn't having them at the time. I only pictured being frightened.

It's pretty disappointing to hear that I can't really stop what I'm imagining. I'll just try to take it for what it is though-- something that I DON'T want to do.

You're right, I'd say the main trigger would be the masturbation while my step dad is in the house. But it's not just that-- imagining anything sexual at all really could remind me of those mental images, causing me to start thinking about them and become unable to get them out of my mind. Honestly though, it's going to be pretty hard to avoid my sexual imagination. But I'll try my best. Anything to help me move past this.

As for the rape crisis support, I did look it up and there's a hotline I could call in my area. I know it sounds childish, but I'm nervous to call it; I've never called any hotline like this before, and I'm not sure what I'd say. :/

[ 12-21-2007, 11:37 PM: Message edited by: snowgirl1 ]

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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It might be helpful to remember that sexuality really is fluid.

In other words, think of this stuff not as having to avoid your sexual imagination, but as just needing to allow for time to heal and rebuild it so that it really is YOURS and really about YOUR own sexuality, not about how your sexuality got hijacked. See what I mean by that? It'll happen, it will, it just takes time. Sexuality, when we let it and nurture it, does tend to evolve.

You looked up the hotline. Now you have it. It may take you a little while longer to call up: that's okay. Just know that when you do, opening with "I don't know what to say," is totally fine. Crisis counselors are prepared to deal with an opening like that, and are well used to having to provide a lot of openings on their part first.

You came somewhere and posted all of this, likely having a good idea we'd respond with sensitivity, but you didn't have any guarantees. That's a positive risk you took, and yet another step. From the sounds of things, you're pretty dedicated to moving forward and healing, and I'd say you earnestly can look forward to there being a time in the future when this will be behind you, I promise.

--------------------
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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snowgirl1
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Oh, I see. Yes, 'nurturing' instead of 'avoiding' is definitely a better way of looking at it. That will make it easier.

Yeah, I figured that the hotline counselors know how to deal with the callers not knowing what to say but, as I think about it, that's probably not the main reason I'm so nervous about calling. Fear of being judged would be the main one. I'm sure most callers have that same fear, but I'm guessing most people who call hotlines like that have been raped and taken advantage of forcefully. I on the other hand feel like my case is different. What happened to me wasn't an in-person attack where I was unwilling yet still sexually taken advantage of (although there were times when I did say I didn't feel comfortable and he would still talk me into it). Everything I did with that online man was of my own will because I actually felt I wanted it at the time. This just feels so much less than an actual rape. So maybe that's it... I'm still ashamed. I still plan on calling though. Hopefully sometime soon.

I do know that you're right, that there will be a time when this will be behind me. But sometimes, the light at the end of the tunnel is so dim. You've been someone to help me keep my eyes on that light though. So I thank you. [Smile]


Also, I have another question (I know I know. I'm just so demanding. lol) I'm pretty embarrassed to ask it, but it couldn't be any worse that my initial question. So here it goes anyway...
Lately, I've been having these fantasies that I actually /enjoy/ and they're about me being with older men (not too old. Maybe twenty- or thirty-something. Still too old for me though.) And in these fantasies, the man is almost always forceful and rough. Not the kind of force that would hurt me and be like rape, but just slightly dominate. I've read that parts of our sexuality are linked to things that happen in our childhood, so could these be related to what happened with the man online? Is it normal to have fantasies like this? It feels wrong almost (especially when you add in the whole dreaded step-dad thing, that just makes it worse), but I enjoy it despite myself. I never used to fantasized about things like this before, it just kind of appeared out of the blue. :/

[ 12-22-2007, 01:39 AM: Message edited by: snowgirl1 ]

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-Jill
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quote:
Originally posted by snowgirl1:
I'm sure most callers have that same fear, but I'm guessing most people who call hotlines like that have been raped and taken advantage of forcefully.

...

This just feels so much less than an actual rape.

It might help if you stop comparing your experiences to being raped. While you weren't raped, you were sexually exploited and no one, least of all a sexual abuse counselor, is going to tell you that's not a difficult experience. They are different, but that doesn't mean you don't have the right to feel traumatized or that you aren't suffering because of what happened.

(Just an FYI, most rapes are not the violent acts committed by strangers as depicted in movies. Instead, most survivors know their rapists. Rapist frequently intimidate their victims to the point where additional violence isn't necessary.)

You're not the only one with questions about domination fantasies. Check out this post from the main site to get an in-depth answer.

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“I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns.” --Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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