A good deal of people coming here on the boards have been in abusive relationships and/or have gone through abuse by relatives or others.
Those events can have a negative impact on us and our life and cause us to experience different issues after, be it, for example, low self-esteem, having troubles asserting our own boundaries/limits-not being assertive, not having a positive body image, being suicidal, engaging in auto-mutilation or other self-destructive behavior, problems with intimacy, having problems trusting people or opening up to other people, dealing with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or depression, drug or alcohol abuse, what have you.
What were the consequences of your own abuses and/or rape ? What issues do you feel that your abuses and/or rape have led to ?
How have you overcome those issues (or how are you still trying to overcome them in the case those are still issues that you are dealing with) ?
Do you personally feel as though those are things that can be worked on and get better with time and support ?
I think I want to answer the last question first: I absolutely believe that things can get better overtime and with support.
So, some issues and how I've dealt with them:
A bit too much drinking: In the first year after my rape and abuse, I definitely drank more than I should have (one or two nights a weekend I got more than a bit tipsy), and I did this to feel comfortable being around other people. Alcohol allowed me to be in physical contact with others without freaking out/getting flashbacks/etc. One of the best things I did to deal with this was get new friends. Friends who drank alcohol like responsible adults and who wouldn't push more alcohol on me than I really wanted. Also, once I made the link between what happened and my behavior, it got a lot better. Now, I'm a one or two glasses of wine with a nice dinner kind of drinker.
Flashbacks/Panic attacks/PTSD Symptoms: I definitely had a lot of problems with PTSD symptoms that year, as well. The biggest thing that made a difference was building myself a community and environment where I felt really safe. The new friends were a big help in that, and so was moving away from my freshman year roommate. Turning my own world into a safe space for a while and letting myself be okay with not being okay made a huge difference. Also, I believe that time alone helped a lot too.
Difficulty with trust and intimacy: These issues were in many ways the most painful to deal with, because they really affected not just me but my partner too. It took a lot of long talks for him to be okay with the idea that while sometimes I was not okay doing things sexually, that really had very little to do with him. We worked through many things as a team, always talking through every decision. He demanded enthusiastic consent before any activity (or waited not just for me to initiate something, but really, really, really want it).
Feelings of worthlessness: I was told again and again by my abuser that I was unlovable and so terrible that no one else would want me. I definitely internalized that. I did a lot of things that I knew would get me external praise (academic perfectism can come from places like these). But really, working on this is something else I did with others. My (nice) exboyfriend said to me flat out that I could not be unlovable because he loved me, and I had no right to deny his feelings. That was really powerful. I also had some great friends who would tell me how good of a friend I was and how much I meant to them. My partner asserted my worth and value every day.
Almost all of those issues are better now. Every once and a while, I'll still get a nightmare or two, and there are a few sexual activities that I'm just not okay with. But I've come a very, very long way in three years.
Posts: 2262 | From: in transition | Registered: Apr 2008
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