Feeling shamed

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Feeling shamed

Unread postby Aly_ » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:03 am

To begin, I grew up in a Catholic family that doesn't follow the Bible to heart (or even go to church, for that matter) but for some reason, they really hold precedence in the "no premarital sex" part.

Last year, right before I turned 20, I lost my virginity to my loving boyfriend of six years. It was a really touching and beautiful experience. I was also completely ready to have sex. I chose not to tell my family this (namely, my mother), and since we were never allowed alone in my home together, we mostly did it at his house. To make a long story short, for some reason this year (about a month ago), we had my house to ourselves (I live with my parents), and we had sex. It was so late, that my boyfriend and I ended up falling asleep on the couch afterward. He left, my mother got home, and I heard this horrible scream. In that instant, I knew that both my boyfriend and I forgot to properly hide the condom wrapper. It was not in plain sight, and my mother definitely went snooping in the bathroom, but oh, how I wish he had just ran to his car and threw it in there! :(

She was so angry when she found it. So unbelievably angry. I wanted to lie, to blame it on someone else in the family, but I came clean, hoping she could appreciate that. Wrong. She was so disappointed that I did not wait until marriage like her. She also was fuming at my boyfriend for... having sex with me I guess? And for me... for letting him? (Even though I assured her that it was a collective decision). I went to bed mortified, but hurt that I could not embrace who I was sexually, after repressing it for so many years due to my upbringing. She confronted me the next day and told me she was sorry for losing it on me, and that she suspected I was having sex (as most people my age in relationships tend to sort of do, plus she knows I am on the pill), but that she really wished I waited. I told her the past was in the past and it all seemed fine. I know no parent is going to like that their kid is having sex. But, we are so safe (as opposed to other people we know, who really, really are not), and I thought she could at least appreciate that I was being responsible about it. It's not like she found a pregnancy test - she found the wrapper of a contraceptive method. But I get her initial anger, I do.

However, lately, she has been so passive aggressive and snippy to my boyfriend and I. She hates when we hang out. She says that she is not mad anymore, but I know she is. I can't un-have sex. And even if I could, just to make her happy, I wouldn't. It's not fair that I have to feel shamed for having a sexual and loving with someone I see myself marrying eventually. A few months ago, she used to let my brother and his girlfriend alone in our house all the time, and one time, he drunkedly admitted that the two have had lots of sex without protection, and she didn't even bat an eye or give him crap. With me, she found my form of protection, and is still mad. She has been unbelievably rude (and honestly, been acting totally dramatic) around me and my boyfriend. It's like she hates him for his part in it all, and hates me for doing it. Most girls are able to talk to their moms about this. I knew I had to hide it because she'd never understand, even if I came clean without her finding out another way. Also, I just keep wishing she never found that wrapper, even though I know that it cannot be undone. I'm tired of the double standards, and tired of her making me feel bad about my sexuality. I know I can just ignore her, because at the end of the day, I only have to care about what me and my boyfriend think about our sex life, but I cannot help but feel shamed by her actions. She even said to me "I was so guilty after I came back from my honeymoon, because I knew I would have to face my parents after having had sex." I was confused, because I thought that, according to her, after you're married, it is okay to have sex. But she told me about the guilt she felt after being married!!!!! It's like she was even ashamed of her own sexuality, and now that is being projected on to me.

I guess I just need help. I have spoken to her, and told her I do not appreciate her nasty comments towards myself and my boyfriend (ie: "I better not get a call from his family, telling me they found you with your legs open and just up in the air." As if this is how I choose to exist my life? It is so degrading to be described as that.) Because I told her I wasn't going to be shamed by her words, she usually responds back with "well, why do these comments bother you then? I thought you weren't ashamed?" and when I explain that I am not ashamed, her comments are just plain hurtful (and make me question my integrities), it just goes back to a vicious cycle of making me feel bad. I love my boyfriend, and do not want to stop our sexual relationship just because my mom is trying to make me feel bad. And I love my mom, but she is seriously hurting my feelings at this point. Talking to her is really not working. What should I do?

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Re: Feeling shamed

Unread postby Alexa » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:21 am

Hi, Aly!

First of all, I want to say that there is no shame whatsoever in having loving, consensual sex with your partner. It seems like you both have taken all the right steps here, and I am glad for you that you have made those decisions in a mutually supportive and caring relationship.

You have already identified a couple of things that mark that you're being very emotionally mature about your evaluation of this. First, you noted that she treats you and your brother differently. Second, you brought up that she may be projecting shame of hers onto you. While the latter is just your best guess, from the evidence, she certainly has ideas of shame that disproportionately apply to women and not men -- another sign that it is not shame you want to learn to carry with you! Misogynistic standards like that are never fair or appropriate.

While I wish I could wave a wand and change whatever makes your mother approach sex this way, alas, I cannot. So any thoughts I can share with you will have to be about living with these circumstances, rather than changing them.

If you can, I would find an affirming friend, adult, or counselor who can remind you that this shame is not your responsibility to bear, and that finding your joy with another human being when you are ready is not only an okay thing to do - it's a wonderful thing to do! While I hope this post is helpful in that arena, if this is something you face every day at home, I would try to find someone who you can regular seek support from in your community.

It also sounds like she's being a bit gaslight-y -- saying she's not mad when she's clearly not and is being passive-aggressive, for example -- so I would just protect your heart as much as possible and remind yourself that it is not your responsibility to decode what she is not willing to say to you. If she has said she's over it, fine! It is not your job to continue to apologize with either your words or behavior.

I hope this helps a bit! And I hope you find the support you need in the people around you.
Alexa K.
Scarleteen Team

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