First of all, welcome to Scarleteen. I’m glad you were able to find a place that feels safe enough to talk about what you’ve gone through and get things off your chest.
I’m so sorry that you’ve experienced what you have. It sounds like quite a lot of predatory and manipulative behavior by this person as a way to cover up their own abusive behavior. Unfortunately, that’s something that isn’t uncommon among people who seek to violate others and get away with it.
I can definitely answer some of your questions, but the first thing that I want to ask is - do you feel like you are safe, and you have others looking out for you? That threat that you mentioned was not just horrible, but explicit, and certainly enough to report to someone with authority if you’re looking for extra support. No one ever has the right to say things like that to you or make you feel afraid at school, work, or wherever. Have you told anyone about what was said to you?
As for your other questions: you’ve been through a whole lot, but you should know that the things you’re experiencing and wondering about are pretty common among people who have experienced trauma or abuse. Doubting or blaming yourself, wondering if you’re normal, or if things will always feel this difficult - they’re all a natural response to an unnatural amount of stress. You might find it helpful to read through Blinders Off: Getting A Good Look At Abuse And Assault
, as it details the ways that someone can exert power and control over others, and what the effects can be.
In terms of your question about your behavior online - you’re definitely not the only person that did something like that. When someone has experienced a violation of boundaries and relationships, especially as a young child, they can find themselves reaching out for relationships and interactions that might be considered “risky” or “inappropriate”, and test those same boundaries again. Not because they want to be re-traumatized, mind you, but because they want to make sense of what happened to them before. Like you said, we don’t always understand the full meaning of what’s happening when we’re young. But the grown men who were online receiving those images? They did. That’s on them.
It’s totally normal to not quite remember everything clearly, and for your feelings/relationship to those memories to change over time. That’s part of why trauma is so tricky - it rewires our brains making it hard to lay things out chronologically or in a way that makes sense to others.
It also okay for those memories to contain some moments of “feeling good” as well. Bodies respond to touch as a stimulus, even sometimes in direct conflict with our brains and hearts saying “No no no”. Again, you were young, and didn’t fully understand what was happening. But your body was in all likelihood trying to figure out how to survive and stay safe.
That being said, it’s okay for your relationship to your body and sexuality to be a little complicated right now. It takes time and love and hard work to heal those wounds, and you’re already off to a great start by talking about your experiences and going to therapy. Have you found that helpful at all? Is there anything that you’ve found helpful, that makes the numbness or pain feel any less intense?
In general, as you work through these things, it’s really important to take care of yourself. What do you do at home, or school, or other places to take care of your body and heart and mind? Do you have family or friends that are supportive about this? (If you haven’t checked it out yet, you might also find Self-Care A La Carte
helpful as well!)
I’m sure there will be others chiming in in the morning, but once again, I’m glad that you were able to write things out. We’re here to talk whenever you need to, and provide support however we can. ❤️