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I broke up with my boyfriend two weeks ago, and since then I've… 
22nd-Jun-2007 03:26 am

I broke up with my boyfriend two weeks ago, and since then I've slept with four guys. Two exes, plus the guy I just broke up with, plus someone I didn't know. I always do this, and I'm so tired of it, but it's like I don't know what else to do. I have no real guy friends anymore, because I've slept with all of them. I feel like I might as well, since everyone already knows what a slut I am, and I've got nothing to lose. I'm sick of doing this, and I keep promising myself that I won't, that I'm better than that, but the second something happens to make me feel especially bad, I'm back on my back. I know this is all related to my abuse, and I know that sleeping with people because I "might as well" isn't going to get me anywhere and really only proves that all the things my abuser said about me were right, but... I feel like I don't have the right to deny anyone, like I actually have the obligation to sleep around, because I didn't stop the abuse. I don't know if that makes any sense, and if it does I know it sounds slutty, but... I don't know.

The nightmares have been worse lately. They're not the same kind I usually get, either -- those are manageable for me, by now, almost, because I know exactly what to expect. Usually, they're graphic flashbacks to the abuse, and everyone I know watches. Lately, they've been different, though. They'll start off as normal dreams and then something happens and just like that I'm being raped, and I can physically feel it -- and not like normal sex, or rough sex, but more like how it felt when I was nine years old -- and I don't feel normal or safe for days afterward. For the past month or so, I've been getting at least two of those nightmares every week. It's draining. I haven't wanted to throw up this badly since I relapsed in March. I haven't, yet. But I'm more and more terrified all the time, and it's the only way I've ever known to control it. The nightmares just make me see everyone around me as a potential rapist. And then (and this is a horrible thought) I always think, "Well, it's not like anyone can rape you, anyway, because you always say yes." I hate that I think things like that.

I don't really know if this even makes sense, and I doubt I'm coming off all that well. Thanks for listening.
22nd-Jun-2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
It makes complete sense, and it's something I struggled with for years and years, so I understand how frustrating it is.

Someone showed you that your opinion didn't matter to them - they forced their wants on you and made you feel like nothing more than an object to fill their wants - so of *course* you're going to struggle not to fulfill that same role for other people. You feel like you don't have a right to your own body, a right to say no, to do what you want - to be sexual with whomever you *choose* to. That's a direct response to how that abuse made you feel.

You adapted, and it's going to be hard to undo that programming - to remember that you *do* have a right to your own body, that no amount of abuse or put downs means you don't have a say in what you do with your body, and that no amount of promiscuity after abuse means that your abuser was 'right' about you.

I spent years not being able to say no, sleeping with people I didn't really want to, because I felt like I didn't have the right to say no, like I had an obligation to fill that role. I say this because I want you to know that things did get better. It took a lot of work, and a few very supportive partners to help me through the years, but I no longer feel that compulsion - and I want you to know that peace is possible to reach.
24th-Jun-2007 06:04 am (UTC)
Thanks. It is good to know that there can be an end, from someone who's been there... I keep getting stuck in this cycle and it's so hard to figure out how to break free. But you're right, I have every right to have a say in who I sleep with, and what happens to my body. I just need to learn how to put that into action. But I'm going to try.
23rd-Jun-2007 03:12 am (UTC)
As sistahraven said, it can be hard to undue old habits. I've found that just observing yourself without judgement helps, because you can see what's happening, as it's happening, and so catch any triggers that may be contributing to why your doing it. It sounds like you've begun doing this already. Don't beat yourself up about it though. It does take a while, and as you observe what you do, you can begin to look at it more objectively. That will make it easier (though not necessarily easy> to stop the bad habit.

Also, replace the negative habit with a more positive one. Find some other, and healthy way of coping with stress so you're less inclined to engage in the bad habit next time.

Changing your environment may also help. This way you change the things that trigger you into the habit, and may make it harder to engage in the habit when you are triggered. This may mean dropping certain friends, or not going to parties, or whatever it is that will make it less likely for you to have the bad habit enforced by others views and behavior, and by how easy it used to be to engage in it.

You've been conditioned by your abuse, and that can be so hard to get past. Safe hugs.
24th-Jun-2007 06:13 am (UTC)
Thanks for the ideas... I know, on an intellectual level, that I'm not obligated to sleep with anyone and that sleeping around won't solve my problems. But you're right, when I get into stressful situations and certain environments, all that fades somehow, and it's like it never occurred to me. I know with my eating disorder, the first step of my recovery was reconditioning my thoughts completely, to make sure that I remembered even in the most stressful moments that purging wasn't going to do anything positive for me. I guess I need to learn to do the same thing here. The abuse just complicates it somewhat.
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