July 2nd, 2006

new

Hello. I am a 25 year old woman in a relationship with another 25 year old woman who is a survivor of sexual abuse. We have been together for 3 years and have a very positive and supportive relationship. One area that overwhelms both of us is her past abuse. She does not remember much of it, but feels haunted by the repressed memories none the less. A trigger occurred for her early on in our relationship that brought her past flooding back. She shut down emotionally, physically, sexually and affectionatly for almost a year. We kept talking and stayed monogamously together. It is worth it because part of her is back now.
She still does not remember much, but kissing and physical intimacy is still difficult for her. She is only able to be intimate every two to six months. It is hard for her to give me even low level affection, making out is too intense for her, she feels dissociated. We cuddle and hold hands and short kisses daily, which helps. But we both miss having sex more than a few times a year.
I want to know how to be supportive to her. I also need help dealing with what I need. I miss it. I want more than she can give. We both believe that with love and patience we can heal a lot together, but dealing in the meantime is challenging. Sensing that I need can shut her down even more. We can get into a cycle of her detachment feeding my neediness and my neediness in turn making her more detached (See where that goes?). I try for the balance of respecting her and asking for more. I am afraid of stagnating. We have stagnated before and passed through it. Now seems like a time filled with the energy of change. I am in therapy to deal with my own issues, and she will be starting therapy this fall when she gets health insurance.
We dont fight, we have some bad habits with eachother that we work on keeping in line, we still see why we fell in love, we still love eachother more than the gap this abuse has created. We communicate, share interests and we have been very supportive to eachother. I've had my own past of emotional abuse that she has been helping me through. All in all, we have an amazing relationship, the kind I have yearned for my whole life. Yet, some asshole years ago has branded us both with an emptiness that strains the heart.

I wanted to find other people, be able to talk, listen and exchange advice. Thanks for reading this.
Bear Woman

A quick mod note:

I want to make sure it is clearly stated again:

If you are triggered by something, it is okay to ask that triggering thing (whether it be text, icon, or other) be removed.

If you are asked to put something triggering out of the obvious view, you are expected to do so. Just as your triggers are protected, as are those of others.

Please, understand - in a community of survivors, there is rarely an opportunity to ask that a triggering thing be removed that is *not* when someone is emotionally vulnerable. It is difficult to ask someone to remove or hide something triggering. As long as you do it respectfully and as tactfully as you can, you are welcomed to do so.

As a community, we are expected to handle these requests how we would expect our requests to be handled - with respect, understanding, and knowledge of how difficult it is to make a request when you know someone is emotionally vulnerable. Lectures, attacks, and assumptions of someone's intent are inappropriate responses. If you don't have something nice to say, don't say it.

We are a community of diverse people with diverse triggers. I expect every trigger, even if it's a phobia of clowns, to be treated with respect.

Thank you.