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_Survivors_
A safe space to share stories and ask questions
good... relatively.... okay, maybe not. 
11th-Jan-2006 10:56 pm
Kieran
copied from my lj:

things are good... relatively. i like my job alot. I'm getting faster at it (which is good, cuz i was really slow at first being that they haven't really trained me on much). I hope they hire me.

went to my nearly last survivor's group at church tonight. all we have left is the finale party. tonight was open question night. i asked 3 questions: What's a good technique to handle triggers? Do you have any suggestions for helping learn how to enjoy having intimacy and sex... without fears? and What does a healthy/un-healthy guy friendship look like? ...i'm feeling somewhat alienated. Apparently, i'm the only one in the group who deals with not wanting to be sexual...cuz noone could relate to me. All of them had the opposite issue... how to tighten the reigns on their sex drives. so they had no suggestions really... cuz they all already enjoy sex. they didn't have any ideas for handling triggers...other than maybe try to desensitize myself. and noone could say what a good guy friendship looks like besides saying it would look the same essentially as a good girl friendship but that they all have issues on friendships and can't really give advice. ...but then that gets confused for me because i'm not good at good girl friendships either. and further confusion comes in recognizing that to some extent i may at times have inappropriate/homo like feelings towards a woman... and they said that if you're married you shouldn't have emo convos with your guy friends... but that means for me i also can't have them with my girl friends... and that leaves me alone. oh, and she said that in marriage it's not fair that my abuse should affect my husband... so when i'm triggered in sex or something i just need to lay myself and my issues aside till later, pretend everythings ok and go on with sex because it's not fair to him and my body belongs to him. i can't expect him to be faithful if i can't give him any. i always thought that philosophy was malarky... but i must confess that i now feel like a total failure and like i'm being sent back to my past tortures of not having any rights over my body and sexuality. ...so much for survivor's group to help me. i give up. why bother? it's not for me anyways. it's just for him. right? yeah. just for him. i'm meant to be alone, friendless, in a place without safety... and my purpose is to be my husband's blow up doll. ...so, anyone want to screw me? i'm not allowed to say "no" or "wait"... blah.

...and was gonna touch on the bankruptcy issue... but now don't feel up to it. please keep praying for me all of you who do that sort of thing or are willing to try... :) i need you guys right now. please tell me i'm worth more than my vagina... i hate myself. am such a loser...
Comments 
11th-Jan-2006 08:16 pm (UTC)
You are worth more than your vagina. Your support group doesn't sound very supportive, and it's not so easy to just set the feelings left over from the prior abuse aside. You have every right to say "no" when you're not in the mood, and it doesn't automatically mean he will cheat. Saying that is like saying men can't help rapeing, because they have "needs" and "urges" which haven't been fulfilled--which of course is just utter B.S.

There's also nothing wrong with having a male friend. People will always be bigoted and narrow minded, you can't control how they think. But you can be friends with whomever you wish, regardless of what others think because ultimately it's none of their business. One of my best friends is a man, and the fact that we're of diffrent genders has never been an issue.

I think you need a different support group.
11th-Jan-2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
get out of that group.

i literally feel sick, from what that woman said to you.

that is just disgusting of her.
12th-Jan-2006 12:50 am (UTC)
Yeah, so here's the thing... Sometimes the church can be really messed up. (Now I have to admit, being that my rape happened durnig my youth group AT a church, and the first thing my pastor asked me was "why were you over there?" away from the group... I'm a bit biased.) That aside, my thoughts are, the church doesn't value the opinions and rights of women as much as men. Duh. But, here's the thing. God wouldn't want you to be suffering at the EXPENSE of your emotions during sex. If you are having a hard time, with flashbacks, etc... then say something! And, furthermore, if your husband is unfaithful because you are still dealing with what happened to you, and have flashbacks (etc.) then he doesn't deserve you anyway.

As for the body beloning to him, sure, that's biblical, to a point.. It also sys almost in the same area of the book (I believe) that men are to cherish their wives as Jesus loved the church... In that context, your husband SHOULD want to know, and care for your emotional needs, and not hurt you just to satisfy his need for sex.

Ok, end of soapbpx. I'm sorry, these things get me really really wound up!
12th-Jan-2006 06:27 am (UTC)
YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN YOUR VAGINA. You have a right to say "no" whenever you want, the moment you are uncomfortable. Anyone who says that makes you a bad wife is, frankly, a controlling, judgemental idiot. Nobody should expect you to martyr yourself; you are worth far more than that.

Your emotional safety is *at the very least* as important as your husband's desire, if not much more so. That group sounds seriously unhealthy. I hope you can find people who will support *you*.

Friendships can certainly be challenging (I'm facing some issues right now), but I think the most important part of friendship with anyone is love. You care about them, and they care about you because you are people you want to be around. When you love someone, even as friends, you are willing to accept however difficult it is to love them because you just do. You will support them to the best of your abilities because you don't want to see them hurt. Everything else that comes with friendship; trust, being able to talk and process and story-tell and laugh together and everything else comes out of this basic emotional connection. What's special about friendship, to me, is that it also comes with boundaries. I know I'm not going to overwhelm them because we're *just* friends, no matter how deep that ends up being. Friendship with guys, to me, is about the same as friendship with women except that I bring different baggage to the table. In my case that makes it easier.

Just because our society says that true love is only romantic doesn't mean they're right. In fact I'm pretty sure they're wrong.
12th-Jan-2006 07:57 am (UTC)
Wow... the woman in your support group just proved that she is one of the women who promotes the same way of thinking that *causes* rape in the first place. How infuriating.

You have every right to have whatever feelings you feel. Feeling guilty about a feeling that comes naturally to you, no matter what it is, usually only makes them more tempting (it's that horrid cycle of silence, suppression, lashing out, repeat). I understand that many religions teach that any homosexual feelings are wrong, and I respect that though I very much disagree, that other people are free to consider those feelings wrong to act on. Even if you believe you cannot act on them physically, etc, it's still *perfectly* okay for you to have those feelings, and suppressing them instead of accepting them and moving beyond them only makes them seem all the more tempting. Man, that woman at your group? I'd like to give her a swift kick to the shins.

Our partners *need* to know when we're not enjoying ourselves sexually. By shoving our feelings aside, we end up showing our partners that it's only their feelings that matter, and essentially, that we're not part of that partnership. A healthy partnership/marriage involves two people, as equals. I can just abotu guarantee that any frustrations your husband might have over needing to stop or alter sex after a trigger is hit is much more of the category of "I don't know what to do to help her" rather than "I can't reach sexual satisfaction".

And on friendship - our partners, in theory, should be one of the closest people in our lives. However, and it's a big however, that doesn't mean that they are the *only* close relationship in our lives. We need a variety of people in order to thrive. Yes, my fiance is my best friend - but there are a whole lot of feelings I cannot find with him - I look to my other friends to find those. I find baking bliss with sylvanstargazer, I find that close trust between women with my female friends. Heck, I even snuggle with some of my male friends, because a friendly snuggle is so different feeling than a romantic snuggle, and I like enjoying them both.

My fiance knows that he cannot be my 100% sole provider. he would prefer that I find what I can't get from him in someone I trust. We have very well set boundaries as to what is and isn't okay to seek (i.e. neither one of us are okay with finding sexual satisfaction somewhere else, and we are very communicative as to what happens with friend-visits - pretty much so we know what's up). That's a healthy and okay thing.

Humans are social creatures. That means that we communicate when we're hurting, and we are allowed to have friends close enough to be family. I've practically written you a book in response, and for that I apologize - and I want you to know that my frustration is with the woman from your group and not you.

You are not only allowed to have friends and be loved for all of yourself (not just your vagina) - happy and sad bits and all, but that it is what we are *supposed* to have as human beings and healthy people.
12th-Jan-2006 12:19 pm (UTC) - Get out of that group immediately
These people are not helping you. They're just repeating the bullshit that society teaches us that supports the rape/abuse culture against women.

"oh, and she said that in marriage it's not fair that my abuse should affect my husband... so when i'm triggered in sex or something i just need to lay myself and my issues aside till later, pretend everythings ok and go on with sex because it's not fair to him and my body belongs to him. i can't expect him to be faithful if i can't give him any. i always thought that philosophy was malarky..."

What incredible bullshit. This is one big reason why I left Christianity behind me in my late teens. Marriage is not about fairness. Marriage (any good relationship) is about caring and loving and supporting your partner. You are not your husband's sex slave. Your body does not belong to him! Your body belongs to you, and you do not in any way give up your right to it when you get married! Have sex when you are comfortable with it. Don't have sex when you're not. If your husband truly cares about you, and understands you, then he may be sad, but he will understand and try to support you. And this bullshit about it being normal that men will be unfaithful if you're not screwing them? Disgusting. Your husband can deal. I'm sure when he was single, he dealt without having sex for long periods of time. He won't die. And if he decides that sex is more important than his wife's sexual and emotional health and healing, then he doesn't deserve you anyway.

Another thing: having bought into this attitude myself for a while, I can tell you what happened to me. I continued to put my issues and feelings aside and had sex with my fiance when I didn't want to, or wasn't feeling comfortable with it, or was triggered. I ended up resenting him for it, and I had more and more trouble being intimate with him. By the end of our relationship, I couldn't stand for him to touch me. You have to be able to say "No" in order to be capable of saying "Yes".
13th-Jan-2006 05:20 am (UTC) - Both sides of the fence
Well, I have walked both sides of the fence with regards to desire after abuse. Frankly, right now, as much as I desire intimacy with someone I trust, I don't feel at all comfortable with anyone touching me. There was a Cathy cartoon once that had Cathy telling her then-boyfriend to comfort her from across the room, and it has a ring of truth to it.
I have also in the past had indescriminate levels of desire for others - which was, in it's own way, preventing real intimacy, becoming a "let's screw before I like you" instead of a "I like you, let's make love".
A healthy man who loves you isn't going to want to do anything with your body that you are uncomfortable with. If you don't want to for any reason, he won't want to, either. This would be a case for a therapist with experience in this kind of thing, if it is a normal situation within your relationship. However, you certainly don't *owe* him anything. Honestly, trying to pretend to be your husband's blow up doll is cheating both of you of what lovemaking can be.

I can also say easily that the best friendships I have ever had have been with men. And easily my current best friend is male, and all my other friendships are with couples in which I am friends with both. The one commonality to all these friendships (that I regard to be remarkably healthy) is that when I am with them, I can be myself, with all my flaws and failings, and be reasonably sure that they will still love me.

I would hunt down a different support group (just to add my vote in) and I would also, if this happens to be the viewpoint of your church, hunt down a different church. Certainly it isn't in the bible anywhere that you *have* to do anything within a marriage that you don't want to do. Some behaviors are encouraged, but that is an entirely different matter.
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