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A key word that you will see:

Fragmentation: a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Effects of Sexual Abuse ~ Part I


I say that this is part one as I know that I will be writing more about it.  I've never really delved into the effects that my sexual abuse has impacted my relationship with my husband.  I need to do this in small parts. (I'm tearing up as I'm even just writing this).

In 2003, I began to have flashbacks and memories of repressed sexual abuse memories and I was having much difficulty sleeping.  (I still do, but it is part of my depression...early morning waking)  My wonderfully intuitive husband asked me if I wanted him to sleep in the extra bedroom.  I reluctantly, told him that it would help.  I was actually afraid that I would hurt him in bed or that he would harm me.  Not a good situation. 

The major part of the high intensity of the flashbacks took over four years which was extremely painful and impacted work to the point that I ended up quitting a job that I loved.  I was doing okay and keeping up and making all my meetings, but my concentration with intrusive flashes, body memories and just trying to numb out took a toll on my ability to complete my reports. 

The visits and needs were taken care of with my clients, but my documentation sucked.  It took much more concentration to sit alone in front of a computer than I had.  My work was willing to work with me due to my situation, but management and other requirements changed and it really became a toxic environment for me. 

Basically, I was going to be hospitalized if I didn't quit.  My therapist and psychiatrist told me that the environment and my supervisor was retraumatizing me.  The Union tried, but could not really help me and referred me to an attorney.  Obviously, I wasn't ready to do this and be dragged through the "mud."  (Sorry, for the little detour)

(On the main road again) My husband still remains in the extra bedroom. At the beginning of him sleeping in the other room, we barely had any type of touching or intimacy.  Sometime last year after my second hospitalization, I began to cuddle with him in the master bedroom and we have progressed to where we do almost everything, but actual intercourse.  We are both very happy with this.  I feel safe with him and he never does anything without asking me first.

My husband always has the week between Christmas and New Years off, so last year we decided to try to just sleep together in the same bed.  But, due to the major events of last year, I wasn't ready.  It had been too stressful a year.

However, this year seemed perfect.  He even had two and a half weeks off.  The session on the day that we were trying going to try to sleep together, I broke down in tears and realized that I was terrified.  I felt like I should be able to do so and that I was "bad" for not being able to as it has been such a long time. 

My therapist put me in my place!!!  He explained how normal this is and how severe my sexual abuse was, so he was not surprised.  I admitted that I was beginning to have flashbacks again.  He told me that it was great that I wanted to do this, but that he really wanted this to be a success.  I realized and admitted that I wasn't yet ready.  Even though I really trust my husband, it is soooo difficult to not have everything in me still react.

My therapist was proud of me that I told my husband that I wasn't ready.  So was I.  My sweet husband was so understanding and said that he didn't want us to do anything that I wasn't comfortable with and that he wanted me to feel safe. 

So, we still are not sleeping in the same bed, but the foreplay before we go sleep in our separate beds make us very happy.  This is HUGE progress.  However, we are able to take naps on top of the covers. This year's goal is still to be able to sleep in the same bed.  I guess, I was in denial about how big a deal our goal is...I'm still terrified.  But, I am working on meeting my goal.  I couldn't do this without such a supportive, caring and understanding husband.  I thank God for him everyday.


Anonymous said...

I know what you went through as a child was horrific. I think it's completely understandable that you would have fears relating to sex and intimacy. But it sounds like you are making some real progress in that area of your life. I think your goal for this year is very reasonable and admirable. I'll be looking forward to reading more about your journey in this subject.

Wishing you well,

Wanda's Wings said...

I can so relate to what you said. No one should ever have to go through sexual abuse. It kills the soul. I am glad your husband is supportive. You continue to heal. Bless you>

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