Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 766397

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Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long)

Posted by fiji on June 28, 2007, at 9:17:22

I don't know if anyone can help with this, or if I'm so far off the wall that I'm just lost, or totally perverted. But I don't know what to do anymore, I don't know how to cope.

So I'll start with the hard part first.

I was sexually abused by my father (and grandfather) when I was very young--started when I was two w/my grandfather, and after he died, it picked up with my father when I was four or five. I think it lasted until I was about nine, when he left our family for good.

I have peeled away the onion of my existance in therapy and think I've reached the core. I have these feelings that I cannot heal, and they cripple me everyday.

I have these waves of intense feelings that overcome me, and are obsessive now. They start off as intense sexual pleasure and then move to horrendous fear, at which point I cut the feelings off. This all happens in a matter of seconds. Then the wave starts again, and again; the feelings are unrelenting. I've tried to stay with the fear, and that leads me to the most horrifying things my father did to me. I have worked on the fear in T a lot, but the wave of feelings won't abate.

I didn't used to understand what these feelings were about and I used to find myself attracted to men who reminded me of my father, no matter how hard I tried to stay away. I've had some very hurtful experiences with these people, IMO because as someone said in another thread, these men had their own issues and couldn't, wouldn't have anything to do with me.

In the last couple of months, the feelings have settled to where they belong: with me. They are not about feelings I have for other people; these are feelings I have for my father. I know this, and I know this is very good; they are no longer displaced.

These waves of feelings encapsulate my feelings for my father. Here's the hard part for me--the intense sexual pleasure is what I felt when he did certain things to me (yuck, I can't believe I wrote it, but I know it's true, and I know it's just a young girl's body's reactions, it doesn't mean I'm evil, etc.) It's like the experiment with the baby duck--I was imprinted sexually by my father and I can't escape it. It's disgusting, because that feeling can never be fulfilled elsewhere.

So I wrestle with the intense shame, although rationally I know it's not me, it's what he did that was wrong.

So the ambivalence I feel about my father is all wrapped up in these waves of feelings and I don't know how to resolve them or escape them.

In the old days, this is when I would drink, when the feelings were so overwhelming that I couldn't deal with them anymore and I just had to find peace. I can't reiterate enough how unrelenting these feelings are.

But I don't drink anymore, so I don't get relief from them. Klonopin works, but the effective dose is not how I can live day to day. Plus, I'm afraid that I'll start abusing the Klonopin.

Also, I don't have access to my little girl anymore, not really. My Pdoc had me integrate them, and I'm not quite sure the timing was right. I can accept that I am one adult and that the girls are part of me, but I do need to resolve these feelings at both levels. But I'm afraid of my impulsive actions (taking a whole bottle of klonopin) before I can trace the feelings back.

My T has worked with me intensely on this, and she has been very helpful.

I don't know, maybe it's about separating the feelings out? That I can't face the fear alone without the pleasure???

Let me add that I have trouble expressing anger toward my father (he's dead) because of the good things (not the sexual) about him. I know this is a form of denial, and I'm working on it.

It's just that I hurt so bad, physically and emotionally all the time; I get no peace.

The kicker is that my life is really pretty good right now. Except for this, but I know getting to the core of my feelings is a great thing for my therapy but I'm so afraid that I won't make it through this.

sorry if I upset anyone. I don't expect anyone to be able to help, really. I'm talking and not hiding from the feelings and my T is fully aware of the full range of my feelings. It's tortuous.
antigua

 

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((fiji)))))))))))))))))) fiji

Posted by muffled on June 28, 2007, at 9:47:03

In reply to Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long), posted by fiji on June 28, 2007, at 9:17:22

safe hugs if ya want them.
You are strong and brave.
I wonder, IS the kid gone? Or she still trying to talk to you?
I hope I not saying a wrong thing.
I dunno bout integration stuff.
But good for you. You work so hard.
Wish I could talk to the kid.
Sounds like you got great help.
I'm glad for that.
Take special care of yourself.
Muffled

 

Clarification

Posted by fiji on June 28, 2007, at 10:40:58

In reply to Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long), posted by fiji on June 28, 2007, at 9:17:22

The feelings don't start with the pleasure, they start with very intense longing and then move on to the rest.
antigua

 

Re: ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((fiji)))))))))))))))))) muffled

Posted by fiji on June 28, 2007, at 10:48:32

In reply to ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((fiji)))))))))))))))))) fiji, posted by muffled on June 28, 2007, at 9:47:03

Thank you for your kind words. You have a good heart.

I got used to talking to the little girl when feelings would come up and I would realize they were hers. I would try to soothe her and tell her that she was safe and that I would protect her. Sometimes I'd ask her what she needed and the next thing you know I would be buying M&Ms! Unconsciously of course, but I knew where it was coming from.
If the girl is angry, she's harder to reach, and her needs are different. That's when the old, soft baseball bat comes out and I go whack on a fence!
again, thank you so much,
antigua

 

Re: Clarification -- more triggers fiji

Posted by DAisym on June 29, 2007, at 1:43:38

In reply to Clarification, posted by fiji on June 28, 2007, at 10:40:58

(((Antigua)))

You were very brave to write what you did. I can imagine what it cost you to hit the submit button. You are not perverted, it sounds like you are caught in a cycle of body memories, triggered over and over again.

In all the work you've done on the fear, do you know what it is? Is it fear of being caught? Is it fear of liking it? Or did something happen after the sex that was hurtful or scary?

The other question I have is are these waves solitary or are they triggered when the possibility of sex exists? If the feelings just come over you, finding the trigger seems important. You sound like you are on the right track - trying to separate the pleasure from the fear. Knowing it is Ok to feel pleasure in your body is both an intellectual and primal exercise. Lots of people who weren't sexually abused are ashamed of their sexual needs, or likes. Our society in general tends to send messages that those feelings are not OK, except in the middle of the night.

And of course, as a survivor, there are the conflicting feelings of hate and love. You hate what he did. You loved him. What he did hurt you emotionally and yet it felt good physically. The internal conflict is huge and holding on to conflicting beliefs creates chaos. It is so hard to tolerate that kind of anxiety and fear - for me, I feel like I'll just shatter around it. I'm learning in therapy that tolerating my love and my hate both take work.

What is it exactly you are trying to figure out, Antigua? Do you want to be able to experience pleasure without fear? Do you want to understand the fear? Or do you want to rid yourself of the uninvited waves that pop in out of nowhere? I think you have to answer those questions before you can proceed.

Trying to work things out sexually is a really hard part of healing. I'm not doing a very good job of it -- and it is something that is very hard to talk about. Again - you are so brave for posting about it. I hope we can keep talking about this.
Hugs - Daisy

 

Re: Clarification -- more triggers DAisym

Posted by frida on June 29, 2007, at 3:54:25

In reply to Re: Clarification -- more triggers fiji, posted by DAisym on June 29, 2007, at 1:43:38

((((Antigua)))) ((((Daisy))))

Reading your posts has made me cry.
It's hard to respond because I feel all this too....

I just wanted to send support and say that it helps me to read ....it really is so painful and hard.

You were so brave to put this into words.

Frida


> (((Antigua)))
>
> You were very brave to write what you did. I can imagine what it cost you to hit the submit button. You are not perverted, it sounds like you are caught in a cycle of body memories, triggered over and over again.
>
> In all the work you've done on the fear, do you know what it is? Is it fear of being caught? Is it fear of liking it? Or did something happen after the sex that was hurtful or scary?
>
> The other question I have is are these waves solitary or are they triggered when the possibility of sex exists? If the feelings just come over you, finding the trigger seems important. You sound like you are on the right track - trying to separate the pleasure from the fear. Knowing it is Ok to feel pleasure in your body is both an intellectual and primal exercise. Lots of people who weren't sexually abused are ashamed of their sexual needs, or likes. Our society in general tends to send messages that those feelings are not OK, except in the middle of the night.
>
> And of course, as a survivor, there are the conflicting feelings of hate and love. You hate what he did. You loved him. What he did hurt you emotionally and yet it felt good physically. The internal conflict is huge and holding on to conflicting beliefs creates chaos. It is so hard to tolerate that kind of anxiety and fear - for me, I feel like I'll just shatter around it. I'm learning in therapy that tolerating my love and my hate both take work.
>
> What is it exactly you are trying to figure out, Antigua? Do you want to be able to experience pleasure without fear? Do you want to understand the fear? Or do you want to rid yourself of the uninvited waves that pop in out of nowhere? I think you have to answer those questions before you can proceed.
>
> Trying to work things out sexually is a really hard part of healing. I'm not doing a very good job of it -- and it is something that is very hard to talk about. Again - you are so brave for posting about it. I hope we can keep talking about this.
> Hugs - Daisy
>

 

Re: Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long) fiji

Posted by scratchpad on June 29, 2007, at 8:43:40

In reply to Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long), posted by fiji on June 28, 2007, at 9:17:22

Such a major post, Fiji. I am proud of your strength and resilience (((((Fiji)))).
My experience with abuse was not family related and it happened later in my childhood, yet it made such a irrefutable mark upon my own sexuality and feelings of fear and anger.

How do we get past what we recognize to be the core and at the root of our problems? Once we face our history, how are we to put it in its rightful place and define ourselves in a present tense? What on earth am I trying to say(??!!) OK. What we recognize as our trigger and response reflex (for want of a better word) can be retrained, just as our alcoholic habits can be retrained. You and I no longer respond to our old alcoholic triggers in the same way we did when we were actively drinking - and it's the hardest thing in the world to change how we respond emotionally to an environmental trigger. That change took a lot of support and therapy; we couldn't just will ourselves to become sober.

Perhaps the next step here is some formal sex therapy, suitable for PTSD victims? Maybe with sensitive and professional guidance, your emotional responses can eventually be moved beyond the fear-shame-guilt model to where they belong, to loving-kindness and giving. So you can experience sexual satisfaction on the basis of emotional wholeness and completion. Do you think you could talk to your T about something like this, or ask for a referral to see someone about it? (Or read a book? That'd be my first move, as timid as I am.)

Scratchpad

 

:-(___(((((((((kids))))))) :-( from a mommy who

Posted by muffled on June 29, 2007, at 10:05:35

In reply to Re: Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long) fiji, posted by scratchpad on June 29, 2007, at 8:43:40

would never ever hurt them.
Who would hold them if they wanted and make them feel safe, even if just for awhile.
I would hold them and tell them they are each wonderful gifts, cuz they ARE.
Each and every child is special.
And they not bad.
They babies.
They need love and nurture and gentle holding.
They need to feel protected and safe.
Not THEIR fault that adults messed up.
(((((((((((((((((((babies, children)))))))))))))))))))
special.

 

Re: Clarification -- more triggers DAisym

Posted by fiji on June 29, 2007, at 15:37:30

In reply to Re: Clarification -- more triggers fiji, posted by DAisym on June 29, 2007, at 1:43:38


> In all the work you've done on the fear, do you know what it is? Is it fear of being caught? Is it fear of liking it? Or did something happen after the sex that was hurtful or scary?
>
The fear is the anticipation of the other, hurtful things he did to me at night in the dark.

This was the "other" father, the beast as I describe him, the one standing in the dark doorway about 2 or 3 in the morning, drunk and weaving back and forth. Once I recognize the fear for what it is, the whole memory keeps coming back of what he did (the sounds, the slobbering, the probing with his fingers, tongue and penis that both hurt and disgust me) and the truly horrible mess he left behind (the smells, the wetness, yuck)that I couldn't clean up (we weren't allowed to leave our bedrooms at night, not even for the bathroom).


> The other question I have is are these waves solitary or are they triggered when the possibility of sex exists? If the feelings just come over you, finding the trigger seems important.
>
These are waves that wash over me constantly day and night; I can't escape them now. Before they would be triggered by my obsession for some inapporpriate man, but that's not the case anymore. I'm at the heart of it--these are the feelings I have for my father. And no, sex doesn't trigger them, although many times I lash out at my DH if he approaches me in the middle of the night.

These waves last seconds, and they are unrelenting.

> And of course, as a survivor, there are the conflicting feelings of hate and love. You hate what he did. You loved him. What he did hurt you emotionally and yet it felt good physically. The internal conflict is huge and holding on to conflicting beliefs creates chaos.
>
I know that my ambivalence about the good and bad father is played out in these waves of emotions. Let me say, though, that the part that felt good physically is not associated with the evil, night-time person. There is absolutely no pleasure there--it's all pain, suffocation and hurt.

> What is it exactly you are trying to figure out, Antigua? Do you want to be able to experience pleasure without fear? Do you want to understand the fear? Or do you want to rid yourself of the uninvited waves that pop in out of nowhere? I think you have to answer those questions before you can proceed.
>
I want to be rid of the uninvited waves that are always with me now. They are driving me over the edge, literally. Also, I have learned to experience pleasure w/o fear and I feel very lucky about that. All I can think is that I have to take the wave apart and separate the feelings, but I don't know how to do it. Neither do my T or Pdoc at the moment--they just keep saying you have to go through this, but at times I don't think they realize how awful this really is for me. It's physically painful as well as emotionally debilitating.

Thank you so much for responding. I know this is difficult for us all.
antigu

 

Re: Clarification -- more triggers frida

Posted by fiji on June 29, 2007, at 15:38:56

In reply to Re: Clarification -- more triggers DAisym, posted by frida on June 29, 2007, at 3:54:25

Thank you so much for your support. It makes me feel like I'm not such a freak, which I do believe I am. Put me in the sideshow! People will be disgusted and throw trash at me. That's what it feels like.
antigua

 

Re: Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long) scratchpad

Posted by fiji on June 29, 2007, at 15:43:08

In reply to Re: Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long) fiji, posted by scratchpad on June 29, 2007, at 8:43:40

While I don't think sex is the root of my problem, you could be right. Good idea, maybe I'll look into some books. I don't go through this cycle when I'm having sex, though; apparently, the waves are totally separate from my sexual experiences with my husband. Odd, isn't it?

Your analogy with the drinking is right on, but without a release from these feelings I don't know how I can survive.
antigua

 

Re: Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long)

Posted by jammerlich on June 29, 2007, at 16:00:06

In reply to Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long), posted by fiji on June 28, 2007, at 9:17:22

As much as I'd like to be able to, I just can't add anything to this discussion. It's hard to read and I cry every time I came back to it; but it helps me to see what you've all written. Thank you for being brave enough to do it.

 

Re: Clarification -- more triggers fiji

Posted by DAisym on June 29, 2007, at 16:36:36

In reply to Re: Clarification -- more triggers DAisym, posted by fiji on June 29, 2007, at 15:37:30

Antigua,

This might be really obvious - but have you had a complete physical? The way you describe the body sensations could certainly be hormonal shifts, perhaps peri-menopausal in nature, that set off your amigdala in a fright response. One of the first things that happens with fear is heat. The hot flashes (or just heated up stuff) that happens during hormonal shifts could be causing this. A few other physical causes could be weight gain making your clothes fit just a little tighter, which increases the friction on arousal parts of your body - or swelling in these sensitive areas. I'm also thinking of what you wrote about the mess and wetness (yes, that was a very awful part for me too) and increased discharge for a variety of biological reasons could trigger this cycle of memory responses as well.

I think sometimes, as survivors, we think almost everything going on is mental, when sometimes it really might be rooted in the biological. I'm encouraging you to have a complete physical and get your hormone levels tested.

OK - all that said, the whole thing stinks. And because it is so physically based and driving you crazy, I think you might revisit your pdoc and ask for something to lessen the feeling. Maybe your body does have to release these memories, but perhaps you need to do it more slowly and in more of a controlled way. I'm hoping there is something that would dampen down these feelings.

You are so not a freak. I can't begin to tell you the amount of times I've felt arousal in the middle of a memory and I'm so ashamed and apalled at myself. Makes no difference that I "know" this is part of the memory. I want to control it and I don't want it to happen.

And I'm very glad for you (and jealous) that you have a good sex life apart from these memories and sensations. That must have taken a lot of work.

 

Re: Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long) jammerlich

Posted by fiji on June 29, 2007, at 18:00:58

In reply to Re: Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long), posted by jammerlich on June 29, 2007, at 16:00:06

I am so very sorry that I hurt you.
antigua

 

Re: Clarification -- more triggers DAisym

Posted by fiji on June 29, 2007, at 18:03:17

In reply to Re: Clarification -- more triggers fiji, posted by DAisym on June 29, 2007, at 16:36:36

You're right, a physical is in order. It has been on my "to do" list and I will just move it up in priority.
thanks, you are a sweetie,
antigua

 

Re: Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long) fiji

Posted by jammerlich on June 29, 2007, at 19:27:49

In reply to Re: Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long) jammerlich, posted by fiji on June 29, 2007, at 18:00:58

Antigua, you did NOT hurt me. Please understand that.

It's just a difficult topic and it brought up feelings; but, that's not a bad thing. It's actually got me thinking about bringing up these things with T (shudder), which is probably a good thing.

I was really meaning to thank you for the courage it took to post this. I'm so sorry it didn't come out that way.

 

Re: Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long)

Posted by fiji on June 29, 2007, at 21:02:50

In reply to Re: Major Problems ***tough CSA trigger*** (long) fiji, posted by jammerlich on June 29, 2007, at 19:27:49

Thanks for the kind words, but I do know that words can hurt while they're helping.
all the best,
antigua


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