All a survivor wants is to be ‘normal’ instead we are plagued with triggers and flashbacks that, with time, can be subdued or lessened but unfortunately rarely diminished.
Trying to explain this to the one you love, the one that gets the remnants of the evil left behind, is difficult. They get the brunt of the response – the internal reaction from the triggers that surface at the most intimate and inappropriate moments.
Neal often feels like he IS the predator because of how my body reacts. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m physically reacting.
No matter how far I’ve come in my healing and recovery I’m still guarded. When Neal asked me to explain something that happened between us in an intimate moment I knew it would hurt him. Not because of anything he did, or who he is, but because it brought back something my perpetrator did, a feeling that made my skin crawl. A sound that made me want to vomit.
Not Neal. Grandpa. Not Neal.
So I think, we’ve come along way, I’m going to tell him. Explain so he can understand and NOT take it personally.
That’s a lot to ask of someone… and no offense… of a man. A man needs to ‘fix’. He needs to feel like he is the protector. Neal’s initial reaction was to give up. ‘We will ‘never’ be intimate.’
Do you realize what that said to me? ‘You’ll NEVER be normal. No matter how hard you try or work at it you’ll NEVER be ok.’
It’s not what he meant and after much hashing out I know he’s just as victimized in this. He loves me but how can he be intimate with me if it causes my body to respond to a feeling, memory, smell or sound? If I could scrub my mind clean I would. We all would.
But I’m both hormonal, dramatic, AND suffer from CSA…. Not a great combination.
Ugh… I never said the road to thriving was easy. It takes persistence to battle and get the most of each day. This is not a set back. It’s added fuel to the fire to keep going.
I know now that I should have refrained from telling him a detail. If I find it hard enough to ‘erase’ that detail from my mind how can I expect someone who can’t fathom such an evil to erase it from theirs. That was my mistake. Here is another segment in my continued response on ‘How to Overcome’:
‘How to’ thrive in a relationship after sexual abuse – Remember that the one you love, loves you. They don’t want you to hurt. They don’t want to see you hurt. And they can’t begin to fathom the evil that has been done to you. It’s the porno effect, once it’s seen it can’t be unseen. You lived it and you survived it because you had to re-train your mind to see the beauty in life beyond the evil. There will come a day when you will thrive and you’ll know you’re thriving because a triggered memory will come forward and instead of it immobilizing you, you’ll be able to breathe through it and move on, brush it away like an annoying nat. It can happen. God will give you the grace. But the one you love has not been through this healing process and in sharing too much it can victimize them. As one survivor to another, trust me, let them in so they know your pain but there is no need to re-victimize yourself or them with details.
The more we speak out, have our voice, and join together in bringing awareness to this topic that is still ‘shamed’ in the public eye, the better chance we have at surviving, thriving and saving generations to come from the shame.