03 April, 2008

therapy stuff

i keep trying to start this post, and then erasing it. i guess a lot of it is about having trouble figuring out where to start, and how to talk about it. anyhow. this post is about things that i probably would've written about over at jigsaw analogy, but i'm not particularly wanting the comments that are meant to be sympathetic, but that just kind of grate on me. the point of saying this is, if you're looking for something about DD or sex or the usual topics of this blog, you're going to want to wait around for a different post.

ok. i will try to just start writing.

one thing that came pretty clearly into my mind after therapy today was this: usually, when i tell my coming out story, i talk about how i figured i couldn't be a lesbian, simply because i didn't find men repulsive. i liked guys perfectly well, and figured the only reason i wasn't attracted to them was, hey, who is attracted to high school guys? (sorry, any high school guys who are reading this blog. i'm sure some people do find you attractive. sorry to any guys who went to my high school who are reading this blog--it really wasn't personal. turns out, i'm a lesbian.)

anyhow.

but there was another reason, something i had trouble acknowledging to myself, something i never talked about. and it is this:

not only was i not repulsed by men, but i got physically ill when having sex with one particular woman. the thought of doing it repulsed me, i hated it, i wished i could find a way to make sure it wouldn't happen. at the time, i thought it was because i wasn't interested in having sex with females. but the fact is, it wasn't the femaleness that was making me ill.

maybe another part could put this into touching words, or make it something more readable. but i'm the one who is writing this, and it's something i need to get out of myself. i'm finding i need to talk about this, even though i'm really not sure how to do it.

you know how "they" say that homosexuality is somehow caused by sexual abuse? i'm pretty sure that's not the case with me. the fact is, what the abuse did was make me not want to have sex at all. made the whole concept of sex really repulsive and unpleasant. it was something i hated doing. i did everything i could to distance myself from it. and when those memories come up now, i still can't stand the thought of sex. i get angry at w, because we are in a relationship that, on the surface of it, includes sex. we haven't been having sex, but the undercurrent is there all the same.

other parts have been trying to get me to see that the feelings i have are about being triggered, rather than about anything that is happening in the present. and when i can pull back a little bit, i see that that is true.

but it's complicated. what triggers me, what makes me feel ill, what makes me want to escape any way i can think to escape is this: i, me, the part, am in a situation that has some similarity to what happened when i was a teenager. that is, i am in a relationship where i am expected to take on the role of a partner.

well, honestly, no. w doesn't expect me to take on the role of her partner. that's messed up, right? that the person who met me when i was an adult, the person who got into a relationship with an adult, can have the boundary of not asking me, or the other non-adult parts, to be in a relationship of that kind with her. whereas, when i was a teenager, when i really was too young for it....

my first serious relationship? it was with my mother. it started... i don't know for sure. some parts probably started when i was in middle school. it was definitely going on by the time i was fourteen. it's hard to say where it started, or ended, because in a lot of ways, the sex was the least of it. the sex was just one part. there is so much more than that in a relationship. and the complicated thing is, a lot of that stuff would've been fine as part of a parent-child relationship. just... not all of it.

i keep hearing those voices in my head, telling me that i'm making this up. but the fact is, i really can't see that i gain anything from making up something like this. i don't get any more sympathy than i would from anything else. i don't get more attention. probably, this blog would get waaaaaaaay more hits if i could be writing about sex, you know? so it's not like talking about the abuse gets me attention, or positive reinforcement.

thinking about this stuff doesn't make me feel good. i feel much better after therapy sessions when i talk about my life right now; after therapy today, i felt (and still kind of feel) like i was choking, like i was about to puke. the contents of my stomach were utterly unwilling to stay there. i feel ill.

having this stuff in my brain makes it difficult for me to have sex, or even to think about sex. (and it intrudes on the other parts, who, sure, maybe i made them up too, but... oh, right, still no real advantages except i can be in therapy for longer.)

makes it hard to sleep. makes it hard to eat. makes it hard to have a relationship, because the sheer fact of the relationship existing makes me want to be dead.

so i'm telling the voices that they are not working in the real world. i have no reason to be making this up.



the thing about all of this is, it makes me feel horrible, but i do still also love my mother. that really makes things hard. in some ways, the stuff that happened with other people, when i was younger, is much easier to deal with. i mean, i really don't particularly care about those people, other than the obligatory love for family members. if we never spoke again, there would only be a kind of theoretical regret for what could have been.

but my mother? that was a relationship. there was good so mixed in with all the bad that i don't think i'll ever be able to sort it out. there were things that were totally appropriate, and they were so thoroughly mixed in with the inappropriate stuff that maybe i did like, and the inappropriate stuff that i definitely did NOT like.... how to figure it out? i hear myself (well, other parts, actually) talking with her on the phone. and i understand why they do it. visiting with her. spending time with her. being grateful for the gifts she gives.

and the thing is, the gifts no longer come at a cost. so it's likely that the gifts when i was a teenager had very little to do with what else was going on.

because there's another piece to this: i am beginning to strongly suspect that my mother is further up on the dissociative scale than i had thought before. i've started to notice how often she will express one strong opinion, and then a day or two later say the opposite, and really not remember the other state. and we're talking about things like whether or not she likes muffins, or enjoys a particular author, or likes a particular color. not things where someone would want to deny their opinion. and my mother being dissociative explains a lot about how inconsistent things were with her, and how she could at one moment be one way, and at another, totally different.

not that it excuses anything, but... it explains it. and the mother i generally interact with is not the one who was abusive, and i think she honestly doesn't remember it. not in her usual states, not in the states where i talk with her.

but it explains part of how other parts of me are able to have a relationship with her. but it also makes everything that much more murky. i mean, how much of the stuff that has become tangled up with emotional incest really would have been fine, if it had only been the non-abusive parts of my mother i interacted with? and there is no way to know.

it's a tangled mess.

1 comment:

Nic said...

J,
I'm gonna try to avoid one of those grating sympathetic comments, here. ;)

I just read this today, catching up on your blog, and in some ways, I can identify 100% with what you feel from it, as I too, suffered from sexual abuse, though...well, it's more complicated than that (maybe it always is). And I, too, have a voice in my head telling me I MUST be making that up as I write it, that how DARE I say things about this person like that. And, yeah, parts of me still love this person, in some way, too. I can see the good in her, just as easily as I can see the bad--sometimes more easily.

It does make sense that realizing your mother is probably more disassociative than you'd originally thought clarifies things for you. It absolutely doesn't excuse her behavior, of course, but it explains some of it, and, more importantly, helps explains YOUR mixed feelings towards her.

Anyway, I got nothing real helpful here, just...thanks for sharing this. It really helped me to be able to identify with some of your feelings, and feel like *I* wasn't alone.