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how do I overcome childhood trauma regarding sex? It's affecting my marriage
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An_240640 posted:
When I was 7, my mother caught me adjusting my underwear which had shifted to an uncomfortable position. I guess she thought I was touching myself and flipped out. I was scolded for being a "bad girl" a "dirty girl", I was then scrubbed with bleach and scrub brush and then spanked till black and blue. From that time on I was periodically inspected ( she said just by looking at my vagina she could tell if I had been "bad") and scrubbed with the bleach to remind me what happens to "dirty girls". This practice continued until I married. I was so afraid of what would happen I never dared touch down there and I still fear it, and consequently fear my husband. I am still plagued by nightmares of the incident. My husband is a sweet and wonderfully patient man. I want to enjoy my husband and everything that marriage is supposed to offer, but I panic. How do I get over my fear? I'm too ashamed to tell him why I'm so afraid.
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alaska_mommy responded:
I can't believe you were treated so horribly!! Even if you were touching yourself there's nothing in the world wrong with that, children are naturally curious and want to explore and learn about their bodies. I can't imagine how humiliating this must have been for you!

Have you considered seeing a counselor about it? This obviously has a profound effect on you and it might help you open up to be in a safe setting with a neutral third party.

Also, I think it might help you to tell your husband. If you truly feel safe with him and you already know he's sweet and supportive, then I think it would be good for him to know what happened so that he can better understand your fears, and help you work through them. You have nothing to be ashamed of---you did nothing wrong!! Your mother wronged you and it's a shame you have to deal with this trauma. I highly doubt your husband could find any fault with this, and I bet it would only increase his tenderness towards you. And then you wouldn't have to bear this alone, you'd have someone on your side rooting for you and helping you through it.

I hope you can truly overcome this, and emerge a stronger, more confident person. Embracing yourself, your sexuality, and your body.
 
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georgiagail replied to alaska_mommy's response:
At this point, you need professional counseling to help you overcome this childhood abuse.

Gail
 
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melisfit replied to alaska_mommy's response:
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question. I appreciate your advice to tell my husband, but I'm afraid to. It's not that I don't think he'll be caring and supportive,(he's been my best friend since 4th grade) It's just that I don't want him to think badly of my mom, she was just trying to protect me and they currently have a good relationship. I'm very close to my parents and don't want to lose that. He already thinks my father handles me a bit too roughly and that has tarnished his relationship with my dad. I'm just so tired of disappointing him. We're married almost three years now and still haven't "gone all the way".
 
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BalconyBelle replied to melisfit's response:
Counseling. Please. The very fact that you think your mom's actions were justified because 'she was just trying to protect' you tells me you need it. Your mother's actions were horrifyingly callous, cruel, inhumane & damaging. They had NOTHING to do with protecting you. Your mother sexually & physically abused you for YEARS--and you're still trying to protect her, defend her, and your marriage is suffering because of it.

I'd imagine that your mother is a deeply damaged person in her own right; IMO, no one who's mentally balanced or stable could treat any child, much less their own, in such an abhorrent fashion unless something wasn't right in the head. Your father may be adding to it.

Your husband has a problem with your father because he treats you too roughly, you know he'd have a problem with your mother if he found out what she's really like, and yet instead of doing your husband the courtesy and respect of letting him know what happened to you, you're siding with your abusers, leaving him in the dark, and trying to justify your decisions because you have a 'good' relationship with your parents. It sounds like you're co-dependent. You refuse to own up to the fact that there's something broken or missing inside them, you blame yourself for the damage they've inflicted, and you're still trying to sheild them from the consequences of their actions while you deal with the emotional scars & pain and suffering they left you with.

Please, seek help. I'm more sorry than I can possibly say for everything you've been through, and I hope you can find a way through this to heal yourself & your marriage. Try to take a good, objective look at your relationship with your parents, at what they've done to you, and ask yourself if defending them is really worth the risk of never having the kind of marriage you want, if it's really worth leaving the man who loves you and supports you in the dark, continually disappointing him without letting him know why, and if you can truly bear living the rest of your life like this when you know there's an alternative. You are NOT to blame for what has been done to you, but where to go from here is your choice. I wish you the best of luck.
http://erynlockhart.wordpress.com
 
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AlexKatehakis responded:
You've experienced childhood trauma that is negatively impacting your marriage and your sexual well-being. It sounds like it's important to you to keep your relationships in balance. I do recommend counseling, and I understand it might be a challenge for you to take this step without it affecting the balance of your relationships. You are an adult victim of sexual abuse. There are many counselors who specialize in treating adult victims of sexual abuse. I recommend that you go to 'find a therapist' on pschologytoday.com, choose your state, then on the sidebar choose 'sexual abuse' as their specialty. Make that call, and start the conversation. You will be able to relay the challenges you are facing regarding privacy, and if applicable, any financial considerations. The counselor's office will help you take your next step. Good luck, we care for your sexual and emotional health.
 
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alaska_mommy replied to melisfit's response:
While I can (in some ways) understand not wanting to have anything come between you and your parents, it's healthy to begin confiding in your husband and placing your relationship with him above that of your parents. Normally, you would be closest to your parents in your childhood years, and then as you go through adolescence into adulthood that relationship would change to where it's not at the forefront. Then especially in marriage, your focus should shift to your husband, with him as the most important relationship in your life, and your parents second. It sounds like you are clinging to your parents and not fully surrendering to your husband. It's time to let them go, and move forward with your life. You can't hang on to momma's apron strings anymore, you need to put your childhood years behind you and make a clean start with your husband. Right now it sounds like he is the healthiest relationship you have. I'd put my all into that, and let come what may with your parents. You don't get to choose your parents, but you do choose your life mate. Also you don't live with your parents anymore, you live with your husband, so for that reason alone more time and emotion should be invested in him. You want to have a healthy, happy, fulfilled relationship with this man, with whom (I hope) you will have many, many more years yet to come.
 
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dfgbull responded:
I am a husband who endured 30 years of coping with a traumatized wife so I know where you are coming from. See a counselor asap. There is a book titled The Wounded Heart which is verry good although it is hard to read. This is something you will need help to overcome, so don't wait. Good luck and God bless you.
 
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Richard13963 responded:
I concur with the opinions already presented to you and would like only to offer support as a male who has experienced similarly detrimental recrimination during my childhood (from my father) that amounted to what I feel is the "gender-flip-side" scenario of your experience in receiving parental rebuke and chastisement that was focused upon sexual issues (perceptions/apprehensions). Unfortunately, the lack of mitigating dialogue regarding these events has left me settled upon a path of life-long celibacy. I developed feelings of fear and shame regarding questions and concerns that were intrinsic to the normal process of maturation (socially & psychologically) about the consequences of intimate communication (much less "relationship") with the opposite sex.
I am now 60 yrs of age and have never had intimate contact with women beyond a few "good night" kisses after dates back when I was in high school. I live with the consolation that I have not passed on whatever genetic dysfunctionalities I inherited from my father to another generation. My parents presented themselves to me only as authority figures not as caring human beings; hence they were effectively strangers to whom I was subjugated without recourse. Though I try to live a life of consideration and respect for those around me, I have not been able to "let go" of whatever induces me to harbor much resentment and anger toward my parents. Alternatively, I have tried to learn, objectively, who they were as people in the context of history and politics of their times, which seems to help somewhat as I get older but overall has no achieved a significant degree of reconciliation. I am merely left with the cognizance they are both long-passed with my personal sentiments of "...good riddance!".
I would like for you to be spared of any similar consequences of failing to recognize the simple truths in your situation that might be concealed behind misguided or unwarranted feelings and obligations to "honor thy mother and father" at the expense of grace and freedom that protects and preserves the quality of your existence.
In my opinion, Love and Respect are effective only in conditions of mutual recognition; one-sided regard only leads toward the dynamics of martyrdom. Please allow yourself to live well and with as much happiness as you can secure. I think it would be appropriate and beneficial to be able to share these issues without reservation with your husband. How to effect that may necessitate wise and caring counsel.
Best Regards and wishes.
 
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melisfit replied to Richard13963's response:
I am so sorry for what happened to you and how it's affected your life. I completely understand the feeling of not wanting to pass on my damage to another generation. I can't even bare to think about what would happen if my husband and I ever do finally have sex and I were to get pregnant.


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