***I want to say upfront that this may be triggering, so please read with caution or not at all! I am trying to come to terms with automatic body responses that are coming up in my recent awareness of another part’s sexual abuse experience.***
When I first learned about my diagnosis, I had no idea the complexity that would be involved in having Dissociative Identity Disorder, or the pieces that would need put back together. I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster for the past 3 yrs., but also on the fast track to healing and wholeness.
Sure, there are days that really knock me back or even out for a short time. If you’ve read any of my post’s you would quickly agree that things change suddenly in my world. However, there is this piece of body memories/automatic body responses or what some call, unwanted sexual arousal, feelings or stimulation with sexual abuse. All of which make me want to vomit when I hear those words!
I haven’t been able to address this in therapy, because simply put, it is too shameful. How can I say, out loud, that I can feel those reactions happening when I’m having nightmares, flashbacks, or even worse, when I’m trying to talk about the experience??
It feels BAD, WRONG, SHAMEFUL, DISGUSTING…what is wrong with me that I would even feel that. I didn’t like it, I’m sure! The parts that have experienced this have hated it, hated sharing about it, and I don’t want to deal with it either.
I’ve been reading about this topic, trying to find some way to reconcile it in my head. I need to support the parts affected, care and love them through it, and myself. But how? Here are some things I’ve been reading:
“Some survivors find that feeling shame about having sexual feelings prevents them from fully processing their memories. As soon as they remember and feel sexual feelings, they distance themselves from the memory and can’t go any further with it. They’re stuck there, unable to release their emotions or fully process the memory.”
“Some survivors are terrified to tell any one including their therapist that when they remember and talk about sexual abuse they feel sexual feelings in their body just as they feel other feelings and body sensations. They are afraid of being viewed as sexually inappropriate, attracted to the therapist or friend, or turned on by sexual abuse i.e. a perpetrator.”
“No matter how you felt during the abuse or feel now, you are not responsible for the abuse. You are not to blame for what the abuser did, and you and your body are completely separate from the abuser. Even if it doesn’t feel that way, it’s still true. It doesn’t matter what your body did or didn’t do; you and your body were simply coping as best you could given the circumstances”
“Experiencing sexual feelings during abuse or while remembering or talking about sexual abuse is not something anyone should have to feel guilty about.”
“For some survivors the fact that they felt sexually aroused in an abuse context is embarrassing or shameful to admit but the more survivors – in fact, all of us – talk about this issue, the easier and less shameful it becomes. When we talk openly about something, we take away its power or emotional charge.”
“Survivors reduce the emotional charge, connected to this issue, by talking/writing/drawing about it; not listening to anyone who tells them how they “should” feel; acknowledging and accepting how they felt and feel; recognizing that none of their feelings make them crazy or bad, or like the abuser; and by fostering compassion and understanding for themselves and their body. It’s possible to feel better about this issue – one tiny step at a time.”
Maybe this will help me, you, or someone going through this experience. Does anyone else feel this way? Because somedays it makes me feel crazy inside. Trusting and believing that I’m going to be okay, the parts of me are going to be okay, and we are going to make it through this….well, somedays it’s all I have.