stuck what do I do?

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Hi ladies please help. I don't know who else to turn to, I thought this site would be the best place. I have to see rape Crisis - a group in Leicester that deal with rape, but I feel sick I'm so scared. I just want to bleach my vagina and eradicate my assailant from my head. I don't want to be touched ever again - what do I tell my husband? I hate sex literally and was just having it to have children. Now we can't have ivf I couldn't care less. I hate feeling like this but that's the truth! Please help!

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    Hi Sam,

    My name is Cyndi.  I'll tell you my story first, so you'll be able to better judge what the differences are between what happened to us.  I think I understand a lot of how you feel, but I don't want to jump to conclusions and give you bad advice.

    So I was sodomized as a child, multiple times, and I have fugue relating to that.  I also have flashbacks.  Growing up, my ex-boyfriends used to touch me and do things I begged them not to do.  I sometimes have flashbacks relating to that, too.

    One thing that I think is very important after surviving some sort of sexual abuse - and congratulations! You are a survivor and the kind of woman that everyone should look up to!  It's not easy to survive that - but one thing that was crucial to me was to remember that sex was not my assailant's to mess up for me.  Sex is a part of who I am - I am entitled to sexuality and I am entitled to be able to be close to my partner on a sexual level that makes *ME* happy and that makes us happy.

    I went about it the wrong way when I tried to fix it, and it didn't work out so well - in fact, it enabled years of sexual abuse.  I tried to just exposure therapy myself and did whatever sexual things my ex-boyfriend wanted just to get that jerk out of my head.  One of my friends later summarized it this way, "So you were just basically raping yourself?  Forcing yourself to do things you didn't want to do?"  And yeah, that's a pretty good statement that it's messed up to do sexual things you hate.

    What I really suggest is this: get into counseling.  I hated the stigma of it, and I didn't go for years, and I lost years because of it.  I lost years of being able to touch people, I lost years of being able to think about normal things, I lost all of my self-esteem.  Don't wait to go to counseling.  Make an appointment TODAY and put a best friend in charge of MAKING SURE YOU GO and not canceling.  You could make your relationship with your husband a lot worse if you don't handle the sex thing right, and if you're not careful, you'll start resenting him for the sexual things he does with you.

    It is normal to feel dirty, slimy - not just physically, but like it leaves this stain of shame.  What you have to remember is that the shame isn't yours; the person who should be ashamed is the person who raped you.

    I almost hesitate to say this, because our situations are so different.  The first time I had sex with my new boyfriend (after losing my vaginal virginity to an ex who did not stop when I told him I didn't want to do this anymore), I kind of made myself do it.  I knew that he wouldn't start a relationship with someone chaste, and it meant more to me to be with him than to continue not having sexual relationships (a religious choice).  But when we did it, I told him how I had always dreamed of doing it, and it was such a good experience that I genuinely think of myself as losing my virginity to him.

    Here are some things that helped:

    1) We spent the first night kissing and cuddling, and made a consious decision not to have sex.  In other words, I got to a place where I was happy touching him and felt safe being next to him.

    2) The second night, when we did have sex: First, he touched me in non-threatening places (for me my breasts and then thighs).  The more aroused I am, the less threatening sexual touch is to me.

    3) Then, touching my vagina - which got my adrenaline pumping, because I started to flash back - but the whole while I was carressing his shoulders and back, and we were kissing, which was sweet and made me laugh.  That and the kissing helped me to focus my mind on what was going on here and now, and to be happy about what was going on.

    4) Then I told him what position I wanted to have sex in, and he acquiesed without even complaining.  I told him that I needed to be the one who did it, and that I needed to not be helpless, and to be in a position of power.  For me, that meant being on top, and being near a door (so I could run away - I have a PTSD thing about doors), and putting him in me so that it was on my terms.

    5) When that position didn't really work out, I let him switch, and I did have to squeeze my eyes tight a little to drive out the bad thoughts, but by that time I was already ok.

    6) When it started to hurt, I told him, and immediately he stopped and pulled out.  We quit for the night.  (He did go jerk it by himself, though.)

    7) We did that for  a couple of days, and that made me know that I could trust him.  Knowing that all I had to do was say, "Stop." or "I don't like that,"  or "That hurts," or "Let's do something else,"  made me feel happy and really made me take back my sexuality.  Honestly, the thing that made me most happy about it was that I didn't have to yell at him or be upset about it at all, knowing that I could say "stop" just at a whim, as soon as I even  began to think that I disliked something set that apart from rape.  Also, you know, the fact that I love him (we had been friends for 2 years before we hooked up.)

    Also, don't feel bad if you don't like sex with your husband.  It doesn't mean you aren't in love.  It might just mean that you're not approaching sex the right way - and it could get really unhealthy if you don't get help with that.  Nothing that you and your husband do should make you feel unsafe.  Either of you has the right to say, "No, let's not have sex today."  I hate to admit that there are relationship ramifications to completely turning off sex, but if you allow him to masturbate, and if you do sexual things together/have moments of physical closeness, I hope that you'll be fine until you can work out a system for you.

    Also, does your husband know you've been raped?  If so, what all does he know?  I have seen it go both ways - a partner who knows you've been raped and generally the circumstances can help you to create a sexual encounter that is nothing like what happened to you before, which helps to get you out of that zone.  Ex. one of my exes and I would mess around in different rooms of the house, he would only approach me from the front (b/c I got attacked from behind), he knew where and where not to kiss me - generally, he avoided anything that could trigger a memory of the event, and as time went on, I got more ok with things that marginally reminded me of the sodomy (cuddling from behind, kissing of neck, etc.)

    Alternatively, my current boyfriend doesn't want to know anything about what happened, and I am happy not to tell him, because I don't want that to be a defining part of my sexuality anymore, and I think it's healthier this way.  He just does whatever I ask him to as far as changing positioning or location.  It makes him feel really really bad to think that anything he does reminds me of getting raped, because he never wants to do that to me.  And, since he's autistic and doesn't recover well from being told that a thing reminds me of being raped, instead of telling him that something is causing me problems, I just say, "Stop, I don't like that," or "Hey, kiss my cheeks (instead of my mouth or whatever is triggering my PTSD)!" and then we keep on making out, and it's almost never a problem. 

    On the days when I really don't feel like sex b/c I've been having panic attacks and flashbacks, I do this thing that he taught me.  Focus on 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you feel, 2 that you taste, and 1 that you smell all at once.  It stops my panic attacks and flashbacks and puts me back into the room where I really am.  If I still don't feel like sex, we make out and tickle each other and make tents out of the blankets, and kiss and eventually end up groping until we both feel like it.  Generally, we just play with our bodies innocently until we both are in a happy and responsive spot to sex; and if we don't have sex, whatever!  We still got in an hour of topless skin-to-skin cuddling, tickling, and pillow-fighting which is part of a healthy relationship, too!  Sensuality can be a part of sexuality, and fun and closeness are what is important in a relationship.  Those things have to form the basis of sex.

    Cyndi

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    • Posted

      Hi Cindi, finally someone who totally understands me.  I can see exactly what you going through and even though my husband is not autistic I have the added difficulty that  I have the Dyspraxia so an autistic spectrum disorder.  I just feel for my husband - FINALLY someone who I can trust and who loves me for me and feel we have it all except... I have a past that I've being blamed for and can't stop blaming myself for as it has stopped us moving on and having a family as  normal married couples do?  Well you'd think so, but to make matters worse I've nearly lost him several times this year as I've threatened suicide and even tried to end our marriage as I feel unworthy of him any more.  What makes matters worse for me is my age at 43 have been told I can't adopt either to scare monger me into not going for this.  As a women and a human being for that matter I've had so many medical doors slammed in my face, that I feel like telling all of the medical profession to take a HUGE flying run and jump!  I KNOW what I want and so does my husband - the child in the pushchair that is ours calling my husband daddy and me grinning like a cheshire cat. I have tried with or without doctor's help to get the support I need but I can't believe I would be denied the chance for my husband and I to PROVE we'd be good parents, without the added stigma of my past being thrown in my face.  You see the young excuses for parents these days and it makes me feel mad, sick and hurt all at once.  As for autism, it's a word, so what if you're husband has it, I'm definite he's a delightful person, despite having never met him.xx
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      It really breaks my heart sometimes, that thing you said about being blamed for your past!  T-T  I feel like the worst part of rape is that it keeps affecting my life.  Like, yeah, it hurt for a minute - but whatever.  It's the feeling dirty and not worthy of people's love and not good enough and the depression and the OCD and the flashbacks and the panic attacks that make it horrible.

      And I hate it when my boyfriend and I fight over things because of my past.  Like, sometimes he can't handle my crazy.  Or sometimes, I tell him that I need to go home and be with my mother and my sisters or my friends, and it hurts his feelings because he thinks I am bailing on him or that I can't confide in him or that he's inadequate to comfort me.  And sometimes, when I have to ask him to stop having sex with me because of the flashbacks, he gets really upset because he feels like I remind him of my abuser and he wants to leave because he doesn't want me to feel hurt, and he doesn't want to feel like he hurts me.

      It is probably the #1 thing in my life that messes things up.  It makes me miss classes, be late for work, have fights with my boyfriend and family, prevents me from having good relationships with my friends and family.  It makes it hard to be religious or to trust people or to make new friends.  And it's not fair!  It wasn't my fault.  I definitely understand what you mean when you say you feel punished for it.  I don't know what advice to give you, other than to show your husband how it makes you feel when he does a thing that you see as a punishment.

      I don't know if it's healthy or not, but my boyfriend went off about a week ago and intentionally said the most hurtful things he could after a fight, and I just stuck around to let him see how it affected me.  I ended up hysterical and fell down on the couch having a flashback, and he scooped me up and snapped me out of it.  That finally made him realize that he just can't say those things, and that I don't do any of the things he was mad about maliciously; I'm just crazy from the abuse, and socially impaired.  I don't recommend having a breakdown - but letting your husband what he does that makes you feel blamed or punished for things that aren't your fault is important.  He can't help you if he doesn't know what he's doing.  Honestly, Kyler didn't know that what he was doing felt like a punishment for being raped to me, and we've talked about it several times and it has helped.

      For a while I was really scared, though, because he said once that he didn't care - he couldn't deal with my crazy, and it sucks what happened to me, but it just wasn't a healthy situation for him.  That was a few weeks before my breakdown, and since then he's sent me a thing that "I will love you in any condition, in any circumstance."  And he's said that he just wants to make me happy because of all the f***ed up stuff that happened to me.  So, I think we're good now, but thinking about it makes me  sick.  I don't know what I would do if I lost him to this -- I've already lost so much!  First dates and family vacations and friends and a chance with a man that I loved - but I don't know how I would go on if I lost him, too. sad

      Do you really feel like you're not worthy of him?  I feel like that all the time!  But it's not just my boyfriend, it's everyone.  I feel like I'm not a good enough girlfriend or daughter or friend or even pet owner.  I'm a work-aholic because physically doing things is the only thing that makes me feel any self worth.  It makes me feel so much less crazy to know that I'm not alone and that you feel that way too!  Kyler tells me that I need to stop judging my self worth based on that, and that I need to have self-worth independent of him or my work or anybody else, that I need to love myself just because I'm me.  And he tells me that he's still with me, so I shouldn't think that I'm not good enough for him or that I'm bad for him or make him sad.  He's still with me, so that means he's still happy enough.  I would love to talk to you about the not feeling worthy thing.  It's such a bad force in my life, and I still haven't entirely gotten over it.

      Don't commit suicide!!! Please don't!  My friend committed suicide when we were in high school, and I didn't stop her because I had such severe depression over what was going on with me, with my past abuse and the situation I was in and medicine that was making it worse, and I thought she had the right to do it.  Please don't let sexual abuse take another person!  I have spent all my life regretting that.  I told myself that she was seeing a therapist, and that she was on meds, and that they would figure it out, and that surely she wouldn't do it over the summer, but she did.  You don't know what it was like, the whole school mourning her, even the people she never thought would have been at her funeral.  Her brother posted on her Facebook wall every day for a year after her death, and all her family thought she had gone to hell despite the fact that she had a medical condition.  The didn't even bury her in a Catholic cemetary because she had committed suicide.  It broke my heart and made me furious - but the worst part was that she wasn't there at graduation, she wasn't there at prom, she wasn't there in college.  All the things we said we were going to do together, she wasn't there.  I always felt betrayed and hurt and alone at every major event - and I still think about her now.  Honestly, I've been through some bad stuff in the wake of the abuse, and sometimes the only reason that I haven't killed myself is because I promised her that I wouldn't committ suicide after I saw what her suicide did to her family and all of the people who loved her.  Please don't committ suicide.  I know there are some really black days, and I almost did it myself a couple of weeks ago because the flashbacks got really really bad and kept happening, but I found other ways to deal with the pain.  I started journaling, and it went away.  I went to therapy, and I just started Zoloft, and I talked with my family and I made peace with some old friends so that I'd have a support network again and I am happy now, apart from the short spans of nearly unbearable sadness, the rest of my life is perfect.

      Don't leave your husband because you feel unworthy of him.  He's a big boy and he can make decisions for himself, as the saying goes.  I've ruined so many relationships by trying to "protect" my partner because I didn't feel good enough for him.  If he has a problem, encourage him to be open with you and talk about it so you can both work it out.  Also, saying you're going to leave for his own good makes it harder for him to approach you with other problems he might have in the marriage, and the little things fester.  (Like, how you always leave your dirty socks on the floor when he asks you not to or something - he needs to feel like he can complain about that when it's little and specific, so that it doesn't escalate into one of those ridiculous fights.)  That's a fast way to ruin a relationship.

      Besides, when you two married each other, you promised to be there in good times and bad, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do you part.  Neither of you knew the magnitude of the committment you were getting into when you did it, at least, not exactly - but you did know what you were getting into, and you promised each other to stick together no matter what.  So this is a bad time, with the rape and with the sickness that comes with that, and whatever medical condition is preventing the IVF.  But that doesn't mean you should run away from each other - it actually means the opposite!  Your husband loves you, and he hasn't left you, which means he is still committed to you and you are (and always will be) worth it to him!  Let him honor that vow, and talk to him about all the things you told me.  Tell him that you only tried to leave because you love him and you feel unworthy of him.  Tell him  that you're not threatening suicide for attention or to manipulate him or to hurt anyone in any way, but that you really hurt right now and you need help. 

      Also, it was important for me not to make my boyfriend my therapist.  I really needed those roles to be separate, and it sounds like you do, too.  Your husband can support you, and he can definitely make things better, but I think that you shouldn't expect him to cure you.  If you're thinking about suicide, you need to go to a professional, because suicide is just too big of a topic to drop on a normal human being.  It will wear down your husband and your relationship if you rely only on him to get over that level of depression, and it's just not fair to put him in that position.  Believe me - I've been through that on both sides, and it's a horrible, toxic, nasty situation that gets so much better almost immediately after you start therapy and draw that boundary line about what topics you and your partner talk about regarding your mental health.  If it gets really bad, yeah, talk to him in addition to your therapist - make him aware of how you feel, so that you can cope as a couple, but don't make him your therapist.  Let him know what's going on in therapy, and how you feel about that, and how he can be engaged with your treatment. 

      Kyler laid a ground rule for me before we even started officially dating. "Get your s*** together.  I've got my own life, and my own s***, and I can't and won't deal with yours.  So if you want this to work, you've got to get your own s*** together, whatever that means - therapy or meditation or whatever, but don't involve me in it."  It sounds kind of harsh, but the reality of it is that I needed that boundary, and I would not have gotten to the healthier state that I am in if he had not pushed me to do so.

      I'm so sorry about the adoption and the IVF and all the crap.  That's horrible.  http://community.babycenter.com/ ; The community on this website is really good - they helped me when I had a pregnancy scare, and they're so supportive of each other.  It's mainly a site for women who are trying to concieve, and there's all kinds of advice for what to do and what doctors to see and for support when the procedures don't work.  I've also talked to some other women on there who have been raped, and they share their struggles about pregnancy and getting pregnant in the wake of that.  The women are also really good about talking about how to have a positive relationship with your husband while you're trying to concieve.

      Gosh, I can imagine how jealous you would feel seeing other people with their babies when you have been trying so hard.  You just have to remember that it's not their fault; it's not fair that you were put in this situation, but it's also not everyone else's fault.  It helps me to deal with the unfairness of it all to remember that I have to get over what happened, and what is happening, and I have to just focus on what I can do and what the positive things I can do are.  Definitely don't give up!

      I don't know how it works there, but here in the US we have a foster system that is actually really terrible, so you don't have to meet a lot of criteria to take in foster kids (it doesn't have age, marriage, or income restrictions comparable to the adoption system).   If you have a similar system there, you could maybe take advantage of the requirements being more lienient? If you take foster kids in, it lays the groundwork for you being able to adopt - and sometimes, but not all the times, you can officially adopt the kids you foster parent.  I'm not going to lie, though, foster care is really really hard.  Also, can you do a foreign adoption?  There are a whole bunch of refugee kids right now that really need homes, as well as a whole lot of kids in third-world nations, particularly ones with medical conditions, and there might be some expedited international treaty for that.

      As an absolutely last-resort scenario, if it matters to you and your husband that much, would you be willing to immigrate to somewhere that would allow you to adopt? 

      I'm really rooting for you, and I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.  I would really like to keep talking with you on here.  It feels really good to finally have someone I can talk to about this. <3

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      Sorry, the website just took my post and is forcing it to be moderated because I sent you a link.  Idk how long it takes them to review.  Just in case they edit it, the website was BabyCenter.  Get on their community tab, and you will see all kinds of posts about fertility and trying to get pregnant and the heartache and adoptions and all of that.   They're such nice ladies on that website!  And once the women do concieve, they stick around to help out other ladies like them by answering posts and giving advice. smile  Like I said in my post, praying for you! <3

      Cyndi

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      Hi, I read your post with interest and I only come on here for one reason, everyone knows how bad things are.  I have read lots on line about ptsd, rape, adoption (funnily enough I've had a message off county hall Leicestershire about adoption only today).  I will sort my health for my sake I am awaiting a call back from a place in leicester who deal with nothing but rape sadly daily but at least they understand.  The hospital's lack of understanding I have got it hand, as I've got a company outside the NHS who are fighting on my behalf about the discrimination I felt through the Ivf and my husband for that matter.  As for suicide I felt there was nothing else to do.  I just wanted to be with my dad - but have had CRUSE counselling since which is making life manageable.  I just want a child in my life which would move my life forward and get the scum who injured me 1st out of my head, but it's easier said than done as I'm discovering but I am going to fight.  My husband wants to see me happy I am trying to get to this level.  Hopefully some day I'll have it all.
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      Hi displacekitten, I'm sorry I wrote this when my head was all over the place, it's now 5th July and I have finally got the support I need and use the website that you mentioned thanks for your advice and support.

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