Longterm Effects of Sexual Abuse

** Warning ** Some of this content is graphic. It may have trigger issues for some. Please read this story only if you are in a good place emotionally.

The sad truth is that I had no idea what was happening to me when my father was molesting me.  I was too young and nothing was ever explained.  I knew that it shouldn’t be happening and that I was generally scared.  I’m realizing now that I have dealt with a lot of disassociating reflexes during sex.  I didn’t know that’s what it was, but an internal dialogue in my adult life had me telling myself that I should relax and stay present.  I would end up over thinking whether I was doing things “right” or not and still not be able to relax.  I also felt guilty after I had an orgasm and felt that I should reciprocate or ensure my partner’s pleasure.  I forgot all about my own pleasure and got all task oriented.  That’s the way it was when I was a kid.  I don’t know how I didn’t look to the present to see how my sexual relationships were effected by my past.  I guess I tried to compartmentalize it so much so I didn’t have to think about it in my current relationship.  The problem lies in my reflexes, the automatic chain reaction that happens when I’m having sex.  When I was a kid I would say and do what was asked of me, when I could my mind would go blank. I would wait for it to be over.  I purposely tried to feel NOTHING.

I have heard how sexual abusers have found some satisfaction in acknowledging the orgasm their victim had.  Like they did a good thing by making their victim “feel good”.  Maybe that’s how they could live with the whole situation if it had the idea of mutual pleasure. This at least would lend to feeling ok with feeling good about the reaction the body has when your stimulated.  The pleasure would be the one part you don’t feel bad about.  My father said he was going to “teach” me what boys wanted so that I wouldn’t want to have a boyfriend.  As it turned out, my “teacher” was both mean and stupid.  There was a lot of “my thing” and “your thing”  and he did nothing to make me feel normal.  When my body shook when I had an orgasm, he would ask if I was ok or “what’s wrong?”.  What was wrong was your face is between my legs, I’m scared, now I’m embarrassed and lying to say I’m cold or something so I don’t have to have a discussion about why I’m shaking.  The fact is, I don’t know why my body is doing that and I feel gross.

The bottom line on this for me is that if I’m not careful, I disassociate and shut down and specifically try to NOT have an orgasm.  There’s a stress trigger that happens and I stop responding to what’s happening in the moment.  At least I am aware of this breakdown now and can stay present and enjoy my present experiences.  Truly, I am becoming very self aware and am allowing myself to let go of so many limiting beliefs. Recognizing how the abuse effected me has been a huge game changer in my day to day life as I deal with all my relationships. It still boggles my mind that I didn’t put the dissociative reaction related to the sexual abuse with my adult life.  What else haven’t I realized yet? It’s a bit scary.