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Need to let go of the past so it stops ruining my future(23 Posts)
This may be a long one but just wondered if there were any other people out there that may relate to this and if so would be grateful to hear your thoughts/solutions. Here we go...
When I was 14 my best friend's boyfriend (who was 18) decided that he was going to make sure that whatever it took that he was going to sleep with me, I wasn't interested at all and he knew this but still carried on trying to get his way. After a few months of me saying no he threatened me and told me he would attack my family if I didn't do what he said. He had quite a reputation in the area and as much as I tried to get away I was only 14 and scared that he would hurt me or my family (especially my family). I told my friend who couldn't help and one day he saw me on my own walking down the street so took me back to his house and made me sleep with him, I cried throughout so he knew I didn't want to do it.
After about 3 years of this blackmail, I think I gave up trying to get away and just accepted this was how it was going to be and that if I just went along with it it would be easier for me to handle. I ended up staying with him until the age of 30 with years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse thrown in I finally decided the worse he could do was carry out his threats and I would rather be dead than carry on living the life I was so I eventually got away.
I have been to a few counsellors in the years to try and understand why I stayed so long especially with the way it started (couldn't understand this at the time and blamed myself a bit). One counsellor said it's a bit like the Stockholm syndrome and it's all I knew, so I eventually started to forgive myself and realise it wasn't my fault.
Anyway I'm now 41 and I've had a couple of on/off relationships through the years but when having sex I just can't seem to let go of myself and take part, as much as I want to I worry about what the guy thinks and just feel so inexperienced. Although I was with that bastard for 15 years I vowed never to enjoy or take part in the sex too much as that would tell him that what he did to me years earlier was ok and at the time (and maybe a tiny bit now) I saw sex as something for the man's enjoyment.
I have now met a guy that I've known for a little while and he knows a little bit about my past. We've slept together a couple of times and he is really affectionate, understanding and giving and mentioned the other day that he noticed I had issues and that I seemed a bit 'shy' in the bed room but he is hanging around and will hopefully work through this with me. I really would like to move on and be confident and happy with sex and also want to move on from this last bit of legacy that that bastard left me with.
Any thoughts or advice would be really welcomed
So sorry to hear about what you have been through dee this sounds horrendous well done for getting away from the scumbag you were with. You sound intelligent and lovely I am in awe of how you are so self aware and getting on with your life you sound like a tough cookie despite your abusive relationship from such a young age. Give yourself a million breaks about your sexual confidence it is going to take time as you have been repressed into survival mode for so long. Good luck on your journey op.
Thank you so much for your lovely reply Bella. I do feel through the years that I have become stronger but now I really want to start letting some of my barriers down and become the person I have always wanted to be but as you mentioned it's a journey, I just hope the road is shorter now as I'm getting older and don't want to miss out completely on the life I always thought I could have had.
Thanks again for replying xx
All I can suggest is total honesty with your partner and perhaps seeing a Counsellor specifically for this issue if you aren't already. You have been through so much for such a large part of your adult life and you have only just found someone who you trust enough to address this part of the legacy you mentioned. I can only imagine how much you want to distance yourself from the past and move on but it will take time.
Sorry for your dreadful experience. Might not a sex therapist be able to help?
I don't think you can rush where trust is concerned. You've had a particularly bad introduction to adult intimacy but the same applies to anyone really, So don't be too concerned that you can't drop your (forgive me if it's not the right word) inhibitions? reservations? nervousness? with a new partner.
I think it's very significant that you describe this new person as affectionate, understanding and giving. Because he sounds kind, patient and sensitive and that's exactly what you need in order to build the trust that will ultimately help you stop thinking about 'barriers' and so forth, & simply enjoy being in the moment. The very worst way to get to sleep is if you're thinking 'I must go to sleep!'. The very worst way to relax it to think 'I must relax!'.
So my advice would be to get to know each other, take your time and get pleasure out of being affectionate and intimate rather than thinking too much about sex per se. Catch up on that adolescent dating experience that you sadly missed out on.
Sorry for not replying to you sooner Pursuit, Mexican and Cogito, for some reason I couldn't log on to the site.
I just wanted to say thank you for your thoughtful replies, it's good to know that some people understand how hard it is for me to move on and that it's not just me giving myself a reason for my situation remaining the same years later. I still seem to be struggling and am single again, I just sometimes wonder if my life will ever change as it's not for want of trying. Thanks again
i think u would do well with cognitive behavioural therapy. it teaches you great techniques for dealing with those negative thoughts. go through your gp. i had to wait six months but it was worth it.
Was the rapist ever reported to the authorities, do you know? Is he still at large? Have you ever talked to Rape Crisis or the police personally and would criminal justice help the way you feel at all?
Thanks Rightfoot, not sure if I've had cognitive therapy before, can you remind me of how this treatment works please?
Cogito - No he has never been reported as far as I know. I have thought about reporting him in the past but as I was with him for so many years after I don't think they will believe me or decide to take it any further. Also I have never told my parents about the start of that messed up relationship as I wouldn't want them blaming themselves for it, at that age I became a master of hiding things for fear of him hurting them. Don't get me wrong I had a wonderful childhood (apart from him obviously) and couldn't have asked for better parents.
I think maybe it would help to talk to Rape Crisis as I still feel that he has gone on to live his life and I'm left damaged in certain ways
Didnt want to read and run. What an awful man.
There are a lot of survivors of old crimes coming forward encouraged by the Yew Tree investigation and similar. Sometimes it leads to prosecutions but, more often, it doesn't. Rape Crisis say that the main benefit people get out of it is not a conviction but to tell their story, be believed and get taken seriously. That's probably what you need.
Thanks Cogito, I think that's maybe what I need, I will call them at the weekend. Hopefully once I've made that call I'll have more confidence to make a new start in the way I behave in new intimate relationships x
Just wanted to come back and say thank you for your replies and feedback ladies. Although it's been a year since I posted this thread I have now got an appointment with a Psychologist for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy next week so here's hoping......
So glad that you re finally getting the help you need to move on from this horrific relationship. It must have taken a lot for you to make that break having put up with it for so long. I really hope the cbt helps you.
I have finally got round to arranging some counselling for abuse I suffered (nowhere near as bad as yours) 20 years ago. It still affects how I view men and I wish I'd dealt with it years ago before it had the chance to affect my subsequent relationships.
Try to keep things casual with the new guy until you start to come to terms with things, as the counselling is bound to stir up some uncomfortable things and while it will be good to have someone supportive around you, your relationship with him will stand a better chance if you are in a more positive space to start with
Just wanted to say I'm really pleased you have got the appointment and if you could, could you let us know if it makes a difference?
I have been through similar to you. It's been a couple of years now since I split from my sexually and emotionally abusive partner. We were together nearly ten years. I have had one relationship since which ended because I couldn't cope with the intimacy. I thought it was him and he was too full on. I have been having counselling over a year now and have come to realise that actually this last partner was 'normal' and it is actually my issues that were causing the problem. I don't see myself ever being able to have a relationship with anyone, I like you, always felt that sex was something more for his enjoyment, it was because he wanted or needed it, not because he wanted to show how much he loved me. Hence, I switched off during sex, and I do in life in general. I'm 36 now and am v lonely, regret that I will not have more children, and am at the moment working hard on trying to be positive about what I do have in my life.
I totally get where you are coming from and it is the last issue really that through counselling I haven't discussed or think I can resolve.
Good luck with your appointment. I hope it works for you. X
Thanks Mark and Pumpkin, it helps to know that there are others out there who have been through the same and that I'm not alone in this. What you've both said hit the nail on the head, I just don't feel as if I'm ever going to be able to have a normal relationship as I wonder who would want to spend the time and energy to put up with someone that is so damaged when there are so many other people out there with no issues....I wouldn't chose me!
On the surface I'm a woman who hasn't done too bad, got a good job, my own place and car and great friends but although I know I'm lucky to have all of that I just feel so empty and lonely inside.
I've had counselling twice before through the years and it did help at the time but I feel how many times can I do this and why can't I just deal with it and move on. Can any of you explain exactly what CBT is and how you think it may help please?
Am happy to hear you are both seeking help and hopefully the three of us might one day get there....
I know exactly how you feel. It feels like I could be writing your posts.
I too, have decent job, my own house, company car plus I have a gorgeous dd. But I'm lonely. I feel like I'm not justified to feel like I do given that a lot of people have a lot less.
Counselling helps but I have been doing it a long time and I do feel like y can't I just move on now? Y do I feel so lonely? Y is it such an effort to try and at positive or make changes in my life. I feel that other people move on, find new relationships and feel stronger for it. I can't seem to do it.
I haven't had cbt but would welcome anyone's opinions on this.
How do u feel about your future? That it is hopeless? Or just that you have to learn to deal with the fact it's not going to be how u imagined? Do you feel u still have positive things to look forward to? x
You sound like my kindred spirit Pumpkin!! I can relate to everything you are feeling and saying and it's sad but comforting to know there is someone out there who is going through the exact same emotions.
I always thought as I'd been through this nightmare for so many years that by now life would even out and I would eventually get my wish and be happy. I do try to be positive about the future but also feel hopeless and that nothing is ever going to change. I'm 42 now and the thought of living the rest of my life alone scares me and does sometimes make me think (on the dark days) what's the point of carrying on. I do have things to look forward to but there's just this emptyness I can't explain.
God reading this back I sound like such a joy!!
I've got the CBT next Friday so I'll let you know how it goes x
I think you've had some great advice and done really well. I just wanted to add something: it's okay to seek support from people even if what you say upsets them. Your parents might be upset, but keeping secrets can be a burden. I wonder if you might consider talking to them? Would it help?
You sound like a fantastic person op- that's what comes through in your posts. It's not too late to feel better about yourself. I'm older than you and only recently have been feeling anything like ok. Where there's life there's hope I suppose.
I wanted to wish you luck for Friday. I really hope you feel like it can make a difference.
Your comment about sounding like such a joy -it's exactly what I do. You feel so rubbish but don't want to sound like a miserable, negative person, I don't feel underneath it all that I am - that's why it's frustrating to feel like this isn't it.? Rather thN be able to move forward posiitively and confidently and feel like you are being successful and happy- whatever It might be that you are aiming for.
I read a blog called beautifully broken by Miranda de barra. She is wonderful at speaking out about mental health issues. She is bi-polar and although I suffer from depression and not bi-polar, her blogs really have a big impact on me and I think they would on you too. Her latest one made me cry for ages - it was about loneliness. If you can, try and Google her, I think you would really resonate with what she says. It does help to inspire me when I read her posts.
Let us know how it goes on Friday x
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