Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My body hurts

Over the past few years, I have been releasing, little by little the emotional pain of being molested for the most precious years of my childhood. Yesterday my body began to experience the pain, the aches of being so tied up in tension, fear, dread. I could feel the presence of the wounded child spirit cowering. Today I'm not sure if the pain I feel is a continuation of those feelings or just soreness from the experience. Whatever it is ... my body hurts, from head to toe.

On an unrelated subject, I wanted to write here that I have "awakened" to realize that I fear the vulnerability of intimacy with my husband. He's too close. He knows too much about me. It's easier for me to experience some excuse for love and intimacy with someone who is all but a stranger to me than it is to even think of laying beside my husband and having him caress my body. Sometimes I can hardly stand for him to touch me. It makes me afraid of what will come next, almost as if he is the abuser.

I had already had this realization when I heard someone share at a meeting recently that he could more easily have sex with a complete stranger, than he could with his wife of 30-plus years. It felt good to know that I was not alone. The man followed his comment with, "How's that for insanity?" Sign me up, friend, I'm in the crazy line with you.

I've been reading and hearing so much lately about the importance of full-disclosure to spouses in order to have hope for recovery and healing. How's that for vulnerability ... being really, completely honest with someone else and still expecting them to love you.

I should also acknowledge that I have been focusing my attention in program on the people who just can't seem to make a relationship work in their lives. It's like they are either addictive or they are alone or they are so ill at ease in their own skin trying to pretend to be something they aren't that they can't make it work. But I also have to be honest with myself and say that I have seen recovery change some relationships and some people. There's no reason it can't work for me, if I'm willing to do the work.

6 comments:

MargauxMeade said...

Rae, it's always so amazing how your insights help me understand my husband more. My husband is also a sexual abuse survivor, though it was an older child (a neighbor) who molested him. He's also hinted that intimacy with me feels "too close"--he's said at times, "It's like you feel like family."

Though I can see where your feelings are coming from--after all, it WAS someone close to you who seriously betrayed your trust, it's harder for me to understand how someone who was violated by someone who was only an acquaintance would feel feel safer with strangers than with those close to him. I'm not saying he's wrong for feeling this way, it just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. In fact, I often get this strange suspicion that he was sexually abused by someone close to him before this incident, but might not remember it. Do you have any ideas why, if he was only abused by the acquaintance, he would still have a hard time with those who are close to him?

vicariousrising said...

God, Rae, I don't know. I wonder if disclosing everything to your husband would do him more harm than it would the relationship good. I'm no expert, though.

I think I understand what you mean about being sexually intimate with your husband. It must feel incredibly vulnerable to you versus situations where you are emotionally detached and working out a different sort of power struggle. With your husband, you may be seeking a truly loving and comforting intimacy, and you fear losing it or opening yourself up to rejection. With those other intrigues, you probably sort of expected drama and uncertainty. I don't think that's what you want in your marriage.

Mark said...

Thanks for your kind email, Rae. Keep up the good work. My prayers are with you and your husband. :)

-- Mark

Eli said...

Wow, Rae, this is deep stuff again. You must really be making progress to be hitting on things this uncomfortable and costly.

I think this is a pretty central issue for both me and my wife. I think that as an abuse survivor, she obviously has a hard time with intimacy. What I'm learning is how much I also deal with this. As a sex addict, porn keeps women at a comfortable distance, and I'm realizing how uncomfortable it is to be vulnerable to my wife.

Great writing - illuminating and thought-provoking. Thanks.

Nichole said...

I found your blog this week and I've been reading from the beginning. We are so different in so many ways, yet some of the things you write in your blog are things I've felt but didn't know how to express. Specifically this section: I wanted to write here that I have "awakened" to realize that I fear the vulnerability of intimacy with my husband. He's too close. He knows too much about me. It's easier for me to experience some excuse for love and intimacy with someone who is all but a stranger to me than it is to even think of laying beside my husband and having him caress my body. Sometimes I can hardly stand for him to touch me. It makes me afraid of what will come next, almost as if he is the abuser.

I'm having a really hard time understanding why I feel exactly the same about this when I wasn't abused to the extent that you were nor have I acted out to the extent that you have. Regardless, it's comforting to know that I'm not alone. Now the struggle lies in fixing it.

theotherbed said...

Glad to have found your site, Rae.

"My Body Hurts" really snagged my attention. The somatic aspect is so real, yet it continues to surprise me. For me, it all goes to my stomach, and that awareness hasn't been enough to stop the aches. I equate that low rumbling with resentment, and I hate the resentment as much as the stomach trouble. Last week, the boiling pasta water went onto my stomach instead of into the sink, and now I have a whopper of a scar.

Thanks for the honesty and the insights.