When sexual abuse looms it’s ugly
Sexual abuse and future sexuality
Sexual abuse is the gift that keeps giving. A person caught in the trap of keeping their sexual abuse a secret out of fear or because they are being manipulated by their abuser will, out of necessity, begin to turn off their emotions. One way to turn off emotions is to go into denial mode. The Hebrew word for denial is “lie.” Keeping the secret means that we have to lie to ourselves and to others. The abused person must lie to himself that (a) he is even being abused and (b) that what his abuser experiences is “normal.”
The sexually abused must let go of their feelings as a way to survive the unthinkable. This shutdown mode gives them the protection they need to keep it secret.
First stage: promiscuity
The sexually abused may begin to act sexually as a way to release some of the pain they feel for their “deep and dark secret.” Because they were hurt in the area of their sexuality and have lost power and control in that part of their life, the reasoning goes like this: “I lost power because of my sexuality, so I will regain power by being sexual.” Thus begins the cycle of sexual abuse of sexual dysfunction.
Most sexually abused people will go through a season of promiscuity. Usually there will be several random and / or unique events of acting sexually. Then a strange thing happens. Eventually, upon meeting “the right person,” the rationale turns to: “Monogamy or being in a solid one-person relationship will ease the pain surrounding my sexuality.
Second stage: sexual detachment
Once in a committed relationship, the pendulum swings the other way. Marriage requires intimacy and connection. These elements have so far been lacking in the person’s life. The sexually abused are overwhelmed by the prospect of a relationship that requires so much of their heart and so much vulnerability. Note that the vulnerability was not safe for them in past relationships. Emotions begin to fade. Feeling trapped and vulnerable, this person who was once also sexual becomes completely closed sexually. There may also be a sudden increase in anger. Anger responses serve to alienate loved ones who want a connection. Another response to a relationship that requires intimacy and trust is to isolate yourself from the persecutor in the relationship.
At this point, the partner in the committed relationship goes for a spin. A husband in this situation put it very well: “She was the girl of my dreams until we were married. It is as if I woke up one morning married to a psycho-witch!”
There are answers
If you have had sexual abuse in your past, it will affect future committed relationships. Getting the help you need to get over those lost emotions is important. While it may seem scary to see how your abuse hurt you, ultimately it will be worth it to be free. A wise man once said, “What you cannot speak holds you captive.”
It is important to find a trained therapist to help people break free from sexual abuse. No one needs to get caught up in the cycle of sexual dysfunction to survive. You can have courage and overcome the hurts of the past
1) Identify missing emotions related to the rapes.
2) Bemoan the cost of abuse in a safe place.
3) Move from a victim mentality to that of a responsible person who can feel and trust
Going through the pain of looking at your past secrets will make life worth living again … for you and your loved ones.
You can see how past sexual abuse could be affecting you by taking the Sexual Assault Self Test in the navigation bar at www.missingpieces.org.