The legacy sexual abuse left me

I keep reading in various articles and blogs how PAP's do not want to adopt children who have a history with sexual abuse, because of their "special needs".  The irony for me is knowing so many times the child removed from a home/family is often sexually abused within the sanctum of so-called safety.  So where does this leave so many sexually abused children?  Those who need trustworthy dedicated adults in their life are the least likely to get it because of sex.  Crazy, ain't it?

Rather than discuss the implications a sexually abused child brings a home and family, I'd like to discuss what sexual abuse does to future intimate relationships.

In my case, I didn't dare to act-out at home.  I was too afraid of so many things and people... I simply did not dare to misbehave in any obviously outward aggressive way.  There was a reputation to maintain, and I knew if I went too beyond what was deemed "acceptable behavior", I would be blamed for the fall of this so-called perfect family that adopted me, (especially if my actions brought shame to their good public name).  I knew it was best to keep quiet and pretend nothing in my life changed, even if the reality behind closed doors was killing me.

Instead, once the memories began to surface, I began acting-out in college.... making me the most well-known face within certain groups.... a shame that did not bother me because I could not feel anything.  (The use of drugs and alcohol made the numbing much easier, I might add.)  In an upscale college, I was among the dregs of society, and the poetic justice seemed most fitting.  (Even the wealthy has their low-scum bottom-dwelling groups!)

It didn't take me long to realize this type of slut-and-stoned behavior would leave me alone and lonely, but given what was going through my head, being numb while acting-out actually felt liberating.  I remember thinking I had control over my demise.... as if lies were suddenly in my favor, power was given back to me and I was free to scream "Fuck-you to you and your rules" silently to myself as I knew deep-down I was getting screwed.  (Puns intended).

This is the side of me no one wanted to explore.  This is the side people wanted to ignore.  I had the innocent All-American face with the mind-set of a psycho gone dark and mad.... it had an appeal that attracted and repelled and I knew it.  It's why I socially withdrew.  No one knew what I was carrying inside of me.... and I couldn't dare let the truth be released.

No one wanted to know more than what I was willing to give, and that sickened me.  If what I shared sickened people, that made me sickening.  The cycle of secrets and disclosure would repeat as I would hate myself more and more.  (Funny how my self-loathing didn't come from me, but from the reactions given to me by those who wanted to know "a little more".)

I still struggle with relationships of all kinds, especially those that require deep dark secrets.  Intimacy scares the hell out of me, and yet it's what I want and seek.

I can understand why AP's don't want to bother with this type of mess....

I just wonder if parents realize this is the mess that gets shared once we date and leave the nest?

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intimate relationships...

"Intimacy scares the hell out of me, and yet it's what I want and seek."
"Rather than discuss the implications a sexually abused child brings a home and family, I'd like to discuss what sexual abuse does to future intimate relationships."
Let's talk about this as abused people and leave the adoption out of it...  and see what we come up with.
For me, what my dad did, left a permanent scar on my ability to be "normal" with intimacy...  It was masturbation.  And in
every relationship, this has been the worst thing I have had to deal with:  did all men masturbate? which left these evil
visions in my mind whenever dealing with relationships.  And then to find out my husband was addicted to masturbation,
has rendered me numb emotionally.  I have so much fear of intimacy.  I sometimes think, I can do this; and then when I make one step close to a man, I turn and run the other way so fast; looking back over my shoulder and laughing so hysterically
because I had escaped one more time.
Teddy is not insane...

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

First things, first

Let's talk about this as abused people and leave the adoption out of it... 

One of the reasons why I can't keep "adoption out of it" is because I strongly believe it's much easier to sexually abuse those not biologically related.  However, close-proximity is another matter altogether.... and I believe those without a sense of  clear healthy personal boundaries will take whatever comes their way, (so to speak), without an ounce of remorse.

For the sake of general discussion, I simply ask readers to understand adoptees can be sexually abused by those not biologically related, yet still find themselves forced to see those abusive people as "mom", "dad", "sister" or "brother".  It's an added mind-game to something already really f-ed-up and twisted, and later in life, such mind-games do make a difference. PSA completed, let me continue with my own discoveries....

Masturbation, a male's penis.... those things fascinated me.... they were foreign unknowns just like sexuality has always been.

Was I wrong to be curious?  I don't know.

What repulsed me... what made me afraid and scared was the absolute power sexual drive had in some people.  This change in disposition and behavior... it all confused and frightened me because these are things I did not understand when I was 9, or 11, or older.  This change took place in the eyes.. in the face... and based on the reaction I saw, I developed a sense of disgust, guilt and shame because that's the look reflected back onto me.

So, in my mind, it was not The Before... that's usually when the abusers would be nicest -- it was not During... that's when I could be distracted through detachment -- it was The After that left me feeling terrified.  What was going to happen next?  What was going to be the consequence for being so stupid and curious?

Even as I type the words, that simple thought STILL scares me.... because in some cases, the After was far more brutal than The Before.

[GOD I hated those reactions!!!] 

not adopted

but sexually abused and raped (and I do consider what happen different things... ) it was all just part of being in bad places as a little kid with no one watching

I do have 3 kids, all adopted, all had been sexually abused in their birth homes... and it sickens me how little I've really been able to keep them safe (we have had one kid sexually assulted at age 8 in the backyard playground, and same child has a big perv. as a soccer coach, and they pervs just seem to be everywhere...)

life long inpact.... I actually have a high IQ, but have such a severe anxitey problem, it impacts everything...

how I respond to everything some of the time, has everthing to do with "what happend"

I hate men.... no, not a lesbian, but I just hate them... men...

what happend hurt sooo much, most of it, and

to go on about it

what happend hurt so much, and sadly

if you really want details, some of it was not bad at all... and it was not hard at 7 years old to seek that....

sometimes when I have been in therapy for it, it was like if I could be totally honest, get it all out of me, maybe it would go away, maybe it would be better...

but it is not, being in therapy for it usually make me totally dysfunctional... so it all just needs blocked away some how...

I have had a recent rough go of it.... I am now in my mid thirties... I have never married... I realize it took away my kids (and I love my kids, who I adopted, they are the world to me...) but it took away my kids I could have had with some great person out there...

heck, I never even really dated.... it is all just such a mess..

Depression, my constant, comes and goes.... and no, I am not going to take meds, more punishment for being stupid enough to let that stuff happen to me..

and re-reading that

the soccer coach was 3-4 years ago, we just let the team after 3 games (since no one ever listens to me, no amount of complaining was going to make the coach leave of the team better...) that is what I mean, I think that is what it took away, my voice

I had to have this place on my lip removed because I chew on it al the time (because of some of the abuse)

I stay fat, I was down to a size 12 a few years back and people would ask me out, I can't have that.....

No, I was not totally honest about what went on in my homestudy.... they would not have let me adopt... yet in a way it has made me a very much better parent for my kids, I understand...

I think hearing from others helps some.... that Paula White on the religous TV show..... God let you be put through that so you could help people later...

I was in some inservice a few years back and basically had a blow out argument with all the dumb ass sws there.... they were saying never tough a foster kid in your home especially one that had been sexually abused , blah, blah..... like treat them all like some kind of diseased defect trash....

don't we already feel that way..

and the other thing that sticks out in my mind the most is (so I never could have been the virgin Mary? not by my choice, but a choice of a group of teenaged boys when I was 5 years old)

oh, probably the last thing I want to say about it is, nope sickos will do anyone.... my girls were sexually abused by both bio parents...

Immobilized

I think in some cases people adopt BECAUSE they were abused...

In some cases that experience makes them more alert, more in-tune with the needs of a child.

In other cases, I think the type of vigilance required to keep a child safe triggers unresolved issues... and I do believe this triggering of old wounds and memories can be immoblizing.

I was razed by a woman who was immobilized by her own demons.... many of which became my own.  Do I understand it?  Yes.  Do I forgive it?  Somethings, yes... I do.

After everything I've been through, I can't say I hate men.  If anything, I know there are certain behaviors and expectations that will never change.... and I don't pretend to believe I can change a man's biology.

What I do hate is poor excuses.... and I think people of both sexes are full of them.

No judgements... just opinions.

please help me with this...

"After everything I've been through, I can't say I hate men.  If anything, I know there are certain behaviors and expectations that will never change.... and I don't pretend to believe I can change a man's biology."

I hate men.... and yet, I would love to know love with one.  It's the very biology of a man that I hate; yet, like you, Kerry, I'm curious.  Always have been.  And boy can I relate to that "look."  Where the lust takes over and the animal begins.  It's like the female does not exist; only the drive for that orgasm.  And then, afterward, the complete change to indifference.  To me it is degrading.  Are these some of the behaviors and expectations that will never change?
Teddy feels the degradation...

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

It's not for me to answer

It helps me tremendously, knowing there are others who know what that "look" does to the person who reacts to that which is seen.  [It's difficult to put into words, isn't it?]

Are these some of the behaviors and expectations that will never change?

In the context of this discussion, I think that's a question only a male can answer.

But that question does lead me to ask more -- CAN a male see a woman not as an object, but a complete person with needs and feelings?  [And conversely, can a woman (who has been hurt and degraded by men) not assume "all men are the same"?]

 

what goes on in my head

I teach school.... I get called to the assistant principal's office, it is a guy... he is talking... the whole time he talks all I think about it.. this is a man, he could whip it out make me do something, and no one would believe me... but i have to some how listen to what he is saying and think up some response... I usually just advoid situations like that

it is one of the things I had the most about all of it...

it is probably the most like thing that goes on with me that is like what teddy said

Always thinking

I had to laugh:

the whole time he talks all I think about it.. this is a man, he could whip it out make me do something, and no one would believe me...

The weapon/game is two-fold.  First comes the demand and expectation (fulfillment v. disappointment).  Next comes the credibility and power (he says v. she says).

There are winners and losers and this sort of war-fare sickens me because time and time again I have been shown "my place".

Call me weak... call me strong.... call me slow and stupid because the honest truth is, it took me decades to learn this is a game I must refuse to play.

It may sound crazy, but what really helps me now is my ability to emotionally detach from (certain) situations.

detach: good or bad...

I know all about the detachment; the escape from the horrors of reality.
Is this also called dissociation?  Why do therapists see this as a bad thing?  My ?therapist? tried to put the label of
Dissociative Identity Disorder on me.  It's just not so...  I hear you talk about detachment as your weapon of choice and
I agree there are many times in my life; even daily I dissociate from the present situation in order to survive it. 
Just yesterday I went to lunch with the older gentleman; and he was a gentleman who tried very hard to understand my
fears of men.  I sat there, but I was not there.  When I find myself "there," is when I have a motor-mouth; when I'm not "there"
I am very quiet.  I couldn't wait to get out of that car and into the safety of my house where the four walls are like comforting arms that keep me from the fear "out there."  Can you relate to this?
Teddy likes to stay home...

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Healthy v. Not-so Healthy

I never knew I "detached" from people until I started working in the hospital.

I remember seeing my first bed sore on an elderly woman.  It looked like a sliced tomato on her lower back, and it made me want to vomit, not to mention cry because I could not imagine anyone letting such a thing happen to another person.  In Nursing School, our instructors told us we should not let the patient/patient's family see a look of disgust or repulsion on our face when doing wound care.  Once I was given that rule, I knew what I had to do.  I had to assume a role assigned to me, which meant I had to look as if what I was doing didn't at all bother me.  That was easy -- I just went in Automatic, and performed like I always did  [What's interesting is my Automatic state allows me to be social, so where you get quiet, I get chatty!  Once I go back to my "usual way of being",  that's when I become silent and enclosed within myself.]

The problem I have always had was allowing myself my true feelings, and expressing them in a way that would not be angry, frustrated or disgusted.  (My rage has always been something that scares me.)

I could be so calm and rational in some cases, but so overwhelmed with emotion in other situations, it's no wonder certain people saw me as having two different personalities.  Looking back I see both sides as the same Me, but in controlled doses.  Funny thing is, I remember my amother telling me to behave certain ways in front of certain people so she herself would not get in trouble. 

I now try to control the loose-cannon in me by limiting those triggering conversations to those I trust and those I know won't judge me for being who I am after all I have been through.  Having such ground-rules for myself really helps, because if there's one thing I REALLY HATE, that's faking what I think and feel.

faking what I think and feel....

Going back to the OP:  the legacy sexual abuse left me...
How does this impact your sexual side?

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

[taking a deep breath]

It's taken me decades to learn I HAVE a sexual side.  Sexual feelings were things other people had, not me.  In this regard I often feel like a knowledgable retard because I know the facts, I know the biology, I even know certain tricks that work almost every single time.... but I don't know how to feel like a sexual being.  That was taken away from me... that safety to feel has been removed, and I don't know how to recapture it for any real length of time.

In other words, I can do the performance with a partner, but the pleasure is not mine.... and I've finally learned just how sad and cruel that really is.

connected versus detached...

Don't you think, living a life of detachment (for survival) has taken away the ability to connect during a sexual encounter; therefore it remains two individuals doing there own thing side by side?

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Making the connections

"two individuals doing their own thing side by side"....

In most cases I was the hand-and-tissue replacement, so unless mutual masturbation took place (which it never did), sex was always a one-sided event for me.

I think lots of people who have intimacy issues prefer mutual masturbation, and while there is an element in freedom in that, it's not the sort of sex-life I seek for myself.  I don't think a side-by-side activity is the same as something that requires time, mutual interest, and effort.

You know, in a way, I don't like discussing this stuff too much, but I do see huge value in it once I allow myself to dig deep within myself.  I'm uncomfortable, but I hate being alone with my thoughts, too. 

I think much of a person's sense of sexuality has to do with what it is each person is seeking:  quick release or a full mind-body experience.  No one taught me there were such options.

Not once did I want to be a hand/tissue replacement.... unfortunately that's the role most wanted/expected from me.... and that's the role I accepted because I did not know better.  No one taught me to want more for myself, and it never crossed my mind that was something I was free to explore.

Yes, when it comes to my own sexuality, I often feel like a stupid moronic sense-deprived idiot!

masturbation is a dirty word...

Before the age of four, I was my father's hand and tissue...  I KNOW what you are talking about.  Therefore, any situation that has ever involved someone masturbating has repulsed me.  I was involved in a sexual relationship for four years before I knew that a woman could have an orgasm.  ALL those years of believing sex was only for men and then discovering women, too, have orgasms.  BUT, the act of masturbation was still, and always will be, to me, a dirty deed...  It's the oneness of it; the selfishness and the degradation I remember of being used to give pleasure to someone else while I got nothing.  That's what it represents to me.
To participate in mutual masturbation; side by side, doing your own things, is still degrading to me.  ONLY if it is each one doing the other person's pleasuring can I even participate.  It's all so messed up!  Sexual abuse of a child leaves deep unhealed wounds that ooze shame and denies that adult child any form of normal pleasure.  To the abused child there are boundaries all around the shame filled body; while that body cries out for what it rightfully deserves:  love and nurturing; fulfillment in time, mutual interest, and effort.
Teddy is gagging...

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Indeed, there are many differences!

I definitely agree there are differences and types of sexual abuse, with rape being the most violent and absolute worst form of sexual exploitation a person could experience.

I myself encountered two majorly different types of sexual abuse.  The first type of User wanted to use my body for personal pleasure.  I guess that could be seen as "sexual exploration", although in my mind it did feel "wrong", in spite of the coaxing and convincing.  That "sexual situation" didn't bother me nearly as much as the other type of User, the one that wanted to "stick it to me" and hurt me.  That type was violent, brutal, painful and humiliating.  What made it worse for me was the violence took place at different times... leaving me with no sense of what to expect because there was no predictability in the other person's behavior.  I didn't know how to brace or protect myself, so I just "let-go", taking it all it because it's something I felt like I deserved and it was easier (safer?) to accept what was happening, than fight it.

The sexual exploration I could accept, although it left me feeling very confused.

The violence left me feeling sub-human... that's what made me feel abused.

It's a horror no person should have to experience, ever.

 

 

This helps...

This helps me understand my daughter and the two sides of her abuse... 
Where did the exploration stop and the violence begin?  Is there a point where the victim stops accepting and
detaches; or is she detached no matter what the sex is?  Is there a loyalty that causes the acceptance?
Teddy knows the fear...

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

"loyalty"

There is no doubt in my mind I have HUGE "loyalty issues".  I always saw them as being part of my own adoption-issues (I was taught loyalty could only go to one family, making me feel very sad and confused because I did not think I should be loyal to people I did not trust or like.) 

I tend to associate words with images, so when I think about the word "loyalty", I picture a boy with his pet dog.  A loyal dog is one who lets the master do whatever he pleases, and no matter what, that dog never leaves.   Some might call that love, some might call that trained obedience, some might call that loyalty and some might call that animal stupidity.  In my case, I was the loyal dog who was put in a "temporary shelter" and eventually got sold to purchased by a married couple who had some really sick and demented people within the family-unit.  I was so oblivious to the abuse because I grew-up thinking that's how every family operated... and I thought that's how every purchased dog was treated.  What did I know?  I did what I was told because that's what good dogs do, and I really really wanted to be a good dog.  [I really wanted to be kept, not knowing just how badly certain people were treating me.]

Only when I was all grown-up and among a group of strangers who treated me with pure, sincere kindness did I finally see how horrible things really were for me.  Only then did I see and feel all that was missing all those years.... and boy did that reality-check hurt... A LOT!  All those years I allowed people to treat me a certain way because no one taught me how to speak my mind and say, "I deserve better!".  [This is what angers me about adoption -- and this is why I so often feel like the foreign student trying to explain life on another planet to those who see themselves as highly skilled well-trained astronauts -- so many quickly and wrong assume the adoptive home is the best, most loving, safe environment for a child.  I am here to scream until my blood goes dry and my body goes limp,  THAT IS NOT ALWAYS TRUE!  Adoptive families can have negligent pre-occupied parents, angry sexual deviants, mean spiteful siblings (who are NOT biologically related), and child abusers, too!!!  But for some horrible, awful reason, the adopted child who admits this to others is seen as an ungrateful bastard not worthy of more public attention.]  <kicking my soap-box away because it all makes me so damn mad!>

It's taken me almost 40 years to realize something very basic about myself:  I can't be loyal to those who use and abuse me.... but that does not mean I don't fall into old familiar patterns and that does not mean I'm always strong and able to speak my mind and walk-away.  I think that's the worst part of being abused....  it's a conditioning rooted in silence....  ["SHHH!  Don't tell anyone, because if you do, I'll make you pay..."]   I still really struggle with all of this because the simple truth is, sometimes it's so much easier to lay-down and play dead than fight for my wish to be free.

When I think about loyal couples, I tend to believe those are two people getting what they both want most of the time.  That's hard to imagine, but boy, that IS something I would love to experience!

to each other...

For me, there was never a married couple that I saw as loyal to each other; and my own family was worse than that because they BOTH left me out of any loyalty.  I didn't see it; didn't learn it; never knew it existed; and never practiced it.  And the moment I decided to be loyal, with all my dysfunctional non-learning, I picked someone who had worse loyalty knowledge than I.
For years I chose to be "loyal" to a man who didn't love me, gave me nothing, and demanded everything.  Kerry said, "I can't be loyal to those who use and abuse me...."  And so, like you stated, I have learned the hard way that I can not do this anymore.  Which makes me look askance at every other human being on the planet.  I'm just so messed-up from all the non-loyal people in my life; all the time I tried to force myself to be loyal; and now seeing no one anywhere who I can understand as a loyal person.  Not just loyal to me; people who are loyal to each other.  I don't know what it is like and therefore I can not see it in others so I can learn what it is.

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Pound Pup Legacy