Having to make difficult choices (anonymous post)

When I was younger, I didn’t make very good choices when it came to men and sex -I knew that the guys I was dating didn’t care about me or my feelings. But, I learned early on that if I just gave them what they wanted, they would stop complaining about me never being in the mood- so I would just lay there with my eyes shut and my jaw clenched until they were done. I use to be completely checked out mentally. This was the standard operating procedure for the entirety of my teenage and young adult life.

I’m now in love with this caring and supportive man who actually wants to look me in the eyes and kiss my face while we’re in bed and I can’t handle it. We’ve been together for a long time, and I’ve made some progress with this intimacy thing over the past few years- now, I am mentally present the entire time, but I feel extremely uncomfortable and anxious. I don’t like being touched in certain places. I can barely open my eyes when we’re in bed together. It’s not that I don’t want to- I just can’t do it without feeling like the floor is falling out beneath me. It’s like I traded one shitty response for another.

So what do I do?

Just so you have a little background:
I was raised in an alcoholic home- my dad is an alcoholic/drug addict (sober for 9 years now) and mom was and still is an enabler. Both of them also come from alcoholic homes. That’s not to say I had a bad childhood, but it surely wasn’t easy. However, I do believe they did the best they could with what they had at the time.

I developed an eating disorder at 12 years old- I’ve managed that fairly well for the past 4 years. But, as anyone with an ED can attest, each day is its own battle. My first sexual experience was at 13. All I’ll say is that it was absolutely horrible but also my own fault for placing myself in that situation to begin with.

Now, I’m fairly sure that these 3 factors account for my issues with intimacy. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. The problem is, I don’t know HOW to get past this intimacy road block. I’ve been trying to do it on my own, but I feel I’ve hit my limit. I have no health insurance and I can’t afford to get it -and my school doesn’t have a counselor. I have also called every psychologist’s office in my area, but I have yet to find one that offers a sliding fee scale. I don’t know what other options I have at this point.

Of course my SO and I have talked about this many many times. He’s patient and understanding but it makes me so sad to know that I can’t offer him the same genuine connection he gives to me. I don’t know what to do at this point.

I know there’s not much of a solution to be offered here- I just didn’t know if someone else has experienced this same kind of thing and could offer any advice. I know a lot of you read a lot of self help books too and maybe you knew of a book or two I could pick up.… any advice is welcome. J

I’m more than willing to answer any questions and I’m sorry this is so damn long.

** CLIFFS ** Sex and intimacy scares the shit out of me and I need to figure out how to shut up and soldier on.
Have you ever tried counseling? I’m sure you have thought about it?
I’ve had a few people recommend "The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved" to me just cause. Might be worth looking at, but I haven’t read it myself so I can’t tell you if it’s worthwhile.

If you are at your breaking point, and he is understanding, maybe take a short break? stop trying to force yourself to participate actively and enjoy it. Couples can do many other enjoyable things together – try spending time together in other ways, and maybe just do the whole loving thing – massages, etc, without focusing on having sex in any way.

It’s basically a mental roadblock/obstacle that you will have to climb over some day, so I suggest conditioning yourself in a sense. Maybe try positive visualization or mental chanting to yourself to help you stay focused/grounded and not panic over being intimate. Do not allow your past negative experiences to hold you back – you must remember that you are stronger than them. It might take awhile, but I think you will find a means or method that works for you to start to grow into a more intimate person.
i cant pretend that i can help; sorry. but i can suggest that you see a professional, maybe read that book. that sounds like a good start.
Counselling can be a wonderful thing, and you should never rule it out but I think that you can work out a lot of problems on your own as well, and well if that doesn’t work you can fall back on counselling because it will still be there if you need it.

What it sounds like to me, and I may be way off base and if I am forgive me… But it sounds like a cycle of sorts, starting with the earlier experiences. You did things you didn’t want to do, and for the wrong reasons and now your troubles stem from those very acts. I think the first step may be to come to terms with your past, all the way from the sexual occurances to your parents. I grew up around drugs personally rather than alcohol, and my solice comes in realizing that everything I went through in life comes from that past, and knowing that I am content with who I have become I wouldn’t want to change those events. I learned from them.
Think about the reasons behind your issues with your past, and the how and why. You disassociated yourself from your surroundings during sex because it wasn’t right to you, and you knew they didn’t love you. Well, remember this, it’s not a matter of fault. Yes, you made some bad choices but I am assuming you learned from them since your with a better person for you now that cares for you, and as such are probably in a better place all around.

Well, that means that you learned from your mistakes so as not to make them again, and that is what it’s all about. You have to let yourself let go of the internal blame game. Something I thought of, and this may or may not help but I came to realize that it was silly that I blamed myself all these years for those events because I was a child, and my actions good or bad were a direct result of my environment and upbringing. I was fortunate to have had a good start from living with my grandparents my first 7 years of life and knowing that my surroundings were wrong and weren’t normal, so that also helped bring me through everything. I still have things that happened to me that I will probably never talk about, mostly because I’ve come to terms with them and while they sometimes resurface I know that those choices I made were due to my circumstance and perceptions at the time.

I don’t know if any of this will help, or if it even makes sense as I just woke up but I can say to start things off stop blaming yourself and know that you’re not that person anymore that went through those things. We are governed by our everchanging perceptions, so I think if you can put that behind you the intimacy will come naturally. Good luck in your endeavors, and I hope you find the answers you need whatever the source, but I think you’ll find the most resolute are in yourself.
Geekier and Hellcat- Thank you so so much for your responses

I desperately want to go into therapy to fix this, I just don’t have health insurance and haven’t found anyone who offers a sliding fee scale. I am still searching though…

Thank you for your suggestions about visualization and mental chanting- I never thought of that. And your suggestion about learning to feel comfortable with loving actions first, then sexual actions after, is a really good idea. Not knowing where to start, I’ve jumped into this head-first, with no real plan, just trying to deal with this overwhelming anxiety as it comes. I’ll tell you what- it hasn’t worked. (cause I guess I thought it would?!? ) Your response really means a lot to me. Thank you so much.

I’ve felt I needed to face this for a very long time, But I’ve been too afraid. I’ve been trying to work through this for the past year but I feel like I’ve come as far as I can by myself. I don’t have the right tools to fix this. I need help.

I am going to pick up the book you suggested from the library tonight and discuss this with my SO once I’ve had the chance to digest a few things

Thank you again.

"Thank you for your support Yuppy "

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.