Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Always Virgin

So I accidentally erased this just as I finished it a few minutes ago.  So given the immense revisions I'd already done to get it just right, meet version 3 of this post.

I've gone from being very specific about how I was molested to not liking that to not feeling like telling the stories too closely again.  Here's what has been written in the past: one.  (OK, there isn't a two).  Generally, the best way to say it is that I was never raped but very little else that can be done sexually to a child was done between my father and grandfather, from the time I was a baby until I was a teenager. My grandfather furthered the trauma after I told on him inadvertently (didn't know it was wrong) and the solution the adults arrived at was he wasn't to be alone with me, but of course he was so he instead threatened me and my mother if I ever told.  He was responsible for a lot of abuse and exposure to things young children never, ever should experience.  He is why I have a hugely elevated gag reflex (the cause is what you think).  But my father, who I've already explained was a pedophile, was the really disgusting abuser.  Dr. Mind was able to help me understand some memories that never fully made sense because I had filled in what happened and what was used in the assaults with things I knew about but which always didn't seem to make a ton of sense.  A little education on some sexual aids/toys and I know my father was very deliberate and planned in advance very specific, ugly scenarios. Along with this my father was very deliberate about controlling sexual development.  Throughout my teenage years he came into the bathroom, opened the shower door and poured cold water on me nearly every shower I took.  If I locked the door unlocked it.  If I hid the key he removed the doorknob (put on backwards as a safety measure when we were small children, at least allegedly, although he would have removed that DOOR if the doorknob wasn't an option).   So my childhood included exposure to nearly anything sexual imaginable.  At least rape was never completed.  However, for some time last spring while I was dealing with too much PTSD to talk about details, the remaining question in my mind was why not?  I knew from physical exams that it was unlikely it had been completed, although it could have been attempted or partially completed.  I couldn't ask though because I couldn't talk about that stuff until I wasn't having panic attacks and constant nightmares.

In May I saw a urologist/gynecologist for an exam preceding a procedure everyone thought I needed but which I managed to avoid.  This exam included a pelvic, and it was the first time during a pelvic someone has shown me muscles to relax.  It was also the first time that it was not extremely painful.  I've never been able to tolerate a tampon, so you (women) can understand at least somewhat what a pelvic felt like.  Well, that doctor told me FINALLY why.  It's not because I don't relax, as every previous doctor had told me.  It's because I have a condition called vaginismus.  That means there are muscle spasms if something tries to come in that work hard to keep things out.  It's protective, and it's why I wasn't raped, probably.  That seems to be the usual cause from the little I've bothered to read.

Many years ago I committed to saving sex for marriage due to religious beliefs.  The only time that may have really been a necessary commitment was during a few rebellious years I had when I was so angry at my past I would do nearly anything to fight it.  But in reality well, first I have had very few relationships and none that got serious.  There was the one that serious wouldn't have mattered because I was so manic, but the truth is that I have issues big enough that when he tried to kiss me (would have been my first kiss) I punched him in the gut.  Oddly, he no longer liked me after that.  After that I knew that before anything happened in a relationship there would be a lot of counseling.  At first I thought for me, and later as I've come to understand things better I've known (been told?  Seems like Dr. Mind and I've discussed this) that it would involve intense work for me AND as a couple.  I could still see this as possible for a while.  And then I realized I am TIRED.  I have fought for everything.  Fighting for that would be more than I think I care enough to do.  I'm not really embarrassed to talk about the abuse anymore, and with Dr. Mind's help I could share the details needed.  I do not know that I could sit and basically learn about how to have sex without freaking me out, how to handle it if I did, how to keep my PTSD, fear, and panic from ruining a relationship (because no matter how much you love someone, imagine having to go to counseling for months, then getting married, then having sex turn into a nightmare that requires you to spend the early part of your marriage, what should be magical, working on the most private things in the world with a therapist, one you know already knows more about your wife than you probably ever will and that isn't going away anytime soon,  And that's true for me too, not just whomever would be brave enough to try this path.)  So I knew a couple years ago that I had very little interest in going through what it would take for me to handle sex.  (I remember now that I did discuss this with Dr. Mind, once when I was talking about how it bothered me that NOTHING in my life has been without fighting and that something as basic as sex would be a minefield and huge battle, so what I'm describing is what he thought it would take back then).  But vaginimus adds another level.  The treatment for it is a very specialized PT, using gradually increasing in size dilators to teach the body to allow safe experiences.  It would mean having the PT done in the big city, 2 hours away, because it's not common.  I assume that would mean taking a disability leave for treatment and staying in the city.  And can you imagine a more invasive therapy?  Which would mean that I'd either be dealing with all that previously mentioned counseling AND this, or I would have to do the PT and deal with it and then the other.  Truthfully I can't imagine that all this could result in anything but a very remote, mechanical idea of sex and then all that it would require would make it hard for it to be well, what sex is supposed to be.  It would never be about intimacy as much as about work and putting all those pieces together.  It would be 100% clinical, can I touch you here, are you ok, can you touch me, let's work our way from safe to where it is scary, are you ok?, and then followed by are you ok?  did it hurt?  Can you sleep?  What was scary and what was ok?  There would not be one drop of spontaneous, maybe not ever, and I doubt seriously that it would be all that good because the possibility of my having a "flashback" (hate that term) and freaking would always be there because I can never be sure I remember everything.  In fact I'm sure I don't, and that what I don't remember is for good reason.  But I know well that just because I am ok not remembering today that if something triggers the memory tomorrow that then I'll have to deal with it, and having that hang over a relationship would kill it.

So no, it's not a likely option for me.  Obviously I could be wrong and the right person who is willing to go through all that with me and still love me if it's not effective might come along.  At least by my age I'm getting further from the part where I'd have to make someone choose to not have children; at my age I'm sure the thought of a childless life has occurred to men as well as women.  And if I'm right about my crazy periods and my doctor agrees I'm hoping to have a procedure to stop my periods and also my fertility (which is inconsequential to me) sometime in the next year.  When I think of dealing with that much physically and emotionally, and counting on my mental health to stay stable at the same time for a long time to allow progress not interrupted by 6 months of PTSD followed by mixed episodes like has happened as a consequence of my going NEAR this stuff (and learning of the vaginimus) this spring seems rather risky.  And that's not even mentioning all the other consequences of marriage to someone with severe bipolar and all that is involved in my life.  Asking someone to handle that is asking a LOT.  

Again, (Ok, not again I said this in the deleted version) this is NOT the typical experience of someone who has been sexually abused.  This is severe sexual abuse for 18 years some of it with 2 people doing it (at separate times) in the same time period.  This is having very little about sex I haven't been exposed to and none of it by choice.  This is other sexual trauma that I'm not going into here, that Dr. Mind doesn't even know about.  This is vaginimus, which is rare enough that people don't even know to diagnose it, especially when it's not someone complaining of not being able to have sex or having serious pain with sex.  I've not tried that so we've not gotten that complaint.  It's bipolar mixed in, bipolar that makes everything more complicated anyway  So at least this not the story most women who have been abused, every severely, are going to tell.  Lest someone thinks it, this is NOT related to strict religious convictions that make everything else worse.  I simply believe that sex is for marriage, that's about it as far as "strictness" and that's really just something that comes down to a choice for anyone, religious beliefs or not, based on how much you value monogamy, when you fall in love, etc.  It doesn't take conservative Christianity or other religious paths to choose this, and it also doesn't cause all the problems I have.  Not to be defensive, but some people would ignore the trauma and blame that one personal decision so I'm putting that in to prevent someday getting that comment.

Some story, eh?


WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Wishing you had had someone in your life that protected you from harm.

Michal Ann said...

Jen, you've thought this through thoroughly. I respect your deliberation and your conclusion. I see wisdom as you attend to life in your typically strong and responsible way. Thank you for your persistence in doing this difficult work which even included having to write out several versions...again. You've come so far. Your childhood experiences were so deeply evil and opposite of anything God intended that little Jen experience.

May anyone reading your blog be moved to protect children if there is ANY suspicion that inappropriate behavior is occuring. Much evil is done because we fail to respond to Spirit impulses. Listen carefully.

I'm repeating the Serenity Prayer frequently these days. Here's the long version:

God,grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change
the things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference,

Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time,
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
taking this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things
right if I surrender to Your will,
so that I may be reasonably happy
in this life, and supremely happy
with You forever in the next.


learp17 said...

I'm sorry I couldn't comment on this post until today. I didn't want you to think I hadn't read it or wasn't affected by it. I just couldn't even bring myself to respond. There is just no reason in the world that this should have happened to you. It is wrong. I know you know this, and I know me being angry about it doesn't do anyone any good.

You know yourself so well. Considering the things you went through, this is something to be VERY proud of.

I echo Winny's comment that I desperately wish there had been someone to give you the protection every vulnerable child deserves. Those men committed acts of betrayal that cannot even be described in words. I don't believe in hell, but even I have to say there must be a special place in hell for them.

I have a tattoo on my right ribcage that says, "love light lucidity" - these are the three words I repeat to myself when I am meditating, or when I feel like the world is caving in on me. So I wish you LOVE LIGHT and LUCIDITY.