Permanently damaged?

Blondecurls

Registrant
A few months ago I thought I was gay (nothing wrong with being gay in case anyone is wondering) I had intense fantasies about men and was convinced that I was gay. Then all of a sudden all of those thoughts went away. Right now, none of those fantasies appeal to me. There has also been periods where I've been attracted to younger and older women, and it follows the same pattern. I become focused on that particular fantasy and then a few weeks later everything changes, suddenly that what turned me on earlier does nothing to me.

I'm so ashamed when it comes to my sexuality, the shame is unbearable because I feel like I have no control over my thoughts. I can watch a movie and there's a 90 year old (or 16 year old) person on screen and all of a sudden I get sexual images inside my head. I never asked for this, I dont want this. My only comfort has been that if anyone would ever see the inside of my mind then I could escape by committing suicide. I dont know what to do. I've been in therapy for a decade and sexuality as actually something that's never been discussed. Its always been about depression or paranoid thoughts and the likes.

I need advice.
 

AlexBoyd

Registrant
Advice: tell your therapist exactly what you just told us. Print it and hand it to him/her to read if necessary.
 
I second what everyone else has said. And know that when you go in to talk about it, you've got this forum at your back.
 
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Blondecurls

Registrant
I will see a therapist and talk about this. I dont want to be hurt no more. I'm so tired of life.

edit: added for clarity.
 
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eltoro65

Registrant
My first therapist was a female. She perceived me, as a lot of people do as straight. I didn't want to discuss my sexual feelings as it pertains to my sexual abuse because I was afraid of her rejecting me, either as a person or a client. Over time I felt on some level she wanted to direct me down that a path. I also saw a psychiatrist who was obviously straight and I detected his discomfort from any subject about homosexuality or bisexuality. The therapist I have now does not ask about my sexual feelings (he's gay) but I have to address it to him: "there's a subject I would to discuss today...". It's my therapy, my money, and my time, right? If your sexuality is actually causing your depression, in my opinion I think it's imperative and detrimental to your therapy that you bring up the subject.
 

KMCINVA

Registrant
Talk with your therapist. CSA can cause sexual confusion. If you are straight or gay or acting out on the abuse you need to talk with the therapist to help you unwind your thoughts. What makes one gay or straight is biological. What makes one act out in thought or action with the same sex can be from the CSA or coming to terms with your true sexual identity. Clearly when with a person your sense of passion, intimacy and fulfillment helps you to come to terms with your sexual identity. Please delve into your issues with the therapist, your life is valuable and once you understand and accept why you have the thoughts you have you can come to terms with who you are--whatever the answer your life has value and purpose.

Kevin
 

Blondecurls

Registrant
Thank you all for your input. My old therapist is going to be away for over a year so I have to find someone completely new and I'm currently searching for someone that has experience with this type of issue. So far it seems to be a narrow field, and most of the ones I've contacted specializes in other categories.
 
I'm reminded of the many therapists I saw with whom I never told the truth about my sexuality. I could be lost in fantasy, acting out sexually in all sorts of ways and NEVER say anything to the therapist. I could talk about my relationship with my then wife, my job but not about the thing that REALLY mattered. I didn't remember the sexual abuse when I was a boy, but my fixation on fantasy and sexual acting out certainly were signs that something serious needed attention. Finally, after my third marriage fell apart and I was feeling suicidal I told a therapist the truth.

Yes, find a therapist prepared to deal with sexual abuse and tell the truth about what happened and about how fixated you are on sexual fantasy. I've been consumed by fantasy and acting out most of my life... ALL because the pain of sexual abuse was left unattended to. Fantasy simply keeps us lost in the past. To claim our aliveness we need to tell the truth and begin taking care of ourselves. You do that by being here AND you do that by working honestly with a therapist prepared to listen with empathy and kindness. All the best in your search for that therapist.
 
I'm reminded of the many therapists I saw with whom I never told the truth about my sexuality. I could be lost in fantasy, acting out sexually in all sorts of ways and NEVER say anything to the therapist. I could talk about my relationship with my then wife, my job but not about the thing that REALLY mattered. I didn't remember the sexual abuse when I was a boy, but my fixation on fantasy and sexual acting out certainly were signs that something serious needed attention.
Thanks for writing this, @Visitor . It resonates very deeply with me. My own story has been similar, down to the not telling the truth in therapy. I did couples therapy with my wife in my late 20s and mentioned exactly nothing about the real problem. At that point, insofar as I understood it, the problem was simply my "inexplicable" acting out, not the abuse, which I'd either minimized or completely blocked out. In the sessions themselves, it wasn't a matter of intentional dissimulation or omission; the acting out simply "didn't come to mind." The shame, and my investment in denial, were that huge. I couldn't speak the truth to myself let alone a therapist and my wife at the same time. Looking back it's astounding to me that I wasn't able to see how the various memories I'd had of what happened to me between ages 8 and 10, plus an additional sense of dark foreboding -- what I now see clearly as the shadow of additional abuse I wasn't letting myself remember -- and an adolescence marked primarily by excruciating sexual confusion all fit together.

@Blondecurls : I think Visitor's and my experiences indicate how important a step it is for you to be here, mentioning this to us. Perhaps you'll now be able to open up to your therapist as well, which I think you might well find to be very helpful, if frightening at first. I unfortunately identify strongly with your mention of suicide and the way it seems to have worked in your mental life. I've struggled with suicidal ideation and worse since I was eleven, when I made my first attempt to kill myself. For a long time, like you, I thought suicide would be preferable to letting anyone "inside my head," and generally speaking, those moments when I feared most intensely that the "inside" would somehow be laid bare were the most dangerous from a self-harm perspective. If my wife had responded to my breakdown a year and a half ago with anger instead of love, I would probably be dead right now.
 
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BDD

Registrant
My only comfort has been that if anyone would ever see the inside of my mind then I could escape by committing suicide.
@Blondecurls Please share that single sentence with your therapist.

I actually told mine my worst, most disgusting fantasies. I had to convince him I was a pervert, always was. He didn't buy it. For me I came to see the intensity of my fantasies was driven by triggers.

But I want to talk about your question, are you permanently damaged? I know I believed I was. I believed the best I could do was keep my shit at bay. I thought my life would be bleak and the best I could do would be to not let anyone know. I was so wrong! I am happier more often then not. I have issues, like intimacy, that are not resolved. But I work on them. I have changed. People can change. I believe one day you will able to say the same.
 
The idea of "permanently damaged" stands out to me here. I strongly disagree with the idea that any of us here are permanently damaged. The fact that we're here and we're talking to each other shows the depth of the healing connection that happens when we express ourselves.

We are damaged, but definitely not permanently so. Our brains trick us into thinking that whatever is happening now will always be. Not so. Many here would not even classify themselves as damaged anymore. Changed, yes. Damaged, no.

You're on the way to healing, my friend.
 
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Blondecurls

Registrant
Finally, got an appointment with a sexologist next week. The idea of talking to someone about this type of issue makes me so nervous I feel like throwing up.
 

BDD

Registrant
Would it make it easier if you knew what you are feeling is perfectly normal?
Please don't let it stop you.
Good luck.
 
I would have similar concerns, mostly that they would try to steer me towards a path I do not want. If you still meet with a regular Therapist, that should provide enough balance. You can discuss with your T what the sexologist is saying and see if it meshes with what the T already knows about you.
 

JDylah_da_Kylah

Registrant
Hello, friend. I'm sorry to hear about your situation . . . as so many others have said, you are not alone.

I just want to chip in because something caught my eye: a sexologist isn't so different from a regular therapist; they just have special training in human sexuality to the effect that that's the focus of their practice, period. But even though they've narrowed their focus, they still have all the same training and clinical skills as a regular therapist would (much as a psychologist can make a fine therapist, even though they're approaching therapy from a medical perspective) . . . Just because they're called a sexologist doesn't mean they're going to force you to talk about sex or your fantasies or the abuse or anything before you're ready.

I also think it's a misconception that a sexologist will steer you one way or another, any more than a therapist might make the same mistake. (I'd actually argue that a sexologist would be more sensitive to the nuances of sexuality and sexual abuse than a regular therapist, because of their advanced training.)

Just a quick $0.02. Personally I think it'd benefit a lot of people if the specialization were to go under a different name, due to the knee-jerk presumptions about "sex"-anything in our society, but ah well . . .

Wishing you all the best luck, friend. I know it's scary and terrible now, but I hope the first session goes well and they're able to help put some of your uncertainties to rest. The key will be to be utterly honest with them--I absolutely agree that if it's easier, go ahead and print off what you've shared with us. You can even ask if you can send it to them before the appointment, just so they can read it ahead of time and have a better sense of where you're coming from at the get-go.

Hang in there!
Dyl.
 

Blondecurls

Registrant
Would it make it easier if you knew what you are feeling is perfectly normal?
Please don't let it stop you.
Good luck.
Thanks, I guess it would make it a bit easier. I just want to stop having intrusive thoughts. They causes so much anxiety and sadness.


I would have similar concerns, mostly that they would try to steer me towards a path I do not want. If you still meet with a regular Therapist, that should provide enough balance. You can discuss with your T what the sexologist is saying and see if it meshes with what the T already knows about you.
Thanks, the sexologist I'm going to see has issues related to experienced abuse as one of the fields she specializes in. I have yet so find a psychologist that specializes in this type of things in my area. My previous therapist didn't really ask much about the abuse when I first mentioned it to her, and I got the impression that it was a thing she perhaps wasn't comfortable with or didn't know much about.

Hello, friend. I'm sorry to hear about your situation . . . as so many others have said, you are not alone.

I just want to chip in because something caught my eye: a sexologist isn't so different from a regular therapist; they just have special training in human sexuality to the effect that that's the focus of their practice, period. But even though they've narrowed their focus, they still have all the same training and clinical skills as a regular therapist would (much as a psychologist can make a fine therapist, even though they're approaching therapy from a medical perspective) . . . Just because they're called a sexologist doesn't mean they're going to force you to talk about sex or your fantasies or the abuse or anything before you're ready.

I also think it's a misconception that a sexologist will steer you one way or another, any more than a therapist might make the same mistake. (I'd actually argue that a sexologist would be more sensitive to the nuances of sexuality and sexual abuse than a regular therapist, because of their advanced training.)

Just a quick $0.02. Personally I think it'd benefit a lot of people if the specialization were to go under a different name, due to the knee-jerk presumptions about "sex"-anything in our society, but ah well . . .

Wishing you all the best luck, friend. I know it's scary and terrible now, but I hope the first session goes well and they're able to help put some of your uncertainties to rest. The key will be to be utterly honest with them--I absolutely agree that if it's easier, go ahead and print off what you've shared with us. You can even ask if you can send it to them before the appointment, just so they can read it ahead of time and have a better sense of where you're coming from at the get-go.

Hang in there!
Dyl.
Thanks for the input, I'll send her an email and mention what you suggested.
 
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