Relationship and Healing

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Six months ago I started seeing someone every week then spent several days per week together. I told her in detail of my emotional, physical and sexual abuse from the start and she found this openness positive. I understand the effects of my abuse better than in my last relationship and can see better how to help myself. I still attend therapy and value this additional support.

I find it difficult to return feelings of love and to develop feelings of trust. As the months have gone by my feelings have grown and I have been in love with her for some time. This is something I have not felt often during my adult life. We talk to each other about our feelings and if I am triggered I talk about that. She expects us to support one another and understands that closeness and sex are areas where I have issues.

Lovemaking sometimes triggers me when we do something that reminds me of my abuse. This is unavoidable, but I have become less affected by intrusive memories and think about how they make me feel. My arousal was initially sporadic, but over the months I have experienced more frequent and longer arousal. Initially she encouraged me to penetrate her, but that tended to make me back off.

Sometimes I wake in the night in what seems like a flashback. At this time I feel afraid, sad and angry. Initially I was keeping this to myself, but we agreed I will wake her, since my child feelings are close to the surface. Just after I wake up I leap out of bed and feel a need to put something on and be by myself. Instead I have lately let her comfort me and expressed my feelings, sometimes with crying.

I like to kiss and touch her all over and she soon started doing the same to me. It is something I find natural, perhaps it comes from my abuse; she finds it new and exciting. She gets aroused reliably and it is obvious when that happens. I am beginning to allow more aggressive thoughts and behaviour whilst remaining aroused. This is connected to my abuse and exploring how I feel during sex is letting me enjoy myself and feeling connected to her.

I have been conscious since I was a child that I was sexually abused by an older boy. I missed how he made me feel and became confused over my sexual needs. I accept that I was very aware of males and would respond sexually to them from the age of seven. I had been introduced to sex by my father and after an initial period of fear I became compliant. This early introduction to sex interferes with my arousal if I react to the memories in the wrong way.
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