The Joys of Living with PTSD

learning how to cope

Archive for the tag “relationships”

The Awkward Duckling

I’ve been left to my own thoughts for most of the day pretty much. My back went out early this morning, and I have been left in a lot of pain all day, including now. It’s probably time for me to make an appointment with the doctor and get referred to a chiropractor. None of this is the point of this post though, so let’s move on.

As I said, I have had a lot of time to think today. Most of my thoughts have not been the most pleasant. I refused to let them get me down though, and strove to remain positive. Insecurity is a bitch, and when it decides to make itself feel at home, it can be a pain in the ass to make leave. Like any unwanted guest, it’s oblivious to any and every hint that it’s not wanted. Most of my insecurities (and I’m willing to bet most of everyone’s), stem from perceptions and events in my childhood and adolescence.

I almost hate to write this, because I know some of my family follow this blog and they will disagree with my perceptions, or feel like they need to let me know otherwise. However, I know I’m not the only one to feel this way, and I’ve always believed in being honest. So here goes nothing. Growing up, I always felt I was ugly. I had my first boyfriend in high school, though he didn’t last long. Turns out, I hate clingers. After him, I dated a total of… drum roll please- one other guy. I just never got asked out. Seriously. I assumed this was because I was simply not attractive, however, I know guys I went to high school with who were attracted to me back then. They just never bothered telling me or doing anything about it. While the common sense part of my brain says that I should then not be affected by it, being told after you spent four years believing you were ugly that you were not, doesn’t help much.

That belief that I wasn’t very pretty carried on past high school, and still exists to an extent today. Even when I was in the military and actually had a pretty active love life, I believed that they were with me because I made them laugh and there wasn’t a prettier woman around. I do have a pretty good sense of humor, it’s been my saving grace many a time. After I got out of the military, I had men that I had served with who finally felt like it would be appropriate to tell me I was beautiful. I was shocked. I’m always shocked when a man tells me he thinks I’m beautiful, because I do not see it myself. ┬áSo, apparently I am not as ugly as I seem to think I am. Which brings me to my next question.

Why do we wait so long to tell someone they’re beautiful? Or sometimes not tell them at all? One guy told me after he found out I was shocked that he had just assumed I knew. Is that what it is? We assume someone knows how they’re perceived? Oh friends, family, and strangers, listen and listen well: do not assume. None of us are mind readers, and perceptions can be colored in so many different ways. I’ve talked about this with a very few other women I know, and I am not alone. Many of these women who I think are beautiful, have no idea they’re beautiful. No one has ever told them.

In a world where we are told to strive for perfection, but perfection is airbrushed, is it really so surprising that so many women have no idea how beautiful they are? After years and years of men assuming I knew the way they perceived me, but me never knowing, is it really so surprising that I get so insecure when I’m interested in a man? Since they assume I know the way they perceive me, I always assume that means they see me as not attractive. I’m not asking for anyone to decide to come up to me and tell me, “You’re beautiful”. It’s ok. One of these days I’ll figure it out for myself. I think. What I’m asking is for you to stop assuming things about people in general. Don’t assume they know anything you think or feel. Like I already mentioned, NO ONE is a mind reader. You have to let people know how you feel. I think if we all just spoke our minds more, and assumed less, our relationships would be so much stronger and easier.

Just a thought.

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Let’s Talk About… Sex!?

I know I just recently did a post, but it wasn’t really related to MST/PTSD, whereas this one will be. I love flirting and teasing, it’s a huge part of who I am, and everyone who knows me, knows that. There is a line though, and I do not understand why or how, men can’t see that. I’m pretty straightforward and blunt about who I am and what I’ve been through. I let interested men know that they have to move slowly with me, because I was raped a few years ago and physical intimacy can be very hard for me. But let’s back up a bit, shall we?

Right after the assault, I went through a phase where I had a lot of sex. Usually this was one night stands with strangers or men that I knew, but would never be interested in having a relationship with. Really, I just wanted to be able to close my eyes and not see IK on top of me. I thought that maybe I could fuck his image away, but I was wrong. Once I realized that wasn’t possible, I closed myself off sexually from the world at large. I lost all interest in sex, and in the connection I felt with a partner.

Then I met JW. We hit it off immediately, though his sister was against it. Not because she didn’t like me, but because she knew he’d drive me nuts and wanted to save me the trouble. Too late. Sparks flew and the fires were roaring. We didn’t have sex the first time we met, but we did the second. For the first time ever, I knew the difference between fucking and making love. It was incredible. This man was loving me, and showering affection on me. I didn’t achieve orgasm, but it wasn’t necessary. I was loved. To date, he is the only man I’ve slept with, who has made me feel that way, but now that I know it’s possible, it’s something I crave. I want to be fucked too, but I really want to be made love to. I want to be adored, caressed, and made to feel beautiful. I want to be held afterwards, so I never forget that I am adored by the man I just made love with. Before JW, I had no idea these sensations existed, or that I was even worthy of them. That’s how messed up I was. JW ruined me for all the assholes who just wanted some wham, bam, thank you ma’am, and never wanted to take the time to love me. I will always be grateful to him, for waking up my soul and body to this awareness.

To be fair, RM tried to make love to me, but it was so soon after the assault, I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t be receptive to his messages or his intent, and sadly it was wasted on me. RM gave me the next best thing, though I’m not ready to talk about that in this entry. That’s for another day. JW made me feel like a woman, and I had never felt so much like an actual woman during sex, than I did with him. I wasn’t an object. That’s important.

Other lovers that had their place in my history between JW and now, have no place in this particular entry, so they’re being skipped over. Suffice it to say, they have all had their place and reason for being in my life, and I truly believe I am a better person because of them. Now, at the end of the year 2011, I finally feel like I’m open to being loved. I think this has reflected itself in the way I treat myself and others. I have been flirting with a few men, and have even gone on a few dates recently, and I feel amazing. I feel beautiful, even without the attention, and I almost have a sense of wholeness again. I love it. One of the men I’ve been talking to, we’ll call him PLS, has particularly been aggressive in pursuing me. I’ve told him my history as it relates to the assault, and explained to him that not only do I have to move slow physically, that I am very sensitive to stuff related to my assault. Last night he was texting me and flirting and things moved into the sexual territory in our messages, which was fine. But then he said something that just… it ruined everything we had been building between us. He was trying to show me how sexy he thought I was, but there is nothing… NOTHING sexy about telling a woman, especially a woman who has been raped, that if you were there with her, you’d rape her. What.The.Fuck. That is NOT okay.

Not only does it show you’re insensitive, it makes her an object. Not a person. I refuse to be an object to a man I thought I was interested in. JW has shown me that I don’t have to be an object, unless I want to allow a man to see me as such. I do not. I will not allow it. I am so much more than an object. I have feelings, passions, dreams, goals, and so much to offer that a mere object can not. I was appalled. I immediately sent him a message back telling him that I knew he did not just say that to me, and I haven’t heard back from him. To be honest, I don’t think I want to hear back from him. Any man who has been told my history and still thinks it’s okay to tell me something as derogatory and cruel as that, is not a man I want to associate with, much less date. I deserve better than that, and thanks to men like JW, I know men who are better than that are out there.

Sex is an intimate act. You’re incredibly vulnerable in your nakedness and the shared vulnerability is beautiful. I can not ever go back to being seen as an object, meant solely for fucking, and I don’t think any woman or man should. I think the lesson here is to respect one another, and if you say you like someone, show them that through the way you treat them. Actions speak so much louder than words. PLS had told me he would support me and go slow to help ensure that I didn’t go into panic mode, because he was interested in pursuing a relationship. Telling me he would rape me, even in some sick, twisted version of a jest, was an action that spoke completely opposite of what he had said. I no longer feel comfortable around him, or safe. I could never be naked around him. On the plus side, one loser down, and the potential to meet an amazing man and give him my attention has increased.

I no longer associate myself with religion, but one of the things I have taken from my former belief system is a passage from 1 Corinthians 13. I think it’s beautiful and applicable no matter your belief system, especially when it comes to relationships:

Love is patient, love is kind… It does not dishonor others. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
-1 Corinthians 13, verses 4a, 5a, and 7. NIV.

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