It’s been one year since I started this blog; and one year since I began to uncover my repressed memories. I’ve made a lot of progress in that time and lately I’m going through a period of great change.
Last month I came to realize that my core concepts of relationships, of boundaries for most of my life have centered around the grooming I received as a child from pedophiles. Back then, a stranger (or my own parents, relatives, family friends…) would be very nice, too nice in fact, because they wanted something. But I would uncritically accept this, and feel compelled to go along with whatever they wanted to do to me. Growing up in an incest family, with my parents part of a child porn/pedophile ring and more then willing to sell me to people, I encountered this grooming with great frequency, and the unconscious pattern followed me into adulthood, framing almost everything I encountered.
The other part of that system was my fervent belief that once people got past that initial barrier, (just by engaging in conversation,) then I was trapped, because after that point anything went. So when it came to people who weren’t pedophiles, abusers, or manipulators trying to groom me, I put up a severe defense to keep them back. I was taught that I had nothing else. If I couldn’t repel someone conversationally, then I was surrendering my life and my body. I had no way to stop the compulsion to go along with abusers, so instead I guarded myself against the wrong people all the time. And of course I couldn’t see, back in high school or moving forward into my twenties that I was making the wrong decisions, I thought that because I could avoid certain people that I had power, that I wasn’t being victimized. But that wasn’t true.
While thinking about boundaries, it recently occurred to me that while my family was not generous to me, they were very generous with me. Very willing to give other people access to my body and my things without worrying about my consent in the least. I can remember countless times where my brother and sister would insist to me “it’s ok” and that was what they told the people taking from me as well. That phrase was used to kill and silence my real needs so many times as a child. People wouldn’t ask me if I was ok, they would tell me. But my siblings and my parents had a different level of boundaries for themselves. It was definitely not “ok” the other way around, I recall many instances where they very harshly put me down, saying things like “you expect me to…” when I thought things would work both ways as opposed to my just being a lower life-form who could have anything done to me.
But as a result of this I became unthinkingly generous with myself later on. I was prone to making offers that weren’t realistic and to always saying ‘yes’ even if the situations or circumstances proposed would not actually work for me at all. Having this sense of boundaries led to a lot of pain. Some people who I realize now were perpetuating very unhealthy, abusive patterns themselves gave me very harsh feedback that only put me into a deeper spiral of self-loathing and avoidance. They weren’t really right about me and they weren’t looking at themselves very deeply. But nonetheless I can see a in a lot of situations how I didn’t really read things correctly, how I couldn’t, because I was operating from unconscious things and on top of that from a great deal of shame heaped onto me by my family.
I know that from the time I reached puberty, the majority of my sexual fantasies were play-by-play recreations of the sexual abuse I endured, with all of my parents perversions masked as things that I wanted, instead of horrible things that were done to me. But I didn’t realize, that as much as I compartmentalized in my brain, this was something much deeper, and spilled into other areas of my life because the incestuous sexual abuse I lived through touched everything. It makes sense that if a part of me wanted to recreate the sexual abuse, I would also retain the rest of the operating system that went with it.
Today that is not the way I want to live, being passive to an extreme and losing myself and my voice in the presence of other people. What I want is not a ‘groomer,’ or someone trying to manipulate, use, or abuse me in some way. That means the people I want will likely not act the way a groomer would. They might be cautious at first, and move slowly, and that’s good. My childhood didn’t teach me that there are stages in healthy relationships, and there are different levels of intimacy with different people and a great deal of subtlety involved in making those judgments. Now I can see with so much more clarity, it’s amazing.
Realizing all of this has really caused the scales to fall from eyes. I feel like there is really a possibility of a future–because I’m not doomed to the same energy and patterns that I always lived in. But at first after seeing this, I also felt a deep sadness, like a child inside me was saying “wait a minute? what about my needs?” Because of course I honestly believed in some unconscious place that through the old system I would one day have my needs met. But that’s never going to happen. I’m comforting that child inside me, and assuring him that I will bring our real needs forward as I change and grow.
And that is because today I finally don’t feel the sting of “oh, you acted like such an idiot! what is wrong with you,” that used to flow through my mind all the time. The very people abusing me told me it was my fault and a grave crime to react how I did to people. They would harshly criticize me, set up a system where I could never change and never get out because the pattern was a big circle. But that’s gone now, with greater understanding has not come more self-loathing, and it doesn’t mean that unhealthy people who verbally abused me in the past were right when they insulted me. If the response is “you’re worthless, you’re incompetent” then obviously there is nothing I can do. But seeing that ‘oh, I learned certain patterns from horrific abuse and I can change those because I understand what’s happening now’ is productive.