StLSass

Posts Tagged ‘survivor

Okay, time to get real honest and gritty about myself with you guys. (Yes, more honest than yesterday even.) I have been becoming very self-aware lately and I have a confession … I’ve never openly admitted this to anyone, not even my therapist. I can feel the fear welling up in my throat as I type … Oh well, here goes: I’ve cheated on every person I’ve ever had a relationship with.

Even the ones I considered to be really good relationships.

At some point, typically when a conflict was not addressed, I’d find myself being drawn to people outside the relationship, I’d start checking out of my current love and into a fantasy, and eventually the relationship would deteriorate and I would cheat. I used to blame it on the fact that I always dated terrible men or tell myself that if I had an urge to cheat, it just meant the relationship was never going to work out anyways.

However, when I cheated in my last relationship, which was with an incredible man, I was beyond upset with myself. I had even taken precautions to cut all ties with people who I knew I’d be most likely to be drawn to and took note to quickly end any thoughts of other people as soon as they entered my mind. Yet still, one night during a rough patch, I let myself get sucked into someone and I let it go too far. Despite my best efforts, and the fact that I was dating a wonderful man, I still cheated. When this happened I was devastated, and I felt as though I was simply living proof of the old adage: “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”

After spending the past few months in self-reflection mode, I now know that my cheating was actually manifested by the fact that I have a severe fear of intimacy. Which is the fear of rejection combined with the fear of abandonment on steroids basically. I am so afraid of being close to someone and it not working out or of them abandoning me that I self-sabotage my relationships in many ways. But eventually, particularly if there are problems in the bedroom, I cheat. (Spoiler alert: since I have a fear of intimacy, there are always problems in the bedroom, eventually).

As I was reading about the fear of intimacy, I read how victims of sexual abuse were more likely to act out sexually in relationships when the fear would surface, specifically by cheating. I was a victim of sexual abuse as a child. As painful as it was to read that, after thinking it over, it gave me my first sense of hope about the matter. That’s when I realized it wasn’t that I was once a cheater, always a cheater… this was just another side effect of childhood trauma, which I simply needed to unlearn. That’s slightly better… right? Right!

I am also realizing that because I was sexually abused at a young age, I discovered the power of sex before the power of love. And then, I never really developed the patience for true love. So as I was going through relationships in my life, when I would start to feel like I was falling in love, I would develop an impatience and move very quickly with people, particularly in the bedroom, because impatience was my defense against having to actually open up and be vulnerable.

Since I never got that to that true deep love level with anyone, due to my impatience, I learned to master the level that I was at. The level of intimacy fueled by sex. The level that is afraid of real intimacy. I mastered the art of what so many people today think is love, sex without true vulnerability. I have been accepting that level of “love” as true love my entire life. It wasn’t until I finally realized how much patience is required for true love that I discovered that I have never really experienced REAL love. That was a tough realization to swallow, but also possibly the biggest break through I’ve had thus far in trying to understand myself and love.

I say all of this because I know I am not alone. In today’s culture, many people have mastered the power of sex without vulnerability, maybe because many people also have a deep-rooted fear of truly being intimate with someone or maybe because of some other fear that has manifested in their life. To quote Beyoncé in Lemonade: “When did true love become illusive? No one I know has it.” That statement is so true. So many people think they have love, but they are only scratching the surface of what true love is.

True love itself is scary at first. It shines a light on our own darkness and faults and in order to truly master love, you must first love yourself, ugly parts and all. That is where a lot of people are going wrong, I believe. They aren’t fully acknowledging all of their own darkness because they are so afraid of facing those things and taking responsibility for their own actions. That’s the hard part of true love, but it is ultimately the best and most important part of life. Until we illuminate those issues and work to correct them, we aren’t truly living as our greatest selves, and we certainly aren’t capable of truly loving another.

So I guess this is me, facing my ugliness. I have a fear of intimacy and a propensity to act out sexually in relationships when I choose to give in to that fear. Now that I understand that about myself, I am hoping that in my next relationship, I will finally be able to overcome my fear, let myself be truly vulnerable with another person and possibly finally find true love in my life. I hope to finally disprove the “Once a cheater, always a cheater” theory, because I am in fact not a saying or cliché. I’m a real human being who has the ability to learn, grow and be better.

Cheers to being better.

– Christine

jojo-160526

P.S. This post originally appeared on Hobotrashcan.com on 5/26/16, because sometimes it takes a year of loving yourself before you are ready to truly share your truth. And sometimes you are lucky enough to be offered a way to anonymously write out what you are really feeling. I will forever be grateful to Hobotrashcan.com creator Joel Murphy for that opportunity.

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Does anyone really know you? Like, all of you? Every dark secret and hidden truth that has made you who you are. Have you ever admitted all of those things to another person? Have you ever really admitted all of those things to yourself?

Until about 3 years ago, no one really knew me. Not my closest friends, not my family, hell, I barely even knew myself.

You see I had spent the better half of my life, lying to myself. Telling myself that I was okay, when in fact I was far from okay.

That’s just what I knew though. I knew I had to be okay, I had to be strong, I had to be perfect.

After years of keeping up my charade of perfection and lies, even to myself, I finally broke down.

It was a summer night, and I had just spent the evening with all of my closest girlfriends. Most of whom were now married, either with children, or with them on the way. In fact my best friend was pregnant at the time. After spending the evening with my girls, and celebrating everyone’s accomplishment, I went home, alone, to my small apartment.

As I walked into my apartment that night, I closed the door behind me, and then I just crumpled into a ball on the floor and started bawling my eyes out.

Everyone was so happy… but me.

I had so much happiness in my heart for all of my friends, but all it seemed to do was remind me of how unhappy I was with myself.

I sat there and cried for over an hour. I let my pain flow from deep within me, and I cried a river that night… a river of pain straight from my soul.

What I realized in that hour, was that I was upset because no one knew what I had really been though in my life. No one understood me, because I had never been able to be honest with the people in my life. I was too ashamed.

When I finally was able to pick myself up that night, I grabbed my notebook, and started writing. I started writing about how upset I was. I was upset because of what had happened to me in my life, and how I felt that it was my duty to keep my past a secret. Only, I didn’t want to keep this secret anymore. I didn’t want to be unhappy anymore.

Three weeks and one therapy session later, I told my two best friends my truth.

I was sexually abused as a child. I felt responsible for what happened, and therefore resolved to never tell anyone in my life about it. What I went through was confusing, lasted many years, and left me with a very distorted sense of self worth. I never believed that I deserved anything good in life after it. How could I? I was no longer perfect. I was tainted.

What happened when I told my two girlfriends my story, was very unexpected for me. For the first time in my life, I felt free. I felt loved for who I truly am, and I felt relieved.

That was the beginning of my new life. That was the beginning of my journey towards really loving myself.

It has not been totally easy. I had to tell my parents what happened to me. I have slowly told other close friends. And finally there came a time where I had to confront my abuser, and tell him that what happened between us was no longer a secret I was willing to keep. I lost people I was very close to in life because of that.

What happened as I owned my truth though, was that I finally learned to love myself. What happened to me, no longer defined me. I was no longer a victim… I was a survivor.

Slowly, talking about my past has gone from being something that brings me great pain, to something that I can do openly, without tears, without shame, and without guilt. My past no longer dictates my ability to be happy. I owned my past, so that it could stop owning me.

My advice to anyone out there struggling with their own truth, with their own secret past… Talk to someone. Anyone. Do not let your secret destroy you from the inside out, because it will. Don’t let your past steal moments of happiness from your future, you deserve better. The truth can, and will, set you free… so talk to someone, it will be okay.

Much love to you all,

– Christine

BeFree