Sexually assaulted by ex-best friend

Postby Lillian4322 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:40 am

Hi there, I'm new. I just need some help...
I thought I was doing better with this but it's been hard for many reasons: my childhood friend, my only guy friend that I trusted fully since I met him when we were 11 years old... That same guy sexually assaulted me 6 years ago.
I had these symptoms:
- Flashbacks, panic attacks.
- Anxiety, fear and distrust of men, fear of exposing my body (I would cover yself even if it was hot outside).
- Dissociation. It used to be really bad.
- Guilt and shame. Self-blaming.
- Couldn't have sex with my then boyfriend if I couldn't see his face or hear him.
- Self-harm.
- Freezing during sex, not being able to enjoy intimacy. General apathy.
- Hypersexuality or a deep hate of sex that would fluctuate.

All these got better over time but something still bothers me: not being able to say no. Let me explain.
I am now married to someone else and he has a hard time noticing when I am in pain/scared during sex. He does get turned on by it (you know, I guess it feels primitive for him) and he thinks I am "actually liking it". I've tried a few things to make it work when this happens but I feel guilty afterwards anyway.

This is where I need help: why can't I say 'stop'? Why do I just look at him with fear, almost crying, hoping that "this nightmare will just end soon"? How can I think that when I am just making love with my husband... When I have tried to make him stop physically I just get so scared, I feel numb and sad.

It reminds me of that day. I couldn't tell my ex-best friend to stop, I was frozen with fear, trembling.

What can I do? If I don't say anything my husband says "oh you didn't like it" and I guess he doesn't mean it but he makes it a little worse. When I tell him to stop, he gets all awkward and probably feels like he is a horrible lover.

How can I just stop feeling this way?
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:04 am

Well...you could print out this message and hand it to your husband, After all, in theory there is nothing that should be hidden or have been hidden from your husband.

In other words, you dated, got engaged, and then got married to a man while never telling him or addressing this fundamental issue. Now you’re married and want things to change after the fact. That’s difficult, but there is no solution that doesn’t involve being honest with your husband.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand why you hid or kept information from him. You are not the first and won’t be the last person to get married with a secret that has major impacts for the health of the relationship. Still, there is no good solution that involves keeping your husband in the dark.
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#2

Postby Lillian4322 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:41 am

Well I guess I was wrong to think it was obvious but he does know. Actually he knew about it even before we started dating.
So the question remains the same. He does know about it, he knows about how I feel, he has seen the panic attacks and everything as well...

Anything I could do to actually help myself? I think I need to address the main problem and find a way to not get anxious and scared during sex. I just don't know how.
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:32 pm

Lillian4322 wrote:Anything I could do to actually help myself? I think I need to address the main problem and find a way to not get anxious and scared during sex. I just don't know how.


I would seek out a cognitive behavioral therapist.

The basic gist is that you reduce anxiety/fear through structured exposures followed by periods of reflection.
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#4

Postby KenEmpowered » Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:18 am

Lillian4322 wrote:Hi there, I'm new. I just need some help...
I thought I was doing better with this but it's been hard for many reasons: my childhood friend, my only guy friend that I trusted fully since I met him when we were 11 years old... That same guy sexually assaulted me 6 years ago.
I had these symptoms:
- Flashbacks, panic attacks.
- Anxiety, fear and distrust of men, fear of exposing my body (I would cover yself even if it was hot outside).
- Dissociation. It used to be really bad.
- Guilt and shame. Self-blaming.
- Couldn't have sex with my then boyfriend if I couldn't see his face or hear him.
- Self-harm.
- Freezing during sex, not being able to enjoy intimacy. General apathy.
- Hypersexuality or a deep hate of sex that would fluctuate.

All these got better over time but something still bothers me: not being able to say no. Let me explain.
I am now married to someone else and he has a hard time noticing when I am in pain/scared during sex. He does get turned on by it (you know, I guess it feels primitive for him) and he thinks I am "actually liking it". I've tried a few things to make it work when this happens but I feel guilty afterwards anyway.

This is where I need help: why can't I say 'stop'? Why do I just look at him with fear, almost crying, hoping that "this nightmare will just end soon"? How can I think that when I am just making love with my husband... When I have tried to make him stop physically I just get so scared, I feel numb and sad.

It reminds me of that day. I couldn't tell my ex-best friend to stop, I was frozen with fear, trembling.

What can I do? If I don't say anything my husband says "oh you didn't like it" and I guess he doesn't mean it but he makes it a little worse. When I tell him to stop, he gets all awkward and probably feels like he is a horrible lover.

How can I just stop feeling this way?


Lillian-

As a coach, I'm going to offer some advice- however, I strongly emphasize that you (and probably your husband as well) attend therapy. Large emphasis on therapists with specialty in trauma. Please don't wait- you're living in immense pain and trauma that has altered your life.

As for my thoughts-

1) Weekly heart-to-heart talks. Be brave and ask you and your husband to have a weekly heart to heart about any and everything on your mind, including times when you couldn't say "no" but wanted to. If he gets defensive or offended by you, please remind him that your trauma and wanting to say "no" is not a rejection of him and that he shouldn't take it personally. If he cannot empathize and listen in that moment, then he has work he needs to do himself.

2) Journal. Every day, write on paper how you feel. Find somewhere peaceful, quiet, where you feel safe, when you can relax your shoulders. Start writing everything you feel - even if mundane. Explore your thoughts. This exercise brings attention to your thoughts and makes you accept the thoughts you have - and importantly - communicate to it to paper. Take as long as you feel; there is no time limit here.

3) Freezing during stressful situations. This is a stress response that many people have, amplified by your personal trauma. Understand that this is a stress situation and use healthy beliefs to deal with the situation

4) Watch YouTube Videos from people with similar life events. Heal by listening to other's stories and learning their coping mechanisms.

5) Local Women's Groups. Strongly recommend seeing if there are any women support groups in your area to share your experience.

6) Have your husband ask multiple times during sex. If you are not OK with something, have an agreed communication response. For example, shaking your head no even if you can't say "no" or another safety word/signal.

7) Practice speaking up for yourself in other situations. Practice saying "no" to others in public, or being assertive.

I think these are some places to start- I know some of these (or hope) are things you've tried, but I'd lean into them more.
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