I think a lot of us with PTSD struggle with the concept of a healthy body image.

After being repeatedly degraded, sexualized or desexualized, being mocked, and condescended to, raped and beaten… I am no longer surprised to hear of eating issues, body dysmorphia, and a general lack of love for your-self.

It took me a long time to realize the correlation between my weight losses and gains and being abused. The first time I “came down” with anorexic-like behaviour, I was 15 or so, and being abused emotionally, physically, and sexually by my first serious boyfriend.

I gained weight after, and lost weight again in a similar situation. By the time I was being prostituted a couple years ago, my “bf” (read: pimp) at the time liked the fact my body was curvy and voluptuous. Instead of escaping the situation, I internalized all the cr*p he was feeding me about being “only good for one thing”, and took it out on my body, losing weight again. When I met my next bf, who “rescued” me (never trust a white knight– their armor is tarnished, as is their souls), I was down to an abnormal weight for myself. The longer I was with him and more dependent I became on the relationship, the more I hated the body he loved. I gained significant weight before the night he tried to kill me, but after that event, it was like a no-holds-barred food buffet in an attempt to stuff my emotions.

Anyways…

I didn’t start liking myself until I started spending time with myself. I realized I had to have some positive emotion towards myself in order the change the pattern. I’m still trying to figure out the mechanism that lead to change within me, so that I can share it. All I know was that after the rape three months ago, I had enough.

In conversations with one of my exes, it becomes blatantly clear to me exactly why I turned to someone who rose red flags in my mind. As sad as it sounds, he made me feel completely unwanted– like I had no value sexually.

Bizarre, how I reacted, one would think that I would welcome the change from a literal sex slave, to… unsexed companion? But I’ve finally had to admit to myself that I’m simply not in a place mentally where I can be with a man, and not be physically intimate. I feel useless. And lonely. And dirty. And convinced that if he’s not getting any from me, he is getting it elsewhere.

So as soon as I cut him out of my life (again), I turned to a guy I casually saw, and who DID see sexual value in me. Enter feelings of validation. He rose red flags through mock-hitting me, accusations of cheating, and constantly checking up on me throughout the day… But I did not count of being assaulted by him.

I digress though, this is supposed to be about body image.

I had my massage yesterday, which was interesting. It incorporated BodyTalk techniques to help release trauma from my body (the areas worked on were my back and neck and face). Some of the spots she worked on felt completely numb to me, while pain flared elsewhere, and images flashed through my mind reminding me why I was hurting there.

It is very hard to relax during a massage. I hate being seen without my clothes on, to the point where I will put of showering or changing my clothing so I don’t have to experience myself naked. Touch without alterior motives is completely foreign to me (and perhaps on of the big problems I had with the ex mentioned above).

It’s hard to admit, but it went well. It was difficult emotionally, and afterwards I could not stand the thought of being in close proximity with anyone. The thought of anyone coming up behind me has me paranoid (not unusual).

The fact that my sex drive has bounced back through healthy eating and the elimination of libido-supressing medications has me a little freaked. Part of me worries I will act out like I used to. But the fact that I have an awareness I didn’t back then, helps me realize that self-destructive behaviour is unlikely.

Sorry for the disjointed thoughts. I seem to be a bit all over the place today. I really did intend on writing a well thought out post on Body Image.

Stay Safe ❤

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Comments
  1. You need to be good to yourself and that includes a healthy relationship with a man who values you and cherishes you. You don’t have to put up with abuse and definitely not sexual abuse.

    There are good men out there and you have to see yourself worthy of their attention and love. To do that you need to love yourself and not see yourself through the eyes of some very broken asshole.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

  2. stellamarr says:

    This is a great blog on PTSD. It’s really helped me. Love to you darling xo

    http://ptsdawayout.com/2011/03/24/how-the-body-releases-trauma-and-restores-goodness/

  3. Marty says:

    Thanks for the plug Stella

    We have. Low self image from our abuse. In Coping with trauma related dissociation, w have parts stuck in ou hildgood long with some emotions. OUr coping mechanisms ere mied with norml development. this is why we feel conflicted at times.

    You are perfect and no one can touch that. All of us are perfect. Implement things like our thoughs or ego I impermanent. We created our ego from last memories, Buddha’s Brain, Rick Hanson says
    We cn reprogram our ego. I hv and added affirmations.

    Good Luke

    Marty

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