Posts Tagged ‘survival’

I hate uncertainty. I need clarity in all things. With that in mind, I hate even more when I allow the filters through which I was taught (brainwashed) to see the world to influence me. I know where those lenses came from. I know why I think this way. So why can’t I stop it?

While I feel free here in Israel in a way I never have before, there are times when I pause in terror of conflict or potential conflict. This includes times when I’m asked where I want to eat, whether I want to do something or not, what do I think of (blank)…

Then there are the bigger things. I’ve finally loosened up to the point where I can not only interact with others, but I’m actually having fun. And then I feel like shit for having fun. Like its so exhilarating, it must be wrong. I half expect some sort of punishment to fall on me.

Fun has come in the form of dancing mostly. This week drinking also, since I’ve realized if I’m not set out to destroy myself, it’s okay. And drinking doesn’t mean drunk. Drunks freak me out. But so do clubs.

Anyways. I avoided clubs and dancing for the longest time. My experience of going out to dance included seeing how many guys I could lure at the urging of my ex. This was when I was recently exited, and had turned down stripping jobs (as if that would have eased me out of the lifestyle. NOT). He knew all this. That’s why he got a sadistic kick out it (just like he did when I broke down crying cause I didn’t want to work anymore in any aspect of the trade). Not to mention being molested in clubs by drunks. Which my ex thought was funny.

So. Dancing. I went dancing before I left for Israel. It was a transformational experience. It had nothing to do with seduction, pretense, performance. Just feeling the music. Was amazing.

I don’t think I’d be able to go out now if I hadn’t that night. The only thing I care about is the music. No one else matters, nothing else exists, it doesn’t matter what I look like.

This is intensity. Reaching the moment where I am so overcome by the beat that I lose my Self in the moment. I dance smiling like an idiot cause it’s the greatest high.

Unfortunately, I later come back to myself. And with returning self-awareness there condemnation and doubt, even though I know there is no reason for it.

But I think to myself of the way I have gone out of my way to avoid people who party or drink in any way. Avoiding, but not judging. So why do I judge myself? What am I judging myself for? What is harmful about enjoyment?

I feel like I’m heading in the right direction, doing things I would not have been able to do months ago, even. Its amazing. And terrifying.

It’s a learning curve that feels more a twisted maze.

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I spent the last 2+ years wondering why my trafficker let me keep profits. WHY? I knew he got a sadistic pleasure seeing me being pimped out, and that’s what I told myself was the reason for my keeping profits – that money was not his goal out of trafficking me. But now I have another explanation that make SO much more sense, and is SO much more chilling.

My theory:

A young woman I was seeing at the time put me in his sights. I have reason to believe she was one of his “girls”, a favoured one, and she saw “potential” in me, and got him to contact me.

He set her aside and chose me, claiming to love me. I asked what he did, who he was… all those normal things you do with a potential or new partner… but could never verify his businesses or his name (and I did try) – but I ignored all of this because “he loves me”.

I believe he then started grooming me – sending me out to have sex with other men while he watched, even when I did not consent (which was all the time, especially in the beginning… later on in the relationship, I would simply shut up, and asked how high when he would say jump).

He had me join an escort service after months of debate and protest, and told me I needed to make money (never really explained why though, or why a “normal” job wouldn’t do… He just broke me down by constantly objectifying and sexualizing me). I think he wanted me to become addicted to the money (I was making 180-300$ an hr – all profit, and all soul-killing).

He kept getting infuriated that I would save none of it. I considered it blood money, and it ran like water through my fingers (something I at times feel pangs about since I am unemployed and attempting to start a business)… He tried, and succeeded for a time, to make me believe I was only good for sex, and all I was, was an object to be used. That my worth lied between my legs. It is a belief I still struggle with.

He mentioned that he was involved with someone who later become a BDSM porn star. That I DID verify. He wanted me to get into porn. I never did, and just missed doing so only by the grace of God. I now believe he was still involved in that poor woman’s “career”, and he bragged about getting her into it. I believe he was seeing profits from her. And I do not believe she was the only one.

He mentioned in casual conversation killing people, and wanting me to participate. I went along with this (I had a lot of self-loathing and anger towards men), but never took him seriously. I now take what he said VERY seriously. I believe he DID kill someone. And that he will again.

He kept trying to get me to stop taking my medication. Every time I listened, I would become suicidal, and eventually go back on them.

I now believe he was trying to get me addicted to other drugs, use the profits I made from sex to move in with him, and then he would “casually” take over finances, keeping me there as a sex slave, financial prisoner, and emotional punching bag, and whatever else his sociopathic mind saw fit to put me through.

I feel like I’ve been running on a treadmill the last week or so. You know, running no where fast?

I do realize I am still moving forward, slowly but surely, but sometimes the slow pace frustrates me. I want life’s changes to happen now. 

I love the saying “even if you fall flat on your face, you will still be moving forward” (forget who the quote is by).

Cause even though my sleep has suffered – as in I am getting almost none – I am still going to school. I am still writing my blog. I am still taking care of myself. Even though I have been triggered by two of my exes… I am still keeping up with therapy, and with my support groups, and I decided to trust a friend with what happened when the burden of silence became too much for me.

I passed my birthday in this limbo-like state. I went out to eat with my family. I normally lack the patience to eat out. I hate the insincerity of small talk. I find it depressing. I was the odd one out – my parents were there as a couple, so were my grandparents, so were my siblings with their gf and bf. I was the only single one, and for once that did not bother me.

Yet if I was so unbothered, and in a good mood, why did I break my two years -or so- sober streak? It was only one drink, but I am so unused to alcohol that it hit me by the second or third sip. And I finished the whole cocktail.

Ugh. I know why I did it. I drank to get through the dinner without being disturbed by wondering if the sex I “participated” in the day before was really consentual (it was not. I clearly said no, stop, and even kicked him back).

Am I right to be beating myself up for being fooled into that type of situation again?

Maybe.

But before I beat myself up, I would rather beat him up for creating this turmoil with me.

And for my other ex, for his constant harassment of me through text messages – time to change my number yet again.

So how about something more positive in my life right now?

It might sound silly, but when I am stressed (which is often), I tend to recite things that are good for skin care (for example, what vitamin A or zinc are good for in relation to skin)… And as a gift for my birthday, I got to order a bunch of skin care items. I like to experiment and make my own creams and lotions and body butters…

I discovered skin care as a way of turning my self-destructive tendencies into something more positive. I’m now taking classes in esthetics, and its very weird to be touching other people in the esthetics lab. Triggering in a way, but soothing at the same time.

I have this crazy dream, once I’m done school, and have established myself somewhat in the field. I want to work with survivors to make them feel beautiful, and help them gain back their self-esteem. But even more then that, I would love to create my own skin care line, with proceeds going towards DV awareness.

❤ stay strong

Is it possible to reclaim a sense of intimacy once you’ve been abused?

And what about when you have been sexualized since childhood in violence?

I have never been intimate with anybody, ever. I’ve had plenty of partners, and plenty of sex, but nothing with an emotional connection.

I would even go so far as to leave any man who seemed too connected to me.

That seemed to change when I met the abuser who ultimately tried to kill me… My emotions got involved, but still, I would dissociate and simply go through the motions.

Now that I am finally single I’ve had a lot of time to think all of this through. I’ve decided to be celibate for the time being, and do some work on myself before I try to connect with someone else on any sort of “intimate” level.

Honestly, I do not even know what I like, or whom I like sexually. As I was sexualized in violence, that is what I reenacted time and time again as an adult. But I’ve realized that I don’t think that’s what I want. Nor I am completely certain I am straight. How would I know for sure, if I am not even capable of saying no or expressing what I like sexually. And what do I like, anyways?

In many ways, I have taken my power back and changed my life for the better. Yet this is one hurdle I cannot seem to jump over.

I tend to go through cycles where I cannot stand the thought of being touched or touching someone else in any capacity. And the thought of being intimately close with a man leaves me nauseated and anxious. I tend to forget that men are capable of feelings, even though some of my dearest friends are men (my mind simply has decided they are more “human”…)

Most importantly, how do you cultivate a sense of safety while being intimate? Sex is the closest you can possibly get to someone, and about the furthest I get to a person emotionally. Sex was the weapon used against me as a child, a teen, and an adult. Even sex with “good guys” is spoiled, because all that is in my mind is a sense of violation and going through the motions. So how could I ever feel safe?

I’m not quite ready to talk about this in therapy (yes, I do see the irony in talking about it to the world and their mother on the net), so I went searching for the perfect book to suit my needs.

A book for survivors that talked openly and honestly about discovering intimacy. I found a book called Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma by Staci Haines.

I have only just begun the book, but it seems like it has some really good advice, more then the standard “sex is normal and good” that I seem to read in survival books.

When you are so disconnected to your own body that you forget you possess one, what do you do?

But also, how do you find a partner willing to be patient enough to work through these issues together with you?

I will continue on this vein as I get more into the book.

Sometimes, when I am feeling vulnerable, I wonder to myself why I left you.

To the uninitiated it sounds completely bizarre, I know, but I do miss you and long for you.

So I have made a list, to remind myself of why I needed to leave you, and the ones that are just like you. Because you are all essentially the same.

You brainwashed me

You set me in harms way

You warped my perceptions of what proper female/male relationships should be

You make me cry

You disrespect me

You treat me like the worst criminal

You make me doubt my own sanity

You’re treatment of me caused complex PTSD, which I still suffer from

You caused me to momentarily die

You made me believe I was worthless. You made me believe I had no one but you to rely on, and that imprisoned me. You treated me like I was nothing, and enjoyed it when I was down, as you got to pick me back up… Only to repeat the cycle over and over. You isolated me from my friends and family, to the point that it still effects my relationship with them today. I struggle to believe they are at all about me, and I struggle to fit in because I feel warped and damaged by you.

You convinced me I was crazy. You convinced me I served no purpose in life if it was not your purpose for me, and those purposes were criminal. You degraded me, you violated me, and you admittedly reveled in your misuse of me.

So. This is where I say goodbye to you.

How does a former prostitute and abuse victim fit in again into the real world?

This is a question I am still working on answering since I started asking it a year ago.

Last summer my ex strangled me, and I had a near death experience. I heard celestial music before everything went black. I saw the bright light. And once I went through the light, I felt God’s love surround me. Words cannot describe how comforting that light and love was. I felt accepted, and truly loved exactly as I am, for the first time since I was a child. Honestly, I wanted to stay. Why would I want to return to the cold, harsh world of pain, when I could stay and be loved so completely? I heard God’s voice, and He told me not yet, it is not my time just yet. That’s when I woke up on the ground, and the music faded.

Is it weird to be thankful for an event that momentarily ended your life? I am. I am so thankful it happened. That was rock bottom for me. It forced me to face the fact that the man I love(d) almost murdered me. And so I made a pact with myself to change my life.

Things are more normal now. My life does not revolve around whichever abusive monster I am with. I am not in a constant panic, constantly breathless and trying to calm my rapidly beating heart. I am no longer forced to think a certain way, to associate with certain people, to dress or weigh or appear in a manner pleasing to my abuser. I no longer have to suppress myself. I am no longer forced to commit acts that kill my soul and degrade my body.

Yet still I struggle with the feeling of “normalcy”.

There are times when I feel so shamed due to the past that I cannot breathe. And I wonder if those around me can tell. If they can somehow sense that I am unclean.

But then I remember that if God can love me after all I have been through, there is no reason why I cannot accept myself.

So I try. I feel awkward and ungraceful with “normal” people – like when I am in school, or applying for a normal job. But I continue on. I keep trying. And I know that there are a few people, those who know my story – they accept me.

Basically, it is a matter of how I carry myself, portray myself, and project myself. No one knows my secrets but me.

As long as I hold my head up high, shoulder back, bearing proud… There is no reason why I cannot fit in.

I’ve been asking myself how one can stand to celebrate important live events when they have been made to feel subhuman.

Even having made a complete 180 from the person I was back then when I was abused and enslaved, I still struggle with feelings of self-worth on important days of the year – holidays, birthdays.

For the most part, I avoid holidays. I used to feel guilty about this… I would be the only family member who was glaringly absent. But the truth is, I do not fit in. And if I am even more honest – the reason I do not fit in is because my abusers made sure I would always feel like I stick out like a sore thumb.

I’m now unapologetic (mostly) when I avoid important events. I would rather look after my own health and well-being then risk a set back.

I had even become pretty good at avoiding my birthday. I would not answer the phone, or tell friends of the impending event. I would not announce it on any social media I took part in.

Come to think of it, I still don’t.

My goal in celebrating the day of my birth seems to be a bit different then my peers who are also in their 20s.

I am not looking to get drunk (I quit drinking), I’m not looking to smoke any illicit substances (ditto), I do not want to go clubbing (I love to dance, but have been assaulted in clubs before… Not my idea of a good time). I don’t want a huge celebration, or even a small one.

I’m not sure I want anyone other then myself to acknowledge the day by doing anything.

So how do I celebrate a day that once brought me more misery then usual?

I focus on good things.

I count my blessings. I reflect on how far I have come, and how far I still want to go, and review the steps I have to take to get there.

I do something to pamper myself. I made plans with myself to order some skin care items online. Self-care shows me I am worth taking care of. Who needs a man when I have myself?! 😉

I might ask a couple of my close friends out, maybe for coffee, maybe for lunch. I usually wait for friends to contact me, as I feel I would be bugging them if I *dared* asked them to do something with me, instead of wait for them to ask. This is the remains of the voice of my abusers. But I’ll attempt to overcome it.

I look forward to a peaceful birthday. I am thankful to be single. I am thankful to be free. I am thankful I am happy. I am thankful for my support system.