I’m 22, and this is something I’m just now coming to terms with after having sought therapy 6 months ago. Going into therapy, I knew I needed help, but didn’t know why/what was wrong with me. I’ve felt it for years – a darkness whose source was unknown to me. It’s manifested in so many unexpected ways in every aspect of my life. All in all, I had a decent upbringing, your classic suburban household. Some issues with my parents, but nothing too outrageous. So I had no idea why I wanted to die. Self harm, alcoholism, self-sabotage, unstable relationships – I’ve never understood where this chaos stemmed from. And recently, it surfaced:
At a very young age, I was molested by my nextdoor neighbor. She was two years older than me, and it happened on and off from the time I was probably 4 to maybe 8ish. It has always been in the very recesses of my mind, but never, ever acknowledged, likely because it’s not what you would typically think of as “sexual assault”. Something obviously happened to her, and she did the same to me. She would touch me, pin me to the couch, and force me to make out with her. “Let’s play that we’re like people in a movie. Lay down on the sofa, I’ll be the man. No, you have to, because I said so. Don’t tell your mom.”
I was very close with her; she was incredibly manipulative and conniving, and I worshipped her. I was young, and didn’t know that the things she did and said were wrong. The trauma and shame surfaced when I was young, but I had no idea where they came from. I would pick the skin off of my fingers and feet until they bled. I’ve experienced bouts of dissociation my whole life. I’ve always had a sort of fractured sense of identity. I’d play out rape scenarios with my dolls, even though I had no idea what I was really doing. It has surfaced in the relationships I seek out, both platonic and romantic.
I’ve been very promiscuous since I was probably 15. Recently, I recognized that I seek out sexual encounters and, like a dog chasing its tail, each time in the vain hope that the experience brings me the sense of identity, interpersonal equality/harmony, and security that was taken from me; I seek out sex because I’m trying to face the thing that weakened me (this has all been deeply subconscious). I struggle with intimate sex with serious partners for whom I genuinely care (this is easier if I’m drunk).
I’ve always felt extremely guilty and ashamed. And now I recognize that that comes from a damaging narrative that many victims are familiar with:
“It’s my fault. I let it happen. I should have told someone. I kept going over to her house, so obviously I wanted it”.
I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I wanted to share this in the hopes that anyone with a similar experience feels less alone, and more validated. Best of luck in your healing journey.