Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Associating Positive Feelings with a Negative Incident

I was molested as a child. I know that is a pretty cliché statement for an emotionally dysfunctional female, but I have a unique tale to tell. I want to share it in case someone has experienced something similar and did NOT have the wise counsel I did to help me through it.

I never told anyone. I never wrote about in my journal. I never even really acknowledged it until 2003. I had moved back to Minnesota and was horribly depressed (NOT because I was molested, but because the sun never shines in that God-forsaken place). In an effort to clear out my head, I started writing daily. One random day in December, the subject came up.

Dec 16, 2003
There were at least 10 people I was intimate with by the time I was 10 years old. Some relatives, some females, some I was perfectly comfortable with (some were not so comfortable). Why does the fact that I was molested not seem to affect me?

When I was three years old, there was a man’s touch that I enjoyed, but it only happened once. For many years, I longed for him. Why is it that I have a love for him rather than a hate? How can I not be angry with him?

Why do I have the memory? Does he? If he does, I desperately want him to know that it is okay. He did not harm me – I feel as if he actually showed me love, care, compassion. That night in his bed is a good memory.

WTF is wrong with me?! How could I write/feel something so perverse? I was THREE YEARS OLD! Am I completely psychotic? Am I supposed to talk about this with someone?

If I ever feel led to say anything to anyone, I pray that I have the opportunity to tell him that it is okay. I would never want him to carry any burden about it…

This journal writing bothered me for quite some time. I didn’t understand. The whole thing was confusing to me. I wanted to know how I could be okay with someone wronging me in the worst possible way.

Soon after, I started to see a counselor for my depression. In March of 2004, I finally told her about the molestation and asked her all my questions. Her explanation was so very helpful to me. Her words brought me so much comfort and relief. She wasn’t able to answer all of my questions, but she brought enough closure to the issue that I have never looked back.

When a person is three-years-old, we are not mentally developed enough to know that sexual touch from an older person is wrong. If there is no physical pain involved, our bodies then associate a positive feeling with the incident. Only when we are older do we associate moral opinions with the incident (but yet still carry the positive physical feeling).

Because the touch was not painful, my body associated happy thoughts with intimacy. The fact that it happened again by someone else taught me that such activity was “common” or “acceptable,” “normal,” “okay.” This deleted the possibility that I would ever tell another adult, and so the molestations continued (and realize that sometimes, I was the aggressor).

The counselor went on to explain that when I was older, say 7 or 8, that I associated moral right or wrong and emotion with each incident. I re-created the memories to include whatever mentally developed thoughts I had. By that time, the repeated actions by others had ingrained in my mind that intimacy between two people – regardless of age or gender – was okay. Thus, deleting the possibility that I would ever tattle, and increasing my desire to have such intimate interactions with people.

There is NOTHING haywire with my brain. I am NOT psychotic! I just have a very different experience than most children who are molested.


Don’t misunderstand. There are side effects to my unique story. However, the side effects, I think, are of a completely different nature than most children who are molested. The most obvious of side effects is my ridiculous sex drive – seriously, like I could have relations with my husband four times a day if he was up for it. I believe this stems from my positive feeling associated with the first incident. I also place a LOT of importance on physical intimacy - much more than I should. I have a great fear of rejection, but only in regards to physical intimacy. Even so much as if my husband doesn’t kiss me the minute he sees me, I feel rejected. I know that my issues are still issues that I need to deal with. But truthfully, I think the abandonment by my father and the emotional abuse I suffered as a child had a much more lasting effect on my psyche than the fact that I was molested.

Thankfully, my counselor back in 2004 helped me see that I am not crazy. If you have dealt with molestation, please know I am sorry. But also know that there are a plethora of avenues to get help.


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  1. Wow! Well, first of all, I feel inclined to tell you that I am sorry that you have gone through this but you have probably heard that line before. More so, I commend you for being so honest and true with your feelings. I give you so much credit to feel it and put it to paper (or keyboard and screen). And, for the record, you are not crazy!

  2. I actually have NOT heard that line before (I'm sorry), so your sentiment is appreciated.

    I seriously want to write an autobiography, and I figured that in order for that to happen, I have to be able to write the truth. This was an exercise for myself as much as it was entertainment for others to read.

    Thank you for spending your time reading my work. Your input is greatly appreciated.