Trauma Bonding and the Difference Between Sex and Sexual Abuse

WARNING: the following will make some people uncomfortable. It’s what I do now.

I saw this and I had to share it. This is so, SO important to know.

I used to blame myself for the abuse I endured back when I was a teenager. “If I hadn’t have done this, then this wouldn’t have happened.” “I was so stupid for doing *this,*” and on and on. And I was so shamed, ostracized and felt beyond redemption, of course it was my fault.

Through serious prayer, meditation, Paul and EMDR, I can now see my past with clarity. And I see now that NONE of it was my fault. None of it.

I have to share a quote from psychologist Robin E. Brickel that clearly defines the difference between sex and sexual abuse, because it’s SO confusing when you’ve been abused:

“I don’t want anyone to experience this kind of shame, guilt or doubt around sexual violence. Rape, sexual violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse of any kind is never your fault! It was not your fault; you didn’t ‘ask’ for it, and it wasn’t sex. It was abuse. The two are not the same.

“Sex starts and ends with consent.

“Sex is a consensual bodily pleasure. Sex is equally wanted between equally empowered people. Sex occurs with two consenting adults.” (Here is the link to the full article: https://brickelandassociates.com/when-is-it-sex-and-when-is-it-sexual-abuse-or-assault/)

Of course, abuse is SO not confined to sexual abuse, and it’s never just sexual or physical abuse. Emotional abuse goes alongside it and is just as damaging in its own way, causing serious flashbacks and havoc all by itself.

As I discovered all this, I was tormented with the question—how did I fall for it? How did I become a puppet? How did I lose control of my mind? How??

Then I saw this and BOOM. There was my answer.

It took me years to learn how to trust my own feelings again and stand up for myself—it’s SUCH a new thing, and so liberating and awesome—because I had no sense of self anymore. My self-esteem was obliterated, I didn’t know how to trust my own mind and feelings. I would apologize for having an opinion. I still do sometimes out of habit.

But there is HOPE!!! I have healed so much through the unconditional love and support of my family and through prayer and therapy.

I need you to know it’s NOT YOUR FAULT. You are not alone. And you CAN heal.