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#406005 - 08/06/12 04:50 PM Aroused by Memories of Abuse
seikei Offline

Registered: 08/06/12
Posts: 94
I do not believe this to be very common. As I wrote when I wrote my story when I look back upon the abuse I suffered as a child I have a tendency to get aroused by out, as disgusting as it sounds. I have this unnerving sense to be held like my abusers held me, to be kissed like they kissed me, and so on and so forth. Most of the survivors I speak with look back upon their abuse with such vitrol disdain, it really makes me feel ashamed that I look back upon my sexual abuse so fondly. Has anyone else had problems like this?

#406007 - 08/06/12 05:29 PM Re: Aroused by Memories of Abuse [Re: seikei]
Afldman Offline

Registered: 07/12/12
Posts: 67
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Not exactly the same, no. I can say that my arousal is common when I am very aprehensive about something. A situation I am in, a situation I anticipate, A difficult decision to be made, etc.

I do not look back on my abuse with vitrol disdain as you indicated. I am shamed by it. I am disturbed by it. And in some ways, I am greatful for it. Yes, in some very small ways I am. I can't really explain why. And believe me, it is not the significant proportion of my feelings, but it is there.
"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them." -Daliai Lama

#406009 - 08/06/12 06:12 PM Re: Aroused by Memories of Abuse [Re: seikei]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
Arousal to recalling one's abuse is something that is often hidden with the shame that survivors sometimes feel when faced with a very common problem. There are some who will denounce others who experience such arousal.

Think about the voyeuristic elements in looking at or hearing about pornography. Are the acts all things you would like to do or are some of them things that turn you off/repulse you? Lots of folks experience arousal to things they do not want to do.

Survivor's shame with this is very common. Even having thoughts about abusing others or having some positive feelings for the abuser (whether to be held or replays of sexual situations) is something also very common.

There is no "right way" or "wrong way" to feel. Dealing with these issues in therapy (with the right therapist) is usually helpful.
Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#406015 - 08/06/12 07:38 PM Re: Aroused by Memories of Abuse [Re: seikei]
cant_remember Offline

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1070
Also something to keep in mind is how abuse can affect our "arousal template," that part of our psychosexual selves that tells us what to find attractive.

It is not your fault if elements of your abuse arouse you now. As long as you aren't hurting yourself or others, you should not feel guilty being aroused by it.

You didn't ask to be aroused by it; you were not given a choice. It is not your sin, so you have nothing to feel guilt or shame about.
I'll be just fine and dandy
Lord, it's like a hard candy Christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But I won't let sorrow get me way down.

#406029 - 08/06/12 10:48 PM Re: Aroused by Memories of Abuse [Re: seikei]
Anomalous Offline

Registered: 03/07/10
Posts: 2104
Hi Seikei,

As the others have mentioned the feelings, both physical and emotional, are not uncommon at all.

It is also not uncommon that the abuser may have been the first, or only, person to have held you or treated you nicely. This is NOT to say that you wanted the abuse. All human beings have the need to be held and loved. Without physical contact a person (and all other mammals) can develop Non-Organic Failure to Thrive Syndrome. Touch is an important part of our lives from the day we are born. When we are denied that basic need, we seek to have it filled any way we can.

But NO ONE should to have to "pay" for having a need fulfilled by being abused.

The human body is designed to respond to stimulation. It is purely a physiological reaction. The body does not make an assessment regarding whether or not the stimulation is wanted or desired. That assessment is purely cognitive. Though we may try to will our bodies not to respond, it is not uncommon for people to get aroused or to orgasm as a result of the stimulation.

If your body responded it only means one thing - the plumbing works.

NO OTHER conclusion should be drawn from the fact that your body responded as it was designed.

Many who are abused are also left with conficted feelings about and for their abuser. Some feel a deep love. Some also have difficulty seeing that what was done to them was abuse because of the fond feelings they have/ had for their abuser.

One can love the person, but hate what they did. This is a particularly common conflict when the abuser is also a family member.

Your feelings and conflicts are not "uncommon." What is "uncommon" is your courage to acknowledge and to disclose your pain.

Acceptance on someone else's terms is worse than rejection.

#406040 - 08/06/12 11:58 PM Re: Aroused by Memories of Abuse [Re: seikei]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4196
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
seikei -

yes, i have had that very confusing and disgusting - and at the same time, arousing reaction. quite a few others here have also experienced that. you can find references in the Sexual Identity Issues forum to similar issues - and there is often mention of SSA (same sex attraction) that many feel is caused by abuse of a male by a male. below are links to 2 threads that i remember on the topic (because i posted in them!) hope this is a good start to realizing you are not a unique freak - and that you are not alone in this!

How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3


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