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#63139 - 08/04/06 07:11 AM is this "normal"? i *think* it is...
natalie_in_recovery Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 16
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
hello all,

last night me and my guy were intimate. it was great - he initiated and said he felt safe, and his behavior was congruent with his words.

after, we laid around talking (as usual, our conversation alternated between the silly and the serious). at one point he said that his inner kids wanted to say something, and that he wanted to say it to take care of them. he assured me that he wasn't saying it to push me away. he said that, just because we make love, i don't own him and he doesn't own me. he assured me that he had not ever felt this way with me, but that the words and actions of his perpetrators told them that they DID own him, and that he felt the need to make this statement to take care of his inner kids.

i know from reading "allies in healing" (and what i've read so far in "ghosts in the bedroom"), that survivors often associate love and/or sex with "being owned," because that's what they were associated with in their childhoods. i also know that survivors often feel the need to put a little distance after being intimate and feeling good. in addition, i know from my own instincts and from reading about it that it's a "good sign" that he feels close and safe enough to take care of himself like this - in every other romantic relationship he's either run away or suppressed his fear until it became resentment, and both of us have said that we don't want either of these things to happen and will work our tails off to prevent them.

i know that this relationship is giving me a chance to do some serious work on my own codependency issues, and i could feel my insecurity and controlling impulses come to light when he made his statement. of course as a rational adult i don't want to "own" or "be owned," but that fucking codependent part of me (the part that i guess wants total symbiosis with my partner) was kinda hurt.

ok, all of this is leading up to these questions: regarding him - is it normal for a survivor to say something like he did? regarding me: it is ok that (the admittedly dysfunctional) part of me was a little hurt by it?

#63140 - 08/10/06 08:58 AM Re: is this "normal"? i *think* it is...
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hi Natalie,

It may be normal for a survivor to *say* what he said, but the thought process behind it is certainly normal... a suspicion that most nice/good times only seem to be nice and good, and a need to feel autonomous and in control.

Is it "okay" for you to be hurt by it?... I don't know that it matters whether or not our feelings are "okay," because we feel them anyway. I don't think it makes you a terrible girlfriend, or dysfunctional. I know that when my partner's stuff is so clearly "not about me" (as this statement of your guy was not about you at all) that I feel uncomfortable sometimes. It's not exactly hurt, but I feel frustrated and incapable knowing that I can't change or solve the problem, which doesn't feel good. Also I feel anger that this sort of bullshit continues to be part of our lives even after how far we've come.

It seems to me that my feelings are all normal and healthy for me to have when someone close to me is going through something painful that I can't do much about. I would have similar feelings for my sister or a friend in that situation.

In your previous posts, you mentioned that his lack of committment/acknowledgment of the relationship is an issue for you. Is it possible that this issue is part of your hurt over his statement? Or do you wonder if he said it as a sort of backhanded way of addressing that issue?


#63141 - 08/20/06 03:15 AM Re: is this "normal"? i *think* it is...
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

Sorry I missed this back when you first posted it. You raise an important issue here.

Speaking as a survivor I think what your guy meant was that in his emotions as an abused boy he could see that intimacy with you was something you two had shared. It wasn't something that was taken from him.

That is absolutely huge for a survivor. I remember so many times as a boy coming home, looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, "It happened ... again!" I felt like an empty shell; my body didn't belong to me. I was worthless and unimportant. Anything could be done to me by anyone at any time. The world was full of danger.

I think what your partner was trying to do was protect his sentiment that intimacy with you wasn't like that. It was something shared on a basis of mutual respect and consent. But expressed as a kid would put it, yeah, "You don't own me", as the song goes.

I can understand how part of you would be uncomfortable with that claim, but when he says that he isn't trying to downplay any sense of shared commitment. He's just trying to verbalize a distinction that's very important for a survivor. Sexual expression shared with someone we love is light years from the terrible things that were forced upon us as boys.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)


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