A big part of my child abuse included exposure to porn. Suggestive nude photos were taken of me when I was preschool age. I was in elementary school when porn showed up in the cupboard next to the doll dishes. The abuse progressed, or digressed, from there. Perversion and pornography have been a lifelong trauma trigger.
Even when I was in denial it affected me. Or I should say: back when I was in denial this stuff REALLY affected me. I either laughed along to, or stood silently enduring, off-color jokes in public. Then, in a private tornado of bitter rage, the disgust at the joke teller was dumped onto my BHH (better half of my heart). He was left sputtering and agreeing that the guy was out of line or the looks-like-porn-book was better left on the shelf. Yet he also wondered what he was supposed to ‘do’. Shun the guy? Say something to the guy? Avoid anything with any bit of nudity or suggestive poses in it? Hmm.
All or nothing thinking is one of the cognitive distortions I’ve been working on eliminating. It’s a bugger.
I have only recently discovered the link to the Kinsey experiments and the explosion of porn in our culture. This video on pornography is disturbing but something I wish I had been aware of prior in my walk. Please use discretion if you watch it as the language is blunt and not appropriate for young children to hear. As Dr. Judith Reisman says near the end, “We’ve all been raped.”
Indeed. It’s been done. We can’t undo it now. We have all, to some degree, suffered from the trauma of having perversion normalized. What are we going to do about the damages? Or do we just do as I once did and laugh (or stay silent) in public. Then lash out in private on those who don’t deserve it. And thus keep pretending there haven’t been any significant damages?
For me, healing began with offering myself, with as much abandonment as my emotional state allowed me to give, at the cross of Christ. From there, He has led me through the wilderness, put countless people into my life to help me (after I made myself vulnerable and asked for help) and I know that He is with me as I soldier onward to the promised land.
So if you need help in the form of God, other humans, therapists, pastors, Stephen ministers, support groups, etc., there is no shame in asking for it. I am continually amazed and thankful at how often a simple asking has led to my needs being more than met. In fact, it is quite courageous to ask for help. And it’s also courageous to receive. To learn to receive is something I still work on now and then. But oh, the blessing, to receive help! I would merely caution that you find a therapist, minister, or support group that aligns with your religious convictions. I tried a local therapist but I could only go so far until the new age philosophy began to stall my progress. What has worked best for me is a Christian counselor via Skype. She understands my hesitation with anything ‘new age’ and respects it. She also gives me Bible verses and prayers.
Again, it is not shameful to ask for help. To paraphrase Dr. John Sarno “I suggest you treat yourself to therapy.”