littlebilby

How to disentangle my asexuality from my trauma?

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littlebilby

Hey all,

I started coming to terms with my sexuality this year, and it's been a slow process but one that is becoming easier. I've told my family and some friends. I've had a few issues here and there but mostly everyone has been supportive.

 

The main issue I'm having is with people suggesting I have trauma that hasn't been dealt with. My mother was sexually abused by my grandfather and I found out in puberty, but had to continue having him in my life, and for the sake of my mum (who tried to salvage her parental relationships), I had to pretend I didn't know and pretend that I still loved him. My mum only decided to cut them out of her life last year after many years of trying to repair what had been done to her. She's recently been focused on how her trauma has affected her daughters (we all have had our own difficulties with it) and she wants me to get counselling and make sure that it's not that trauma that's made me the way I am, rather than asexuality.

 

Before I knew what Asexuality was, I thought this could be the sexual roadblock I kept coming up against. I discussed it in therapy a few times but there didn't seem to be much to unpick. I definitely know that it was traumatic for me, but he's not in our lives anymore and I don't have to pretend that things are okay so I feel like a lot of that trauma is resolved. I can't afford therapy now so it isn't possible to work things through with a professional. I feel like my Asexuality is what it is, and that the issues with my grandfather are separate, but how can I be sure? I feel like I have no way of separating all these feelings/memories etc. and figuring out what has lead to what. 
My Mum is supportive of my sexuality but also has taken it the hardest and keeps suggesting that 'things may change' and that I 'need to keep an open mind', so I think deep down she is hoping I am not Ace and that I can have therapy and be 'fixed', even though she would never say that to me outright. 

 

For some extra info, I'm not sex-repulsed, I say I have a very small sex life that is only with myself, and is not driven by desire but more a hormonal need every so often. I'm 26, never had sex or really any sexual encounters. For a long time I desperately wanted a relationship and to have sex because I was ashamed of being a virgin but all that has disappeared since I started to come to terms with my asexuality, and I feel very free of those burdens I had on myself. I don't know my romantic orientation... still figuring that part out. 

 

I'm sorry for the massive post! I turn to you guys because I have no one else to talk this through with, without having to deal with their expectations of me. I only just started to feel comfortable with myself and this has thrown it all for a loop again so I just want to be on steady ground. Thanks for your help!

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Tunes

It’s always a good idea to keep an open mind, but keeping an open mind does not mean pushing yourself to change your mind. Being open to change and actively trying to change are very different things.

 

I think trauma can affect sexuality, but I don’t believe that it usually does. I think it more often affects repulsion. I think that people who are affected by sexual trauma often wish that they could enjoy sex, or at least see the appeal, but are too repulsed because of the trauma. Or maybe they don’t know whether they feel attraction because the repulsion is too strong. But I don’t think trauma can *cause* asexuality. I could easily see how repulsion could drown out sexuality, though.

 

Of course, I’m not an expert. And assuming you can find an ace-friendly therapist, looking into the possibility with a professional (when you can afford it) isn’t a bad idea. But if you can’t afford it anyway, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. 

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Back to Avalon

@littlebilby Don't be afraid to write long posts. Many people do. AVEN members are here to listen (read)!

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littlebilby
3 hours ago, Tunes said:

It’s always a good idea to keep an open mind, but keeping an open mind does not mean pushing yourself to change your mind. Being open to change and actively trying to change are very different things.

 

I think trauma can affect sexuality, but I don’t believe that it usually does. I think it more often affects repulsion. I think that people who are affected by sexual trauma often wish that they could enjoy sex, or at least see the appeal, but are too repulsed because of the trauma. Or maybe they don’t know whether they feel attraction because the repulsion is too strong. But I don’t think trauma can *cause* asexuality. I could easily see how repulsion could drown out sexuality, though.

 

Of course, I’m not an expert. And assuming you can find an ace-friendly therapist, looking into the possibility with a professional (when you can afford it) isn’t a bad idea. But if you can’t afford it anyway, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. 

Thanks for your reply! That's true, I think. I don't have that repulsion... And I don't really have a 'I wish I could enjoy sex' feeling because I don't have a strong push to have sex at all. 

 

36 minutes ago, Back to Avalon said:

@littlebilby Don't be afraid to write long posts. Many people do. AVEN members are here to listen (read)!

Thanks! I feel mindful of posting too much, but I so appreciate people's help and having people to talk to. It's really helpful.

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MichaelTannock

Your post is not the longest one I've read, so don't worry about the length.

I think your trauma and your orientation are unrelated.
I say that because even though I'm not you, I have a traumatic sexual experience in my childhood that I wondered if it made me Asexual, and have come to the conclusion that it didn't.

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Notarealname

Thank you for beeing so open. It also helps me to open up to public.

First of all I think you are a strong person. You're story is hard. 

Well I think what you know may have an effect on you're sexuality. Because there is much more going on in our minds then we think. Even if, the result is the person you are now and you need to deal with it.

Don't push youreself to something. Like "how I became like this". Its actually not important. Important is that you know now and you can focus on ppl which are like you. You don't need to fit in the normals ppl live because you got you're very own needs.

Its you're label now. Maybe it will change again. But don't waste youre energy with thinking about the "how I became like that" because even if you would know the exact reason it wont change anything.

Hope I got you right :) Wish you all the best!

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Hild

Most likely your mum is just super-worried about her being the cause of it, which is typical of trauma-survivors, thinking they are somehow toxic or at fault for anything "bad" that happens.  She probably worries that her telling you about her trauma is what caused your asexuality and that she's blocked you from being happy.  That she has caused harm to her child.  You can work on easing her fears rather than seeking treatment, since you can't afford it, and don't really need it if you're happy enough being asexual.  I know it must be hard to find your balance with having figured out this big thing about your identity and your future, only to have your mum make you doubt yourself.  You seem to hold a lot of compassion and love for her, so carry that along with patience as you get to work.  Ease her fears like you would those of a small child.  Tell her she's doing okay, that she's a good mum, that she did her best, that she's not at fault, that you love her, that the important thing for you is that she accepts you as you are now.  Acknowledge her fears, but gently remind her that you know yourself best, and that she can trust your judgement when it comes to your identity and sexuality, that these are things you will continue to figure out for yourself.  Tell her how much you value her support.

 

And if your asexuality is in part caused by trauma, that doesn't mean it will go away with treatment.  Your asexuality is valid even if it's caused by trauma.

My demi-label is most likely influenced by trauma, I am prepared for the possibility that it will ease off as I feel more safe or find good trauma treatment, but I can't really remember being any other way, and I don't actually think it's going to change, nor do I hope for it.  It is what it is, it will change if it changes, and here and now I don't have to worry about existing as I am.  This is my truth, which I write.

Your mum is trying to make your asexuality a part of her story and her trauma.  Gently remind her that it's part of your story, and that ultimately you are the only one who can write the truth of it.

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Tunes
On 10/9/2018 at 2:27 PM, Hild said:

Most likely your mum is just super-worried about her being the cause of it, which is typical of trauma-survivors, thinking they are somehow toxic or at fault for anything "bad" that happens.  She probably worries that her telling you about her trauma is what caused your asexuality and that she's blocked you from being happy.  That she has caused harm to her child.  You can work on easing her fears rather than seeking treatment, since you can't afford it, and don't really need it if you're happy enough being asexual.  I know it must be hard to find your balance with having figured out this big thing about your identity and your future, only to have your mum make you doubt yourself.  You seem to hold a lot of compassion and love for her, so carry that along with patience as you get to work.  Ease her fears like you would those of a small child.  Tell her she's doing okay, that she's a good mum, that she did her best, that she's not at fault, that you love her, that the important thing for you is that she accepts you as you are now.  Acknowledge her fears, but gently remind her that you know yourself best, and that she can trust your judgement when it comes to your identity and sexuality, that these are things you will continue to figure out for yourself.  Tell her how much you value her support.

This, definitely.

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littlebilby
On 10/10/2018 at 6:27 AM, Hild said:

Most likely your mum is just super-worried about her being the cause of it, which is typical of trauma-survivors, thinking they are somehow toxic or at fault for anything "bad" that happens.  She probably worries that her telling you about her trauma is what caused your asexuality and that she's blocked you from being happy.  That she has caused harm to her child.  You can work on easing her fears rather than seeking treatment, since you can't afford it, and don't really need it if you're happy enough being asexual.  I know it must be hard to find your balance with having figured out this big thing about your identity and your future, only to have your mum make you doubt yourself.  You seem to hold a lot of compassion and love for her, so carry that along with patience as you get to work.  Ease her fears like you would those of a small child.  Tell her she's doing okay, that she's a good mum, that she did her best, that she's not at fault, that you love her, that the important thing for you is that she accepts you as you are now.  Acknowledge her fears, but gently remind her that you know yourself best, and that she can trust your judgement when it comes to your identity and sexuality, that these are things you will continue to figure out for yourself.  Tell her how much you value her support.

 

And if your asexuality is in part caused by trauma, that doesn't mean it will go away with treatment.  Your asexuality is valid even if it's caused by trauma.

My demi-label is most likely influenced by trauma, I am prepared for the possibility that it will ease off as I feel more safe or find good trauma treatment, but I can't really remember being any other way, and I don't actually think it's going to change, nor do I hope for it.  It is what it is, it will change if it changes, and here and now I don't have to worry about existing as I am.  This is my truth, which I write.

Your mum is trying to make your asexuality a part of her story and her trauma.  Gently remind her that it's part of your story, and that ultimately you are the only one who can write the truth of it.

Hey, thanks so much for your thoughtful kind response. You really gave me some great advice and you're so right about her perspective and fears and guilt. I really appreciate what you said, you've really helped ❤️ 

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