Trauma I Caused Upon Myself

I got introduced way too early to porn and a bad idea of what sex and love is. I was manipulated and treated poorly by my peers for years and years as a child and had to change myself heavily to fit into the rest of what other people were losing myself along the way. I discovered porn before tween age and i saw some damaging things. I saw people being humiliated but having the reward of sex and attention and i craved that. I felt like i related to the pain those people acted out in scenes while wanting the attention of sex. I forget how, but a very older man had gotten my phone number and was trying to talk to me and be sexual. I didnt know better and engaged only by talking because i had gotten attention. This stopped thankfully, but later in life (12 ish 13ish) i went out looking for what i thought was sexual “love” online with old men. I get constant panic attacks from the choices i made at that age. I dont feel like i can ever be healthy again. I didnt know how horrible these situations were until later in life, but i still feel like i am the epitome of evil for allowing myself to be apart of that. I want to forgive my past self and start to heal myself, but i never hear anything about trauma inflicted my oneself?

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Oh Emma, I feel for you and can totally relate.

So first off, you are totally not the epitome of evil! If anything is evil, it’s that we’re not taught about sex and so many other important things in a nurturing and thoughtful way. So many of us are first introduced to sex and intimacy and love through very warped perspectives, and don’t have good sexual education in our lives (whether it be from school, parents, or friends) to help counteract that. It sucks, but it’s 100% not your fault that what you saw and thought represented what sex was supposed to be, wasn’t the case.

The first porn and sex that I read and visually saw wasn’t great either for starting off a healthy relationship with sex. There were power dynamics that weren’t ok, and it for sure affected my relationships well into teens and twenties. I spent a lot of time thinking sex was validation and praise and confusing that with love too in an unhealthy way. And I too went looking for those things, because you know what? Being a teen is hard, and being a teen girl is extremely hard! I wanted validation and I wanted praise, especially because I didn’t feel I met the standard of beauty that society puts on women from childhood. I wasn’t sure who I was, what I wanted, and I felt pressure like I was supposed to know those things already in life. Which is a bummer, because truly, you aren’t supposed to know who you are and what you like and what you want yet in your teens! Heck, I just turned 35 and I still am learning so much about myself. And I look back at myself in my 20s who thought I knew exactly who I was, and man have I changed so much! I hate that teen me felt I had to know already everything about myself, and to play this part I thought I was supposed to be.

All of that is to say, you are not alone in feeling this way. And as I get older, so many women (and men) I talk to about this stuff, they felt a lot like I did, and you did, too growing up.

If possible to do so, talking to a therapist really helps! I’ve talked a lot about overall sex with my therapist, especially talking about who I am and pretended to be with past partners, what I want now in my relationship with myself and my partner, and also untangling how those values at an early age about sex really messed up my relationship with my own queerness. I have a really rad therapist I feel comfortable with, so that is key. Talking to someone has been major in starting to forgive myself, let the past go, and move forward to learn more about what I want and who I want to be sexually.

A big part of trauma work in therapy (not just in relation to sex) is realizing that the behaviors you did are 1. in the past 2. you were doing them and they served a purpose at that time, because you thought it would help and even protect you. You were doing the best you could at the time with the tools you had. Now you are aware those behaviors aren’t serving you anymore, so the work is learning what you need moving forward, but not berating yourself about the past because remember, you were doing what you thought was best for you at that time with the tools you had.

Big hugs, Emma. It’s a huge step that you are even thinking about these things and vocalizing them, proud of you!


This is extremely kind and helpful, thank you for responding so much :purple_heart: :purple_heart:

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