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Codependency

Hello everyone

Firstly, thank you everyone who has commented on my previous post — it is so helpful to communicate with people who identify and understand what I am going through. I have done the SLAA steps up to Step 9 but I decided to stop before proceeding with Step 9, because something did not feel right to me. I felt that I should make amends to my abuser which is quite probably insane. By that point, my Step 4 had revealed that I had an over-developed sense of responsibility and codependency.

So, I put the SLAA programme on hold and went back to Step 1 in CoDA. Despite a number of people in my SLAA fellowship telling me that this was a bad idea and that I should finish SLAA first, my instincts (once again, when I listen to them!) proved me right. I will not abandon everything I learned in SLAA but stepping away from the SLAA H.O.W. programme was definitively the right thing to do. It's too shaming and punitive and I have enough of that within myself anyway (for those who don't know, in the SLAA "H.O.W. method" the steps are no longer suggestions but requirements and there are "punishments" for breaking your bottom lines (that is not the language of the programme but that is essentially how I interpret them; i.e. there are consequences for breaking your bottom lines and sponsors will frequently dump sponsees if they break a bottom line more than twice and that type of thing)).

Anyway, I digress...I now know that migrating to CoDA was the right thing for me. Why? Because I had made the opinions of certain SLAA group members my Higher Power and I have been suffering from extreme anxiety and sleeplessness for well over a year now (I was averaging about 3 hours of sleep a night). Since doing Step One in CoDA, I have come to recognise that I am a people pleaser, that I am an approval seeker and that I have a lot of avoidance and control patterns, as outlined in the CoDA programme. I have come to recognise that my motivation to speak is often rooted in approval seeking but then I leave myself open to being hurt if I receive disapproval because I have made that person my Higher Power. I also recognise that I do not seem to have developed codependent relationships with everyone. Some of my friendships are heavily "polluted" by codependency and others are not. I was trying to figure out why but then I realised that it "takes two to tango". So, where my relationships are not laden with codependency, it is those particular people who are not severely codependent; the relationships whereby codependency is heavily playing out in the relationship, both myself and the other person are heavily codependent.

Does anyone else relate to this? I have found this so beneficial! I can breathe a lot easier and I am sleeping between 7 and 8 hours a night! It's like a miracle! :-)

Yours in truth and sending lots of love,

Will

I'm new to online SIA

Hi my name is Lindsey,

I m new to online SIA but have gone to in person meetings as well. I just wanted to start by saying that I just completed reading a book called, "It wasn't your fault," by Beverly Engel, and I have to suggest it to anyone struggling with this past of incest abuse that I am.
For the longest time (aka since the abuse) I was never able to forgive myself for going back to the abuse, for not fighting, for not saying anything, or helping myself. I realize now that I was young, and I look back on the abuse with a much more mature mind, but there was a passage in the book in one of the chapters. It may have been two paragraphs long, but it speaks of forgiving yourself for going back, and the two paragraphs were the words that I have been searching for, the support I desperately needed to forgive myself. I read them, and I cried for two hours. The tears were of relief, and pain surfacing. It was a beautiful moment that I will remember all my life. If anyone struggles with forgiving yourself for the same, maybe this book can help you like it helped me.

Thank you for letting me share my journey



P.S. Does anyone know if the SIA store is still operating? I ordered over a month and a half ago and still haven't received my order. Not sure if I should be asking for a refund, or wait longer... thanks =]

Introduction

Hello all, I am animallover89 and I am an Incest Survivor. Okay that feels weird saying that. I am not saying that we are weird because of what happened to us I am not saying that at all. What I am saying is that its very hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I was a victim of incest. To me I feel like I was a victim of sexual abuse,rape,and other things both by people I knew and strangers but not incest. I am however told by people that know my story that I was a victim of incest. That is actually how I found out about the SIA website and this support group. 

I actually have a question. Does anybody know how to go about inserting a LJ cut? The instructions that are given in siastepstudy LJ account I believe is out dated.

Struggling to change my thinking

I have been in the healing process for a very long time. It is clear to me now that I need to change my thinking. I am very negative about myself. I think thoughts about myself I would never think about anyone else. I am working on changing my thinking. Tonight I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle. But I will continue to fight. I will learn to think about myself in healthy ways.

Hi, I'm new!

Hi everybody,

I'm Katy and I'm an incest survivor.

I came here after realising through therapy that I am dealing with toxic shame about my childhood relationship with my father. I'm reading an amazing book called "Healing the Shame that Binds You" by John Bradshaw. Originally written in the 90s, this seems to be the best book on shame out there and is full of insight.

My biggest takeaways from the book are as follows:

1. It is relationships that got us to this shameful place in the first place. It is healthy relationships that will heal our shame
2. The most effective way to heal shame is to find a support group
3. Writing is a great way to express shame.

So, here I am! Still figuring out how this livejournal thing works...

I feel hopeful about being here and also emotional as I write this. would absolutely love to receive comments from anyone supportive out there!

Yours hopefully,

Katy

Confrontation

My name is Maria, and I am an incest survivor.

Last month I confronted my father about the incest. I had not spoken to him in 15 years. I arranged a private dining room in a restaurant and invited my father by letter.

I had not been sure whether or not I would confront him, until I found out at the end of last year that my father would be going for a longer period of time to my brother and his children, who all live abroad. Suddenly I felt overwhelmed with a necessity to inform my brother, and to protect his children. As I am very careful with sharing my experiences, not only to protect myself, but also the vulnerable relationship I now have with my mother and brother, I felt I had to confront my father first, before informing my brother. I did not want to be accused of demonising my father behind his back.

He showed up. And so, he and I spoke to each other for the first time in fifteen years. I had a voicerecorder in my purse, so I would end up with tangible evidence of our rendez-vous. We talked for two-and-a-half hours. I did not confront him until the very end, because I knew from our history  that my father has a tendency to walk away if the questions become too difficult.

Before he showed up, my father first called to the restaurant, and he tried to persuade me to postpone our meeting until he returned from visiting my brother. I refused. Then he tried to make me come to him. I refused. Then he wanted to know what I wanted to talk about. I told him that he had to show up if he wanted to find out. He reluctantly agreed. When he did show up, I first refused to hug and kiss him. He immediately threatened to leave. And so I did hug and kiss him. This meeting just had to continue. I did it for King and Country, so to speak.

My father was very angry. At first, he kept repeating: "What is wrong with you?". I think that he just could not deal with me standing up to him. But I gave him no easy opportunity to walk out. Even though it was sheer darkness what expressed itself to me. My father told me that his time with me was the only thing during his marriage and his life at that time that made him happy. I asked him whether or not he thought that was going too far. His response was: "Too far? No, totally not! I liked it!" And after a short pause: "And you liked it too!" I was between  five and twelve years old.

My father showed also an incompetence to have adult relationships with mature responsibilities. With contempt he spoke about the times that my mother wanted him to divert his attention from me to his responsibilities as a father. Also, he showed a general contempt for women. He basically confessed, or should I say brag about, that he used women instead of being used by them. Love clearly does not exist in his vocabulary. And also, there was absolutely no love for me during all the time that we spoke.

He told me that he wanted to teach me about the world. I did not tell him that he basically taught me not to trust, not to tell and that love is painful and I am undeserving of positive attention. Instead, I asked him about protection and teaching about healthy boundaries. He had clearly no idea what I was talking about. When I asked him how he felt his lessons turned out, he said he considered me to be a failure. I did not respond. I carefully asked him if he could imagine that I had encountered sexual feelings during my interaction with him when I was a child. He said he could imagine that, but that would have been my fault, because I had no boundaries as a child. "You attached yourself too strong, and you were too clingy as a child", was his response.

I told him then that I wanted to have this confrontation because I wanted to know his level of insight. And clearly, I told him, he has none. And that makes it all the more important for me to inform me brother, as I am worried about his children. "You are sick", he said, "I am worried about you". "You needn't be worried about me", I said , " but I am worried about my niece and nephew". My father continued the conversation to encourage me to look for help. And without responding I thanked him for coming. I felt sick afterwards. There's a part of me that would have wanted to shout, to curse and to have used violence against him. But no matter how difficult it was, I kept my dignity.

I informed my brother through e-mail. He thanked me, and though it came as a big shock to him, he does believe me.

Since this confrontation I feel that I have dealt with an illusion I have cherished for a long time. The illusion that I will get recognition and compensation from my abuser for the wounds that I suffered. It won't happen and that hurts like hell. But it also gives me the much needed space to learn to care for myself. Which I do not know so well how to do. With the help from my Higher Power, from SIA and together with you I can try.

I am grateful for SIA, the fellowship, the literature and my Higher Power, who all helped me to maintain my dignity in the face of this difficult encounter. And I thank you for reading this and I am very thankful for my opportunity to share.

With love,

Maria

The truth

I was an innocent child that has learnt that love hurts. Love is not supposed to hurt; it is loss of love that is supposed to hurt. I have learnt to feel that loss of love is a relief. That is a lie.

I maintain the illusion that I can control giving and receiving love by feelings of guilt, shame, superiority and inferiority. Acceptance of my powerlessness over love feels like I will unavoidably be overwhelmed by a devastating loneliness. That, too, is a lie.

Taking care of myself and to be gentle with myself feels like I am conveying the message that I was not harmed by what was done to me. As if I need recognition from others to feel, see and experience my own wounds. That, too, is a lie.

The truth is I am equal to my fellow human beings, that I can do my best to be of service to them and to trust that love will follow.

I was innocent.

I did not deserve to be abused.

I am equal to my fellow human beings.

I deserve to be loved and my love is worthwhile.

I am capable to take care of myself.

I may be proud of myself.

This will be my affirmation, and I will repeat it until I believe it as strongly as I came to believe the devastating message I took from being abused as a child.

As always, take what you like and leave the rest.

In love,

Maria

My First Post: TRIGGER WARNING

Hi there,

I admitt I am powerless in the face of my problems with incest in my family. I am 39 years old and am an incest survivor. My father has had an unhealthy sexual interest in me since I was a young child. I've grown up with problems of low self-esteem, suicidal ideation, anxiety and depression. I've been unemployed for 1.5 years.

My father would take baths and showers with me and my sister when we were little. He was obsessed with family nudity and teaching us all about the birds and the bees. When I was three years old, after one of our baths together, he made us sit on the bathroom floor and watch while he Read more...Collapse ) He compulsively made us watch videos on sexual reproduction, both before and after that incident. We tried to protest but he always got his way. As we grew older, he was obsessed with making sure that we would never lock the bathroom door while taking baths or showers. In addition, when we were on holiday he was constantly on the lookout for nudist beaches and would try to force us to go. I remember one time we went to a clothing optional beach and I couldn't find my bikini bottoms. Read more...Collapse ) I guess I was about 5. I remember feeling so humiliated. When I was 11 and started to not want to be naked in front of him, he would get very upset and guilt me about it. He would write long letters to me about how he wanted us to have an extra special father daughter relationship, not like most father-daughter relationships. He would make me feel responsible and guilty for denying his wishes for the extra close relationship that being naked together would ensure. He also tried to convince me, whenever I confided in him that I felt depressed that if I intervened and helped him sort out his relationship with my mother, then I would start to feel better. He and my mother did not get on well. They were always having screaming arguments. My mother was always in a fury at him for seemingly minor things, like not putting petrol in the car. She also hated and resented me alot for being close to him. She was verbally abusive towards me and threatened violence when we were disobedient. Her whole body would shake with rage when she was angry. She had an overeating disorder, as I have now. My father travelled alot and was away for a month at a time for work. He was very aloof, threatening to withdraw his approval if we didn't do waht he wanted. He never shouted at us, hit us or disciplined us in any traditional way. He was a workaholic. He often had a glass of whiskey late at night but I never saw him drunk. The periodic guilt trips and manipulations continued until I was about 23 and on another family holiday with them. This was after my mother had suffered a stroke. At that time I finally got up the courage to tell him that if he ever asked me again I would report him to the police for sexual harassment. When I was 26, Read more...Collapse )in full view of my then boyfriend. It took me two years to confront him about it. He mixed denial with minimization. Two years ago, on return from a trip to the USA, Read more...Collapse ). I confronted him immediately this time. Again he mixed denial with minimization followed by a huge sulk and victim-blaming episode. At the time I was working for him and ny mother in the family business. Going to work at their house for the following year was absolute hell. Furthermore, my mother supported him and blamed me for what had happened. My sister has no recollection of the early episodes and also supports my father. Each time I thought I could never recover from the hurt it caused me, and each time, with time, I just pretended that it never happened and that it was the last time. I was 26, before I even realised that alot of this behaviour was not normal. Most of the time, I struggle to feel any emotions about these and other events that I know have hurt me. I've struggled to make the connection between my low self-esteem, depression and anxiety with his bahiviour towards me. I've struggled with relationships, either getting involved with abusive men, or just keeping my distance from all relationships and intimacy. I've struggled to keep and maintain friends and jobs as I've struggled to trust anyone fully. Last year I eventually managed to break free and run away to Jamaica, to be closer to my more distant family there. I feel totally alone and cut off and have been unable to function in any job for more than a few months.

Dutch

Hi,

are there some any people from the Netherlands?

Regards,

Zora Ocean

My first post

My name is Maria, and I am new to this forum. I am not new to the concept of the twelve steps, but I only recently went to my first SIA meeting. I feel sad, angry and desperate right now. I follow the suggestion I was given to post on this forum. I want to thank you beforehand for reading this.

I always knew there was something wrong. I just figured there was something wrong with me. I was very young, about ten years old, when the thought first occurred to me that the world must have been a happy place until the day I was born. I have tried the first half of my life to figure out what was wrong with me, and what I needed to do to become worthy of love. But it never seemed to work.

My dad kept me close. I was more of a partner to him than my mother was. My dad discarded my mother, humiliated my brother and worshipped me. But only when I did what he wanted me to do. I can't remember how far this went. I am blank about most of the time we spent together. I think this has kept me from coming to SIA for a long time.

My mother blamed me for her bad marriage. My brother was jealous of me, and has used physical force against me whenever my parents were not around. The only person I felt safe with, was my father. And I had to perform in order to deserve his attention.

My brother used physical force against me on a daily basis. My father did also on occasions, when he was frustrated with me. My mother has severely hit me once, in a public place, when we were on a holiday. I was seven years old, and I was having a bit of a tantrum. My father saw my mother beating me, he turned around to the car and said that he was ashamed of us. He drove away. We had to walk four miles back to the house we stayed in. I felt guilty, and apologised to my mother, saying it was OK and that she didn't hurt me. I made a deep resolution to be more loving from that point on. What really happened was that I felt I had to hide my feeling from everyone, myself included.

I was emotionally crippled to deal with life on a daily basis. In middle school I was severely bullied. I coped with the bullying by means of dissociating myself from the physical and emotional pain and wait for it to pass. I was not able to put up boundaries or to defend myself. The bullying did not pass, it got worse. At a certain point a teacher saw me being beaten up and transfered me to another class. From that point on, it got a bit better. The first time in that class someone asked me my name, I ran away, though. I didn't believe someone could be nice to me. But I did not dare to truly be open about what was happening to me. Hidden from everyone, I cut myself, I binged and I vomited.

I have experienced a lot of psychotherapy. It was the first time I was in a position to feel genuine interest and love for who I am, not who others wanted me to be. It took me a long time to trust. When I first realised that I was free to express myself, I could not stop crying. I clung to my therapist like a baby to a mother. Fortunately, she did not send me away. I consider this to be the first act of love I ever allowed myself to feel.

I have never been intimate with anyone, and I am 42 years old now. There have been a few occasions where a guy I met that same evening asked me to have sex with him, and I did. I performed, because I thought that that was what I had to do. I even told myself that I had an exciting life. But in reality, these men were not interested in me at all. They used me. And I was used to being used. I can't remember having had sex for the first time. I just can't. It feels weird to write this down, and never had the idea to discuss this subject with my therapist.

In my recent years in therapy, my therapist and I invited my mother and my brother. I had broken off all contact with my father about 15 years ago. My mother apologised to me. My brother told me he never really wanted me to be near him growing up. It felt incredibly validating to hear that. Recently, my mother and I decided to revisit the place where she beat me up as a means of closure. And we did. However, it turned out differently for me. Being in that place, I remembered everything. Not only mentally, but also physically. Afterwards, I felt a heavy feeling in my gut. Like I swallowed a huge brick. And the only thought I had, was: 'So it is true after all. This actually transpired'. When I was alone again, I could not stop crying. A lot of feelings started to come back to me. It was overwhelming.

During my life I have intermittently struggled with bulimia, with nightmares and with bedwetting. All those problems have resurfaced. In the last ten years I have effectively used the twelve steps to deal with those. But when I came back from this holiday, they did not seem to work anymore. The only thought I had, was: 'God, where were you when all of this happened?' It feels like there is still a child in me that is finally believed, that is finally allowed to speak her mind. I have always been so rational about this. But there is also an emotional child within me. And I need to build a relationship with her, although I find her difficult to relate to.

And so I found SIA. And I recognise most of the things, if not everything. I am scared of my memories. I am afraid I make up things that did not happen. I fear I exaggerate in order to gain sympathy. I am scared. And that is why I post to this website.

I finished my first step. I need to take the second one now. But I have issues with God. I am angry. Yesterday I walked on the street and I was so angry I felt I could hit something. I know I won't, because I have never been angry in that way. But the anger does prevent me from taking the second step now.

This night I had a nightmare. I dreamed our house was infested with spiders and wasps with the size of small dogs. My mother had my brother in her arms (he was still small) and they ran immediately to the attic. I decided to fight and kill a lot of them. Then I finally reached the attic, and I saw my mother with my brother. I told them I made the house more or less safe, and that I wanted her to hold me. But she didn't look at me or hold me. She completely ignored me. That was when I awoke, sad, angry and desperate.

There is no meeting now, so I follow the suggestion to post to this website. I thank you for reading this. I thank you for being here.

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Welcome to the Survivors of Incest Anonymous step study meeting on Livejournal!

SIA uses a very broad definition of incest, and this meeting is open to everyone. Please read our info page to find out how this meeting works.

This is a place where we can share our experience, strength, and hope in recovering from sexual abuse. When sharing, to protect each other's emotional safety, we do not give advice, evaluate what anyone else has said or mention their name in our shares.

We respect our own inside people and our members who are multiple. If someone asks for suggestions in their share, it is okay to respond via the "speak" link under their entry.

If you are a newcomer to the program or to this meeting, please feel free to introduce yourself (but it's not required).

This meeting has a focus on sharing about our experiences with the twelve steps, but it's fine to share anything related to our recovery from abuse.

If you have questions about how the meeting works, please speak with someone privately (look for an email link on the info page) or wait and post them as part of the business meeting.

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