How do I help my wife overcome sexual trauma?

John Dehlin abuse 19 Comments

I am a 50+ year old life-long member who is eternally committed to a talented and caring LDS woman and our 30+ year temple marriage. We have struggled with intimacy and sexual dysfunction our entire marriage. Not withstanding that we were chaste during our dating and short engagement, there seemed to be passion in our relationship and she seemed to enjoy kissing. It seemed to me that she was just as anxious as I was (if not more so at times) for sexual relations after marriage. During our engagement, she disclosed that she had engaged in some petting with some teen boys as a teenage girl and with her former fiancee, but had not had sexual intercourse, and had cleared things up with her bishop before we met. My premarital sexual experiences were limited to intermittent pornography use and masturbation, which I repented of prior to receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood in preparation for serving a mission. On our wedding night, even though it was late and we were both tired, she was insistent that we consummate our marriage, even though she was not sufficiently aroused and was therefore painful for both of us.It was during our honeymoon that the biggest problems began to manifest themselves. Even though we were both well aroused and both seemed to enjoy making love, immediately after she would climax, she would curl up in a ball and cry uncontrollably and experience intense feelings of guilt, shame, and what she refers to as the “black feeling”. She quickly lost her willingness to engage in any kissing other than an occasional peck, stating that it was “too intimate”. She recognized that there was a problem and agreed to talk to an LDS therapist. She soon disclosed conscious memories of a few weeks of sexual abuse as an early teen by an older cousin when she spent time with his family one summer. Over the years, various therapists have continued to work with her intermittently. She has acknowledged that her non-member father was frequently verbally abusive to their whole family and sometimes physically abusive to all his kids, especially when he’d been drinking. She has no conscious memories of being sexually abused by her father, but has some hypnosis-aided memories of terrifying feelings in certain places in their old house. She also has some “recovered memories” of worse abuse, which she is not always convinced really happened. I had hoped that the time and money invested in therapy over the years would decrease the roadblocks to sharing physical intimacy, but as time has marched onwards, the opposite has happened. Not withstanding repeated Priesthood blessings and fasting and prayer, the Lord has not yet seen fit to heal my sweetheart. Even though she sincerely wishes things were different, she has despaired and decided several years ago (about menopause time) that the emotional price for physical intimacy is too high and that she will no longer engage in or permit sexual touching anywhere other than during occasional shared showers because the shower feels “safer” than the bedroom.

Even before reading your blog postings, I’ve known that sexual abuse issues can be very complicated and perhaps unsolvable. I have read about the different types of sexual dysfunction and it does not seem to me that her post-sex emotional meltdown falls into any of the standard categories. She can allow herself to get aroused if she wants to and does not experience physical pain during or after sex. Her health is not great, but it’s not terrible, either. My health is good. During a recent discussion about our situation, my wife said that even though I’ve been convinced for decades that she enjoyed being aroused (almost always passively) until the post-climax “emotional crash”, she now claims that the entire process of love-making has always been offset with emotional duress which she no longer wishes to deal with.

I really have tried to be understanding, patient, and unconditionally loving over the years as we have tried to deal with this issue. Most other aspects of our marriage are healthy. We have our occasional disagreements, but we’ve learned how to communicate well about just about everything. Talking about sex has always been difficult for my wife, but when she feels safe, she will occasionally share her feelings, even though it is emotionally difficult to do so.

My questions to you are: have you ever heard of someone experiencing such strong and persistent orgasm triggered negative emotions? Are you aware of any cases where such a condition has been cured or significantly lessened by the use of hypnosis? (self-hypnosis dramatically lessened the emotional trauma and fear during the last of her cesarean deliveries). Are you aware of any LDS therapists who are trained to use hypnosis in overcoming sexual dysfunction?

First of all I want to commend both you and your wife for what sounds like a meaningful and worthwhile life you have built together in light of the difficult challenges you have both faced. It seems like having an eternal perspective has been an incredibly useful gospel tool that helped you both keep sight of a common end goal. These are my thoughts/suggestions:

  • I see some meaningful strengths or positives in your situation:
  1. There has been a willingness to seek outside professional help.
  2. There seems to be a desire from both parties to have a better sexual experience.
  3. Your wife has been able to achieve climax in the past. There are many cases that involve a history of sexual trauma where the victim is unable to experience an orgasm at all.
  4. The marriage sounds strong and healthy with good communication skills.
  5. It sounds like in practicing patience, you have developed the other areas of intimacy in your relationship and also built a relationship of trust with your wife. This is highly commendable and speaks volumes of your love for her.
  6. The fact that you have figured out a “safe” place to proceed with love making, such as the shower, shows an element of creativity and willingness on both ends. These are incredibly useful tools you can tap into together as a couple. Give yourselves bid kudos for this!
  7. You are entering a new developmental stage of your lives – “the empty nest.” This can be a positive time when the shift from child care and concerns can be placed more firmly back onto the couplehood. This is a time where many couples reinvent themselves by spending time, energy and even money on rediscovering their similar interests, travel, more frequent dating, etc.
  • I also see some difficult challenges.
  1. The length of time that you have been dealing with these issues most likely have you both feeling discouraged, tired and hopeless.
  2. The fact that you have sought outside help (both professionally and within the church) without achieving the desired results again leaves you both feeling discouraged, tired and hopeless.
  3. When you are feeling discouraged, tired and hopeless it can be difficult to find the energy or desire to continue the fight. I would encourage both of you, however, to not give up.

Here are some suggestions:

  • You may want to reconsider limiting your scope of getting help from only LDS counselors. Depending where you live, LDS therapists can be difficult to find and an LDS therapist who specializes in sex therapy is probably even harder to find. There are many helpful and qualified sex therapists who would respect your religious and spiritual values while helping you address these very personal issues. There are some very specific exercises that sex therapists can assign that have positive results for specific triggers such as orgasm. Many of these do not even include the act of intercourse, but rather focus on touch, stroke, and just proximity of skin. They also focus on self-soothing and relaxation techniques.  In fact, the way you begin to look at and define sex can be altogether different from traditional intercourse and may not trigger the same response: mutual masturbation, massage, phone sex, etc.
  • I have a non-LDS colleague whom I greatly respect and with whom I consulted regarding your case. She specializes in sex therapy and had the following comments: “I don’t have any experience with hypnosis in treating sexual dysfunction. I would probably treat this case through the use of desensitization techniques and self-relaxation techniques. I have had couples with similar pasts and unfortunately the sex therapy is more of a long term and slow process. I don’t know of any Mormon Sex therapists. You could call AASECT.org to see who they have on their web site. You could also send them to Loyola’s Sexual Dysfunction (this program is based out of Chicago) though that would be short term. Perhaps a therapist trained in EMDR to help deal with the trauma piece?” Kathryn Thumme, MA, LMFT & Sex Therapist –Chicago
  • I also do not have any experience with hypnotherapy, although I would not rule it out. Those who are trained in this area claim to have positive results within a variety of issues. And if your wife already found this technique useful, she may be able to apply it to this specific issue as well.
  • You mention her health. Is this something that she has discussed with her OBGyn? Have medical reasons for any sexual dysfunction been factored out? Does she have a clean bill of health when it comes to pursuing her sexuality?
  • They say that the biggest sexual organ we attain is our brain. This seems to be especially true for women. Stepping up the amount of romance can be a helpful tool to have in your corner. Coming up with ways that help her feel beautiful and sexy (whether this be in things that you say to her, write to her, or even things that you do like send her flowers, take her dancing, to a romantic movie or on a special get away, etc.) can be a fun way to engage in a form of foreplay. It’s not to imply that you should expect sex after these behaviors, but it can help set an overall mood to your marriage that could help in the long run.
  • It is not always concerning that things get worse before they get better. This can actually be a normal part of the healing process. The travesty is when we give up because we feel there is no progress being made, usually right before a turning point is about to happen. As long as we’re trying, there is ALWAYS progress being made. It’s the nature of human drive – we are all trying to seek for better things. Whether we allow old habits, comfort zones, patterns and self-destructive thoughts to stand in our way is the bigger question.
  • My last concern is how have you been handling 30 years of repressed sexual drive? This must be a painful situation for you to bear and I wonder if it’s affected your sense of self or even self-esteem? Is she aware of the pain this has caused you? I do not want to imply in any way that she should feel guilt for the incredibly difficult feelings she has had to live with. And yet sometimes women are willing to fight or struggle for others more than they are willing to do so for themselves. Although, this would not be the ultimate reason I would want her to seek help, it might be a good place to start: out of her love for you and wanting the best for you. It can also be an indirect example to your children – it’s amazing what they can unconsciously pick up on! Would you want them to give up on their sexual lives if they were in a similar situation? Similarly, Heavenly Father does not want you to give up on this aspect of your life either.
  • If you are comfortable telling her anything from me it would be this: You deserve to reclaim your sexuality! Whatever has happened to you in the past to leave such painful scars is deeply saddening. You still deserve your sexuality. You are a worthy woman who deserves to experience this gift from God in a different way than you have up until now. Both you and your husband deserve better. It may be a long road, but it will be worthwhile. It may challenge you and snap you right out of your comfort zone, but you will grow and discover entirely new aspects of yourself that will surprise, delight and reinvent you. If your husband is a safe person to embark upon this journey with, take his hand and let him lead the way. It will be an adventure you will not regret.

I wish you both my very best.

MM Readers:

Is anyone willing to share any personal experiences with sexual trauma – either with self or spouse?  What has been helpful in overcoming similar issues?

What are your thoughts about the pros and cons of seeing and LDS versus a non-LDS therapist?

What are your thoughts about sex therapy – would you be wiling to go?

Natasha Helfer Parker is a Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist and a member of the Church with 13 years of experience working with LDS members. Here she shares with us representative cases from her practice and insights she has gained from her work as a therapist. She blogs at mormontherapist.blogspot.com.

Comments

comments

Comments 19

  1. “What are your thoughts about the pros and cons of seeing and LDS versus a non-LDS therapist?”

    My initial reaction is that as long as they are respectful of beliefs it doesn’t matter. A professional is a professional, and they may need to be informed about some of the religious esoteria in order to carry out their work but they are trained to deal with the problems we bring to them.

    “What are your thoughts about sex therapy – would you be wiling to go?”

    If my wife and I were to experience anything similar to what is described here, we would most likely follow the same course to find help.

  2. I can see where an LDS therapist would have insight into certain aspects of Mormon culture and life that a non-LDS therapist wouldn’t, but this problem doesn’t really seem related to Mormonism at all. Seek out a therapist that specializes in this type of thing, LDS or not.

  3. It’s a shame that posts like this don’t get as much attention as controversial ones. Has the couple tried going to their bishop? LDS social services?

  4. I’m impressed with the unconditional love expressed in this post. It’s such a complicated situation and the couple has already tried so many things over a thirty year period. I’m guessing that most of us who have read it feel inadequate to give feedback on this one. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t moved by it, and inspired by this man’s enduring love for his wife.

  5. I would run as fast as possible from any therapist who uses hypnosis to recover memories. This is a way for false memories to be inserted into a person’s consciousness, rather than the discovery of true past events. If a therapist is doing this, they are either 1)a shister who has no real interest in improving your life or 2) terribly ignorant of the latest research in memory, specifically false memory, and are likely unconsciously creating false memories and doing more harm than good.

  6. A good point. I amend my previous comment to exclude hypnotic memory recovery. I just don’t feel comfortable enough with the practice.

  7. I’m not sure this really even qualifies, but you asked
    1.”Is anyone willing to share any personal experiences with sexual trauma – either with self or spouse? What has been helpful in overcoming similar issues?”,
    what triggered my memory was the curling up in a ball after sex thing mentioned above, during our honeymoon, sometimes I would touch my wife in certain areas of her body & she would curl up in a ball & shake uncontrollably, I admittedly did not know what to do, so I just held her and & sometimes we cried. It took probably over 3 weeks of marriage before we had sex, she told me of when she stayed with her cousin that he molested her, she was about 9, & he about 16 or 17, he would touch her,(I guess the same place I touched her), & 15 years later when I touched her it would trigger memories. She told her mother but she did not believe her. It was very difficult at first, I thought that there was something wrong with me, (& I recognize that there ARE tons of things wrong with me, but that wasn’t my fault), and in tyme it passed. As far as what was helpful in overcoming this “similar” issue actually has nothing to do with me or therapy at all, it has to do with the mind set of my wife. I do not want to belittle any ones’ wife or husband so when I say this I want you all to understand that I believe my situation is very unique, & while it is a blessing, it makes me feel guilty as well. what follows is a combination or what she told me & my insight in living out the situation with my wife; I have anger management issues, & my wife saw that I was much calmer after sex. My wife also saw that her parents were dysfunctional & they both cheated on each other, (her mother would bring home clients & her father would always have his eyes on other women in public) she also saw that one of my older brothers was lucky to get sex from his wife 5 tymes a year. In seeing that & how frustrated he had become, she said that she decided to have sex with me so that she would have a better chance of me not leaving her, & me being happy, and there for she would endure the discomfort & pain it brought her so that our marriage could be less rocky than like the ones she saw & witnessed. That being said, her view of sex was that I had to be done in 2 minutes ‘cuz she had better things to do, so you have the catch 22, 15 years of 2 minute sex, not very romantic, but that is how she decided to cope with it, we always have the lights on during sex, & when I touch her she has to keep opening her eyes to make sure it is me (even though her cousin died 3 months ago).
    2. “What are your thoughts about the pros and cons of seeing and LDS versus a non-LDS therapist?”
    I have had 5 therapists over the last ten years, 2 lds, 3 not, & I haven’t had a conflict with any in terms of religion or our sessions, they have all been christian, so I guess that helps, Some (but not all)Pros: they (lds)understand a majority of what you believe in if not from a different light looking under the same lens, but it helps. They will usually have the same shared values as you. They may have a different “eternal” investment in your soul weather you like it or not. Some cons: My first therapist was lds, & she quoted the scriptures to me as if it was an answer to all, like a “Hello McFly” response that didn’t work with my frame of mind at the tyme, i.e. I cut myself to relive tension & fear, so I can concentrate on the external physical pain instead of the internal mental anguish, she would quote your body is a temple of God, you can’t cut yourself, you are violating a law & stuff like that!!, You might get embarrassed by seeing them in public or at a church or stake function knowing that they know your secrets, awkward, but if you can handle that then it’s ok I guess…. just to be fair, my current therapist is lds & is not at all like my first therapist in the preachy regards; In fact I really enjoy my current lds therapist; One bit of advise, also try out your sessions with both a male & female counselor, it may make all the difference; but if I had to choose, I would choose one that makes me feel comfortable, regardless of their religion and stick with them & not have 5 or 6 or 7…different you get the point.
    And lastly…
    3. What are your thoughts about sex therapy – would you be wiling to go?
    This I am not sure on, but it would definitely have to be with an lds therapist if I went just to avoid conflicts of interest between the spiritual & secular, ok, yes I would go, especially with the intent of helping my wife & myself & our marriage out.
    & to Mr. 50+ who started this post, good luck, I truly hope you find what you are looking for.

  8. I am amazed at the lack of answers.
    It seems that we’re touching a subject that most people are afraid to discuss. This is interesting.

    Anyway I won’t discuss sexual abuse specifically here because whether it’d be sexual emotional or physical they all have one thing in common: destruction.

    This is the base and goal of all abuse and once you have understood this you have half solved your issue if you have been a victim of either of the three or even the three (which is my case at different level).

    I have not seen any LDS therapist for one good reason: there are none in France. I know there is a sister in my stake who is a therapist and I want to see her but the only time I was able to make an appointment something got in the way and I had to cancel it.
    I went to see a non LDS therapist shortly after my mission. It did not take me long to understand that I did not need him any further cause I understood the pattern of human mind and how much the question “why” can be frightening. Once I understood this and once I accepted this word with all that it implies (the answers, the lack of it, the point of the question being and answer itself and so on) I was able to lead my own path which lead me out of the church.

    I am fully back now but it took some more time to get rid of the fears and old reflex I had due to the different kind of abuses.

    I am sorry to say but many people (I am talking from my experience of witnessing very close relatives and myself included) are afraid to lose grip of the trauma of our abuse because this is what we build a part (or all) our personality on during all our life. This is more or less what defines us. If we discuss it “openly” we will have to admit some things that WE have decided were bad because they were based on this trauma rather than on a real choice.
    Let me be more specific.
    The reason why I did not tell about my adoptive father and what he had done was because I was sure that if my mother’s marriage would collapse it would then be my fault. Because I had not forgotten “the offense”.
    Then, when I talked I did not want to acknowledge my anger and the destruction it had occurred because it was just too big for me to face. It would then mean that I was a “victim” and this was not something I could identify to. I could not be one of them. I could intellectually be a part of this group but I could/would not see myself belonging to this category.

    This is not to tell you “this is what your wife feels or think” because we’re talking about two very different stories here and it seems that you two are about my parents’ age. What I am trying to explain here is how tricky and twisted the human mind can be despite our best wish to be good and logical and perfect and…wait, the desire of perfection is part of the issue.

    I could go on and on on the subject and I could share how the atonement has made a difference in my life and how it is still doing it because the healing process is not over but then it would not help you. It would not because the sacrifice thing really does not make sense when you try to think about it from a logical point of view. I am a rather very logical person and I don’t like to try to explain things that will just make people think I am trying to fool them. This is a feeling I have had each time people have tried to explain this to me. Some things are just sacred and sound dumb when you try to put words on them. My reaction to people who would try to “teach me” would be like:
    Seriously? A Christ guy who died for me is going to help me? If one of my sisters would die for me it would make me feel miserable so there is not logical or non logical “full of love” explanation for how this atonement thing works.

    I am sorry I don’t have a good advice for this man to help him help her. I have just tried to explain from the inside how twisted our reaction can be. Is it a way to protect ourselves? Maybe the shell she has built in the end has become all she is really. Maybe not but she just can’t find her way out because of a lack of trust in the solution she thinks she is being offered or maybe a lack of self confidence in her own abilities. I strictly don’t know but I know it can be a little of each or nothing at all.

    In the end, going back to the therapist subject I don’t think that going to an LDS therapist is a better choice. It is in this way that some things can be discussed if the church is involved in the core of the issue. Otherwise the religious affiliation is not mandatory to me and I think it can even be damaging in some case in the patient/therapist relationship.

    1. I would like to express a second thought along these lines. I think that when someone is first seeking therapy for something that the church sees as a problem, but society at large does not, that having an LDS therapist is helpful. At least then the therapist understands the reasoning and pressures to comply with a standards that is not required by the law or society.  They won’t be spending your time, telling you to do what feels good!   Having said this, I also think that a non-LDS therapists can be helpful later, as I get the impression that LDS therapists often rehearse their words in their minds to make sure they are not about to say something that could be construed as going against the church. That careful nature can negatively impact the productivity of therapy.

    2. I would like to express a second thought along these lines. I think that when someone is first seeking therapy for something that the church sees as a problem, but society at large does not, that having an LDS therapist is helpful. At least then the therapist understands the reasoning and pressures to comply with a standards that is not required by the law or society.  They won’t be spending your time, telling you to do what feels good!   Having said this, I also think that a non-LDS therapists can be helpful later, as I get the impression that LDS therapists often rehearse their words in their minds to make sure they are not about to say something that could be construed as going against the church. That careful nature can negatively impact the productivity of therapy.

  9. I am a Mormon male in my 40’s and was the victim of sexual abuse at the age of 7 or 8. I didn’t even realize it until, for some reason, the memories came back in my mid twenties. I have no idea why they came back at that time but they did. Anyway – no fetal position for me during sex. I’m all good. I look back at it and see it as “gross” in a kind of detached way – but I don’t feel any shame or pain really. It was that guy’s issue and he will get his I’m sure sooner or later. that said I’m not sure I escaped completely unscathed. I feel absolutely no remorse over masturbation or porn. I know cognitively its wrong due to being an active member of the church – and for that reason I try to avoid it – but to me it’s like eating a box of chocolate – you feel a little naughty afterward but it’s not something to lose sleep over.

  10. There were many aspects of the situation described in this man’s plea for help that I could relate to personally. However, my wife and I haven’t had nearly as much trouble with intimacy as they have. We have now been married for nearly 7 and a half years. We have two children one nearly 3 and the other 17 months old. My wife also was sexually abused as a child. She still wakes up at night from nightmares related to her trauma from time to time. Like their situation, we also were chaste prior to marriage and enjoyed kissing and making out very much. We actually went about 2 months in our marriage before we could actually consummate our marriage. It was physically painful for her, so I had to be very gentle. I was empathetic to her pain; I was aware of her abuse also. We just took things slowly. She had to be in control, or it didn’t work for her. I couldn’t be the one to initiate the intimacy or too “aggressive” when it came to intimacy. As long as I let her guide the experience, we enjoyed ourselves and she could feel safe making love. She would at times break down in the middle of intercourse or leading up to it and we would have to stop; at these times I would hold her and comfort her and we would just try again later. There was a lot of frustration in the process for us both. We did rather enjoy ourselves early on though. She had an insatiable desire for intercourse at times. This soon changed (within the first two years of our marriage or so) to the point where it was difficult for me to even get her to kiss me at times also. She got the the point where she rarely ever wanted to have sex any more. We would go months in between love making. It was difficult for me; masturbation was my only outlet at these times. I was accustomed to the practice for years prior to our marriage though, and have for some time not felt guilt or remorse for masturbation. Pornography was a tool that I used for the purpose of arousal prior to masturbation as well. I was introduced to pornography at a very young age (8 – 10, i forget exactly but am sure it was prepubescent). I have always had issues with abstaining from pornography though. It has been something I’ve struggled with for years, so at this point in my marriage it was only natural for me to fall back on it’s use for the arousal and stimulation that my marriage was lacking. Our intimate relationship waned on in this manner for years until after our children were born and done breastfeeding when my wife got a copper IUD for birth control purposes. It has now been nearly a year or slightly more since she got the IUD and her sexual desire has rekindled like never before. Whereas mine has only dwindled. Where once it seemed that I got nowhere when I tried to be the dominant partner in bed, now she seems to WANT me to take the lead and she wants sex multiple times a week.

    Anyway, my story isn’t nearly as heart-wrenching as this one, but I know that it can be a difficult and heartbreaking experience for both partners not to be able to be intimate with one another. I know it takes much dedication and love on his part to have stayed by her side throughout their marriage. I commend him for his strength and adoration of his one true love and hope them all the best in their struggle to overcome her abusive past. I hope that my own story can help someone in a similar situation as well.

  11. Thank you for sharing these experiences. I wrote this post a while ago and didn’t realize people had shared some comments. It takes a lot of courage to write about and share these types of stories – even anonymously. I know that for many, knowing one is not alone in this type of suffering is invaluable to the healing process. Again, thank you.

  12. Hello, I was sexually abused as a child. I never repressed it, I never forgot it, and I never obsessed about it. I had a pretty crazy childhood and I was left on my own a lot throughout my life. I have siblings, but we all were in survival mode for years. While growing up I had the opportunity to do anything I wanted to do. I had no real supervision. I went the opposite way of what people consider the stereotype of an abuse victim. I stayed away from dating anybody seriously and I stayed away from becoming too physical with the make-out sessions in my youth. I am very thankful for this because I avoided getting std’s like many of my friends ended up with.

    I was not a member of the church until I was about 20. I found the church through a friend. I noticed how much I enjoyed being around sober & moral people. After I joined the church, I worked, went to school, saved money and eventually served a mission.

    While serving a mission, I was able to meet the most wonderful, humble, incredible people. I served in areas where I saw extreme wealth and extreme poverty. As a missionary I never shared my background, basically because I never wanted it to be about me, but I listened intently to the stories of the beautiful people I was able to serve. Through their stories of abuse, pain, sadness and triumph, I was able to view my own life as a walk in the park compared to some of them. Not that I discount what I experienced as traumatic, etc…, but it was nothing compared to stories I heard while serving a mission.

    Yes, I definitely have moments of sadness regarding my childhood, but I now understand we all have choices. A person in my life chose to abuse me. I chose to overcome it. I chose not to dwell on it.

    I have been married for 19 years to a wonderful man. We have our share of issues, but something I know that unites and bonds us is having a healthy sexual relationship. Yes, there have been ebbs and tides in our marriage and our sex life. We have struggled, cried, yelled, laughed, etc… Is all of that due to my sexual abuse? No, it is not. Could I blame some of my issues on my sexual abuse? Sure, if I choose to, but I believe I am who I choose to be, not I am who I am because of what has happened to me. Does that make sense?

    I believe serving those who had situations much more severe than myself helped me to understand the role of choice and consequence in my life. If I choose to dwell on the past, I will face the consequence of depression and self pity.

    I wish you well.

  13. Thank you Tam42 for your hopeful and empowering experience.  As a single victim of abuse, I have often been deeply afraid of entering into, even loving and safe, relationships for fear that I might saddle those I love with sexual difficulties and emotional stress due to my abuse.  While I most certainly acknowledge the realities that those who suffer trauma experience, I found your hopeful attitude a breath of much needed fresh air and motivation to continue my life the best way I know how. 

  14. Thank you Tam42 for your hopeful and empowering experience.  As a single victim of abuse, I have often been deeply afraid of entering into, even loving and safe, relationships for fear that I might saddle those I love with sexual difficulties and emotional stress due to my abuse.  While I most certainly acknowledge the realities that those who suffer trauma experience, I found your hopeful attitude a breath of much needed fresh air and motivation to continue my life the best way I know how. 

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