Does significant trauma bring permanent changes?

This is…a hard one for me to talk about. I thought about writing it, but I know I’d be less…calculated, and more raw…and while normally that’s a good thing, that’s not what I want when it comes to this topic. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to hit the publish button once this is all said and done, but…here goes nothing.

When I was 15, I met my first boyfriend. I stayed with him for 3 years, and he was…well, he was something. He was the first (and only) person I’d been with during that time, and he pretty much taught me what I thought was a “normal” experience. You know, your average guy wants sex, girl says no, pushes him away, guy has sex with her anyway type of situation.

That went on for 3 years. It got to a point where he began keeping alcohol in his car (a white hummer. I fucking hate hummers now) for me because he knew that even then, at 16 years old, I’d be less resistant to him if I had alcohol in me.

Again…learning what “normal” is here.

When that “relationship” ended, I was never really…okay again.

The next person I was with was my birth sons father, we’ll call him S. I met S when I was 17. He was 23 at the time…so we didn’t start “dating” until I was 18. I was with him for over 3 years as well. And while S never added in any significant way to my sexual trauma, he sure did encourage the “drinking makes this easier for me, so please, have as many shots as you want” mentality that I existed in.

At the beginning of my relationship with S, I was, again, sexually assaulted by an acquaintance I had known briefly. He was high and I wasn’t. I know he tried to get me high, but at that time in my life, I was already pretty vulnerable and drugs weren’t my thing. I was emotionally fucked up, but sober. There is a nasty cigarette burn in my arm to remember that night by. One of my scars that has the most meaning attached to it.

After S, and I do mean immediately after S…I met my husband. I’m talking…S moved out in June, and I met my husband in July 2015. Literally like 3 weeks later. It was great.

At this point, I know I’m rambling with backstory to avoid the most pressing point that I don’t want to get into. So maybe I just need to…jump in head first here.

My husband is great. We’ve had our ups and downs, some seriously bad months, and some scary times…but we’ve put in the work. Both of us. Together and separately, and right now we are stronger than we have ever been.

He is, and was, however, another member of the “drinking makes it easier for me to have sex with her, so let me encourage her to get drunk and do nothing to stop her” club. I fell the hardest into my alcohol addiction with him, during this time in my life.

And it had…a significant amount to do with sex.

I was struggling. All the trauma from my past was still in my present and it wasn’t going anywhere. So I drank, every night, to be “prepared”. If he needed anything from me sexually, I was “prepared”. That worked, until it didn’t. I needed more and more alcohol to reach the same level of “okayness”, and I would still panic every single time it would happen.

That went on until I was drinking so much I was passing out nearly every night. Then, I didn’t give a shit who was doing what to me. I could escape from it.

2 years ago, the sex thing and the drinking thing were….bad. Like, all time low bad. I drank more and more to force the issue and try to “get used to it” or something, I don’t even know. And I think it was getting better? I did have, maybe somewhat of a …lack of intense hatred for it? Maybe I was into it? Or maybe that was the alcohol…I don’t fucking know.

But less than a year ago, in the early summer, shit hit the fan. And, once again, I found myself in the position of being raped and assaulted by a (non blood related) family member. More than once. With increasing levels of severity.


Oh, you thought the drinking couldn’t get worse? Spoiler alert, it did. Everything got worse. I can’t be with my husband without seeing it. Feeling him. The flashbacks are…unrelenting.

But, now I’m pregnant. Which means I’m sober. And things are…bad.

I want to physically harm myself when my husband, who I love very much so, touches me. I want to crawl out of my fucking skin and die.

If I thought it was bad before? Shit. I have literally ZERO desire for anything sexual to happen to me. At all.

And it makes me feel really fucking awful. Being forced to confront this sober reality of mine has been…eye opening to how bad the situation really is.

It has me questioning everything. If I’ll ever be “normal”, constantly wondering what’s wrong with me…it goes deeper than that, but I’m clearly struggling to get to the depths of it here.

If I can’t get past this, I’ll never be sober. And being sober, for real, not just because I’m pregnant, has to be a priority. Which, unfortunately for me, means this has to be a priority.

Addressing my massively fucking traumatic and horrific sex life has to happen. And I fucking hate it. This is not something I talk about. At all. With anyone. Ever. So this basically feels like torture.

And trust me, this is the PG version. The concerning thoughts in my head are much…worse.. than this.

I just feel so bad for my husband. He deserves a functional wife. He doesn’t deserve the piece of shit that I am.

I wish I was better. I wish I was normal.

This isn’t something I know how to fix. Shit, I don’t even know what the problem is, or if it’s something that’s fixable. I just know that’s it’s causing me a lot of problems and a lot of hurt. And I don’t know what to do about it.

Like I said…it goes deeper than this in my head and the level to which I’m questioning things, but I just have no idea how to put it into words.
I just know that I love my husband, and I want to be better for him.

I just want to know if I’m permanently fucked up from this, or if there’s any hope that this can get better. Even just a little.

15 thoughts on “Does significant trauma bring permanent changes?”

  1. I can’t recall – did you try EMDR and get too dissociative for it to work?

    I don’t think you’re permanently fucked up. Trauma changes the brain, but the brain can make neuroplastic changes to rewire. I wonder if approaching sex as very gradual exposures might help. Like starting with him doing his own thing beside you with no touching, then you touching him but him not touching you, then him touching you only in non-sexual areas, etc. He might find it hard to do, but if it gets him a wife that feels safer, that’s a pretty significant payoff.

    1. We tried EMDR but I never got past the first few steps, the state change and all that. I wasn’t allowing my brain to go wherever it needed to and I was unintentionally blocking or controlling it.
      I think me drinking and just letting him do whatever with me was my fucked up attempt at exposure therapy to an extent. I thought I’d I just let it happen, I’d get over it and get used to it.
      But I suppose, you know, a healthier approach to that might yield much different results.
      It’s just scares me so much that I shut down. I hate it. It sucks.

  2. Really awful shit leaves a stain

    We never totally heal, I think you understand that.

    Your addiction to alcohol is a coping mechanism at this point

    The pain reached a level where numbness at all cost was the only alternative you saw

    Do you think about being sober for the kid

    He/she will need a good caregiver or their life may mirror yours

    It is not the life we desired but it is what confronts us

    You have a husband for support

    Good luck

    1. It sucks that there can never be total healing. It’s definitely an unhealthy coping mechanism. I wish it didn’t work as well as it does.
      I know I need to lean on him for support more. 💙

      1. It is my opinion we never heal completely

        I thought iT iS common sense

        Look at us

        We struggle and suffer

        It’s our life

      2. I agree. I think it unfortunately just becomes another part of our life that we have to adapt to. There can be some healing, but I don’t think it will ever be like nothing ever happened.

      3. Was it intimacy on the men’s part, when they tried to ply you with alcohol to meet their needs

        Sounds like you were a slightly unwilling participant

        It is sad

  3. I know my words may feel meaningless but I’m so sorry this happened to you! No one should ever need to deal with things like these. 😔
    I’m glad you were still able to find love and I do hope you will find a way to stay sober after your little one has been born. That he or she, together with support from your husband, may be enough reason to not want to escape this world anymore.
    I am an comfort eater, I use food to feel better, to escape. While it has a different effect, I think I do understand the need or craving in a sense. It’s very hard to escape from. I’m still looking for ways to overcome my eating.
    If you ever want to chat, just anything at all, let me know! I’m on Twitter and Instagram as PlaystationPixy, feel free to follow and DM me there. 😊
    Wishing you so much love and strength 🍀 🌻 ♥

    1. Your words aren’t meaningless, I appreciate them ❤️
      Using things to escape, no matter what it is, stems from the same place, and it always sucks. It never ends up feeling good.
      I’m always up for chatting! Life is hard enough without going through it alone.

      1. Thanks 🤗 my words just felt so small compared to all you’ve been through.
        I always feel good for a short while and then I crash with guilty feelings and being angry with myself for stuffing so much in myself.
        If you could be able to reach out to me on either Twitter or Instagram, please feel free to do so. Wish WP had a DM function, but I guess it would flood with spam in no time. I may definitely not have all the answers but I know how hard it is to fight a battle and feel alone. Knowing there’s someone in your corner can make such a difference! 🤗

  4. I know how hard it is to process such significant trauma. I was trafficked for ten years, I’ve only been out for under two and I’m just now starting to see a therapist. I understand your pain and hurt. I can’t guarantee healing is possible but I hope it is. My best friend tells me that we learn to live with it as a companion but not one that is constantly there like something in a backdrop. Feel free to message me if you’d like (my email is Attached) I’m always open to listening to whatever you need to talk about.

    1. I’m glad you’ve started therapy and are on a better hopefully better path. I hope healing is possible too. Even if it’s there less often, that’s still way better than it being a constant.

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