Sleeping Beauty: The Backstory of my Sexual Shame and Years of Abuse

Pictured here in 2014, my weight was my cocoon. This picture was a catalyst for me that something needed to change! With each ounce of shame I heal, the more weight I lose; 50 lbs and counting, removed. Some friends who haven’t seen me since 2014 or early 2015, often don’t recognize me now.

And I don’t wanna feel this overwhelming Hostility

Because I don’t wanna feel this overwhelming Hostility

Gotta cut away Clear away

Snip away and sever this

Umbilical residue

Gotta cut away Clear away

Snip away and sever this

Umbilical residue that’s

Keeping me from killing you

Keeping me from killing you

Lyrics from “Orestes” by A Perfect Circle, MJ Keenan, et al

I called the man referenced in the poem “Shame about Sexuality” Pop-Pop. While not biologically related, he served as a surrogate grandfather. His wife, I called Grandma. She took care of me from the time I was 6 weeks old, starting when my mother returned to work. I don’t know if the grandson in the poem was Michael or David, both now have served jail time for some crime, not related to mine. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one violated by them.

Puzzling pieces

Starting in my pre-teens, young firm breasts pressing outwards from my chest, I never understood Pop-Pop’s uncomfortably long hugs.  With his long hugs, I could always feel her discomfort. Later I figured out that Grandma knew what he was doing. In a recovered memory, she tried to wash the sins away with a hot, scalding shower when I was a little young – it felt like I was the one being punished; already embedded shame was further compounded and now pressed further towards my delicate center. Now I understand his awkwardly long hugs were his way of flaunting his sins with me in front of her…years after the active abuse stopped.

When I was around 14, and she was gone from the house, he laid down behind me on the floor as I watched TV. I was so confused. Every muscle fiber in my body was twitching, contracting, resisting his moves, my head hovering above the pillow as he spooned behind me, resting his hand near by blossoming bosom. I think this was also the night he watched soft porn with my sister in the living room.

As a much younger girl, the older sister of the two of us, I protected her by offering myself to him, according to recovered memories. She does not believe she was touched, but by nature of being present in that energy, she cannot help but to have been affected.

Most of my sexual encounters and all pelvic exams were painful clues to  a condition called vaginismus. This is the inability of a woman to properly relax her muscles for tampon insertion, pelvic  exams and intercourse. It is often very painful, some women are unable to accept anything. The underlying causes are often sexual trauma, childbirth and often are due to a shame regarding sex.

As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I help many women with this condition. I have only fully healed myself of this problem in the past year (probably from frequent masturbation, a form of self-love! haha!).

Another telltale sign of the abuse was my inability to be present during sex. Grocery lists, unfinished business clouded my mind as I gave of my body. This is no longer the case for me.

For the first thirty plus years of my life, I never consciously understood why I responded emotionally and physically to stories and scenes that involved sexual abuse: rape, incest, molestation; all caused me to feel the need to vomit, violently.

Add to this the repetitive nightmares across my lifetime of being trapped in their house, unable to escape, or to lock the “boogeyman” out when the late afternoon sun cast dark shadows into the front of the west-facing house. Burnt umber hues made the rooms glow, light danced off of the dust in the air; each feeling gave me great despair.

Hypnotherapy: A Glimpse of the Bigger Picture & Disassociative Disorder 

In the recovered memory from the poem, I was 4 years old. I finally surrendered to this memory after about 3 or 4 sessions of hypnotherapy.

The first group of sessions I spent trying to repress it all, always dancing around the truth. With each session, my sexual yearnings grew and grew, the hypnotherapist gently pressed me further with each session (sometimes I wonder, did he himself get off on this?).

While I could not see Pop-Pop in any of my recovered memories, I knew where I was and I knew he was there, whether touching or orchestrating. Just as I knew it was one of his grandson’s on top of me.

While somewhat in touch with my sensuality at the time of the therapy, this is shit I could not make up even in my worst nightmares. Eventually, I stopped the hypnotherapy sessions when I had a memory of being abused at age 2.

Given my addiction to and use of food for self-soothing, I find it no mere coincidence that they also stocked the best candies and sodas, happily feeding me anything I wanted… Shame compounded, yet again.

The Crystal Cracked

The emotional upheaval this unveiling caused was one of the early schisms in my marriage. My memories were questioned by my then husband as were my motives for continuation of the unveiling. I was met with disdain instead of the love and understanding I oh so desperately needed and wanted then. Bewildered, not half the woman I am today, I can only pay tribute to that part of me who was strong enough to survive from 2 – 32 when these memories were actively suppressed, and to the woman who has worked to release the shame since then.

Putting it all together

It was only after hypnotherapy and in asking my mother questions that I was able to begin to piece more of the puzzle together. He had free access to me on Thursday evenings for several hours while Grandma played Bingo, from 6 weeks old until after I started grade school.

The River of Shame: slow waters run deep

It’s no wonder the shame runs so deeply, it started so early as this little girl was so tender in her development.

It’s no wonder it is so hard for me to receive anything and feel genuine about it. For in fully receiving gifts, compliments and love I must fully open myself up, surrendering to vulnerability. This has been a hard fought lesson; to receive.

The Shame that Binds

Part of this shame is in minimizing my own experiences: both the “good” and the “bad.” I forever minimize my pain, suffering, even aspirations, accomplishments and achievements.

Shame keeps me from shouting from the summit the things I have overcome, endured and conquered. Shame blocks love, it blocks acceptance. It fills in the gaps with feelings of intense unworthiness.

Enter WordPress

WordPress has been a great source of my learning self-love and acceptance for to create each post, I must grow further into my garden of truth. You can easily see this in the evolution of my writing.

In future posts, I will expand on how these experiences have molded my development throughout my lifetime, my choices and even the turning away from my own femininity.

My Goal for Sharing

I share these memories not to gain sympathy nor condolences. I share it because if you’re hiding behind shame from being sexually exploited yourself, know you are not alone. Know there is help out there. Know you did nothing wrong. Know you deserve the love, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the romance you thought you missed out on can always be received.

I share because as we each rise up out of our own ashes and “muck,” we strengthen and reinforce the path for others. Please, rise up and claim your right to also be free!


Published by Tiffany

Writing out my thoughts has helped me to gain a new perspective of myself. In sharing these writings, it is my hope to help others to better understand themselves. It is my belief that with each of us who chooses this path of greater understanding of thy self, that it inspires others to do the same. This building momentum is the force that drives me to share, for in my vulnerability, I find my strength. I believe that you can also find yours there. ~~~In reading some of my posts, you will see that growth is not always pretty. It is in breaking apart and coming undone that a seed sprouts and breaks free of its own captivity. It is also out of mud that the lotus blossoms. ~~~Please join me in seeing the beauty of growth within the deconstruction of our limiting beliefs. ~~T.C.

21 thoughts on “Sleeping Beauty: The Backstory of my Sexual Shame and Years of Abuse

      1. I just had the sudden realization, after reading and responding to your comment on my post, that the reason I so violently despise my husbands form of coercion towards sex is that it reminds me of this experience. Sexual abuse was very much an experience of coercion. So stupid that it hadn’t dawned on me until this moment.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I see it as the opposite: it is a gift that you now see.
        Thank you for bringing this up, because it is something I’m pre-writing in my head…the idea that we revisit in our lives, through the relationships we are in, the things that we have not healed…
        I’m still working on how best to express this. If you want some examples, let me know. I’ll press myself for one =)
        And love to you, many times over!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I look forward to reading your book and anything else you write regarding your experience in this regard as I’m certain it can only be helpful to me. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m grateful that my sharing is helping you in anyway! Feel free to lean on me if you need it. I feel I understand where you are and it’s not an easy place to be. Many hugs!
        And thank you for your supportive words! I have always wanted to write a book and never had considered this for a topic. Thank you for the idea! I’ll need to chew on it.

        Liked by 1 person

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