These days, self-integrity is really important to me. I will sacrifice comfort, convenience and opprotunity to retain and regain my self-integrity. I understand the consequence of a divided mind – weighing me down with internal conflicts and the energy required to keep track of all the inconsistencies and when to allow or forbid each one.
As a child, i had no understanding of my self-integrity or its value. I was motivated by the experience of the moment. I cared about minimizing suffering and maximizing enjoyment. This meant mentally separating from my body to minimise the suffering of abuse. As the abuse included my head, i also separated from my head, my own face, and restricted my personal space to a small volume within my skull. I created an alternative reality in there to compensate for the loss of my connection to my physical reality. A place to hang out in my mind.
I had been aware of this separation, but recently i became aware of something much more difficult to admit to myself. Not only did i withdraw from the abuse, I participated in it in a way that seemed to me to reduce the suffering. That meant proactively behaving in a way that I believed would make the abusers nicer to me, and it probably worked. Yet it meant pretending to be attracted to, and turned on my abusers, who i found disgusting.
This is not news to me. For decades I have had disturbing ‘flashbacks’ of such appeasement. These were so disgusting to me – an awful experience to have such things arise in my mind without warning. Despite knowing this, I tried to avoid it, to make it go away. I couldnt. I just didnt want to deal with the idea that i helped them abuse me. When I recently admitted that I did this kiind of appeasement, I released a lot of grief about it.
Some people describe this as “fawning”, the act of trying to appease the abuser to lessen the abuse – its part of the set “Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn, Feign, Flirt” – that describes the different responses to trauma.
PostEdit – A commenter reminded me of “Feign”, and Im adding “Flirt” to the list to make 6. I also think there may be a reason to add a word for hypochondria to the list, as some use that, to guilt the abuser into not abusing.
For me, appeasing the abuser is an extremely offensive thing, its disgusting. Those pedophiles are human scum. Especially difficult to admit is pretending to be attracted to and to act as if I liked the abuser. I understand that it meant less torture, less nastiness from the abuusers. But as a child, i was unable to see the bigger picture, to see the consequences of this. I chose to perform to avoid suffering. I was in a mindset of present experience, and did what it took to make that present experience less awful, less traumatic. I had no awareness of the deep harmful effects in my mind. Only now that I am healing from the abuse am i becoming aware of the unforseen consequences.
I forgive my young self, for doing what he could to lessen the suffering. I will continue with my work to heal all the harm that was done to my mind. It is such a relief to purge these trapped conflicts from my mind.