A rewired brain – abuse, pornography

Abuse and pornography = a rewired brain. Mine has been rewired by abuse starting at a very early age and I’m just now figuring it out.

Probably because I didn’t want to figure it out sooner.

Two things set this event in motion.

One of the comments appearing often over the last several years is that “the body remembers.” I have to say that’s true. One of the fleeting memories I had as a young kid and remember vividly to this day was straddling a metal barrel warmed by the sun, struck by the thought “I’ve had this experience of warmth before somewhere.” There are many other similar memories and thought patterns that added all together lead to a dark place.

Another happening adding to the discussion in my head was a recent podcast where the interviewee talked about his early introduction to pornography and how the practice rewired his brain and made relationships difficult. One of the biggest reasons, aside from guilt, for this difficulty in relationships is connection, or more precisely, a lack of it, and pornography contributes to it. But that’s a subject for another day.

For years I have wrestled with many things about my thought processes regarding men, especially compared to thought patterns of other women. I have an inexplicable love/hate relationship with them. I love having long conversations with my sons and brothers so there’s that. Then, I don’t exactly hate other men, I just run away from any who show interest.

This rewiring is apparent when I can’t understand the fascination young girls, or women for that matter, have with boys/men. The only experience I have with normal teenage thoughts is reading about them in books. I can’t relate to the giggling fascination. Swooning over cute boys, falling in and out of love regularly and sharing all the details of these interactions daily with their friends.

The reason I am happy about this recent new level of understanding about my mixed up feelings is my incessant need to know why. Why am I this way?

I’ve heard other abuse victims say this: there are two sides to the coin. On the one hand you hate the abusive experience forced on you while at the same time, the physical experience has a level of enjoyment to it. Our bodies betray us by liking what is happening.

I guess all of this explains why I have a good attitude toward the physical experience but a negative reaction to the thought of having a man in my life. The unwelcome hazy face rising up at the thought of sharing my life inevitably looks like one I wouldn’t want to be with. A thought killer right there.

I don’t really know how to end this. This whole conversation has been working in my mind for a while and today it seemed like this was the day I finally needed to talk it out.

My journey from abuse to wellness has been decades long and I have to say I am now the healthiest I’ve ever been. I’m grateful. The truth has indeed set me free.

I’m understanding, on a minor level, the kind of abuse inflicted on me, I’ve made peace with the people involved even though they are no longer with us, and I’ve allowed enough difficult memories to surface to make understanding and healing possible.

I can also see the truth in the idea that rewiring by repetition of positive healthy experiences will change neural pathways. We can learn healthy new ways of being. That has been my prayer, that my thought patterns and reactions would be changed to a healthier version.

While I’m still baffled by my complicated thoughts and attitudes toward men, it’s something to realize that over the years (especially the teen years) many of my best friends were guys. It’s with thankfulness that I can agree that the abusive first decade of my life has been somewhat influenced and overwritten by the positive relationships of my free and healthy second decade, the teen years.

I guess I am a product of the good and the bad.

I’m grateful. Grateful for the good parts of life, grateful for the healing and understanding I have today.

I won’t lie though. The healing is not complete, it’s just markedly better. I’m still hiding away from men.

Somethings may never change lol

Enough of this, I’m off to rescue the dryer.

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