Two Different People

My work this summer with A has been focused a lot on relationships. Good in the sense that it needs to be dealt with so I can finally be ready to be in one, bad because it is a very scary topic for me. Lots of things I've never discussed with anyone. Ever.

One of the things we have been discussing is how different I am at work than how I am in my personal life. I am literally two different people. The reason for that is obvious (to me at least). There is no threat of anything sexual happening to me at work. My company employs about 95% women. Work is safe for me. So with that understanding, I don't feel like I'm in danger. At work I am confident, assertive, outspoken, and driven. I don't let people take advantage of me. I make sure my opinions are heard.

But as soon as I walk out of the building, the world becomes a scary place again. One filled with men who want to take advantage of me and use me for sex. However black and white that statement is, I believe it is true. And my perception of this truth has kept me away from relationships of any kind. I can sit there and logically go through what I bring to a relationship, but to me, that doesn't matter because I feel like I will always be wanted for my body. I always read that in order to have a healthy relationship/marriage, a healthy sex life needs to be a part of that. For me, putting the words healthy and sex together is like putting oil and water together. They just don't mix.

So in my personal life, I have always had these huge insurmountable walls up to keep me from getting hurt. Having to put those walls up makes me awkward, scared and generally unapproachable with guys. I'm sure my body language just screams "STAY AWAY!". I never have the feeling of confidence, assertiveness or anything similar to what I feel when I am at work. It's always fear. It's always that voice in my head telling me "He's not really interested in talking to you or spending time with you, he just wants to sleep with you."

I told A I felt like the person I am at work is the person I would have been in every aspect of my life if M (my abuser) had never been in it. She looked at me and asked "Why are you letting M still have this power over you?"

To which I have no answer. Not yet, at least.


Paula said...
July 3, 2010 at 3:34 AM

Lily I can relate so much. During trauma therapy it was revealed to me that I truly live two opposite lifes. A highly successfull professional yet a shy introvert in private life . They called it selective anxkiety disorder and whilst I am not for labels this truly hit the spot. Here during my journey I often feel it to the BONE. There are things which I try to avaoid, some days are better then others, yet I am pretty ashamed and have to work harder on this issue. no one meeting me would think so how insecrue I am. This faced is still strong not yet dismantled. Keep going you ared oing good. Awreness is hard, acceptance too afterwards it gets easier or so they say:-)HUgs to you

Just Be Real said...
July 3, 2010 at 7:26 AM

Dear one I know that you know I understand what you are going through. As you have stated, we both have so many similarities.

As I speak these words to you, I am also ministering to myself as well. I am so very sorry for your fears and all the pain that your abuse has caused you all these years. All the things you could have experienced as a normal woman, could not because of what happened and the fears and hurt.

I am here with you listening and understanding.


Catherine said...
July 4, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Lily, I used to feel this way a lot too. I have been married for six years now and am finally getting to a point where I can see my husband for who he really is, someone who loves me for who I am. It is still hard for me to view other men as genuine and not wanting only sex, but my views are changing slowly.

Love, Catherine

Grace said...
July 6, 2010 at 6:09 PM

Dear Lily, As difficult as this process is - I believe with all my heart and soul that you are a diamond in the rough...with each scrap and rub against adversity a bit more blackness gets rubbed away and glimmers peak through. All the scrubbing, nicks, jabs from life actually clear the way for brilliance to shine through.
I believe in you!

Anonymous said...
July 6, 2010 at 6:25 PM


I stumbled across your blog very randomly (through another blog), and as I have read a few of your posts, I have to tell you that my heart hurts for you. Along with that I also want to tell you that there is TRUE healing in Christ. I would encourage you to read the book "Captivating" by John and Staci Eldredge. I think you would be deeply encouraged. You have a wound, a vulnerability, that God can use in an AMAZING way! Look through the Bible and you will see that God used peoples weaknesses and vulnerabilities, not their strengths.

I would encourage you to do two other thing: find your name, and write a letter to God. Find the name that God wants to give you, the person he wants to compare you to. It can be anyone! A bible character, an actor, or even a cartoon character. Once He has revealed that to you, write Him a letter, but not just any letter. Take your hand that is NOT dominant, and start writing whatever is on your heart and mind. When you have finished, take your dominant hand, listen for God to speak to you, and start writing his response. I think you will be amazed.

You are the great Healer. You have put our sins as far as the east is from the west. You have told us that "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph 6:12) God I pray that you would come through for Lily and show her a healing that she cannot even begin to imagine! I've seen Your healing in my life and bear testimony to it. Abba, in our greatest weakness we submit fully to your leading and strength. In our greatest strength we push forward for your glory and advancement. Hear this simple cry! We praise you and bless your name, Jesus!

Kathy M. said...
July 6, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Dear Lily,

I came by to thank you for your kind comment on my blog, only to find that we have much in common.

I, too, am a survivor of sexual abuse. I, too, put up walls that told men to stay away.

I think it's wonderful that you have an image of yourself had this not happened. In my case, alcoholism in my home was also a factor. I'm still trying to figure out who I am under all the layers of protection.

I'm following you, now. I look forward to walking this journey with you.

Hugs to you.

Marj aka Thriver said...
July 27, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Oh, Lily! Thank you for being so honest and open with us in this post. I have to admit, I still struggle with this issue some myself. But, it has improved a great deal.

Have you ever read "The Sexual Healing Journey" by Wendy Maltz? I recommend it all the time.

Thank you for letting us use this post that shares so honestly a huge survivor issue for THE BLOG CARNIVAL AGAINST CHILD ABUSE. I so appreciate your contributions.