1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Lesbian assault survivor: how do I stop distrusting men?

Discussion in 'The Welcome Lounge' started by chawna, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. chawna

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2021
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    new york
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Hello, all! I am a happily married, lesbian woman who was a bit of a late-bloomer coming out at the age of 21/22 after dating men for several years. I always knew I was gay, but growing up in a small town with a conservative family lead me to bury that side of myself for years. I am happily out and proud for the past 7 years and am married to the love of my life, but there is one big issue I am still facing. I was assaulted (on more than one occasion) when I was younger as, sadly, many women and men are in their lifetimes. I have been in and out of therapy and have done a lot of work on identifying my triggers and learning to cope effectively. I’ve come a long way in feeling better about myself and in learning to live with the effects of it. However, I find myself compulsively angry and distrusting of heterosexual men as a result, especially men I don’t know. I always assume they have the worst intentions and am quick to react if my wife suddenly develops a new close friendship with a man I’ve never met.

    This behavior is not fair to my wife or to the poor guy I don’t even know and I acknowledge this and try to work past it, but sometimes the fight/ flight instincts take over and I have to let them run their course before logic kicks in and I can rationalize why I got so worked up over nothing. This is not a lack of trust on my wife’s end at all. We have been doing long distance for the duration of our relationship and I have never doubted her loyalty to me, it’s always the random man I don’t trust to not hurt her especially when they’re alone and/ or drinking, etc. I’m sure the distance does not help my situation, but I’d really like to work on this as I can’t always be by her side to *protect* her and, as she loves to remind me, she’s a grown woman who doesn’t need protecting and I should trust her judgement on who she hangs out with. The last man I tried to maintain a close friendship with made a comment when we went out once about how he “could have raped me” if he wanted to and I should be glad he didn’t. This certainly fueled the fire and I haven’t tried to maintain a close friendship with a man since.

    Does anyone have any personal experience with a similar reaction towards men? I hate feeling like the “man-hating lesbian,” because I am generally very easy to get along with and I try not to judge people until I get to know them. I have been doing a lot of reading in self-help books on trauma and am trying to be more aware of why I react the way I do, but I swear it sneaks up on me when I least expect it. I am just hoping someone on here can offer some insight or advice that I haven’t stumbled upon yet. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Really

    Full Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2014
    Messages:
    2,446
    Likes Received:
    599
    Location:
    BC
    Hey there!

    Welcome to EC! I hope you find your time here helpful and enjoyable. :slight_smile:

    I’m no expert in your situation and maybe your therapist has tools you could use to help you navigate this but I wondered if you could reframe this “fear” as a “superpower” instead.

    That last guy you mentioned certainly sounds like someone to avoid if he thinks that’s an acceptable comment to make to someone. it’s great that you can see this.

    I think there’s obviously a balance between trusting others to be good people and spotting when they aren’t. You want to be able to do both. Do you know any men that you trust and know to be good people? Even if you don’t know them that well, what character traits do they have or how have they behaved in situations that you can now compare with the others and identify as better, acceptable and therefore more trustworthy. It doesn’t have to be everything about them (but hopefully if they’re good in one area, they’ll be so in others) but if you can consciously identify the goodness in these men, perhaps you’ll start to be able to subconsciously see these things in others. Like a muscle memory you’d get from practicing anything.

    Just a thought. :}
     
  3. quebec

    Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2014
    Messages:
    2,003
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    Location:
    Idaho
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Chawna.....Hello and a great big LGBTQ+ welcome to Empty Closets! :old_smile: There are a number of sub-forums here on EC...why don't you check them out and then feel free to join in the conversations! We will do our best to be a support and a place to vent when you need it! I so hope that you can continue to spend time with a therapist working through the rough times that you've had in the past. I know that I would not be where I am emotionally and stability wise were it not for the time I've invested with my therapist. Please keep us updated on the progress you make with this. If there are any specific things that we might be able to help with...please let us know! We are so glad that you have found us here on EC!
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
  4. chawna

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2021
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    new york
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Thank you so much for your response. I have certainly explored reframing my mentality and I like your insight to highlight traits about the men in my life who I do admire and will make a more conscious effort to look for those qualities in new men I meet. I am looking into Stoicism at the moment and am about to read Ryan Holiday's "The Obstacle is the Way." :slight_smile: I think all of these combined will help me separate my intuition from my projected fears that I irrationally place on strangers. Thanks again!
     
  5. chawna

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2021
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    new york
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    T
    Thank you, David! :slight_smile:
     
  6. Really

    Full Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2014
    Messages:
    2,446
    Likes Received:
    599
    Location:
    BC
    You’ve got this! :slight_smile::thumbsup:
     
  7. resu

    Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Messages:
    4,822
    Likes Received:
    246
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Welcome to EC! I'm sorry about your horrible experiences, and I don't blame you for feeling threatened (no one should talk about potential rape). You might consider looking for a professional counselor who specializes in trauma because maybe that is causing the hypervigilance response.

    I would echo what was said above. "Men" as a group means literally billions of people, so any generalizations are often going to be extreme stereotypes. Once we get out of the pandemic, I would say to look for friends based on mutual interests who just happen to be men.