Through the course of deconstructing nearly everything in my life, I sometimes ascribed to the scorched earth approach. The first definition applies:
“1. relating to or being a military policy involving deliberate and usually widespread destruction of property and resources (as housing and factories) so that an invading enemy cannot use them”.
The total destruction was somewhat wrapped up in the dynamic of having had an affair that was deep, meaningful, and healthy; aside from the obvious destructive effects. Yes, that is all quite oxymoronic, I know, but I learned things about myself over the course of that affair that have shown me – in my darkest moments – that I am not horrible and worthless and that those views belonged to someone else. Someone else whose opinion of me mattered far more than my opinion of myself. In short, I did not know there was any other option to my existence.
Because of the guilt and public [family] shaming sessions, the most devastating of which took place in my own home, I completely wiped myself free of all types of identities, including my sexual identity. To be clear, this is not about sexual orientation at all. This is about seeing myself as deserving of romantic love and sexual happiness…seeing myself as attractive and/or worth of such attention. The confusion became even thicker as I [then] looked at everything through the lens of my relationship with H. For years I had felt only marginally attracted to him, even though the sex could be really good. The emotional and psychological abuse prevented intimacy which is an important component and gateway to positive sexual experiences that reflect a solid view of my sexual identity. The positive view of my sexual identity, for me, must be a precursor to meaningful sexual interaction. I now recognize that without this inherent feeling of knowing who I am (in a sexual context) could only be absent for so long until I shut that part of me down due to the overwhelming weight of trying to figure it out in the midst of chaos. When one is controlled and belittled and torn down subtly or not so subtly – for years, how in the world could they feel sexy? It’s impossible.
From the systems perspective, it makes perfect sense. One cannot lose themselves entirely and expect that all aspects of the Self would remain unaltered. That is illogical, yet I found myself expecting myself to go through the motions as I had been doing for several years. The abusive nature of the relationship was bound to have an effect upon Me as a whole, as was the total loss of Self. The detached perspective suggests this was an obvious byproduct of my recovery process, however, the personalized perspective still views it all as somewhat bewildering. At some point I will rebuild. It will happen as the rest of my life becomes healthier. No worries, just observations at this point.
I *was* the Queen of Compartmentalization. Sometimes it was a necessary and healthy skill (e.g., professional situations) and it still can be healthy in those ways. However, compartmentalizing something relating to who I am/want to be within a sexual identity context has now become a bit dangerous because delusion, dissociation, and all kinds of other little “uglies” can insidiously take hold. Hence, my trauma has shown me the litany of work to be done. The (inner) Queen of Compartmentalization seemed to be under the impression that she could manage it all but of course she was mistaken. No more of that. It doesn’t work. It’s unrealistic. It’s illogical. It’s destructive.
It’s hard to feel sexy sometimes when hormones, fatigue, emotional issues, and other stressors hijack whatever reserves one may have left. If one has a strong sense of who they are sexually and they feel desirable, lovable, attractive, and happy within the broad notion of who they are, then the question of sexual identity becomes moot. Absent a view of feeling somewhat generally happy with oneself, there’s no way that I or anybody else could possibly delude themselves into thinking they are desirable, lovable, and/or attractive. It simply doesn’t work that way…it shouldn’t either. Delusions are poisonous. Ask the Queen, she knows.