I thought people could see my vulnerability and exploited my discomfort.
Well you can imagine how isolated and sad I felt. The helplessness, the fear, the shame.
Much later I began to let myself know and believe, I'M NO WORSE THAN OTHER PEOPLE. What happened to me, that early sexualization by my abuser was not right and I was an innocent child. I as a person, a human being deserve the same respect any other person gets. And I could demand it from people. If they refused, they were considered by me to be less virtuous or just self-centered. And that's not my problem. Sure, it still triggers the rejection alarm in my brain, but I know it's not really. Im still the same good guy.
At a certain point I mustered the courage (borne by terror) to ask someone, how do I look to the outside world? And you know what he said? He said I look like a respectable, nice person. I was incredulous. Couldn't they see how transparent and vulnerable and ashamed I was???? And yet the fact was, NO they couldn't. Well that was truly an eye-opener. I had been struggling to create an outward persona as a person not being full of depression and shame, and I had that. People didn't see me in the way I knew myself to be. That released so much anxiety. It took months for it to sink in and start changing how I interacted with others but astoundingly, the more I asserted my right for others to respect me, the more respect I recieved.
Actually some people do even now see me as funny, because I am so open to talking about stuff. But now I don't have much of an issue with it. They're not for me. I know inside I'm not a danger to others. How open I have been, not knowing how to set boundaries with what I reveal to whom was a humongous struggle as well but we could write about it in another blog post.