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Shame (long and rather angsty post!)

sputniksputnik Posts: 88 Budding Regular
(Not sure which catergory to put this in so going with Sex and Relationships cos that's a fairly big theme in this, hope that's OK!)

I feel as if I'm going through a delayed puberty, in a way. During real puberty/teenagehood I didn't 'get' other people my age (still don't, much of the time), I always felt immature and superficial compared to them. They were exploring their identities, wants and desires, relationships, having crushes, etc, and I was just... stuck. I didn't even know what any of that felt like, not really. I was so inhibited and terrified of my own thoughts and feelings that everything was sifted through this sieve of 'acceptable or not', and my only source of judgement was my own distorted list of what wasn't OK for me to think/be/do (which was pretty much everything). Plus, I just didn't believe I was capable of becoming an adult. Although I didn't have much awareness of it at the time, I felt so incompetent and unlikeable, and always inferior to everyone else. No matter who I spoke to, I always felt inadequate in some way - too boring, too loud, too quiet, too energetic, too childish, too old-fashioned, too serious, too humourous. When I think of all this shit I was dragging around with me all the time, it's hardly surprising I was stifled and unable to open up to anyone properly, and deeper, comfortable relationships/friendships where I felt free and relaxed were only a beautiful fantasy to me.

I think I wasn't really living in the same universe as most of the other people around me, I was too wrapped up in Obsessive-Compulsive behaviours, hypervigilance and self-loathing. I didn't know how much I repressed myself, I didn't understand how the people around me operated. Somehow they (at least most of them) could ask for help, show affection, be vulnerable, make mistakes, be emotional, kind, harsh, angry, low- or high-energy, etc etc, apparently without an overwhelming and all-consuming sense of shame and humiliation, of having to analyse and re-construct everything afterwards to try and alleviate the utter disgust they felt at themselves... imagining a life free of that feels like a dream. For feelings of shame/embarrassment etc to exist on a manageable, proportionate level instead of blasted through every sinew of my body on a regular basis. Especially when sexual feelings come up; for years and years I've panicked when coming across pretty much anything relating to sex whatsoever, and my OCD runs itself ragged over frequent intrusive sexual thoughts. I'm not entirely sure why, I've never been in a relationship or had any experience of anything sexual but my attitude towards it seems to have been set to 'Victorian' for most of my life :sweat_smile: I didn't understand how anyone could acknowledge sexual desire or engage in anything sexual without aforementioned shame-implosion. I freeze at almost any physical contact between me and another person, terrified they'll think I'm trying to 'be sexual' with them, but at the same time I feel desperately lonely and touch-starved.

In the last couple of years I've very gradually, and with effort, knocked down a few of those barriers, which is great but also gets overwhelming sometimes, like a dam bursting and lots of emotions suddenly rushing through (that's what I mean by 'delayed puberty'). I still struggle a lot and sometimes the barriers come back in full force. At least I know they are barriers though, and not just What Life Is Like, if you get what I mean. Thankyou and hats off to you for reading this whole essay of a post :lol: Very nervous about posting this but it's taken me ages to write it so...
I know you fought hard as hell

but let this sink in

you do not have to fight by yourself


~ lyrics from Willow by The Little Unsaid

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    Amy22Amy22 Posts: 4,159 Community Veteran
    @sputnik For some reason I feel like I relate to your post in many especially with the parts of feeling like you had a delayed puberty. I too also feel like I am going through a teen phase now as a grown adult. I also felt what you felt I guess in the way that others can make mistakes and explore themselves and the whole shame part hit so hard. Sometimes it can be hard especially when you feel like you had delayed puberty and watching others growing up and doing grown things when you still feel child like. I get that. Sorry if I'm relating too much but I totally understand how you are feeling. I don't how to describe in a way its like that feeling of wanting to grow up but you can't maybe?. Hope you okay though.
    Just a person who likes pop culture and films
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    sputniksputnik Posts: 88 Budding Regular
    @Amy22 I'm sorry you experience this stuff too, but it's also really comforting to know someone else understands <3 Absolutely yes, really hard watching everyone around you growing up and feeling like you're stuck at a younger age. I think I always had this idea that growing up was gonna be horrible, like I'd be all alone and it would be expected I'd know how to do everything, so maybe part of it was resistance to growing up. Thankyou it's really nice to know you relate <3 I'm not feeling great today, my dad's visiting and although I love seeing him, I just feel tense and embarrassed almost the whole time I'm with him. How are you doing? Hope you're OK too.
    I know you fought hard as hell

    but let this sink in

    you do not have to fight by yourself


    ~ lyrics from Willow by The Little Unsaid
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    Amy22Amy22 Posts: 4,159 Community Veteran
    @sputnik Yeah I think its that thought of being alone and stuff especially when you grow up with those thoughts too. I don't know but for some reason I could hear myself in that post and relate to watching everyone grow up except me. I'm doing much better now I think I slowly get by each day <3
    Just a person who likes pop culture and films
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