Former homeschooler, lots of sexual guilt

Discussion in 'General Health & Wellness' started by sgs83, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. sgs83

    sgs83 New Member

    I was homeschooled through the tenth grade in a very religious home. I’m currently 26, and a lot of attendant social and sexual hang-ups remain. Sorry if the below seems whiney and obnoxious, but I was feeling down and wanted to get this out publicly.

    My mother was toxically prudish while I was growing up. When we went to the beach, she would act absolutely revolted with what the women wore, ranting about it the whole time. When confronted with anything sexually suggestive in any context, she would delve into a frenzied hissy fit, ordering me to cover my eyes, etc. She once said that all sex, even within marriage, was sinful. When the guys and the girls in our homeschooling group began hanging out together, she grew very concerned, and later she blew up and started yelling when I wanted to go to Putt Putt with a group containing both genders.

    My father wasn’t so much toxically prudish as deeply cynical. He told me once that love is a lie. Women only care about money, and sex is just a tool they use to control men. He insisted that I not date until after college and only then if I had lots of money, and he recommended that I avoid women altogether if I could.

    When I began experiencing sexual feelings, I understood them well enough to know that they were sexual, but not enough to understand that they were natural, as I was never given “the talk.” All I knew was that sex was earth-shatteringly dirty and destructive and evil. My days were mostly spent sitting around the house festering in sexual guilt, loneliness, and self-loathing. I fell into a pattern of masturbating to escape, feeling awful for it, and then masturbating more to cope with those feelings. I was worried that by masturbating I was killing myself, or that my parents would lock me in an asylum if they found out. Masturbation became my primary means of dealing with depression, and it remains so today.

    I grew reclusive, introverted, gloomy, and self-conscious, particularly around the opposite sex. I’ve never even been on a date. For most of my life, I’ve been weighed down with so much guilt and self-loathing that most of my interactions seem disconnected, like I’m just acting. Generally, I’m friendly enough with people to get along, but I’m so self-conscious that social interactions tend to exhaust me.

    During college, I mostly keep to myself, shuttling between work and school and studying a lot since I wasn’t sure what else to do. The upside was that I did very well, gradating with a 3.98 GPA. I’m currently in my second semester of law school on a scholarship. I’ve also managed to stay in decent shape, and I’m not unattractive. Periodically, a girl will try to talk to me, and I’ll sense she’s attracted, but it’s so awkward that I’ll clamp up and run off as soon as possible.

    Fundamentally, I remain isolated and depressed, and the feelings are just getting worse. If something requires immediate attention, the stress will override my depression, and I can focus well enough to do what I have to. But if there’s any slack in time, I’m generally so lonely and gloomy that I’ll shut down and accomplish little until I absolutely must. I’ll mindlessly surf the internet, wander around my apartment, go on very long walks, etc. My first semester in law school was a success, but I’m worried that I’ll start slipping if my mood doesn’t improve.

    Looking back, I understand that my mother’s sexual hang-ups and my father’s bitterness stem from problems in their marriage. They’ve both mellowed considerably over the years. I feel like I just need to get over all of the depression, but I long for a connection with someone of the opposite sex, and those feelings seem stupid and immature and hopeless. I still feel pathetic for having an interest in women. I have much to be thankful for, and intellectually I recognize that I’m in a good place in life with lots of opportunities. But the gloominess and depression remain.
  2. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    May I call you SG? Welcome to the board. You might also want to visit the depression
    board. The chit chat board is another good place to visit. It's purpose is to provide
    some sort of social life for those of us who don't get out much.

    The advice from Jaminhealth is excellent to my way of thinking. A therapist and a
    support group were crucial to me along w/ meds. I also recommend the David
    Burns book "Feeling Good".

    I was once a depressed law student myself. Working on your emotional recovery
    will do you more good than the Rule against Perpetuities.

    One of my therapists told me you can't get shrimp scampi at McDonalds, and you
    can't get the love, support and nurturing a child needs from some parents. I can't tell
    you what to do, but you might want to consider severing your connections w/
    the toxic people in your life.

    I moved thousands of miles to get away from my dysfunctional, alcoholic, managerial,
    and unloving parents.

    If you look on line for Emotions Anonymous (a 12 step group) you can find
    out if there are any meeting near you.

    Good luck

    Oh, yeah. Just read a book by a psychiatrist. Forgot his name. (I have Alzheimer's.)
    Anyway he said, ideas acquired by non logical means, cannot be removed by logic.
    So one may be told that sex is normal, natural, and healthful, but it takes more than
    just hearing that to change one's feelings.
  3. sgs83

    sgs83 New Member

    Hey, guys. Your thoughts and encouragement are very appreciated. It looks like finding a counselor and/or some sort of therapy group is the thing to do. I've thought about it in the past, but pride always gets in the way. It seems like that might be necessary, though, if I want to make any meaningful progress. I checked out Emotions Anonymous online, and it it appears that they might be worth looking into.

    And you're right, rockgor, that my hangups aren't coming from an intellectual place. That really makes it frustrating, in a way, 'cause I feel like I just need to get over it, but it's become obvious that I'll need to take some active steps to move on.
  4. JLH

    JLH New Member

    By all means, do what you can to get yourself into therapy. If one therapist doesn't work out, try another one. Some may specialize in certain areas. Remember, as in all professions, some are better than others.

    My older brother is a psychologist, so maybe that's why I promote mental health!!

    But, before you can become a success in your career, I believe you have to get yourself in check so you can build your self-confidence. And, of all professions, lawyers need to have more self-confidence than most others, I would believe, in order to win all of your arguments!!

    Good luck!
  5. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    This is a pretty heavy subject. If you get a chance, try to find reruns on the internet of TV's Dr. Drew Pinsky's work with sex addicts. I'm not saying you are a sex addict, but you might benefit from seeing some of the patients used masturbation to escape and it took over their lives, and they were isolated. You might see how the past impacted their lives in a negative sexual way and in many other ways. But it took digging out the roots behind it through therapy and support groups. Without that, they would remain the same. And it took hard work from the patients to not masturbate to ease their depression, their problems, etc.

    Like others here, my suggestion is to immediately find someone who can do therapy involving the negative sexual image drummed into you by your parents. The masturbation does not stop or get to the core of the reason for the depression, so it is really not your cure. I also would strongly suggest you get into therapy soon because your image of masturbation may now be set as only a treatment for depression, and the therapist can work on that to help you also and home therapy may be to abstain when depressed.

    Good luck and hope you find help soon.