Guest Author: Yasemin S.
– Please forgive me, I can’t hide my astonishment. We don’t usually make this kind of statements during therapy but your mother’s inner motives to use violence are very unusual than the conventional dynamics of society. “Letting someone in your heart means letting them in your bed… If I beat you here, you will be rid of you sins. It will hurt more if you get punished in the other world…”
– Do you know what is worse? 17-year-old me took these words seriously, perceived they were the truth. I know that sometimes I slept more peacefully after the beating, thinking “I am a better person now”. But these thoughts led me to an unhealthy state. I was callow. All girls had boyfriends. I knew that even the girls my mom always liked to mention as good examples had relationships they kept secret, but I couldn’t say anything. Everyone around me had someone they loved. So I just couldn’t help it and would text my boyfriend again, and then get caught, punished and insulted all over. Verbal violence would start as soon as the beating session ended. Even the little mistakes I made -like accidentally adding too much tea leaves when brewing the tea- were somehow related to my chastity. She made everything look like it was all about my libido; this is exactly how she described it. So, I learned the role of sexuality in relationships between men and women from what my mom had done to me. I was committing ‘prostitution’ when I thought I was just simply texting with my boyfriend. This expression also belongs to mom. One day my ego was hurt so much that I went into bathroom and cut my legs first, then my arms. And a few cuts between my legs… the part which –without my knowledge- was making me commit all the sins, the organ that caused all my shameful acts and embarrassed mom.
– Indeed, your thoughts, in fact your mother’s thoughts, led you to a very unhealthy state. Did your mother notice? What happened when she did?
– She did, but after a very long time. She said something about being love sick and silly thoughts. She said that I was probably going to start using drugs soon, and asked me if I smoked or something. I don’t remember well, I wasn’t really listening. But I do remember this: The cuts were hurting so much and making me dizzy that they overwhelmed the pain in my heart and silenced my thoughts. It became some kind of therapy for me.
– What about your father, what was his reaction?
– Well, of course he was instructed by mom to beat me for a few times because I had a boyfriend, and he did so. Quoting mom’s words while beating too… I find his reaction mechanism quite interesting actually. He’d never had any ideas of his own, he still does not. He was either completely indifferent or so furious that he would punish me extremely. He and mom had been having a severe conflict at the time this was happening. Our home had become very uneasy and we had no peace at all. Most of the time my sins were an excuse to discharge from stress for my parents. I came here to talk about my vaginismus problem, didn’t I? Well, my dad has a humble contribution to this part of the story.
– What is your father’s contribution?
– He is also an educator who has an intellectual environment just like mom. They always do important stuff. Graduated from theology, been a teacher for years… He also has a traditional side which makes him a typical eastern man. When I was younger I really wanted to play the violin, so I saved up money and bought one. I remember quite well that he said, “Don’t walk beside me, I’m ashamed of you”. Anyways, so basically this was the image of him in my eyes. But one night, I woke up to have some water, and I saw him watching porn. I had never heard this word, I had no idea this kind of videos existed until that day. I remember running to the bathroom to vomit. Everyone thought I got ill and got up in the middle of the night because of that, but what I saw made me sick. I couldn’t get over it for a week. After that night until I got married, I locked my door every night because I feared that my dad, who watched such violent, brutal and obscene things, could do them to me as well. I avoided being alone with him all the time. What happened that night made me question the notions of marriage, fidelity, loyalty, love. I tried hard not to think that sexuality surpassed all these, becoming the primary goal, because that would be very disappointing and mom would be justified. What my dad did –I took it as treason to mom and our family then- was proving mom’s point.
– In fact, only one of these incidents you have been telling me could be enough to cause vaginismus. Being able to get over this problem on your own after all that had happened is honestly incredible, because we gain our perception of sexuality in adulthood mostly by our learnings from childhood. I’m wondering how did your changing mindset affect your relationship with your boyfriend under these circumstances? Your parents’ behaviors had led you to the point where you started to think that love didn’t exist and everyone did what they did only to obtain sexual pleasure. Was your boyfriend excluded from this theory?
– Of course not, I will talk about it too. It is so unpleasant and still painful to me. If I can manage to talk without crying, I will tell you all about it. Terrible things happened. It’s been almost ten years since then, but even now it makes me tremble all over.