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Robbed of Control Over My Life

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From Germany: I’ve been feeling like I was robbed of control over my life by my ex-girlfriend made me avoid sex with all women. About 5 years ago, about a month after breaking up with my ex-girlfriend, she contacted me to let me know she took a pregnancy test and that she was pregnant with my child. We didn’t use condoms, as she was on the pill, and I had no reason to disbelieve it. When we were still together, she herself decided that it was too early for children and that she would have an abortion, should anything like this happen. Now, however, she told me she wanted to keep it.

I felt like I had lost all control of my life and future and it was the first (and fortunately last) time in my life, I ever thought about suicide, additionally so because I felt and still feel like it was my fault for being so stupid as to trust her that she would take the pill. The next 24 hours, before I could see her, were the longest and hardest of my life. Once I saw her again, I had her take three separate tests from three different brands, and they were all negative.

While I was ecstatic at the result, something changed in me. Before, I was a trusting guy with a healthy libido. After, I am extremely mistrustful towards women and often can’t even get/keep an erection, unless I really trust a woman. While I realize that having sex only with women I trust would be a generally good idea — and I was never one for flings anyway — it is killing me that with every new woman that likes me and whom I like, there’s a good chance I won’t be able to have sex with her for sometimes weeks or even months. It has come so far that I often just try to avoid sex altogether, because not being able to please her like that makes me feel like a failure, and me being good at oral sex doesn’t improve the situation one bit.

I feel like my subconscious is trying to protect me and itself from ever going through something like those 24 hours of absolute uncertainty ever again, but I don’t want this to have such a big impact on my life. It’s like I can’t process the memory enough to get over it. I have tried confronting her multiple times over the years, but she just claims it was a honest mistake — a false positive.

Robbed of Control Over My Life

Answered by on -

A.

 Your reactions are perfectly understandable. As human beings we are built to keep track of the situations that have caused us harm. At the core of the post traumatic stress disorder is the same type of dynamic. The brain will try to keep track of any situation that has the potential to traumatize us again.

Fortunately the brain is also capable of correcting these reactions. I believe the original situation with the pregnancy operates like a trauma — so lets treat it like one.

I would highly recommend EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) as a treatment modality. It is brief and has shown to be effective in treating a range of traumatic reactions. It has the potential to help you move through these difficult feelings.

Combined with this I would highly recommend that in your dating situation you explain your past experience. Intimacy that evolves from being able to discuss vulnerability is likely to be helpful when it comes to intercourse.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Robbed of Control Over My Life

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Robbed of Control Over My Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/09/15/robbed-of-control-over-my-life/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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