Fear of Punishment

abnormal

Member
Let me start by saying I'm doing the best I can to describe things. If my language is inaccurate kindly help me understand better.

I've been aware of my poly-ness for about a month and I still have a kind of "tweak" (for lack of a better word) in my body when I talk about it. I still feel vulnerable. My therapist said it in session yesterday and I winced. It's like I'm waiting for a punishment(?) for being poly. Logically I know one isn't coming, but my insides apparently don't. There's a physical reaction in me.

I want to feel pride and strength in who and what I am as a poly person, so I am seeking answers. Has anyone else experienced this feeling? How did you get through it? Has it diminished or disappeared? What helped or didn't help?
 
Were you physically or emotionally punished for your sexual behaviors as a kid (i.e., looking at porn, masturbating, etc.)?
 
My therapist said it in session yesterday and I winced. It's like I'm waiting for a punishment(?) for being poly. Logically I know one isn't coming, but my insides apparently don't. There's a physical reaction in me.

Your logic might be fine. It's a reality that sharing that you are poly with others could be received well, neutral, or bring you weird comments/attention. Hate crime is a real thing, so's the "polyamory must equal slut" unwanted attention from certain people.

Maybe counseling is a middle space you need to be in right now, where it's safe to say you are poly out loud, but you don't yet have to deal with random reactions from the outside world.

I want to feel pride and strength in who and what I am as a poly person, so I am seeking answers.

Like, instantly, or over time? It's only been a month that you've been aware of it for yourself. It's ok that feeling comfortable in yourself as a poly person might take some time.

Galagirl
 
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Your logic might be fine. It's a reality that sharing that you are poly with others could be received well, neutral, or bring you weird comments/attention. Hate crime is a real thing, so's the "polyamory must equal slut" unwanted attention from certain people.

Maybe counseling is a middle space you need to be in right now, where it's safe to say you are poly out loud, but you don't yet have to deal with random reactions from the outside world.
I hope it's safe to say he's poly to his counselor. I once went to a counselor who told me "married people shouldn't get crushes." (That was during my second session. I did not go back to her.) There are some TERRIBLE therapists out there. It's not unwise to be wary of judgmental, non-helpful remarks or advice.
It's only been a month that you've been aware of it for yourself. It's ok that feeling comfortable in yourself as a poly person might take some time.
 
Were you physically or emotionally punished for your sexual behaviors as a kid (i.e., looking at porn, masturbating, etc.).
A lot of sexuality was kept from me for a long time. When caught having early masturbation attempts (when I was young -- early grade school, before I knew what masturbation was) were met with serious faces and shaking of heads. I didn't understand why they were displeased, but I knew that it had something to do with me on my bed, grinding against clothes or blankets all piled up between my legs.

It wasn't until sixth grade sex ed that I learned penises didn't have thumbnails (no clue where that concept came from, but I believed it). So much had been kept from me

In high school I found Dad's porn supply and Mom' s toy. I got called to their room. I lied and said I didn't think married men should be looking at porn.

Was I ever punished? Yeah. Definitely. And I can see some of that coloring this, but I don't know if it's the whole reason I feel the twinge when I hear poly words spoken aloud.
 
Like, instantly, or over time? It's only been a month that you've been aware of it for yourself. It's ok that feeling comfortable in yourself as a poly person might take some time.

Galagirl

I don't expect to be instantly ready, but I do have it as a long-term goal. I have a lot of learning to do before I'm strong enough. Right now words like "polyamorous" sting. When they stop hurting me I can move on.
 
Hi abnorm,

I'm pretty sure that you are struggling against your monogamous programming. You have been taught to think that polyamory is immoral and will always end badly, and that polyamorists deserve to have things end badly. It has only been a month since you have identified polyamory within yourself. I think it's going to take more like a year to start overwriting your monogamous programming -- and that's if you actively work on it, such as by getting feedback from the various members on this forum. You will need a lot of patience with yourself, and with the process. I think you are doing fine. You are doing all the things you are supposed to do.

Regards,
Kevin T.
 
I think you are doing fine. You are doing all the things you are supposed to do.

Regards,
Kevin T.

Thanks for the sweet words. I'm trying to work on it as often as I can.

My lover was overnight with me the last couple of nights. I spent several hours tense and nervous (like he might suddenly reject me now that I'm poly and know it), but we fell back into our roles eventually. We watched TV and made fun of it and each other (in a playful, lighthearted way).

Just a poke from his finger onto any part of my body (not just the sexy ones) gets me a rush of all kinds of happy hormones. That feels like life to me.
 
Sounds like your nights with your lover turned out pretty good in spite of your initial misgivings. Experiencing happy endings in poly, is one of the things that will help you to not be so afraid of poly. Keep up the good work!
 
I'm trying to work on it as often as I can.

Could you be overdoing that? Overthinking this?

Sometimes you just live your new life and get used to it. You don't have to be "actively" working on anything.

Like you don't try to read the whole internet in one night, right? There's time and place. You can work on your poly things with your counselor when you are in session and the rest of the time just live life.

My lover was overnight with me the last couple of nights. I spent several hours tense and nervous (like he might suddenly reject me now that I'm poly and know it), but we fell back into our roles eventually. We watched TV and made fun of it and each other (in a playful, lighthearted way).

So you had a lived experience and no doom happened. Maybe you need to live through more of those? So you can see that being all tense all the time is not needed?

Galagirl
 
Could you be overdoing that? Overthinking this?

Probably. But I don't know how not to think about something that feels so important.

Sometimes you just live your new life and get used to it. You don't have to be "actively" working on anything.

Like you don't try to read the whole internet in one night, right? There's time and place. You can work on your poly things with your counselor when you are in session and the rest of the time just live life.

I want to just live life, but I'm lacking confidence to do it right now. I feel vulnerable.
So you had a lived experience and no doom happened. Maybe you need to live through more of those? So you can see that being all tense all the time is not needed?

lol "no doom happened," I love how you phrased that. It will take time before I'm confident that being tense is unnecessary. I'm still learning. I have to keep practicing it until it becomes default.
 
I have anxiety and keep it under management.

I read once that if you notice you are holding your body in tension? To deliberately relax your muscles. So your brain can know it's ok. The body isn't poised for "flight or fight" or something. There is no actual danger. To do square breathing or look around and do 5,4,3,2,1.

Find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. To focus your mind on thinking about something else that is more calming.

Then both the body and the mind can go "Ahhhh... I'm ok enough. Things around me are ok enough. Nothing doom."

But if you go around worrying and thinking doom and the body is perched all tense "on alert" for the doom that probably doesn't even happen most of the time... you are keeping your body cranked up all the time.

Like the nervous system doesn't get a BREAK. Even getting to patch of calm will make you anxious because it feels THAT unfamiliar and unsafe like you are supposed to wait for the other shoe to drop.

I don't know if that helps you any.

GG
 
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