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MORE THAN A WOMAN 

Chapter 14

INHIBITIONS

To understand what inhibitions are, we need to look at the definition of the word 'inhibit.' It means to hold in or hold back – To check or to forbid – It is the act of restraining - A restraining action of the unconscious will - The stoppage, complete or partial, of a physical process by some nervous influence – It is to suffer from unnatural restraints imposed by the unconscious will. The fundamental difference between those of you who have inhibitions or ‘hang-ups’, and those of you who have gotten rid of them, is that the negative inhibitions deprive you from discovering, developing, and being creative, while having no inhibitions gives you a sense of freedom, emotional security, self-confidence, self worth and the ability to do whatever you want to and feel wonderfully comfortable about it.

If you are insecure in any way, these fears and misconceptions will disallow the full application of your sensual powers. Between the ages of 25 and 39, most women are particularly conscious of their looks, image, their bodies and their sex appeal, and all have developed at least one or more inhibitions stemming from childhood experiences or circumstances. I don’t know anyone in this age bracket who does not have an inhibition that is causing some kind of problem. Most times you aren’t even aware that these inhibitions are causing you to hold back, or restraining you from the freedom you should be enjoying.

I’m sure that you are all aware that there are many different reasons why you develop inhibitions. Perhaps you had a bad experience as a child, or maybe you heard someone say something derogatory about you that caused you embarrassment, and you have steadily developed a feeling of self-consciousness about it. Parents sometimes say negative things to their children not realising that the remark will manifest as an inhibition and possibly create a whole range of problems in later life.

Inhibitions are manifested deep within your sub-conscience at a very tender age, perhaps even as early as the age of two or three. These inhibitions become stronger as your character develops and you begin to make a little sense of what is happening around you. Whether you have little hang-ups or major ones, they still have the same impact on the type of person you become as an adult. You may have allowed an experience in your childhood to influence what you think and feel about yourself. Someone may have called you chubby as a child. Perhaps a child at school said you were ugly, or maybe everyone always made a fuss of your sister saying how beautiful she was and you were ignored. Maybe someone told you that you have a long nose, or someone may have said in jest that your ears are big or pointed and you look life an elf.

I recall someone saying to a friend’s mom that her daughter’s uneven teeth spoilt her pretty face. She advised my friend’s mom to have them straightened. Overhearing this remark, my friend developed a hang-up about her teeth, and since her mom never did get her teeth fixed, she very seldom smiled. Perhaps many said that you were taller than most other girls your age, and now you walk like the hunch-back of Notre Dame. Maybe you think you’re too fat because you don’t look anything like the models in magazines. Perhaps you believe that your breasts are too small or too big. You may have been told as a child that you were stupid and incapable of doing anything right, and so you doubt that you’ll ever amount to anything.

Whatever derogatory words were spoken or overheard by you as a child will manifest within your sub-conscience causing you to believe that what you heard is true. As an adult you may still believe that you’re fat or ugly: too thin or too tall: have a long nose or big ears. These remarks will stay with you always unless you disregard them as just foolish remarks made by people who didn’t know any better.

These and many more beliefs, self-inflicted or inflicted by others, usually manifest as inhibitions and will prohibit you from growth and emotional freedom. They could be the reason that you are anti-social, unfriendly or an introvert. You may find it difficult to communicate and not make friends easily, or you may be very shy or uncomfortable in the presence of strangers. Remember that most inhibitions stem from situations, circumstances, actions, or negative words spoken throughout your growing years. It all depends on whether you will allow them to break down your self- confidence or not!

Contrary to becoming an introvert, some inhibitions may cause you to be loud and overbearing, thinking that this behaviour will re-direct the focus from whatever you may believe to be a defect or shortcoming. When you marry, one or more of your inhibitions usually come to the fore especially during lovemaking, causing you embarrassment and disallowing you to be completely relaxed and able to perform to your full potential. There’s no doubt that you will always try to hide that which you are embarrassed about, and since most men are not conscious of their physical defects, they don’t make issues of yours. In fact, they don’t even see your flaws as you see them. You on the other hand remain self-conscious of that which you believe to be a defect until you learn to accept it as part of your body and come to terms with it. Do not allow it to inhibit and taint your self-worth and self confidence.

Sadly you may begin to understand your sexuality and only accept yourself and your body very late in life, and so many years are wasted worrying about all sorts of unfounded negativities. Too many years have been spent in self-denial when you could have been enjoying the most fulfilling and exciting sexual relationship with your husband. Let’s take a look at some of the commonly manifested inhibitions that impact negatively to sex in a marriage. You are self-conscious of your body and insist on making love in the dark so that your husband will not see that extra little roll around your tummy or the few extra kilos around your thighs. You can’t possibly allow him to see the scar from an operation or an accident, and so you go to great lengths to conceal it. You are self-conscious of the freckles all over your body and afraid he may make an adverse remark. You had acne as a teenager and afraid your husband will see the scars on your face when your make-up comes off during lovemaking, and so in the darkness you hide. You don’t like kissing because you have protruding front teeth. You have always been self-conscious of your small breasts and become uneasy when he wants to touch them. You don’t want him to see your toes because you believe that they are ugly. One of your nipples is bigger than the other and you are embarrassed about it. You have a mole on your inner thigh and won’t let him go anywhere near it.

Do any of these negative feelings and insecurities ring bells in your head? If one or more of these specific negative thoughts which I have mentioned are not relative to you, then I’m certain there must be others that are. During lovemaking, you are conscious of one or more of these hang-ups, and so it is inhibiting you from letting go and of giving yourself completely.

It is impossible to focus entirely on something when you have this nagging fear or negative thought in the back of your mind all the time? Lose the inhibition, he will not even notice. All he wants to do is love you, satisfy you, and make you happy. Anyway, who cares if you have any of the above little “defects” He sure doesn’t – so why should you? And even if he does notice it later, he won’t even mention it unless you give him reason to. If you’re overweight and he’s prepared to marry you and make love to you the way you are, don’t spoil it by becoming cold and unresponsive because you are embarrassed about it. Either accept it or do something about it! If you allow your inhibitions to turn you into a monster, he will begin to notice all the things about you that never concerned him before. Suddenly you’re a sure turn off to him and you will wonder why. 

Models are all tall, thin and beautiful, and you are nothing like them, or so you believe. The reality is that some models are nowhere near as beautiful as they are portrayed on glossy pages. Magazines create beautiful women. Trick photography hides all the pimples, scars, blotches, large open pores, dark lines under the eyes, and the long nose that the readers do not see. Looking at magazines with beautiful women in them when you have a low self-esteem will only cause you to believe you can never be beautiful in any way. Who will love you just the way you are you wonder? Inhibitions, all unnecessary inhibitions! If you believe that you will never be or look beautiful, it can develop a deep sense of insecurity and inadequacy.

If you believe that you are not pretty, don’t have a body to die for, haven’t got beautiful straight white teeth, have a skin that cannot compare to the model advertising make up or a face wash, have legs that resemble the stork that delivered you to your parents, and have thin strands of hair on your head that are not worth the expensive shampoo and conditioner that you buy, then you are heading for disaster! These negative beliefs develop into inhibitions that cause a low self-esteem and a profound negativity towards yourself as well as others.

We all know that men are more visual than women, and it’s usually what their eyes see that is more appealing and an instant attraction. So surely it’s obvious that he liked what he saw right from the start or he wouldn’t have married you in the first place? You must understand that what you may see as ugly, he may see as beautiful. I know of many women whose husband’s tell them constantly that they are beautiful and sexy and that they love them the way they are, but these women are so absorbed in their own self-rejection that they do not believe what their husband’s are saying is true.

If you are really unhappy with the way you look, then do something about it. You don’t have to have cosmetic surgery, just do a make-over and develop a change of attitude. If you think you’re looking rather drab, get rid of all your old clothes, change your style, shop until you drop and buy yourself some really nice clothes! Cut or have your hair styled, dyed or highlighted, whatever, but change your look honey if you are not happy with it!

All negative feelings and insecurities disappear when you are looking good, feeling confident, stylish and happy with yourself. Look in the mirror and see a new you. See yourself in a positive way and no longer as this drab, miserable creature that you believe crawled out from under the floorboards. When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you see the good. When you see the good, you do good!

I too developed many inhibitions that hindered me from experiencing true freedom as an adult. Some of these inhibitions were manifested from childhood experiences, some from the relationship I had with my mom and her family, and some during the course of my marriage. The most influential childhood inhibition I developed stemmed from my experience when my friend’s father across the road from where I lived sexually harassed me at every possible opportunity. He knew my parents well and I was terrified my mom would find out. He would always threaten me not to dare say a word to anyone, so I never told a soul. Fortunately his sexual abuse never included the full sexual act, but he would touch and fondle me whenever the opportunity arose, and in turn force me to touch him. I would often sleep over on weekends or during the holidays, and I can vividly recall how I would wake up in the middle of the night to find him kneeling next to my bed and his hand stroking and fondling me. I was too young to understand what was going on, and too terrified to do anything about it.

I can’t remember when it all began, but I do recall the day it ended. I was sixteen and had gone over to visit my friend’s mom. In those days no one locked their doors and I walked through the house calling, but when I realised no one was home I headed for the front door. As I passed the bedrooms he suddenly appeared. All I remember is that he grabbed and dragged me towards the main bedroom and threw me onto the bed. The fear in me helped me to fight him off. How I managed to break free from under his heavy weight and fierce grip I can only accredit to God’s grace. Running towards the front door I remember telling him that if he ever touched me again I would kill him.

Finally I had the courage and taken a stand to put a stop to his perverse behaviour. His assault on my defenceless innocence caused much confusion within me, and I was too young to understand the barrage of many weird and wild sexual thoughts and feelings I experienced at an early age when I should have been playing with dolls. While writing this book, it suddenly made sense why I had become such a tomboy as a child. I realised that I had suppressed my female sexuality in the hope that he would leave me alone. It obviously didn’t work and as the abuse continued, the more I wanted to be a boy. For many years afterwards there were times when I had to face my perpetrator since our families were connected. And when he died many years later, only then was I finally able to forgive him and put the whole ordeal behind me.

With God’s help I was able to eventually let go of the guilt and shame I felt for so many years. I came to realise and understand that I was not in any way responsible for his perverted behaviour, and there was no need to feel guilty or ashamed since I had done nothing wrong. I never told my parents about my ordeal knowing that my mom would never believe me, and my dad would have killed him. I vowed never to allow my children to go through life keeping sordid secrets to themselves that may damage them in any way as it did me. My experience taught me how important it is to have an open and trusting relationship with my children, thus enabling them to discuss anything with me no matter how disturbing it may be.

Sadly, so many cases of abusive behaviour towards children go undetected because parents do not believe their children should they attempt to confide in them. Naturally my experience impacted negatively on my adult life to a certain extent, but fortunately I was strong enough not to allow it to control me. In retrospect, I recall the relief I felt once I had let it all go but had I sought help earlier I could have gotten over it sooner. I remember telling my ex husband about it but he did not understand my feelings and told me to forget it. It was only years later when I confided in a friend who counselled for Life Line with me, that the healing process began. In time I came to accept myself with all my idiosyncrasies, faults and weaknesses, and learned to believe in myself once again.

So I say to you who are still young, lose the guilt you may be feeling because of a similar or worse incident, it’s not your fault and don’t allow it to control you. Try to deal with it as quickly as possible and don’t wait until your marriage is a mess because of it. Go for therapy if you can’t deal with it yourself. Talk to someone you can trust and get it out of your system. Remember God is just waiting for your call for help so that He can help you overcome your hurt, guilt and pain. If you harbour any kind of inhibition it can cause you to miss out on so much of life, love and happiness. When you deal with it, you will understand the many reasons why you did, said, and acted towards certain situations and people as you did. Even though I was very fortunate to have a strong personality, a firm spiritual background, and good solid values and principles, it still had a profoundly negative effect on my life, but I was able to win the battle and so can you! 

In closing, I would like to mention another kind of inhibition that can cause you to become unpopular with your peers, colleagues, family and friends and create havoc in your life. This is the superiority complex. This inhibition causes you to believe that you are better than everyone else. Perhaps you were very spoilt as a child and were always told how wonderful, beautiful and clever you were. In essence, you could do no wrong and your parent’s never administered any discipline, so as a child you may have developed an attitude of superiority and believed that you were perfect in every way. As an adult you have become arrogant, forceful, selfish, domineering, and controlling. This kind of attitude is unhealthy and will only cause you strife in life. Not many people are drawn to someone who has a superiority complex. You are not better, braver, cleverer, more competent, or prettier than anyone else. You are unique in your own way and need to see the uniqueness in others. If you are happy with who and what you are, then there is no reason to think that you are better than others. Lose the attitude of believing that you are a cut above the rest.

On the flip side, you may have developed an inferiority complex because as a child you just couldn't do anything right and grew up believing that you are worthless. You are not worthless! See yourself as special and privileged to have what God has given to you. Deal with your past and come to terms with the many inhibitions which may be hindering you from being the person you want to be. Look for all the good qualities you possess and use them to your advantage instead of allowing the negative ones to destroy your happiness.

If you stand in front of the mirror holding eleven roses in your hand, you will see the twelve most beautiful things in the world

CHAPTER 15: BELIEVE YOU ARE DESIRABLE

© Copyright in terms of The Berne Convention: Tess Bunnell 2009

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