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#191687 - 11/17/07 10:45 AM something amazing happened
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
I'm not sure how to talk about this... but I'm just going to try and put it down before I forget it. I know it's a long post, but it's important for me to get down as much of the detail of this. I hope you guys find something useful in it. I'm going to break this up into two posts, so it doesn't seem so daunting a read.

During some of my EMDR sessions, an image has come up a few times of a small citadel or jailhouse deep within my mind. The last time I did an EMDR session (a few months back) I was finally able to get inside this place to see what I had put in there. I could feel that there was something important locked up inside, but I had no idea what I would find when I finally got in. It's hard to describe what exactly it was that I found when I went inside the building... but what I saw was an orb of energy. IT wasn't very big, but I could feel a strong force, some sort of power, emanating from it. It hummed with a low sound that reverberated against the brick walls, and it glowed with a dark light.

I knew at the time that whatever this thing was, I had chosen to lock it away for protection's sake. At first I thought it was some part of me that I needed to protect, like my life force or my hope for example. But I realized after a while that that couldn't be true. I've never lost my hope, even in my darkest days. And the kid (my inner child) has always roamed free throughout my imagination and my mind, he's never truly been trapped.

But even though I didn't know what it was that was inside that jailhouse, I knew that it was time for that structure to come down. There was simply no way I could hope to ever live a full and satisfying life if I kept some part of me (and a very powerful part at that) locked up deep within my mind. So over the course of the next few months I worked on dropping barriers in my life. I tried to be more open to friends, I decided to try dating, and, most importantly, I gave my presentation at the conference. I can't say that this was all a carefully calculated plan at the time. All I did was decide to try and be more open in my own life, and these are some of the things that I started to do in response to that decision.

For the most part, I've been happier as I've been tearing down these outer walls. But I've certainly had some bigger mood swings since I decided to try and open up. For instance, all this week I've been in a really strange place emotionally. On Monday I was told by someone I liked that she wasn't "emotionally available" (cruel irony that!). On Tuesday I had a very challenging group session in which I really reconnected with some powerful feelings of abandonment and sadness from my childhood. On Weds I broke down after spending day after day walking the picket line and struggling with a loneliness that was beginning to become overwhelming. On Thursday I collapsed at home, stay in and tried to rest all day. And finally yesterday I started coming around.

I thought that maybe this was all pre-holiday jitters (my mother died on Thanksgiving in 99, and I've always shunned the holiday since) and the stress of being on strike (I'm a Broadway stagehand for those that don't know). The loneliness I've been feeling lately also seemed to me to maybe be a sign that I was beginning to process the feelings of betrayal and anger from my divorce that I haven't really dealt with yet. But apparently it wasn't so complicated as all that.





Edited by tartugas (11/17/07 02:14 PM)
_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#191688 - 11/17/07 10:46 AM Re: something amazing happened [Re: tartugas]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
So here's the amazing thing that happened. Early this morning I woke up from a dream in which my Dad and I were doing something in the house I grew up in (he died in '96 by the way, and it's pretty rare that he shows up in a dream, so I knew something big was happening). As I was trying to fall back asleep, I tried to remember the dream itself, because I knew I had been with my Dad, and I wanted to try and reconnect to it.

AS I lay there trying to fall back asleep, a powerful feeling of fear washed over me. At first I was confused, because I didn't understand where it was coming from, but in another instant I got it. It's my fear that I had locked up inside that citadel. The fear that came pouring out into me at that moment was the fear of my kid, the fear I felt growing up in an home where I was often neglected, never truly cared for, and when I was paid attention to, it was usually because mom was yelling at me. It was the fear I felt every day trying to interact with a world that didn't make sense because no one was teaching me how to love myself and stand up for my self and set boundaries. It was the fear I felt when my abuser took me into his room and made me lie down on his bed. At some point in time, I took all that fear and locked it away, kept it below the consciousness because I somehow knew that there was no was I could function in the world with all that fear coming up and haunting me at every turn. I kept pouring all the fear I felt on a daily basis into that walled off room, so that instead of facing my fears and overcoming them, I simply buried it deep deep inside.

So much of my adult life makes sense now. The fear I've felt in relationships, at work, and in so many places in general. The way that I've gradually overcome the crippling effects of that fear without ever really feeling like I had fixed or addressed the deeper reasons for it. The fact that I still struggle with feeling like I'm not a whole person, even though I've accomplished a great deal in my life. The feeling that there is still something divorced, split off, or missing inside of me.

Now I understand as well why it is that I have always internalized my reaction to other people and situations that seemed scary. When my marriage got off to a rocky start, it never occurred to me to address the situation with my wife directly, no I just poured the fear into that jailhouse and tried to put a brave face on. All the time I've struggled with feeling incapable of doing my job at work, I never faced those feelings head on and sought out the training and jobs that would help me learn, I just took the fear and kept it all inside.

But last night, I touched the fear. It's not the first time I've touched it, I can see that know. I've gotten in touch with it a few times over the past few years. The first time was right after I realized how profoundly damaged I was by my abuse. The second time was when I was in Napa at an MS weekend of recovery, and I broke down at one point over the weekend. But last night was the first time I touched it and I didn't feel overwhelmed by it.

That's the amazing thing that happened. I felt my fear. All of it, sitting alone in the dark in my apartment. I wasn't crushed by it. I wasn't destroyed. Instead, I was reconnected. I feel like I finally broke down one of those walls and really started to reconnect that part of me that has been walled off for so long. To be sure, this isn't a full recovery, this is only a small step. I have to call my T and see if I can see him tomorrow so I can continue to process this and work to keep integrating this part of me that's been walled off for so long.

Why did I wall off my fear like this? How did I know to do it? When did I start doing it? I can't really say. I feel like I must have built that jailhouse inside of myself the day I was abused, and ever since then I've been stuffing all my fear into it as soon as I felt it. To be sure it was built to stop me from feeling fear, but it stopped me from having to process or deal with it. I had a place to put all that fear, and so long as it was locked up somewhere I could keep moving forward without acknowledging it's presence, because if I had to, there's no doubt in my mind I would have been overwhelmed. All I know was that it was not a conscious decision on my part to build this jail. But it must be a conscious decision to tear it down.

Thanks for reading all the way through this. It's been a real help to me to write this all down. If there's any part of it that's not clear, please ask me. Everything I've written makes sense to me, but I know parts might not be clear to someone else (though I'd bet many of you will understand exactly what I'm talking about).

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#191691 - 11/17/07 12:23 PM Re: something amazing happened [Re: tartugas]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Thank you for this post.

I'm beginning to understand how EMDR works, though I couldn't explain it to anyone. I can relate to a lot of what this post talked about as well.

I'm dealing with my own fears, but for me, they are not represented by a little orb inside of a jail cell. My fears have taken on their own identity (for lack of a better word) within me, and they have evolved into a monster that is impossible to control at times. I have never faced this fear. I have glimpsed it only briefly, and what I see can only be described as a giant monster under a blanket. I do not want to see what lies under that blanket, but I feel I must. Otherwise, I will forever be dealing with the dissociation that has been taking over my life all too frequently lately.

My therapist tells me that this fear is not some giant wearing a mask. It is a child cowering under a blanket who is begging for attention. It is a child who is begging to be touched. It is a child who is begging to be told, "it is okay." Ironically, if it is, indeed, a child under that blanket, it makes the fear so much more difficult to face than I could have ever imagined possible.

I have yet to meet this child. Part of me wants to. Most of me is just too much of a wimp. I can't even peer under the blanket, but at the same time, I can't say that I feel fear about what is underneath it either. Fear is an emotion I've never felt, for the child under the blanket is the one who has always felt it for me.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#191696 - 11/17/07 12:50 PM Re: something amazing happened [Re: BJK]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
Hey Tartugas, for the last month or so I've been woken up by something, some kind of connection to something I've had while I'm dreaming. I can't tell you what I'm dreaming about because I have no memory of it but the first time it happened my first instinct was "get to a hospital right now", I thought I was dying, the feeling of dread and despair was just too much, a heart attack?, a stroke? I had no idea what it was. I bolted straight up in bed and started shaking my arms, it was like I was trying to get my heart started again. I still have no idea what it was but it's happened quite a few times since then, only it's not as intense. Kind of like I'm getting used to it a bit. Since that first time though I've got this feeling like it's emotions that I'm feeling and fear would be a good de>
_________________________
Thriving

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#191708 - 11/17/07 02:06 PM Re: something amazing happened [Re: tartugas]
frost Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 1377
Loc: Eh?
Hey Turtleman,

Every part of what you've said is crystal clear to me. I really appreciate how you articulated that you weren't 'crushed' by this reconnection of fear... I would suspect thats because your mind was finally ready and able to face that fear within.

Also, how you said "it wasn't a conscious decision to create that building, but it must be a conscious decision to break it down -- How true this is! How much of our lives it applies to is incredible. As my therapist was telling me the other day, I didn't make a conscious decision to become a hyperactive kid when I was 6. I just did so as a way to deal with my pain which I didn't understand at the time, I couldn't understand at the time. For you, it was to create this place to keep your fear from yourself and it makes perfect sense... How could you deal with that kind of fear at such an age? This is how. Now it takes a conscious decision to remove the coping mechanism and face that.

As you said, a small step closer in this walk of recovery. Thank you for sharing it with us. I think you're undervaluing your step. It's a big step. All steps of recovery are big steps and deserve to be celebrated as such!

Thanks for posting,
~Brian

_________________________
Boom!

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#191710 - 11/17/07 02:29 PM Re: something amazing happened [Re: frost]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Bryan, don't be afraid to look for him. I know my little guy isn't always willing to come out and talk, but he's still hanging around. I spent a couple of months last years journaling almost every day and giving him the chance to come out and speak on the page just to me if he wanted to.

Mike, just after I started to come to grips with the impact my abuse had on me (I had never forgotten the incident, but had quite obviously buried a lot of the details), I had some severe shaking fits. I was dating someone at the time, but was starting to become very uncomfortable. Eventually, every time we tried to have sex, or even sleep in the same bed I started shaking and feeling as though something was getting ripped apart inside of me. Obviously this was not conducive to continuing the relationship. Removing myself from that situation helped a lot (it was obvious that I was not ready to be dating so soon after the collapse of my marriage anyway). But what's really helped has been the healing work I've done to reconnect to so many parts of myself.
It sounds like you're at the beginning of a new stage. The best advice I could give you is to be patient with yourself, get the rest and care that you need, and try to stay away from stressors as much as possible.

Brian - Thanks so much for your reply. I don't feel nearly as nervous as I did when I was writing all this down this morning. Your story really helped me accept as true some of what I've been suspecting. It's funny I was also one of those hyperactive kids. To the point where I got put in group therapy when I was 5 years old. Why was I so upset? School was the only place I could act out and people would listen to me. If I had a tantrum at home my mom would just out tantrum me.

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

Top
#191713 - 11/17/07 02:56 PM Re: something amazing happened [Re: tartugas]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
Fuck man, it's so scary sometimes the similarities between a lot of us. I was diagnosed A.D.H.D. at age 9, it was only called hyperactivity then. I was on Ritalin for 5 years. Better not be destiny \:\) Felt like "the establishment" was trying to beat the joy of life out of me. It worked, I'm so reserved now it's scary.

Mike

_________________________
Thriving

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#191716 - 11/17/07 03:10 PM Re: something amazing happened [Re: tartugas]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
I think I'm talking about two different little guys inside of me. I've found the one I love. I cherish him greatly. The kid in my avatar is one that took a tremendous amount of time and work to find.

The other child I speak of: This child is one I am unfamiliar with. He is a monster, and I have never met him.

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

Top
#191718 - 11/17/07 03:46 PM Re: something amazing happened [Re: BJK]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Just a thought, what if the other child isn't really there? What if he's the boogie man or the monster in the closet that your little boy still fears. Maybe there's a chance for you to step in and show the little boy that the monster isn't strong enough to hurt either of you.

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

Top
#191731 - 11/17/07 05:25 PM Re: something amazing happened [Re: tartugas]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
I can face a boogie man or a monster. I've stood up to my mother, the worst monster I have ever known.

Can I stand up to a child who has endured this hurt for me for so many years?

Not right now.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

Top
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