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#197991 - 01/05/08 01:16 AM I am in a living nightmare
Danbuff Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 249
Loc: NY state
I am sick with psychic pain and hurt, being lost and lonely. I am filled with shame and remorse that I still struggle in spite of my desire and commitment to change. I am feeling desperate and because I hurt so much I am afraid no one can understand this. If I walked away and returned to empty meaningless sex and isolation, I am sure it would disappoint my T who has worked tirelessly and I struggle he would never forgive me for wasting all the time invested in helping me. I am ashamed I am thinking about this, feeling this pain and weaker than I have been in a long time.

I feel disconnected from love and even spiritually empty. Will God mysteriously show me a sign? Will he fill my heart? Can this pain be taken away? I never thought this would come back to haunt me this way after making so much progress in so many significant ways. I do not care to keep this fight going right now. Yet I do want to find a way out of this hell I am in.

So I am posting and hope I do not alarm anyone. I have to get past this. How can I feel this lonely and worthless? This shift has strongly evolved since I came home from the bar desperately alone and longing to feel loved. I had a half drink, I stayed about 30 minutes I was feeling uneasy and a misfit in spite of giving it a try to practice and overcome the abnormality of being me. I am not paranoid, I have great social skills at times but I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone in my own gay community. People cannot read my mind nor know this confusion and pain. I hide it well. I only share with my T and sometimes in here.

It is as if all my efforts at positive change evaporate and I have lied for trying. I journal daily and try being upbeat and no longer say negative things, people seem to relate to me on the surface. I am very positive in my part time job and will have a masters degree in 4 months. It is as if I cannot make sense of anything in my own life emotionally and in relationships. I looked at online porn and wished I could have sex but think if I did, I would regret it and be ashamed. Besides the emotional risk, my spine is so fragile I am afraid of the real possibility of permanent paralysis. In truth, I want human contact and love more than sex but hope one day I can have both. Right now I cannot have either because even I know I am not ready. This has become a nightmare emotionally.

In every other life area I am blessed and competent, empathic and kind. I manage my daily living struggles alone and avoid complaining. Now they ar enot enough and I should be grateful yet I am empty for a relationship and friendships. I have come a long way from the person I was four years ago when I started therapy. However when it comes to relationships, sex or friendships my trust is either too much or none at all. I manage to confuse emotion, conversation; love and sex. I hate this hell.

My T said he was sure it would be a huge loss to never have sex again. Yet we agreed to this rule of no dating and no sex... until I am more emotionally grounded and have better self esteem. I began to imagine my T being sexually active and thought he cannot know what this is like. Yes I am am sure even he struggles and has some issues . He is as human as I am. I believe he is so fortunate, he is very together and I cannot explain the pain this is? I am not sure he actually understands and yet I trust him completely and he has been the best, most effective, caring human being I have ever known.

I can help most everyone else but cannot figure this out for myself. He says my internal environment is what I need to listen to. Loss of sex and intimacy which I crave more than sex causes anxiety that defies measure. I worry that sex never again can happen without a choice for my spinal cord injury if I risked having sex and that’s a huge risk on two levels. I cannot have surgery yet… but fear any wrong movement puts me at a more elevated risk. This is damned if I do and damned if I don't. Either way it would be a big loss and it makes no sense no matter what I do.

In spite of promising no sex and no dating, I looked online and saw a post that read he was lonely for body contact and around my age. We exchanged emails and nearly set it up until I backed out. I was filled with guilt, shame and remorse to think that even a non sexual thing could be breaking the agreement of no sex and no dating. How insane it all feels and I could not do it. There was uncertainty, mistrust of my own willpower against desire and fear of the crash afterwards if it became sexual. I stopped the near plan.

I know I should pray but feel so broken I am distracted in my attempts at times and even lose hope. How can I be so smart and grounded and competent in other ways and be so tormented by this confusion and desire? I feel selfish and needy. This is the opposite of all I have worked for. This has been ongoing but I usually have better control. Lately I vacillate between strength and desire or strength and weakness. I have been abstinent a long time and the last time I attempted it and broke the agreement, thinking I was ready, I felt like the abuser. Maybe by putting this out there on this board, some replies will help. I am haunted by even sharing this but am at wits end with frustration. I have to remain controlled and committed to my present and future or I am a fake. This is the collateral damage of CSA and incest...does it ever end?

Thanks for reading this long complaint... and any responses are welcome....Is there hope of ever getting past this if you have felt similar to how I am feeling?
Thank you my brothers,
Dan


_________________________
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.

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#198011 - 01/05/08 08:44 AM Re: I am in a living nightmare [Re: Danbuff]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
Dear Dan,

I feel your pain, brother, and I wish I could help. I think that you are an incredibly strong person who is having a moment of weakness. It's OK, you're only human. You put a lot on yourself, don't expect to be perfect as well.

We all crave human intimacy and touch. You have made a vow not to date or have a sexual relationship 'until'...you are more emotionally grounded and have better self esteem. I say, 'wow, I don't know if I could do that.' Online porn and chatrooms might suffice for a little while, but when does it end? How is this voluntary isolation helping you?

You went to a bar looking for company, and left after 30 min. I've done that, feeling like I didn't belong and that all my misgivings and personal flaws were written on my forehead somehow. In my case it was a panic attack, and the only way to get over that is to keep trying.

You seem smart and together in most ways, and if I'm reading you right, you are obsessing over your lonliness. I hear you! Your spinal cord injury and your tendancy to fall in love too fast (is that what you meant?) are problems you need to take into consideration, but does that mean that you are supposed to crawl under a rock? I mean, it may be a long time before you have a 'normal' sexual relationship; that's the way a lot of us survivors are. I get the feeling that you have a difficult time setting boundaries for your friends who might become intimate, and instead of working on that, you've decided to avoid the subject altogether - for now at least, and that is what is currently driving you crazy.

I'm not a Therapist, but here is my suggestion; I think it's OK for you to go to a club once in awhile, not with the intention of finding a sex partner, but with the idea of finding a friend or two. Once you do, if the topic of sex comes up (and it will) you have to set your own boundaries and stick to them. You might decide that no sex is appropriate, but maybe a little 'cuddle' time would be OK. You might decide that mutual masturbation or some oral sex would be OK, but nothing more. As long as to are open and honest with your partner, and remain true to yourself, I don't see how that would hurt. There are a lot of guys out there in the same boat you are in, and would be happy with taking it slow.

I don't know how else to help you, Dan, but I wanted you to know that I understand. I'm sorry you are so frustrated. I don't know if it will ever end, but I do know that it can get a lot better. Be patient, be practical and be pragmatic. You can do this.

Best wishes,

Lazarus

_________________________
"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

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#198060 - 01/05/08 01:59 PM Re: I am in a living nightmare [Re: Lazarus]
Danbuff Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 249
Loc: NY state
Lazarus,
I appreciate your response. I was in another apparent illusion that I am strong enough to get past this. I believed with all my heart this would end. My T says this will be a lifelong issue and whenever he said it I sat there listening but mentally said no it is not, I will get past this. So far he appears to be right, To sit here and type this fills me with pain and more disappointment, and reopens that hurt, I have shaken uncontrollably and sobbed for others and myself reading certain posts. I want to think it is healing, but some days I don't know what to believe for myself and my own healing. It sometimes seems impossible but other times I resolve to become better.

I feel like a social retard who is emotionally off center where my own emotions come into play. The confusion has been identified countless times in others posts which tells me I am not alone. You replied you did not know if this ever ends but can get a whole lot better. For me that is the reality I experience. I "think" it will get better, have "felt" it was better and yet without seeing it coming, I am destroyed by the powerful effects of confusion and as my T calls it distorted thinking. I think I am strong enough and can be comfortable without longing. I go out with no sexual agenda but I leave when I think it is not working socially. I do not feel comfortable or confident to talk with others. By the time I come home it is a stark reminder that I am a failure. Hence I will never be able to have a friendship or relationship because I don't know how. I think I know how, but I fail. I remind myself I am alone. There is no intimacy, laughter or plan to do anything with others. That is of my own doing and I am responsible for creating different social outcomes. My fear and anxiety interferes. That is of my own doing but I am terrified and do not trust myself to correctly interpret what takes place. I often sexualize things in some way. That is why I practice. I am just not at ease most of the time.

I recognize it was not my fault, that I was also isolated as a kid and had no friends to speak of. I had no past experience. My history has been that I usually desired a connection and thought sex was the way to be a friend. Intellectually I know it is not true. My T says practice, practice and practice. When I posted this topic, I had seen him the night before and felt rock solid and committed to our agreement. I absolutely know he is correct. I get that in my head. It is the challenge of longing and my distorted thinking that wreaks havoc into my reality. Most days, I am strong and can usually get back onto the path of happiness and recovery. I know I have struggled back and forth a lot recently and last night experienced not belonging anywhere with a need and desire to be physical. As much as I avoid attention seeking behaviors, my post demonstrates otherwise. I needed support. I no longer wear pain in any visible way. I am in chronic persistent physical pain and generally suck it up. In my own space, I will not attempt to hide it and vocalize the physical pain and write about the emotional pain.

I also know and fear that there is a very real possibility; I can become paralyzed from the waist down. That would mean even if I healed enough to ever hope for intimacy and sex, if I am paralyzed I will never have that either. Some days that is a distorted reason to make any sex okay because I would deserve it. That is a real dilemma some days. I can usually reflect and find my way back into gratitude and hope. I encourage everyone I meet that there is always a solution and we are only victims when we choose to be. I always say this problem is temporary. This too shall pass. I even say that now. My frustration, loneliness and desire seems elevated recently and is a private battle until I share it, seeking support. To think this will may never end is the hard part and very discouraging.

I regret sharing this for the potential message it might send someone else here who hurts as much or more than me. I never want to lose hope and will throw a lifeline to anyone but have this fear lately that I am the exception. Rationally, I know that's wrong and selfish, self indulgent and a barrier to moving ahead. Perhaps that clarifies my pain and sadness. It also demonstrates my own created distortion.

Anyway, I do realize and hope that time and efforts are two keys to moving on. In part, I hoped to put this out there to hear that this can be overcome. I always look for success and alternatives. Last night I did not see beyond the chaos and pain.

I do not think I could handle mutual masturbation or oral. Cuddling is something I would like but have trouble with that . It is a silly and harsh criticism that I identify as immature and needy. So I have to struggle there but also fear that it could lead to sex. It is a risky proposition. Any "controlled" sex, I believe that right now it is only repeating past behavior and I would suffer the consequences. It breaks my agreement and commitment feel doomed either way. At the end of the day, I guess all I can ever do is find gratitude and hope, believe in myself and attempt to love and comfort myself. I am great at helping others and personally satisfied whenever I can. It is when I try to help myself to move past the biggest challenges of my own that sets me up for defeat. It is rare when I am "okay" being me in social settings. I am not "okay" to always feel isolated and crave human connection, intimacy, meaning and healthy relationships.

That is the saddest reality I have. Sure I want sex sometimes, but I want healthy sex. Anyway, I digress and probably have rambled way too long again. If anyone has a comment about something I am doing wrong, or a suggestion, or hope to offer, I welcome it. And as always thanks for supporting me in all the ways it comes back to me.
Peace,
Dan

_________________________
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.

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#198076 - 01/05/08 03:52 PM Re: I am in a living nightmare [Re: Danbuff]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
Hello again, Dan. I am here to offer my support, and share the hope that some day soon we will both look back and say, "Boy, was I screwed up! I'm glad I'm all better now."

I don't know much about your physical injury, and I agree that protecting your health should always be among your first priorities. I can see how having that issue always laying just under the surface can affect your outlook and perspective about many things. I can certainly understand why a back injury would make you want to steer clear of 'vigorous' sexual activity. You also stated that even though you don't percieve yourself as having a sexual adgenda, your meetings usually lead to, or potentially lead to, sexual activity that you must avoid for now. That has to make it hard for you to make friends at gay bars where the rule is that you are either predator or prey but everybody is looking for sex.

I don't feel comfortable in social situations where I don't know many people but where personal interaction is possible or even likely. I never liked going to bars alone. I didn't like parties. I was even uncomfortable at small dinners where I wasn't already acquainted with everyone who would be there. The more the possibility of having to make small-talk or witty reparte, the more I shunned the event. I didn't see myself as very witty, or outgoing or gregarious, and I always preferred a serious conversation to a light one. I sense that we are alike in that regard, but I have finally outlived that one, for the most part. As I get older, I find that I care less and less about what other people think, and because of that I am ever more likely to stick my nose into a conversation or just walk up to someone and say "hi", something that I was very unlikely to do in my 20s and 30s...

Like you, I also take great satisfaction from helping others, yet could not find a way to help myself. Someone I knew well once broke into a conversation I was having with a younger man who had asked for my advice. My 'old' friend was slightly drunk at the time and probably didn't mean it the way she said it; but what she said was, "Who the hell are you to give this kid advice, when you can't even run your OWN life?"

Well, whether she meant it or not, it really hit home with me, and for many years after that I kept my opinions to myself. I'm still wary about giving advice, unless I'm pretty darned sure about what I'm saying.

In your case, Dan, I'm not sure of anything except two things; First, you are in pain and it is very real. Second, you ARE a victim of your own distorted thinking as much as anything else. In both those regards, you have a lot in common with me and most of the other guys on this board.

Thinking that your pain will never end is distorted thinking. Thinking that you are not strong enough to get past this is incorrect. You are not a social retard or an emotional basket case. You are NOT a failure. You have been dealt a really shitty hand by the poker gods. You have the sense to recognize that and the intellect to understand that you can make it better or you can make it worse. You're a smart man, and I suspect you overanalyze a lot in your life. You see all the alternatives, all the options, and this in itself can imobilize your ability to make decisions. Life is often simpler the less choices we have. But you see LOTS of choices, and rather than make one that might be wrong, you don't make a choice at all. Am I right?

I see a lot of myself in you, Dan. I think I know a lot about where you are coming from, at least from your posts. I don't pretend to know the answers to any of your problems, but I sure understand how you feel.

One of the hardest things you are likely to ever have to deal with is the slow progress you make towards your recovery. If you have to deal with your 'distorted thinking' before you can heal from your CSA, your progress may seem even slower. Here are two suggestions; First, recognize that there will be ups and downs, two steps forward and one step back (sometimes even two steps back...) Don't beat yourself up when this happens, just resolve to take those two steps again. As Winston Churchill once said, "When you're going through Hell, Keep Going!"

Secondly, progress in healing from abuse is often slow and is measured by the passage of decades for some people. It's not like quitting smoking where you can see cause and effect right away. You may wake up some mornings and say, "I feel great! Looks like I'm getting better." Other times you will probably feel terrible, like you do now; Hopeless and worthless and a failure at the thing that is most important to you. But both of those feelings are a product of your distorted thinking. I hope that sometimes you feel great, but that probably has little to do with your healing - you're just in a good mood. When you feel bad, it doesn't mean that you have failed and that things will never get better. There are lots of causes for depression, both situational and clinical. I'm BiPolar, so I can tell you how I deal with depression; I treat it like the flu. I call in sick, tell my friends and family that I'm not feeling well, and take steps to pamper myself. Then I wait for it to pass, maybe read a good book, or whatever it takes not to dwell on it. Usually in two or three days it has run it's course and I'm fine. BUT before I knew what it was (clinical depression) I would beat myself up for the way I felt and for not being able to do anything about it. That only made things worse, and sometimes my depression would last for weeks or months. My new coping strategy works LOTS better, for me.

I don't know what will work best for you. All I know for sure is that you have to stop beating yourself up. You're not a bad person. You are not a weak person. You may be socially inept, but if you look at why and don't give up, you'll improve. And, you may be emotionally screwed up right now, but you'll figure that out too. Be kind to yourself. You can demand perfection, but you can't expect it.

I hope some of this helps. I know you touched on a lot of things, and if I have any more thoughts I'll be sure and send them your way, if you're interested.

I wish you the best,

Lazarus

_________________________
"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

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#198110 - 01/05/08 07:59 PM Re: I am in a living nightmare [Re: Lazarus]
Danbuff Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 249
Loc: NY state
Lazarus,
What can I say besides thank you. You are quite amazing to have responded with such depth and consideration. I have long thought gay bars usually had guys with the same agenda too ...sex. However my T says it is not so. I am a believer in the laws of attraction. We get what we send out. For me it seems not to fit but then again, if I say nothing, I get nothing. And attempting to get beyond small talk is a challenge.

Throughout the course of my day, I began to process things beyond being in pain and feeling like a failure. I have to get past it or sit in my own Sh*t. The world will not come knocking at my door to rescue me. I must reach out and continue taking risks in spite of all I struggle with.

You have reminded me that there is hope. I need to be reminded of that. Thank you brother!!! I am not entirely sure I beat myself up as much as I make sharp criticism that arguabley does border on beating myself up. I too, generally avoid giving advice and prefer to show options and think you have wisely done that with me. I appreciate the generosity you have offered.

I welcome any other insights you have refrained from, as I hope I never stop seeking and learning more than I presently know. Today as I looked back on your original post as well as my own, I saw I was foolish to think I was "better" at this recovery and healing. I have come a long way with a long way to go.

I will say that a guy I was involved with about 18 months ago has remained a friend in many ways with a certain distance. I almost called him last night desperate to ask him here or me there to sleep with him without sex. A while back,I broke off what was happening because I was becoming emotionally attached and did not connect sexually. He happened to call me today. I let him know why I nearly called him last night and he was very understanding. He knows about mt CSA. He said he also longs for a man to be in bed with to feel and hold. It was very validating and gratifying. I also know it could lead into places I need not explore. I am not there yet.

I guess it makes me take stock of the understanding that is out there. We never get things when or how we want them and as they say, "Be careful what you wish for". None of it means much when I am drowning in pain and feel alone. I saw a priest today who has been a huge disappointment which I won't get into. I did let him know how damaging his lack of consideration was and about the disappointment I experienced by his doings. He apologized and I forgave him. It comes to my awarness that often I accumulate things and it is never one thing but many which unwittingly contribute to the reality of pain and confusion.

I have began to accept that I am not in control here at all times when things outside of me happen. I have to remember there is no magic and things don't happen the way we want them and there is a reason for all of it. Yes they still suck but all I can do is ever try to control my emotional response. When I fail, I reach out. The alternative is not an option.

So Lazarus, again I thank you from the depths of my heart. I know I am more than pain and my past... but need to see beyond the pain. Feel free to share anything else either here or in a PM. I am still struggling but managing somewhat more effectively than being desperate.
In peace,
Dan

_________________________
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.

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#198244 - 01/06/08 02:31 PM Re: I am in a living nightmare [Re: Danbuff]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
Dan, you are very welcome.

Isn't it amazing how important sex is in our daily lives? How much we want it, crave it, need it... How difficult it is to have non-sexual intimacy... In theory, it shouldn't be a problem to sleep with someone without having sex, but in fact it is remarkably hard to do so (unless you've been together with that person for some time and already had lots of sex). So I understand your reluctance to even try.

Accepting that we are not always in control is a sign of maturity, I think. It's hard and very scarey, but true. But accepting the fact that we are not in control also allows us to quit blaming ourselves when things don't go exactly as planned. It's not a weakness, it's just a fact of life.

So hang in there, my friend. Take a break and do something nice for yourself. Try not to isolate yourself. It's OK to share your pain; let somebody else carry it for a little while. We don't mind.

Warmest regards,

Lazarus

_________________________
"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

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