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#20096 - 11/15/02 12:01 AM Re: Putting a Memory and Pieces Together **TRIGGER WARNING**
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Wuame,
It never really occured to me that massage therapy could be good for my emotional wounds. I always thought it was only good for your physical wounds. I think I'm at a point in my life where I'm ready for this type of therapy. It was only very recently that I've allowed people to be near me and I've discovered that that is what I need. I'm going to look into this.

I started writing my letter. In fact, I finished it but I need to make sure that I don't omit anything. I also want to make sure I say everything in the right way as well. I'll post it very soon. Take care Wuame.
Your friend,
Mike

_________________________
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at all times."
--M. Scott Peck

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#20097 - 11/15/02 01:09 AM Re: Putting a Memory and Pieces Together **TRIGGER WARNING**
RickL Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 84
Loc: Oregon
Mr. Don, Wuame, & others,

This has been a powerful posting for me. I hope you don't mind--I printed it and read parts of it in my therapy session today. Because there are lots of parallels for me.

Don--I didn't witness my dad being sexually nasty to my mom, but I did witness his being "emotionally" nasty to her. I can remember him chewing her out in a way that crushed her spirit (like he did to us kids) and felt dangerous and threatening (which is the way it felt being his son). She didn't fight back, didn't talk back much, but I remember her hunched over the kitchen stove, with him berating her, and she had this total look of sadness and despair. She demonstrated that she was a victim, that we children were victims, because she could not put him in his place, or protect us.

It didn't take much for him to excercise his "threat" muscle on us. When I was little, he occasionally used his belt on us, but it was more the threat of his intensely scary rage, bushy eyebrows, and meanness. I remember that he sexually fondled me in the bathtub--routinely (until about age 6) I remember that he was not all ogre either. I can remember him playfully tickling me--and I remember how good it felt when he would squeeze my thighs with his big hands.

When I was a little older--9, 10, 11 and up, I used to escape my pain by going for long bike rides. It was my escape into a fantasy world, and it was excercise to boot. My own freedom!
Now part of me wonders if all that bike riding when I was young was also a desire to re-create a somehow pleasurable physical feeling in my thighs and groin area.

Fast-forward to now. For the last several years, when I go for a long bike ride, I often wind up feeling sad and depressed in the days following after the endorphins have worn off. It will even trigger feelings of sexuality that has to do with feeling "less than" other boys, and I feel like I am woefully inadequate as a male--and it's a sexual feeling that all the other guys have great superiority over me. I'm jealous of them, and sexually triggered at the same time. That was the way I felt as a kid--and the days following a long heavy bike ride now can re-kindle that, and it puts me into a depression. So I guess there is such a thing as body memories! And in my case, it is also in my thighs! I still love to bike ride, but I must limit the frequency, length and intensity.

A few years ago I would get occasional massages, but they too, often would put me into a deep, helpless sadness, about 3 hours after the massage.

In just the past year, I have started really getting in touch with the effects of the incest--both sexual and emotional (I was the only boy, and my mom and I had a relationship that was overly "special" and apart from my dad). My sexuality is confused, though I was married for 13 years. I feel like I don't know how to go about getting into a close, intimate relationship--and the idea of being sexual with someone is totally scary for me. My wife was the only person I ever had a sexual relationship with.

But healing is coming--I was able to attend the retreat in September in NY, and found so much understanding, safety, empathy and support. It was a big step forward!

Concurrently, I have been having a different kind of body work done, and it actually ended about a month ago. "Rolfing". It can be pretty intense. But the idea behind it is the "realign" the body physically so that it can move more in harmony with gravity, instead of fighting gravity. You go for about 10 or 11 sessions, then you're done. Your body continues to respond to the work after you stop going to sessions. I feel like my posture has improved, I have virtually no more back pain--and here's a real joy--I can actually be comfortable going for a run! Which I am doing regularly now! It's almost like the aging clock has been turned back 10 years. Interestingly, the rolfer warned me before one of the sessions that it could be a "triggering" one. (I shared with him my abuse issues). Boy was he right! It was the thigh area and the tops of my legs that he worked that day! And I went into a 3 day funk of compulsive masturbation and depression!!!

My therapist has kept harping on me to "be the adult" for my inner child. Mr. Don, your letter to little Don was so helpful for me to read. Thank you for sharing of yourself this way.

And Waume--thank you for all the sharing and caring you exhibit in these forums. How do you have all the time to post as often as you do? Ditto for you, Lloydy.

It gives my heart a lift when I think that there are actually men like all of you--not shallow, selfish and abusive, which was my early experience with most males--but thoughtful, sensitive and loving. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!!!

Rick


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#20098 - 11/15/02 10:16 AM Re: Putting a Memory and Pieces Together **TRIGGER WARNING**
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Mike:

My friend, you are clearly taking some big steps forward. Massage may not be for everybody, but it's something I think can be healthy for just about anybody in some form or another. For me, it is vital. As you check into it, I hope you'll find it helpful. Find what you need to help yourself the most.

It's good you want to be sensitive in writing to your inner child. I think the main thing is to just be open, let your adult self be part of him & he part of you. Enjoy it, and share what you can of it.
\:\)
Take care

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#20099 - 11/15/02 01:25 PM Re: Putting a Memory and Pieces Together **TRIGGER WARNING**
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Rick
thanks for your kind words, I suppose I spend my time here because I can still remember the pain I was in, it takes a lot to shift 31 years of crap, and I want to help others through the pain if I can.
I remember how much help I needed, we can't do it alone.

Wuame, yeah - I'm thinking about the letter, dont want to rush this one. I know he's still back there some times and I want him here with me - all the time.

Lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#20100 - 11/15/02 08:01 PM Re: Putting a Memory and Pieces Together **TRIGGER WARNING**
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
Wow, I am warmed and encouraged by the depth of this thread. I didn't think a little thing that I wrote would touch so many people and so it warms my heart to just know that I have made a deep connection with so many. You know sometimes I am scared to write things and post them on the internet. But when I trust myself to write them and post them, I usually get much more strength out of them, then I could have ever imagined.

Bob: Yes children do need to be told they are wonderful because our society and adults give way too much negative stuff.

Wuamie: That image of my father doing what he did to my mom is very difficult for me to even think about or acknowledge... That one is tough. Thanks for the wishes about the massage therapist. Others have seen this in me as well and made similar comments. I definately understand how hard it is to acknowledge the touch one gets in their own body. I struggle hard with this. I'm not exactly sure where this is all going to take me, but I am staying open. I do want to focus more on survivors as my life progresses and this is just one step in that direction.

Sleepy: Hugs were very scary to me for a long time. I've gotten much better about them. At times when I need my space, they are not good but I try to let people know. I think the statement of the child within us getting stuck is so true. At least it is for my own life I think. I am learning a lot about massage as healthy touch. And from my experience with it, there is so much value that we get, and it has helped me work through many issues. Of course I went into it wanting to work on these issues, and it definately has helped me (still helping me).

Lloydy: Yes I shed a lot of tears the other night. I haven't cried that hard in a long time. And the tears I had went very deep. I so agree with you that even as we heal, there are many coming out of the walls for the first time. They need all the strength and support and encouragement they can get. But the best part is, the inner fulfillment when you see how someone that is close to you grows in ways they didn't think they could. That is worth more to me than all the gold in the world.

Again, thank you all.... you're giving me more ideas on how I want to write my research paper as well.

Don

RickL: I feel honored that this post has touched you in a deep way. I'm glad you shared with me what you did because I just had not seen that side of a massage before and it will be something I remember as I continue through my school.

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#20101 - 11/15/02 09:23 PM Re: Putting a Memory and Pieces Together **TRIGGER WARNING**
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Rick:

Whoa! Missed it the first time. But as I read your post over again I was hit by your talking about riding your bike & how it triggered you sexually. I can now remember that happening to me when I was a kid! And I rode bike all over the the Tampa Bay area--my mother had no car, didn't drive, used bike herself.

Too bad massage/body work triggers you so much. Of course its not for everybody. And who knows, in time, if you really want to do it. Couple of years ago I couldn't have imagined it!

But I'll lay off the bikes! Bad on my fibromyalgia anyway!

Glad this thread is helping you. Your contribution to it helps me. Thanks.

Take care Rick

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#20102 - 11/15/02 11:57 PM Re: Putting a Memory and Pieces Together **TRIGGER WARNING**
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Thanks MrDon! This posting has helped me a lot. As I was reading these threads today I noticed something in RickL's that made me think about my childhood. Rick made a comment about a 3-day funk of compulsive masturbation and depression. I've realized that I've done that often ever since I can remember. But what I was thinking about was that I cannot remember a time when I did not know how to masturbate. It was something I always knew how to do. I guess my question is when do normally developed boys discover this type of activity? I guess it would be adolesence but adolesence is such a strange concept for me. I haven't seen any postings on this subject so if anyone has any ideas I'd like to know. Thanks.
mike

_________________________
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at all times."
--M. Scott Peck

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#20103 - 11/16/02 12:09 AM Re: Putting a Memory and Pieces Together **TRIGGER WARNING**
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
I've been thinking about the first massages that I got when I was trying to get in touch with just being touched in a healthy way.

If I remember correctly, the first time, I don't think I got undressed hardly at all. And my lower back was off limits as well as my feet because of ticklish and trigger areas for me. But she took it very easy the first night, not going very deep and keeping it very nurturing. I know as time progressed I was able to let go more. Now, I usually strip down and try to relax. I do often tell people that are working on me to not go deep and fast at the same time because that does trigger me. And being in school where we are in a room full of people, I am getting more accustomed to myself and my body. It helps because we do a lot of group building exercises and trust things so we all feel very comfortable with one another.

I guess the point I don't want to get lost here is massage can go in any direction you want it to. You can have a chair massage where you are fully clothed and they only worked on your upper half. You could go for a one hour massage and do anything from energy/mind/body work to actually massage. You could limit the areas they work on, or how much you wear or just about anything you want. Of course you have to find the right therapist for this but they are out there. I told the massage therapist why I was there and just a brief summary of my past. A massage therapist is not a "counseling therapist" but the more they know, the more they can understand and do the more appropiate things.

If you have not tried massage, I do encourage it. It isn't always easy at first, but once you get into it, it can be very rewarding in so many ways and at so many levels. If you are seeing a counselor, make sure you tell them what you are doing so they can help you through this and make it have a bigger impact on your healing. If you go to a massage, try to journal about what happened, what you felt and what you learned when you get home.

These are just some things I am thinking of and I hope that when I do get licensed, I will have the opportunity to work with people who are survivors...

Don

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#20104 - 11/16/02 07:27 AM Re: Putting a Memory and Pieces Together **TRIGGER WARNING**
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Don:

That's really great, that you want to use the gift of massage therapy as healing touch to work with survivors. You will have a healing empathy for them that will flow thru your hands into their bodies and spirits. You will be able to help survivors, being one yourself, in a unique way. What a gift for them, and for yourself!

Sure it depends on the person, but you might be surprised how much counseling therapy you do as a massage therapist! Speaking strictly from my own experience, of course. My massage therapist now knows that I have PTSD & depression, and that I went thru childhood abuse, tho with no details. Somehow I think she had a general idea anyway, just thru touch?...

Definitely its also to my benefit that my counseling & massage therapists (and chiropractor) are in the same group. Usually I go to my CT then down the hall straight to the MT (then sometimes the chiro).

Maybe depending who you are & who they are, telling a MT up front you were abused in general (or more if you're ready & can trust them) terms might be helpful, if it will ease your mind while giving them guidance as to how to proceed. Either I didn't need to do that or it woulda been too tense for me, or both.

Don do you think you'll somehow "advertise" for survivors or in some way encourage them to come, or just wait for them to come and figure it out? Just wondering. Either way I think you'll find a lot of times you will "know." Becuz you empathize. And you'll help. \:\)

Take care Don

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#20105 - 11/16/02 10:35 AM Re: Putting a Memory and Pieces Together **TRIGGER WARNING**
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5778
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
In reply to Mike/Sleepy's question about masturbation (and I couldn't resist the hand with the thumb up), kids are capable of genital stimulation as soon as they can coordinate their muscle movement. In other words, babies and toddlers will experience pleasurable sensations when they rub against their genitals (or someone rubs them.) However, until they master the deliberate muscle movements, the touch is brief and accidental.

When the child is older and capable of putting together "when I touch my body this way, it feels good", they begin to self-stimulate. This usually is brief and if the child is doing it publicly, they usually get the message from parent to not do it. Depending on the sexual environment, the child may be shamed, scared into not doing it, permitted to do so in private, or possibly exploited (sort of like allowing the dog to hump visitor's legs as a good laugh). In a healthy sexual environment, the child is basically told that it is a private behavior like going to the bathroom or picking your nose. Left to his/her own devices, the child who has not been abused will touch his/her genitals for a while, enjoy the sensations, maybe get an erection or vaginal lubrication, and move on to other things. Children who are pre-pubescent will rarely self-stimulate to the point of orgasm. They just don't know what's at the end of the road, so to speak.

Children are capable of reaching orgasm, even if they are too immature to ejaculate. Sometime a child raised in a non-abusive environment will masturbate to orgasm without outside interference. This may be due to self-discovery or hearing from other kids that one can masturbate, if they keep going.

When a child is exposed to genital stimulation by another person, s/he can experience the arousal and orgasm prematurely. S/he may be confused by the feelings and be shamed or associate negative aspects of the sexual feelings with the abuse experience. This is often where problems with comfort with sexual feelings develop. Something feels good, feels scary, feels confusing, feels shameful, etc. The child's reaction to the abuser's sexual response can heighten the confusion and fear, as well a create an association or connection with the abuser. In other words, sometimes same sex attraction is an eroticization (turn on) to the penis of the abuser and not actual same-sex orientation.

So, in a nutshell, kids are capable of arousal and orgasm before puberty. Compulsive masturbation is an attempt to take control of the feelings (which are out of control in compulsive masturbation). It can become addictive, which is another area of discussion about the process of how our brains develop addictions (and all that stuff about brain chemistry.... maybe a good topic for one of our professionals who does this work like Jim Hopper.)

If you are interested in more information about the environment's impact on sexuality, there is a terrific chapter in Sexually Abused Males, by Bolton, Morris, and MacEachron, called "The Abuse of Sexuality". It helps put into perspective that aside from overt sexual abuse, the child can be damaged by the environment s/he grows up in, even if there is no sexual abuse.

Hope that is helpful.
Ken Singer


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