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#205815 - 02/18/08 01:10 AM Why we still feel like children.
endlessjourney Offline
Member

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 518
Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
A phenomena that I have been familiar with being a CSA survivor is that of feeling like a young child although I am a full grown man. It seems as if CSA survivors sometimes tend to feel like they are as old as they were when they were first abused. That's a tough one to explain on my part. I'd like to find out a clear reason why we tend to feel like children. What better way than open forum discussion.

Any input guys?

_________________________
Truth is the very reason we strive to live. It surrounds and resides within us. Accepting the truths we already know and seeking out those we do not is a direct path to inner balance and joy. For life is not a means to an end, but a journey. Life comes and goes but the truth will always live on.

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#205830 - 02/18/08 06:03 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: endlessjourney]
sabata Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1948
i have no answers----------------but i dont feel like a man----------how ever one is suposto feel-------------------dont know----------------------i feel like a lost boy in a mans body--------------going through a adults world---------------hidding behind--------------------the mans body the world sees------------------i have to look in the mirror----------------to remind myself -that is what the world sees------------------the world doesnt see what i think they do-------------------and how i feel ---------this boy running the show hidden behind a mans body----------------------adults cant be trusted----------------------and are so scarey-------------------------------------steve


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#205837 - 02/18/08 08:10 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: sabata]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2578
Been here. Quite allot lately. Felt like hiding under my desk at work one day, and not just like people joke about, I seriously considered crawling under my desk and hiding.

Not sure why it is, but I think a lot here, if not all can relate to these kinds of feelings.


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#205842 - 02/18/08 08:53 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: JustScott]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
endless,
I think it is because emotionally we get stuck at that age. When something triggeres us our mind goes back to the feeling and response that we had at that age. Some of us just numbed out back then. Now when we are triggered, those emotions can be felt now that we are grown up and have the life experience to handle it but when it happens our mind feels like a 4yo in my case. Just a guess.


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#205849 - 02/18/08 10:42 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: endlessjourney]
Dude. Offline
Guest

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 106
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: endlessjourney
A phenomena that I have been familiar with being a CSA survivor is that of feeling like a young child although I am a full grown man. It seems as if CSA survivors sometimes tend to feel like they are as old as they were when they were first abused. That's a tough one to explain on my part. I'd like to find out a clear reason why we tend to feel like children. What better way than open forum discussion.

Any input guys?


Great post!

I have felt like this all of my life? I wonder why myself?


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#205853 - 02/18/08 11:20 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: Dude.]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6424
Loc: 2.5 NATO Nations
I am definetly stuck there as a kid. I'm kind of stuck in the 11 year-old me as a base-line person. All else that you see is nothing more than an act. I ACT like a real adult human...but I sure don't feel like one.

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#205854 - 02/18/08 11:20 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: Dude.]
BMF Offline


Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 60
Loc: Toronto
Hi endlessjourney,

I, too, have felt this way all my life. I accept that it's partly because I've been "stuck" emotionally at the age I that I was abused. That makes sense. I also feel that it's partly due to the fact that I was abused by a man (my father) and I wanted to NEVER be ANYTHING like him. In fact, I've been ashamed to become a man...guilt by association. It's a bit messed up, obviously, because what else was going to happen? I had also imagined myself dying young. Maybe this was in response to the realization that I was going to become a man some day.

BMF

_________________________
If a man's character is to be abused, say what you will, there's nobody like a relation to do the business.
- William Makepeace Thackery

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#205855 - 02/18/08 11:23 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: endlessjourney]
ineffable Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 1371
Loc: state of holeecrapdood
great topic & i totally relate

i have a theory & it has to do with different kinds of memory/memories: implicit & explicit

implicit memory put simply is remembering something without being aware we are remembering it
explicit memory put simply is a conscious recollection... I went to ___ & there was _____ so I _____

I think when implicit memories are happening & affecting us, at some deeper level we are aware
of how old we were when the memory was "born"
For some of us, our implicit memories may be affecting us continually
& why I feel like a 2 year old alot of the time
A "terrible" 2 year old...
holee crap... I just realized why I've been so angry here these last few days

Again just a theory
I am a bit of a science geek \:\) among other thangs
lol

_________________________
:: "Anyone who can handle a needle convincingly can make us see a thread which is not there" ::


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#205870 - 02/18/08 01:15 PM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: ineffable]
Dude. Offline
Guest

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 106
Loc: USA
Maybe it's because we were robbed from our childhood and our innocence was taken.


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#205978 - 02/18/08 11:00 PM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: endlessjourney]
diesel Offline
New Here

Registered: 01/29/08
Posts: 3
When I have a crazy feeling that I don't understand... I ask myself how old do you feel? my brain always comes up with an age... then... what happened at that age? It sounds crazy and it works... this technique has helped me connect strange feelings today with past trauma.
Hope this technique helps... it's very pop in trauma work.


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#205982 - 02/18/08 11:15 PM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: diesel]
ak Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
I did not realize of this post, and just started something very similar of this. I think most of time, I feel like very much half very old adult and half very young child. I feel like, I have been away from home and living some kind of 'adult' life almost more then half my life now, and had to grow up very fast when still a child. So part of me, I feel like such grown up, older then even I am. And part, I feel like 11 years old and just want to be home with my family again.

andrei


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#205993 - 02/18/08 11:37 PM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: ineffable]
endlessjourney Offline
Member

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 518
Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
Originally Posted By: BMF
Hi endlessjourney,

I also feel that it's partly due to the fact that I was abused by a man (my father) and I wanted to NEVER be ANYTHING like him. In fact, I've been ashamed to become a man...guilt by association. BMF


Well, put BMF. I always had a resentment towards men. I was a rebellious little S.O.B. as a child. I guess I was disgusted with the image that being a a grown man in society has projected on me. All of the resentment. Now I am a grown man.

Perhaps we have dissociated so much since the abuse took place, that we have not let ourselves emotionally mature from what had happened.

Originally Posted By: diesel
When I have a crazy feeling that I don't understand... I ask myself how old do you feel? my brain always comes up with an age... then... what happened at that age? It sounds crazy and it works... this technique has helped me connect strange feelings today with past trauma.
Hope this technique helps... it's very pop in trauma work.


Great idea Diesel. I'll try it.

Originally Posted By: ineffable
great topic & i totally relate

i have a theory & it has to do with different kinds of memory/memories: implicit & explicit

implicit memory put simply is remembering something without being aware we are remembering it
explicit memory put simply is a conscious recollection... I went to ___ & there was _____ so I _____

I think when implicit memories are happening & affecting us, at some deeper level we are aware
of how old we were when the memory was "born"
For some of us, our implicit memories may be affecting us continually
& why I feel like a 2 year old alot of the time
A "terrible" 2 year old...
holee crap... I just realized why I've been so angry here these last few days

Again just a theory
I am a bit of a science geek \:\) among other thangs
lol


Are you a Psychology student Ineffible? I know that lingo all too well. I haven't heard anyone refer to explicit/implicit since I graduated. Nice. Implicit memories, (subconscious), always have an affect on us. Some of the things we've learned, in the first few years of life are engraved in our subconscious. It's like program we downloaded in our computers (brains) that help us to survive. Well, our system detected a virus and was put in sleep mode when we were abused. Our computers are now out of sleep mode but we need to scan, clean out the viruses and spyware, and update a lot of software so we can be "up to date" lol.



Edited by endlessjourney (02/18/08 11:39 PM)
_________________________
Truth is the very reason we strive to live. It surrounds and resides within us. Accepting the truths we already know and seeking out those we do not is a direct path to inner balance and joy. For life is not a means to an end, but a journey. Life comes and goes but the truth will always live on.

Top
#206030 - 02/19/08 01:23 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: endlessjourney]
LandOfShadow Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
I guess I'm realizing it, believing it, but everyone doesn't feel this way, do they...? I think a lot of people do actually, but a small fraction I'd guess?

_________________________
Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer
Liberté

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you
Freedom

Paul Eluard

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#206044 - 02/19/08 02:38 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: LandOfShadow]
endlessjourney Offline
Member

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 518
Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
Land of Shadow, I think, from my observation, is that all CSA survivors deal with this issue in one way or another. That's a good question though. I wonder if those who are not CSA survivors feel these sensations. My guess would be that most do, but those who have not had to deal with CSA probably don't have these sensations nearly as strong we do. Once, again, that is only my speculation.

_________________________
Truth is the very reason we strive to live. It surrounds and resides within us. Accepting the truths we already know and seeking out those we do not is a direct path to inner balance and joy. For life is not a means to an end, but a journey. Life comes and goes but the truth will always live on.

Top
#206104 - 02/19/08 09:46 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: endlessjourney]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
I can totally relate. I'm going through a lot of heavy stuff right now, and I feel like a scared little kid. I actually have to keep reminding myself consciously "I am not a kid in trouble."

I was never allowed to be a child. I was expected to be perfect in every way, a miniature adult. In some respects I was precocious and more mature than my peers, but only intellectually. Emotionally, I was never really given the opportunity to experience being a child and to grow from that point.

Throughout my adult life, I have felt like a kid left home alone who has to try to figure out how to make his own dinner because Mom and Dad aren't going to be home till late. I've been flying blind and have been trying to learn how to be an adult all by myself, because I was never given the support and guidance and healthy and functional family is theoretically supposed to provide.

So, my emotional self has been running trying to keep up with my physical and intellectual self, but the poor kid had too many handicaps from the start and is still lagging behind.

I both love that kid and resent him, and that's one of the major issues I'm working through right now.

Dan

_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

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#206186 - 02/19/08 03:22 PM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: diesel]
JorgeR Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 08/16/07
Posts: 60
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA
yes, great topic...and one I have spent a lot of time being conscious of over the past few months...I use the exact same technique as diesel...I have become quite adept at identifying when my 5 yo, 8 yo, 10 yo and 14 yo become triggered, and it is actually a good communication mechanism with those in my inner circle that understand what it means for me to be triggered to that age. I find myself saying things like "My 8 yo is freaking out now..." or "My 5 yo is feeling invisible right now..."

I have found that after particularly traumatic triggering, that I feel like a child of that age who is trying to process the world and understand all the inputs coming in and how to deal appropriately (as an adult?) with them.

I think that means that child is trying to grow up past being stuck in that age. So yes, it is all quite overwhelming, and sometimes I feel like I have a "collective" in my head...but at the same time, I am more in touch with who I am and how I got to here and now...so I feel good about it.

_________________________
I found my little boy at Alta 2007...I spoke the unspeakable shame at Sequoia 2008...I learned to flounder at Alta 2009

What breakthrough can YOU have at a Weekend of Recovery?

** talk to me about WoRs or BoD or Committees **

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#206248 - 02/19/08 09:39 PM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: JorgeR]
endlessjourney Offline
Member

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 518
Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
Actually, I learned that technique in Courage to Heal. The book consisted of a set of exercises which asked questions about certain aspects of my CSA. It then asked, what age I felt. It was revealing and it did help. However, in CSA recovery, you learn so many different tools to help you that you may forget to implement some of them at times. This site always has good reminders of things I need to do when the chips are down.

_________________________
Truth is the very reason we strive to live. It surrounds and resides within us. Accepting the truths we already know and seeking out those we do not is a direct path to inner balance and joy. For life is not a means to an end, but a journey. Life comes and goes but the truth will always live on.

Top
#206316 - 02/20/08 06:43 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: endlessjourney]
alexey Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 08/16/05
Posts: 1674
Loc: Moscow, Russia
englessJ,

I also feel like a child in some heavy situations.

I read in Mike Lew's book that it is typical for male survivors.

It is a trigger that pushes you to feel vulnerable and unprotected like a kid.

I hope you will feel better with time and will learn how to stand for yourself and not allow the situations to grow to when they become too frightening.

Take care.

Alexey

_________________________
(\__/)
(='.'=)
E[:]|||||[:]3
(")_(")
--------
When you feel all alone and unhappy, turn to you Inner Child and talk to Him.
You will see He can comfort you like nothing else!

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#206331 - 02/20/08 08:42 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: VLinvictus]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2578
Originally Posted By: VLinvictus
I can totally relate. I'm going through a lot of heavy stuff right now, and I feel like a scared little kid. I actually have to keep reminding myself consciously "I am not a kid in trouble."

I was never allowed to be a child. I was expected to be perfect in every way, a miniature adult. In some respects I was precocious and more mature than my peers, but only intellectually. Emotionally, I was never really given the opportunity to experience being a child and to grow from that point.

Throughout my adult life, I have felt like a kid left home alone who has to try to figure out how to make his own dinner because Mom and Dad aren't going to be home till late. I've been flying blind and have been trying to learn how to be an adult all by myself, because I was never given the support and guidance and healthy and functional family is theoretically supposed to provide.

So, my emotional self has been running trying to keep up with my physical and intellectual self, but the poor kid had too many handicaps from the start and is still lagging behind.

I both love that kid and resent him, and that's one of the major issues I'm working through right now.

Dan


Wow, that is totally 100% me. I had zilch when it came to emotional anything when I was growing up. Hell when my older sister died when I was 8 no one talked about anything. I was left alone to deal with that crap on my own, course by that age I'd been taught to "put on a happy face" and stuff everything in side. Now when I think of my mom saying that phrase I think "F**K the happy face! I'm sick of the damn thing! I'm tired of hiding everything! It's driving me FRACKING CRAZY!!!!"

So I relate to all that completely. It's totally how I feel.


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#206435 - 02/20/08 07:44 PM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: JustScott]
endlessjourney Offline
Member

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 518
Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
When I was young and I would get mad or upset, I got slapped or told to shut up. My opinions were never valued and my feelings were not important according to the rest of my family. I would just get away from everyone and sit by myself. I had many hiding places I could go to get away. I was able to find comfort in my aloneness. I could numb myself and say what ever I wanted without getting in trouble. A necessary strategy to find comfort where there was none to be found from my family.

No matter what, I was always wrong. My mom gave me shit all of my life until I stood up to her at an older age. I still have to let her have it every now and then. One thing I do know, is that one of my bussdrivers in elementary school screamed at me and had the principal put me in detention. All I did what put my foot on top of the seat. I told my mom about this and she thought it was the driver's fault. She went down there and raised hell and that driver got fired. She'd never let anyone else mess with me. She probably thought, "If anyone's going to verbally or emotionally abuse Jason, It's gonna be me!" Yea, my family put the "fun" in dysfunctional. Too bad she was so engulfed in her own self pity after the death of my father and learning of his infidelity, such that she didn't notice that her son was being sexually abused by his older brother in her own house. Good one ma!

_________________________
Truth is the very reason we strive to live. It surrounds and resides within us. Accepting the truths we already know and seeking out those we do not is a direct path to inner balance and joy. For life is not a means to an end, but a journey. Life comes and goes but the truth will always live on.

Top
#206507 - 02/21/08 12:35 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: diesel]
copenbay Offline
Guest

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 127
Hi,

I guess I'm only echoing what other people have said, that I at times go back to the age where I was emotionally frozen -- in my case, 2-3 on the young end and 5 1/2 on the high side. I don't give an exact age for the start time only because I don't know beyond any doubt (but it's probably before 3).
But it does help to know that, when I look at a little boy, I can think, 'Something like what happened to me should never happen to a young boy, and by God's grace, I'll do my part to see that it doesn't happen to someone else'.

Ed


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#206534 - 02/21/08 02:18 AM Re: Why we still feel like children. [Re: copenbay]
endlessjourney Offline
Member

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 518
Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
The more I look into what has happened, I've noticed that things were going wrong before my CSA. I was left alone a lot. I remember my father would never come around hardly. I was not important enough to him or so it seems. He died when I was five but I still have few memories of him. I guess we can't blame all of our problems on CSA. However, CSA does have an effect on all of our problems.

_________________________
Truth is the very reason we strive to live. It surrounds and resides within us. Accepting the truths we already know and seeking out those we do not is a direct path to inner balance and joy. For life is not a means to an end, but a journey. Life comes and goes but the truth will always live on.

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