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#210678 - 03/14/08 01:17 PM Results of my T visit yesterday... yuk
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
For those of you who don't know, I've been dealing with a coworker crush now for about a year and a half. In my session I described a scenario where I was triggered last week by a mysteriously familiar situation that was tapping into some very deep and painful feelings which I of course hate.

I asked my friend (coworker) if he had any ideas for lunch (we go out to lunch every now and then), and I guess I sorta had a feeling that this wasn't the best time (we have a sort of connection like that). So I didn't get too personal or anything, but he told me he already has plans. No problem. I joked with him, "What, without me!" and then I asked where he was headed because I didn't want cafe food and I was looking for some ideas. He made a joke, "I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you, which was supposed to be funny but actually, it was not really funny at all. It just seemed "avoidant". I guess he had to take care of something because he didn't respond anymore in the little chat window at work, then an hour later he chimes in just as he is leaving and says, "gotta go, see ya later".

I got a terrible familiar feeling that was just too embarassing to admit. My therapist agreed that what I was fearing was likely to be the case, but we don't really know. My coworker is a great big flirt, but only toward certain types of girls. Usually blonde and skinny. I've seen him persue girls here at work before, and that was the last time I felt that awful. I suspect that he was having lunch with some girl he wants to persue, but he didn't want me to know about it. The feelings I get from this are I guess an awful mix of jealousy and abandonment.

That dug up a ton of unpleasant memories of past friendships and crushes on other boys where I desperately wanted to sexualize our friendship, but never really could because something just felt so wrong with that, but I didn't know what. I think now I might understand how I get stuck in these friendship crushes. It feels wrong to do that with a friend. It's kind of like developing a strong caring bond with a friend, and then realizing that now I cannot "molest" them because I really care about them as a person.

My T slapped me with something that I hadn't really allowed myself to consider. I told him that my feelings toward this coworker, who is married with a son, have lessened and become manageable. He responded, "I think your attraction has gotten stronger." Shit I think he might be right. And I have been fooling myself just to be able to function. That's why I got so upset when I suspected he was hiding something from me. It just goes to show that I don't really know as much about him (or myself) as I would like to believe.

My T did make another good point, he told me that being attracted to unavailable people is particularly problematic for survivors of abuse. Now, THAT I can believe and relate to.

Sorry, I just feel like I'm whining about some petty crap, but I think I'm being too hard on myself lately.

Since I started reading Victims no Longer, it has struck some very deep beliefs and patterns that I didn't even know I was so vulnerable too, and I've been really overwhelmed ever since. To be more specific, I have realized how much of a victim-mentality I actually have. It's a shocker to say the least. Blaming everyone else for my difficulties. I had no idea.

Thanks for listening fellas.

Craig

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#210680 - 03/14/08 01:50 PM Re: Results of my T visit yesterday... yuk [Re: cbfull]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
Wow. That sounds like a very session relationship, and I can relate completely.

I think the unavailability aspect is an avoidance tactic we use so we can go through the process of developing crushes and romantic obsessions while at the same time avoiding the risk that they might reciprocate. Because deep down, we don't want the other person to want to be intimate with us in return because that's scary. They'll get to close. They'll find out who we really are and will reject us.

I also can identify with your feelings about sexualizing friendships. I learned the danger of this the hard way. I had a very close friend named Paul with whom I shared a great deal in common emotionally. We were friends for a long time and because I learned to associate sex with affection, I gradually started making sexual comments and suggestions. Eventually he reciprocated, and we had sex. Now, even during the act I knew that I was having sex with him not because I cared about him but because he was a body I could use to get off. He was also a body that found me sexually attractive and thus gave me the validation that I crave. In short, I abused him, and after we had sex it destroyed our friendship because he began to want greater intimacy with me thereafter than I was able or willing to give him. He wanted me for a boyfriend; I wanted just a trick or f&ckbuddy. I haven't spoken to Paul in over three years.

I had another very dear friend named Barry with whom I acted out the same process. We became very emotionally intimate, sharing details of recovery and the struggles of our daily lives. I then transmuted that emotional intimacy into a desire for physical intimacy, a desire that he never actually reciprocated. However, my desire turned him off and he eventually stopped returning my calls. We haven't spoken in over four years.

As for unavailable guys, well I'm lucky that there's no one even remotely attractive in my office. In my previous job, there were at least three guys on my floor all of whom rated at least 4 on my 5-point scale of hotness. I used to go out of my way to make sure I was in the men's room at the same time they were in order to get a peek at their genitals and fantasized about them -- I'm sure they picked up on it because they started to look at me funny and it would probably only have been a matter of time before some kind of complaint was lodged against me or one of them decided to beat me up (needless to say they were all straight and married).

it's very easy to project a fantasy onto people and think of them as the fantasy image instead of the real person. It's also a defensive mechanism to shelter us from the real world -- probably because we've been let down my people whom we wanted to trust and rely on and had to invent fantasy versions of the way we wish these people had been to fill the void.

Mixing sex and friendship, though, is not always a bad thing. Three of my best and closest friends we sex partners first who then developed into deep friendships.

If you want my advice with you co-worker, I think you have to assume that he knows you have a crush on him and is trying to let you know subtly that he's not interested. The best thing to do is to avoid him as much as possible. It's difficult at work because you might have to interact with him. Be friendly and cordial, but no more so that you would be to anyone else in the office. Give him some space, because he's probably feeling crowded in. It's tricky to avoid someone without looking like you're trying to avoid him, but if you're careful you can do it. If he likes you as a friend, then he will reach out to you again. This hiatus of social interaction is for your benefit, to try and get him out of your system -- a period of detox if you will.

If you find yourself thinking about him, use that as cue to direct your thoughts to something else -- a job that needs doing or the like.

Good luck!

Dan



Edited by VLinvictus (03/15/08 08:22 PM)
_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

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#210690 - 03/14/08 03:47 PM Re: Results of my T visit yesterday... yuk [Re: VLinvictus]
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
You make several excellent points Dan. The one thing I have been trying to do is create a mental model of a healthy, non-sexual realationship in my mind, and try to adhere to that as strictly as possible. But then of course this leaves me frustrated when I forget and I catch myself sort of oogling him because he's very sexy, and not to mention he seems so comfortable, even welcoming of my sexuality.

It was very, very difficult in the beginning because I was getting some confusing signals from him, even though they were subtle they were familiar and confusing. I think you know what kind of subtleties I am referring to, a mention of how dark the room we were in is the only one I can remember right now. It seemed awkward for him and he doesn't do that anymore, probably because it's just not his style. For the sake of my own sanity I also told him that I am an abuse survivor, and let him know that I cannot tolerate innuendo. I decided to tell him about a roomate I had many years ago that could not refrain from including sexual innuendo in his dialog with me. That year alone was more traumatic to my sense of self than any other time in my life. I believe he respected that tremendously and probably came to the same conclusion I was at that time; we can really only be good work friends.

Now I have had a fair share of friendships-turned sexual that have turned out great, good and then some that resulted in neither of us having a desire to really continue the friendship, which is a perfectly acceptable result to me, since it was mutual. For some reason, it's the one's where I felt an intensity coming from both sides that was never acted upon, that turn out to be the most damaging. Something about that just doesn't make sense but there it is.

Dan, I assume in your opening remark that you are referring to the relationship with the coworker and not my counsellor, correct?

I must say he is an admirable friend and I have tremendous respect for his character, and as much as I hate to admit it, even for the part of him that wants to pursue the interests of certain attractive women. It just tells me that he is human, has flaws and insecurities just as I do. He usually gets rejected by these women (as far as I know) and I think it humbles him to a degree.

Thanks for your insight!!

Craig

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#210694 - 03/14/08 03:58 PM Re: Results of my T visit yesterday... yuk [Re: VLinvictus]
Bewlayb1 Offline
Guest

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 241
Loc: NYC
Hi Craig,

I know what youíre going through. Iíve always had similar issues. Iíve had crushes on straight men and even a lesbian. Iíve also liked openly gay men who were otherwise unattainable: in a relationship which was actually monogamous, or who simply didnít want me. Iím attractive, intelligent and funny. Sometimes I marvel at my mindís cleverness at preventing me from finding love, or having sex. My unconscious associates sex with trauma, madness and hell. It sabotages me because it thinks it is protecting me.

Iím in a relationship now, my first ever. Itís difficult and Iím not sure that Iím happy, particularly with sex. I still understand the allure of longing for someone who I canít possibly have. Itís cruel to myself, but itís safe. There is an emotional connection there, and though, frustratingly, it has its limits, somewhere itís comforting to know that it won't ever become a physical connection.

The only advice I have comes from my own recent experience. Things are not going so well in my current relationship. Yet, strangely, if we broke up tonight it would be less painful and drawn out than the many disappointments which have been largely in my head. By being so afraid of love, I was hurting myself in ways that were worse than anyone could ever hurt me.

I wish you well.


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#210838 - 03/15/08 11:05 AM Re: Results of my T visit yesterday... yuk [Re: Bewlayb1]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
Good topic guys! To my dear friend Craig, I think you ARE being too hard on yourself. I also think you are avoiding the subject of sexuality in relationships. As I mentioned a long time ago, you have to be able to consistently seperate fantasy from reality in order to really be grounded in reality. Your co-worker may be a real sweetheart, but he is unattainable. You know he's straight, he's married, and even if he does play around with other women occasionally, if you and he were to become sexual it would 99.999% probability ruin your relationship and might ruin your working environment as well. Fantasy vs reality. There have been similar threads to this earlier, and while some people are afraid of their fantasies (lots of different reasons why) I enjoy mine. I have had non-sexual gay friends and I love flirting with them. I have some male friends who are decidedly HOT and I'd love the opportunity to bed them, and I can fantasize about that, but I know that even if the opportunity arose I probably wouldn't take it because it would really complicate both our lives. And for what?

The fact that you continue to obsess over this guy is sweet, and if you realize that it's all just a fun fantasy then everything's OK. You told me he is a flirt, and I told you he likes you flirting with him. Flirting is harmless fun as long as everybody knows where each other is coming from. You know where he is coming from, but neither of you know where YOU are coming from. That makes this dangerous for you. He's probably trying to protect your feelings by not telling you where he went for lunch, or maybe he just didn't want you showing up there; I wouldn't assume the worst.

But by continuing to obsess over this guy, you could be avoiding the subject of finding yourself a nice guy who loves you and whom you could love. I know the prospect is scarey, and in my case they usually found me, once I made myself available. Do you feel like you are emotionally available for a relationship right now? If not, why not? I hope it doesn't have anything to do with this co-worker. If you are ready, why are you barking up a tree that you know won't get any result? There are LOTS of other trees in the forest... It's kind of like developing an infatuation with one of the guys here on MS that you've never met and likely never will meet because he's married, or straight, or simply unavailable. You know it doesn't make sense.

Oh Invincible, you speak words of great wisdom. As usual, you shine a light from an unexpected angle. Thank you!

Bewlab, I hope things go well for you. You certainly hit the nail on the head when you said, "By being so afraid of love, I was hurting myself in ways that were worse than anyone could ever hurt me." Oh the uncertainty, oh the risks... I've been there and done that so many times I can't recall them all. I never had a relationship that was actually as good and healthy as I deserved and wanted until this last time. And as much as I hate to admit it, it wasn't their fault. For me, it was a part of growing up that I was seriously late in learning. I've always been highly sexual, but also highly impersonal. "If they found out everything about me, they wouldn't love me (I could care less about that) and they would'nt have sex with me (I cared a LOT about that...)" So I avoided having sex with people I liked and cared about, and avoided liking or careing about the people I had sex with. Different sides of the same coin, I think.

It's good to hear from you all,

Lazarus

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

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#210887 - 03/15/08 03:36 PM Re: Results of my T visit yesterday... yuk [Re: Lazarus]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
Craig,
I too have had a problem with the attraction to men I work with. Several times if I acted on it I thought it turned out good only to find out later it wasn't what I really wanted and ended awkwardly.

Because of the way I was sexualized by a male (my dad), I have always felt when an attraction to another male would come up I would always assume it was sexual and it gave me fits. Speed ahead to new in my recovery and I am discovering that I am really longing for a close non sexual male bonding experience. Another male that will accept me and somehow affirm that I too am OK as a man.
Don't get me wrong I did enjoy m/m sex, but later I would feel cheated by the experience because it had the feel of abuse. I could not help but connect it to the abuse and it left me with a bad feeling about the whole thing.

I have some male friends now that I have persued the relationships with on strictly a non sexual basis and I have really enjoyed them so far. Yeah the thoughts come to me when I am around them but I know if I acted on them it would ruin permenantly what we enjoy now. I want a guy to like me because of who I am and I want to like him because he is a great friend and I am happy with that. I have found I do not give off the 'vibes' I used to and other men are comfortable approaching me and being open and friendly to the point of confiding in me of their lives and worries and hopes and it is really cool.

Just my experience for what it is worth. I had to do some recovery work to make that change in my head but I found for me it was worth it.


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#211082 - 03/16/08 05:14 PM Re: Results of my T visit yesterday... yuk [Re: Lazarus]
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
So Ric, our paths cross again! So good to hear from you, I know it has nothing to do with you that we haven't spoken in a little while, but suffice it to say I've been reading Mike Lew's book and it has been about all I can take as far as recovery.

Just a reminder Ric, I have a wonderful partner of 7 years. He is incredibly affectionate and supportive, and I love him to no end.

My good friend Rick, who I am about to go visit because his birthday was thursday, pointed something out to me that was more like ripping a scab off a wound that won't heal. He said, "Maybe it's because he's so super-masculine that has you triggered?" BINGO. He nailed that one dead center. My insecurities about having my sexuality decided for me at 10 by some creep has always been my most painful issue. That's why I spiraled downward just a bit when I suspected he was going out to flirt with some girl. There's no question about it at this point, that's what this is really all about.

I'm sure many (if not all) of you can relate. I'd like to discuss that a little (or as much as necessary) if we can make anything productive of this deep insecurity about my (or "our", if anyone wants to join me) insecurity.

I've never had sex with a woman, never desired it, never will desire it, but yet it can still crush me when confronted with this fact from time to time.

Thanks for the incredible words of support fellas! I love you all!

Craig

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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