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#212424 - 03/23/08 03:24 AM I was never really allowed to feel...
ericc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 1961
It has become clearer and clearer to me that as a child I wasn't allowed to have feelings that fell outside of how others wanted me to feel. I learned to not stand up for my feelings, because they didn't matter. How closely this relates to my abuse I don't know. I certainly gave in on standing up to not allowing things to happen.

What made me think about this is that I still do things in regards to family functions, and elsewhere, where I join into things I could care less as to not participate in. But I either join in out of guilt or pressure, or for who knows why?. I am sort of sick of it. I am in need of my space right now, and I realize others just don't get it in regards to what my experiences have been and what my life has been like. But that is not my problem that they don't have a clue, and I need to learn to stand up for myself. This really seems to be a big issue for me, and to fail will hold me back in getting any sense of happiness in this life I think (I have lived my life for others needs, one way or another, for too long; I understand loyalties, but I also understand getting trapped in a dysfunctional (for me) reality as well).

Eric


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#212445 - 03/23/08 09:58 AM Re: I was never really allowed to feel... [Re: ericc]
LandOfShadow Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
I was also kind of trained to fear myself. My mother in particular wouldn't tolerate me crying or even being sad much. If she thought I was crying in my room with the door closed, she'd charge right in and yell at me to "shape up" or they'd send me away somewhere.

My father'd snap me with wet towels or hit me hard "playing" so I kind of learned to hide being afraid because he's laugh at me otherwise. I guess he thought he was "toughening me up" but now I just don't care if I ever even see him again or not.

I know what you mean about acting like people want you to regardless. Getting, feeling trapped. It's made me avoid people a great deal. It's nice to slowly be finding and expecting people who want me to be me. Not to use guilting, shaming behavior to get me to do what pleases them.

_________________________
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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#212455 - 03/23/08 10:55 AM Re: I was never really allowed to feel... [Re: LandOfShadow]
MagRaith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/24/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Salt Lake City, UT
Eric -
From what I am learning in my therapy I think what you express is pretty classic CSA response. As children we are taught that our feelings don't matter, that we can't trust our own feelings. I think sex abuse is the most severe way this is hit home to us, our feelings are not important at all, only the perp matters. I understand exactly what you mean, I've lived my whole life trying to think, do and feel what everyone else wants me to think, do and feel because my own thoughts and feelings were never affirmed.

I call this "living by-the-book". I became so estranged from my own thoughts, feelings and emotions and became so convinced that whatever I thought or felt was "wrong" and unimportant, that I constantly looked outside myself to decide how I should feel or act. I was convinced everyone was different than me, and that if I could just get a clue as to how other's think and feel, I could imitate that and that would solve the problem of who I should be. As a teenager I became involved in a religion that I hoped would tell me how to live "by the book". This was a miserable failure.

I think it is a complicated issue, but I also agree with you 100% that you do need to start making decisions for yourself and risking that. You need to learn that saying no sometimes is okay, that it is not the end of the world. I imagine everyone who knows you is used to you doing things the way you do, so it will rock the boat a bit for you to change that, but it is so very necessary for YOU. You need to do this - for YOU.

I understand completely what you are thinking and feeling here, because I too struggle with it on a daily basis. There came a time when I thought I would completely lose myself if I did not change it, and it caused some uproar from those who were not comfortable with me redefining myself and my responses but so far it has been SO VERY WORTH IT!!

Hope this helps, I feel for you man.

Kurt


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#212551 - 03/23/08 06:26 PM Re: I was never really allowed to feel... [Re: MagRaith]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Eric,

Me too. Me too. I had so many temper tantrums and outbursts as a child that the school system had no idea what to do with me. Eventually I wound up in group therapy at five years old. I know that before I went to that group I really never felt self conscious about anything, after going through the program I was never quite the same again. I was taught that my behavior was bad and that I needed to control my temper around other people. I was told over and over again that everyone else was "jealous" of me because I was so smart, and that they felt "threatened" by me and that was why they picked on me. If only I would behave more appropriately, or more to the point, find a way to "ignore" the taunting and threats, then I'd be much better off. Of course these lessons were enforced by my family, who were all at a loss for how to deal with me.

What I know now is that, in fact, there never was anything wrong with me. I wasn't "hyperactive" or "socially dysfunctional", or “ADD”. My outbursts were not a sign that I was abnormal. In fact I was reacting in a totally predictable and understandable way to the circumstances I lived in. I never remember my mother holding me or nurturing me in any sort of caring way. My dad was rarely around, and frankly not much better when it came to giving a child he needs. The reason I had tantrums at school was that it was the only place where I could get any attention. At home, my mom would simply out tantrum me, so I learned as a toddler to pretty much keep my mouth shut. At least at school teachers and other kids would react.

Even though I wasn't sexually abused at home, the neglect and lack of proper care I experienced at home set me up for the abuse I suffered later. Perhaps the worst part of it was that after my experience at the group as a five year old, I stopped accepting myself, every action and thought I had was preceded by a kind of self questioning and doubt that soon became toxic and all too familiar. The one time I dropped my guard around anyone and actually allowed myself to "be myself" was when my abuser took me in. He worked hard to get me to trust him. We had lots of talks where he either kidded me for being so scared or being to hard on myself. Little did I know he was only setting me up. It's been 20+ years and a failed marriage later, but I'm finally beginning to undo the damage.

I'm finally beginning to learn how to be myself again. It's not easy. Sometimes I feel awful for no discernible reason. As I put myself back together again, painful feelings sometimes flood through me from the past and threaten to trip me up in the present. But there is one thing that I am finally beginning to come to accept in my heart again – that there is nothing wrong with me. With that understanding comes more things. It forces me to accept more and more of my own feelings – good and bad – as true and wholly acceptable. Knowing that there is nothing wrong with me makes it easier to live through this period of pain and discomfort as I come back to simply being.

_________________________
"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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#212555 - 03/23/08 06:43 PM Re: I was never really allowed to feel... [Re: tartugas]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
I wanted to just add eric that sometimes as kids we get the wrong information from what grown ups say to us. There is a big difference between telling a child his behavior is inappropriate and needs to be changed and that his feelings are inappropriate. Feelings are what they are. If a kid feels happy, excited, mad, pouty, jealous whatever, those are his feelings. They are real and need to be validated as such. If a kid jumps up and down and runs around singing when class is in session, then he needs to understand and respect the rules of the classroom etiquette so others can learn. These are two different things. Teacher and adults often confuse kids by trying to correct the wrong thing in a kid and even a kid knows the difference. Juat a thought.


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#212575 - 03/23/08 08:01 PM Re: I was never really allowed to feel... [Re: Freedom49]
KENKEN Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/25/07
Posts: 762
Loc: NOTHERN COLORADO
As a child I can only remember that my feelings meant nothing to anyone else. I ran to my mom when my brother sexual abused me, I cried myself to sleep night after night, I fought for myself and nothing happened. I thought I was a good kid, but nothing happened. So did my feelings mean anything to my family? I don't think so.

So, yes I agree with you guys/

Ken

_________________________
I AM A GOOD PERSON, I AM A GOOD MAN

From the Movie: Antwone Fisher

***WOR ALUMNI SEQUOIA MARCH 2008***

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#212619 - 03/23/08 10:15 PM Re: I was never really allowed to feel... [Re: KENKEN]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2574
I understand completely Eric. In my home only happy and good feelings were allowed. My parents always ran from anything else. And if the kids were unhappy or had a problem the reaction was to get angry and punish us. So I've been messed up my whole life that way. Just starting to really deal with it now, but it's getting better. Takes time, but it can get better for sure!!


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#212722 - 03/24/08 03:37 PM Re: I was never really allowed to feel... [Re: JustScott]
ericc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 1961
Thanks everyone. I had spend a long Easter weekend with family and I think I was triggering all sorts of stuff. It is good for me to get this stuff triggered, because I think it helps me sort out what went wrong.

The main problem is sort of two-fold: I can't seem to get my family to honestly discuss the past, and also I can't go back and fix all the garbage that has lead me down the path I have been on (okay, I realize that is unrealistic, but when I get overwhelmed by stuff and remember how little it took for things to get screwed up, I sometime fantasize about things having been different and how little it would have taken for things to have been better).

The problem with my family not ever really discussing the past, is that I took on the role in my family of the problem. I think dysfunctional situations have certain people taking on roles that fill the needs of others. It is not that I wanted to be this way, it just happened. It hurts because I knew who I was as a kid, and I was a good kid. By not having any honest discussion about how things where, I end up stuck carrying around all the guilt and hurt for how things were, even though I know I was caught in a bad situation.

I am going to keep working on this stuff. I am actually going to try and meet with a new therapist who might be able to help in this regard. I end up getting so overwhelmed by hurt when I think of how I just sort of let me life slip past and was incapable of dealing with it because of all the garbage, and then it seems sometimes that nobody really cares. If I could project onto a screen the true nature of what my reality was like, and people could watch it and actually see, they would know how unfair and crappy it was and I would no longer need to feel guilty of anything because they would know I almost had no other choice as to what happened (of course I'd still hurt for all the wasted time and all that, especially when I get flooded with memories).

I realize I need to keep working on this stuff, I guess I just wanted to share how it feels sometimes. I do intend to try and keep moving forward. Sometimes I guess I get stuck in the pity pot, but it does really hurt sometimes.

Thanks,
Eric


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#213051 - 03/25/08 07:00 PM Re: I was never really allowed to feel... [Re: ericc]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
A quote that popped up in my email today that though was especially apropos of this topic.

A wretched soul, bruis'd with adversity,
We bid be quiet when we hear it cry;
But were we burden'd with like weight of pain,
As much, or more, we should ourselves complain.

Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors

Seems like too many people don't want to care for us when we're bruised, without ever giving thought to how they would like to be treated when feeling the same way. Damn selfishness.

_________________________
"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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#213146 - 03/26/08 01:49 AM Re: I was never really allowed to feel... [Re: tartugas]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
No one wants to hear about pain. People ask me "Hi how are you?"
I reply "I am having the time of my life."

Most can tell the sarcasm but some just laugh and and say good. Which is fine. I keep reminding my self to smile. Be happy and cheerful. I learned a long time ago don't complain. If there is a prblem find a solution or two and then bring it up. People, especially bosses like solutions. They don't want to hear about problems.

I can play the game. I can pretend. Been doing it all my life with a greater or lesser degree of success. One of the most wonderful things I realized when I came to MaleSurivor.org was that I could be myself. No more lies. No more deception. If I was up I would be accepted and I could post. If I was in the pits, still no problem. I could post, rant, vent, whine, sulk, and no one cared or if they did they tried to cheer me up. People actually cared and tried to cheer me up. You have no idea what that meant to me.

To know I was not alone was great, to know I could just be me was miraculous and lifted a huge weight from my heart. I could open up with my feelings no matter how stupid or whiney or sad and people would be ok with it. I was finally accepted and my feelings validated.

I can face the world now. I really can have the time of my life because I can come here and FEEL anything I want. And It is OK. For the first time in my life I really feel human.

Ok I have to grab that mask and go back to the world now but I will be back. Thanks for this thread. Sorry for the rambling vent.



Edited by Freedom49 (03/26/08 01:54 AM)

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#213186 - 03/26/08 10:12 AM Re: I was never really allowed to feel... [Re: Freedom49]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Quickie since I'm at work...

Having a panic attack set in, and was talkikng to a friend. He saw that I'm not in a good place. His advice, "You don't have to be a victim to your feelings."

How to explain. How to explain?

_________________________
"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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#213208 - 03/26/08 11:25 AM Re: I was never really allowed to feel... [Re: tartugas]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
He is right about that truth.....however, how do you get to that place??? Did you ask him if he had any helpful advice?


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