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#233860 - 06/26/08 06:17 PM Growing up, advice please.
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2015
Loc: durham, north england
The other night and today, I've had a couple of interesting conversations with friends about relationships and my difficulty in starting anything.

I now thing I can say what I'm looking for in a relationship, ---- say it coherently.

communication. a sort of two way communication betwene me and the other person, something on a deeper level than just being friends. The idea of a full physical relationship is incredibly frightening and not what I'm looking for at all, but that sort of miner physical affecttion and mutual communication is something I want really badly, ---- so badly it hurts!

I have lots of female friends, I've never had a problem talking to girls, but for some reason, it never! goes any further, and I realize now that over the last few years I stopped even expecting things to happen, and became quite desparing.

then of course, I met **** and fell in love, in a way that I hadn't for years. Also, after a lot of psyching myself up (about three weeks worth), I finally got to the point of taking her hand. Of course, sinse she already had a bf, things didn't work, and after going through all that effort that was what destroyed me so completely.

Talking to a male friend, he said taking a girl's hand is what he was doing from the age of about 14 onwards, in a way of showing his feelings. Of course, when i was 14, the only girls I had contact with were abusing me.

the problem is I find it incredibly hard to see other's feelings towards me or believe that they have any good feelings towards me at all, because of my self-isteme problem, so any girl who might have possibley been interested in being closer with me would be waiting a long time.

the other problem is of course, because of my dislike of physical contact, anyone who tried something in the wrong way would cause me to panic, ----- at least one girl (who as it happens I wasn't the least interested in), did in fact become physically closer than I would like.

The thing is, if someone would just meet me half way, ---- say how they felt, or warn me first about physical affection so that I could get used to the idea i think I could get around this.

In fact, the first girl I fell in love with 7 years ago when i was 18, ---- a friend I'd know for two years, actually warned me on the last day of term before she kissed me on the cheek, which felt better. Of course, back then wasn't long after my abuse, so perhaps I was more openly vulnerable than I am now?

people say i come across as though I'm already married, and highly unavailable, ---- god knows how!

to all the Gf's and wives of survivers, did any of your husbands or bf's have this problem? how did you get around it?

My best male friend just suggests I practice miner physical contact with someone safe, ---- such as a female friend so that I can get used to the idea. I've been told this might be fixable in counceling, ---- but sinse I've had to change therapists again! because of the uni counceling service mostly closing over the summer, i'm not going to be able to ask for a good while.

Has anyone got any advice? I know your supposed to learn this sort of thing as a teenager, but as my abuse started at 12 and continued until I was 15, there really wasn't chance for me to, and I'm bloody sick of being torn apart with desire for this golden communication with someone, and not being able to start.


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#233974 - 06/26/08 11:53 PM Re: Growing up, advice please. [Re: dark empathy]
Lee73 Offline


Registered: 05/26/08
Posts: 32
Hi dark empathy,

My boyfriend has this same touching issue. It's actually the core of our issue and why I ended up on this site in the first place. I wish I knew how to get around it. He flinches at the most innocuous things like holding his arm to cross the street or touching his eyebrow to take a look at his scar--just can't stand human touch by anyone whether it be family or me. I wish I had some answers for you on how to get around it. I suspect there's no easy answer to that one. I think the fact that you are trying to understand how to overcome it though is a good step in the right direction. I offered to be that "safe" person as you described for my boyfriend to practice touching, but he didn't want my help so we never got to the point of testing it out. Sounded reasonable to me, but I wonder if the touching sensation reminds him of his abuse. Is that why you are uncomfortable with touch? Or is it something else like the fear of trusting a woman to get into your personal space and potentially hurting you emotionally?

Lee


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#234130 - 06/27/08 06:39 PM Re: Growing up, advice please. [Re: Lee73]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Touch is a difficult subject. My b/f actually never had a problem with it, he's very physically affectionate, except, in the beginning, if I put my hand on his face or his neck. That particular touch made him flinch every time. At first, not knowing any better, I asked what's up with that?! He denied his flinched, which was silly since it was obviously something I could see. But this denial made me more aware of it, even though I didn't know why. I like to touch his face - I like his face! so if my hand was on his chest, instead of picking it up again and placing it on his face or neck, I would slide it up and gently cup his cheek. This made him close his eyes because he thought what he thought, but he learned he didn't need to flinch. Eventually, he recognized my touch as a safe, loving touch, not one that would ever harm him so it's not an issue any more.

I think the body reactions to past experiences have to be re-worked and the only way to do that is very slowly and very gently and on your terms. I know what worked for us, but only you know what will work in your own situations. All I can say for sure is that the survivor has to be willing to place himself in a safe place with a safe person so he can accept a touch in order to change the reaction. Even with that, it probably won't work all the time and certainly not with every person. If someone other than me reached for my b/f's face he'd either back up quickly or punch them.

ROCK ON.........Trish



_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#234252 - 06/28/08 04:41 AM Re: Growing up, advice please. [Re: dark empathy]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
dark empathy,
The touch issue does take alot of working on. With us, he's better with it if he knows its coming. This could be a touch on the arm, or a hug, or whatever. And by "better with it", I mean he can actually hug me without tensing up, and there are times when it'll last longer than usual. He won't automatically pull away.
I can't, and don't, change or alter the approach on this one. It always has to go the same way to go well. If I forget and he jumps, it'll mean an argument. And like everyone else, I hate the same argument over and over.
It took a long time to get to this point and it's still a work in progress. It seemed easier when he was 18 or 19. I mean, the touch thing was always there, but over the years as the other issues came into play, it got worse. There were alot of arguments and alot of WTF?! moments along the way. Part of the difficulty was the fact that he didn't want to talk about it. It wasn't a simple thing. And it isn't the kind of thing that goes un-noticed. It took him a long time to realize that a hug wasn't going to turn into something else.
For him, that's what I think it's really about. People in the past that have used something innocent like a hug and used it as a stepping stone to something else with him. I haven't but even after all this time, in the back of his mind, he's thinking I might and anticipating it.
I don't know that you can really put a timeline on this, or pick "the person" out of the blue. I think it definitely has to evolve on it's own.
I agree with your friend that you should feel safe with the person. In our case, he was abused by someone he had initially felt safe with, so, it took him longer to trust feeling safe with another person again.

Always,
Liv


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#234359 - 06/28/08 08:16 PM Re: Growing up, advice please. [Re: Liv2124]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2015
Loc: durham, north england
thanks so much people for the replies. I've just had an interesting thought.

i have the same reactions to different levels of touch as people have described. A hug is okay, if I'm expecting it, being touched on the hand or forarm is a litle worse, and being touched around the legs or thighs, ---- even the outside of the legs would actually send me into a panic!

But one thing I have realized, is there's a familiarity component, the more casual a friend is who tries contact, ---- even just a hug, the less easy it is. This is probably because my abusers were numbers of girls at school, and thus not even close to me.

Maybe this is the contributing factor in my relationship trouble? I'm so used to thinking any girl who touches me is going to humiliate and abuse me, i go into defense mode, ---- which said girl picks up as extreme dislike? I know I've tensed up when someone has hugged me when not expecting it, ---- and on a couple of occasions when a girl has tried to stroke my hand or lean against me I've actively moved off and been visibly uncomfortable.

The funny thing is **** was and is a very physical person. Even when we meet now she strokes me on the shoulder or takes my hand, and from her, ---- because of the love I feel for her, it feels okay, ---- maybe this was another reason why she sparked off the hole recovery business?

On the other hand, she's always slow and gentle about it, and always being incredibly kind, not flippent or casual the way other people have been with physical contact, which helps, ---- she actually said she sensed something wrong about me even before I mentioned my abuse to her.

Then of course, if i ever considder hugging a girl or trying to hold her hand, my self-isteme pops up and says "she'd never want that from you, you'd be imposing on her and forcing her to go through what you did" which makes me feel awful. in fact an interesting thing is the only girl i'm quite happy with touch from is a female friend who's as close as a sister.

the thing is though, back when we first met, we both admitted, ---- as is stil the case, that neither of us wanted our friendship to go any further. I love her, ---- but the thought of developing anything closer with her just seems wrong to me, ---- and that feeling is, and has always been, mutual.

the thing is, I feel much safer with her. We regularly hug each other, and I've even sat with her legs on my lap on several occasions.

the other thing though, is I know for a fact that anyone who tried to touch her in a way she didn't want would end up injured, sinse she is not only an incredibly strong willed person, but also an accomplished fenser and skilled in Karate, ---- not to mention being quite aggressive, ---- she's probably the most steriotypically masculine person i know, ----- accept for a lot of compassion towards people she thinks deserve it (one of which is fortunately me).

she was in fact the "safe person" I was considder, especially as I could just streight out ask her.

I'm sorry this is such a long post, but one more thing has occurred to me. One horrifying suggestion my incredibly liberal parents made on this issue was that they locate an "escort" who I could sleep with, and thus become desensatized to the hole thing. The problem of course, is the idea of doing that with a stranger, ---- especially one who had no emotional attachment to me whatsoever and was just there for the money is something that actually makes me physically sick! If I was going to ask anyone for that sort of desensatization, ---- it'd probably be my female friend, ----- though not now she is living with a very perminan Bf who is also my friend, sinse I wouldn't want to cause problems for them.


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#234418 - 06/29/08 10:00 AM Re: Growing up, advice please. [Re: dark empathy]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
In my opinion, the escort thing is a bad idea. Don't waste time entertaining that idea, my internal crystal ball tells me it'll end badly. I don't have any idea what your parents could be thinking....
Always,
Liv


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#234449 - 06/29/08 12:19 PM Re: Growing up, advice please. [Re: Liv2124]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2015
Loc: durham, north england
As I said Liv, I think your dead right sinse the idea really! doesn't agree with me.
the background was slightly less random than you'd think. my mum is a physio for kids with extreme physical problems. A boy with Huntingtons, approximately my age though probably likely to die in the next few years said that he's got no regrets about his life, accept that the one thing he'd never spent a night with someone, so an escort was located for him.

But obviously my case is incredibly and tremendously different. i think my parents just want all this to be over, in fact when i told my first T about it she said it sounded like my mum was looking for a quick fix solution, ----- obviously I vetoed the idea as soon as it was proposed, though my mum did say the plan was open if I changed my mind.

Sinse though it's communication and emotional attachment I'm looking for, with a very miner physical affection component, ---- that would just be totally wrong!



Edited by dark empathy (06/29/08 01:25 PM)

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#234451 - 06/29/08 01:07 PM Re: Growing up, advice please. [Re: dark empathy]
Lee73 Offline


Registered: 05/26/08
Posts: 32
Glad you see it that way, Dark. Very Very bad idea in my opinion too!!


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#234457 - 06/29/08 02:01 PM Re: Growing up, advice please. [Re: dark empathy]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Dark empathy,
Even with the background info... the escort thing STILL sounds to me to be nothing more than additional trauma waiting to happen.
Just as there is no quick fix for the effects of the csa, there is no "quick find" for what you are looking for. The communication and emotional attachment won't and shouldn't happen overnight. It can't if it's the real thing.
Liv


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