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#236815 - 07/08/08 04:30 PM Surely it can't just be the abuse?
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1965
Loc: durham, north england
Hi.

there's a question I've been wondering about, that vaguely came up with my T today, and I really want people's opinions on this one before it causes me trouble. I'm sorry for yet another topic.

The question is, surely all this can't just be my abuse?

All the depression I'm suffering now, this person I seem to have turned into, my lack of energy, is all that just due to what happened to me at secondary school? It hardly seems believeable. is there something more wrong with me? Am I just flawed in some way? have I changed somehow or become infected recently.

Talking to one of my friends he said the only outward signs that anything has been wrong was my dislike of physical contact or anything to do with s, ---- so why has this now happened?

It seems to have been going on for a while, ---- ever sinse I finished my degree and was thrown much more on my own resources, but even so, can I say it's all just my abuse? In my down periods I'm not thinking about my abuse or suffering any flashbacks the way i know some people here have, I just feel incredibly worthless and exhausted.

Even when I'm triggered it's not tied to any specific memory, ---- yes if someone tries to touch me (particularly around the thighs or legs), I would genuinely panic, but I'm not tied to a specific memory or moment (though stuff like that happened so many times it's slightly hard for me to be specific).

ditto with the s word, just hereing it makes me want to curl up in a ball or run off, ---- but only because of profound discomfort, not because of a specific memory.

Also, most of the time I avoid triggers, and my depressed periods aren't caused by anything, they just happen like a natural desaster, and I just have to waid through them.

has anyone else had this feeling and if so did you find any answers? Has anyone got any thoughts?


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#236821 - 07/08/08 04:56 PM . [Re: dark empathy]
bardo213 Offline
Guest

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 811
.


Edited by bardo213 (06/21/13 05:01 PM)

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#236822 - 07/08/08 05:25 PM Re: Surely it can't just be the abuse? [Re: bardo213]
hogan_dawg Offline
Guest

Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 492
"Surely all this can't just be my abuse?"

Sure it could!

Do a search on Science News with 'PTSD' and see what pops up - all kinds of mental disorders and that's just for the well documented people like war veterans. Now, consider the PTSD, the trauma, from sexual abuse. Unlike a bomb going off in your trench, with sexual trauma you're penetrated, orally or anally, in the most personal ways known to humans. And it's not sex, it's an act of personal violence. And also, you're a man, and somehow I think that's an added negative to the equation. That's FAR WORSE than being shell shocked from a war, where the odds are known, the harm isn't personal and intimate, and there isn't a known perpetrator who may well repeat the acts. Consider too if the abuse happens when you're young, it makes sense the trauma could affect your social competence, emotional response, behavior.

I think the following causal links are fair:

Traumatic event---> PTSD---> Depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Impotence, Maybe ADHD, Maybe bipolar disorder, Anxiety disorders, Heart disease. Even if tentative they're sensible outcomes.

Depression includes exhaustion, for example, and feelings of worthlessness aren't uncommon with depression. I get 'em and so do members of my support group.

Triggers are hard to spot beforehand. Your own anxiety can also be a trigger, without any stimulus you can pin down. Think of it like an 'internal stimulus' where your body feels that old feeling return, and this activates those old memories, and then you're triggered, as if from nothing. I get triggered without being able to anticipate it. It's the new 'spice of life' for me. It sucks.

You said 'just my abuse'? Hey man, there ain't no 'just' about it - what happened to you is serious stuff and you're doing very well in handling it - you're a strong guy. But saying 'just' is like saying 'it was just a nuclear bomb'. There's nothing about sexual abuse that can be minimized - it's like a grenade went off right beside your very soul. You had some serious shit happen to you - and if it happened to someone else, you'd say "Hey take care of yourself this was serious shit that happened to you."

Just my $0.02. Best, Dawg



Edited by hogan_dawg (07/08/08 06:08 PM)
_________________________
I can say unequivocally that the lie of "To truly heal you must first forgive" has derailed more victims than the abusers themselves.
Andrew Vachs, 2003

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#237326 - 07/10/08 08:06 PM Re: Surely it can't just be the abuse? [Re: hogan_dawg]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1965
Loc: durham, north england
thanks Linch. to be honest the problem depression wise is I get into a cycle. i'm depressed, so I don't sleep, (it's about one in the morning right now), sinse I'm not sleeping I don't do my usual exercise routine, or eat in a consistant fashion. I know all this is contributing, but I get into such a state of exhaustion and general feelings of worthlessness that all i can do is literally sit, do the most minimal thing I can (usually reading), and wait for it to pass.

At least this year, sinse I've gone part time with my phd I'm no longer panicking about not getting work done or feeling uba guilty about letting my tutor down.

i'm not sure if this is Chronic fatigue syndrome or ptsd or something like that, but it's a bloody pain! I'm really hoping that the medication will ease things out slightly, just so that I don't go down quite as seriously.

Hogan, what you say makes sense, i've certainly been in positions where fear occurs from my own thoughts, or anxiety about a social situation, but this certainly isn't the standard proceedure with my depression, i literally just wake up with it one day. ----- actually, it's bloody! frustrating! especially when I'm engaged on something fun which I have to stop due to exhaustion.

for example, last week I saw prince caspian with my friend and went for a meal. the plan was then to head back to my flat to watch doctor who, drink coffee and scoff chocolate cake. The problem? i started to feel absolutely shattered by the time we finished the meal, all i wanted to do was get home and lie down, so ended up asking my friend if we could do Doctor who another day.

This is what I mean about frustrating! not to mention lacking energy to do the things i want to do, like working on various projects and my Phd.

I suppose the reason i question why this is just the abuse, is that my first year, ---- and to a slightly lesser extent the rest of my degree was great! I never considdered my abuse. Yes, I wasn't physical, yes, I kknew I had a problem with the s word, ---- but everyone has problems. That's why i question whether this person I've become now is just because of my abuse, and whether dealing with the abuse is going to actually solve this.


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#237397 - 07/11/08 03:03 AM Re: Surely it can't just be the abuse? [Re: dark empathy]
endlessjourney Offline
Member

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 518
Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
It's true that not every problem in everyday life is caused by CSA. Everyone has problems to an extent. However, CSA is just another that contributes to your pain. It makes it harder to deal with things. There are also indirect effects.

Your depression for example: It can be caused by your memories and flashbacks. However, those problems may have caused you to loose sleep, not eat right, lack exercise, and even abuse yourself in more ways than one. Not just the issue itself, but the effects of all of these other factors can contribute to your depression.

If you take inventory of everything you've done for the last week, it may be revealing to you. Say, you've averaged 4 hours of sleep a night for the past week. You've drank an average of 9 or 10 bears a night. You didn't exercise and you ate unhealthy food compulsively for the majority of the time. Hell, that right there would make anyone depressed and tired all of the time.

Maybe it's not solely a clinical disorder thing. Maybe the habits you've acquired could be keeping you in this rut. Remember, you acquired these habits as a child and through adolescence to deal with the pain you felt because that was the only way you knew how. Perhaps you can try to pick up some healthier ones. There are many other ways to help you through this. It's sooooo hard to change some of those habits sometimes but you can do it with determination and patience. It sounds like wishful thinking but if you truly want it for yourself, it will work.

Good luck,
Jason

_________________________
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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#239563 - 07/22/08 04:28 PM Re: Surely it can't just be the abuse? [Re: endlessjourney]
2acceptis2giveup Offline


Registered: 07/22/08
Posts: 9
This is my first post at this website...

de's question is one that has loomed larger and larger for me in the last couple years (for perspective, my abuse happened over 30 years ago, I first became consciously aware of my abuse 22 years ago, and I'm currently a 30-something...).

I am admittedly an oddball, and I've prided myself on that - even at this stage in life where I'm acknowledging that that pride has resulted in a lot of dysfunction in my existence over the years.

But I've reached the point where I'm starting to ask myself very strongly "Am I an oddball - and hang onto my 'swim-upstream' behaviours - because I was abused?"

To hear myself ask this question makes it sound like an excuse, which I hate. I look at homeless people on the street that beg for money and hate that they use their homelessness as an excuse to make other people uncomfortable by asking them for money. I was homeless a few short stretches myself in the 1990s, and I never asked anyone for money. This is just one analogy that prevents my logic from squaring that I somehow have my CSA (nice sterile acronym there...) to act as a master excuse for all the dysfunctional behaviour I've perpetrated in my life.

However, my conscience is increasingly overriding my traditional logic as I'm just growing too tired of the pain that results from my actions. If other people are literally rendered dysfunctional by other legitimate traumatic events, why can't my dysfunction be equally blamed on CSA?

To me the real pragmatic question is: How much of my dysfunctional behaviour in life can be blamed on my CSA? If this happened to me so early in life, why wouldn't all of my dysfunctional behaviour be fruit of the poisoned tree?



_________________________
to accept is to give up.

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#239567 - 07/22/08 05:10 PM Re: Surely it can't just be the abuse? [Re: 2acceptis2giveup]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Hi, 2acceptis2giveup & welcome!

Maybe the point of the question is not about blame and excuses -- it's about figuring out what (if anything) is wrong now and finding the events that can help you make changes.

Like if my screen goes blank, I'll wonder if it's the drivers, if the monitor's died, or if I've just kicked out the plug. The idea is not to sit back and feel relieved that I can blame the software, the monitor or my foot. It's to figure out what I can do now.

A lot of our lives are impacted by abuse, maybe not as much is directly caused by it. The impact may be indirect, it may have been part of many other things that made you who you are. But I suspect we usually underestimate how much impact it had, rather than overestimate it.

Anyway, glad you're here--hope we can be there while you're working through this.

David


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#239568 - 07/22/08 05:27 PM Re: Surely it can't just be the abuse? [Re: 2acceptis2giveup]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1965
Loc: durham, north england
Hi Acceptis, and welcome to the site, I treally hope you find it helpful here.

For me, the question of abuse is much more one of suffering, than one of being an oddball, or disfunctional. i've got some very odd friends who most deffinately didn't suffer abuse, but equally don't have the worthlessness issues or depression I do. I think though, Hogan's above comment about saying "is it just the abuse" is like saying "is it jjust the nukes" is pretty accurate. Today my T said to me that my abusers had done a real number on me, sinse I had internalized the "you are worthless" message, and was stil, despite everything else repeating it to myself now 10 years later.

I know there is a danger of turning into a victim and just becoming helpless because of the abuse, but what I'm coming to realize now is that there's an equal and opposite danger of not recognizing the importance and impact of abuse. for me, it took a major shock in november even to considder that my abuse needed dealing with at all, and I've been literally grapling with it sinse then.

It's not really an easy balance to find, and I know I'm stil working at it myself, but I think there is a balance there.

I asked my two friends who I've talked to about this, friends whether they thought I'd become "wrecked", ie, helpless, constantly self-pittying and generally parasitic because of my abuse, sinse that's something I'm afraid of.

One replied that "wrecked" to him meant an out of proportion reaction to something, and in his opinion my reaction wasn't out of proportion at all. The other (who's incredibly blunt, and while very compassionate would only show compassion to someone she thought deserved it), told me that I didn't come across as wrecked or having a problem unless I chose to. she said she'd got lots of friends in a post degree mess, having counceling, but in her opinion I was the only one who had a right to be in a mess and everyone else should just pull themselves together and stop being pathetic, ---- as I said, she's incredibly blunt.

Assessments like that really help, even if I find it hard to believe them all the time.

I'm sorry for the long ramble. I really hope you find something useful in it, and I'm sorry if not, and I'm glad you've found this site sinse it's a great place to deal with things.


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#239576 - 07/22/08 06:00 PM Re: Surely it can't just be the abuse? [Re: dark empathy]
2acceptis2giveup Offline


Registered: 07/22/08
Posts: 9

Thanks to both of you for your thoughts.

de, I think I really am "wrecked", to use your term. I've earned less than $3000 in the 1st 7 months of this year - ie, I can't keep a job. I have a bad gambling problem and an occasional drinking problem. My self-esteem has crashed back into the toilet after varying degrees of successful self-rehab from 1992-2006. I really want to stay with my girlfriend but increasingly believe that we'll be split before our 5th anniversary (next April) because I'm a failure in so many areas of life...

I asked the bolded questions because I'm at the point where I'm plowing through my immense guilt issues over my failures, in order to determine if I'm genuinely mentally defective as a result of my CSA experience. Most people in this society (the US) just don't make the life decisions I've made, knowing the consequences they carry. I must be mentally defective to have made these decisions. Well, why am I mentallty defective? What happened to me to so fundamentally flaw my decision-making processes?

I know these are questions for therapy, but these are the questions I'm now confronting in my daily existence. So, yeah, for the purpose of a message thread on this board, the above questions are rhetorical. But it's taken me my entire life to get to this point of being able to cut through my mountains of guilt to simply pose the questions.

But even being able to pose these questions still carries in my own mind the stigma of trying to make excuses for my damaging dysfunctional behaviour... it's a sh*tty cycle...

Hope that's a fair expansion of my initial insight.

_________________________
to accept is to give up.

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#239581 - 07/22/08 06:35 PM Re: Surely it can't just be the abuse? [Re: 2acceptis2giveup]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1965
Loc: durham, north england
Acceptis, well there are two things that occur to me. firstly, how are you assessing yourself? I for example have actually payed 1900 this year (about $3800 I think), for my phd, and yet haven't put in a years work, ----- in fact because of everything I've been dealing with I've had to cut my studdies down to part time.

I'm really not into the mentality that only assesses success on the basis of financial earnings and getting a job, for me that compas is much more internal, and it's the internal bit I've been trying to deal with.

It also hurts me significantly that I'm almost 26, and have never! had a gf at all, ---- in fact it was falling in love very stupidly in november that made me realize I had to deal with my abuse. I don't mean this in a "I've had it worse than you" way, I'm just thinking that the criteria people use to assess themselves are often very different, and "wrecked" is quite a subjective state. It helped me to here that I wasn't wrecked from my friends, sinmply because those are people who's judgement and opinions I really respect, though believing what they say is difficult.

As reguards the drinking and gambling, ---- and your recognition in general, one thing really does occur to me. Recognizing this, and deciding to do something about it is a good thing. you would be wrecked I think if you recognized it and said "oh well, my abuse just makes me like this, and I can't help it" the fact that you here, and ---- as you say, are cutting through the guilt to ask these sorts of questions, and try to deal with this says to me that your not wrecked.

I really hope this helps.


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