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#284416 - 04/19/09 04:41 PM Accepting what happened...?
Lantern Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 55
Loc: UK
Hi everyone, been a long time since I've been here, not that I posted much anyway.

I'm in a shitty, stressful, depressed place at the moment and I realised that it's about a year ago that I stopped seeing my therapist; she'd started working from home and I couldn't bear hearing other people moving around in the house because I would afraid they would suddenly burst into the room, or stand at the door and listen.

I had a question that I don't think I've seen asked before, though it probably has so if anyone can help out I'd really appreciate it.

I *know* on an intellectual level that I was abused, but I think what I've done is refuse to accept it on some emotional level. Not that I'm just not ready to deal with it properly, but that I cannot accept that it happened at all, like I am refusing to really accept it happened. Does that make sense? I've been thinking that this might be the reason for me avoiding people as much as I can - because they might find out - but, not completely, because shutting people out completely would arouse suspicion that something was wrong.

Can anyone relate to this? I have seen people post about having flashbacks and so on but I just get nothing. Nothing at all. How am I supposed to fucking deal with things and try to move on when I won't even accept it happened? Whenever I try to reach out to anyone I have to withdraw and I am so lonely and don't feel I can see my therapist or reach out to anyone or get any help and I'm so lost.

I want to change and move on and just be fucking happy or at least not constantly afraid, how do you do that?

How do you stop forcing it all down so no-one can find out?

_________________________
It's not what you've lost, but it's what you've found

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#284425 - 04/19/09 06:07 PM Re: Accepting what happened...? [Re: Lantern]
Riley Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/11/09
Posts: 597
Loc: USA
I'll second that feeling and it definitely makes sense. I'll have flashbacks and dreams and stuff, but I'm still having trouble truly accepting that it happened, I think this is why I have trouble staying mad at my perp. When I talk about it, I feel like I'm lying, I don't know how else to explain it.

I can also add to this; I logically/intellectually know that sex isn't dirty, it's not my fault, etc... but I can't accept it emotionally, just like you said.

I wish I had more to say, but I don't know the answer. All I know is logic and acceptance are two different things.


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#284451 - 04/19/09 08:43 PM Re: Accepting what happened...? [Re: Lantern]
joelRT Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor


Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 1357
Loc: Québec, Canada
Originally Posted By: Lantern
How do you stop forcing it all down so no-one can find out?
Hi Lantern,
To me your question is just another affirmation of what you've already stated - that at the gut level, you haven't accepted that you were abused.

I went through the same thing as what you describe. When my memories started to come back to me, I knew beyond a doubt that they were true memories and not just fabrications. But I could absolutely not accept them or the facts that they represented. For a very long time I told myself every lie I could think of to make the memories not be true. It was exhausting work and it really took a toll on me physically.

I was showering for work one morning (water is always a big trigger for me) when seemingly out of nowhere came the question "If I am right and that I'm just making up scenarios of having been abused, then why am I so frightened all the time and why is it that the pictures in my head just make me want to die all the time?" And in that moment my heart accepted the truth that had been trying so hard to reveal itself to me. I stopped rationalizing from that point on and started giving myself the right to feel.

_________________________
My Story 1
My Story 2
The longest journey we take is to self-discovery

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#284560 - 04/20/09 09:28 AM Re: Accepting what happened...? [Re: Lantern]
cecil Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/17/09
Posts: 4
Loc: California
I feel exactly the same way. I would describe it as numb towards the whole episode. I know it happened, I can seem some of it like a movie in my head. The manifestations of it are real and apply to almost any major emotional decision I have ever made in my life.

I have to say that i joined this site last Wednesday and I feel like I got more out of the past few days by just reading about others experiences than I got in 2+ year of therapy. I don't think my therapist is bad, I just think I did not understand how much the SA affected how I lived.

I don't have flashbacks. I do have things that make me think about what happened such as the songs that were playing during the SA and some of the things that were said. But all it does is make me think about it in a very surface way as if it does not even matter. I feel like I should have some sort of emotion about it but I don't.

I too shut people out, but I use humor to get around the suspicion. People like me because I am funny. What I have realized is that I also use humor to keep people away. When the conversation is light and people are laughing it is hard to turn the conversation serious and start talking about stuff that makes me uncomfortable.


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#284565 - 04/20/09 10:15 AM Re: Accepting what happened...? [Re: cecil]
stan12 Offline


Registered: 03/31/09
Posts: 19
All the comments posted are right on the mark from what I know. To that I'll add abuse is traumatic and often whelming to a child. In order to literally survive, a child adapts to they can deal with the magnitude of the events. One common way is separately the emtions from the intellectual aspects - you know and remember what happened but you don't feel what you experienced at the time. In other words, your child separated apsects of the abuse in order to deeal with the shock.

Right now you remember what happened but that's it. You have anger, resentment, fear, embarrasment, shame, guilt, and other feels that haven't surfaced. If the abuser was somebody who's job was to protect and nuture you - like a parent or relative, the feels can be much worse.

Take you time and recognize your feelinsg as they surface. It's a natural part of healing.


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#284609 - 04/20/09 01:45 PM Re: Accepting what happened...? [Re: stan12]
Lantern Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 55
Loc: UK
Thanks for the replies everyone, Cecil I can relate to what you say because I cover up stuff with humour too, though generally any kind of subterfuge/redirection works for me.

JoelRT you're so right when you ask why you're so afraid if nothing happened. I really really see that... but how do I *accept* it? I've even told a friend of mine in the past (over a year ago) what happened to me but I've never spoken to him about it since. It'd be like describing what happened to someone in a film, and people in films aren't me?

How do you get over this? How do you accept it? I just don't know and I feel like I need help. Not asking for sympathy (ha I'd never do that, what would I need sympathy for???) but I am just so fucked up right now and have been for ever and ever and I want it to stop.

Fuck it, I'm finishing this bottle of wine. It won't help.

_________________________
It's not what you've lost, but it's what you've found

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#284611 - 04/20/09 02:03 PM Re: Accepting what happened...? [Re: Lantern]
joelRT Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor


Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 1357
Loc: Québec, Canada
Originally Posted By: Lantern
but how do I *accept* it? I've even told a friend of mine in the past (over a year ago) what happened to me but I've never spoken to him about it since...... How do you get over this? How do you accept it?........ Not asking for sympathy (ha I'd never do that, what would I need sympathy for???)
Lantern,
I found that the first step in accepting my abuse was to stop denying that it happened to me; to stop resisting the truth of it. I was gang-raped as a boy, Period. I will never not have been a gang-raped boy no matter how much I may wish for that to be my truth.

You told a friend? But have you told yourself? You know, sat down with Lantern and voiced aloud to Lantern all the terrible things that were done to him - maybe it's time for that now.

How do you get over this? You don't!

The way past it, is to walk through it so as to come out on the other side of it.

You're right, of course, that you don't need sympathy - sympathy equals pity and to survivors of sexual abuse neither is very helpfull.

What you do need, however, is empathy - empathy equals compassion and you will find an abundance of both here for you as you unravel the complexities of your past.

Keep talking, what you have to say matters and we are listening - Lantern, I promise you that we are listening.

_________________________
My Story 1
My Story 2
The longest journey we take is to self-discovery

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#284625 - 04/20/09 05:32 PM Re: Accepting what happened...? [Re: joelRT]
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
Lantern,

I empathize with you. Sometimes the abuse can seem like an out-of-body experience. Ever have have one of those? They come from anxiety. In my case, it was like looking down on myself from above.

Feeling distant like that is a sign of the abuse, of the anxiety around it. It's one of things that lets you know it's real.

When you say you talked to a friend about it, how much did you say? How long did you keep the conversation going?

Please share more of what you're feeling...I'm trying to understand to help, but I don't see the whole picture. It sounds like you're covering things up with humor and redirection...that sounds like the story scares you, not like it happened to someone else. The story scared me at first, too. Now it's almost too easy. Sometimes people ask me questions and I go to the heart of the answer, not realizing that telling people I was abused upsets them.


Danny


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#284751 - 04/21/09 10:35 AM Re: Accepting what happened...? [Re: DannyT]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1867
Loc: durham, north england
Lantern, I absolutely recognize the feeling as well, ---- especially as distance was precisely the way I coped with what happened to me at secondary school.

For me, it took a major kick in the teeth involving a girl I'd fallen hopelessly in love with and my attempt to get passed one of my own problems, ---- that of touch, an attempt that failed miserably to kick me into realizing that no, i wasn't okay, and wasn't quite as distant from my abuse as I thought I was.

I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone, ---- sinse it was absolute agony and involved me crying for a streight 24 hours, but in a way it helped, ---- though even now I'm not quite able to feel much about my abuse itself, ---- i'm stuck dealing with the consequences.

One thing you could try, which helped me slightly is writing your story down and then reading it through.

I'd also recommend talking to your friend more seriously. When I realized I needed to deal with stuff, I told a couple of my friends, ----- and in fact one of them had had an idea anyway.

I really haven't wanted to be dysmal at them, but on a few occasions it's been helpful to actually talk to them and just get things out, ---- though I usually spend an hour or so appologising afterwards.

Of course, things are a long way from okay now. In my last session my T asked me to tell my story, and I spoke like a robot, ---- feeling as if I were reciting something I'd learnt with no emotion whatsoever, ---- distant, just as I had been as a teenager.

I think this is one of those annoying recovery things which takes progressive work rather than getting instantly fixed.

I really hope you find a method that works for you.


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#284864 - 04/22/09 12:33 AM Re: Accepting what happened...? [Re: dark empathy]
ericc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 1955
I have times where is seems almost surreal that anything happened. Yet I know it did, and I have the trauma that lets me know darn well things happened. Funny how this all works sometimes though. Just the other day I was thinking about how at peace I was with it all and it didn't bother me and I wasn't even thinking about the person involved, and not that angry with him. Yet today I am a bit triggered and certainly buggered out by my body trauma stuff, and honestly I would love to beat to a pulp the person involved with why I go through so much (and what has probably been the main source of the problems in my life, though there were other bad things going on in my life). Hmm, and yes sometimes it certainly does not seem real. I plan on sharing with a friend I have known for a long time soon.

Eric


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