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#34270 - 01/10/03 06:37 AM struggles
zadok1 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
i sometimes feel as though i come across as having all the answers, or full of myself. after reading and working so hard, i can talk a good game, but i am still very much struggling like everyone else here. here is an outtake from my journal.

Perhaps it is heartache over having lost my ring, but more than ever I feel hopeless this morning. It is like there just isnít any point in continuing to fight. I mean, at best I can control my actions day after day, but will I ever truly be happy inside. I guess that is why I relate to Equus so much. Every character in it seems to reflect how I feel in part. From the doctor struggling with a mysterious mask he dawns in dreams each night, to the pain the boy feels over expression and capture by passions he canít master.

Just because I have a little faith, I donít want everyone to get the wrong impression. I am still very confused and feel isolated and alone. There is this mask I dawn for the world, one where I say and do the things the world expects of me. To keep from hurting others with my pain and despair, my mask has a big smile on it, and a kind loving expression. With each passing day it slips a little, comes loose at the mooring. I cannot keep it in place at times, but what lies beneath is frightening to me. My real face is unhappy and depressed, and all the knowledge in the world fails to change what lies beneath.

I read the books, and know what I should be, and how I should feel, but what if I never really feel it? Like some sort of actor, I can play the part, and walk the walk, but what if I never really feel anything but loneliness and unhappiness? All the knowledge about God, about my self, and the psycho-babble that serves to attempt addressing this leaves me every bit as empty deep down as I ever was. Oh, I talk a good game, having educated myself in the ways of mind and body, but when will my emotions and feelings follow suit? Am I destined to spend my life as an actor, playing my part in this Greek play that always ends with the heroís death? Will I forever drag around the inner pain that all the work in the world never seems to heal?

Calming voices of wisdom, explanations of how and why have offered little in the form of true inner peace. Where is my happiness? I cannot help but feel that abuse and addiction have forever robbed me of any chance of knowing it. All the therapy and good intentions in the world cannot change what is at the core of who I am. Now I struggle to become assertive and open up emotionally, because that is what I am supposed to do. What if that doesnít make me happy? What will the next struggle be? I have defeated masturbation, porn and fantasy; have remade my world to conform with standards that say normal, and yet none of my victories has made me happy inside. What if after all the hard work, I completely remake myself, and still am unhappy? Is happiness and comfort so much to ask in life?

despite all the knowledge about my body and mind i have put together, i still struggle. in that we share a kinship, as in the abuse that caused it all. i dont know what the past is so hard to overcome, but it is. i wish everyone here peace and happiness, something i havent found yet.

jeff- zadok1 \:\(

_________________________
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

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#34271 - 01/10/03 08:02 AM Re: struggles
RJD Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 326
Loc: jefferson City, Mo,usa
Jeff your words are powerfully healing for me and I'll write more later. Thank you for the words from your heart. Thank jou for walking this confusing path with the rest of us, I feel less alone because you are here. I welcome you to share your sadness, pain and depression. I feel honored by your trust.


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#34272 - 01/10/03 10:48 AM Re: struggles
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Jeff, I ditto what RJD says.

Your faith is real, your struggles are real.

Thanks for sharing both with us in a real way. May doing so bring you hope & healing.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#34273 - 01/10/03 12:31 PM Re: struggles
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Jeff

Quote:
Now I struggle to become assertive and open up emotionally,
If what you've shared with us there isn't assertive and emotional - why am I crying ?

Your emotions ARE there Jeff, they must be to have written that, but something is still keeping them trapped. What ? I don't know - but I know it can't be long untill you find out.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#34274 - 01/10/03 02:10 PM Re: struggles
zadok1 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
thank you guys. it is hard sometimes, because for all the things i have learned, i just dont feel a whole lot better. everytime i think i am about to rise above what was, something drags me back down. even when i am flying high, there is an empty spot deep inside. my wife can't fill it, my faith can't fill it, and it sometimes feels like nothing will ever fill it. oh well, i have to get outa here for the weekend. i hope everyone has a safe and happy one, and will look in on monday.

jeff

_________________________
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

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#34275 - 01/10/03 03:12 PM Re: struggles
RJD Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 326
Loc: jefferson City, Mo,usa
Iím sorry the pain of hopelessnes is visiting you today. For me that was
a turning point in my recovery when I felt I could no longer fight. Iím sorry to
say I was not able to see that for quite a while after the event when I could
get some perspective. For me it was a time when I was too emotionally
exhausted to keep up my defenses anymore, and all I wanted to do is cry.
A saying I have heard that AA uses is ďbeing sick and tired of being sick and
tired.Ē

Are You seeing a therapist at this time jeff?

By the way, the movie Equus was significant for me too on many levels
especially as a survivor and artist. If I healed, would I loose my artistic
passion forever? Was healing worth that sacrifice?

What has carried me through my recovery was my creativity and my art,
although it suffered my wrath too. I did not know at the time there is a link
between creative expresion and spirituality, (donít tell anyone I said this.)
They both have to do with the soul as I see it. I hated my creativity most of
my life, but it leaked out of me everywhere I went and in everything I did.
I was ashamed of it. I tried and tried to distance myself from it, but there it
was again, and again. I admire the fact that you at least have as you said
ďa little faithĒ though from your writing I suspect itís like me saying ďI have a l
ittle creativity.Ē

I wore a mask when I was a big shoulder for everyone else to cry on. I felt
I needed this mask because I was hiding my shame. It was the shame that
if other people really ever got to know me, they couldnít possibly love me - ever.
Another reason for another of my masks is as the author John Bradshaw
describes when children are expected to do something that is beyond their
capacity to understand. If I recall correctly, he said it is like the phony fearful
feeling of a lifeguard who does not know how to swim and is facing a crowded
beach. Someone is going to find him out.

Are you loveable jeff? Do you feel that at your core?

I certainly donít know what will make you happy jeff, but I feel honored that
you let me see behind your mask and know that you are not happy.


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#34276 - 01/10/03 03:36 PM Re: struggles
al Offline
Member

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 143
Loc: canada
"I wore a mask when I was a big shoulder for everyone else to cry on. I felt
I needed this mask because I was hiding my shame. It was the shame that
if other people really ever got to know me, they couldnít possibly love me - ever."

Unfortunately I can sure relate to this....fortunately someone else understands.

_________________________
Those who dance appear insane to those who cannot hear the music. Mark Kleiman

Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it. Winston Churchill

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#34277 - 01/10/03 09:58 PM Re: struggles
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
Maybe when you write what you do, it is your way of processing it, working through it and healing from things that are very close to your own life. I often find that when I respond to something on a forum like this, that I am healing myself in many ways.

Don

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#34278 - 01/13/03 07:35 AM Re: struggles
zadok1 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
I read so much here that I can relate to, including everyoneís struggles with God. I understand the trauma and pain that could drive any belief from a person, and relate to a personís choice not to believe. In many ways I almost envy you if you have such deep convictions and feelings. At least you feel something, anything.

You know, it is hard to be so passionate about life, and yet so totally empty. Over the weekend, I was walking as the snow fell briskly around me. Fat, gray clouds swirled and looped over me, and I thought how fantastic the world is, and how beautiful that moment was. I marveled at creation, and thought how I will miss it all when my time here is through. At home my baby looked up at me with his clear eyes, smiled and laughed as I made some silly face, and that chilly night, my wife rolled close and put her arm over me. All this time, I was thinking how much I had to be thankful and happy for, but inside I donít feel that way.

I have concluded that it is wrong for me to expect myself to feel any certain way. That is a mistake in my opinion, because I am expecting something my body and mind isnít ready to give. I walked away from therapy after two years, in part because I didnít feel I was getting much more from it. It is hard to invest the time and money into it when week after week feels stagnant. I mean at first, I learned a bunch about my self, my past and who I was, but after a while, it turned into simply a word game. I should feel this, or look at things like that, but what if I donít? What if after all the work I am still empty and unhappy?

Right there is my problem in a nutshell, I have put in so much work, and still havenít found what makes me happy; I mean real deep inside happy, not painted on pretend to be happy. I know God, know why I am here in this body, know what I want out of life, and have taken great pains to define it all, but I still cannot tell you what will make me truly happy. Like Jake said in another post, I feel detached even after all the therapy, reading, praying and hoping. I wonder if I can ever be happy.

ďPassions like his are not plasters that can be reaffixed at will, attached to whatever we choose. Real passion can be destroyed but never created.Ē Quote from Equus.

I thought I knew passion. I looked inside and drew on every ounce of strength I had. I worked and trained until I was fit and strong. I battled and raced as a runner and cyclist, even rising to semi-pro, and thought I had passion. I feel like an artist. I can cook with passion, train with passion, and write with passion. I can paint and work with wood. I am gifted with a little intellect, and good hands. I donít have the doubts about God that some do. I have every reason in the world to be happy, and to be loved, why donít I feel it? Have I been so damaged that even after uncovering the abuse, talking about it, and trying to deal with it, feeling loved and complete is beyond me? I guess when I find those answers, I will have found the key to life for myself.

Like many, I realize that I need to get back into therapy with someone new, but have run up bills, and donít think I can afford it. Last time I was far better off, and could manage the half my insurance didnít pay, but now I donít think so. A new baby, a new van, and all the related expenses have left me with very little to spare, and I certainly canít handle any more. As usual, I sacrifice for everyone, and do without so that they can have what they need. Oh well, thatís a manís place isnít it?

_________________________
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

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#34279 - 01/13/03 12:54 PM Re: struggles
one_day_at_a_time Offline
Member

Registered: 01/03/03
Posts: 42
Loc: North Carolina
OMG-
I am a new member to male survivor and that posting sums up my life--I am only 19 and I have recently began to deal with the many problems I have because of my abuse--I have not been to therapy yet and I plan to start soon. Your posting is exactly how I feel, I always seem happy but then it seems like I never truly am. Like there is always something keeping me down no matter how hard I try to fight it. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone

_________________________
I found God

now I just need to find myself

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#34280 - 01/13/03 12:55 PM Re: struggles
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Jeff
As I read your last post I was thinking of a possible reply as I went along, but you beat me to it.

My view is the same as yours, you need a different therapist.
From what you say you 'know' all the ideas and all the reasons etc, but you can't quite connect them to you. I think it's the lack of an emotional link that's stopping the connection.

My therapist led me to experience emotions in a way I never believed possible, a lot of my childhood emotions and a host of new adult ones flooded through me.
He told me nothing really, gave very, very little advice but just let me associate emotions with my memories and ideas. That way I learned which to fear or hate, and I learned which to love, enjoy and trust.
I learned how to appreciate the emotion of a snowy day, a smiling child, and not just register those visions as 'nice'.

You know they're there, hiding from you. Just go looking.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#34281 - 01/13/03 01:03 PM Re: struggles
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
One_Day'

welcome to our site, and it's good to have you here while you are young as well, it makes a lot of difference.
Check out the "Out of Place" topic, it's an interesting one for you young guys.

I hope we make a difference for you and add to the healing therapy will bring. There's great support here, even from the old farts. ;\)

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#34282 - 01/13/03 02:08 PM Re: struggles
zadok1 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
yes, welcome to the site. i wish i had started so young, maybe i would have figured all this out long ago. i dont want to sound totally hopeless, because i am much better off now than before i started dealing with the past. i am hung up on the polishing and finishing touches of things.

_________________________
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

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#34283 - 01/13/03 02:12 PM Re: struggles
michaelb Offline
Member

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 211
Loc: cincinnati, ohio
I always thought it was just me feeling like i was living out a greek tragedy....but from reading your post, i know you feel the same way....

i had always been in sales until i became ill.....daily during sales calls, i was able to put on my mask and become a cheerful, enjoyable person to be around....but once i came home and removed the "mask" i was full of despair.....Parties have always been the worst for me because it feels like those other people are "just acting" happy....can anybody really be that full of happiness?????? i know i cannot........maybe if i was drunk, i might be able to pretend to be that happy, but i'm certain there is no other way.....IS THERE????????????????

sad, but true you are not alone......michael


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#34284 - 01/13/03 03:14 PM Re: struggles
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
One day at a time, I'm not glad for why you're here but I'm glad you're here. Welcome to MS.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#34285 - 01/13/03 04:49 PM Re: struggles
Don-NY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/06/02
Posts: 546
Loc: Long Island, NY
Quote:
Where is my happiness?

there is an empty spot deep inside
Jeff,

This post has struck me deeply. I don't know if I can answer clearly, but I will try.

I must try, because I am writing this from that spot deep inside me.

I have entered this spot voluntarily because in my search for my happiness I have realized that it is not missing, and this spot is not empty.

It is filled with things, both wonders and horrors that have been walled off from the rest of me. They are here but they are, or were, disconnected.

Recovery for me has been all about reconnecting to everything in this spot. It is painful and difficult because what gets connected to first is all the negatives; Pain, anger, fear.

No, those words are not strong enough. I should say Agony, Rage, and Terror. All in this spot, all tangled up with things like joy and happiness and a sense of self worth; with love and passion and compassion and faith.

My happiness is here. I know this. But I also know that I do not recognize it.

I am beginning to wonder if it can be recognized. I am starting to think that it is something which is mostly experienced in contrast. By this I mean that it takes reflection, in the absence of its opposites to be appreciated.

I am feeling that as I have connected to the agony and rage and terror, they have weakened. But something else has occurred.

New pathways, new channels into this spot have been created. I find myself in tears almost every day, sometimes more than once. But they are not often tears of pain or grief. Usually, they are tears of relief or of joy or simply an overwhelming sense of the rightness of my own existence.

You ask, "Where is my happiness?"

I ask, "What is my happiness?". "What is happiness itself?" It took me a long time to realize that "Not being happy is not the same thing as being unhappy".

For decades, I have believed that my happiness would be this:
Quote:
At home my baby looked up at me with his clear eyes, smiled and laughed as I made some silly face, and that chilly night, my wife rolled close and put her arm over me.
Now, this may never come to be for me, but it brings me great joy and happiness, and tears too, that another Survivor has these things and appreciates them.

Quote:
Am I destined to spend my life as an actor, playing my part in this Greek play that always ends with the hero's death?
Yes, you are. We all are, but I don't believe that this is a tragedy. The end, our death is inevitable, that is a given.

But when it comes to life, I think the only tragedy is when we let events, or someone else, or their actions, become our Director.

It is you who must be the Director, and whenever possible, the writer also.

We have extra burdens to learn this. With luck, most people assume these roles by the time they are physically mature, others take longer - some never learn.

Our tragedies are behind us. Having survived them makes us better and stronger than the general population, and in a sad, almost perverse way gives us a better understanding of what matters and what truly has value.
Quote:

The heart may freeze or it can burn
The pain will ease if I can learn
There is no future
There is no past
I live this moment as my last
There's only us
There's only this
Forget regret
Or life is yours to miss
No other road
No other way
No day but today
--From the musical "Rent", by Jonathon Larson
And all this to say, Your Happiness is Within You. It is in that spot that seems empty. Go there and find it.

It may not be what you expect. And even if it remains invisible, you will feel it.

Only you can do this. Only you will recognize it.

_________________________
If you understand everything, some things are just as they are. If you understand nothing, things are still just as they are.

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#34286 - 01/13/03 07:32 PM Re: struggles
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
some days I feel the spot more than others, although I didn't realise it was 'the spot'.
It was just the 'empty space' that Jeff described so well.

But Don's given me a name for it, told me what I can expect to find there. And that makes a difference because when the spot makes itself known I can now look for something good there, and try to ignore the bad.

Thanks for that Don and Jeff.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#34287 - 01/14/03 07:39 AM Re: struggles
Muldoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
Don This is so true for me also
Quote:
I find myself in tears almost every day, sometimes more than once. But they are not often tears of pain or grief. Usually, they are tears of relief or of joy or simply an overwhelming sense of the rightness of my own existence.
My T helped me find the link to my feeling and i have released much of the pain , Now i see the simple act of love between a mother and a child or a beautiful moment in mother nature i sometimes just start crying. My life is far from being happy but I have learned to find those moments of happyness to bring into this mixed up life.
Shit Jeff you talken about your kid smiling up at you got me in one of those moments of joy and tears. Jeff as Dave said You know they're there, hiding from you. Just go looking.

Emotions is what it is all about . Happy hunting. Muldoon

_________________________
Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

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#34288 - 01/14/03 08:04 AM Re: struggles
zadok1 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
i really try to be possitive, and there are good times like the morning my son was born. all i could do was stand there with tears running down my face. for weeks all i had to do is look at him, and i was off again. that was my greatest moment.

then there was my wedding. what a fantastic memory, and a great moment to live. there are others naturally, and i try to tap in to them to bring myself up.

i have tried to act my way to success, by being more upbeat and possitive, but it all just feels so phoney. perhaps, i am not ready to feel such things. maybe i just need to feel sorry for myself for now. i dont know really.

thanks for cheering me up some though, all of you.

_________________________
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

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#34289 - 01/14/03 12:54 PM Re: struggles
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Quote:
but it all just feels so phoney.
They're not phoney at all, just new.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#34290 - 01/14/03 01:27 PM Re: struggles
andrew-almost52 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
Jeff, you wrote:

"Where is my happiness? I cannot help but feel that abuse and addiction have forever robbed me of any chance of knowing it. All the therapy and good intentions in the world cannot change what is at the core of who I am."

In my opinion, the key words are: core of who I am.

Because of the abuse Jeff, you have developed a set of beliefs that, deep down, you are somehow not what you should be. And the fact is: you aren't. Had the abuse never taken place, you would have been a very different human being.
The son you adore, you would never have met. The wife you love, you would never have dated, let alone married and held so tightly. The sensitivity you have in such abundance may not have been so apparent or developed. Yup, you would have been very different. SA changes us Jeff. We can't do anything about that. Perhaps it makes us feel things more deeply in some respects. But that has a wonderful side to it as well. I'm not saying we should be grateful for the collateral gifts SA has brought us, but I do say we need to accept the fact it happened and move on, not allowing ourselves to be robbed of anything more.
Remember something: It took every experience, every bit of knowledge, every joy, every disappointment, every hurt, every moment to make
the Jeff we know in this forum. Celebrate what you are Jeff, core and all ... afterall, you had a big part in making that son of yours...the one you described so beautifully, with the clear eyes. And it took all of what you are to write so eloquently, directly and touchingly in this thread. Peace, Andrew


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#34291 - 01/14/03 03:24 PM Re: struggles
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Jeff, I just ditto so much of what Andrew said so well, my friend.

In a workshop last year all participants were asked if they could go back & change one thing in their past what would it be.

I answered nothing, exactly becuz of what Andrew is talking about.

Yes the abuse hurt & recovery can be painful. But I can't imagine being without my wife & children & pretty much the life I have right now, and yes the person that I am right now.

Jeff, you are who you are, even as you grow & change, even as the real you shines out from the darkness of abuse more & more.

As Dave said, that's not phoney, that's you man!

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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