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#3784 - 04/13/03 09:40 AM Re: Intimacy...
jimrh Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/22/03
Posts: 273
Loc: Roswell, GA
Guy43...what you wrote is somewhat how I feel and why I can't get even a feeling for the topic of intimacy.

I'm sure that you must first love yourself. But how do you do that? It doesn't seem like you just change a spark plug in your brain and one day you wake up and bingo...I LOVE ME.

Do we really ever get to that point or do people just think they're there (loving yourself) and are coping somehow, how do you know it's real (I have a lot of doubt about this one).

So back to the word Intimacy - "the act of being intimate - a very personal, warm friendship or relationship developed through long associaton" - Websters.

So how did this word get translated to being able to trust?

Sounds to me like we lack the ability to be intimate with someone because perhaps we aren't friends even with ourselves....back to loving yourself, not that we don't trust someone or lack the ability to trust. Back to Self-Esteem. Maybe that's what it's all about?


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#3785 - 04/13/03 01:40 PM Re: Intimacy...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Jer,
I remember that post quite clearly and I'm glad that you mentioned it. It appears as though these two posts have come together. If you remember, I made mention that I have this scar on my right shoulder and forever I was ashamed of it. It wasn't until I realized that it was an external manifestation of how I felt on the inside. I felt so much shame because I believed people could view on the outside how I felt on the inside. Just knowing that has helped me immensely in accepting myself.

Quote:
being intimate begins with knowing, accepting and loving ourselves in some manner.
If this is the case then we must have to willingly letting down your guard to understand ourselves. I think that by just coming to Male Survivor we are letting our guard down just a little. And therefore we are starting to understand ourselves.

I also think the self-esteem issue is very valid. I believe that trust has never been a big problem for me. However when you don't understand yourself and you think you are a worthless piece of s**t, there is no way you could let someone see into your soul, let alone yourself. You guard yourself just too much. And unfortunatly the self-esteem issues tend effect everything. Careers, friendships, relationships, and everything else. So maybe the first step is to let our guards down and understand ourselves?
Mike

_________________________
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at all times."
--M. Scott Peck

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#3786 - 04/13/03 05:29 PM Re: Intimacy...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Quote:
I'm sure that you must first love yourself. But how do you do that? It doesn't seem like you just change a spark plug in your brain and one day you wake up and bingo...I LOVE ME.
I'm sure Jim has hit the nail on the head here, along with Sleepy and Jer.
It's our problem, and not our partners for the most part.
We struggle with the strange feelings that go against intimacy, and we struggle because our self esteem, self worth, confidence and trust have been ripped away so long ago. We don't love ourselves.

And there's no instant fix for sure, we've tried to fix ourselves for so long and failed in as much as we couldn't make ourselves better, We survived by using our various survival techniques, but we got no better. I for one got worse as my survival techniques became tired, and then more extreme.

with the right help through therapy, and my own efforts I got better - slowly I admit - but compared to how I was 5 or 6 years back I'm a different person. Now I do have self esteem, confidence etc. Maybe not as much as I'd like or I might have had in different circumstances, but I have more than before, and I'm thankful for that I can promise you.

Do I love myself ? maybe I do.
Maybe it's something I can't yet admit to myself because I know I still have traces of my old survival techniques within me. I was always a big 'self destructor' and constantly put myself down because I was unable to accept that I could do anything well or succesfully. I recognise that at work still, but it's not much and I can usually deal with it.

So, where does that leave me ? well I think that it's all a part of the slow recovery process.
Sometimes it's so gradual we don't notice what's happening to us until we push ourselves a bit.
And that's hard for us as well because we don't believe we are capable of pushing ourselves, we hang around until somebody comes along to drag us, at least that's how I was.
I needed a kick in the arse, and this topic gave it to me. It might not be the complete answer, but it's got me started.

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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#3787 - 04/13/03 08:48 PM Re: Intimacy...
Les_Angry Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/06/02
Posts: 195
I've always had the same problem with looking people in the eyes. I've had so many employers tell me that I've lost count.

I always keep people at an arms length too,(literally). If I'm talking to someone and they take a step towards I take a step back, they take another, I take another. Even with my wife.

I remember over the summer when I was seventeen some girl was yelling at me for not looking at her while I talked to her, so I looked at her and she said something like "don't look at me like THAT!!", I'm still not sure what the problem was, I wasn't attracted to her at all, as a matter of fact, she probably weighed three bills (300 pounds (136 kg)). For me its always better to look away.

My wife always says it is like I am hiding behind a wall or something (I can't remember the exact words).

I'm working with my therapist about being too>

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#3788 - 04/13/03 08:52 PM Re: Intimacy...
Sick Puppy Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 300
Loc: Nowhere Land
Les:

I too am unable to make eye contact. When someone is speaking to me I never know where to look. I can't look in their face and I don't want to look at any part of their body in case they think I am "checking them out" but if I gaze off to the side or in the distance it looks as if I am not listening... so I usually dart my eyes all around while avoiding the face... and nod a lot.

I find myself mapping out possible conversations in my head, too. If I anticipate that I will be talking to someone soon I map out what I will say and what their response will probably be. It makes me less nervous of a suprise.

_________________________
And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly
From the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see


Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

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#3789 - 04/14/03 01:53 AM Re: Intimacy...
taipan Offline
Member

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 57
Loc: CT
Sleepy, all I can say to you is; the book don't sweat the small stuff...and its all small stuff helped me find comfort in having relationships on all levels. I was screaming out to my wife for intimacy but didn't really know what it was. Therapy helped me with that.
I think you once said that therapy was something you did not want to do............?
Well as someone once said to me in regards to my thinking I could do it (heal) on my own...."how's that been working for you so far"?!
Best of luck to you my friend, Ed


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#3790 - 04/14/03 08:51 AM Re: Intimacy...
zadok1 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
One truth about intimacy I have found is that it is very fragile. All it takes is one secrete, and all the defensive walls that shut people out go back up. It is a huge leap of faith to set down with your mate, and tear down the walls. You have to overcome fear, and allow someone else to see you at your worst. In my case it ended well, but I realize that it is not always that way. I have talked to many here and other places that came out about the abuse, and were totally rejected, and that is certainly a risk. Yet, if it works out, the rewards are beyond measure. I think about all the years and energy I wasted trying to hide it all, and I kick myself for not releasing it sooner. Do you know how freeing it is to finally be yourself? To finally be able to admit how you really feel about life, is fantastic.

I have also found that if something forces me back into hiding again, I loose the intimacy almost at once. All the old defensive walls spring right back up, the silence; the isolation and loneliness are quick to grab hold. Dave I have felt the rapture of being truly sexual that you speak of, a moment when you are totally with your mate in every sense of the word. Once you have tasted it, you want more, and that keeps you working on the right things.

I want to warn you about some things that are waiting though. There will come a time when you can no longer reach that level of intensity, where it becomes old if you will. It seems to level off after a time, to where you become numb, and take it for granted. That is when you are ripe for something going really wrong. I try to take time to always look back, and remind myself where I came from. It is important to safeguard your gains, and not take it for granted.

Another thing I have found is that I was unprepared for living in a relationship based on intimacy. Maintaining a one on one relationship, devoid of outside things is hard. On an emotional level it becomes easy to slip into a routine, where life looses its spark. That wall is a big part of who and what you are, and when you remove it, there is a big hole there. At first it is filled with the excitement and freshness of all this new openness and closeness, but when that fades, you feel the void. We all want rid of the effects of abuse, but when it is gone, much of who and what we are goes with it. It is vital to fill the space with something. I have a new son, and am working hard to make things better with my older boy and wife. That fills the empty time at least for now, but when I sit alone, I still feel a gnawing hunger for the missing emotions I have let go of. I wanted out of the victim thing so bad, but part of me needed all that crap.

I hope you keep growing and building, and I know you have helped me a lot. Hang in there.

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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#3791 - 04/14/03 07:36 PM Re: Intimacy...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Jeff
I know what you're saying here, only too well I suppose.
In some way's I've already lived some of it. When we were first married sex was great, but complacency sets is and the novelty wears off, and this is another reason the fantasy took over and I started to act out.

For a long while now sex has not been a big part of our lives, but we have become remarkably close and trusting, so an improvement of any kind will be something. And we both have the will, and some new ideas and tools, to move our lives together forward. But there's no denying where we have been, and as long as we never go right back there that's fine by us.

Thanks
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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#3792 - 04/15/03 12:27 AM Re: Intimacy...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Ed,
I've heard of the book Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, but maybe I'll pick it up the next time I'm at Borders. Thanks for the recommendation. As for therapy, I think you have me confused with someone else. I've been back in therapy since October and I was quite willing to go. Good luck with your family and despite what you have had to go through I have enjoyed reading your posts.

Jeff,
I was very pleased to read your post. It seemed like a very nice way to wrap up this thread. I wish I could make more of a comment on it but I am just too inexperienced when it comes to this issue. However I can tell that you have put a lot of thought and energy towards understanding this. Thanks for sharing it because it gives me much to think about.

mike

_________________________
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at all times."
--M. Scott Peck

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#3793 - 04/15/03 04:14 AM Re: Intimacy...
despair... Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/03/03
Posts: 6
Loc: NY
just a quick reply, as it is late and i am feeling sort of sleepy, and also have not read the whole thread yet (ps - such a great topic, i have so much to say, and so many questions to ask, i wish we could all meet and sit down and talk).

i feel intimacy is a double-edged sword for SA survivors. at least in my experience, i rely on intimacy as a way to feel okay, a "substance" to release the pain. intimacy is a drug for me. without it, i am hopeless, meaningless and desperate. exactly at the point i am at right now in my life. if you have not read my first post, my girlfriend of two years broke up with me a couple of months ago, because i used her as a crutch. a leaning post, someone to fill me with happiness and distract me from my inner chaos. however, just like a drug, it eventually becomes harmful...a potential threat. i started to believe in my own insecurities and question her, fearing that i wasn't good enough, that i was just someone she used, someone she can just step all over.

i have more to discuss here...but at another time. tis late and i have much to try to do tomorrow.

one more thing: Sleepy, every word, every phrase, and each sentence you have wrote has tapped into the deepest abyss of my soul...i cannot tell you how grateful i am that you started this thread...and to all of you brothers who have inspired this topic, replied to this topic, and read this topic, i cannot express my gratitude in mere words...many, many thanks

mike


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