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#3754 - 04/08/03 12:28 AM Intimacy...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
This is basically a continuation from the It's Hard to Remember… thread by Ben. I decided to start a whole new post on intimacy so that it would get more exposure.

Everyone who responded to my intimacy question I want to say thank you. I was very impressed by the responses. It truly gave me much comfort. I know that this issue is central to many SA survivors as well as to many partners and spouses alike. However I almost have to approach this issue from a very basic and novice point of view. As survivors, I think we all know what it is like to have problems with intimacy but I have completely denied myself any intimate relationships. I could never handle the emotions and so I've made myself unavailable to anyone that would get near me. It's incredibly frustrating, to say the very least. I'll be 25 in a couple of weeks (Dear God, the quarter century mark...I'm getting old. \:D ) and I am so ready to start experiencing life. It just seems like there are so many wonderful emotions that have been locked away from me. I'm ready to unlock them.

Even with friends I find that I have difficulties. Fortunately I have a good group of friends that have helped me out a lot. But I noticed a pattern in how I made these friends. I became friends with them only on my own terms. I, more or less, initiated our friendship. If someone came to me to initiate a friendship I would run like hell. There's no way I could let myself be approached. Maybe it's a trust thing…I don't know. I've never thought trust was an issue for me but maybe so.

And as for romantic relationships, well, no way. I withdraw all to easily. When a woman has shown interest in me or has completely offered herself to me I totally withdraw. I always thought I liked girls but after feeling myself withdraw so often I really have to question my sexuality. Whether I like guys, I don't know. I'm becoming more at peace with that thought everyday but I do know that I like girls, at least a little bit.
Cement:
Quote:
But I have tried, at the moment of feeling like I want to withdraw, to do the exact opposite. I reach out, just a little...it doesn't always work, and I definitely don't always remember, but it has given some comfort to try.
First, part of me was glad to see you mention withdrawal because of our similar experiences. Secondly, I'll try to do the exact opposite. Maybe it will help.

Mike Church:
Quote:
Intimacy is a huge issue for all of us. If you are ready to tackle it the first thing you have to do is trust someone completely. You had trust before you were abused and that trust was destroyed. It is a scary thing to do for all of us.

But it is important that you do it. You will feel you are standing on quick sand but that will pass. Just be sure of the other person.

Let them know the issues that it involves and be patient with yourself. It will not happen overnight. You should start slowly and safely for yourself and the other person. Do not be afraid to stumble. It has been a long time for you. And be gentle with yourself

Intimacy involves caring sharing and comfort. It is a huge step to take but well worth it believe me. My prayers are with you brother. Keep us informed
What can I say? That was a wonderful bit of advice. I'll certainly take that to heart. Any other thoughts?
Okay, that's enough for now.
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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#3755 - 04/08/03 05:24 PM Re: Intimacy...
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Sleepy: About the only other thing I can think of is be yourself and try and relax. Easy to say and hard to do. But it will all be worth it believe me. Good Luck

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#3756 - 04/08/03 05:50 PM Re: Intimacy...
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
Intimacy is a hard one for me. I am doing much better at it, but there are times like right now, that I just don't live in my skin (so to speak). It gets frustrating for me and usually this will past. Heck, just a few years ago (like maybe 3.5), I had not even experienced true intimacy with someone sexually. (psst.. and I'm 38). So I have to be careful that I don't get too hard on myself right now. My body is under a lot of stress with work, school and the fears of beginning down a path which is unknown at this point. But sometimes for me it is hard to not expect everything from myself.

_________________________
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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#3757 - 04/09/03 12:40 AM Re: Intimacy...
Ron_dup1 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 87
Loc: Arkansas
This whole discussion is facinating to me... I have never thought about intimacy like this. I am 35 and while I've had sex, I can't say I've ever had intimacy. In fact I'm not even sure what intimacy would look like or feel like. I watched a young couple today at a resturant at lunch. They just held hands and stared into each others eyes speaking softly and kissing once in a while. They looked so comfortable with each other. I sat there thinking ... that is so wierd! That would freak me out to have someone stare into my eyes for that long!
I have spent so much of my life hiding and making sure NO ONE could look into my soul and see all the pain and shame hidden there. I can't imagine that kind of intimacy! To be honest I am not even sure I would ever want that level of intimacy. I wonder what that says about me...
Thanks to all who have posted please keep it going I am learning alot from you all!
Thanks,
Ron


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#3758 - 04/09/03 01:29 AM Re: Intimacy...
Sick Puppy Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 300
Loc: Nowhere Land
I spent all of my (albeit young) life running away from intimacy and engaging in passionless sex... or attempting to find intimacy, only to get cold, abusive partners. I am finally in a relationship where intimacy is present and now that I have finally allowed myself to feel it I must say it is wonderful... it was really scary to let down my guard in order to connect but I think it was worth it. \:\)

_________________________
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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#3759 - 04/09/03 11:11 AM Re: Intimacy...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Ron,
Quote:
In fact I'm not even sure what intimacy would look like or feel like.
Maybe we need to take a step backwards and ask the question, "What is intimacy?" It freaks me out too to let someone stare into my eyes so that they can see into my soul. My gut reaction is to guard everything I do and to not let anyone find out who I really am. Actually I don't even know who I really am so it is hard to let someone see the core person that I am. You mentioned hidden shame, boy, can I relate to that. I can't let someone see all the shame that I harbor. But this is something I want to breach so badly. I can see how wonderful it can be but just can't have.

SP,
Way to go. It seems like you are doing quite well from what I have read from your posts.

Don,
You are an inspiration for me. You've walked down this road and it seems like you too are doing quite well. Living in your skin, I don't think I know what that feels like. I'm still trying to answer the question of "Who am I?" But it's nice to see you doing so well.

Thanks guys,
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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#3760 - 04/09/03 11:41 AM Re: Intimacy...
Sick Puppy Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 300
Loc: Nowhere Land
I just made a post related to this in the Family and Friends area...

http://www.malesurvivor.org/cgi-local/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=000235

_________________________
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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#3761 - 04/09/03 02:07 PM Re: Intimacy...
Cement Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 740
Loc: Southern California
I would like to think I have had intimacy, but I cannot say that I have, for sure.

And that thing about staring into someone's eyes creeps me out.

I want intimacy, but I am certain that the moment I give myself I will be betrayed. And I examine the situations in my life and see the times I have been betrayed, just for opening little.

I am going through one of those times right now. I will put it in another post.

_________________________
And let the darkness fear our light.

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#3762 - 04/09/03 06:15 PM Re: Intimacy...
ecb Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 205
I have never really had any level of intimacy with another person.

I'm only just now beginning to realize exactly why I've kept the world at arms length. A lot of pretty standard stuff for survivors apparently: belief that if they really knew me they wouldn't have anything to do with me, feeling like if anyone got close they would only hurt me, belief that I have nothing to bring to the table, that my only function would be to be used, stuff like that.

While most of these beliefs probably aren't accurate, I still feel this way a lot.

Added to that I have never in my life seen a relationship succeed. It was rare when I was ever able to see one that wasn't horrifficly disfunctional and painful. As a result, it is very difficult for me to make that huge step and let someone get close to me, because it will only end up being painful anyway.

It may be lonely keeping everyone at bay, but it's safe, and the last thing I need right now is more pain.

Eric


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#3763 - 04/09/03 11:53 PM Re: Intimacy...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
James,
Betrayed...yea, I know what that feels like. Like a used condom.

Eric,
Quote:
belief that I have nothing to bring to the table
Most of the time I just feel nothing. I am nothing and I have nothing to offer. It's like I'm on the outside looking in at everyone who is participating in life. I'm on the sidelines. How can you be intimate when you feel like this.

_________________________
"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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#3764 - 04/10/03 12:45 PM Re: Intimacy...
Ron_dup1 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 87
Loc: Arkansas
So what exactly is intimacy?
I guess I have been thinking about it and I can't figure out the difference between trust and intimacy. Can someone help us figure this out?
What does intimacy feel like, look like, etc.


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#3765 - 04/10/03 01:39 PM Re: Intimacy...
michaelb Offline
Member

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 211
Loc: cincinnati, ohio
it will never exist in my life..........


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#3766 - 04/10/03 07:43 PM Re: Intimacy...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
This is a remarkably sad thread, so many of us are having this nightmare problem with intimacy.
Some are even struggling with the concept of being intimate.

I don't have any answers here either, I wish I had. But we owe it to ourselves and our partners to keep looking - dont we ?

I feel as though sex and intimate touching are two seperate things to me, but I know they shouldn't be.
If I have sex it's purely sex, I use a position that means I have the least body contact and once over I roll away. I hate it.
I hate watching people touch with tenderness, it's the hate of envy and rage.

I want to be intimate, but I don't know where to start. My group therapist is also a sex therapist and has suggested we go and see her, has anyone tried sex therapy ?

It's the macho thing again I suppose, admiting I need help ?

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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#3767 - 04/10/03 07:47 PM Re: Intimacy...
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Ron: Intimacy is part trust and part giving without expectation. You have to trust the other completely and you have to give of yourself without expecting back in return. I does not have to involve sex. It can be a good friend. You have both feel comfortable in each others company and share lifes experiences openly and willingly. It is a great thing. It it also involves willingly letting down your guard.

MichaelB. Never say never MIke. It is too long a time. Try just not now. You will be surprised how intimacy comes up and grabs you all of a sudden. In a way you are imtimate with us because you let your guard down and let us in to your space. And we honour that trust as you do with us. So Maybe Just not now except here Mike.

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#3768 - 04/11/03 01:00 AM Re: Intimacy...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Dave,
It's unfortunate because sex has become separated from the emotions that should go along with it. It becomes something that is just mechanical, whether real or imagined. But, yes, we owe it to ourselves and our partners (if we have one) to combine them again.
Quote:
I hate watching people touch with tenderness, it's the hate of envy and rage.
I can understand this. You want the nurturing so bad but for some reason you get repulsed when someone gets near. You can't let you guard down long enough to allow it to happen. When I see my parents kiss it really makes my skin crawl.

MikeChurch,
It seems like you have a good understanding of this. I can see how everything you said here has affected my life. I notice this the most with platonic friendships. I mentioned this in my opening post but I have always high tailed it out of there when someone tries to initiate a friendship. I guard myself just too much that I cannot allow this to happen. I usually can only be friends with someone if I initiate it. Romantic relationships follow this as well, though there's not really much to speak of.

_________________________
"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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#3769 - 04/11/03 10:28 AM Re: Intimacy...
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
To all of you who have posted here:

Every one of you, myself included, have difficulty with intimacy in any form.

Think for a minute. We all came to this Lair of the Wolves (I really like thinking of ourselves as a Strong Group because we SURVIVE) as strangers to each other. We are openly welcomed by those who have been here before us.

At first we are reserved, shy,in pain,and scaredBut we watch, we read, we hesitate and finally we open up ourselves to everyone here.

Now intimacy involves letting down your guard and sharing. As I said above sharing lifes experiences. I suspect that if we search within ourselves we have to admit we have been intimate here. We have been drawn by a common purpose, granted. And yet isn't that the same for any of life's situations, whether it be seeking a partner for life or a good friend. Now the ultimate form of intimacy between partners and friends is the desire to share with each other the love that we feel. It may be the love of cameraderie as with a friend or the love of a partner.

With a friend You share a part of the only thing you own; your body. And that part is your brain. It is what makes you unique. It contains your emotions, beliefs(real or imagined) and your humanity. Sharing that part of you with someone is huge. AND WE HAVE ALL DONE IT HERE \:D

With a partner you share the part of what you own that is talked about above and in addition the rest of your body. It becomes a co-mingling of our very essences. And it is based upon trust, mutual respect, and a willingness on our and their part to do this. I am not a very religious person despite the religious connotation of my last name but I feel it is the merging of two souls for the better of both. \:\)

Now all you brother wolves dig deep and you will find that you have shared your brain here willingly and for the benefit of yourself and everyone here. SEE THAT IS CAMERADERIE.

I suspect that the reason we have difficulty elsewhere is to in a large part to body language and our self image. As someone posted we are terrified to let someone view our soul through our eyes. Or we are repulsed by a friendly gesture like an arm around the shoulder or a hug or a slap on the back for that matter. These are all natural events but we have a different slant on it because of our past. \:\(
I am sorry if this is so long but I need to say it all.

It is so important here that we continue to share and care and hug spiritually and slap on the back figuratively the sucesses and hold and weep together on the bumps of the road we are travelling.

We have found something here that cannot but help us in our struggle to discover intimacy in our daily lives.
\:\)

Now some of us are lucky and have caring and loving partners and we should be thankful for that because we are not created to be alone. Some of us also have good friends for the same reason.

Now I ask you. Are they not willing to share care hold slap on the back and use every other form of intimate behaviour depending on their relationship with you.

We are learning it here on an emotional level and they can guide us on a practical level. ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS LET THEM. ;\) ;\) ;\)

Yes we have our family here but we also need the other so lets just do it. It is scary I know but dammit we owe it to ourselves and those who love us in their own way to give work our asses off on this.

This post has been very dificult to write and was prompted by all of you who have posted here and those of you who are part of this lair.

There is one of us here, though, who has actually displayed a real willingness and desire to share lifes intimate experiences with me and has caused me to do the same with him. It has helped me more than he can know and for that I thank him and am forever grateful fot the experience. He knows who he is and that is sufficient for me.

I REALLY BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD THANK THOSE THAT SUPPORT US AND SHARE WITH US LIFE AND ALL IT CAN BE. SO TO THE REST OF THE PACK A GREAT BIG THANKYOU.

NUFF SAID

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#3770 - 04/11/03 10:49 AM Re: Intimacy...
zadok1 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
I have been pretty quiet. When things are going good, I guess there seems like less to say. On the issue of intimacy though, I felt I wanted to post something. So many here have posted great things, and deep feelings, but I wanted to say my piece I guess.

Sex and intimacy are two totally separate things, but so very much the same thing too. When I first achieved intimacy just last year, I was almost shocked. It was such a strange feeling to be united with someone, and sharing my very soul with her. I don’t know that it is possible to put it into words, but I do know what has to happen to achieve it.

You have to totally let go of all your reservations, doubts and fear. It is sharing with someone at every level of your being. To achieve it, a person must place their trust totally in another, and that was very hard for me. I had to trust my wife with all the ugliness I had always hid, with all the embarrassing sexual fantasies and past I had. I had to trust her not to judge me, and to support me and love me despite those things. Not everyone would be lucky enough to find a person that would do that, but I was.

The difference between holding someone in your arms for sex, and holding someone like you want to get inside their body with them are two totally different things. The level comes and goes, but when it is strongest, sex is unimportant, an after thought. You are engulfed with her, with being with her, with her taste, with her sent, with how she looks and feels. Man just thinking of the first time I felt it gives me goosebumps. It has cooled to a degree from when it was at its best, but I suppose most things are that we. We are still very intimate. I have finally found someone that I can totally share with. I brood over things sometimes, but I always return to her, and we end up talking and sharing everything. She accepts me despite issues with my sexuality, despite my perverse tastes and insecure nature. We have shared things that I thought I would never share with anyone. I am indeed lucky, for after a lifetime lacking it, I now know what true intimacy is like. I don’t always take care of it, and sometimes I loose it, but I always find my way back to 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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#3771 - 04/11/03 01:03 PM Re: Intimacy...
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Hi Men!

I am different in some ways from most of you who have posted. I have a tendency to over-disclose to a person who might be a near stranger. It took a class in counseling to let me realise how that can be frightening for the person I am talking to.

It is not at all difficult for me to blurt things out to a person who I am not much atached to and do not have a continuing relationship with. But friends I see regularly, and who know me fairly well--no way. I don't like to open my feelings to such a person. I feel I have been hurt too often by people I got too close to.

What I have learned about intimacy is:

Intimacy is a process
Intimacy requires mutuality--I can't pour out my innermost being to someone who tells me little, if anything, about themselves.
Eventually, with some one I like and who has revealed themsel;ves to me, I can open a little, then a little more. But only if the other person is opening to me to.
Intimacy requires trust and that does not come quickly for a survivor.
Emotional intimacy often leads to physical intimacy, but for me that stops at hugs and holding a person for a little time. Kissing and sex are two things I have not been able to move towards--but I have desired them.
Intimacy does not have to lead to sexuality. I have people I am fairly intimate with, but would not move into physical or sexual intimacy and still I feel really fulfilled by the freindship.

Unfortunately, I am pretty guarded in my relationships. I open up here because it is still kind of safe and anonymous.

Peace to us all.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#3772 - 04/11/03 01:52 PM Re: Intimacy...
jimrh Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/22/03
Posts: 273
Loc: Roswell, GA
For me, intimacy only exists in my fantasies. It is the world that I retreat to where I can feel comfortable with myself: by being someone else. I create an image that is not me and through that I feel comfort, happiness , needed and gratification. Everything posted in the positive here on the side of intimacy "sounds" great in the group-therapy kind of way. But what does it all really mean.


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#3773 - 04/11/03 06:30 PM Re: Intimacy...
Ivanhoe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907
Intimacy. most private or personal is what the dictionary says. So to be intimate with someone else would be what, a willingness to share what is most private or personal with someone else? Sounds like a friend. Sounds like a lover. Sounds like someone you could share your heart with. Maybe that's why it hurts so much when someone abuses the priviledge of sharing what is most private and personal to us--it's a stab in the heart.
I think of my daughters when after they've been bathed and had climbed up into my lap for their story, that I understand intimacy on a very personal level. So trusting and vulerable and delicate and they come with their book and want to be read to. I'll never forget their fresh baby powder smell and semi damp hair as they snuggled in for their story; never suspecting that they were writing their story, on my heart.
Knowing my wife intimately has been the other gift in my life. The teacher who seduced and abused me and made me feel like shit, and the woman who accepted me and loved me and allowed
me to experience intimacy in the way that it was designed; it has been almost too much to comprehend.
I have hated life for the abuse I've suffered and I've dropped to my knees in thanksgiving for the love I've received. I can even love back now.
Intimacy, being able to welcome someone else into your arms without reservation.

_________________________
"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence."
George Eliot

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#3774 - 04/11/03 06:35 PM Re: Intimacy...
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Ivanhoe:

You said it all brother. There is nothing else quiet like intimacy in the human experience. I know your children will grow up in a loving environment

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#3775 - 04/11/03 07:36 PM Re: Intimacy...
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
I thought I knew something about intimacy, but when my wife told me last year we were "not in a loving relationship" I started to wonder. There are still so many things that I can't share yet. Even here, when I have tried to write in the Survivor's Stories forum I never go through with it. And it's not that I'm going to shock anybody here with it; it's some problem I have with letting something so personal out.

Like Bob said,
Quote:
Intimacy requires trust and that does not come quickly for a survivor.
My wife and I are working on the same page now, and our marriage is improving. I have three beautiful children, and I thank God for them. But there's the shame thing, the walled off emotions.

I don't know what I'm talking about. I tend to ramble when I try to apply what I've learned about the effects of abuse to myself. At least now I have some place to ramble while I work through this.

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#3776 - 04/11/03 09:13 PM Re: Intimacy...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Sometimes when I check in here I'm staggered by what I read, tonight is one of those nights.
Where else could we get this kind of talk amongst a bunch of guys who don't even know each other ?

There's so much positive stuff here from Mike, Zadok, Ivanhoe and all the others, we've even got a new guy Jimrh putting his first post into this difficult subject, Welcome Jimrh, thanks for you post.

There's so much encouragement in what you guys write for guys like me, it makes sense. Maybe it's made sense to me for a long while, but I just couldn't get a handle on it. Sometimes we have to think outside the box (to use a dreadful management cliche ) and your thoughts are helping me to do that.

Quote:
With a friend You share a part of the only thing you own; your body. And that part is your brain. It is what makes you unique. It contains your emotions, beliefs(real or imagined) and your humanity. Sharing that part of you with someone is huge. AND WE HAVE ALL DONE IT HERE [Big Grin]
Mike, somehow I can walk the walk, but I don't seem to get anywhere. I can talk in any amount of intimate, and emotional detail with my wife, as I do here, but although I have the desires and the intelectual knowledge of "what and why" is going on, I just can't make those final steps.

Quote:
You have to totally let go of all your reservations, doubts and fear. It is sharing with someone at every level of your being. To achieve it, a person must place their trust totally in another, and that was very hard for me. I had to trust my wife with all the ugliness I had always hid, with all the embarrassing sexual fantasies and past I had. I had to trust her not to judge me, and to support me and love me despite those things. Not everyone would be lucky enough to find a person that would do that, but I was.
Zadoc, I already have a wife who wants to share at every level, and I do to. I have trust in her, total trust. I think I don't yet trust myself fully, something to work on eh ?

The only wall between us is mine, I know that, and I've wrecked all the other walls I had.
Perhaps the other walls crumbled fairly easily compared to this one, and it's something I didn't expect ?
I've come this far, and I ain't going to be beaten.

Thanks for the inspiration.

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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#3777 - 04/12/03 12:09 PM Re: Intimacy...
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Quote:
Mike, somehow I can walk the walk, but I don't seem to get anywhere. I can talk in any amount of intimate, and emotional detail with my wife, as I do here, but although I have the desires and the intelectual knowledge of "what and why" is going on, I just can't make those final steps.
Dave,

That's almost exactly how I feel. My wife has listened and listened. I actually lose my voice and sometimes stutter (unusual for me). And I get afraid just imagining talking about some things, even though I feel safe with her.

Quote:
The only wall between us is mine, I know that, and I've wrecked all the other walls I had.
Perhaps the other walls crumbled fairly easily compared to this one, and it's something I didn't expect ?
I do think the wall is mine. I built it for a reason, and I've grown so accustomed to it that somehow I'm not ready to tear it down. I think maybe I'm knocking some holes in it, a little at a time, and perhaps one day soon it too will crumble.

Thank you for the inspiriation!

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#3778 - 04/12/03 08:00 PM Re: Intimacy...
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Lloyd:
You cant make that final step. Yup it is a hard one but think a bit about it. You are fearful cause you never done it brother since the shit hit the fan. Everyone is afraid of the unknown, without exception. If they say otherwise they are fooling themeselves.

It is much akin to those brave soldiers in Iraq putting themselves in harms way. All the practice for it cannot compare to the real thing. And I have heard lately some pretty tought young marines saying yeh they were scared but they did it anyway. And that my brother is the essence of your fear. Fear itself.

There comes a time when we gotta take that step come hell or high water. And it is better to take it now than when it is too late.

Give it a try. Just close your eyes hold your breath and let go totally. You will find that it is totally unfamiliar and yet at the same time the most devastatingly comfortable feeling in the world.It is like a nectar of the gods I am telling you. I have found it on occasion and it has only wet my thirst for more ,more and even more of it. smile

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#3779 - 04/12/03 08:32 PM Re: Intimacy...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
well, what can I say............

I knocked a small hole in the wall today \:D
And it felt good, but you're right Mike - fear is the cement of the wall for me.
But I've overcome worse fears ( I think ) and TOGETHER we are overcoming this fear.

I talked during sex, asked for things to be done, and if I could do anything different, I allowed myself to have full body contact, ( is this toooo much detail \:o ) and I recognise that we 'made love' No fantasy either, which was so good - because there was no guilt after for having a 'sick mind'

All I have to do now is repeat the happy event....

I have to say that this whole topic has helped me immensely. Just the fact that I could express some thoughts, get some ideas back and know that I wasn't alone has helped me to approach the problem in a different way, I hope it carries on. 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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#3780 - 04/12/03 08:46 PM Re: Intimacy...
Sick Puppy Offline
Member

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

Great for you! \:\)

During sex I used to lie as still as possible and never talk or make any noise. My sexual partners would usually feel uncomfortable with it but I would not (could not?) change. In the last few months I have made attempts to remedy this and it has been working great so far. I think I participate much better now in sex and it actually feels better too. It all started with a step like yours and you are right in that you have begun to knock down that wall. \:\)

_________________________
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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#3781 - 04/12/03 09:09 PM Re: Intimacy...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
SP

Quote:
I think I participate much better now in sex and it actually feels better too.
Today it felt as though I had taken sex out of my head and into my body, I thought more about the great sensations my body felt and less about the crap I usually do - the fear of failure, SA based memories / fantasies, feeling like 'an abuser' because I instigated sex, worrying whether my wife was liking what I was doing ( I just asked, how hard is that ??? )

That's too much crap to think about AND enjoy myself, I must remember that....

Dave :rolleyes:

_________________________
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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#3782 - 04/13/03 02:10 AM Re: Intimacy...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
I was out of town yesterday and most of today but when I returned to this post I felt like a little kid observing with big, wide-eyes. Most of this is so new to me that at this point I don't really know what to say. I'm still processing it. Truely, I do feel like a little kid observing something for the first time. I know that I have more questions and issues to raise but I'm not really sure what they are.

Dave,
When you first mentioned that this was a sad thread I began to question whether I should have started it in the first place. But the way that it progressed was pretty cool and it put any doubts to rest.

MikeChurch,
You are a guru. What else can I say?

Enough for tonight. I need to sleep on this issue some more.
Time for bed,
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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#3783 - 04/13/03 08:20 AM Re: Intimacy...
guy43 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 450
Loc: Minnesota
Straying off topic:

Sleepy, please stop doubting what you write. Sharing our Strengths, Experiences and Hopes is what this place is all about. The good, the bad, and everything in between.

We all have our truths and need to claim ownership of our right to express what was supressed and ripped away from us. Newcomers and oldtimers to MS, those with years of recovery and those just starting recovery or in the midst of the painful beginnings of awareness of the damage caused by their sa, we all have equally valid points to share.

Getting back on topic:

Lloydy reply about this being a sad post is true for me. It goes beyond sadness in fact for me.

My two cents about this thing called Intimacy.

Those who wrote about their difficulty gazing into someone else's eyes reminded me of a post I made awhile back about looking into a mirror. I had a spiritual moment of being able to not hate my appearence and, in a way not hate myself. Maybe looking someone else in the eyes becomes easier when one can look into their own with acceptance.

I can see a little more clearly now the wisdom of a commonly expressed belief - we can't truly love (and by extension be intimate) another human being without first (underscore first) loving ourselves. In other words, being intimate begins with knowing, accepting and loving (that sooo difficult for me emotion) ourselves in some manner. [I don't know about those who can love others but not themselves, I've no clue how that works].

For me, the worse thing taken from us by our abusers is our ability to trust, relate to, and be intimate with others. The younger we were when the abuses began makes the relational damage even more tragic and devastating and thus the more difficult our journey toward healing.

This thread is another example of hope shining forth, that some us have intimacy in their lives, that some of us are learning how to be intimate.

Maybe some day I'll be able to be in an intimate, meaningful relationship. First things first. I'm left with having to heal myself or I'll never having love and intimacy in my life.

jer


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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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#3794 - 04/15/03 11:10 AM Re: Intimacy...
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Intimacy = In-ti-ma-cy = In-to-me-see

For me, I'm having to learn to first see into myself & like what's there before I can either expect anyone else to do the same or do the same to anyone else.

High risk but I'm finding high reward, slowly but surely. Hard work but pretty good pay. ;\) Scary yet joyful. Requires a lot of diligence & discernment. Challenging but well worth it.

Victor

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

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