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#393025 - 04/10/12 06:40 PM Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Hi all. I am really hoping someone can help me out with some feedback on my situation as I really do not know what to make of it. I am beginning to feel that I may have been abused as a child. I am a 49 year old gay man who has never really had any sexual experience to speak of- only one brief and limited episode with an escort a few years back (after working up the courage) which was OK. I have always been very shy, embarrassed about my body (either too skinny or too fat), have always been uncomfortable around straight men and have never sought or made friends with any gay men. I have always told myself it was shame over appearance (which I've been told is just fine), fear of HIV, and presumably internalized homophobia. The only gay men I knew were my past shrinks (for depression/anxiety/panic) and some guys from group therapy.

Anyway, in addition to my lack of experience, I have never really liked to be touched even casually by others. I get very uncomfortable. Its much better now. And so I brought this issue (possible abuse) up with 2 past shrinks while being seen for depression and neither thought I was abused given I had no recollection. Still no one had a good explanation for my lack of sex, despite a normal libido. And so I always wondered.

Well, a couple years ago, I learned from my mom that my younger sister who had a bad problem with drugs accused my father of abusing her. (My parents were divorced then and my sister had told a friend who told my mom.) I told this to a good friend one evening after we had some drinks and some pot and he acted all weird and implied he too had been abused but gave no details. He later denied it when I asked him. My mom and I then asked my dad who very calmly denied it. Later when I saw my sister, after she got clean with my and the family's help, she too denied it. She has subsequently come down with a rare immune disease and is largely dependent on my parents who have informally gotten back together. So I dont know if her financial dependency has anything to do with her recanting the accusation.

Sorry for the length, guys. Anyway, I give all this info because I do not know if all this talk of abuse from sister and my friend has settled into my mind and now made me feel that I was abused or if in fact it might explain my lack of sex and some recent dreams and weird feelings.

After I said I had believed my father and that my sister probably was just angry at him and tried to hurt him, he uncharacteristically said he'd give my some money for my business. Then later, when I helped my sister get clean and asked about the abuse, he then rescinded the offer of help. He had not given me a good reason nor can I understand it. It is unlike him to break his word. (He now ways he does not remember offering me the funds.) Well, as a result, I had to close my business, forclose on my condo, and go bankrupt given the timing 2008-9. All this stress caused an extreme depression (bipolar) and I have since been dependant on my family for support as I have not been able to work. Needless to say, I am not happy with my father. I have never felt that close to him, as I would imagine is the case for many gay sons. Strangely, after my parents divorce, both me and my mom independantly came to believe he was probably a severely closeted gay man. So perhaps I internalized his homophobia and thats why I am uncomfortable around men and so very shy.

Now for the confusing crazy part. During this time, I have had strange dreams implying that my sister had let a big secret out and that I was still keeping it. More disturbingly, (POSSIBLE TRIGGER?) while looking at porn after a smoking pot (which I rarely do) I saw a scene of a single nude man from the waist down in a white tile bathroom (similar to my parents and grandparents) standing over a sink with running water. It was so weird, the man's body looked EXACTLY like my father's when I was a child. How I would know what he looked like nude, I have no idea. Presumably we got dressed and bathed together at some point. Then the noise from the running water seemed very real and I got very nauseous, anxious, and light headed and had to stop. I have had susequent similar reactions to some porn scenes since. I also have gotten more sexually aroused from them too. I also had the image of my grandfather's ranch hand pop into my head to as well as an older boy up the street from where lived as a kid. I also have had terrible bouts of anxiety and rage just rise up both prior to this and afterwards and my depression has gotten much worse.

So I guess what I'd like to know is, does this sound sexually suspect? Are my problems with body issues, homosexuality, sex, physicality, trust, etc. and now strange dreams and odd visceral reactions to nude images mean that these memories are trying to resurface, or am I just a hysterical, depressed, neurotic who is angry with my father for betraying me financially and making me dependent again like a child? Or was it the pot? Or could it be abuse from the neighbor or ranch hand and I am confabulating them.

I am so confused and distressed. If I was abused, I think I would be OK with it because it would finally explain so much. I think I could move on with my life. And if it turned out to be my father, well, I think I could deal with that too. So I dont understand why then if I was abused, I cant remember it. I would like to try. I know shrinks warn of the dangers of false memories, but unless the abuse was physically painful or threatening, I dont see why or how I could mentally repress it. My old shrink told me that almost all abuse survivors remember their abuse. I see here on this forum, that this is not always the case. I dont want to bring it up with my sister as she is dealing with a lot now, and is dependent on my parents.

Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated. Again, sorry for the length of the drama.

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#393056 - 04/10/12 10:33 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1179
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/17/13 08:18 PM)
_________________________
Stick around, It will get better....

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#393087 - 04/11/12 05:56 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
Vadrian Offline


Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 111
Loc: Pacific
Yes, from reading your post I do think that both you and your sister were likely abused by your father. It isn't uncommon for people to develop conditions like an autoimmune disease when they disregard their own truth in order to remain obedient to their abusive parents. I myself had buried memories of being sexually abused rise to the surface, they were shocking but definitely true. The human body does not create false memories of abuse; I think the more likely standard is that people often create fake memories or impressions that they had a good child when in fact it was terrible. I suggest you continue to explore your early life and how it led to where you are now, and do everything you can not to end up dependent on your parents like your sister is.

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#393231 - 04/12/12 07:06 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: lapchinj]
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Thanks Jeff

While I have some basic childhood memories before age 10, I dont have many. I also tend to have a poor memory for stressful events even now as an adult. So if I might ask you then, if you do not have any recall, what makes you feel you were abused? Is it just a feeling? Or do you have "symptoms" of possible abuse? And if its just a feeling, is it directed towards anyone? Anything you'd be willing to share would be helpful.

Thanks,
Richard

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#393233 - 04/12/12 07:38 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1179
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/17/13 08:19 PM)
_________________________
Stick around, It will get better....

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#393236 - 04/12/12 08:02 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: Vadrian]
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Thanks Vadrian

My sister was adopted as an infant, so her genetic history is a mystery. Still, I understand what you are saying about the effects of trauma on the immune and neuroendocrine system.

If me and my mom (and my father's long ago shrink) are correct about father's "latent homosexuality" (the shrink's terminology), I could see how I might be target of abuse, but am perplexed as to why my sister would be. Have you heard of cases where a presumably gay father would abuse both female and male offspring? (I guess a true pedophile does not care so much about the sex of the child.) Do you know of any info about personality characteristics of such abusers in general?

Also, more importantly, do you have any tips on how I might try and get memories to surface? If you don't mind me asking, how did your memories arise? I desperately want to have something concrete one way or another as it is really making me crazy.

Before the mention of abuse by my sister and friend I never really considered it. Yes I was aware that people with atypical/bipolar type depressions often had histories of abuse, but I always thought my sex and intimacy problems and wariness with men were due to extreme shyness and bad case of internalized homophobia. These feelings I can trace in my childhood. But this is pretty common to most shy gay men my age, and yet I see it does not stop them from ultimately seeking out other gay men for friends, sex, and relationships.

I however actively avoided this despite a strong sex drive. I can see how a closeted gay father could exacerbate internalized homophobia in a child, but to the extent of having no gay friends (still) and being a virgin until my late 40s (and celibate since) despite being out to family and others since I was 26? Weird huh? I always felt something did not quite add up. Perhaps unconsciously I am just looking for someone else to blame for my problems. I dont know, its all so confusing and distressing.

Anyway, thanks for your reply.

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#393240 - 04/12/12 08:21 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: lapchinj]
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Thanks for sharing Jeff. I am so sorry you had to endure such things as a kid. I hope that now you are healing and finding peace and that you will also find the happy childhood memories that I am sure do exist. smile

Richard

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#393330 - 04/13/12 12:57 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
petercorbett Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 2433
Loc: TEXAS
Hi, my fraternal brother, birdsurfer.

Well, i would suggest to you that if you think that you might have been sexually abused. Then i would start from there. Perhaps a visit to a therapist to probe your memory.

But here is a guide book for you to read. You can either buy one here, or go to your local library and they might have it.
It's the sexual abuse guide book. The name of it is Victims No Longer, by a Mike Lew.

You are not crazy, we all sure are damned confused at times.


But, credit this passage from the book and Mike Lew,it might be of a help for you.
Pg106 "I can't go on with my life until I know exactly what happened." Maintaining this belief distracts the individual from the task at hand..healing the hurts of childhood. (He becomes obsessed with remembering.) Success or failure, health or pathology, normality or abnormality___all are judged by the degree to which the abuse can be recalled.

The abuse given to me by my "mom" was physically, mentally, emotionally & sexually hurtful.The beatings, berating,incest, etc. Would affect me for the rest of my life.

But and I really don't care for the word (abuser) as it pertains to me. I genuinely had made a mental & emotional bonding with him. I also believe that he loved me too. He was the exact opposite from my "mom." He was kind,& gentle. He loved & wanted me. I had adopted him as the parent(s) that i never had. I latched on to him because he loved & cared for me. He gave me attention he gave me someone to return my love too. But, as i have come to realise on my journey to recovery that it was wrong. But I'll settle for the term his TAINTED love for me. I was with him from 8-14 years old off and on.

My real love was to another gay boy at the orphanage/Home that i was in. He and i were in genuine, innocent & pure love with each other. I genuinely loved him & he genuinely loved me. We were together for four years. We were both between 10-14 years old.

I hope that this might be of some help for you. To replace your words Crazy, confused & possibly abused.

Here is what i offer, compassion, understanding, love & hope for you.
Be kind & gentle on yourself. Believe in yourself.

Wishing you well on your journey in healing, my brother, birdsurfer. You are on your way.

"I will take that lost boys hand, and I will lead him from the depths of darkness, into the sunshine, forever into eternity." As he is me.

Pete..Irishmoose.
_________________________
Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
____________________________________________________________
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.


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#393381 - 04/14/12 01:42 AM * [Re: birdsurfer]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217
*


Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (04/28/13 05:15 PM)

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#393477 - 04/14/12 09:53 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
Vadrian Offline


Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 111
Loc: Pacific
birdsurfer, I don't think molesting children does have much to do with the adult's sexual orientation--if we consider after all that it generally follows a chain of children being abused and growing up to abuse others, then the urge to molest comes from a time in childhood before sexuality.

In my case, one of the main effects of my csa was dissociation, and I had dissociative flashbacks to being sexually abused since I was around six or so. When I was 20, I started to really look into my childhood and this brought on more flashbacks that showed me much more of what happened, but some memories and realizations still had to wait until I was emotionally stable and safe enough to handle them. So, it can take some time but if you delve really deeply you should be able to uncover things. I don't think excessive shyness and isolation just happen--there surely was a cause of it in your early life. Good luck.

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#393511 - 04/15/12 01:39 AM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1179
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/17/13 08:19 PM)
_________________________
Stick around, It will get better....

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#393938 - 04/18/12 01:52 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: petercorbett]
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Hi Pete

Thanks for the advice and sharing. As I cannot afford therapy right now, but I will try and get the book you mention. Not putting your life on hold until you figure things out sounds very wise, but is difficult at times.

I am sorry to learn of the pain you suffered at the hands of your mom and of the tainted love from the man you speak of. Still, it sounds like you did have some love in your childhood that you can recall fondly and hopefully you have found or will find such love again. And with the promise or hope of that love find enduring solace and peace.

Thanks again, and best wishes.

Richard

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#393942 - 04/18/12 03:09 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: Smalltown80sBoy]
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Hi Gary

Thanks for sharing, the advice, and the links to the posts and guidebook. I have yet to read it through, but it looks quite helpful, as you no doubt can attest to.

As for internalized homophobia, its weird, because consciously it does not seem to fit me, but behaviorly, it and/or abuse seems like the best explanation for my life and situation. Either way, somewhere along the way, via the culture or via abuse or both, I got the message that its not safe or OK to be me.

Anyway, its funny, as you and the guidebook suggest, I have been meaning to look at old photos/movies for quite some time now to look for any previously unnoticed personal and family dynamics that could help explain my situation or feelings, but have actively avoided doing so.

I think I have not done so mainly because I felt it would be depressing (lost youth, failed dreams, etc.), but perhaps there is more to the avoidance than this. There is also a faint sense of anxiety of seeing something I dont really want to see. My family has always been one to project and protect an image of success and normalcy but I have never thought that image reflected reality. And people who see things differently are apt to be thought of, or think of themselves, as a little crazy or at least confused. I mean its one thing to know something is false, it is quite another to know what is in fact the truth. And whether or not abuse is the truth or not, I really need to find out and am grateful to you and the others on this site for their courage, inspiration, and help in finding the truth.

I am sorry to hear of the pain and rekindled trauma you experienced this past holiday season. I hope it has since subsided and that it was cathartic and helpful in your journey to heal and find peace.

Thanks again and best wishes,
Richard

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#393944 - 04/18/12 05:06 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: Vadrian]
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Hi and thanks again Vadrian for your comments and sharing.

Yes, I agree pedophilia must emerge from a problem in very early sexual development. Dont think the cycle of abuse explains it all though.

I also agree that my excessive shyness and isolation is more than just temperment and that is indeed why I am trying to remember what in the past could account for it.

To me the fact that I have such a poor memory for early events and occasionally have suggestive dreams and feelings may mean that dissociated memories exist in my case too. And while I certainly do not want to re-experience any trauma, I do want to be able to piece things together as not having a good understanding or explanation for things as they are is very unsettling. Any suggestions on how better to recall my childhood and what sort of things should I be looking at and thinking about?

In addition to really looking into my childhood more, I guess will have to work on my emotional fortitude and resilience somehow (not one of my strong suits) and wait and let my mind reveal to me what remains obscure.

You seem like you are now on a good path to healing. That's great! I hope it has not been too painful and that true peace of mind is at hand.

Thanks again and best wishes,

Richard

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#393950 - 04/18/12 06:18 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: lapchinj]
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Thanks Jeff.

Yeah, as soon as I can afford therapy, it will be topic #1. I'll have to rely on books, self-exploration, and the kindness of folks like you and the others on this site in the meantime.

Richard

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#394026 - 04/19/12 08:59 AM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1179
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/17/13 08:20 PM)
_________________________
Stick around, It will get better....

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#394032 - 04/19/12 09:15 AM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1179
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/17/13 08:20 PM)
_________________________
Stick around, It will get better....

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#394039 - 04/19/12 10:20 AM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3363
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Richard -

I just wanted to respond to your question:

*** And while I certainly do not want to re-experience any trauma, I do want to be able to piece things together as not having a good understanding or explanation for things as they are is very unsettling. Any suggestions on how better to recall my childhood and what sort of things should I be looking at and thinking about? ***

Like Jeff said, reading books and others' stories is very helpful. I've had several "new" but really old memories after being triggered by something i read that was similar in some way to my experience.

I would add - writing has been an amazing prompter for me. first thing my T did was ask me to write my life story from the earliest memories - all the details of anything that i thought was important. and he said to do it longhand because it would get my brain working differently than keyboarding. and give me more time to think about it. as i wrote, i discovered that more details would emerge and that i would make connections and fill in gaps that i hadn't realized till then.

Once some new stuff started to surface, it happened more frequently. I wasn't consciously or intentionally trying to remember things because i didn't know there was more than what i already knew. But there was a significant amount. sometimes if you are trying too hard you sort of block yourself. that was what happened to me earlier - years back when i tried unsuccessfully to dig up everything.

is there anyone around who you can talk over old times with - who is safe - and would remember things you might have forgotten? if so you could just go back and see what they might know that you might have forgotten. even if it is not the repressed events, it might trigger some memory of lead to something else. If you try this, i;d suggest leaving it open-ended - rather than fishing for something specific. like ask - what can you tell me about what i was like when i was 3 or 5 or what was life like for our family when i was little - or whatever...

so i'd say learn as much as you can wherever you can, ask lots of questions of other survivors and people who know your childhood and you'll be in more of the right state of mind to let it out.

hope that helps a little,
Lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#394196 - 04/20/12 03:03 AM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
1lifenow Offline


Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 395
Loc: west coast
Originally Posted By: birdsurfer
Or was it the pot? I am so confused and distressed.
So I dont understand why then if I was abused, I cant remember it.

Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated.


Birdsurfer, you ask some great questions and your confusion is understandable. First off, the easy one is, It's NOT the pot.

On a recent course I attended on severe psychological trauma, these memories that are vague and unclear were addressed. When things happen b4 age 5, the "memory" is experienced by the body and early nervous system but there is no real clear picture cuz b4 this age there rarely is. These traumatic memories are preconceptual, subpsychological and non verbal. There are no words. Yet the early nervous system can respond to these triggers the same way. It may account for irrational fear, your panic , your confusion. All things a child this age would experience.

So your shrink was right, most do remember cuz the abuse most often continues past this age, yours may not have. Your vague memory about a male nude from the waist down matches that pre 5 perspective both psycholically and literally from a child looking up.

http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showthreaded&Number=393358#Post393358

this is a thread I wrote about relating to a recently published study about a possible explanation for the internalized homophobia you related.

Originally Posted By: birdsurfer
I have always told myself it was shame over appearance (which I've been told is just fine), fear of HIV, and presumably internalized homophobia.


This may also explain some of the aversions you also experience now. Touch, intimacy, fear of but desire for sex, etc. One of the things recommended was a qualified sex therapist, they may be able to help by slowly releasing the attachment of touch and sex to this early experience. The two will be forever linked unless our nervous system can relearn they dont go together. This can happen. As well therapists who practice somatic experiencing or trauma re-patterning can help you with this as well. If you cant pay right now, sometimes there are community resources especially through lgbt places and universities have therapists in training that can often help.

It can make a huge difference. Just because you cant remember does not mean it did not happen.
_________________________
The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. Dalai Lama

WoR Barrie 2011

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#394232 - 04/20/12 12:11 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1179
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/17/13 08:20 PM)
_________________________
Stick around, It will get better....

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#394677 - 04/23/12 11:21 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: lapchinj]
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Thanks again Jeff for the book recommendations and the advice. Books I can afford now, therapy will have to wait.

When I do re-start therapy, I will want to find someone who works with abuse or trauma/PTSD. I really want/need to explore these intuitions. My past therapists have not been that helpful- mostly they just did emotional hand holding (psychologists) or pill pushing (psychiatrists) during times of depression and anxiety. Not that I am against medication as I think it can be very helpful as you attest and as I also know first hand. Its just I really would like get at the root of the problem and not just treat symptoms. No one has ever given me any explanation or insight into why I have the problems I do, and so they re-occur. Sure there is a biological/genetic component to my anxiety, extreme shyness, and depression and these traits are necessary but not sufficient to explain my situation. The environmental factor is oddly unaccounted for.

I will definitely heed your warning about the perils of opening the floodgates to past trauma too quickly. In fact, I tell myself before I go to bed, "OK, let me dream something or remember something that actually supports my intuition, but please dont let it be anything that will really freak me out!" (I am very prone to anxiety attacks.) Its like I want to give my unconscious mind a way to present things to me consciously without me having to feel any pain. I just want it to be a memory without any strong emotion.

Its weird, most of my childhood memories are like this anyway- no real feeling attached. I guess I must be a strong "dissociator". More childhood memories are surfacing however. For example, I remembered an older neighbor boy tying me to our tree with his bike lock and that I used to avoid walking near his house, but there is no fear or anger with such a memory. Its about as emotional as my remembering my 3rd grade teacher's name. Weird! Yet, when I think of people who have done me wrong as an adult, I can get angry again. But childhood stuff- completely unemotional, despite my being an emotional person and quite emotional as a kid.

It is fascinating (I was a neuroscience major in college) but very unsettling that I could be repressing things such as abuse. I still have a hard time believing it could be true. Yet I feel compelled to consider it. If it is true, and if my father were truly involved, it would drastically change my whole view of myself, family, society, humanity, and life. Perhaps this is why I have a hard time remembering childhood stuff. It kind of makes me think that maybe there really is something traumatic buried deep in my past. Still, I feel intellectually I could handle such a revelation; reliving terrifying emotions, not so much! Nevertheless, it would be such a relief to know the truth.

I am so sorry to hear of all the pain you re-suffered when the memories starting coming back. I can certainly understand the need to drink to help numb such painful feelings. Its good you found help and better meds than alcohol- which as you know only leads to other problems.

Although I can understand not wanting your kid to see you in such a state, I do not feel that it is anything to be guilty or ashamed about. You were in pain and alcohol was apparently the only palliative at hand. I dont know how old your child is, but I am sure if you talk to them about it (in an age appropriate way), it would help both of you. They may be too young to fully understand it or what you have gone through, but dealing with things openly and honestly prevents misunderstandings which kids are apt to have about such things.

And I dont think it would hurt your kids at all, on the contrary, not understanding things that have a negative feeling about them (e.g., what's going on with dad?) I think can be more disturbing to kids than knowing that dad was having/had a difficult time but is better now and getting help. Dads are human. Knowing the truth is reassuring as they dont have to worry about dad or their security.

I dont know, I'm not a parent or shrink, but I think when kids get an honest explanation of painful or negative things, it makes them better able to cope themselves. You give them an appropriate model and cognitive framework for dealing with painful things. They learn problems can be successfully dealt with honesty, courage, and reaching out to others when needed. Trying to protect them from painful situations (which is only natural) limits their ability to successfully cope with negative events and feelings. And by not talking about such things only gives the message that it is something to be ashamed of. And as a survivor of CSA, I certainly feel that you have absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of. I also think that by not discussing that situation, it fails to convey that alcohol, or any other substance for that matter, is a poor coping tool when things get rough.

Anyways, that's just my 2 cents worth and is given in the spirit of goodwill and continued healing.

Richard

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#394693 - 04/24/12 12:19 AM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: traveler]
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Hi Lee

Thanks for the thoughtful and strangely appropriate advice. Funny thing, I have never been one for journaling or even writing but have had in the back of my mind for 20+ years the idea of writing a "fictional" story about a closeted gay man who has a gay son. This was way before I or my mother consciously concluded that my father was probably gay. And it is only recently during this period of depression and unemployment that I truly started to work on it. And it has been a sort of an "art therapy" via narrative for me. And while trying to imagine plots, scenes, and characters, certain feelings, intuitions, dreams and a few memories started to emerge. And it has been in this frame of mind that I really began introspecting which has ultimately revealed some disturbing feelings and perplexing intuitions that has led me here to this site.

So while I was not really writing my true life story, I have been doing something quite similar (even writing in longhand)to what you and your therapist suggest. And yes, it has been quite helpful.

Also, for the longest time I have wanted to reconstruct my life history primarily because so much of it I dont remember. I began this too (before the writing) as a deliberate project by trying to create a chronological "scrapbook" in MS Word wherein I try to fill in as much as I can remember about myself and family every month since birth. I add scanned photos or mementos if I have them. I kind of gave up on this though as I wasnt recalling much. It was mostly just a chonological photo album. Maybe I was trying to too hard as you did. Anyway, like you, I found that writing freely in longhand has been much more productive in terms of evoking feelings and eliciting memories.

As for others who may help me remember, it would just be my immediate family- so it is hard. I think though I can as you say ask some general open ended questions without revealing my intent.

Getting your feedback has been very helpful as it at least tells me I am on the right track to trying to uncover the truth beneath my intuitions.

I hope that you are making good progress in your journey towards healing and that it has not been too painful.

Thanks again and best wishes,
Richard

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#394719 - 04/24/12 03:58 AM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: 1lifenow]
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Hi "1lifenow"

Thanks for the feedback and the link, they are quite helpful.

I'm relieved to think that you consider such feelings and memories to not be CAUSED by the pot. I do however think they can be ELICITED by pot. Although its a mild "hallucinogen", my thinking on the pot is that THC is also known to alleviate anxiety and pain as well as "expanding" consciousness and fostering insight and creativity, so I feel that when I am under the influence of pot painful, anxious, and/or dissociated thoughts or memories that might otherwise be "repressed" or unavailable to consciousness become accessible because consciousness expands down further into previously unconscious realms. Thus loosely connected or weak (early?) thoughts and memories (i.e. dissociated), particularly painful or anxious ones whose negative "charge" has been lessened (also due to the THC), become manifest. I dont know if this is neurobiolically correct, but I have noticed such an effect in myself and witnessed a friend "remember" abuse while under the influence. I have also had similar thoughts, intuitions, and memories while quite sober and while dreaming, so I do not think it is pure imagination or fantasy- or mental illness wink

Such vague feelings and intuitions (its hard to call them memories at this point) do seem to be of the kind you describe as discussed in the course on trauma you attended. (POSSIBLE TRIGGER) I dont mean to be insensitive, but my question is this, unless there was physical pain or threats made, why would a very young child consider fondling/masturbation or oral sex, for example, was abuse? Would they not want to please an adult and welcome the attention of an adult? I mean, they dont understand what's going on, so why would they view it negatively. Is it because they are told not to talk about it and then later when older they learn that such behavior is in fact abuse and realize it happened to them and then repress it? Or, particularly in the case of incest, is there an evolutionary ingrained aversion in a child to sexual contact with an adult that gets activated? I guess I have a lot of reading to do.

If this is in fact what happened to me, if the abuse was not physically painful, could this also be why it is so hard to remember? Also, how can I be sure that the intuitions and feelings that have arisen are not just conflated memories of taking a bath with my father (or someone else) with negative feelings I have for him for other reasons? Also, age 5 or earlier is the time of gender and sexual identify formation, and being gay, couldn't I have had some same sex feelings toward my father or other men that I am now misinterpreting? Or could it be the other way around in that such early abuse made me more likely to be gay? Its so confusing!

I mean this is a serious matter as you and everyone here know, it destroys lives. But if I mistakenly believe that I was abused, that damages me, my relationships, and potentially others too. I clearly believe there is enough circumstatial evidence for me to think that I could have been abused. But what if no further evidence emerges? Are there guys in this situation? And are there men who do in fact remember abuse at such an early age or at least feel so strongly that they just accept it to be true? And if so, what do they do? I guess with me time will tell. In the meantime I will just follow my intuition and keep exploring.

As for internalized homophobia, this I understand quite well. (Good post. And don't forget about the studies that showed the most outwardly homophobic men showed the most sexual arousal to homosexual images :/) It is so sad our culture produces such homophobia with all the unecessary pain it creates. As for me though, I have been out to almost all who know me since age 26. If my father is in fact a closeted gay, I can understand that I could feel this way at some level, but I really dont feel that way, and he was never overtly anti-gay. My issues are more about trust and physical intimacy with men, not that fact that I am gay.

Your suggestions about somatic and trauma therapy are good ones and I hope to explore them as soon as I can. I did see a psychologist for a while who was also a sex therapist but he was not a big help- mostly he was supportive during a time of depression. I dont think he deals much with abuse or trauma though.

Sorry for another long post. I really do appreciate your and everyone else's feedback. Its been very helpful. I wish I were able to reciprocate all of you thoughfulness. Perhaps as I learn more I will be able to offer more.

Thanks again "1lifenow". Hope you're doing well.

Best wishes,
Richard

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#394805 - 04/24/12 08:28 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1179
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/17/13 08:21 PM)
_________________________
Stick around, It will get better....

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#395757 - 05/01/12 10:03 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: lapchinj]
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Hi Jeff

I certainly can empathize with what you are saying about talking about your past to anyone including your kids. Obviously you have to take it at your own pace. Its great you've stopped drinking and that you have the support of a therapist and medication. I hope that opening up to your wife helped and feel confident that in time when you do so with your kids, it will also be helpful to everyone. Keep at it, it sounds like you are indeed making good progress.

Jeff, when you say you hope one day you hope to come out and be normal, are you only referring to being completely open to people in your life about your past abuse and the toll its taken on you and to be free of it or by "coming out" do you mean revealing an undisclosed or confusing aspect of your sexuality, or both? The reason I ask is that although you are married with kids, you are posting on the LGBT section of this site. Is this part of the "can of worms" you mention, or am I mistaken?

Either way, you seem like a nice, decent, and NORMAL guy to me! And while I can understand how past abuse can make one exceptionally wary of full emotional intimacy, opening up about your past and feelings to trusted loved ones is the best way I believe to get the love and validation you may have missed out on as a child. But yes, do take it one step at a time. Talking about your past and feelings with your therapist and on this site is a great way to build up confidence and chip away at old feelings of shame and guilt.

I know for me, the truth really does set you free, that is why I am working hard to discover it.

Thanks for your continued comments. I wish you continued success on your jouney towards healing.

Richard

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#395766 - 05/01/12 11:31 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1179
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/17/13 08:21 PM)
_________________________
Stick around, It will get better....

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#397398 - 05/16/12 05:11 PM Re: Crazy, confused, or possibly abused- please help [Re: birdsurfer]
bodyguard8367 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""
""


Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/26/14 05:21 PM)
Edit Reason: SILENCED

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