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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: 1124
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/17/13 08:21 PM)
_________________________
Depression Feels Like Home, and Happiness is Just a Place You Visit

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: 1124
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/17/13 08:21 PM)
_________________________
Depression Feels Like Home, and Happiness is Just a Place You Visit

It will get better....

Top
#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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