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#399258 - 06/03/12 10:35 AM A realization, people's perceptions don't work.
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1991
Loc: durham, north england
LAst night I met up with a friend of mine to do what we do every few weeks or so, listen to random music for a bit, have weerd discussions, and eventually go out to a decent restaurant for a drink and some grub.

After trying a few places, said restaurant proved to be a really amazing mexican, ---- as it turned out a very good mexican I knew when i did my degree that I thought was closed, but has reopened with a different name.

Over the course of the evening I got to talking to the waitress, indeed she started off by talking to my guide dog then i chatted to her about the fact that this looked suspiciously like the mexican I knew, and we just had general conversation sinse it was a relatively relaxed environment.

it transpired she was a biologist just finishing her degree and going on to post graduate research, but (like virtually eveyone who finishes a degree in Britain now), had to get the job as a waitress to keep stuff going.

we had quite an animated conversation over the evening (not exactly harmed by the sangrea I was drinking), about various topics, me just being friendly and relaxed as I would with someone, letting my people skills take over.

I became aware half way through the evening that I was becoming interested in this girl. not exactly falling for her, I hadn't known her anything like long enough (it takes far longer for me), but just getting on the tinge of being interested, and being aware that if I spent time with her my feelings might go beyond friendship. This doesn't exactly mean anything (in fact she had a boyfriend as became evident from the conversation), and I've pretty much decided to give up on the hole relationships thing anyway.

One fact I did find extremely interesting though, is that my friend didn't notice!

he has had a good many relationships, ranging from a full on destructive emotional attachment, to casual, pleasant affairs with friends. i sometimes find it hard not to be jealous of him, sinse a few months ago he broke up with his current gf because (as I could see myself), she was far more serious about wanting a commited relationship to him than he was about her, ---- and only two months after this breakup he's met someone else.

I'm however succeeding largely in not being too jealous, after all I've got a lot of advantages he doesn't have (not the least I know when to stop drinking alcohol, so who had the hang over this morning!), laugh.

One fact I found interesting though was that this chap, quite experienced as far as relationships go by all accounts, absolutely, totally and completely didn't notice that I was becoming interested in this particular girl, ---- mild as that interest was.

One problem I've always had with relationships, is that good old sterriotype that the man! is supposed to be the forward one, to ask a woman out.

i've been for coffee, to concerts, for extended periods of time alone with female friends, and 9 times out of 10 this has been just that, spending time with friends, indeed not too much different to what I was doing with my male friend last night. On the few occasions though that I have! been out with a girl who I was in any way becoming emotionally interested in being closer to than a friend, it's always absolutely stunned me that even if my head was nearly exploding with the desire to tell her how I felt, she never noticed, ---- indeed it was this attempt to communicate that desire to **** that landed me in recovery in the first place.

That's why I've always assumed nobody has ever been interested in being closer to me than a friend, sinse I'd think it would be bloody obvious. Heck, I! can tell when a person is sad, upset, shy or even slightly bothered, and at the points I've been really deeply in love I've been more than slightly! bothered.

i always assumed said girls noticed, but just didn't particularly care, or thought, ---- well, okay then.

However if my friend, a person with a great deal of relationship experience can't tell what I'm feeling, maybe it's just that nobody else can either.

I'm still not certain anyone has ever been interested in me that way, and I'm not going to hope that anyone will be in the future sinse that's a door that has got to stay shut even if I can't help my own feelings, but it has made me reassess those moements like when I was with **** and close to bursting from the utter pain.

indeed, on the two occasions before **** when I admitted to a girl how i felt, I did so chiefly to relieve my own feelings rather than because I expected anything to happen, and on those occasions the girl was ssurprised, having no idea previously.

Obviously though I was ascribing powers of perception to people they didn't have, and assuming that my interest would be much more obvious than it ever actually was, and I can absolve all the girls I've been interested in any motives of knowing my interest but being turned off or disgusted, ---- maybe they really just didn't know after all.

I suppose logically this could in theory mean that my parents have been right, and some girl or other has! been interested in me in the past and I haven't noticed, ---- but well, there's nothing I can do about that either, it's not as if there is a manual for how to tell these things, and it's not as if me being a man a girl will ever just come out and say it (got I hate society's expectations!of males!), and my usual emotional sense of people, though it's useful in many situations seems to be set utterly to the wrong frequency to pick that type of stuff up, ---- even if it exists at all, which I'm still not convinced of.

Confusing yes, but an interesting insite none the less, albeit that it still doesn't really change my resolution regarding the hole relationship issue.


Edited by dark empathy (06/03/12 10:50 AM)

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#399266 - 06/03/12 03:25 PM Re: A realization, people's perceptions don't work. [Re: dark empathy]
Casmir213 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 845
Loc: Northeast, USA
Luke,

I can usually tell when someone is attracted to someone else. Perhaps, because of your resolution to not pursue that course, you've cut off outward expressions of attraction that someone might pick up on. But communication of an attraction or romantic interest in someone is, in general, and for me in particular, a very, very difficult thing to express. It puts you out there, which opens one up for rejection and embarrassment. Someone may sense on some level that someone is attracted to them, but until someone makes that "proverbial first move" no one is sure. Some people are better at hinting at things (women in particular). You know, giving "green light" signals that you may proceed further if you wish, but that is as far as they'll go.

Take care Luke
_________________________
I see recovery as a lifelong journey rather than a final destination, a journey, though, which can have many successes along the way.

WoR Alumnus - Hope Springs, OH, October 2009

My avatar is the farmhouse at the Hope Spring, OH WoR. It's a nice place.

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#399270 - 06/03/12 04:26 PM Re: A realization, people's perceptions don't work. [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1991
Loc: durham, north england
"you know giving green light signals?" ---- no I don't know, which is really the problem.

Remember, up until I was 18 I thought love and friendship were the same thing, it's just that love meant doing something physical occasionally.

And this goes back waaaay before the resolution I made 18 months ago. The only time I ever! remember others knowing that I was attracted to someone was when I was 19 in my psychology class, and other people knew before I did.

This is why I wish I was female, sinse it seems so much easier if your a girl. Someone saying that they liked me, whether or not I was interested would be amazing.

But no, I have a Y chromosome so I have to wait and wonder, which is why it's better to give up the hol thing, sinse obviously I missed learning this.

The odd thing is, in all other respects, I'm pretty good at reading people, it's part of the people social skills that is necessary to live successfully with a visual imparement, indeed I once scared one of my friends by describing her atitude towards other people so completely precisely that she wasn't even aware of it herself until i mentioned it.

Which is again more wait to the "nobody has ever been interested" arguement, and more reason to try not to speculate on this too much ad get on with my resolution, hard though it is when I find myself becoming attracted to someone.

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#399285 - 06/03/12 08:46 PM . [Re: dark empathy]
Life's A Dream Offline


Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 886
Loc: Bouvet Island
.


Edited by Life's A Dream (01/12/13 10:23 PM)

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#399291 - 06/03/12 09:18 PM Re: A realization, people's perceptions don't work. [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1991
Loc: durham, north england
You might be right on this one, Not of course that this was s/xual however, it never got to that point, indeed if I'd experienced any physical reactions I'd have turned round and legged it, sinse I hate those, ---- back when I bwas a teenager too many bad things happened if I ever was noticed having a reaction like that.

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#399652 - 06/07/12 09:12 AM Re: A realization, people's perceptions don't work. [Re: dark empathy]
Casmir213 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 845
Loc: Northeast, USA
I think Life's A Dream brings up a good and insightful point. I never thought of it like that before. I could definitely see how our experiences of CSA would inhibit outward expressions of our attraction to others, as shame and fear can become associated with sexual attraction to others in our cases, which would then function as dams blocking our outward expressions of attraction to others.

This could account for both ones lack of outward expression of attraction to others, and also for ones inability to pick up others signals/outward expressions of attraction to themselves, as both would be well defended against by deeply embedded past experiences that associated shame and fear with sexual attraction. That's an interesting way of looking at my own experiences in the past and present. Just to be clear, by outward expressions of attraction, I'm talking about the more obvious clues that one may give off that one person is attacted to another, as these are the ones that an objective observer would pick up and also the ones that would prompt an obvious response from the object (receiver) of the attraction. What I'm talking about would apply to visually impaired and non-visually impaired survivors.
_________________________
I see recovery as a lifelong journey rather than a final destination, a journey, though, which can have many successes along the way.

WoR Alumnus - Hope Springs, OH, October 2009

My avatar is the farmhouse at the Hope Spring, OH WoR. It's a nice place.

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#399669 - 06/07/12 12:08 PM Re: A realization, people's perceptions don't work. [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1991
Loc: durham, north england
That is an interesting point Rocco. I know that if I ever do react physically, I become so tense as to be ridiculous. One of those occasions when my parents were pretty certain that a girl I was friends with was interested in me, she came round to my place ostensibly because I was employing her to do some research assistance work for me. Before she left she turned round and hugged me, and suddenly bang! closeness = bad stuff.

I literally froze, and I imagine she picked that up fairly quickly, so needless to say nothing came of that beyond friendship.

It's also absolutely true that the one girl of my age I'm happy with receiving physical affection from is someone who I am not the least physically or emotionally attracted to, and who is sort of more like a brother.

I think it would help a lot if someone just told! me they were attracted to me, we could get everything into the open and go slowly, but sinse society says it's the man who has to make all the overt gestures, ---- i suppose I'm out of luck, hence the need for my resolution, sinse I can't do anything about this on my own without another person being interested in being closer to me, and either nobody ever has been, or nobody ever shows themselves to be interested in me.

the one thing that really scares me, is that at some point if the opportunity for anything purely physical, such as a paid night with a prostitute turned up, i'd accept just out of curiosity, then feel degraded afterwards, not because there was anything intrinsically wrong, ---- just because that was not what I wanted.

My mum even once offered to locate someone for this purpose, as a desensatizing measure once I started recovery, (my mum is fairly open minded), and though I catagorically refused part of me did want to accept, but I know just how I'd feel afterwards even if I could go through with it at all.

Back when i was 18 a girl, noticing my very open fear of anything to do with s/x once asked me if I was going to be a monk, taking my reactions for some sort of prudery. I catagorically denied this, sinse I'd only just realized at that point that emotional attraction betwene people who were together existed, (up until then I thought essentially all relationships were just friends who had casual, s/x occasionally).
It's amusing how right she was. Though the person i'm most angry at is E, the girl i first fell in love with even before I realized myself.

At that! point everyone knew better than I did that I was pretty attracted to her. Maybe this was because I was so unaware of myself, maybe this was just that everyone was 18, I don't know.

At the end of term, she gave me a kiss on the cheak and admitted she knew how I felt. When i told her she was the first girl ever to do that, her quite sincere response was "I won't be the last"

And at that point, I believed her and left feeling pretty hopeful.

Well Emma, ---- guess what? you were wrong! dead wrong!

And why do I feel more angry at her than any of my abusers?

Anyhow, enough of this self pittying rubbish, I have to remember my resolution.

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#399726 - 06/08/12 01:03 AM Re: A realization, people's perceptions don't work. [Re: dark empathy]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3396
Loc: somewhere in Africa
D.E.

i am pretty hopeless at reading others' signals and also sending readable signals of my own. sometimes i think i'm getting one specific message - and am totally wrong as to what it really means. other times i totally miss a message that the sender thinks is perfectly obvious. And i often think i am clearly signalling something that is so blatant as to be downright embarrassing, but it is so well-repressed that no one else is even aware of it.

i think that because of the abuse and my need to hide it, i am so "good" at hiding my true feelings that i don't know how to switch off the "mute" button and nothing is going out.

and i either fear the "vibes" coming my way so much that i deflect them before i can even recognize them - or else some comment or gesture that is completely neutral, i read into it a veiled tease or threat that is emotionally or sexually charged and get all anxious about it.

it's like everything is distorted by the past and i can't take anything at the level it is intended. the worst part is most of these missed communications are with my wife!!! the rest i don't even care about.

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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#399780 - 06/08/12 11:08 AM Re: A realization, people's perceptions don't work. [Re: dark empathy]
Casmir213 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 845
Loc: Northeast, USA
Your resolution makes things very safe for you Luke. Although at times you seem not to be as resolved about things as you'd perhaps like to be. It seems that we're all talking about the same thing here in this post, which is nicely summed up in your equation "closeness = bad stuff". The signals that are sent and not picked up, the miscommunications, the freezing up when someone gets too close, and the cluelessness when it comes to communicating attraction to others can all be looked at as defenses against experiencing the shame of what happened to us. If we don't go "there" at all, there is no danger in facing what we don't want to face. Even if someone were to communicate openly that they like you, I'm thinking that there would still be major difficulties with intimacy and sexuality. Lee (Traveler) confirms this, as he is married and still having difficulties. I would imagine that you're most angry with "E" because you believed her, perhaps she had you believing in a false hope, that things would just naturally happen. For us, there is no such thing as things just happening, nature taking its course so to speak. We have sufficiently blocked nature from happening. That's the problem.


Edited by Casmir213 (06/08/12 11:54 AM)
_________________________
I see recovery as a lifelong journey rather than a final destination, a journey, though, which can have many successes along the way.

WoR Alumnus - Hope Springs, OH, October 2009

My avatar is the farmhouse at the Hope Spring, OH WoR. It's a nice place.

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#399795 - 06/08/12 03:43 PM Re: A realization, people's perceptions don't work. [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1991
Loc: durham, north england
@Lee that makes a lot of sense, though it sort of amazes me how you got a wife at all if that was the case.

@Rocco, no, I was failing at my resolution quite badly with the above post. The resolution wasn't just about safety though, it is about not being hurt, sinse the desire for closeness with another person has caused me more pain and suffering than nearly anything else in my life, so I decided in 2009 that that desire had to go. I haven't succeded %100, but i succeed must of the time.

the odd thing about signals and communication is that other than anything to do with relationships or anything s/xual, I am pretty good at reading people. i make friends easily, I communicate easily, I can see much of people's feelings, and indeed often in the past people have come to me with their problems.

This is why i always assumed that I'd know if someone was interested in becoming closer to me, because I'm so good at picking up when someone is likely to open up in a conversation, when someone is feeling shy, when i need to make a joke, and when i need to listen seriously. I never lie or falsify myself, but I can manage people pretty well, ---- indeed this is one of my main skills as a stage performer, sinse very few classical musicians can actually talk to a full scale audience in a quite relaxed way, as though they were just having a casual conversation, ---- yet I can.

indeed I've started to realize that I have an ability with explanation, with words and with emotions, and that this is what I want my life to be about in the future.

yet, I've never! perceived this sort of interest from another person, nor I now believe had them communicate mine, and I have no idea why.

What you said about "nature taking it's course" really hit me. i've spoken to various friends, of both genders, who are all now fairly seriously married or close to it, and for them it pretty much did "just happen"

Indeed, quite ironically last night after writing the post I went to see south pacific (which featured a very good baritone), and the song "some enchanted evening" which is supposed to detail how you find your true love just sounded alien to me, ---- though i accept that it is stylized and a romantic ideal rather than anything true (I went mostly for the music and plot, and indeed heard quite a nice tenor song that i shal learn).

nevertheless, it has always struck me that there must be something incredibly wrong! with me. I've "gone out" with more female friends than I can count, everything from casual coffee to full on evening concert and drinks, yet nothing ever happens, whether or not I am interested in the girl in question, ---- there is no "natural chemistry" or anything like it, we just meet, have a good time as friends do, and then leave.

The three occasions I've admitted my feelings to girls have been more to releave my own feelings than in any expectation that something will happen. Emma knew before I did and left me feeling pretty hopeful. Florence told me "she was flattered" and sounded pretty pleasantly surprised, but once again she had a bf so I wasn't expecting anything, but at least I had got it out, and the last time with **** was one of the most painful experiences of my life, and done more out of desperation for something! to happen, me being 25 and having experienced a big fat zero, ---- and other than making me realize that i needed to do recovery, nothing happened.

the time I fell in love sinse then, I managed to avoid anything, sinse that was after my resolution, and all I've really learnt is that if ever I fall in love with someone, ---- it's wisest to do nothing and expect nothing.

Hence my resolution. I will live without a relationship, ever, and concentrate on everything else in life. No, it isn't easy, but I have no idea what the alternative might be even if there is one, and with a phd thesis nearly finished and a career writing and singing professionally, I intend to be pretty busy.

Oh, and as a final note, I certainly don't! want children. Indeed my parents are currently looking after a friends' two year old, which has just reinforced that. It's odd, babies I actually quite like and am perfectly confident at dealing with (I've looked after a puppy after all), but once they start walking around and not quite being people, ---- no thanks! I'd much rather deal with animals.

The only way i can imagine having children and not being driven crazy is if I locked them in a box after they got to about 18 months old and let them out when they were rational, ---- which could be any time betwene about 7 and never! laugh.

This is of course a joke, but I just add it to highlight the fact that to me, it's not really "family" still less "children" that is important so much as a single, unique experience of communciation with another person. I've seen this betwene couples who are together, including my parents, but it's very hard to explain precisely what it is, without going into synaesthesia and metaphores.

Then again, it's only an experience after all, and so there is no reason I should hold it as so important.

i appologise to everyone for lapsing in my resolve here, i'll try to do better in future.

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