Newest Members
Lumpy, squeekinby, rhyoung, Jefferson22, OxfordArms
12369 Registered Users
Today's Birthdays
drivejoepublic (44), eagle299 (43), H18 (21), JJJ (43), mariposaman (63), SevenTwoTwo76 (39), TexAgMan (37), waiter (44), wgwarch (55)
Who's Online
0 registered (), 19 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
12369 Members
74 Forums
63582 Topics
444218 Posts

Max Online: 418 @ 07/02/12 07:29 AM
Topic Options
#402353 - 07/02/12 11:00 AM Sorting through the madness
Robert1000 Offline

Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
Hi all,

I've got something I'd like to hear your thoughts about.

About three and a half years ago, I admitted to my wife that I had had an affair. It was a brief, stupid and ridiculous affair with a woman I found repellant. And yet I had the affair, and I allowed this horrible woman to become friends with my wife and for her daughter to spend time with my kids.

The news that her life partner had betrayed her completely traumatized my wife, and in desperation to save our marriage, I sought counseling, which is something that I had always derided as stupid. Several months in to counseling, I realized that I couldn't keep secret the terrible stuff that had happened to me when I was a kid. I couldn't allow those memories to remain buried in my heart, because they were ruining me.

One day, sitting on the couch in the living room and holding my wife's hand, I just blurted out that some terrible shit had gone down in the housing development where I grew up. It was the strangest thing. Until that point, I had never acknowledged that thing that happened, and so I had this enormous source of pain and misery hidden in my life. For decades, I had this big emotional load--unattached to its true cause. And as a result, I attached fake emotion to things, basically anything that seemed to justify anger or pain or whatever. But I felt nothing at times that had real pain. I often felt numb. I cut my legs sometimes to feel the pain. I once hit myself in the face so hard it bruised, and I said I had been in a fight. Sometimes I'd punch my thigh until it bruised. And although I was aggressive and a fighter, I was also terrified that anyone might not like me.

You might think this was crazy if you met me, because I'm an enormous and muscled guy with scars from many fights. And I don't mind pain at all. In fact, I kind of like it. A punch in the face isn't a problem to me at all. But I'm scared of someone who might punch me. The idea that someone might dislike me is actually nightmarish, and the prospect makes me feel desperate and scared.

I had many out-of-body experiences. And I often felt that I was a million miles inside my body, as if were somewhere deep, deep inside my own eyes, so that distance between where I was and the exterior of me eyes and my eyelashes and all were at least a football field or farther. Also, I had one set of rules that I lived my life by--as a good dad and partner. And another set that fascinated and disgusted me. I'd be absolutely freaked out by women who acted slutty. But at the same time, I would identify with them. Like I'd only objectify them so much. I'd also understand what it felt like to be fucked without caring who's fucking you, and it would make me sad and forlorn feeling. I didn't like it. And I didn't find it sexy. And I'm relieved that I never got into risky sexual behavior. And I saw lots of things as "tests." I'd "pass" that test, and then fantasize that I hadn't. And I've struggled with suicidal thoughts, phantom voices that said shitty things to me (calling me worthless and stuff), impulsive behavior, fighting, and a whole bunch of what I call "magical" thinking. I'd think, well if I can do this on the basketball court, I'll be able to do this at my job. Or if something bad happens to me, it's because I did this bad thing.

And always I was creating these false stories that carried false emotion as a way to hide from my real emotion. And always I was thinking things were a "test," and that it was up to me to be "good."

All that made it so that I was not truly and deeply connected with my spouse. We had a crappy sex life, because I created and recreated a "shame" cycle. We had lots of positives in our life, but lots of resentments and just a general lack of communication.

So, for me, I'm trying to figure out how to live with reality, to attach real feelings to real things. I don't want to over-share, but I don't want to hide the sorrow in my life. I also don't want to be totally negative. I don't want to be overly dramatic.

Plus, I don't want to give a damn if someone likes me or not. I'm so over that. And I don't want to prove my toughness any more. I don't want to have to stand up to anyone and fight. Not because I'm afraid of that person not liking me, but because I'm too old for that crap.

I also want to be as safe as I can be. My barriers got totally destroyed when I was a kid. And I need barriers to keep myself safe. I know now that safety is something that can't be guaranteed, but I can stay safer by not doing risky things and by having good, sensible barriers. I don't have to be a savior, but I can be an active and involved person.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I guess, I see a lot of real emotion here. I also see some stuff that looks overly dramatic--and I see myself in that excessive drama.

How do we sort through this stuff? I am glad to be in this place, because this is a decent place to actually be honest about things things that happened to us. (Honestly, it's crazy to write "us" instead of me. There's a part of me inside that's just freaked out a bit that I wrote "us.")

Anyway, I liked the comments on my first post, What the Hell. Those comments helped me realize that this is a relatively small group of people. We're sorting through this stuff together. I don't need to hide behind anything. I can be honest. I don't want to play favorites, but I do want to acknowledge WriterKeith, Lee, bodyguard and a few others. Thanks, dudes.

And let me tell you something else, too. I read other posts, and I really think about what I read. I can tell that lots of people on this site do that. I care what you write in response to the things I put out here. It makes a difference. It certainly is appreciated. So don't feel like you don't have anything to add. Was that you, Lee, who wondered about that? I forget. Anyway, I was feeling a little disconnected lately, and re-freaked out by the Sandusky business. (I have to admit that I still go through times when I'd like to pull the trigger on the sorry-ass piece of shit who fucked with me when I was a kid. But I try not to live with that kind of anger.) It feels better to be part of this community.

Thanks again. I look forward to your comments. Take care. And may God (whatever God you believe in or just the way of the world) help you find peace and healing.

#402355 - 07/02/12 11:25 AM Re: Sorting through the madness [Re: Robert1000]
Obi Offline

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 1332
Loc: kansas

sounds like you needed to get a bunch of pent up thoughts and feelings out of your system...

that's good!

never be afriad to do so, or think that you're being overly dramatic, etc.

you asked how do we sort through this stuff...

well, by doing exactly what you just did.... posting/talking/sharing your thoughts and feelings is the key! being open and completely honest with your thoughts and feelings is the way to get through it all....

by sharing all of that, it not only helps you to sort through it, but it can also help someone else too who hasn't found their voice yet and/or someone could be going through a similar issue that they can see that they are not alone in their thoughts. can see some possible solutions through their issues...

that is what this community here at ms is for. to provide support for one and all....

keep sharing robert.. you are definitely on the path to recovery!!! you WILL make it through this, guaranteed!

Edited by Obi (07/02/12 11:25 AM)
live another day. climb a little higher.

my story

my vlog

#402356 - 07/02/12 11:33 AM Re: Sorting through the madness [Re: Robert1000]
Robert1000 Offline

Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
Thanks, Obi. I'm really trying hard to accept myself--my whole self. I don't want to continue doing things that I'm ashamed of. And I want to accept and move beyond the stupid things I've done. Thanks for commenting.

#402357 - 07/02/12 12:00 PM Re: Sorting through the madness [Re: Robert1000]
Obi Offline

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 1332
Loc: kansas
it takes time... recovery isn't easy, especially at the beginning... but i promise... it does get easier with time...

just take it one step at a time... i know it's the LONG way to go about it, BUT it's the best way to do it and have better results.. trying to tackle too much at once can result in meltdowns, nothing works and you're back to square one....

i fell into that trap myself. i came onto ms and read a bunch of threads, was soaking up all the info i could. i wanted to zipline my way through recovery... WHOOPS!!! crash and meltdown!

i learned the hard way that i had to take it one step at a time.. i've gotten better results that way and have made a lot of progress...

Edited by Obi (07/02/12 12:01 PM)
live another day. climb a little higher.

my story

my vlog

#402364 - 07/02/12 01:38 PM Re: Sorting through the madness [Re: Robert1000]
scottyg Offline

Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 253
Loc: Seattle
Howdy Robert. Great post. You bring up a lot of relevant issues and OBI has done a terrific job with his concise reply. There are a lot of heroes on this site. Honest and brave people who really put themselves out there for all of our benefit. So good for you, Robert for acknowledging them. It's not favorites. The men you mention deserve to be recognized for the very meaningful contributions they make to the community. Thanks to Traveler and Bodygaurd, WhoMe, Mountainous Buck... Thank you Dragon for being here with us.

I just have to say that I've taken it in the face once or twice and most of my front teeth are fake. I get where you're coming from on many levels. I've had similar reactions to the posts that I read. Some are high drama. Some are heartbreaking. Some are sensible. These represent the spectrum of recovery for us as survivors. Issues that are raw and unresolved create heavy drama. And that's ok. Let it out and FORGIVE YOURSELF for doing so. I just posted my story on the Survivor's Stories board. I've written about events I've relived for decades but never uttered a word about til now. Once I started it became effortless for me, a purging and (relatively) heartbreaking chronicle of isolation, alienation and sexual and emotional abuse. Guess what? I am super proud. Proud I could do it. Proud I've made it this far. Proud of myself for seeking help, growing stronger, becoming a healthy human being. First time for everything, right?

I look at this process like starting out at the gym. I look around and there are dudes in there (maybe you) all yoked out, warming up doing 50 reps with a 75 lb barbell in each paw. I'm over on the machine with 75 lbs in BOTH hands and I am in pain for two days afterward. But I keep coming back and I keep coming back and after a while it doesn't hurt. Or when it does hurt, it comes with the feeling of release. The tension and aggression and anger just flow out. Of course, there are other days that I sit on the sofa and eat ice cream but I forgive myself for that. Just like I forgive myself for writing lame extended metaphors. Time passes and pretty soon it's no big deal to do the workout that used to drain me for a week. I may never pick up a 75 lb bell like other guys but it's not about them. It's about me finding my way and getting stronger.
I've got a bike you can ride it if you like.
Its got a basket, a bell that rings
And many other things to make it look good.
I'd give it to you if I could -but I've borrowed it.

#402373 - 07/02/12 02:28 PM Re: Sorting through the madness [Re: Robert1000]
Robert1000 Offline

Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
Nice Scott. Thanks, man. I do appreciate these responses.

#402414 - 07/02/12 09:04 PM Re: Sorting through the madness [Re: Robert1000]
DannyT Offline

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402

Welcome! Thanks for the thoughtful post. I hear you.

You ask, how do we sort this stuff out? I agree with Obi, and I'll add a few things that have helped me.

As you pour out the words, don't judge. Whatever the story is, it's a story. It's the past, and any shame is just a color you're putting on the story. It's like a filter or a pair of sunglasses. Throw the glasses away. To do that put yourself in the role of hearing another person you care about share the story as though it was his. Write it all down, then pretend you're hearing it from one of us.

All that shame is just keeping the healing at bay, like I'm guessing it does to most of us at some time or other.

One of the big boundaries we have to internalize is that the past is over, done, period. The ptsd makes it float around in our heads like it's still happening, but it's not (I hope!).

Every time we think with fear or shame about the abuse times and things that were done, we recreate the memory and we reinforce it. By looking at the past like this, we make it stronger and stronger, like its a person we know who has some control over us.

Fortunately, we can take back the power and weaken that demon by reminding ourselves that in the present we are strong, and relatively safe , and that the past is past. Surround your reflection on the past with the safety of today.

One of the things that makes this so hard to internalize when you first start opening up about the abuse is the fact that you had been so successfully hiding it. When you hide it from other people and think about it and feel bad about it, you feed it. The shame gets bigger and scarier and scarier, so that when you finally get up the nerve to speak or it finally just breaks through, it's like you've gone through labor and have given birth, and now there's this horrible monster in the world and also a terrible aftermath emptiness because the thing you kept so deep inside is now out there, the shame totally on display. You create this world of hiding, nursing the terrible story and telling yourself why you can 't speak, so when you finally do talk, your whole self goes through shock and gets transformed. It's a huge deal.

The Robert who hid this stuff isn't the same man after the telling. It's easy for this to make us feel vulnerable and weak. And since we're afraid of being weak, because we think we were weak in the past, we get in a circle of fear. But in talking we are heroes breaking the silence, breaking through a wall a thousand feet tall and twice as thick. You've never been as strong before as you are today.

So as you let it all out, be careful of yourself. remember the courage it takes to speak, and give yourself the props that's due. Like scottyg said, you're doing some serious lifting! Don't worry about oversharing: we can take it. Your wife can take it. The bigger worry on that count is expecting anything of anyone else as you share. Share for the sake of sharing and opening up to being human just like the rest of us. That makes much bigger healing mojo. You don't need anything but the sharing. You're draining an old sore. The horrible story is not a monster. It's just a big bucket of puss you've been carrying around for years.

It's easy to get needy at times like this. Needing reassurance, needing support, needing, needing, needing. If you get past the needing, then the sharing is a lot safer for everybody. It's one thing sharing this stuff here, we've been through it. Sharing it out there wants this non-needy quality to keep the other person safe from having to try to shoulder any of the burden. Nobody needs to carry that bucket. And again, you don't need anything. You're safe. You'r OK. Just put down the bucket and rest.

Take it easy. Thanks for sharing.

I hope this is helpful,


Edited by DannyT (07/02/12 09:13 PM)

#402416 - 07/02/12 09:27 PM Re: Sorting through the madness [Re: Robert1000]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3399
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Great posts, Robert, Obi, Danny, & Scotty!!!

this is what it's all about! you renew my hope.
(and I LOVE the metaphors = they are often more understandable than the straight talk...)

so much here that is powerful - the feeling of being alone - the fear - the need to feel safe - trying to protect ourselves through strategies that don't work - all dispelled and defused by honesty and sharing and telling our stories - and the support from other men who "get it."

keep it up, brothers!
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

#402490 - 07/03/12 03:53 PM Re: Sorting through the madness [Re: Robert1000]
Robert1000 Offline

Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
Wow, guys. Thanks. I can't tell you how much good it does my heart to read your comments. Thank you.


Moderator:  ModTeam, TJ jeff 

I agree that my access and use of the MaleSurvivor discussion forums and chat room is subject to the terms of this Agreement. AND the sole discretion of MaleSurvivor.
I agree that my use of MaleSurvivor resources are AT-WILL, and that my posting privileges may be terminated at any time, and for any reason by MaleSurvivor.