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#404450 - 07/23/12 08:11 AM heart trouble
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3396
Loc: somewhere in Africa
When I was in my 30s I first had some of my abuse memories re-surface. I got very depressed and started seeing a therapist. The step-father died and I drove my family to the funeral. That was when I first started having panic symptoms and thought I was having a heart attack. Ironic Ė my 1st thought was Ė he died of a heart attack. Maybe itís hereditary. But of course I couldnít have gotten it from him.

When we got home, I went to a doctor and discovered that I had mitral valve prolapse. It was not an extremely dangerous case but there were certain precautions I was supposed to take to minimize the effects. I was surprised by this discovery because I had not had any previous knowledge of the condition.

Until I suddenly had a flashback to a previously suppressed memory of overhearing my parents talking about me when they didnít know I was there. I must have been less than 10 at the time. They said I had a ďheart murmur.Ē I didnít really know what that meant but had heard people talk about it relating to other people and it didnít sound good. They NEVER told me about my condition and I never had any cautions or limits to my participation in PE or strenuous activities in scouts or anything else. I know I never had any special tests or follow-up about the situation and it was never mentioned again. As an adult, I put the 2 incidents together and figured out that it was probably the same condition that had lain dormant or unknown for all that time. But shouldn't they have told me - if not when i was a kid - at least when i became an adult? What if i needed medical care and no one knew of my history?

Weird thing though Ė when I was 11-12, the step-father used to get me up at 5:30 and take me to the Jr. Hi track and run me around it repeatedly. He pushed me pretty hard. He said he didnít want to be embarrassed by me when I got to Jr. Hi and performed badly like heíd seen other kids do. That was also the year that I remember the worst of the abuse happening Ė and when the recurring nightmares and night terrors were the worst.

I just remembered about the heart murmur and being forced to run laps. And now I am wondering about it. Maybe Iím being paranoid. Was he trying to strengthen me Ė or kill me? Iíll probly never know. Heís dead. Mom has Alzheimerís. There is no one to ask.

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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#404455 - 07/23/12 08:28 AM Re: heart trouble [Re: traveler]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5942
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Wow Lee, that is truly a frightening revelation to have had to experience. To not fully understand the memories and then to have the two of them reveal that possible conclusion is overwhelming adding to that the diagnosis of the heart valve condition that led to the discovery of those memories.

What you remember about your step father... will this change what you know about him? Will it reinforce what you already know? If it is, then the trauma that you suffered as a child, that you survived was even more profound than you had imagined. This discovery, reasoning on it, being driven about with the emotions and then breaking through with reassurance that you survived these events and that they are every bit what you expected from those people, but they are not going to be repeated in your life.

If it is not something that can be verified, then you are the leading witness and the expert, and I trust what you remember and the conclusions you come up with, as a working theory or case closed, I am confident you will find the best answer for you.

Sam
_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#404585 - 07/24/12 07:35 AM Re: heart trouble [Re: traveler]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3396
Loc: somewhere in Africa
thanks for responding, Sam.

**"What you remember about your step father... will this change what you know about him? Will it reinforce what you already know?"**

it all seems totally in character for him. i was not the ideal replacement for his perfect kids who had died. i was nothing but a disappointment and an embarrassment to him - though it was largely his abuse that made me the fearful, inept, insecure wimp that i was. he was a very angry man and abusive in many ways.

**"If it is, ... then breaking through with reassurance that you survived these events and that they are every bit what you expected from those people, but they are not going to be repeated in your life."**

yes - i am now physically out of reach - but the emotions and thoughts have reached far beyond the reach of their arms and voices. and ironically - there has been another apparently negative circumstance that resulted from this that had an unexpected silver lining...

i remember at about the same age being obsessed with the idea that i was going blind. i started wearing glasses in 4th grade and my eyes got worse so quickly that i was getting new ones every 6 months. i now remember reasoning that if they were keeping my heart problem from me, then they were likely to keep other secrets too. (very true - but not what i thought!) i was sure that i was going blind and that no one was going to tell me. I even practiced walking around the house and home from school with my eyes closed for several minutes at a time so that i would be able to function when my sight failed. i tried to learn to write without looking at the page. i looked at everything i could see very intently so that i would be able to remember what the world looked like when i could no longer see. i think that was one thing that helped me to be a good artist - detailed careful observation.

But i had forgotten up until i was an adult about the heart condition being the basis for my blindness obsession. that part has only recently come back and connected.

so many details keep fitting into place...

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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#404761 - 07/25/12 02:02 PM Re: heart trouble [Re: traveler]
Magellan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1402
Loc: California
Hey Lee,

I was shocked and saddened to read what you wrote in your first post. What terrible memories to have! I'm sorry that was your experience.

I have a question for you, and it might be challenging? What was the current wisdom among doctors about children with heart murmurs when you were younger? Do you know if your step dad / mom was following doctor advice?

I ask because I had a similar experience. I was very angry at my mom and step dad for not stepping in and stopping the abuse I was suffering from elementary school. Most of my class ridiculed me and taunted me because of my hearing aids and glasses. Bullied by most of my peers. I complained and complained, but my parents did nothing.

I became very angry over that and resented them for a very long time. During one conversation with I think, rare honesty, my mom and I came to talk about that and she said it was current wisdom at the time to allow the kids to learn how to resolve the issue themselves. That's what they decided to do with me.

Unfortunately, they failed. I suffered and paid a severe price for it. But when my mom said that was the decision they made after deliberate thought, I realized she just made a mistake. It wasn't deliberate. She wasn't trying to hurt me intentionally. She didn't realize that children needed coaching through tough experiences. I received absolutely no coaching at all. It was a horrific failure on her part.

I don't intend to dismiss how horrible your step father and mother were. There was obvious negligence and abuse on their part. You should have never suffered at their hands.

I ask these challenging questions because I am learning something in my own recovery which I would like to share with you. I am beginning to learn that choosing to look at things differently results in my having an empowered feeling about them. Choosing to look at my mom as clueless instead of spiteful changes the feeling I have about her abuse, and thus, gives me power to do something about it.

I hope all that made sense. :-/

D



_________________________
It's a heroes journey, and you are the hero.

Loving Kindness Meditation will dramatically improve your spirits; give it a try for just 3 days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM

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