Originally posted by michaelb:
Donald....what you say is very insightful and kind of summarizes self-defeating behaviors....do you think the self-hatred causes these behaviors????
I think self-hatred has a lot to do with it. But self-hatred is just the top layer of this particular "onion". Underneath is the guilt and shame I felt. Guilt that I caused it. Guilt that I enjoyed it. Guilt that comes from loving the perp and refusing to think he could be an evil sick f*ck, so it must be me who was evil and sick.
Shame from being raped. More shame from liking what was happening just before the rape. Shame from liking and wanting sex.
Not to forget the shame and guilt that I absorbed from the culture and society I grew up in.
For me, some of the self-hatred got converted somewhere along the way, but it was just as pointless and just as deluded. I guess it was just another method of coping. I began to think that if I didn't have sex or even think about it, this made me somehow superior. At least I could never be like my perps, I could never be abusive.
How long does it take to get rid of the self-pity????? i've been conscious of being in that mode for a couple of years, but if i'm honest with myself, guess i've been there for 40 years...
How long....? I can't answer that. No one can. I've been at this actively, seriously for close to 6 years now. Self-pity, for me, was the last to go, but I only felt self-pity after other things had been dealt with.
I mean, the first to go were the guilt and shame. Then I was in a full blown anger stage for a time. Rage at my perps, anyone who didn't protect me, myself for my own stupidity, God, the universe, fate, you name it. This got directed at everyone around me; family, friends, co-workers, clerks in stores, everyone.
I realized I was hurting people and so I isolated as much as I could, to protect them, and myself from the consequences.
But the anger went after a while. Then I worked on forgiveness. I forgave who and what I could, and I have made my peace with what and who I cannot forgive.
Forgiving myself was part of this, even though I THOUGHT I had forgiven myself already when I no longer felt guilt and shame. I think deep down, self forgivness was and is the hardest. Especially if you think that something about yourself is "wrong".
This could be anything. I mean if I am immature, irresponsible, unreasonable, selfish, or just plain lazy, that couldn't be my fault could it? Let me check the literature on this... I know there's a good reason.
If I don't like crowds, or cake, or talking on the phone, there must be something wrong with me, and I bet it's because I was getting blowjobs when I was 3.
I could gain weight and muscle if I really wanted to, if I was a better, stronger person, but my cousin raped me 38 years ago so obviously I can't, and I really don't deserve to be fit and healthy.
Sorry, I got carried away. Making excuses was my point. And for me, making excuses, and the constant searching for them was/is a way to stay stuck in self-pity mode.
will being aware of it allow me to get over it???? to really change things?????
You think all this self investigation can really help you or me in the long run????????
Yes, I do. But awareness isn't the end of it. Acceptance is.
I accept that I'm not the life of the party. And I don't care why. But last night, I was at a birthday party and I had the best time I have had in decades. THE BEST. I talked and laughed with more people last night than I have in months.
The work, the research, the self-investigation, the awareness are necessary and important. Very important.
But when the work becomes an end in itself, or a search for more and more "reasons"; more and more excuses, then I think it's just "mental masturbation", and it's time to force myself to try something else.
I am starting with acceptance of who, what, and how I am. I am consciously living IN AND FOR today, and for the future I want.
Yes, it's tough. Yes, I slip. Yes, sometimes I need support and validation and reminders of what I have already learned.
I have this place and other resources for this.
But I needed something else. Accountability. I have gotten this by telling people my story. Disclosure. To groups of other survivors, to my aunt and uncle, to my best friends, to my mother, and now, just recently, to my boss.
All of them were supportive. All of them validated my worth and value.
My telling them was many things; necessary, healing, triumphant.
But most of all, disclosure was a statement and then a promise to myself. I will get past this. I will be OK. I am healing.
I leave you with this. It may seem foolish or trite but it has stayed in my head for several years now.
I was on-line chatting with another survivor. He told me to do or just think about doing this:
Go to a cemetary. Find the grave of a child, or a young parent. Ask yourself, "Would they change places with you, knowing all your sorrow and misery and pain?"
I know I am a lucky man. My life of misery, pain, and isolation has left me in a position, a lifestyle, and with assets that many people envy.
They don't know my history or that I have a medical condition which may make me blind, or place me in a wheelchair, even possibly kill me.
I laugh to myself when someone says "Man, you have it made!" I wonder what they would say if they knew all about me.
And then I think of a cemetary.