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#424182 - 02/03/13 07:09 PM change / no change?
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3452
Loc: somewhere in Africa
This is going to sound really sick – and I don’t mean in the popular, current, slang sense of the word of "really good" –where did that come from, anyway? – it’s crazy! I mean it will sound warped, unhealthy and abnormal. So what else is new – right? Just business as usual – another day on the funny farm – status quo for all of us misfits.

I am really conflicted about getting “better.” I already posted about being afraid that I will change too much and not know myself or be myself or lose part of myself that is an important part of my identity. Not that it is an immediate danger – (LOL!!!) - but it does inhibit me from moving ahead as whole-heartedly as I would like to think that I might do otherwise.

I have always had a love-hate feeling towards the majority – feeling different and wanting to be like everybody else – but also a horror of being assimilated and indistinguishable from everybody else. I always knew I was alienated and wanted to be accepted – but also thought I was different in a special way and didn’t want to give up that distinction. Maybe it is a perverse sort of reverse pride – taking comfort in the very thing that makes me wounded, damaged and isolated. cherishing the very thing that is the source of the hurt – refusing to let the bullet be extracted or the poison purged or the cancer cut out. It seems like part of ME. So I cling to it desperately like a drowning man clutching at insubstantial flotsam. (terrible mixed metaphor!)

One of the reasons for this fear, I now am starting to realize – is that if I am “well” I will no longer have an excuse for the quirks and flaws and weaknesses that I have allowed myself to live with. I am afraid that I will be “expected” to behave and cope and carry on just like anybody else. It was easier to have that one-size-fits-all rationalization to let myself off the hook. (And I HATE expectations!) That tendency to make allowances for myself can sabotage my progress.

I think I am ready to admit that the fear is a false one. I will NEVER change that much. I have gone so far as to say – “If I didn’t have scars, I would not have a face!” The history of abuse is all a part of me – and cannot be so totally overcome that it will be reversed or undone or forgotten. I am who I am – scars and all. I can accept that – and try to do so without excuses or apologies or denial or overcompensation or pretense. That fear is no longer going to hold me back. I am going to keep pushing on. Not without anxiety, though… I am sure there will always be something to fear. That, too, is part of who I am.

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


Top
#424183 - 02/03/13 08:02 PM Re: change / no change? [Re: traveler]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Since you've helped me on innumerable occasions, Lee, I'll chime in.

For one, I'll share what a cousin (in his own recovery) said to me when we again connected after a few decades: Life isn't about filling the holes, it's living with them.

For another, I'll go Star Trek on you: (it's a vintage Lancer touch, but works for me)



And I'll also ask, what is "getting better"? Functioning "normally"? imo, we're all flawed in some way. And we all do our best to function "normally"...even when that's not good enough. A lot of the so-called normal people I've encountered are completely unconscious, in denial or, at the extreme, even sociopathic.

The implication I took from your post is that you feel afraid if you suddenly became "normal" you'd lose a part of yourself. I agree, Lee. The pain and humiliation your brothers and I have suffered have made us who we are...and that includes the good stuff, too. Despite the PTSD some us have, I nevertheless encounter empathy on these boards. Yeah, we're capable of that, too.

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#424200 - 02/04/13 12:36 AM Re: change / no change? [Re: traveler]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 916
Loc: New York
The fear seems twofold:

1. Since you suffered the abuse in the first place, you ought to at least "get something" out of it - if nothing more than the ability to say "I was abused and these are the effects." If the effects get minimized, if you get too much "better," then it would almost be like saying the abuse itself wasn't so bad, when it plainly was and when get-over-it-ism is so fucking painful. In a way it would be a vindication of everyone who snorted at you to get-over-it. Is that more or less it?

In a way it can be compared to the story of the Fall. Adam and Eve eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil - and so are punished. They become mortal, cursed to grow old and die, cursed to have to struggle and toil for their food, Eve (and all women) forced to suffer in childbirth. Well, that sucks, doesn't it? Life sure sounded ruined when they were cast out of Eden. But... they gained the knowledge of good and evil, gained self-awareness and judgment and autonomy, which in the story some of the heavenly host say actually "ranks" them above angels. All this miserable shit went down - and you're supposed to part with everything that you still carry with you, even the elements that for better and for worse are part of your identity?


2. The abuse changed you. That change was awful. Further change, related to it, is inherently scary - because all of the prior series of changes were. It's like when someone breaks their arm and the doctor says it has to be RE-broken in the other direction to allow it to heal. Umm, whose idea was this? From everything you're feeling, breaking the arm is BAD.

I don't think you're sick for fearing recovery, as a concept. I think self-preservation is a natural and praiseworthy drive in every survivor - and you're reluctant to go through with something that would scoop out part of yourself. Even if it's a "bad" part. Just the change itself sets off alarms. And that's okay, because you deserve to be protected by those alarms, you are entitled after everything to take an extra 10 or 15 looks at anything that could change you ever again.

I hope that made sense....


Matt
_________________________
My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

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#424214 - 02/04/13 03:01 AM Re: change / no change? [Re: traveler]
cosmos Offline


Registered: 11/12/12
Posts: 184
Loc: Puget Sound
Lee does it comes down to fear of change?

We are all afraid of changes, here more than most, you make yourself in your own mind one way to deny the abuse and then in the process of learning to accept the unacceptable you force yourself to change yet again to become a “real person”; not “normal” after all what is normal? You realize that you’re neither the young abused boy any longer you’re a man, but you also realize how evil people can be, your different from them you know the truth about the world, the real world. “normal” never have to deal with cold hard reality, you did as a little boy, not your choice totally out of your control, you had to change then to survive, now you have to change yet again this time to be yourself, to become who you really are, scared of yourself, scared of who’ll you’ll be, scared of being “normal” why? Your you, you’ve always been you and always will be, nothing can change you but you, and everything that I read that you write shows you are a great person, someone who cares, not “normal”. “normal” allows and enables people to do unspeakable horrors to others; I know you could never allow things like that to happen. Personally I felt incomplete until I remembered, stopped the denial, I never felt me, I was always searching, my searching led me to try all kinds of drugs, I’ve seen inside my own head from angles and directions I never thought possible, and all the times when my mind was nothing, I was still me, no matter the horrors or joys before me I was always me, as you are you, that part of you, your soul or whatever you want to call it can never change, it’s who you really are and always have been its everything good about you. I think one of the things the abuse affects tremendously is our ability to be able to see and understand that our souls, our being is both good and immutable, not saying we can’t change our behavior or do bad things but I have to believe we are all good and choose no matter how misguided to do bad, some however really poor pathetic souls can do evil, people that destroy little kids, people that kill, people I’ll never be able to understand. See I deal with this too but for me it’s because I have nothing prior to the abuse nothing exists for me, so I have to go with what I have, a bunch of self-induced psychotic episodes that have shown me no matter what I’m the same person strait or tripping, that no matter what the core of my being can never change although my actions and reactions can and do change significantly dependent on my state of mind.

Recovery, fear of it, why? Everything changes everyone changes, things can’t stay the same, sometimes quickly other times slowly but change is inevitable, change is good, change means your human, means you can adapt and in this case overcome horrific treatment, and learn to be true to yourself.


Cee
_________________________
"it has never yet been discovered how to make man unknow his knowledge, or unthink his thoughts"

T. Paine

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#424217 - 02/04/13 06:15 AM Re: change / no change? [Re: traveler]
Farmer Boy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Australia
Lee

I get it!

This song has been coming up on my ipod a lot lately. It is kind of the way I am trying to think about it lately.....still working on it (as we all are). Especially the line 'Less like haunting, more like remember'.

I think it applies here somewhat.

It is 'Less Like Scares' by Sara Groves

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aElYtqTpAaE

Here are the Lyrics too

It's been a hard year
But I'm climbing out of the rubble
These lessons are hard
Healing changes are subtle

But every day it's less like tearing, more like building
Less like captive, more like willing
Less like breakdown, more like surrender
Less like haunting, more like remember

And I feel you here and you're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars and more like character

Less like a prison, more like my room
It's less like a casket, more like a womb
Less like dying, more like transcending
Less like fear, less like an ending

And I feel you here and you're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars

Just a little while ago,
I couldn't feel the power or the hope
I couldn't cope, I couldn't feel a thing
Just a little while back, I was desperate, broken, laid out
Hoping you would come

And I need you and I want you here
And I feel you

And I know you're here and you're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad, bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars

And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars and more like character
More like, more like, more like character, oh

And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars and more like character
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars

_________________________
More than meets the eye!

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#424220 - 02/04/13 07:10 AM Re: change / no change? [Re: traveler]
Aptrick Offline


Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 65
Loc: Nashville,Tennessee
I have no doubt that one day I will be on the other side of all this self-torture and misery, but becoming someone who i don't recognize anymore has been a very real fear for me. I don't want to be the guy who can see the reality that exists outside of societies 'safety box'. You know the fantasy that "nothing bad ever happens to good people", or people "like me". Well, it already has and I have been exposed to alot more of the fantasy safety-crushing truths out there, and as much as i dread sometimes becoming 'normal', i know I can never be. What happened in my past will always be in my past. I can not change it only learn how to stop allowing it to effect my present and future. Even if my fears go away and my 'problems' get better, I will always be that boy who was abused deep down inside. That is not as bad as it sounds, what i mean is I am always going to be a little wiser about the dangers out there, a bit more cautious towards the potential enemies, and a bit kinder to those who seem to be struggling. Even when I feel free of all my 'luggage' I still want to be the sensitive, insightful, caring, helpful man that i grew to become because of all that
abuse. I will always be special in ways no one else will probably ever recognize or discover. I think the fear of changing is just a sign that you are at a crossroads of sorts and it's the irrational trying to hold you back. Hold on to the good stuff, the parts of you that make you feel proud and sane.

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#424911 - 02/11/13 04:00 AM Re: change / no change? [Re: Lancer]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3452
Loc: somewhere in Africa
i was overwhelmed by the responses i got to this post. it was just like my first few times when i thought no one could understand or feel the same as i do. it was amazing to see that some not only understood but had similar thoughts. the responses were so thoughtful and helpful that they moved me beyond words. at the time, i couldn't even fully comprehend all that was being said because the emotion was so strong. there was a LOT going on at the time, but with a bit more distance and perspective, i can reply - thank you, brothers!

Lancer -

Originally Posted By: Lancer
The implication I took from your post is that you feel afraid if you suddenly became "normal" you'd lose a part of yourself. I agree, Lee. The pain and humiliation your brothers and I have suffered have made us who we are...and that includes the good stuff, too. Despite the PTSD some us have, I nevertheless encounter empathy on these boards. Yeah, we're capable of that, too.

and i agree with your comment, too. i think i'm getting to the place where i am much more self-accepting and self-forgiving. and that means i will not feel compelled to keep on changing or to try so hard to be "normal" - but can relax more and say - like Popeye - "I yam what i yam and tha's all what I yam!"

and i love the Star Trek quote - "I need my pain." i never thought of it that way before - but it has been both a curse and a blessing - and i guess i couldn't have had either one without the other.

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


Top
#424913 - 02/11/13 04:13 AM Re: change / no change? [Re: SoccerStar]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3452
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Matt -
Originally Posted By: SoccerStar
1. Since you suffered the abuse in the first place, you ought to at least "get something" out of it - if nothing more than the ability to say "I was abused and these are the effects." If the effects get minimized, if you get too much "better," then it would almost be like saying the abuse itself wasn't so bad, when it plainly was and when get-over-it-ism is so fucking painful. In a way it would be a vindication of everyone who snorted at you to get-over-it. Is that more or less it?

yes - that is part of it - if it is over and done and everything is OK - that minimizes the seriousness of the harm and makes it seem not as traumatic as it was.
Originally Posted By: SoccerStar
2. The abuse changed you. That change was awful. Further change, related to it, is inherently scary - because all of the prior series of changes were. It's like when someone breaks their arm and the doctor says it has to be RE-broken in the other direction to allow it to heal. Umm, whose idea was this? From everything you're feeling, breaking the arm is BAD.

i assume it must have changed me but i was so young that i really hardly remember much at all of the time before. what could a 5-year old know of who or what he is? generally, i am pretty good with change - remodeling, selling a house and moving cross-country, switching careers, traveling to another country for a new job... it's all OK with me - sort of exciting! but when it is ME that is threatened - that is different - for a long time "I" was the only thing i was sure about - so changing or losing part of that identity seemed risky.

Originally Posted By: SoccerStar
I don't think you're sick for fearing recovery, as a concept. I think self-preservation is a natural and praiseworthy drive in every survivor - and you're reluctant to go through with something that would scoop out part of yourself. Even if it's a "bad" part. Just the change itself sets off alarms. And that's okay, because you deserve to be protected by those alarms, you are entitled after everything to take an extra 10 or 15 looks at anything that could change you ever again.

calling it "self-preservation" helps. at least i don't feel like such a wimp! seriously - change isn't always good. so i think i really need to be sure that whatever changes i make are going to be improvements - not just differences.

thanks for your reassurance,
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


Top
#424915 - 02/11/13 04:25 AM Re: change / no change? [Re: cosmos]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3452
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Cee - lots of good stuff to think about but here is what i honed in on:
Originally Posted By: cosmos
...now you have to change yet again this time to be yourself, to become who you really are, scared of yourself, scared of who’ll you’ll be, scared of being “normal” why? Your you, you’ve always been you and always will be, nothing can change you but you
...
all the times when my mind was nothing, I was still me, no matter the horrors or joys before me I was always me, as you are you, that part of you, your soul or whatever you want to call it can never change, it’s who you really are and always have been its everything good about you.

actually - i think i am becoming MORE myself rather than less! i had never looked at it like that before. it is really more like growth than like death. it took me several time reading this through to realize that.

thanks,
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


Top
#424917 - 02/11/13 04:32 AM Re: change / no change? [Re: Farmer Boy]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3452
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Lee - means a lot to hear those 1st 3 words:
Originally Posted By: Farmer Boy
I get it!

This song has been coming up on my ipod a lot lately. It is kind of the way I am trying to think about it lately.....

I think it applies here somewhat.
...
But every day it's less like tearing, more like building
Less like captive, more like willing
Less like breakdown, more like surrender
Less like haunting, more like remember
...
Less like a prison, more like my room
It's less like a casket, more like a womb
Less like dying, more like transcending
Less like fear, less like an ending
...
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars and more like character
...


i love the contrasts between the lists of "less" and "more" words - very encouraging.
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


Top
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