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#428615 - 03/21/13 02:26 PM Re: My acting out was hidden in plain sight *TRIGGERS [Re: SoccerStar]
Farmer Boy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: SoccerStar
Will,

The full "spectrum" of acting out hasn't really been explored here in detail - thanks for opening the door more broadly. Seems like after your abuse you were DOUBLY overcompensating: becoming a type-A academic / athletic goldenboy to get past the stain / stigma of the attack, and then having to compensate for *that* by signing up for some controlled pain / submission / exploitation, to help you pry off the confines of the mask.


Matt


I agree completely! Will what you have shared here is profound and insightful.

As fo me I can totally relate.

The word 'mask' really drove it home for me.

My way of coping was to live a double life. As a teen I did the 'nasty' type of acting out - basically prostitution without the cash but that was unseen. NOBODY ever knew about that and nobody but you guys and my T know that now.

BUT

That was just one side of me. I was two extremes in one body.

I became a huge overachiever ... I was another Type A student ... I was super religious ..... I volunteered for everything..... I excelled in Drama. I was the goldenboy. (I rembemer being called the 'golden haired boy' and not just because of the blonde highlights).

I had everyone fooled. But I was acting out in plain sight as well......

At 10 I had bad stomach pains (probably stress related PTSD or just constipation) they thought I had appendicitis. The doctor asked me to jump. Since it didn't make the pain worse it wasn't likely appendicitis....the next time he asked me to jump I made out it hurt more. I was looking for attention. I FAKED APPENDICITIS! They decided to take out my appendix. There was nothing wrong with it. I revelled in all the attention from the nurses at the hospital and now I had this cool scare. There was finally physical evidence of my pain.

I didn't sell the drama ... I gave it away (just like the other stuff)

When I was a teen and was diagnosed with (CFS) Chronic fatigue syndrome. I was terribly sick and missed about 6 months of school. Back in the late 80s it was called 'yuppie flu' or (ME) myalgic encephalomyelitis. No one knew anything about it back then - It was this new mystery disease. It seemed to affect young high acheivers (hence yuppie flu) but noone knew why. Makes me wonder if they just didn't ask the right questions. Maybe all these people really had PTSD because of CSA and were burning themselves out trying to coverup the past and prove that nothing was wrong with them. Anyway how this relates... I saw a doctor who was researching it. He had a 12 month waiting list but because of my age (15) I fitted the criteria for his research he would see me straight away. I became one of his guinea pigs. Every 2 months for 5 years or more I had a barrage of tests .. ECGs, EEGs, MRIs, 10 vials of blood taken. I would expose my self to such humiliation and 'abuse' every 8 weeks. I had to strip to my underwear for the ECGs and EEGs etc. I could have stopped at anytime but I didn't - I enjoyed the attention. I developed a close bond with the ladies that took my bloods - they were all motherly types. I would watch the blood coming out and fill the vials and feel utter relief. I was letting 'it' out. And it was perfectly legitimate and legal. The research was totally approved by the AMA. He would trial new drugs/vitamins on me and tweek the dose dependig on my results. To this day I don't know if any of it helped of not. I can see now that volunteering for that was a form of acting out. I avoided doctors for 10 years after that - didn't even have a check up.

So I have acted out in many ways to cope with what happened to me .... some hidden and some in plain sight. I have COMPLETELY taken the 'hardcore' version of acting out off my 'acting out menu' and I can see how these medical examples have been a part of my evolution as well. I am entering a new era of my recovery journey and I am determined to put the past behind me and learn new and 'safe' ways to cope.

Lee
_________________________
More than meets the eye!

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#428643 - 03/21/13 09:45 PM Re: My acting out was hidden in plain sight *TRIGGERS [Re: Suwanee]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3319
Loc: back in the USA
this has been an educational thread for me to read. i can intellectually understand it and see how it makes sense. i see little glimpses of reflections of myself in others' posts - but nothing whole or coherent.

i don't really know how much of my behavior and personality and drives are an inherent part of "me" - and how much is a result of CSA. it started when i was 5 1/2. i don't know who or what i was before that. and how much was a reaction to verbal or physical abuse or bullying? how can i even separate those other forms of abuse from the sekual kind - when it was perpetrated by the same people and usually occurred simultaneously? how much of my identity was inborn and how much was induced?

here is an idea that came to me as i was reading and rereading above: maybe my brand of "acting out" was exactly the opposite of what would be expected or meant by that term. i was the epitome of the "good boy" - i scrupulously followed all the rules - was punctual, did my household chores, completed my homework, raised my hand in class, worked for the merit badges, respected my elders, attended church and youth groups, obeyed every religious, legal and etiquette law and expectation. i excelled in academics, art and drama - as others above have mentioned.

but was that "acting out"? or was it over-compensation for feeling less than others? or was it a distraction and an escape from the unhappiness of my life? or was it just what most people saw as an admirable trait of trying to do my best in everything? i think it kept me sane and out of "trouble" in the more conventionally understood definition of the word - but i have no idea how much of "me" is innate - and how much was created or at least influenced by the early events?

i guess i ended up with more questions than answers - and maybe it doesn't even matter. it is what it is - and there's not much, if anything, i can do about it now. unless i need to do something totally BAD to negate the reverse acting out that was so goody-goody! (just being sarcastic)

Lee
_________________________
We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9

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#428662 - 03/22/13 02:49 AM Re: My acting out was hidden in plain sight *TRIGGERS [Re: Suwanee]
crazy gecko Offline


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 309
This thread makes me think about my own life... especially recent years.

When people discuss acting out, I always think of myself in my teens and twenties - doing drugs, being promiscuous, sabotaging any relationship where the other party showed genuine care/concern...

But this thread has made me think about how, after I quit drugs and went through a bit of therapy, I threw myself into my work. I worked like a slave and I based a lot of my self-worth on my successful career. I thought I was doing great. I was happy. I was successful and I earned good money. When my wife passed away, I scaled that down in order to be a better parent. I detached from my career somewhat... worked less hours, changed to a job with less pressure, shorter hours and less money. Is it a co-incidence that shortly after doing this, my abuse re-surfaced? Suddenly all those old feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing returned and started building up until I finally cracked all over again? Or was it simply the stress of loosing my wife, going through major surgery less than a year later, and adjusting to being a single parent through it all...

I really don't know. I've never considered this angle. I think I should bring this up in therapy sometime.
_________________________
I guess what I'm trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin'
Living is the best revenge
You can play
-- Def Leppard

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#428674 - 03/22/13 07:26 AM Re: My acting out was hidden in plain sight *TRIGGERS [Re: crazy gecko]
Suwanee Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 693
Loc: Southeast USA
CG,

I think it is important to look for behaviors where past abuse is an identifiable cause. At the same time, it's important to understand what isn't related to CSA. You have been through the ringer. The stress you were under would put anybody---I mean anybody with or without CSA into a difficult situation. You had to redefine your "self". That's an immense task. No one can do that easily.

I don't want to lead you or anyone else down a road that you don't want to follow. This crazy stuff just came to me in the past two weeks, but I think on a deep, deep level I've known it for much longer. I had to cancel my T appt. this week, so I haven't really vetted this with her. I'm eager to get her response to it. She may say I'm in the weeds here, but for me, I think it is a breakthrough.

As they say, your mileage may vary, some assembly required, see store for details, not valid in Alaska, etc.

All the best.

Will
_________________________
Cruel Summer
My Journal

-Signs and traces left in stone
Ruins of a past unknown-

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#428703 - 03/22/13 01:43 PM Re: My acting out was hidden in plain sight *TRIGGERS [Re: Suwanee]
genedebs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 285
Loc: MO
Yeah Swanee, (and everyone else)

Acting out becomes a lingering displacement of what was really going on and how it affected me. For myself, When I was 4 and asked my mother for a good humor bar, and my father knocked my mother off the porch when she asked for money (I believed I caused my Daddy to punch my mommy). The physical and emotional abuse continued. When I was 11, the sexual abuse began. At 11, I also started competitive swimming. I was good (the 5th fastest butterfly in Detroit). However, when I was 14 I began volunteering in the projects of Washington D. C.

At 14 I also joined the civil rights movement and was involved in a major role of voter registration in Virginia (at the time of Mississippi Summer). Then assigned the responsibility to set up a volunteer tutorial program is the projects area (Green Valley) in Arlington Va.

This led to getting a grant for a tutorial program in the neighborhood for the summer of 1965 (while I was a junior in High school). The governor of Virginia refused to release the money until two days before the end of the program.

This kind of effort continued through college. A 300 member tutorial program, teaching 9 credit hours, another federal grant, etc. Through it all I believed I was worthless. I never thought of this as acting out since it was not a traditional method (sports and high grades). From your experience I can now see this as trying to prove my worth and ignore my csa and other abuse and trauma damages.

Even though I have been in therapy for ever and on meds and more than 20 years sober, I still am in denial. Thanks for opening my eyes.

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#428785 - 03/23/13 02:25 AM Re: My acting out was hidden in plain sight *TRIGGERS [Re: Suwanee]
Farmer Boy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Australia
Not directed to anyone in particular .....but

I could be wrong but I got the impression that in Will's original post he was referring more to his 'selling his body' to be abused for science and relinquishing control in one way or another as a form of acting out. Because through these things he was reenacting the abuse....but not in a sexual way. I didn't get the impression that his high achieving was 'acting out'. Although it too appears to be somehow related to CSA - like a form of cover up to hide the truth.

Just my thoughts.

Lee
_________________________
More than meets the eye!

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#428800 - 03/23/13 07:34 AM Re: My acting out was hidden in plain sight *TRIGGERS [Re: Farmer Boy]
Suwanee Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 693
Loc: Southeast USA
Lee,

To clarify my original long post:

1) I was an adventure seeking kind of kid...pre-abuse included.
2) I was/am ADHD
3) After what happened, I became sullen, irritable, withdrawn; I acted out overtly, hid the real cause and blamed it on my parents' move.
4) I had knee surgery and experienced a loss of control in a clinical setting.
5) The ADHD was treated with Ritalin; I was able to focus my energy.
6) I shifted my attention to the things I was good at---swimming, baseball and academics.
7) I went to an ultra-competitive boarding school where I was in my element.
8) In college, I discovered that I was an adult and had control over my body.
9) That epiphany led me to understand that control meant I had the power to give up control if I wanted to. Like Matt said, it was used to moderate the competitive side of me that compensated for the lack of control I had when I was abused.
10) University researchers are always looking for college students to use as physchological/physiological research subjects; I reconnected with the old clinically sanctioned loss of control---often for money. I used them and they used me.

It was acting out.

Which is worse---selling yourself as a research subject, or selling yourself as a research subject with ulterior motives? The answer is, "nobody cares." That is acting out in plain sight.

Will


Edited by Suwanee (03/23/13 09:34 AM)
_________________________
Cruel Summer
My Journal

-Signs and traces left in stone
Ruins of a past unknown-

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#428806 - 03/23/13 08:56 AM Re: My acting out was hidden in plain sight *TRIGGERS [Re: Suwanee]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3600
Loc: South-East Europe
Originally Posted By: Suwanee
I reconnected with clinically sanctioned loss of control---often for money.

It was acting out.

Which is worse---selling yourself as a research subject, or selling yourself as a research subject with ulterior motives? The answer is, "nobody cares." That is acting out in plain sight.
Will

Hey man, it was acting out but you did what ever you could to go trough it, carefully looking for self thinking on every possible detail and memorizing it.
You did all that with one goal: to make insight into self and to learn more about abuse and later impacts even it could be said that you did partly unconsciously. So in that light I think it was not so bad, meaningless and negative.
Be proud on yourself, you found your unique way toward healing.
You were real fighter and survivor back than even while wearing T-shirt and Umbro soccer shorts (just kidding wink )!

(((Will))) wink
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