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#430796 - 04/10/13 09:10 PM Triggering and Ego?
SkyLukewalker Offline


Registered: 08/12/12
Posts: 31
Loc: West Coast, US
I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about stress and it's relationship to how triggered I get, or don't get. I've known for a long time that when I'm feeling 'low', I'll get triggered. Just calling it 'low' or 'depressed' has never resonated with me ... I've always wondered just what it was that I *am* saying.

Recently - after doing some thinking and research - I think I stumbled on something and I want to share it / discuss it with you. I think ... I think my triggering has to do with how healthy my ego is. For example, when I'm feeling pretty good about things and nothing's happened to make me feel bad about myself - I don't even think about triggering. Me? Triggered? Ridiculous.

Flip side - ego has taken a beating. Bad news at work, bad news at home, somebody within my sphere of life takes a shot at me ... ego starts taking a nose dive. Then the triggering begins. I had some bad family news in the last few days and it's set me back emotionally. Not surprisingly, I'm hit up left right and center with all kinds of triggering. I've had to be very careful with myself as far as remaining centered, not letting it drag me down, not acting out.

As I'm going through this process, though, it occurred to me that really what's happening is that my ego has taken a beating and I've somehow sexualized it. My ego starts triggering me as some kind of bizarre self-defense mechanism and if I don't get a handle on it and start taking care of myself, it'll start building until I get enough positive stuff in my life to resolve the emotional issue or act out, setting myself up for weeks of guilt and emotional cratering.

I think for me, SSA is me seeing another guy - the 'ideal male' - and projecting on him that he's got a healthy ego and part of me wants to have one too. In some twisted way, the sex act would be me taking from his ego and giving it to myself. Acting out would be my ego insisting that I be seen in a certain, sexualized light until after it's over and I become an emotional wreck.

That's as far as I got in my thoughts and wanted to check in with you. What do you think?


Edited by SkyLukewalker (04/11/13 02:28 PM)

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#430884 - 04/11/13 02:28 PM Re: Triggering and Ego? [Re: SkyLukewalker]
SkyLukewalker Offline


Registered: 08/12/12
Posts: 31
Loc: West Coast, US
- bump ... guys ... I could really use your input

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#430888 - 04/11/13 03:05 PM Re: Triggering and Ego? [Re: SkyLukewalker]
Jacob S Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 550
You're farther than I am in knowing what triggers me. For me, its still a random list that I can vaguely relate to my past. As far as deeper reasons, it definitely is related to me feeling validated. If I feel in danger of being seen as weak or unimportant, I am more likely to want to run. Because it is the weak and unimportant that get hurt.

I don't think my ego is ever healthy, but maybe what you are calling ego I would call validation. But I can be having a great day and the trigger comes out of nowhere.

As far as projecting onto people we are attracted to, I think I can relate to that. There have been people that become, like you said, an image of the ideal rather than seeing them as people. That always leads to danger, because it causes us to ask too much of them which hurts both people.

I also know what it is to feel like my sense of worth is wrapped up in being perceived in a sexual light. I don't know what to say about that except be careful with it. Work on learning about what makes you be YOU in other areas.
_________________________
"As long as the child within is not allowed to become aware of what happened to him or her, a part of his or her emotional life will remain frozen . . . all appeals to love, solidarity, and compassion will be useless."
-- Alice Miller

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#430920 - 04/11/13 06:56 PM Re: Triggering and Ego? [Re: SkyLukewalker]
bodyguard8367 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""
""


Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/26/14 10:49 PM)

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#430921 - 04/11/13 06:57 PM Re: Triggering and Ego? [Re: SkyLukewalker]
Farmer Boy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Australia
Hey Skylukewalker

Good to see you again.

I can relate - but I wouldn't use the word ego - more selfworth.

I think this is really powerful insight you have got. Recongising what triggers the desire to act out is HUGE. For me I would say it is a feeling of worthlessness. When I felt that way I used turn to the way I was taught as a kid to have worth - sex. And I would seek out someone 'better' than myself. The ideal male. I really think you are on to something with the 'wanting what they have' rather than 'wanting to have sex with them.' It is kind of like thinking that if the ideal man finds me attractive and wants to have sex with me then I must be ok. I have worth. or another way to put it is also like you are upping your ranking in the 'ego' charts by association.

I am feeling really good about myself at the moment (good ego I guess) and I don't feel at all like acting out/SSA......interesting.

Quote:
I often think it is a cyclical deal being in recovery and dealing with my incest and crap. Some days I feel great. Some days I feel awful...and yeah, when My ego is ok, I AM OK... There is nothing better than the feeling of being me when I am liking being me. When I am ON...get out the way...it is gonna be a "take no prisoners" kinda game.


Yep that is me too.

Lee


Edited by Farmer Boy (04/11/13 07:00 PM)
Edit Reason: add quote
_________________________
More than meets the eye!

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#430931 - 04/11/13 07:37 PM Re: Triggering and Ego? [Re: SkyLukewalker]
Poorsoft Offline


Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 163
Well put it this way, I thought someone was writing about me when I read your post!

I think it's a matter of 'wax on' and 'wax off', when dealing with any type of grief (because this is grief, we all lost something); we switch from taking a break from grieving and living in the moment a little to focusing on the grief and fully experiecing it, which is often a negative one, but compeltely neccasary.

It's just your mind working things out, imagine having all this, all the time, constantly? You would break, I'm glad I have my ups as well as my downs otherwise I'd be long gone.

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#430939 - 04/11/13 08:51 PM Re: Triggering and Ego? [Re: SkyLukewalker]
traveler Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3204
Loc: back in the USA
Originally Posted By: SkyLukewalker
I've known for a long time that when I'm feeling 'low', I'll get triggered. Just calling it 'low' or 'depressed' has never resonated with me ...

...Flip side - ego has taken a beating. Bad news at work, bad news at home, somebody within my sphere of life takes a shot at me ... ego starts taking a nose dive. Then the triggering begins. I had some bad family news in the last few days and it's set me back emotionally. Not surprisingly, I'm hit up left right and center with all kinds of triggering. I've had to be very careful with myself as far as remaining centered, not letting it drag me down, not acting out.


SL - i think you've sensed something important here. it is not just the emotional low that makes us more likely to be triggered. but also a matter of being emotionally vulnerable and feeling the sense of worthlessness, helplessness, self-loathing, shame, etc.

i don't think it was the depression that led to my self-destructive acting out - i think the acting out AND the depression were both symptoms and/or results of the poor self-esteem. the way i describe it was that so many circumstances and events had battered me and left me feeling bruised that my resistance was low (like a physical openness to infection or illness) - and i was susceptible to the bad feelings - re-ling the evnts with all the attendant emotions - leading to bad stuff that i inflicted on myself almost like self-victimization - mental, emotional and physical.

Originally Posted By: SkyLukewalker
As I'm going through this process, though, it occurred to me that really what's happening is that my ego has taken a beating and I've somehow sexualized it. My ego starts triggering me as some kind of bizarre self-defense mechanism and if I don't get a handle on it and start taking care of myself, it'll start building until I get enough positive stuff in my life to resolve the emotional issue or act out, setting myself up for weeks of guilt and emotional cratering.

I think for me, SSA is me seeing another guy - the 'ideal male' - and projecting on him that he's got a healthy ego and part of me wants to have one too. In some twisted way, the sex act would be me taking from his ego and giving it to myself. Acting out would be my ego insisting that I be seen in a certain, sexualized light until after it's over and I become an emotional wreck.


yes - it is a self-medicating or numbing attempt. my T calls it self-soothing. in sekual acting out - there is (nearly) always an element of pleasure. sometimes it is only the thrill of the climax. sometimes it is trying to re-create the illusion of emotional closeness - of feeling wanted or special. it is a desperate effort to make the hurt go away - but like many prescription drugs - it has serious side-effects. and in this case it inevitably drags along all the negative feelings as well.

and in this context the way you describe the SSA has been called a "cannibalistic" urge - like many cannibal superstitions - there is the underlying, sometimes subconscious, belief that by consuming the other, we assimilate thier desired strengths and abilities. a desire to acquire the attributes of the desired person/obect by possessing him/it and making that a part of oneself. as though we can become those coveted characteristics by pretending to unite with him physically/psychically. when i read that it really resonated with me. i would look at pictures of my ideal masculine role model and MB - and i was not fantasizing about being with him or doing something with him or him to me - but more like actually BEING him. i was devaluing my self to the extent that i wanted to disappear and become someone else - some one much more strong, competent, confident, attractive, proud and virile.

BTW - it only helped momentarily - while i was enraptured by the visual image and my physical arousal. as soon as it was over - i felt even worse in comparison - so definitely self-defeating. now i am trying to counteract the lies i have bought into as a result of the abuse - by finding and articulating and repeating and believing rebuttals to replace the false, exagerrated criticisms and condemnations that i've lived with and accepted all these years.

Lee


Edited by traveler (04/11/13 09:21 PM)
Edit Reason: add
_________________________
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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#430947 - 04/11/13 10:34 PM Re: Triggering and Ego? [Re: SkyLukewalker]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 758
Loc: upper south
Thanks, SLW. Your insights have given a point of view I haven't considered. Actually, I really haven't considered the sex at all with regards to recovery. The CSA and ASA left me with three non-negotiables.

1. You want sex, you take it from me
2. Therefore, you ask, I give.
3. Thereby, I will then remain safe.

In an easy narrative it looks like this... if I don't give you sex, you will molest, assault, or rape me. I know this isn't adding to the debate on a philosophical level, but when dealing with the sexuality of being a survivor, this is my reality. I'm not proud of it, actually very embarrassed by it.

Damn, I just got real again.

So, for me personally, it has nothing to do with ego or self-esteem or feeling stressed or feeling up. It seems, at least tonight when I think about, that it is a continuation of survival skills learned long ago and reinforced not so long ago. If I agree to sex with you, I will ensure that I will remain safe. If you think you can't over power me, you will wait til I am drugged or otherwise incapacitated and then take it. At least this way, I can remember it.

And of course, there is always the eternal desire to have someone hold you. (Which almost never happens).
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#431005 - 04/12/13 10:56 AM Re: Triggering and Ego? [Re: SkyLukewalker]
SkyLukewalker Offline


Registered: 08/12/12
Posts: 31
Loc: West Coast, US
Fair enough - thanks for sharing.

I guess getting inside my head is helpful from time to time. Point being is that I'm starting to see triggering for what it is - it's like an emotional migraine - a clue that I'm missing something in my mental healthcare that I need to take care of.

When I'm triggered, I'm starting to go "Okay ... I'm missing something healthy and my mind is reacting by reaching for something unhealthy. I don't want something unhealthy so I need to give myself the healthy stuff I really am looking for."

Part of my rationale for acting out was 'well, I need something and if acting out isn't the right thing, then somebody needs to tell me what I'm missing because right now I'm missing something.' Fuzzy logic.

I've always known that acting out wasn't getting me where I wanted to go, but nothing else was stepping in to give me what I was needing in a healthy way. Additionally, I've been brought up with a very specific lie surrounding ego that my family helped tell and also nurture: "You're responsible for my ego ... but you're not supposed to have an ego ... so anything that I do to harm yours isn't my problem." I've spent years tiptoeing around people and negotiating and smoothing things over until I snap. Then everyone's like "hey ... gotta take care of yourself ... not my fault if you can't control your temper."

It's a lie. A stupid one, too. At least I can articulate it now.

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