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#430778 - 04/10/13 04:57 PM Disabilities
hurting&tryingtoheal Offline


Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 28
I was wondering if there were any disabled survivors on here who struggle with body image issues?

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#430781 - 04/10/13 05:51 PM Re: Disabilities [Re: hurting&tryingtoheal]
Magellan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1402
Loc: California
Yes. I was born with 2 of them. Severe hearing loss and crossed eyes.

I grew up extremely angry that I've had these and the severe impact they've had on the quality of my life (as compared to others who don't have disabilities).

Add to that the CSA from my cousin and severe neglect from my mother. Makes for a really fucked up life.
_________________________
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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#430821 - 04/10/13 11:44 PM Re: Disabilities [Re: hurting&tryingtoheal]
hurting&tryingtoheal Offline


Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 28
I can relate. I was born with Spina Bifida, and though in one sense I'm extremely proud to have a disability, because it has done a lot to teach about life, I also have body image issues because of it, which though I'm still trying completely comprehend how my disability fits into it it seems that it might or at least it seems that my therapist thinks that it might.

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#430935 - 04/11/13 08:00 PM Re: Disabilities [Re: hurting&tryingtoheal]
Magellan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1402
Loc: California
I can understand the body issue part of it. While I don't have Spina Bifida, growing up with crossed eyes caused a tremendous amount of bullying and shame.

I still to this day have a hard time looking in the mirror to look at my own face.
_________________________
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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#430953 - 04/11/13 11:45 PM Re: Disabilities [Re: hurting&tryingtoheal]
hurting&tryingtoheal Offline


Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 28
Yeah, I was swimming in the pool in my dorms at school tonight, because I have been working out trying to achieve a body that would seem to be more attractive, and there was a guy there who was very muscular and it was somewhat obvious that he could probably out swim me even though I've been swimming since before I could walk, and it made me feel insignificant. Like I can't live up to that. There was also a girl there who is always very nice to me. She greets me whenever she sees me whom is pretty attractive and kept thinking she probably is greeting me just to be nice, and thinking that this guy, whom was swimming & whom she was hanging out with, is far superior to me.

I could really use a pick me up at the moment. Sort of a voice of encouragement.

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#431013 - 04/12/13 12:07 PM Re: Disabilities [Re: hurting&tryingtoheal]
Magellan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1402
Loc: California
Me too.

Cheering myself on feels pointless.
_________________________
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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#431019 - 04/12/13 12:34 PM Re: Disabilities [Re: hurting&tryingtoheal]
csasurvivor1992 Offline


Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 132
Loc: Texas
hurting, i had body image issues pretty bad. i think i saw myself as an "oaf" because while I felt like I was 6 y/o, i was actually 15, 21, 30... my physical body growing while my emotional brain stayed frozen at 6. One day after a couple of months in therapy, I saw a 30 year old man in the mirror. a little scary, actually. I remember thinking "i've never seen you before."

in that time as an oaf, i felt fat, overgrown, disgusting... pretty much everything you could think. I do not have a disability in the sense you and magellan do, but i have felt awkward my whole life. i struggle with image constantly. (i was a father-son incest victim and consequently had no foundation for ANY confidence... so yeah).

while i can't relate to how you struggle with a physical disability, i can absolutely relate to the internal struggle with body image. the best i can figure, it's just one of the lies we tell ourselves that aren't true. "i'm ugly, undesirable, unattractive, and I can't do anything that normals can do." it's just not true. we are all beautiful and we ALL have a place in this world. I'm not Michael Phelps and so I won't hold myself to that standard.

The best in yourself is not the best in someone else. Everyone has a place and a role in this world.

I told my therapist recently that i just want to feel like i'm good at something. in that, i learned that i needed to be careful not to benchmark my progress off the progress of others. success is relative. the bigger lie is that if we don't "measure up" then we're not worth it, and that's TOTALLY FALSE! we ARE worth it, and valuable, and we have dignity, and a right. a right to be us. and us is awesome.

it sounds like two separate issues that are extremely intertwined. just know that you are AWESOME and BEAUTIFUL!

and for the girl who may or may not give you a pity "hi." be nice and say hi back. she's likely saying hi because she's acknowledging that you are a human being worthy of self-respect and dignity. it's not physical beauty that keeps people interested, it's inner beauty. i'd say flirt a little smile

hope this helps brother. my best wishes to you for a great day!
_________________________
May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on. ~Fun.

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#431192 - 04/14/13 01:25 AM Re: Disabilities [Re: hurting&tryingtoheal]
hurting&tryingtoheal Offline


Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 28
I know. I want to let go of this so badly. There is part of me that even feels ashamed of being so shallow and making this into such a big deal.

However, there is also a part of me that fights against the idea of accepting myself as I am or even holding myself to a different standard than the guy who is so good looking he is able to get on the cover of GQ or something. I mean there is a part of me that says that's not realistic. I can't accomplish that. That no one can accomplish that. But, if I have to admit that there are people who can accomplish that and that I can't then makes me feel inferior.

That may be where my issues with my disability come in. For our entire lives us people with disabilities are told "no, you can't do what everyone else can do. You'll never be able to do that". Essentially, in a way saying you are inferior, at least physically. That creates a strong desire in most of us to prove that sentiment wrong. So, when you are told you can't do something, even if nobody else can do it, you feel inferior and can't let it go, because you refuse to accept the idea that you are in fact what everyone told you were. Throw that in with the internal idea that this stands in between you and the loving relationship you have always wanted, one that includes a woman who truly sees you as the most attractive man on the planet and the one whom she could not have a deeper or more loving relationship with (or in other words no other man could compare), and you can imagine the internal turmoil. Turmoil that on a certain level I'm sure you can definitely relate to.

Now, I know that a lot of people will throw the disclaimer on this that it doesn't make you inferior. I mean think of all the things you're good at. I'm sure those people can't do all the same things that you can do. The problem is that I see them as being better than anyone else at this one thing. Being the best physical specimens of manhood (at least by what society measures that by). So, I sit there and try to think what I am better then anyone else at? I'm smart, I'm a good writer, I'm creative, I'm funny & I try my damnedest to be there for those that I care about (I will admit that felt pretty good to write). Yet, I can't seem to be able to convince myself that I'm better then anyone else at those things, and in fact I can't even sit here and tell myself that I'm better than these guys whom I compare myself to at those things. So, sometimes I end up thinking "what good am I? What do I have to offer that really is that special?"

As for flirting I REALLY don't want to. I'm just not ready for any of that, yet. Right now I'm terrified of anything that has to do with sex. I'm terrified of relationships, because they usually involve sex, I'm terrified of dating because they sometimes lead to relationships which usually lead to sex, I'm even terrified of something as small as flirting or even checking a girl out because they are vaguely related to sex.

Also, I used to be very much in love with the idea of being in love. So much so that I may have made a lot of my happiness dependent on being in a relationship. I don't want to be that guy anymore. It made me feel desperate and even pathetic. I know that not being able to take any actions (like flirting or trying to seek out girls) that might lead one to a relationship makes it a little hard to get into a relationship, but I just don't know how to go about any of this without it feeling like I'm that desperate guy anymore. I don't know how to pursue a relationship without it being desperate, if that makes any sense?

Plus, I find her quite physically attractive, and she's very nice too, but I don't know much of anything else about her. So, I can't say that I have any idea that I want to date her.

I know this is sounding really negative and it probably dissuades people from trying to help me, but I thought it'd be best to get it all out there, because that way people can better help me to heal.

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#431412 - 04/16/13 07:59 AM Re: Disabilities [Re: hurting&tryingtoheal]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1986
Loc: durham, north england
Hi Hurting.

I recognize a lot of this. I am registered blind, though I have a good amount of working vision, and my abuse was pretty much a direct result of this, indeed it was sort of bullying carried way too far.

On the physical attractiveness front, I know exactly what you mean. Since i was 16 I've pretty much felt the same thing, I am uggly, i hate seeing my own face in the mirror etc. One realization that has helped me with this however, is realizing that my own judgement is flawed. For years anything I have done would be bad because I did it, any description of myself would include the word worthless, I was my own worst crytic and fully well deserved it. one thing i have realized though is that I am simply not! in a position to judge my own actions accurately. Just as I would not listen to the opinions of a man hating feminist or of someone who thought all british people were scum since their opinions would be coloured by severe prejudice, in the same way i've realized my own judgements and opinions of myself are no good. These days, while I still feel! those judgements, still make them, still know they are there, I simply try to ignore them and go on with what I'md doing reguardless. if for instance I considder going to a social function, part of me will think "well who wants hm! there" (there were occasions I actually cried off simply because of this). now however I know that that is simply not a rational judgement at all, so I ignore it, and pretend it doesn't exist.

Same with my appearence. I will always see myself as uggly, that is just a natural consequence, but if I find clothes that I! like wearing, usually because they are individualistic and of a certain style, then it doesn't matter.

Same with exercise. These days I run and lift weights not to achieve some sort of super moddel appearence, but to improve my singing voice and vascular system, indeed I often joke with people that as a tenor I really should be fatter.

Are there people with bigger muscles than me? yes, but I know better than to try and compare them to me, I do what I do for the enjoyment of doing it, nothing else.

Yes, society's standards are simply not fun, walking into any new group of people and being treated like an alien species. Equally however I know that I! am also responsable. I can and indeed have changed others opinions about me, through the social skills that I have worked to develope. As an intravert developing these was not fun, but they do! actually work, and can be of significant use in making friends and dealing with other people. yes, doing this constantly is a pain in the rear, having to answer all the same questions again, make myself open, approachable and friendly and able to react to others feelings, but the alternative of just sitting at home and doing nothing at all is just not one I would want for myself.

As regards relationships, well I know what you mean their too. I used to be an absolute romantic, and used to really! want a relationship of some sort, despite the fact the genophobia that was a consequence of abuse made this impossible. I have many female friends, indeed most of my friends seem to be female, but friends is all they are.

After a long time of pain and suffering, and several unrequited loves with various friends, I've conlcuded that the entire relationship thing is a waste of time and energy. "dating", "flirting", "going steady", "looking for a relationship" all are frankly alien concepts to me. i just treat girls with the same respect and openness I'd treat male friends, which according to various women is the right thing to do, but that is where things stay. There is something else, some mysterious quality, some sort of interaction that I just don't have and never learnt since while I was a teenager when everyone else learns this I was being abused. I've asked women friends about this, and they just talk about "natural processes", ---- well they ain't natural to me. Likewise, i have felt very angry that I am not female, since it seems women just get to sit back and wait to be asked.

so, my conclusion is simply to forget the hole thing. it's only an experience, an important one perhaps, but one I can live without.

I instead devote my efforts to working on my voice, writing both academically and for pleasure (I've just completed my phd thesis), enjoying music and literature and everything else. In particular my voice, since I get something from performing on stage that I don't get elsehwere, get to share my love of music with others in a very honest way.

This I've found works surprisingly well, since the busier I am with other matters and the more complete my lie, the less I want that relationship.

this is not an easy path,or an easy answer, and I'd I freely confess it's not a resolution that it is fool proof, but it works and is far better than the alternative, since ultimately being male relationships don't! happen, and expecting hurts too much. it's being asked to engage in a game which men aren't told the rules of but in which men must make all the right moves.

Well, I can't play and don't want to try anymore, i've got more important things in my music, my philosophy annd my writing to do!

Whether you choose this path or not, i really do hope you can feel better about yourself, because things do! get better, given enough time and work however much it might seem they don't.

Luke.

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#431421 - 04/16/13 10:05 AM Re: Disabilities [Re: dark empathy]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6864
Loc: USA
Actually a person might not even have a physical disability but might still consider self infirm. When I was abused age 4 in making of kiddie porn, I was teased by the other boys. I was younger than them and they made fun of my feet and in other ways put me down. Nothing was wrong with my feet. This has come as a life-long burden.

I think this is at the heart of bullying. Find something weaker in the other boy and make him miserable about it.

Also I had a weakness in using my eyes together. If nothing bad had happened, it would probably have been self correcting. But with the abuse at age 4 the demon of strabismus crept in. I was not able to use my eyes together. I dissociated the left and right visual fields. This was not really an eye problem but a brain problem. Nobody knew how to deal with this. Then in jobs many years later one guy called me quasimodo. He was not just teasing, either. He was using it sadistically. Another music teacher joked that I had one eye on the music and the other eye on the conductor. She was being cruel. I started to get help for my eyes. Then in driving home from the eye appointment I would have moments where I saw in 3-D. That gave me these huge flashbacks which threatened to make me lose control of the car. I didn't. So the way the eyes are used interacts with PTSD and flashbacks. This may have been a DID flashback.

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...amp;q=quasimodo

In middle school I was shunned for being gay. The coach picked up on it and made it his marathon.

Puffer



Edited by pufferfish (04/16/13 11:13 AM)

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