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#431151 - 04/13/13 08:01 PM When CSA is no longer the dominant filter....
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
I pulled this from the thread on "recovery" by Concerned-Husky. Traveler created a list and the following caught my attention.

3. CSA is no longer the dominant filter through which I view the world and every event of my life, and which controls or influences every thought, feeling and reaction.

I didn't want to divert the thread so I brought it into another. I aknowledge I am a rather naive guy, but I would like to have this thought expanded just a bit so I can fully grasp. I think I do, but I don't want to jump into one of those long narratives I get caught up in- and I am so sorry for those at times.

An example... my friend stands me up on a meeting. Am I overly hurt because of the SAs and that feeling of rejection? .....or......

I see an episode rerun of "Friends" (just this afternoon while doing cardio at the gym)... the one where Phoebe says she never had a new bike of her own because her family was poor and Ross goes out and gets her one. I internalized her character with "little me", 'cause I never had a bike of my own as a kid. (and I teared up in public).

And on and on, but is this what is meant by unconsciously filtering the world through the eyes of SAs? Is that a bad thing? And if it is, how do you stop?
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#431185 - 04/13/13 11:50 PM Re: When CSA is no longer the dominant filter.... [Re: ThisMan]
lukedamien Offline


Registered: 04/05/13
Posts: 68
I feel you dude. I don't know what it means either. But it sounds like a good place to get to. So how do I get there is what I'm wondering.

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#431246 - 04/14/13 04:24 PM Re: When CSA is no longer the dominant filter.... [Re: ThisMan]
GT13568 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/02/11
Posts: 133
Loc: California

Hi ThisMan,

You've presented a great question, and I think it offers at least one way to understand recovery, if we draw it out.

Thinking of my own life, I've clearly moved beyond the days when CSA memories and constant triggering immobilized me totally - and without my understanding, by the way. Most of my life, I had no idea i had been abused. (long story - basically, i thought abuse was just life. I didnt know any alternative.) My change began when I was first confronted with what had been done to me as a child, and that it was different from most people's lives. This is when I was in my late thirties.

My new understanding was painful - life had always been painful, but this was different. Now I knew what I had lost, what had been taken. It was horrible. 

By sharing and by talking and by asking questions of others - and also with the help of therapy - in a process that I can compare with being inoculated -  I've slowly gotten to now, where when I am triggered (and this still happens daily) I can take a breath, tear up a little, remind myself that my fear is internal (to use your phrasing, ThisMan) and that tho' my pain is real...I can see beyond it. I can move on. 

As an example - I still flinch and get angry when my partner touches me, but then I touch him back. I hug him. I know my anger is directed at my past, not at the present.

I wonder if it is similar with Concerned-Husky? I wonder if for him CSA is still present, but does not dominate in his life.

Thanks, ThisMan for sharing here. 

Geoff
_________________________
I won the moment he hurt me, because he poisoned his soul, and I did not poison mine. I did not hurt anyone. He did. He was the perp. He tried to make me into a victim, but I became a survivor. Yes.

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#431263 - 04/14/13 06:47 PM Re: When CSA is no longer the dominant filter.... [Re: ThisMan]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Love what you've been posting TM...go for the narratives all you want. You've been bringing up terrific questions.

"An example... my friend stands me up on a meeting. Am I overly hurt because of the SAs and that feeling of rejection? .....or......"

So many possibilities on this one. I've found it helps me to ditch (personally) judgmental adverbs like "overly". What matters is I felt hurt. Makes it easier for me to then examine.

Taking it a step further, what did I then do about it? Faced with that situation, I've often preferred to avoid a confrontation (i.e., standing up for myself). I still have times when I do that. But I sure as hell feel better when I DO stand up for myself. And, that person's reaction will tell me a lot about them. If my concern is blown off or invalidated by them, then that's someone I want to avoid. If, however, they respond and apologize, then we can move on.





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#431277 - 04/14/13 10:50 PM Re: When CSA is no longer the dominant filter.... [Re: ThisMan]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3513
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Originally Posted By: ThisMan
3. CSA is no longer the dominant filter through which I view the world and every event of my life, and which controls or influences every thought, feeling and reaction.
...
... but is this what is meant by unconsciously filtering the world through the eyes of SAs? Is that a bad thing? And if it is, how do you stop?


since I am the one who made the list, I guess I should try to explain. but first - a disclaimer - this is what is working for me. I don't claim to be an expert, but here are my thoughts - for whatever they are worth:

I will try to expand on this in a way that makes sense. Yes – those examples are good examples of what I meant. It also includes sekual dysfunction, low self-esteem, self-loathing, guilt, shame, fear, avoidance of triggering situations that limit my participation in activities, moodiness, isolation, etc, etc, etc. and no – I don’t think it is necessarily always a bad thing. I think we need to go through a process and period of linking up the cause and effect relationships of why we do and feel the way we do. But I think it is a dead end to stop and stay there. I don’t want to be stuck in an endless cycle of reasons or excuses - “this is why I am the way I am” – and leave it at that. It is initially a revelation – that is valuable and helpful and can bring self-understanding - but it should also lead to transcending the old patterns and breaking out into a better, healthier way of dealing with things.

First – you can’t do it by consciously trying to reach that goal. I wrote this as a description of what I imagine I’ll see when I get there – looking back – not as a predetermined goal to be intentionally worked toward. It is like when someone says, “Don’t think about pink elephants.” If you try to follow their command, all you can think of are those stupid elephants. You have to get your mind on something else in order to displace that image and idea. I know – easier said than done. I have even recently come to the conclusion that I may need to take a break from MS for a while because it is constantly reminding me of stuff that I might not be thinking about otherwise.

I have managed to achieve this – forgetting about “IT” from time to time. It is not a constant – otherwise I’d have selective amnesia again. But I’ll be going along – totally absorbed in some activity or train of thought and suddenly there is something that reminds me of one of my memories or of CSA in general – and I suddenly realize – “hey, I had not been thinking about ‘THAT’ at all – and It has been quite some time since I did think about ‘THAT.’” And even though it was a mild trigger that brought me to the realization – it is a “good” thing to have had that mini-trigger – because it shows me that I have gained some ground. Sort of like - one step backwards, two steps forward!

So – what has helped me to get to this stage? I guess the first step was admitting, acknowledging, and owning the full story to myself of what was done to me – what I experienced, what I felt and how I have reacted, coped and compensated. I actually was submerged in that whole nasty painful mess for a while. I wallowed in it – all the memories - and wailed and felt sorry for myself and ranted and vented and read and wrote and was on MS forums nearly non-stop and saw my T at least once a week and got to the point where I accepted the past and how it has affected me and who I am now. I don’t know how much of it is traceable to the CSA. Probly a lot of my behaviours – but not as much of my personality. But at this time and place in my life – it doesn’t matter as much as I thought it did. It is what it is. I am OK with myself.

For me – I think I needed as many tools as I could get my hands on to move ahead – that included reading good books, the interaction with other survivors here on MS, my wife’s support and encouragement – often just her willingness to either listen or wait until I was ready to reveal more and to follow my lead in either a hands-off or hugs approach to my current need, and a T that was a good fit for my history and personality. I was also very fortunate that my work situation allowed me lots of down-time to obsessively work on my issues. I know that his next point may be controversial – but I also have the element of faith that was/is important to me. That was one thing that kept me hanging on desperately when all else seemed dark – the hope that there was Something/Someone bigger beyond me and some hope for the future.

One of the most useful exercises for me was identifying the lies that I have believed and that have controlled and limited and imprisoned me all my life – and then identifying the opposite truths. I started with “it wasn’t my fault” – and went on from there.

I hope some of that is helpful to someone else. I know we are all somewhat different in the ways we process stuff – and I am not saying that if you do not have a partner or a T or whatever – that it won’t work for you. I think without some of my resources it might have taken me longer – or I’d have had to rely more heavily on others. I haven’t arrived yet. Some days I feel I am getting close – and others I feel like I just drew the “go to jail” card. And sometimes one point in my list will score high while another is low. But generally – I’m getting better.

all the best to you all - whatever your path!
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


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#431322 - 04/15/13 02:21 PM Re: When CSA is no longer the dominant filter.... [Re: ThisMan]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 605
ThisMan, thanks for developing this point further, and all of you guys for the responses. I really mean it. I've been thinking about this point pretty much the whole day and reading about it has helped me quite a bit.

I think what I realized is that for me, the 'CSA filter' has lasted a lot more than I thought it had. I tend to have intrusive memories not only of the CSA itself, but also of people who quite recently have abused me emotionally and taken advantage of my conditioning in response to CSA - passiveness, submissiveness, self-doubt, fear of authority, etc. These qualities in a way tend to invite further abuse, because unfortunately there are some people who tend to be able to smell this out, and they take advantage of it to make themselves feel better - the power or control, whatnot.

Lukedamien - I had to give it a few days thought myself to figure it out it meant for me. Geoff - I can relate to your responses to being touched, though for me I react in the opposite way, when I get it from someone I don't like or trust - I let it happen, I completely zone out. 'Warped' I guess is the right word. And I hate that, because I can taste the poison afterwards. Can also relate to Lancer's points about confrontation and assertion, it does feel a hell of a lot better doing them - definitely not at the time, but afterwards in retrospect. I'd prefer the few seconds of discontent or even rupture, than endless hours of being pissed off at myself wondering how I could've taken some mindless crap from someone. And Lee's points about how to change old belief systems is pretty much a goldmine - it's a bit redundant to respond to each point but there are so many good ones I'm going to read them pretty often. I'm glad the recovery has been going well for you too.

Again, thanks guys. I really really appreciate it.
_________________________
Husky

My Story

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#431388 - 04/16/13 01:35 AM Re: When CSA is no longer the dominant filter.... [Re: ThisMan]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
Thanks, guys, for the in-depth sharing. I appreciate it all.

TRIGGER.

Do NOT READ if you are offended by CSA and ASA together... please. I need to connect the two tonight.

...the next illumination of my thoughts may cause some flurry. I hope I can get by with it way down this thread.... and its all about me!! Imagine that.

Given the comments in this thread regarding CSA , no doubt about it, CSA changes the filtering of life. And that "filtering", our perception, continues to change. As we all have said, throughout life as each event unfolds, as each step toward healing takes place, our perception alters. Our experiences change. Our emotions mature. We need continually to add the tools to deal constructively with the inner hurt. And we need to constantly update those tools, those skills.

If we do not, then when life deals us a CRUSHING blow, and we become so exhausted emotionally we just go through the motions of life, we fall back into the patterns and behaviors we are accustomed to. And that is, the expectation that we are the victim. Not the survivor, but the victim. We resume the victim role without even knowing it. I know this will be perhaps controversial, but I am preferring that it be thought- provoking. (And maybe not read, cause it is way down here!). I also am speaking from my own experience.... its truly all I have.

Without going into the story, I just have the need to say that when I lost my wife, after years of cancer and being the care giver and working full time and being the parent.... yatta, yatta, yatta,- you know what I mean. When that part of life ended, I had not the emotional strength left or the TOOLS or the support to resume and move forward in a positive fashion.

I reverted to the behaviors and yes, even the victimization thoughts, of my growing up years. As a result of "re-aquiring" ,if you will, those thoughts and behavioral patterns, I placed myself in harm's way. I was again raped. I was raped because I lacked the tools and skills at that time to say, "Golly, this guy kinda creeps me out." I wasn't strong enough to say, "No, thank you. I'll have so and so take care of me after the surgery".

I wasn't filtering life through the eyes of the CSA survivor, I was filtering life through the eyes of the CSA victim. Hope that makes sense. My filter was so badly broken, that I was had again. So, that sort of explains why I am a bit confused. Before the cancer and death, I was filtering life as a SURVIVOR. Tonight I realize after the c and d, I filtered life as a VICTIM again- and that's a pretty strong realization to make. Now when I attempt to use that filter, which of course I have to do because I am still breathing, I am terrified on a basic primitive level that I will be sexually hurt again. How could I possibly deal with that... COULDN'T!!! But thats another post.
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#431397 - 04/16/13 03:07 AM Re: When CSA is no longer the dominant filter.... [Re: ThisMan]
GT13568 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/02/11
Posts: 133
Loc: California
ThisMan,

My heart goes out to you. Your words in this latest post are a trigger to me, as you warned, but beyond the triggering I in your story of abuse and loss, I'm angry and I'm sad because a friend has been hurt and violated. 

Reading this I understand better what you mean about the CSA and ASA filter. I guess we all struggle with this. 

I think you shouldn't worry about controversy. When one presents facts and feelings such as you have, it shouldn't stir controversy, because it is honest, and it asks for support. 

When you say that your wife died of cancer, that you were the caregiver, that you worked full time, and "...you know what I mean," I want to tell you that I don't know what you mean. You've been through hell - twice and more! I'm proud to know you because you are alive, you have survived. You have the strength to share a fearful experience and your confusion about it. You are amazing to me. I am not sure that you "placed yourself in harm's way" - I think you had the misfortune to meet up with an evil guy who saw that you were hurting and in need and he took advantage of you. 

I'll grant you - there is something to your suggestion that "when we are weakened emotionally" we can revert to our victim feelings. I'm not sure those victim feelings ever leave us totally. But, I reject any idea of self blame you have for the rape you suffered. I know you know this, you've thought it all out, it sounds like. You are very wise in my estimation.

When you suffered the CSA, you probably were alone. You had no outside resources. My observation is that you are not alone this time. I hope sharing this post is a way you can begin to access those resources.

Geoff Tuck
www.notesonlooking.com


Edited by GT13568 (04/16/13 03:10 AM)
_________________________
I won the moment he hurt me, because he poisoned his soul, and I did not poison mine. I did not hurt anyone. He did. He was the perp. He tried to make me into a victim, but I became a survivor. Yes.

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