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#444630 - 08/18/13 08:33 PM I feel like I just grabbed a live wire
AndyS87 Offline


Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 302
Loc: sorry, but I don't say on the ...
It's been an interesting day friends.

I was browsing reddit and I saw a post where people were talking about coming out of the closet - when they had done it, when they themselves knew, etc.

I clicked on it and began reading. Part of what I'm doing to try and heal is make myself unafraid of gay people. When I first began coming to terms with my abuse, I realized that, as a ten year old, what upset me the most about what happened was that I thought I had been shoehorned into being gay, which was not something I wanted or had ever considered for myself (then again I don't suppose I know many ten year olds that do). I'm 26 now, and it's still not something that I want for myself personally, but I have also realized now that it's perfectly normal for people to be gay and that there's nothing wrong with it. You'd figure that'd more or less take care of my homophobia, and although I have never felt like gay people should be insulted or harassed, I do notice that I often feel uncomfortable in the presence of gay men. This is because of my own reaction when I realized as a child what had happened to me was sexual abuse and that it was technically several years worth of gay sex acts, which I had reluctantly carried out even though I didn't particularly want to, didn't see the point of it, and really wasn't interested in it. The only "nice" thing about it was that my awesome older cousin who I looked up to like a brother was hanging out with me and teaching about things that adults did and how people's bodies were supposed to work.

When I first came here and first got into therapy, I was confused about my sexual identity, like many other survivors with male perps. I had just recently discovered at the end of highschool and into college that I had liked girls. Before that, I had assumed that I wasn't worth their time and that I'd never be able to have a relationship because of what happened to me and also because I was an outcast growing up - happy relationships, love, crushes, sex, and all of that stuff were meant for normal people, not outcasts like me. I acted out with porn, usually straight, sometimes not, and in my fantasies, and although I had a feeling those things were abuse related, I couldn't just dismiss them. I realize now that a lot of the "gay" fantasies I had and the gay porn that I saw was more or less mirroring things that happened between me and my cousin, and that it's not unheard of that this happens. Trauma through Orgasm or something. Back then, I thought that those behaviors must have been indicative of who I REALLY was, at least in part. I had gotten it in my head that most straight guys probably got curious about girls right around puberty. I wasn't, I had no idea how any of that stuff was supposed to work, but I did now how my equipment was supposed to work. The first time I ever actually saw a vagina up close was crazy. It was a mix of "OHHHH, THAT'S how that works!" and "I kind of want to be friendly with that *wink wink nudge nudge*". But still, that was on the internet, I had never experienced the real thing and reasoned that I probably never would. Why would anybody want me?

In the end, I realized that I was persistently questioning because I couldn't forgive myself for what had happened, and I couldn't move on from the fact that I had acted out. I knew it was because of the abuse, and looking back now I realize how it was all unwanted from the beginning. If I could go back now and get therapy for myself right after I told my parents about what happened, I would have. Even more, if I could have stopped those things from occurring all together, I would have.

In my mind, if the only thing that had happened between me and my cousin was he had read some of his anatomy books to me and it stopped there, I may have just been more curious about sex than the average kid, and it would have stopped there and I would have gone on to be curious about girls on my own and wouldn't have worried or thought about anything else. That's not what happened though, and I more or less assumed that I was something I wasn't for the rest of my childhood and teenage years until the first time I actually kissed a girl at age 18.

Reading those posts and other similar things from time to time is an exercise I do that was suggested by my therapist - it is meant to purposely spike my anxiety. As time goes on and my brain realizes that nothing is going to happen, I'm not suddenly going to turn gay, and that my past was just that, these disturbing thoughts are supposed to eventually subside, or at the very least not cause such anxiety. This has worked over the past few years, but initially I am always shocked. Reading those posts, I see that so many of these people had sexual histories or behaviors in their childhood and early teens that I had too, but I forget that unlike them, I was sexually abused. Acting out with other men was all I knew about sex, and I was obsessed with trying to become like my cousin, who had abused me. In my mind, he was like a big brother that I didn't have, and I thought I had to be like him. I wished I looked like him, I'd fantasize about the things he had done with me, all of that. I remember the first friend I made after I told my parents and had stopped seeing my cousin. I asked him to act out with me in a certain way, and he said no. I remember asking why, and he said "Friends don't normally do that with each other". This was news to me - I had just assumed that was something that came with the territory. I can't believe looking back how screwed up I was, and how I just went "Ah whatever, this probably happens to tons of people, I'm sure I'll get older and this'll go away on it's own". So stupid to think, but how was I to know any better?

I feel now like I just grabbed onto and let go of a live wire. I'm shaking, and obviously triggered. I have work I need to finish, but I can't calm down and focus.

The specific thought is something like: "Think about all the things your cousin did to you and all the things you did after that. You acted out until you got out of therapy. You can't have done what you did and be allowed to have a girlfriend and be happy with her". I know it's just a thought, but it's so painful when it comes up.

One final thing to clarify - I have absolutely nothing against gay people and am 100% pro gay rights. I am uncomfortable at times because my reaction when I learned that what happened to me with my cousin was technically several gay sex acts, I was horrified that that meant I had to be gay and that I was going to be for the rest of my life, even though I didn't want to be.

It's just so hard - I want to move on and date girls, and I want to feel like I don't have to explain "Yeah, I have a hard time approaching because I assume you're going to want nothing to do with me after you find out I was sexually abused". On the other hand, I have realized that for me to really connect with a woman, I need her to be able to accept my past and be ok with it. Then I feel like I can be completely emotionally intimate. The shame, embarassment, and regret I have over those years of acting out are really a killer though. I'm just tired of feeling this way.

Thanks all for listening - I'm going to try to calm down and take my hands off this wire.

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#444780 - 08/20/13 10:28 AM Re: I feel like I just grabbed a live wire [Re: AndyS87]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3319
Loc: back in the USA
Andy - this is very well expressed. So much in it I can identify with. I don't know how old you are but I can remember feeling similar when I was in college - like I was disqualified from having a normal life and relationship with a woman because I was too badly damaged. The weird thing was I didn't know why I felt that way because many of my memories had been so thoroughly blocked. Fast forward... we have been married now for 40 years - and have 3 great adult kids.

I know I have been fortunate and blessed. I know that few women would have stuck with me and supported me through the dark periods - and there have been numerous and lengthy dark times. But it is possible for us wounded survivors to have a more or less normal relationship. It takes a lot of patience and work on both sides. And not every woman is up to it. But you wouldn't really want one who is not anyway.

Don't give up. It sounds like you are further along in self-understanding and positive progress than I was at your (assumed) much younger age. Keep up the hard work. It will be worth it.

Lee


Edited by traveler (08/20/13 10:29 AM)
_________________________
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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#444822 - 08/20/13 05:57 PM Re: I feel like I just grabbed a live wire [Re: AndyS87]
AndyS87 Offline


Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 302
Loc: sorry, but I don't say on the ...
Lee,

Thank you so much for the kind words. I am 26, and like you began feeling this acutely when I was in college. It was my Jr. year, shortly before my 21st birthday, when I basically had a meltdown and knew that I needed to get help, because I couldn't handle this on my own.

That insight came to me one night when after a couple of years of recreational marijuana use, my high suddenly went from a usually fun and happy state (and very hungry) to a full on panic attack. I managed to calm myself down, but it happened 3 more times after that. The third and final of those was so strong that I had to leave my friends dorm at NYU where I was staying that weekend and hop a train home early, where I spent the rest of the weekend curled up in a ball in my dorm room just trying to sleep so I wouldn't have to be awake dealing with all of this.

Luckily, my mother is an LPC and was able to give me the numbers of a few people to talk to, and that was when I got started processing all of this.

Again, thank you for your words and for the support!

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#444875 - 08/20/13 10:30 PM Re: I feel like I just grabbed a live wire [Re: AndyS87]
1lifenow Offline


Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 393
Loc: west coast
Andy
Breath
Gay is who you are not what you have done.
I think it's a beautiful thing that you have fantasies and desires to be with a woman. It's very hard on guys that are str8 to not get anxiety fearing that experimentation meant orientation. It doesn't. It just means that yes you were curious.

Gay sex is with a man, 'being gay' is wanting to have more than sex with a man. And a so-called "gay lifestyle " is a bullshit term cuz it has been co opted to mean ongoing sex with men . But no one who is hetero says "I am living a str8 lifestyle"

If you had sex with women and it was fulfilling - ur str8 even if you had sex with your cousin. Share it with them only if you think they are a keeper. It's a need to know basis. I have a gay buddy struggling to find someone , I think it's cuz he pukes his life history out on the first date. Gross. Mystery is sexy. So is awkward and shy.

If u are satisfied with sex with ur gf but still fantasize about guys you could be bi. Especially if there really is a desire to explore your sexuality more with both men and women. No biggy. I know a few couples where both are bi. Be open about that by date 3. Read dan savage.

If there is a fantasy with men but no intent to explore it. Just continue to work with ur T. that may likely dimininish. Or it may not but you will come to understand it is just a part of your template. Not who you are.

If you want to be with a woman but it never feels right. U might have unresolved orientation issues. T time also. ( this is the only site on the web where T-Time has nothing to do with golf ). I am grateful for my kids , and have a great friend with my ex, but I needed to be more honest with myself. I couldn't be true but Shakespeare was right.

So whatever your heart truly wants , be true to that. There can never be shame in that. The shame is a life unrequited.

I am with a man now and my desires, fantasies, actions, intentions, heart strings, libido, and bedroom antics all line up. I no longer have to perform, feel the need to act out(another stupid term) and don't obsess. I just get to 'be'. yes i watch porn, but occassionally or with my partner. i drink but in moderation, am more attentitive to my kids and my work. I finally now know what it's like to love and be loved for me, just me, the real me, for the first time in my life and I just turned 53!

Be kind to your heart, you are really coming into your own. As well as you can with the tools you have, do what feels true. If its a mistake,so be it. Humans make mistakes , you are allowed.

Take a little time to be ok with accepting what you want, not what you should or ought to, but what your little boy is telling you. He knows, and when it's right, so will you.

Hugs


Edited by 1lifenow (08/20/13 10:35 PM)
_________________________
The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. Dalai Lama

WoR Barrie 2011

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#444906 - 08/21/13 07:53 AM Re: I feel like I just grabbed a live wire [Re: AndyS87]
AndyS87 Offline


Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 302
Loc: sorry, but I don't say on the ...
Hey 1life,

As you mentioned, after therapy any fantasies I had went away. I was briefly curious about experimenting when I was in my very early teens, but I learned that that isn't uncommon for teens who WEREN'T abused, so I don't give that much thought. On top of that, I had a friend at the time that I thought was very attractive. Saw him naked in the locker room once after football practice. He was very fit and all, but I was pleasantly surprised and a bit relieved to find that that didn't do anything for me. I wasn't grossed out or repulsed or anything by it, but it was plainly evident that I wasn't at all attracted either. That was a rare moment of clarity for me in my teen years.

Occasionally, I still try to see if there's anything there by trying to bring up some of those old fantasies, but when I think about them I just get turned off and usually feel bored, like if you were watching TV and there was nothing worth watching on. Eventually you get bored and move on to other things. They've lost whatever kind of charge they used to have.

There is another thread on here, I believe posted by Jude, about some issues that we tend to have. Fear of intimacy and not being able to open up is a pretty common theme. For me, this was compounded by my home life. My parents divorced when I was 13 and I was left living with my mother and my sister. Although they both mean well now, my teenage years were very difficult. In different ways, they were both very manipulative. My sister was downright cruel and used to go out of her way to find methods to strip me of any confidence or self esteem I had, often times trying to incite me to suicide. The couple of times I actually made to follow through on those, she understandably freaked out and changed her tune, but given another week or two she'd be right back at it again.

In recent months, it's been my inability to put myself out there that's made me worry about my sexuality again. Of course, when I calm down and think logically, I realize that I'm not attracted to or having any fantasies or feelings about other men, and that I'm worrying not because of the present, but because of the things that happened in my past. Without my CSA, I'd probably just assume that I was in a dry spell or chalk this up to my lack of confidence/self esteem.

I get lonely sometimes, but on the same trade I feel like I've gotten used to having a certain amount of freedom in my life and the ability to do whatever I want with myself. Sometimes I try to rationalize being alone by saying to myself "I don't want to have to change for anybody". Also, I realize that in relationships you sometimes need to make compromises, but I have a reaction where I view compromise as "She's trying to change who I am or manipulate me into doing something".

I am trying to work with a new T to address these feelings I have, but as I said, vulnerability is frightening. I've had a couple of therapists I saw in the past tell me they notice that whenever I have a major shift in my life coming up, or there's something bothering me, I tend to come to them with worries about my sexuality which have no rationality behind them at all. Basically, I am using those worries to distract myself from other issues in my life. Does that make sense?

Thank you for the reply!

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#445208 - 08/23/13 01:09 AM Re: I feel like I just grabbed a live wire [Re: AndyS87]
1.healing Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/10/10
Posts: 261
Loc: NW Ohio

Hi Andy,

I was also sexually abused by an older male cousin at about the same age as you were. My feelings and issues were different than yours in that I was gay, was actually strongly attracted to males. My perpetrator cousin always identified as strait, but definitely liked being sexual with other males. How could any kid get their head around that; confusing is an understatement and it's unfortunately what kids like us go through when they're sexually abused.

I've been mostly struck and identify strongest with this quote from you "I was horrified that that meant I had to be gay and that I was going to be for the rest of my life, even though I didn't want to be." and earlier " I realized that, as a ten year old, what upset me the most about what happened was that I thought I had been shoehorned into being gay, which was not something I wanted or had ever considered for myself."

I so strongly relate as during my CSA incest abuse I was sent to a child psychologist because I was in bad shape. Early in the therapy the therapist determined my problem was that I wasn't male enough. He set about to make me so and I set about not to be changed! I never trusted him at all after that and didn't share anything of importance with him, especially not the sexual abuse.

What I so strongly see in you is that you were or are no more gay, or could be made to be gay than I was strait or could be made to be that way. It's really so simple and like you also expressed, "Looking back now I realize how it was all unwanted from the beginning. If I could go back now and get therapy for myself right after I told my parents about what happened, I would have. Even more, if I could have stopped those things from occurring all together, I would have." I agree with you, a good therapist sure could have eliminated the confusion and difficulties we experienced about our sexual orientations, our lives might have been a lot simpler!

Best of luck with your recovery and thanks for this interesting and important post! Mostly, Andy, thanks for staying open minded and not a hater, it could have been easy to be, I think you're a remarkable survivor.

Gary / 1.healing
_________________________
"It's never too late to be what you might have been."

George Elliot

"You cannot find peace by avoiding life."

Virginia Woolf

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#445257 - 08/23/13 02:02 PM Re: I feel like I just grabbed a live wire [Re: AndyS87]
AndyS87 Offline


Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 302
Loc: sorry, but I don't say on the ...
Thanks Gary! I think the thing that gets to me more than anything else is how freaking long it took to get the whole thing sorted. Then again, while this stuff raises its own issues, there is also the fact that by making it as far as we've made it, we've been given a type of resilience that I think enables to be both compassionate and courageous in our ability to reach out and listen to others who are suffering. So much of what we've been through is deeply introspective as well, and I think there is so much we can learn from that.

Still a curse, but not one without silver linings.

-Andy

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#445260 - 08/23/13 02:31 PM Re: I feel like I just grabbed a live wire [Re: AndyS87]
1.healing Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/10/10
Posts: 261
Loc: NW Ohio

Hi Andy,

Yes, isn't that the truth and hard as I tried to do the sorting alone it took working with a good therapist to really get it accomplished. At least it did get done and like you said other lessons got learned along the way. A curse to be sure, no one should ever have to go through so much self doubt and confusion, it's amazing anyone comes through it the least bit whole and with love remaining within themselves.

Survivors are resilient and truly amazing people!

Gary
_________________________
"It's never too late to be what you might have been."

George Elliot

"You cannot find peace by avoiding life."

Virginia Woolf

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