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#445820 - 08/29/13 01:35 AM Internal Warfare
toddop Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 225
Loc: California
I have been struggling lately with a lot of inner turmoil around my inner children. I have done a lot of journaling lately and I realize that there are so many aspects of me as a child at different stages of my life and different stages of the abuse. To simplify, I can say I have three broad parts to my inner child:
  • The child before the abuse.
  • The child during the abuse.
  • The child after the abuse.
I have no issues with the first inner child. But lately, I have been tapping into a lot of internal anger toward the last two. The one who suffered the abuse, and the one who existed after the abuse. The one during the abuse, he was a physically fit little gymnast who loved physical activity. There is a lot of anger toward him because he didn’t tell, he went along with it, he acted so sexually disgusting with the multiple perps. He was 7-9.

The one after the abuse just disintegrated. He gained lots of weight, retreated from the world, wet his bed, and was depressed and basically shell-shocked. There is a lot of anger about this inner child for letting himself go, for giving up on his dreams to be a gymnast, for letting the bad guys win, for starting a cycle that I still struggle with to this day. He was me from 10-13.

I know rationally and intellectually it was not their fault. I have good moments with these inner child aspects of myself. But man, lately I have been tapping into these deep wells of anger toward these parts of myself. Sometimes it feels like they are just at war with each other and one blames the other for how the other one reacted. And then I add adult anger and regret to that pile and we are talking about a firefight between three heavily armed factions. The machine guns have just been firing non-stop. And I just feel this sense of overwhelming anger and deep despair about it all.

I just posted in another post about how both of the main abusers in my life, my biological father and my gymnastics coach were basically like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One moment they were kind and loving and I was the most special thing in the world, the next I am a piece of trash in the gutter when they abused me. Is this what they call internalizing the abuser? Have I internalized that kind of behavior to myself or parts of myself?

As I said above, when I am focused and feeling centered, I realize that these inner kids are the real source of my strength, and the true heroes that survived the monsters. But, then where does the rage at them come from, and how do I deal with that?

Sorry, if this post is really confusing. I guess I feel confused. Has anyone else encountered this type of anger? Or done any kind of inner child work to address these issues? If so, I would be grateful if you could share how you may have approached or resolved this.
_________________________
Todd

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds."
-Albert Einstein

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#445825 - 08/29/13 03:43 AM Re: Internal Warfare **triggers*** [Re: toddop]
Onesimus75 Offline


Registered: 08/22/13
Posts: 158
Loc: Minnesota
I think confusion covers a ton of it. It always has for me.

If it helps, telling doesn't always help. I was a good little 11-year-old and told on my first abuser right away. I only remember three things that day. His hand cupping my junk, which was wrong (I knew) and felt good (which pretty much f-ed up my whole world since). I remember having told, sitting there in hysterical tears as the camp counselors told me what happened was no big deal (this was before mandatory reporting laws in MN? not sure...) And then I remembered the fall-out that changed me from then on. I remembered all the shame, but I became... the American term is "junk" aware. Suddenly I noticed the privates of all the other boys, in what was for me weird ways... and felt dirty and ashamed for all the things I wondered. I hit that camp as a pretty normal pre-teen kid, and left two weeks later all messed up.

I can look back and say, how in the world does a 13-14 year old boy 'accidentally' fondle the teeny junk of a sixth grader during tag, with a cupped hand?!? But back then I just learned I was the problem, just needed to shut up and never talk about it. And it wasn't even my perp doing the programming, but a business afraid of bad press?

So when perp 2 stalked me from his car at 13, trying to talk me in while jerking it, I didn't react, didn't try to get help. I learned my lesson you see. And so forth.

I hope you aren't always angry at your inner kid during the abuse? Here were the men in your life, your heroes, and you totally deserved to have them think that you were special and worth attention, and totally didn't deserve what they did about it!!!

I really started getting better sorting out the good feelings and thrills (there were many, sexual responses, just being 'wanted' when my first abuse had already taught me I was not worth protecting), from the harm and manipulation, when I started reading a book by Mike Lew called Victims No Longer. It had a section that went through and broke all that down. What did you really want?

I wanted to be wanted, wanted to be special, to be told I was desirable, that I was friendable, loveable. My body reacted to sexual stimulation because it was built to do that, not because I chose it. And getting through it was the best that I could do at the time. The best I knew how to do.

I used to hate myself for years, but the more I could see the boy I was as sincerely trying his absolute best with all those messed up situations, the more the hatred started to fade away.

Wish I could say I always get that right. I seem to have this huge double-standard sometimes. Sure, I would never blame anyone else for the sexual reactions their abusers forced out of them, but I should have known better. I only feel compassion for other CSA kids who acted out because they'd been manipulated/trained/imprinted and that was the only thing they knew, but I should have known better.

Now I make myself realize I was expecting myself to be superhuman, and I'm just me instead.

And part of it is refusing to let the abusers define me. I reject their messages that I would want it, deserved it, or that it didn't matter.

It helped me with my anger. Most days. It helps.



Edited by Onesimus75 (08/29/13 03:51 AM)
Edit Reason: Added trigger warning
_________________________
We are not defined by our faults, or our wounds, but by the truth within us, which nothing can take away.

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#445846 - 08/29/13 09:38 AM Re: Internal Warfare [Re: toddop]
Chase Eric Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 1443
...


Edited by Chase Eric (11/21/13 08:54 PM)
_________________________
Eirik




Click my pic to see why I'm here

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#445857 - 08/29/13 10:30 AM Re: Internal Warfare [Re: toddop]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 601
Todd,

When I think about your question (i.e. where this rage comes from) in relation to the details of your abuse that you've disclosed on here thus far, I find myself dwelling on two issues: 1) burdens, and, as you've mentioned yourself, 2) internalization.

I think Onesimus and Eirik hit on a really important point, namely - you were just a boy. You were 7-9 (!!!) during the abuse. And the other inner child you distinguished after the abuse, was only 10-13 (!!!). Think about it, really, how YOUNG that is. That's when you need guidance, protection, a safe environment in which to grow, love, encouragement and countless other things that are natural needs for a boy growing up - all of which you were deprived of. While it is painful to realize the damage you still suffer because of what's happened, when you were a boy, you dealt with the situation in the only way you could possibly conceive of - and you survived. Those boys inside you were enormously resilient, and they got you here. To go back to my original point - burdens: I know from reading your story that you've always felt a responsibility for the well-being of your mother and your brother. That is incredible, and shows how far your compassion extends - you still had the space within you to care about others amidst (even despite) all the pain and suffering you were enduring/had endured. I think, a destructive side-effect of this was, though, that it left you hardly any room to feel compassion for those inner boys within you. This is what I meant by burdens. I do not yet know the full details of your family dynamics, so this is but a mere suggestion: perhaps one aspect of the anger you feel towards your inner child is a reflection of the overwhelming demands and expectations that were enforced upon you, by others, and maybe even by yourself. Ideally, the adults in your life (your mother and step-father) should have protected you; they should have been strong and trustworthy and interested enough in your life so that you might've been able to open up to them; they should've been encouraging you. Perhaps, out of compassion for them, you do not reprimand them, and thus have not been able to feel anger towards them at a conscious level. In this way, the anger has no outlet, so you're turning it inwards, against your inner child.

I think you're also right when you say it's "internalizing the abuser." On top of the sexual abuse, your biological father abandoned you, and your coach left you distraught with much verbal/emotional abuse. When you think about it, it is actually INSANE how an adult could hurt a child who is so vulnerable and needing exactly the opposite of what they're giving. As for your other question (i.e. how to deal with that), I find entering into an inner dialogue with your abusers can be helpful. A dialogue, in which you stand up for your inner child, and argue against all of the toxic beliefs that your abusers planted in you. "He (your inner child) was not worthless. He deserved much better. You had no right to treat him this way. You had no right to steal from him his innocence. He was not an object - he was a young human being with thoughts, feelings and dignity." It may be triggering, but listen to your abusers' verbal onslaught and fight back. Be for the boy within you the wished-for adult that you never had.
_________________________
Husky

My Story

Growing up isn't about losing innocence - it's about learning how to keep it in a cold and unforgiving world.

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#445862 - 08/29/13 11:10 AM Re: Internal Warfare [Re: toddop]
Rich1967 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/17/13
Posts: 289
Loc: PA
I'm at work, but Todd I just had to write to give you some support.

I love what everyone has said so far.

I think we have anger because our lives now are such a struggle. We take that anger and blame our inner child because it gives us some control over the situation. How could someone have done this too me. It must be what I did to make it happen. I'm really not a worthless piece of garbage to be used and abused because I caused the problem. If I didn't behave the way I did this would NOT have happened. I will now fix those behaviors and it won't happen again and everything will be OK.

Seeing the thought process in this light was really helpful for me.

Also, find some kids who were the same age as when you were abused and see if you can spend some time with them. There is very little chance that any of them would be able to do any better than you did in the same situations. You may be able to see that when watching their interactions. You did really well BTW - you are still ALIVE.

I understand the struggle well and hope you find the right thing for you to do what Husky said so well, "Be for the boy within you the wished-for adult that you never had".
_________________________
Rich

"Me too" - I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.

My Story:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=441625#Post441625

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#445965 - 08/30/13 12:43 PM Re: Internal Warfare [Re: toddop]
Adam A Gedman Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 188
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: toddop

I know rationally and intellectually it was not their fault.


Todd don't know that I can offer much, but the line above resonated with me as this too is how I see things right now.

I think I am pretty emotionally detached. I can analyze things intellectually to death, but find no respite as a result.

I heard a line from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, that I think may explain this.
The line reads
"Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
What the swift mind beholds at every turn."

I see this as meaning for me, that although we can intellectually examine and accept a concept, idea or reason consciously.
It is our core belief system, our unconscious mind that ultimately has to absorb and assimilate the information for it to become truth for us.

My hope is time and repetition will allow my unconscious mind to, catch up.

Don't know if this helps, but thought I would offer my two cents as a possible explanation for this internal conflict.
_________________________
Presence is the key, for all we have is now.
All we ever have is right now.

Formerly Adam A Gedman (AKA - A damAGed man)

But you can call me Kevin

Toronto Mini WoR - May 2014

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#445987 - 08/30/13 06:28 PM ! [Re: Chase Eric]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217
!


Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (02/28/14 09:35 PM)

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#445990 - 08/30/13 06:56 PM ! [Re: Onesimus75]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217
!


Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (02/28/14 09:35 PM)

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#446004 - 08/30/13 09:09 PM Re: Internal Warfare [Re: toddop]
toddop Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 225
Loc: California
Thanks everyone for the very helpful responses and feedback to my post. It means a lot to me to hear everyone’s thoughts on this. I have learned so much from you guys.

Originally Posted By: Onesimus75
I seem to have this huge double-standard sometimes. Sure, I would never blame anyone else for the sexual reactions their abusers forced out of them, but I should have known better. I only feel compassion for other CSA kids who acted out because they'd been manipulated/trained/imprinted and that was the only thing they knew, but I should have known better.

Now I make myself realize I was expecting myself to be superhuman, and I'm just me instead.

Onesimus75 - Thanks for sharing parts of your story and your ideas around this. I can identify with so much of what you say. I was particularly drawn to this because these thoughts are what originally led me to the place that I am at. I started to question why I cannot extend the empathy to myself that I so readily give to others. That is when I really tapped into the anger that is inside.

Originally Posted By: Chase Eric
I can only share from my own experience on this, but sometimes I wonder if the biggest crime of CSA is the civil war it sets up within us.

For me, it seems that the heart has no memory. The intellect must constantly remind the heart what it knows.

How do you get your heart to remember for more than ten minutes what your intellect knows - that we were just kids, doing the best we knew how, all by ourselves?


Eirik – I can always count on you to bring the heart into the matter. That is truly the source of some of our greatest wounds, but also our greatest leaps forward. I really appreciate the civil war metaphor you gave. That is truly what it feels like. I feel like you read my mind and put it out there for all to see with far greater clarity than I could muster.

Thanks for sharing your own experience and story around this. It is digging in the muck of the awful reality of our feelings that I think often leads to our greatest successes. For me, asking these questions has led to some pretty dark places. But, rather than deny them, sometimes I think our darkest aspects make our lightest parts shine that much brighter. We WERE just kids and we do need to let ourselves off the hook for much more of the blame and guilt. It just is going to need some reinforcement and repetition.

Originally Posted By: concerned_husky
...you still had the space within you to care about others amidst (even despite) all the pain and suffering you were enduring/had endured. I think, a destructive side-effect of this was, though, that it left you hardly any room to feel compassion for those inner boys within you.

I find entering into an inner dialogue with your abusers can be helpful. A dialogue, in which you stand up for your inner child, and argue against all of the toxic beliefs that your abusers planted in you.


Husky – Thank you so much for that response. And thank you for relating it to the struggles I have been going through over the past few months. It is hard for me sometimes to see the big picture, moving from incident to incident. Sometimes it needs someone else to say “Step back and see what has been going on for you…” That is an amazing gift to do that for me.

You really hit the nail on the head with the anger stuff. I was never allowed to express anger. My biological father would not allow it, and reinforced that we should always be good boys and be quiet and well-behaved. And even after that, my family dynamic did not allow me to express it.

For one, I had already been ditched by one parent. I think I thought if I was bad in any way, including being angry, my mother would get rid of me too. But, on another level, being abandoned by our father made me, my brother and mother really insular and protective of each other. I think perhaps my need to keep it from them to not hurt them was a big factor. So, I think in that case you are very right in saying I had nowhere to really direct the anger to. Thank you so much for putting those pieces together.

Thanks also for the idea about writing to my abuser. I am definitely going to do that and see what comes up. I am already plumbing the depths so might as well roll up my sleeves and get to it.

Originally Posted By: Rich1967
Also, find some kids who were the same age as when you were abused and see if you can spend some time with them. There is very little chance that any of them would be able to do any better than you did in the same situations. You may be able to see that when watching their interactions. You did really well BTW - you are still ALIVE.


Rich – Thank you for your support on this and for sharing your experience with anger as well. My T has tried to get me to do this. I feel so self-conscious about being around children. The last thing I want to be thought of is as the creepy old dude staring at the kids. I always feel like a perp when I am around kids for some odd reason. They are very triggering for me. My T suggested just going to a mall or a tourist landmark and watching the families interact. Maybe that is something I can do. I definitely have as my end goal to be better to these internal kids, and this exploration is part of that. I really do not want to get lost in despair over this, but get to a better place with these feelings.

Originally Posted By: Adam A Gedman
I heard a line from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, that I think may explain this.
The line reads
"Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
What the swift mind beholds at every turn."

I see this as meaning for me, that although we can intellectually examine and accept a concept, idea or reason consciously.
It is our core belief system, our unconscious mind that ultimately has to absorb and assimilate the information for it to become truth for us.


Adam – thanks for your response and for the quote from the poem. It seems to complement very well what Eirik had said about the heart and the intellect. It is very difficult to merge those two things together or have them work in tandem. I guess the dichotomy between the two of them is the basis for all the great stories since the beginning of time. I think you are right on the time and repetition. I guess it is like sustained exercise or sustained muscle building. It can’t just go from one state to another. It must be transformed slowly over time.

Originally Posted By: Smalltown80sBoy
But I think many of us who chose not to drown our memories or tired of doing so have realized that waging an internal struggle is critical to our survival. We are our own punching bags but I think that if we can keep from beating ourselves to death we can learn something about ourselves in the process and come out stronger, wiser, and better able to embrace life to the fullest.


Gary – Thanks for putting a positive spin on the struggles that we go through. I fully agree with what you are saying. I never asked to be abused, but one of the only positive outcomes of our constant fight is that we do get to learn about ourselves on a very deep and intense level. That is definitely the source of strength. This is really good to hear.

Again, thanks all for your responses. I have had some time to reflect on this. I have received a lot of ideas from your posts and from PMs from other guys. One in particular suggested that I draft a peace treaty between all of the factions involved, listing issues and demands, then to come to an agreement against a common enemy. I thought that was a great idea and I had to share it.

But, really, everyone’s help, resources, and ideas have been so helpful. I think with what I have learned from this post, I feel a lot more grounded about these feelings. They are still fresh, intense, and frightening, but they are a part of me. And I am starting to make sense of where they are coming from. I know it is going to take some work to move beyond the intellectual grasp that the anger does not deserve to be directed inwardly, to actually believing it in my heart. But, I am willing to accept the possibility of moving in that direction.

You know, it always seems like an ongoing series of books, or a video game. You get to through one level and the next level you have deal with everything on the level before it, plus new challenges, obstacles, or foes. I mean, I already feel I have been swimming through the putrid and toxic waters of the CSA memories from one island of knowledge to the next. And now I have to do all of that PLUS deal with these new and frightening emotions like sharks swimming around in it. You’re kidding me? That is how it feels.

And I can choose to sit there, not wanting to move forward. Or I can grab my Bowie knife out of my belt and dive into the water, swinging left and right to keep the sharks away, as I swim toward the next island. Each new chapter of the story or level of the game might mean I have to face a new enemy with new challenges. But when I look back at who I was when I started this struggle, I may not recognize that person because of all the new muscles, skills, and courage I have added. That remains my goal. Onward and upward.

You guys have made my day.
_________________________
Todd

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds."
-Albert Einstein

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#446017 - 08/30/13 10:37 PM Re: Internal Warfare [Re: toddop]
Chase Eric Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 1443
(((Todd)))
_________________________
Eirik




Click my pic to see why I'm here

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