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#450556 - 10/18/13 11:54 AM Re: Looking at the Numbers - Possible Triggers [Re: SayItRight]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1434
You have endured much and you are acknowledging all you have lived. The numbers are daunting-but facing them will hopefully lead you on a path of recovery. Therapy, hospitalization, medications, denial, PTSD, addictions and other issues are part of the life of many CSA survivors. It is devastating.

But our healing journey begins once we begin to accept the abuse. You have traveled far and healed in many ways.

Thank you for sharing.

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#450559 - 10/18/13 12:20 PM Re: Looking at the Numbers - Possible Triggers [Re: SayItRight]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 358
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
We all have so much to be proud of. We're still around and are still doing what we can to work through our stuff. I'm 64 and began therapy at 19 after an overdose. My life has been substantially involved in therapy, self-help, personal growth, psychics, soul regressions--anything I could find to try to make sense of my life. Alcoholism, anonymous sex, acting out sexually with animals from 13-22, medications, lot of OCD problems, continuous depression and suicidal thoughts. And then, at the age of 53, after a lot of body work I finally began to remember early childhood sexual abuse and physical abuse and torture by both my parents. I had learned the concept of body memory over a period of years and this combined with body work was the breakthrough I needed.

The bottom line of all this for me is that we all were damaged in various ways, and we have all approached healing in the best ways we have been able. Just because the best ways we have been able to approach life may not have been pretty, this does not in any way lessen all our commitments to doing what we can do. We are all here right now doing what we can. My loving wish for us all is that we are able to be gentle and tender with ourselves. We do not deserve our own recrimination. We deserve our own love and compassion.

Thank you all for helping remind me that I deserve gentleness and tenderness...........Don (don64)

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#450729 - 10/20/13 10:22 PM Re: Looking at the Numbers - Possible Triggers [Re: SayItRight]
SayItRight Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/06/13
Posts: 63
Jude, KMC, and Don:

Believe it or not, I am still formulating a response to your posts. In the meantime, I have read and re-read them more than once, as I have all of the others here as well.

In the meantime, I wanted to make sure you knew that your reaching out as you did immediately made and continues to make a difference for me.

Thank you!
_________________________



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#450786 - 10/21/13 10:24 AM Re: Looking at the Numbers - Possible Triggers [Re: SayItRight]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 307
Hi SayItRight,

I'm glad you're on the site. Working through denial is a hard thing to do. Like you, I held the memories of what actually happened in my mind for close to 30 years. The memories were there, raw and untouched. I honestly didn't have names or labels for them. I knew in my heart it was sexual assault/abuse. I think one of the scariest things that ever happened to me was when I saw in fifth or sixth grade a statistic about how victims of sexual molestation so often go on to become perpetrators. Also, around the same time, I read something in some news sources or something about how a person's first sexual experience creates an unshakable impression on their life and largely defines what sex is to them. I remember being terrified that I had the mark of the monster and that I had been ruined/polluted. BUT... I never said anything to anybody ever. The phrase I had in my mind for what had happened was "fucked up shit went down." And I had an image in my mind that I was always pulling a heavy black curtain, like in the backstage area of a theater, to cover the memory up. I knew it was there. But I vowed to "take it to my grave." That was another phrase I used over and over and over again.

So here's where what I'm saying really relates to you, I believe. I have had several therapists. And I struggle, each time, with wanting to start giving the therapist what she wants, which in my mind is progress. I start to think that if I tell her the truth, she'll be disappointed in me/disapprove of me. The longer I see the therapist, the more I feel this way. I have struggled against this, and I would say that EMDR therapy has helped the most, because it somehow defuses the crazy fear I have of someone actually seeing me for who I am.

But there's another hurdle, too. For all the time that I held the real source of my anguish in secret, I carried that anguish with me everywhere. I would attach a little bit of that anguish to anything that seemed compelling or believable. In other words, I lied to be able to express emotions, because I was unable to express emotions adequately about the things that actually hurt/bothered/humiliated me. And that habit of lying became part of the whole circular nature of my rationalization and the way I had learned to cope with the abuse. And so I'd lie about shit, feel torn up and humiliated by the lie, be terrified that I'd be found out and exposed as a liar, and so on and so forth.

Among other things, that whole cartload of habits/tendencies/survival mechanisms/what-have-you can amount to a seriously high barrier to facing things head on, whether in therapy or out. At least that's what it's been like for me. Even today, in therapy, I can find myself starting to fake my emotions about something, and then I have to really think about what my emotions are, what my feelings really are, what my memory was, and just brutally stick to it.

That has helped me to sort out the real emotions from the fake ones. Because, and here's another wrinkle to this whole fucked up tale, I sometimes feel real emotions but experience the sensation of "fakery" about those emotions, and that process is called dissociation, and it, too, is an escape mechanism that I used to protect myself! And so I ground myself by rubbing my hands on some rough surface or my pants or something, until the feeling that my senses are faking me out starts to fade. Whew.

Anyway, good luck to you. Those attempts at therapy helped you. I have no doubt. Your abuse does not define you. You're not a bad/evil/tainted/ruined/soiled person. You're a regular dude with a history. Everyone has a history. I broke my arm once (actually about four times), but I'm not a broken-armed person. I'm a guy who had some broken bones as a kid (totally unrelated to abuse, I was just a little hellion).

Keep after it. Keep seeking peace. And when you find it, for goodness sake, take some deep breaths and enjoy it! (That advice, actually, is for myself. But I figured you could probably use it, too.)

Bob

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#450947 - 10/22/13 08:38 AM Re: Looking at the Numbers - Possible Triggers [Re: SayItRight]
SayItRight Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/06/13
Posts: 63
Jude, KMC, and Don:

After reading and re-reading your responses, I want to repeat to each of you the phrases in what you wrote that completely stop me in my tracks, in a good sense, even though it currently beyond me to articulate any reason why or express how the do.

Jude: "Good post Sayitright."
KMC: "You have endured much."
Don: "...we have all approached healing in the best ways we have been able."

These are like power pills; I have prescribed them to myself; I take them daily, typically morning and evening. They help.

Bob:

I saw your response only late last night, and good thing I did. First of all, it provided me with a real sense of connection on a day when if felt like everything was going wrong. (This statement about my day is a bullshit statement. I am underselling just how bad the day was and just how bad I felt, but I'll leave it as is).

What you wrote about denial, the depth and the layers you traced in your own denial, man, that really broke through to me. So much so that I feel compelled to put aside my reluctance to post here in order to say a few things that come to mind.

Your response helped me to see a few dynamics in my own denial. I want to/hope to ("plan to" sounded too positive when I tried to write it and I'm not that cheery) put this knowledge to work when I re-start therapy this week.

For what its worth, I'm going to list out here what I saw (if for no one else but me to see it):

POSSIBLE TRIGGER WARNINGS/LANGUAGE WARNINGS/ETC.

-- we were not allowed to be sick when we were kids. Missing school was basically a crime; a crime for which we would be interrogated prior to committing it. It got to where it simply was not worth bringing up any physical symptoms. I already felt like shit; why waste the energy I had arguing about it and having to prove it?

-- on those rare occassions where evidence of illness was unavoidable (temperature, vomitting, whatever); "true illness" (i.e. indisputable) only served to elicit endless, and I mean endless, litanies of my parents woes: "You think that is bad, you should see how...." "You think you're sick, I feel like X, Y or Z and I'm still doing A,B, or C." Blah blah blah, etc. Yes, please, see on the couch or my bed and tell me about all your shit. That would be great. Thank you. I didn't realize I had been failing so badly at taking care of you. And there's stuff/details there too but, let me stay focused here, if I can.

-- any time off or "special treatment" (like being allowed to stay in bed) can and would be used against me. No statute of limitations. "No, I don't think you're going out tonight. Remember that day a couple of months ago when I thought you were fine to go to school but you didn't want to? Well, now I'm the one who thinks you should stay home." Stupid example, but you get the point. Complete bullshit like that, brought up at unexpected times, cutting of whatever plans I had, whatever fun I thought I was going to have. If I hadn't brought up how sick I was, I never would have missed out on the plans I made however many months later. I mean, I likely would have, for some other reason, but you get what I'm saying.

And here's what's coming up for me now, as I write this, and part of what can make receiving help so difficult for me - first of all, we never spoke about "private things" "family matters" um, ourseles, outside the house. We most especially did not ever present outselves in anything but the best light outside the house. We had no problems (Except for the times my father would go absolutely apeshit over one thing or another in public, but those are different stories).

So if any other parent, or teacher, or God knows who happened to show some concern or interest or care or notice about anything at all going on in my life, it must only have meant that I had lied, exaggerated, and manipulated the story and/or the circumstances to bring that result about. That was the *only* explanation, as far as my parents were concerned. I was a pity-whore, that was the only thing someone else's caring meant. It had to mean that I had no dignity whatsoever, that I must be willing to do anything I need to (there would be those hints in the acccusation) to get someone to notice me.

I feel that same internal disgust at myself right now as I am writing this. To me, I sound like an absolute fucking sob story. I'm disgusted to hear myself write. I can't believe anyone will read this. Etc, Etc. Etc.. All that shit.

What's worse is I remember when I was really young, I mean really young, 6 or 7 say, doing just that (similar to what you wrote about the intensity of unexpressed feelings going out and attaching to other things, what you refer to as lying, just so that you get some kind of experience of the feeling). I would act sick, or limp or whatever (God this is embarrassing to write) just to see if I could elicit sympathy from somebody, from anybody. So, there was truth to my parents' later acccusation I guess? [Rhetorical]. (And I'm leaving out some detail here that is better left to a "My Story" post. TRIGGER WARNING: I did do a lot of the things I was experienced in, if you know what I mean, even at that age, to try and find someone who would take me away from my family situation).

On top of that (and I cannot believe I am writing any of this), there were some of those "outside" people who expressed care. Turns out, they were not very caring. Got to where I have a hard time trusting anyone who expresses care or concern.

For instance, TRIGGER WARNING: the priest who molested me. He saw what my family was like. He felt bad for me. He spoke to me about it. He stood up for me in front of them. He, etc. (and yes, I know that is one of the way "grooming" works. I hate the fucking term). Then he deployed everything he knew to keep the situation on his terms. Like after the first time: "You better not let your father see you upset, you know he doesn't like that kind of thing." "You want to tell someone what happened? You want to not meet with me again? I'll just tell your father that you won't cooperate with the ways I'm trying to help you. I'll tell him you are a bad Catholic." (To say that my father was a militant and highly reactive Catholic is to say nothing at all. If there is a patron saint of vulcanic reactions to perceived slights toward Catholicism or the Catholic church, that guy resigned when he saw my father. My father cornered that market. There was absolutely no way I could ever let that priest have any reason to say anything at all about me to my father. But guess, what? He did. Whatever, different story).

Similar lines from a teacher in high school who feel so bad for how *misunderstood* and *unappreciated* I was. Managed to fend off that situation long enough to get out of there.

Also, not to mention, what a fucking easy mark I've always been for so many others (better, um, *situations* than that high school teacher) offering anything even remotely resembling or vaguely recalling care or concern or consideration. I'm going to leave out the details there.

Then, there's my typical reaction to all that, which is to cut off all my desire for care and concern and/or my expression of it for other people. Doesn't work well, doesn't last long, typically leads only to one or the other cut-off feelings to take things over completely. Results not favorable.

And, similar to some of what you mentioned, I learned to get along. "What is the need? Are we being professional right now? Ok, I'll out professional everyone. Oh, now its time to kick back? Ok, that one's easy. We're going drinking? Good: I'll drink you under the table. We're talking politics? Let me drop some wisdom on you..." For me, what's worse in all that than the fact that I don't often know myself at all or what I genuinely want (I do have some idea though, so I write "often") I wouldn't see I'm being fake in any of those situations. I'm not trying to pull one off on anybody, I'm not trying to lie. Whatever, I can't express it. I put in the time, often going to extraordinary lengths, just until everyone else goes home, or goes to sleep, or goes away or whatever. Then, maybe, I can start to feel or think something that is "mine." Usually, the only thing I do feel at those times is some kind of blankness, because the feelings I've been pushing down all day are finally responding to all my pushing. They are no where to be find. But at least then the emptiness is mine. Sometimes I sit there and at least have that.

In any case, these dynamics of mine that your post helped me to identiy will be helpful as I head into therapy again.

I'e reached a point in my life where I feel like if I don't get some care or concern in my life, whatever that may look like in "real life," (well, you get the point, I don't know where to go the sentence, it's sounding like an ultimatum and I don't mean it that way).

Probably the thing I have to fight the hardest, on the background of the above, is the dynamic where after dragging myself through fucking shitstorms of ptsd problems for weeks, after barely being able to get through my day without feeling like I'm going to pop or bust out crying or both or I don't know what, I will sit in that office and feel absolutely calm. I will not be able to access a goddam thing. That is how it happens for me far too often. I think too, that part of the reason that happens is simply because (Jesus, I can't believe this is the reason) I am afraid to cry in front of anybody. For a million reasons, despite knowing its "okay" and that strong men cry and etc., etc... So I just keep everything pushed very far down, even when I don't want to.

This time, I'm determined to be different. This is part of the reason I'm grateful for what you wrote. Your response got me thinking, gave me back some fighting spirit that I've been missing, and helped me feel connected on a day when I had given up hope that connection, even the new helpful connection this site has given me, was possible.

Thanks for taking the time to write what you wrote. I hope you don't mind this rant in return.


Edited by SayItRight (10/22/13 08:44 AM)
Edit Reason: Spelling, etc.
_________________________



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#450958 - 10/22/13 09:58 AM Re: Looking at the Numbers - Possible Triggers [Re: SayItRight]
Suwanee Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 625
Loc: Southeast USA
Say it:

I know I'm a little late to your thread, but I feel I need to join in. My frequency of posting varies with my workload, so I may *read* many posts before I have time to think about a proper response.

That said, your story resonates with me. I cannot claim that my household was as rigid as yours, but it was/is one where everyone has a role--and working for financial success/gain is prioritized. At least it was until my parents got older and more seasoned to realize that working brutal hours at the expense of family time was not worth it. Trouble is, I realized it WAY before they did. Oh, I was hyper-competitive, but I also had no problem chucking whatever I was doing for something else. That's my ADHD showing.

My parents loved me as a kid and they love me as an adult. Still, my dad in particular worked and traveled so much, that he missed many swim meets, football games and the like. You can't hit rewind on that. Sometimes love really is inexpensive...like just being there rather than sending a check and boxes of swag. On the outside I had my act together. On the inside, I was an impulsive ADHD kid who didn't know when he was playing with fire. I was looking for something and it found ME.

Here's my point, until recently, I really couldn't articulate what happened to me at that camp, nor could I connect the dots of the abuse, busy parents, hurt feelings, overachieving, the guilt, anger, and turmoil of my 20s. YOU are doing the right things. Addressing past abuse is an ongoing process. The most important thing I've learned is that we are always addressing it. We adopt coping strategies of varying effectiveness at the time of abuse, immediately afterwards, and as we put time and distance between "us" and "it."

The other point I've learned is these responses are all tools we use, but we should not be afraid to put away the hammer when we need a saw. If you don't have the tools you need, feel free to find them through therapy, meds, or MS...whatever is healthy and positive. The more tools you add to your toolbox, the better of you are when you need to maintain what you've built. That's a simple analogy, but an effective one for me---and it only took 27 years to realize. You can do this. All the best!

Will
_________________________
You take a walk and you try to understand
Nothing can hurt you
Unless you want it to... R.E.M./Pylon "Crazy"


My Story: Cruel Summer

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#450991 - 10/22/13 02:27 PM Re: Looking at the Numbers - Possible Triggers [Re: SayItRight]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 307
Say It,

What can I say? I'm blown away. And let me just tell you... everything you wrote is important. Everything. What's weird about all this is that our experiences hit on a lot of shared feelings, shared concerns, shared strategies for survival.

I went for a walk with my wife last night, and I was telling her how good it feels to express myself on this sight. How vital and important it feels, if only to me.

And I should add that I've had some heavy-duty EMDR sessions lately I've been feeling a little desperate, a little freaked out and anxious, but not over anything in particular. Just freaked out. Desperate. Anxious. And it made me feel better to express myself on your thread, and your response was all that much better.

Stay strong, brother. We've been hurt. People fucked with us. Before. During. And after the abuse. And damn it but we fucked up, too. I know I did. But I'm ready to line shit up and start living the way I want to live.

It's very hard for me to relax and be loved. I have a wonderful wife and family, but I just get these fucked up flashes of depression that HURT.

Anyway, I don't want to get into it right now, because it sucks to think about too much. Anyway, I really appreciate what you wrote, and the same goes for all you guys on the site. Thank you.

Bob

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#451013 - 10/22/13 08:30 PM Re: Looking at the Numbers - Possible Triggers [Re: SayItRight]
traveler Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3204
Loc: back in the USA
SayIt -

wow - i am impressed - you really are saying it! forget about saying it "right" - just get it out - and you are doing that. in your earlier posts i was concerned that you were so concerned about expressing everything so carefully that i was afraid you'd tie yourself up in knots. but there is such power in writing in an almost automatic way that your reality breaks through and truth illuminates the memories. i'd say you've done it here.

there is so much unhealthy in the home and family atmosphere you describe - and it is so enmeshed with the abuse i am sure. sometimes it is hard to separate them - because it is all one.

keep at it, man - you are doing good work here.

LEE
_________________________
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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#451156 - 10/24/13 04:55 AM Re: Looking at the Numbers - Possible Triggers [Re: SayItRight]
SayItRight Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/06/13
Posts: 63
Will, and Bob (again), and Lee:

I have in mind to respond to what of each of you wrote, so much of which has been very helpful. If nothing else, I will write out for your the parts of what you wrote that I have returned to re-read many times since I first saw them.

In the meantime though, I've had some pretty clear thoughts this morning. So much so that I feel compelled to write another post entirely. I feel like I have to put out there what it is I've just understood, if for no other reason than so that I dont forget it going forward.

I didn't want to hijack my own thread and I didn't want it to seem like I'm just jumping from one thing to another, so: separate thread. I appreciate the time you took to resspond here and I will get back to you.
_________________________



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#451182 - 10/24/13 01:27 PM Re: Looking at the Numbers - Possible Triggers [Re: SayItRight]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 307
Thanks, Say It. I'll look for the new post now. Bob

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