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#454033 - 11/16/13 03:40 PM something died
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3377
Loc: somewhere in Africa
During one of our couple’s sessions with our T last week my wife took it somewhere that I did not want to go. But I felt that I had put everything on the table so I could not hold back. I don’t remember the exact way she opened the can of worms – but it was something about not understanding why I went to porn – when she was available and willing. She has felt rejected, inadequate, confused, shamed, and angry about that.

It was complicated – but I tried – once again – to explain. This time I gave a bit more detail. I said that I did not even know if I was a virgin or not when we were married. I had never been with a woman – but all of my sexual experiences had been with males – and that I had not participated willingly and they were far from pleasant events. I felt I had been wrongly programmed. As a result, I have felt confused about what that said about me and insecure and ignorant going into marriage.

Instead of just saying – as I had before – that sexual situations or even casual touch could trigger memories of abuse, I bit the bullet this time and said that I avoided going to bed with her because often it felt like there were others in bed with us – the ghosts of abusers who would not leave me alone. And that sometimes I had a difficult time in distinguishing what my body was responding to – the present stimulus of being with her – or the memories/triggers/flashbacks of being controlled and used by the abusers – with their mixture of pain, shame, and arousal. I told her that – in the most simplistic terms – when I initiated sex – I felt like an abuser – and when she did – I felt like the abused. I told her that my denial and pretending and hiding and lies and porn use – had all been ineffectual attempts to spare her the ugliness of my past secret abuse – to retain some shreds of self-respect and dignity and control – and to hold on to some of her respect and love by not letting her know how bad and damaged and dirty I was – which in my mind would have inevitably led to losing her – the only one who had ever loved me and not abandoned me. I wanted the one who loved me – and who I loved more than anyone else – to think the best of me – not the unimaginable worst.

Our T confirmed that all of this twisted thinking was not only possible – but typical. I think for the first time she finally started to get it – maybe not totally – but at least more than ever before. And she was shocked and horrified. She expressed indignation that I had not trusted her enough to tell all and to believe that she would still love me and not leave me. She told me that she still loves me – no matter what – and that she will never leave me. But I had a hard time hearing that or believing it.

After that, I felt terribly exposed and vulnerable in an extremely uncomfortable way. I was terrified of her judgment, condemnation, and rejection. I felt like I had stripped myself more naked than I had ever been before. I felt – not like taking off clothes that I could put back on – but like a snake shedding its skin – that could never be put back on. Like my last line of defense was gone. Like this was do or die – a point of no return.

For the next 24 hours I experienced an excruciating sense of anxiety and symptoms of elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, obsessive thoughts, fear, and depression. Even when – in spite of her discomfort and my uncertainty – she suggested we make love – and we were successful in culminating that act – and miraculously, I was able to stay present and it was she rather than I that was fighting against the ghosts – I was still very conflicted: extremely grateful for her mercy and relieved that I had not scared her away – but wondering and anxious about how it all would turn out. Things seemed to be tending in a positive direction. Why did I still feel so uneasy and upset?

The next day, I was able to figure it out and express it in words.

I felt like someone had died – and I was experiencing a sense of loss and mourning his passing. This is hard to explain – because it is an analogy – not meant in a literal way. I do not suffer from DID and I do not have multiple personalities – but that is the closest thing I can compare it to. I felt like one version of me had died.

He was the protective shell – a clone – not really human – not much inside – quite hollow really. His job was to protect me from anyone getting too close. To keep all of my secrets safely hidden and to prevent me from being forced to deal honestly with what my real issues were. He was a busy guy. He also had to maintain an appearance of normalcy and of being unaffected emotionally by anything. He did a pretty good job for decades – but he eventually got tired and let down his defenses. I betrayed him, relieved him of his previous responsibilities, took away his role, and left him hanging without a purpose – and therefore without a life.

Once I knew he was gone, I started to panic. What would I do without my constant companion? There was no turning back. And the sense of loss was overwhelming – just like a death of someone very close. I started to mourn the loss. I started to desperately look around for another faηade to hide behind. I didn’t know how I was going to cope. I was on my own.

But not really.

Now I am finally starting to get it – maybe not totally – but at least more than ever before. She is not going anywhere. She still loves me – incredibly – she told me that now she loves me even more. And the biggest new revelation of a concept that I had never even imagined was possible before – because it went diametrically opposite to everything I had ever experienced before: she can feel ANGRY with me – and still LOVE me!!!

So – he is gone – has passed – is dead – has gone to a better place. And he has left me in a far better place. May he rest in peace. I have a niggling suspicion that he may try to do the zombie thing – walk around as one of the undead and show up in our home uninvited and unannounced. I hope I can recognize it if that happens. Even though he seemed to fulfill the responsibilities I assigned him so well for so many years, he is no longer welcome here. I have to admit that I’ll miss him – he has left me with a big backlog of unfinished work to do that I used to just slough off on him and forget it. Turns out he didn’t do such a good job as I thought.

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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#454057 - 11/16/13 08:02 PM Re: something died [Re: traveler]
Ever-fixed Mark Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/02/10
Posts: 728
Loc: United States
Lee,

That's quite a breakthrough you've made. It's common for us to construct a false self that we think is a more acceptable, lovable, and respectable image than we feel we are. Recognizing that false self, naming why it was there, and then beginning the process of discarding it is a lot of work. You should be proud of your courage and your willingness to be vulnerable - that's where the good stuff happens.

-efm
_________________________

Everybody here's got a story to tell
Everybody's been through their own hell
There's nothing too special about getting hurt
Getting over it, that takes the work

- "Duck and Cover" by Glen Phillips

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#454059 - 11/16/13 08:46 PM Re: something died [Re: traveler]
toddop Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 214
Loc: California
Lee,

This post just spoke to me. I often feel like I am shedding layers of skin in this process. It takes a lot of courage to let old behaviors and personas fade away and die. I am inpired by your account and the conclusion of your struggle around these issues.
_________________________
Todd

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

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#454098 - 11/17/13 12:40 AM Re: something died [Re: traveler]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3603
Loc: South-East Europe
Hi Lee,
good to see you and your wife connecting on so many levels.
Leaving comfort zone, wow, it is the most demanding task for me. I just can't do it no matter on all rational reasons and explanations. Making full contact with another person is in core of problem, I'm avoiding it at any cost even on subconsciousness level.

It was very inspiring for me to read about your experience, I know it is possible.
Thank you for sharing such intimate details from your journey with us.

Pero
_________________________
My story

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#454118 - 11/17/13 09:52 AM Re: something died [Re: traveler]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 678
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi Lee,

I am so grateful for your post. At 64, I have never known love. I have a powerful shell, a considerable layer of skin to shed. I have shed a lot over the years, and continue to do good work on myself. Your post has melted some layers of fear inside and added some inspiration where it was absent. Thank you. Don
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#454123 - 11/17/13 10:48 AM Re: something died [Re: traveler]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
Powerfully, honestly, beautifully written. You are an inspiration to us all, Lee.
bill
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#454133 - 11/17/13 12:42 PM Re: something died [Re: traveler]
DavoSwim Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Iowa, USA
Lee,

This is such a important post with a message that reaches all of us in some way. You have articulated what I have felt but have never been able to put into words. You have crystallized the emotions I have experienced and put it into sentences which convey the very essence of many of our experiences.

Thank you for writing and thank you for helping us all on our journey of healing.

Dave

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#454169 - 11/17/13 06:28 PM Re: something died [Re: traveler]
thepatient Offline


Registered: 09/29/13
Posts: 29
Loc: USA
Wow, what an honest and inspiring post! We can all probably relate to "the clone": the public face that we put on to appear like normal human-beings vs the inner chaos.
_________________________
"Shine on forever
Shine on benevolent sun
Shine down upon the broken
Shine until the two become one
Shine on upon the severed
Divided, I'm withering away
Shine on upon the many, light our way
Benevolent sun"

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#454227 - 11/18/13 08:49 AM Re: something died [Re: traveler]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5942
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Lee, the layers are maturing, wonderful. Those strong personalities we survivors raise to deal with or disconnect from the abuse are put there for our protection. This "gilded cage" protects, but it also suffocates the maturing process. When, after may years or decades of recovery, we find the balance that allows those strong personalities to calm, to become assertive, not passive nor aggressive.

We can feel that release, as you have. This release is reassuring, it is stability and it is a relief. It is initially uncomfortable as we are hyper aware of rejection and abandonment but as you have pointed out, once the uncomfortable moment has passed we are left with this recovery progress.

Well done Lee, to your own persistence and the loving support of your wife I am joyful. Thank you for sharing, Sam.
_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#454350 - 11/18/13 09:08 PM Re: something died [Re: traveler]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3377
Loc: somewhere in Africa
efm, Todd, Pero, Don, bill, Dave, t p, & Sam:

thank you all so much for your encouragement and affirmation.
i would not be where i am without the past 2+ years here at MS - without all of you - and all the others who have helped me get here.

i am not out of the woods yet. i am very tender right now. there have been several triggers to new stuff in the past few days - i know that it tends to surface when i am especially vulnerable. it has not been unmanageable - but has shaken me a bit. today in a store i saw/heard a mom yelling at her 2 young kids and i just started crying and heading blindly the other way into the christmas displays.

however - now i am certain that we are going to make it.
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


Top
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