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#462892 - 03/20/14 11:16 AM A Physical Condition. No link to abuse. Right?
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 253
Loc: Europe
Hey, Everybody.

This week I've suffered from symptoms that I think the doctor will dignose as TMJ. Basically, my jaw is tense and painful and, at its worse, I can't bite all the way down. It's better today, but I'm keeping my upcoming dentist appointment.

This was an unpleasant few days. Bearable, but somehow very disconcerting. For one thing, although not always painful, the discomfort was constant. It left me wondering, "What if it stays like this?" (shudder)

So why write about it here? Mainly becauase I wonder if the tension that causes this is related to my CSA. I'm actually in a pretty good place, overall, and can live life well without the past interfering, but this time I wonder.

I also wonder if this isn't a strange body memory type thing.

Just earlier this week I was thinking about how maybe I should just not think about the abuse at all any more, that to try to remember more would be ruminating on things. That maybe the next step for me would be to just let it all go. Not deny it, but just not think about it.

Then, bam, my jaw clenched up the next morning.

And one of the things I've always wished I could remember better (because I thought then I would be sure instead of doubting myself, is what my brother did to me. Basically, he forced me to give him oral sex, but my memory blacks out after a certain point.

So I found myself wondering if, just when I say I may as well forget it, my jaw is telling me, "This is what I remember."

It is a strange theory, I know. TMJ can have plenty of causes.

But I can't quite shake the theory. And I have to say, one of the most helpful things I've learned over the years is to trust myself, to give my own theories a chance before dismissing them.

And for now, at least, this is my theory, that my brother was very rough with me, and the memory of my jaw is asking to be considered just as valid as if I had a video clip in my head.

Anyway, I'm writing this down as a way to process, but if anybody out their has thoughts of your own, please share. Also, if you have ANY tips on how to avoid/prevent/treat TMJ, I'd be grateful.
_________________________
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

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#462893 - 03/20/14 11:54 AM Re: A Physical Condition. No link to abuse. Right? [Re: learning2remember]
1lifenow Online   content


Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 396
Loc: west coast
No question the body can easily go into a fight or flight mode in the face of stress anxiety and shame. The muscles of the face can be directly affected by the autonomic system. Learn about the vagal or polyvagal responses to trauma.

ie http://www.elizabethbader.com/elizabethbadersblog/stephen-porges-polyvagal-theory-healing-trauma/

but to feel better, try massage therapy, cranical therapy and see a chiropractor that treats chronic TMD( not all do). you will feel better.

“The mind has great influence over the body, and maladies often have their origin there.” Molière (1622–1673).
_________________________
The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. Dalai Lama

WoR Barrie 2011

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#462894 - 03/20/14 12:33 PM Re: A Physical Condition. No link to abuse. Right? [Re: learning2remember]
Chase Eric Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 1305
Quote:
Just earlier this week I was thinking about how maybe I should just not think about the abuse at all any more, that to try to remember more would be ruminating on things. That maybe the next step for me would be to just let it all go. Not deny it, but just not think about it.

Then, bam, my jaw clenched up the next morning.

Like you, L2R, I too have wondered about over-thinking this stuff. My partner, who is not a survivor, has his "get over it" stance that he sometimes takes, although usually he is supportive. But it's hard to listen to that stuff and not end up buying into it. The problem is that we have no true perspective on assigning proportions to this experience - sort of like being in the ocean and not seeing over the next wave, yet still trying to describe the greater milieu. I think we all probably either over-think or under-think this to some extent, and that's no crime - it's not wrong. And it's not even anything we can master. No one can expect even professional therapists or psychologists to assign the correct dimensions to a problem with so many unknown variables.

Quote:
Basically, he forced me to give him oral sex, but my memory blacks out after a certain point.

So I found myself wondering if, just when I say I may as well forget it, my jaw is telling me, "This is what I remember."

It is a strange theory, I know. TMJ can have plenty of causes.

At one time I had to wear a retainer (which I highly recommend! - see a dentist for that) to stop me from grinding my teeth at night. The jaws are where a lot of any poorly-managed stress is expressed, so it may be difficult to ascertain whether the jaws themselves are reflecting some sort of local body memory. In my case, there was no oral abuse, so I could safely say no to a direct relationship to CSA. But poor stress management skills that caused TMJ could have arisen from my CSA, creating an indirect linkage.

Enough bad or traumatic things happened my life that were not CSA-related. CSA may have been a unique and significant trauma, but it was not the only one. I went into clinical shock in the dentist's chair having my impacted wisdom teeth removed. That was a trauma as well, with no connection to CSA. So instead of general stress, could my TMJ have been related to that awful body memory? For that matter, I was extremely accident prone as a kid. If I made the assumption - as my T suspects - that being accident-prone arose from my CSA, the fact is that it created a whole new set of traumas NOT related to my CSA directly. This could be a result (example): CSA caused me to be reckless. Being reckless caused me to go too fast on my bike. Going too fast on my bike caused me to crash and hurt my jaw. So if the TMJ reflected that body memory, CSA was in the wings as a distant cousin.

It's tough to step out of ourselves and formulate an objective perspective, a task it seems you are asking of yourself. But even if we cannot, it sometimes helps just to know our introspective blind-spots.
_________________________



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#462898 - 03/20/14 03:38 PM Re: A Physical Condition. No link to abuse. Right? [Re: learning2remember]
Adam A Gedman Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 187
Loc: Canada
L2R,

TMJ is something I have experienced on and off in the past, and I am with 1lifenow, I see it for me as a Mind Body interaction.
I haven't read of the link posted, but have read (listened to) The Mind Body Prescription by Dr John Sarno, as well as Healing Back Pain also By Sarno.
They describe how the autonomic system creates pain, by depriving muscles, tendons etc of sufficient oxygen, this is meant to distract us from deep emotional pain that has been repressed.
So yes, it could be related to CSA or something else that has been repressed.
Dr Sarno's book is part what prompted me to seek help and start my own recovery from CSA.
Obviously can't say that this is the case for you, but I can tell you that understanding the principle in these books has eliminated my back, jaw, hip, shoulder pain without therapy, surgery or medication.
It only takes the time to read or listen through it all.

Hope you too can escape your pain.
_________________________
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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#462900 - 03/20/14 04:15 PM Re: A Physical Condition. No link to abuse. Right? [Re: learning2remember]
Rustam Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 470
Loc: UK
I also had some type of lock jaw on and off, I haven't had it for years, I had to eat through a straw and went to the doctor, who told me there was no physical reason for it. My gut feeling is that it is connected to oral abuse. During the abuse I was afraid that my jaw would break and images of wide open mouths make me flinch.
It may be connected with your decision to not think about abuse, I don't know but I would go with the gut feeling and trust what that is saying.

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#463076 - 03/24/14 11:54 AM Re: A Physical Condition. No link to abuse. Right? [Re: learning2remember]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 253
Loc: Europe
Thanks for all the feedback. I've done a lot or processing regarding this.

My jaw got better, then I chewed a piece of sticky candy and it got worse in an instant. Now, this could lead me to believe that the problem is dental/facial and not memory-related. The physical properties of the candy triggered something, not a memory or attempt to forget.

I see it differently, though. I see it as a sign that we carry sthe effects of abuse with us and can be triggered by things less directly.

Somehow, I can accept that the jaw thing is not necessarily directly linked to the abuse or exclusively because of it, and at the same time feel that the whole thing has taught me something about teh abuse.

For some reason, I now see it more readily as abuse. This is hard to explain, but there were times when I viewed my brother's forcing me to give him oral sex as a game or a joke or something other than abuse...and that was when I was able to believe myself that something happened at all.

The I let myself believe myself. Now I know it was abuse.

I was at the dentist today, and she saw no special cause for any problems. And noticed no cavities! smile

Afterward, I was thinking about the CSA, and realised my jaw was clenching up.

I just wanted to update you all on the medical bit, and thank you for the input, and encourage you to believe yourself.
_________________________
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

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#463079 - 03/24/14 01:06 PM Re: A Physical Condition. No link to abuse. Right? [Re: learning2remember]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 668
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi L2R,

Spring of 2013 I became increasingly disabled: difficulty climbing steps, increasing weakness in knees, hips, wrists, hands, thumbs, back, neck. I don't drive and have to take the "taxi-bus"(Passenger Van) and walk carrying groceries from taxi drop off to my apartment--long walk. Over a couple of months I could no longer carry my groceries, great difficulty managing the 3steps into my apartment, many normal daily routines, including food preparation, had become quite challenging for me. It was clear to me my ability to care for myself was very compromised. Doctor had diagnosed me with fibromyalgia(sp?) and written a recommendation of urgent need for admittance to an assisted living facility.

I've been doing the mind-body thing for years now and view healing myself as via releasing stored trauma and processing out the feelings. The physical limitations had come over me in such a relatively short time, however, that I was in crisis. The day before I was to go sign the papers to be fast tracked into assisted living as a disabled person, I figured out, at age 63, the sexual abuse, physical abuse and torture from my mother were surfacing for the first time. The sexual and physical abuse from my father began surfacing at age 53. I cancelled assisted living. The next couple of months were very challenging for me, but I walked through my symptoms and confronted them for the lies they were, and developed a context for processing the emotional damage from my mother.

It took another 9 months after beginning to remember my mother's abuse before I was able to get to feelings associated with the abuse. And, not surprisingly, with processing the feelings I have developed some acute arthritis in my hands--painful and limiting many normal movements. This time there is no curiosity at all. I know it is the buried terror from my mother doing all it can to remain hidden. It has been interesting, when I feel weak and like I am helpless with my symptoms, they get worse. When I'm trying to use a can opener and having a hard time and say to myself 'I'm willing to feel the feelings here, but I'm not willing to buy it that this is anything other than a defensive, fear-based early ego attempt to keep the feelings buried, I go on about my business and open the can with complete surprise and no problems. I do monitor myself carefully with this type of thing so I don't hurt myself. But, its worked for me for years.

I'm learning to trust myself with working out of this learned helplessness from the traumas during infancy and early childhood by my mother, and by my father.

Learning to trust myself has not been easy. But, it is necessary for me to climb out of this deep pit. And, I'm doing it.

Good luck learning to pay attention to your intuition.

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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