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#458722 - 01/16/14 10:29 AM Re: How to recover from hurtful mothering? [Re: gaatt]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 334
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: gaatt
I've seen the immense frustration in myself when my fundamental need for the nurturing I never got doesn't happen (it usually doesn't unless I clearly focus my attention on it).


Yes, this seems to be a kind of learned helplessness that is only overcome by conscious will.

Originally Posted By: gaatt
I guess being with such a traumatized mother at such a difficult time for her, taught me to hide my needs in very early youth and find indirect ways to get them partially met.


Not sure what needs you might be speaking of but in considering this I also recall the experience of fear and trepidation because getting them met again might not be easy. Just thinking about this can get my stomach tied in knots of anxiety.

In adult relationships, one learns that no one person can meet all our needs. These days I'm reflecting on that knowledge and realizing that I anxiously and vigilantly kept my mother at the center of my existence, partially because I had to be ready to get some nurturing whenever possible. Unfortunately, it also ensured that I would be there for her, not always in ways that I liked.

Undoing this tangle of interaction has been slow, but deliberate. I have stated in my actions and words that I don't want to go back to the old ways of being a secret source of comfort. Although my mother has not explicitly said that she understands everything that happened, I can tell in other ways that the message is getting across.

Originally Posted By: gaatt
Learning to hide my maleness was a trick I learned very young. Perhaps this is a common pattern to survivors of female abuse.


I wonder if my mother was under some undisclosed stress at times, in which case I would be watching for when this would ease up, for when she would be herself. Of course, I had no control over this, although I may have imagined that I did. That may be where the gender confusion came up. By hiding my maleness, it was probably easier to imagine her responding to me.

The price I paid for losing an essential part of me was heavy, though. It has colored my adult interactions. With the help of therapy, I have been able to begin looking at what may have been lost and what I'd like to recover.

The road of true contact is still painful to walk down, feels right because it feels real. Working with the pain is a process. It tends to push me into feeling isolated. I can usually tell when that is starting to happen and am trying to learn how I have been accustomed to dealing with it. This can be a bit horrifying, since I've been doing it for so long. Some of the coping mechanisms are still firmly in place. I am comforted by the fact that when my body calms down after facing it, I start to feel real feelings.

Thanks so much for continuing to share your experience. It is awful and mind-boggling to examine, but helps me feel less alone.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#458741 - 01/16/14 02:36 PM Re: How to recover from hurtful mothering? [Re: focusedbody]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 116
Hi Focussed,

Originally Posted By: focusedbody

Not sure what needs you might be speaking of but in considering this I also recall the experience of fear and trepidation because getting them met again might not be easy. Just thinking about this can get my stomach tied in knots of anxiety.

In adult relationships, one learns that no one person can meet all our needs.


There was lots of emotional trauma in my mother's life starting from when I was still in utero. She lost both a much younger brother to cancer when I was born. At three she lost her twin sister in a tragic accident. She was the last of her siblings. Emotional (and sexual) support for her in a military context (my father was an officer) was close to zero.

I think a newborn needs to feel loved in a very physical way. I suspect that my mother was so taxed emotionally that she didn't have the emotional resources to communicate that kind of love to the degree that was ideal for me. She also has a hidden anger at male sexuality that comes out in various subtle ways. That has been very hurtful to me.

I crave loving touch in a very clean (non-sexual) social environment. When I get it, it is very helpful to me. My body responds strongly as does my mood. There are some ways I can provide this for myself. I trained in Quantum Touch a long time ago. I can give the little boy I once was healing sessions through distance healing this way. I also pay for a massage therapist (and my mother helps with that expense). I have had a couple of guys help me with a healing session once. It was good to feel their support. Women are trickier for me. They generally don't want to hear about what I'm going through when the social atmosphere becomes unsafe for me. It would be nice if I could find a partner for a deeper exploration of healing. Marnia Robinson has described one that interests me a great deal (see: http://www.reuniting.info/node/1734). Finding a partner is very challenging for me. I have explored her approach for three nights once. It was a remarkably powerful and healing experience for me. It was a very good first taste. Unfortunately that was all this partner could handle. Finding people who share my interest in healing at this depth are very rare in my experience. So I just keep on plugging along with what I can do on my own. My body needs lots of work, so I'm not in lack of things to do! :-)

Originally Posted By: focusedbody
Thanks so much for continuing to share your experience. It is awful and mind-boggling to examine, but helps me feel less alone.


You are welcome. This is good for me too. I find it often very awkward talking about the way I struggle with most people. They don't seem to understand. The taboo against seeing the way mothers can hurt their kids is very strong. When you combine that with the subtlety of what I experienced and the way my mother behaves in general (she is easily seen as a saint), then honouring my own reality and need for healing becomes challenging. It's great to be able to communicate with people who understand. Thanks for your help! :-)

Sincerely,

"GAATT"
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#459635 - 01/28/14 09:54 PM Re: How to recover from hurtful mothering? [Re: gaatt]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 334
Loc: NY
Hey, Gaatt.

Have you ever tried any social dancing?

Ballroom dancing can involve some degree of touch, in a controlled but fun way. I've been finding that it's a good place to gradually address some of my confusion.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#459700 - 01/29/14 01:23 PM Re: How to recover from hurtful mothering? [Re: gaatt]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 116
Hi Focussed,

Thanks for the idea. It has occurred to me in the past but I haven't really done much about it. I'm leery of it because the focus on healing is so weak.

Currently I'm looking into a group that specifically focusses on non-sexual touch as a form of relating. The group "Cuddle Party" (see: www.cuddleparty.com) seems to be strongly structured and alot of fun. I'll have to travel to get to it, but it intrigues me. They have a emphasis on openly setting healthy boundaries that is generally absent in most social groups.
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#459763 - 01/30/14 10:09 AM Re: How to recover from hurtful mothering? [Re: gaatt]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 334
Loc: NY
Hey, Gaatt.

That sounds really good. Taking time to understand boundaries is important. I think it opens up the possibility to healing.

I frequently get disoriented. It seems to happen more in the presence of both genders. Ballroom dancing helps me move through that experience and calm down a bit. I agree, however, that it might not directly address what is asking to be healed.

Here's to taking brave steps and feeling good about where they land!

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#459848 - 01/31/14 02:19 PM Re: How to recover from hurtful mothering? [Re: gaatt]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 116
Hi Focussed,

I hear you on the disorientation piece. I get easily confused and triggered emotionally in most social settings. All it takes is one sexually frustrated woman with an unresponsive partner and I'm into it.

I think part of it is my intense craving for the kind of non-sexual touch that newborns need and I still crave. It is so much not a part of adult relations that I think I try to force myself into a culture that isn't addressing my needs at all! So I get confused. I'm much less confused now, (particularly since finding this cuddle buddy group and reading Marnia Robinson's thought's on healing from early childhood bonding trauma (see: http://www.reuniting.info/node/1734)), but it's been a difficult ride where I live.

I'll have to travel to explore this Cuddle Party idea, but it inspires me a great deal. I've got alot of work to do on my health before I can travel too.

Thanks for your wishes for brave steps. Yes, we are both taking brave steps. I hope that yours land well too.

Sincerely,

"GAATT"


Edited by gaatt (01/31/14 02:20 PM)
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#464667 - 04/27/14 11:39 PM Re: How to recover from hurtful mothering? [Re: gaatt]
andyp3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/25/06
Posts: 6
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
My mother sexually abused me from the age of 7 to about 12. Aside from the beatings and other sexually charged violence, she would many times compare my sexuality with that of my estranged father. It was only in my late 20s, when both my parents passed away, that I discovered I was adopted as a baby. I am now 62, I've been married three times, and I have five natural children and nine grandchildren from my first wife. I'm still trying to get over the idea that it's not all my fault. I feel lonely and abandoned most of the time, I've been through years of therapy, and I still can't get over the belief that the reason I'm so lonely and have no friends is because I'm such a bad person. On the surface, I seem to be a happy person but underneath I wonder if this will ever be resolved. Guess I'm going thru a phase of self doubt, depression and loneliness.


Edited by andyp3 (04/27/14 11:55 PM)
Edit Reason: Rephrase my thoughts
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AndyP

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#464734 - 04/28/14 10:24 PM Re: How to recover from hurtful mothering? [Re: gaatt]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 334
Loc: NY
AndyP:

Your post, and the responses elsewhere, reminds me of how hard I have worked to look at and understand how the hard feelings of the outside world were brought into my own being. Even though I never consciously really believed I was a "bad person", there was plenty of behavior that said otherwise. I had to spend a lot of time each day accepting that these feelings were there and then ask myself about their validity.

When I say a lot of time, I mean it. I have two young children and sometimes while they played at home I simply lay down on the floor for long stretches of time to try find what I was truly feeling.

These days I feel like I've been through hell and have gotten a little stronger. I'm prepared for the waves of shame to return anytime. Taking the time to feel them seems counterproductive at first, but I find that allowing them to be in the world also allows me to accept that real things that caused them occurred. It can be difficult to get there mentally and although it can be difficult to do so emotionally, that is where the healing lies. There were real feelings that were not acknowledged and they need to see the light of the present.

Please don't be a stranger here. Whatever you have to share and say is welcomed. We know that the strong stuff needs to come out. I think that's the best way to find out that it's truly not your fault, at all.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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