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#467536 - 07/12/14 08:01 PM Re: A fresh memory from the past **trigger warning** [Re: NoSimpleMachine]
toddop Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 233
Loc: California
NoSimpleMachine,
Yeah I have learned the same thing that you describe in terms with dealing with the negative memories and emotions. It took me a long while to get there. I had blocked out any conscious recollection of my abuse for well over 30 years. I think I was aided in that by a sudden move away from my perpetrator when my family moved to a new town. It was an easy severing and compartmentalization. I was left a husk of the boy I once was, but I was able to put it on a shelf in my brain and close the door on that room, so to speak.

I lived most of my life up until I started the work unconsciously keeping all the memories at bay. I always felt like as a boy I was keeping the awful truth from spilling out of me. It was like I was doing this herculean task of keeping a runaway train from going off the cliff because of a damaged train trestle up ahead. It just seemed like all my energy over the years was spent on that task. My back against this runaway locomotive, my feet dug into the earth and the tracks trying to slow it down. I numbed myself to the reality of it all. I stopped feeling my body, stopped acknowledging the source of all of this emotional turbulence by shutting my feelings off or dialing them down. The train to the boy was the awful truth and the awful feelings about the CSA and the destruction of my body, sexuality, and personality.

Later in life, I had to face it all because my body revolted due to the constant disregard or inattention to that internal struggle. I had to force myself to turn around and look at what I was holding back with all my might. Instead of a train, I saw a giant wave of shame and guilt and pain. A wave that was seeping out over the barrier I had erected. It seeped out in ways like horrible bouts of insomnia, panic attacks, nightmares, triggers, and memories. And that seems to have been my work over the past year or two. Finding ways to drain the toxicity, that sludge caused by keeping the CSA inside all of these years. Working past the fear of drowning in it, as I let it out.

I think the work does help us uncover and integrate lost, but essential parts of us. And I think you are spot on in that the more we integrate it all, the more we see our inner child as a distinct part of us, housed within us, and not as much a child running around us, or distinct from us. But, I know everyone deals with their inner child in their own way. Sometimes I have fun imagining him running up the trail ahead of me when I hike, or listening for his ideas when he takes in a magnificent view. That can be very healing to allow his voice to surface.

It brought a smile to my face to hear you talk about giving your inner child the proper “space” he deserves. Conscious awareness of that child inside you and what he needs is definitely the right path forward. It reminds me to check in with my inner child and see how he’s doing and what he needs.


Don – Thanks for your comments about my post. I have followed a lot of your posts, and I really appreciate the hard work you have done, and the kind and considered voice you bring to MS. Your posts say to me that you feel very deeply indeed, even though you indicate you have not uncovered that link between the emotions and the memories.

I think you are doing the right work, and it will all come to you. You are dealing with abuse memories from a very young time in your life. So, it may be hard to identify those feelings because they may seem just more primal and raw because they were at such early developmental stages. I had CSA from my biological father between ages 3-5, and when the feelings surfaced they were just these intense emotional states. I would wake in the middle of the night with sleep paralysis and be scared out of my mind with no idea why and couldn’t make my brain move my own body.

*** Trigger Warning***

It took me a long time to realize that these were memories of myself at young ages when my father would creep into my bed and sexually abuse me. The primary emotion was that freeze response. That kid didn’t scream, yell, run, or struggle. He just froze there in place, a great long pause, hoping to survive until his father was done and life could return to a semblance of normalcy. It was after recognizing those intense feelings after those moments of paralysis that I started to connect to the fear that child felt. It was no so much a feeling, but profound fear, shock, and violation that he felt. Later, in the aftermath was the crying and the physical pain. But, in that moment, it was a searing pause that punctuated everything. But, sitting with that feeling and working with it eventually did connect me with my inner child.

I am confident you will get there too. You are doing the work, and taking time to do it right. I also had a hard time moving from the numbness to the actual feelings. And rage was also my first step toward an understanding of my inner child. Once you get a handle on your rage and where it comes from, and that you did not deserve what happened to you, the rest will come. Just keep talking and writing about it.

I used to think if I tapped into that space, that I would be overwhelmed with emotions and memories that I could not handle. I realized I was just so scared of the emotions. Scared of what they came from. Scared of the adults who did these things to me at a very young time in my life. To a child, these people that hurt us and the emotions that we felt had such awfully monstrous proportions. So when they surface, that sense of proportion remains intact. The surfacing emotions and the things they sprang from loom so large. That is the one thing I was not prepared for. Their immensity and how small and scared they would make me feel when they came out.

But none it was true. I could handle it, and the more I showed I could handle it, the more my memories were released. And the stronger I became. I was able to remind myself that I am an adult now. I was able to envision myself holding my inner child, saying to him things he needed to hear in those long nights after the abuse. A natural dialogue with that part of myself evolved.

You can handle it too. Just remember, it is coming up for you now because you are ready to deal with it and the inner child is testing the waters to see if it is safe to let it all out. You may have to verbally say that or write it regularly. Just keep telling yourself that you can handle it. You already survived it as a child, now you get to go back as an adult and pull that child out of all the bad memories he is stuck in.

Good luck to you both going forward, and feel free to PM me if you ever need someone to talk to.



Edited by toddop (07/12/14 08:03 PM)
Edit Reason: Added Trigger warning
_________________________
Todd

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

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#467543 - 07/13/14 12:32 AM Re: A fresh memory from the past **trigger warning** [Re: NoSimpleMachine]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1000
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi Todd,

I have expressed a lot of the raw, primal emotions you mention, and don't need to remember any more explicit memories than the intellectual knowings I already have. I would prefer to not need to go deeper. However, all I have to do is pay attention to my body to know there is much more to do. What the much more to do is exactly remains to be seen. I just know I'm willing to do whatever work needs doing to regain my mental health. And, my belief is that physical health is a mirror of mental health.

Thanks for the strong support. It means a lot to me.

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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#467593 - 07/14/14 03:18 PM Re: A fresh memory from the past **trigger warning** [Re: toddop]
NoSimpleMachine Offline


Registered: 06/05/14
Posts: 223
Loc: SF Bay Area
Thank you so much for all your thoughts, toddop. Really makes me feel less alone and confused by this, knowing someone who was abused around my age can offer insight into this process of recollection...after 25 years of feeling like I was a really normal, together person (who never knew this happened to me), except for those inexplicable parts in life where my decision-making ability got hijacked...parts of my life where I destroyed myself out of shame or fear or rejection of that which I could not understand...I just got into the habit of coming out the other side of those things, dusting myself off, picking up the pieces and going forward again...usually freshly single or with friends in my rear-view mirror. Now I'm facing the underlying causes of those loops.

Originally Posted By: toddop
It just seemed like all my energy over the years was spent on that task. My back against this runaway locomotive, my feet dug into the earth and the tracks trying to slow it down. I numbed myself to the reality of it all. I stopped feeling my body, stopped acknowledging the source of all of this emotional turbulence by shutting my feelings off or dialing them down. The train to the boy was the awful truth and the awful feelings about the CSA and the destruction of my body, sexuality, and personality.

Later in life, I had to face it all because my body revolted due to the constant disregard or inattention to that internal struggle. I had to force myself to turn around and look at what I was holding back with all my might. Instead of a train, I saw a giant wave of shame and guilt and pain. A wave that was seeping out over the barrier I had erected. It seeped out in ways like horrible bouts of insomnia, panic attacks, nightmares, triggers, and memories. And that seems to have been my work over the past year or two. Finding ways to drain the toxicity, that sludge caused by keeping the CSA inside all of these years. Working past the fear of drowning in it, as I let it out.


I can relate a lot to the feeling of running away from it, numbing it out...I can't claim to have felt for most of my life that I was holding things in, but I guess there has always been corners of my mind where I feared to tread...and only in hindsight do I see how much of my life I was really detached from my emotional core. The way I simply never cried over anything for years, really struggled to view anything from an emotional perspective...how I kept loading my intellectual mind with more and more tricks to cope with reality and relate to people...my whole system of life became band-aids on top of band-aids, unaware there was even a wound underneath.

The feeling of this wave of pressure finally demanding attention has been incredibly strong. Lately I've been having headaches, dull mental pressure, periods of unfocused anger that all resolve into some new memory or recollection of the past...and a stronger sense of my childhood self. I've become so much more emotionally connected these last few months, I find myself easily overstimulated...friends recommend TV shows to me, for instance, and I'll try and watch them and even seeing their quality and enjoying them, I'm just overwhelmed by their intensity. I used to be Mr. "Horror can never scare me", etc...now I can't even handle watching something like that. I can handle comedy, documentaries, and Bob Ross basically and that's it at the moment!

Quote:
I think the work does help us uncover and integrate lost, but essential parts of us. And I think you are spot on in that the more we integrate it all, the more we see our inner child as a distinct part of us, housed within us, and not as much a child running around us, or distinct from us. But, I know everyone deals with their inner child in their own way.


I find myself with very distinct impressions of my inner child now...for awhile he was this character that I could see running around, who spoke to me and asked me questions, who wanted a hand to hold or a hug or reassurance that he's a good kid...gradually I'm warming to the idea that we are the same person, separated not by body but by time, and my head's pretty overwhelmed swallowing a concept that big but bit by bit I'm choking it down, feeling that bit more whole as I work my way through it. It's hard work but the results are positive. I feel like I'm on the right track.


Quote:
Sometimes I have fun imagining him running up the trail ahead of me when I hike, or listening for his ideas when he takes in a magnificent view. That can be very healing to allow his voice to surface.
That made me smile smile There have been points in the last couple months where my own inner child has genuinely made me laugh, he has his own way of seeing things that is genuinely very innocent, and emotionally insightful sometimes...he surprised me recently by offering up completely distinct opinions on people in my life than I thought I had, making me realize that there are points in life where I've felt the euphoria of love or understanding...it's been parts of living where my inner child was re-engaged with the world when he was normally so dormant...his presence for so many years has been either absent, overwhelmingly euphoric (just so happy to be awake and engaged), or very, very afraid.

Quote:
It brought a smile to my face to hear you talk about giving your inner child the proper “space” he deserves. Conscious awareness of that child inside you and what he needs is definitely the right path forward. It reminds me to check in with my inner child and see how he’s doing and what he needs.


As I said, it was reminiscent of how I felt when I wasn't given the space I needed by another person...that's been a big dawning realization lately, how much I expected people outside of myself to step in and do or say the right things as far as my inner child was concerned...to let me lean on them, to help me work through what happened, to tell me I'm a good person. And I've come to realize just how intense and difficult to handle that must've been for others, particularly when I lacked the direct knowledge to articulate what I wanted...it was all under the surface. So sometimes it's incredibly hard, and I find my intellectual, adult self begging for a break to process things, but overall I realize that I am past looking to others to make me feel better about this, to help my inner child heal...I have to offer that to him, and I'm trying. And it's making me realize how all my relationships fell apart...I was quintessentially one of those people who couldn't be loved because I didn't love myself...and after all the frustration of wanting to find someone to break through that barrier, in the end, the person to give my inner child the support and care he needs is me. I just never realized it before recently.

Quote:
It took me a long time to realize that these were memories of myself at young ages when my father would creep into my bed and sexually abuse me. The primary emotion was that freeze response. That kid didn’t scream, yell, run, or struggle. He just froze there in place, a great long pause, hoping to survive until his father was done and life could return to a semblance of normalcy. It was after recognizing those intense feelings after those moments of paralysis that I started to connect to the fear that child felt. It was no so much a feeling, but profound fear, shock, and violation that he felt. Later, in the aftermath was the crying and the physical pain. But, in that moment, it was a searing pause that punctuated everything. But, sitting with that feeling and working with it eventually did connect me with my inner child.


I definitely relate to the feeling of that freeze...as my T told me, the three responses to fear are basically fight, flight, and freeze...in that order. So when you get to freeze, you're afraid and can't fight or run (as you'd expect of a poor kid at that age), so the natural fear response is to freeze and dissociate...as my T said, "it's nature's last mercy, that your brain can tune out when the lion rips your jugular out."

Quote:
I used to think if I tapped into that space, that I would be overwhelmed with emotions and memories that I could not handle. I realized I was just so scared of the emotions. Scared of what they came from. Scared of the adults who did these things to me at a very young time in my life. To a child, these people that hurt us and the emotions that we felt had such awfully monstrous proportions. So when they surface, that sense of proportion remains intact. The surfacing emotions and the things they sprang from loom so large. That is the one thing I was not prepared for. Their immensity and how small and scared they would make me feel when they came out.

But none it was true. I could handle it, and the more I showed I could handle it, the more my memories were released. And the stronger I became. I was able to remind myself that I am an adult now. I was able to envision myself holding my inner child, saying to him things he needed to hear in those long nights after the abuse. A natural dialogue with that part of myself evolved.

You can handle it too. Just remember, it is coming up for you now because you are ready to deal with it and the inner child is testing the waters to see if it is safe to let it all out. You may have to verbally say that or write it regularly. Just keep telling yourself that you can handle it. You already survived it as a child, now you get to go back as an adult and pull that child out of all the bad memories he is stuck in.

Good luck to you both going forward, and feel free to PM me if you ever need someone to talk to.


Knowing I can handle it is part of where I'm at. I've had memories knocking on the door and wanting to come in and make themselves known and they feel like my brain's going to snap if I remember them...but remembering always helps, as intense as it can be. This weekend I was realizing that I was having headaches and a bunch of discomfort from how much tension I had allowed to build up in my face and scalp muscles while uncovering these memories...I spent a lot of my Sunday just focusing on relaxing that tension level, imagining the stress of these memories melting off of me...it feels like it helped. This feels like I'm processing out these horrible emotions. They're such big, intense emotions that it's going to take a long time to wittle them down but I'm working on it. Letting my inner child bring up memories when he wants to, focusing on his needs, reminding him that he's good and it wasn't his fault. A lot of it is very repetitive; I've had to learn some patience with my inner child when he wants reassurance over the same thing over and over..."am I bad because this happened to me?" No, it wasn't your fault. "Are you SURE? I really feel like I'm bad because of this or didn't defend myself!" It wasn't your fault, you couldn't've defended yourself at that age. He shouldn't've done that...etc., etc. It takes more than one go-around to work this shame out.

I'm also reminding myself that we are one person separated by time instead of two people separated by experience, and then treating myself as good as I can in the moment by eating well, sleeping well, focusing on managing the stress...it's like it's a multi-step process where I take that stress from the hidden parts of my mind, make it apparent, take it off the shoulders of my inner child, put it on myself, think through it, couch it in my current reality (of being a capable, safe, and good adult) and let it melt away. Bit by bit, drip by drip, it goes.


Edited by NoSimpleMachine (07/14/14 04:09 PM)
_________________________
If I know only one thing it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I'm tongue-tied and dizzy and I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing Helplessness Blues, why should I wait for anyone else?

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#467605 - 07/14/14 09:28 PM Re: A fresh memory from the past **trigger warning** [Re: NoSimpleMachine]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1000
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi NoSimpleMachine,

Your work is such an inspiration to me. I have had to withdraw from everyone for a few years to do the work you are doing now. I know the freeze response really well. When I was 20 in a gay bar, a guy I didn't want to be with came over and put his hand on my butt. I froze. I knew I didn't want to be with this guy, but I was powerless to move or to talk. I knew I would go home with him and do what he wanted.

Forty-five years later I do understand what that was all about, and I do understand a lot of the terror my young selves endured to come up with freezing as a last resort. It has been conscious work for me working down to the level of my original damage. Mine began in infancy and continued to age 3 1/2, and probably again at age 8. I only began to do this work of going back to original events by learning about it from another survivor. It really clicked with me when I began reading his journey of working back to his original events.

I don't know how much detailed memory will come up, but I do know I've learned to hold my young selves in safety and love, and allow whatever memories feel safe to surface. Lately, there has just been a sort of generalized combination of terror, rage, and extreme psychic distress. It feels very personally an expression of severity of assaults which caused me to shut down my ability to feel and remember. It also feels like each of these early releases as I hold my self in safety is another step in healing the damages in my brain which prevent me coming to healthy choices for myself. Thank you for so personally sharing your experiences of an age that is critical to my own healing process.

It is not easy work. I seem to be developing a grandfatherly patience with myself that has enough experience to lose the need for a timeline. I also sense that my thinking is healing enough that I may be healthy enough to re-engage with the world of people within the next year. I'm happy for you that you are able to do the work and remain connected to people.

Thanks for being here.

Don


Edited by don64 (07/14/14 09:32 PM)
_________________________
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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#467627 - 07/15/14 11:20 AM Re: A fresh memory from the past **trigger warning** [Re: NoSimpleMachine]
NoSimpleMachine Offline


Registered: 06/05/14
Posts: 223
Loc: SF Bay Area
don, I'm glad you're finding some connection with what I'm talking about.

It's definitely not easy work. I find myself having to sink down deep into myself to really access these feelings...last night I sunk down into the place where those emotions lie, where my inner child really lives in my mind, and came across more pain. So much intensity, it's like the wall that separated my senses from that original pain from back then was tumbling down...I was feeling the tension and the pain from then dribbling out from this ocean that's holding it...making me whine, making me moan, I screamed into a pillow until my throat was sore...the harder I screamed the faster it felt like I was draining this hurt...and I kept going until my throat hurt too much to yell anymore. Then I came back into full consciousness, which feels something like coming up for air after being underwater for far too long. And that's basically becoming a "session" for me...

And while I didn't get all that pain out (and probably won't for a long long time), it felt like a relief. That felt like a productive session. I felt a lot less tension around my head and in my jaw going forward after that.
_________________________
If I know only one thing it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I'm tongue-tied and dizzy and I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing Helplessness Blues, why should I wait for anyone else?

Top
#467630 - 07/15/14 11:41 AM Re: A fresh memory from the past **trigger warning** [Re: NoSimpleMachine]
NoSimpleMachine Offline


Registered: 06/05/14
Posts: 223
Loc: SF Bay Area
[quote=NoSimpleMachine]don, I'm glad you're finding some connection with what I'm talking about.

It's definitely not easy work. I find myself having to sink down deep into myself to really access these feelings...last night I sunk down into the place where those emotions lie, where my inner child really lives in my mind, and came across more pain. So much intensity, it's like the wall that separated my senses from that original pain from back then was tumbling down...I was feeling the tension and the pain from then dribbling out from this ocean that's holding it...making me whine, making me moan, I screamed into a pillow until my throat was sore...the harder I screamed the faster it felt like I was draining this hurt...and I kept going until my throat hurt too much to yell anymore. Then I came back into full consciousness, which feels something like coming up for air after being underwater for far too long. And that's basically becoming a "session" for me...

And while I didn't get all that pain out (and probably won't for a long long time), it felt like a relief. That felt like a productive session. I felt a lot less tension around my head and in my jaw going forward after that, though overall I'm really clenching my jaw a lot lately...think it's just part of where I'm at, for better or for worse.
_________________________
If I know only one thing it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I'm tongue-tied and dizzy and I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing Helplessness Blues, why should I wait for anyone else?

Top
#467646 - 07/15/14 07:05 PM Re: A fresh memory from the past **trigger warning** [Re: NoSimpleMachine]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1000
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi NoSimpleMachine,

Sending you lots of love and support. The level of releasing you are doing, for me, is always a brutal experience. Brutal is a word I've used a lot for a few years now. It was brutal going in, and it is brutal coming out. I know you are working really hard at this, and I know clenching your jaw is a signal for you, and I hope you are able to do this work without hurting yourself. I used to hurt myself doing some of my rage work. It took a while for me to learn how to do it without hurting myself. When I first tried new things, sometimes there was so much terror at actually expressing the energy I was not able to be conscious of my body. It took me some time to take care of my body too.

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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