Newest Members
myrlin, AaronS, BookHouseBoy, WeFallWeRise, kieran
12463 Registered Users
Today's Birthdays
Blakanezebruh (43), OneWithStrength (37), Parker (45), scottyg (42)
Who's Online
3 registered (wearytraveler, 2 invisible), 16 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
12463 Members
74 Forums
63990 Topics
446621 Posts

Max Online: 418 @ 07/02/12 07:29 AM
Twitter
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#47141 - 12/18/03 10:49 PM .
Anonymous
Unregistered


.


Top
#47142 - 12/18/03 11:14 PM Re: Acting out
theo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1122
squigy,
it is my personal experience that "acting out" is something survivors do in response to the subconscious cues of our abuse to current situations. by way of explanation, this past summer i was frog deep in a depression that i could not understand. there was no current situation that warrented any kind of negative response. i was confused, depressed, and angry without knowing why. i engaged in a behavior that would have cost me the love of lady theo had it gone any further than it did. i only learned later that what i was responding to were the anniversaries of some very painful memories involving the loss of my son, the loss of my previous life, and the loss of the only family i ever knew. i was acting out against something i could not see or understand. somehow i think i might be making this more confusing then it needs to be. acting out is any behavior a survivor engages in as a response to old pain that it is making itself felt in the here and now. i think i better stop here before it gets any more convoluted \:D . hoped i helped at least a little.

_________________________
journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

Top
#47143 - 12/18/03 11:33 PM Re: Acting out
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
As a therapist working with both sexual abusers and male survivors, I use the term "acting out" to refer to behaviors that people do to take their feelings out on people or property. Acting out, acting in, or numbing out are referred to as compensatory behaviors (compensating for something that has been done to you or for something that you feel should have happened but didn't.) Here is a part of an assignment I give to some people regarding compensatory behaviors:

Quote:
Compensatory” behaviors are negative behaviors that usually make the person feel better for a short time but are not really helpful to change the trigger feelings.
These compensatory behaviors are taking the feelings out on other people or property (“acting out”), taking them out on yourself (“acting in”), or doing something to block out the feelings in a way that is really not good for you (“numbing out”).
For example, say you had a tough day at work where your boss didn’t like the way you did something and he criticizes you in front of your co-workers. You might come home and snap out at your kids. This is acting out, taking out your feelings on another person. You can act out by words (ridiculing, cursing, insults), physical aggression or violence against people or things, or sexually abusing someone.
Acting in means taking out those feelings out on yourself. Take the example above. Instead of taking it out on your kids, suppose you went home and put yourself down by calling yourself a loser who is incompetent or worthless, and basically just feeling sorry for yourself. In some cases, people will do things to hurt themselves as a way of acting in. This can be done by punching a wall, cutting or burning yourself, or, in extreme cases of acting in, suicide.
Some people will numb out the feelings they don’t want to have. This can be done with alcohol, drugs, as well as other activities which are not necessarily bad in small doses. It is obvious that getting drunk or stoned will numb out the unwanted feelings, but what about using tv or video games to excess (that is, spending hours doing this to block out feelings and thoughts)? People can also use sex (including masturbation), exercise, food, pornography, or work in excessive amounts as a means of getting rid of these feelings. When you stop the numbing out behavior, the problem is still probably there and the feelings will probably come back.
This is a small piece regarding the concept. If you have other questions about it, I'll be happy to respond.

Ken


Top
#47144 - 12/18/03 11:43 PM Re: Acting out
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
As an afterthought, sometimes people will refer to behaviors such as sexual acts like going to an adult bookstore for anonymous sex or compulsive masturbation as "acting out". That is a different use of the term than from what I use for a compensatory behavior. While it is technically acting out fantasies or needs for control (or being controlled), it is probably more of a numbing out behavior than taking out the feelings on another person. (In other words, being harmful or hurtful to another person for that purpose. Certainly, one can make a case for sexual acting out as being harmful to one's spouse or partner, but if you look at the intent, is it to hurt the other or to numb out pain in one's life? Sometimes it takes on both roles.)

The differences can be confusing and I don't mean to split hairs here. Suffice to say, whether it is a numbing out or acting out behavior, the end result is one that is disempowering to the individual rather than empowering him in his recovery.

Ken


Top
#47145 - 12/19/03 01:39 AM Re: Acting out
James_dup1 Offline


Registered: 04/13/02
Posts: 1332
Loc: Wyoming
Well I dont have the insite that Ken does (Thanks for your insite Ken). But I'm going to give my thoughts no this question. Acting out=what we as survivor's do/Abusing=what was done to us. Lots of us hate our abusers so much that thinking of ourselves as one as well would probley be just to much to bear. On the home page abuse is defined as
Quote:
Sexual abuse - Any sexual act between an adult and child. This includes fondling, penetration, intercourse, exploitation, pornography, exhibitionism, child prostitution, group sex, oral sex, or forced observation of sexual acts.
So you tell me the differnce between "Acting out" and "Abusing". After all if we are survivor's how can we be abuser's as well? Just my thoughts on it.
James

_________________________
I have more issues than Rolling Stone!


Top
#47146 - 12/20/03 02:42 PM .
Anonymous
Unregistered


.


Top
#47147 - 12/20/03 03:13 PM Re: Acting out
Andrew Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/25/03
Posts: 1192
Len,
man-o-man... I love the question you posed. I'm not sure if you built up to it deliberately, or arrived there by accident, BUT...it is a question I have posed in the past with much less skill, craft and diplomacy than you have exhibited in this thread.
In my opinion, we are completely responsible for all acting out, acting in, numbing out behaviours, without exception.

Quote:
Ok so if i'm getting what you mean about calling ourselves abusers as opposed to saying we were acting out, it raised a question. So if we are to say we are just acting out, then wouldn't the same go for our so called abusers? As you know in my case my cousin was also likely abused. so was he just acting out?
I guess if you are on the receiving end of the abuse, you might be reluctant to excuse the behaviour as acting out. But, it is probable that your cousin was sexualized at a young age and therefore was acting out and responding to his own anger and confusion.

These are some very provocative questions you are asking Len. Peace, Andrew

_________________________
there is no courage without anxiety

Top
#47148 - 12/20/03 04:53 PM Re: Acting out
James_dup1 Offline


Registered: 04/13/02
Posts: 1332
Loc: Wyoming
Right Len.........Andrew brought up a very good point.....does it depend on which end we are on as to what it is called? If we are on the reciveing end then it's abuse.........if we are giving it then it's acting out....so what does this say to people who "acted out" with us. And what does it say to those who we "abused". So is acting out ok and abusing not? or are both just as bad and we are just sugar coating one of the phrases. For me I've done somethings in my past Im not proud of, however.........I've never called it anything but what it is ABUSE peroid...So maybe what the problem is isnt that we call it "acting out" but we are in denial as to what it really is. Read the way it is defined again........doesnt leave alot of room open to wonder if what you have done is "acting out" or "abuse" does it? How can we truly heal if those of us guilty of "acting out" keep lieing about what it really was? Seems to me that on this road of recovery honesty (at least to yourself) is a big part of it.
James

_________________________
I have more issues than Rolling Stone!


Top
#47149 - 12/20/03 09:36 PM Re: Acting out
Andrew Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/25/03
Posts: 1192
James, Len, Theo & all,
I don't know for sure, but I suspect that there is a razor thin line between a lot of these terms and definitions i.e acting out, acting in, numbing out etc. I'm not even sure that I want to know the defining differences because that might force me to label myself and/or see myself differently than what I see right now, and that would be hugely uncomfortable.

Having done all those things (acting out/in,numbing), as well as disassociating, I can easily rationalize that all these responses were expected because I was victimized as a child. But the truth is, sometimes I did these things just because I wanted to, or because I was a jerk i.e. hurt people, got drunk, or acted sexually irresponsibly. And the truth is: I am responsible for my behaviours and whatever labels I accrue as a result. Tough to say, but true.

The bottom line is: Society couldn't give a shit about what happened to me as a kid. They see the adult and make a judgement as to whether his behaviours are good, bad or whatever. Our worth, goodness and badness is judged by society's standards not the standards of the MS discussion forum.

Peace, Andrew

_________________________
there is no courage without anxiety

Top
#47150 - 12/21/03 05:49 PM Re: Acting out
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Len

Quote:
At what point in our recovery do we have to accept responsiblity for our actions?
Good question, and a hard one.

I think it's one the very first things we have to do.
But - a big but - is we have to ACCEPT responsibility. Your choice of words was just right.

By accepting that responsibility I think we then begin to think a bit more clearly about the 'trigger - response - actions" cycle than we could when we didn't accept responsibility.

By that I mean that before I started any kind of recovery I would go through the whole acting out cylce without any remote idea of what was actually happenening and why. I was on some kind of auto-pilot, and I had no choice but to accept the inevitability of what was happening to me.

Once I started recovery I accepted my responibilty for certain aspects - acting out with other guys was the main one, it had driven me to being suicidal so I needed to do 'something'.
So I accepted that "I" acted out, and that "only I" could actually stop doing it.

It wasn't the instant cure I hoped for, but as the urge faded, or should I say became more controlable, I also accepted that it wasn't easy - sometimes I would fail - but it was GETTING EASIER.

"Accepting my responsibilty" was for me, getting rid of the guilt and shame.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >


Moderator:  ModTeam, TJ jeff 

I agree that my access and use of the MaleSurvivor discussion forums and chat room is subject to the terms of this Agreement. AND the sole discretion of MaleSurvivor.
I agree that my use of MaleSurvivor resources are AT-WILL, and that my posting privileges may be terminated at any time, and for any reason by MaleSurvivor.