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#60668 - 03/15/06 10:36 PM Acting Out
Rayne Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 23
For some of us supporters it is hard for us to understand certain things. Acting out is one of them. Like I can understand if a survivor of abuse becomes introverted, angered, frustrated, overly saddened, depressed, etc., but I don’t understand what is that defining moment that a man will decide (and I am particularly talking about married men) to go out and continue practicing the same acts that haunted and devastated them as a child? Plus, what can another man do that his wife can’t do in the intimacy of their own home? And, why do many say that although it happened, they don’t consider themselves “gay”?
Sorry, it has been 2 months for me and I still have questions. Sometimes they are redundant, but I am trying to get this all in my head and it is taking some time.

_________________________
Rayne

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#60669 - 03/16/06 01:41 AM Re: Acting Out
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Rayne
I acted out for a combination of reasons, none of them on their own were enough of a 'reason', and none were more influential than the others.

I was looking to regain the abuse of power that was imposed upon me by my abusers through recreating the same sex acts as an adult.
I 'thought' that if I did those acts again but this time on MY terms, and under MY control, then I would somehow gain ........and I find it hard to describe this exactly...... some kind of understanding, closure or reasons for my childhood abuse.

I also thought that this kind of sex was all I was good for, some of that was due to confusion over being gay or straight, I'm straight, but at a very impressionable time I was schooled in gay sex.
But I NEVER fantasised or fancied other men, my acting out was purely sex acts with strangers.

I still have trouble associating sex with the intimacy of a loving relationship as well, even after therapy. I see sex as something seperate to my 32 year marriage to a woman I love, and with hindsight I can see that it's been that way pretty much all the time.
I find it hard to kiss while having sex because kissing is a loving and intimate thing, and sex is something that I was 'taught' by the wrong methods, by the wrong people at the wrong time.

Was there a "defining moment" when I decided to act out?
No, I think we'd been married about 23 years before I actually engaged in sex with a strange man, but the thought, and then the fantasy, had been there from the day the abuse stopped.
I didn't fantasise about the sex we had, my abusers and I, but, again with hindsight, I can see that I did think and fantasise about the sex acts. Always with me in control though.

The truth is I could never regain control over what had already taken place, and neither could I take control over sex with another man, no matter how it took place.
This 'seeking control' wasn't something that I did consciously though, that 'theory' has only come up through therapy and a huge amount of soul searching. It might not be the same for every guy that acts out either, but I've yet to deal with anyone who's acted out that can't trace their acting out back to their abuse, and that includes guys who were married but are now very happy in a gay relationship.

Acting out has very little to do with sex, I believe the roots lie in the abuse of power, the survivor feeling like shit, having such low self-esteem that we feel deserve nothing better, sexual identity confusion, and our perception of the relationship between sex and intimacy.

I certainly didn't do it for great sex.

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

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#60670 - 03/16/06 03:13 AM Re: Acting Out
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Dave,

I can intellectually understand the why’s of acting out, but my heart doesn’t get it. Why would a man act out, with men or women, knowing full well that when or if they get caught {I’m betting on when} that the person who loves them will be devastated? Isn’t that just another form of abuse that the survivor is now perpetrating against the person who loves them and who they purport to love?

I know you hate what you did. You’re a good person who is priceless here and I’m sure in your “real” life and the lives of your friends and family. I know that my b/f is a good person but I also know that for as tremendously as he was hurt, he hurt me. Not physically, but my heart and my self worth have been badly damaged because of his actions. Does that thought even enter the mind of a survivor when planning or participating in an illicit sexual encounter? Is it just disregarded?

Like Rayne, I understand “if a survivor of abuse becomes introverted, angered, frustrated, overly saddened, depressed, etc.” but I can’t understand how a survivor would even take the chance of hurting maybe the only person who has ever truly loved him when he has been hurt so badly.

I know I’m asking these questions from the perspective of someone who was never abused but they are questions that I’m desperate to find answers to. It just doesn’t make sense to my heart.

ROCK ON..........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#60671 - 03/16/06 01:22 PM Re: Acting Out
phoster Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/21/03
Posts: 758
Loc: ohio
to be honest, therapists dont know, and i'm betting in most cases the survivor doesnt understand it either. not in terms he can tell you anyway.

one theory is that we are trying to regain control. we are drawn to it because as an adult we have the control that we didnt as kids. another theory is that survivors do it so that they can try and understand what happened and make it make sense. all that is well and good, but i bet the guy doing it doesnt think in those terms.

it is very confusing and complex. speaking from my experience, the first part of it is hating yourself. when you see yourself as sick and perverted, you dont respect yourself. i had this hopelessness that made resisting very hard. it was kind of like being surrendered to it. it was my destiny kind of.

you walk around empty and unhappy, looking for that magic thing that will fill you up. you love your wife and kids, your family, but you dont love yourself and you dont love your life. you dont value anything except maybe the idea of death. the only time you escape all that is when you're having sex. when you're having sex, you focus on the sex and the pleasure, and escape the reality of all that hate for a little while.

the problem is, because sex is a thrill, a high, an escape, it becomes more than just sharing with someone you love. it becomes your drug, something meant to take away the pain. you need that edge, that something daring and thrilling to make it better than the routine of your wife. you have all these fantasies that just eat at you all the time. you think about it, dream of it, look at porn showing it, write about it, until the draw is just so powerful there is no hope of resisting. it takes on a life of its own.

at first you resist. you dont want to hurt your wife. all you want is to feel good. you wish your wife would do this or that, but are too ashamed to ask, or worse, you have asked and she doesnt want to. the urge gets stronger, you fight it, but when you hate yourself, you have no value and no worth. you arent worthy of your wife. all you are worthy of is sickness and perversion. you see no good in the world, only pain.

you get so empty and feel so isolated that everything around you loses all meaning. the only thing that can stop the pain is that high. you need that escape so bad you can't stand it. maybe you've made arrangements to meet someone over and over, and each time in a last minute battle with guilt, you make an excuse and back out. then one time, after a fight or when you are really extra down, you give in.

for a brief instant, all you feel is the pleasure. you feel the high while you are living it. you block out everything and live for the instant. for that instant, for that blink of an eye, the pain is forgotten. you know you will pay an awful price after, but for that one instant, you have relief.

when it is over, the whole cycle starts again. you feel awful for doing it. you hate yourself, and that hate builds and grows until you need that next escape, that next moment where you can forget all the pain. that is what it is like for a survivor. it isnt that you dont love your wife or girlfriend. it is that you hate yourself. it takes self esteem and self worth to be able to resist when things get bad. remove all hope and all value from a person, and he just doesnt care what happens to himself any more. if he loses you, well it is just something else he deserves and has coming. the whole time it actually has very little to do with you or his love for you. it is all about him, about his pain, about making it go away for a moment.

_________________________
compassion is a light even to the darkest soul

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#60672 - 03/16/06 03:03 PM Re: Acting Out
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Trish, Rayne,

One thing that might help you to understand what Dave is talking about - look at your posts, and you will see that you ask a certain kind of question:

From Rayne:

Quote:
I don’t understand what is that defining moment that a man will decide (and I am particularly talking about married men) to go out and continue practicing the same acts that haunted and devastated them as a child? Plus, what can another man do that his wife can’t do in the intimacy of their own home?
From Trish:

Quote:
Why would a man act out, with men or women, knowing full well that when or if they get caught {I’m betting on when} that the person who loves them will be devastated? Isn’t that just another form of abuse that the survivor is now perpetrating against the person who loves them and who they purport to love?
These are good questions, but they miss several key points about what it means to be a survivor. First, both questions presume that we're talking about a man with a good sense of boundaries, but many survivors don't have that. When a boy is abused, in most cases this will be his first experience with sex. What he knows and thinks about sex will be defined by what the abuser does to him, and this is terribly destructive to any nascent sense of boundaries he may already have and it will obstruct his ability to nurture good boundaries in the future.

The other problem is that your questions presume that we are talking about a man who knows his worth as a person and has a good sense of direction and goals. But an abused boy will very often feel worthless and unlovable; he will feel alone, lost and confused, with no one to trust or talk to about what is happening to him.

What's important to bear in mind here is that the feelings the boy has won't just fade away because he grows up. Unless he gets help he will carry all this junk into adulthood with him. His acting out isn't rational and thought through; it's desperate and based on a need to do SOMETHING to respond to his problems. He may rationalize the acting out - for example by saying that he won't get caught, and even if he is he's not worth anything anyway so what does it matter what he loses. That's how I was with alcohol and drugs; I simply didn't care what happened to me, so the risks were never a factor in what I was willing to do. To look at the specific issue you both have in mind, a married survivor (or one in a long-term relationship) may consider - if he thinks at all before he acts - that if he's caught and loses his SO, never mind, she deserves better than him anyway so what the hell.

I actually think I am being too rational even when I just talk about this. One reason it is so difficult for us to recover is that these feelings and emotions aren't all sorted and classified in our heads: like okay, shame is here, guilt is there, sexual confusion is in this corner, and so forth. It's all a wild hurricane and it's a hell of a task even to START to try to get a grip on everything that's going on.

I'm not offering any of this as an excuse. I guess what you really need to bear in mind is that a survivor may not be looking at the "why" questions from the perspective you think he does. In fact, he may not have thought of them at all until the damage has been done.

He's trying to escape from his feeling of powerlessness and helplessness, though he may not see it as that as the time. He may feel he HAS to do this, or he may convince himself okay, just this once. True, there's no sense to what he's doing, since the acting out will only make things worse, but he's responding emotionally, not rationally, and what he's responding to is trauma, not an intellectual puzzle or logical problem.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#60673 - 03/16/06 04:11 PM Re: Acting Out
Dan88 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 247
Loc: DC
I don't think it's possible to really understand someone else's compulsive behavior and how or if it ties back to a trauma in their past.

I've known many survivors who cheated on their wives and their stories are all a little different. With some, you talk about the adrenaline involved and how it compared to what they experienced when being abused and that really rings a bell. It's almost like fear of discovery equals sex to them.

With others they connect with it being about control. Still others see it as repeating their victimization, sort of repetion of a learned pattern the way abuse victims will sometimes seek out abusive spouses.

I would just say to spouses that at some point they need to accept that what they're told is as close to the truth as they can get, and then they need to decide if their spouse truly intends to change and then they have to make the decision as to whether to forgive or not. And I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that forgiving this type of thing is the right thing to do. Just my two cents.


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#60674 - 03/16/06 11:39 PM Re: Acting Out
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Phoster has written possibly the best account of acting out I've ever read, and every word, every sentence and paragraph sent a shiver down my spine.

I have to remind myself of the way I was back in the 1990's,and earlier, when I think about my acting out.
And I wasn't the man who's sat here typing this.
Back then I didn't give a flying f**k about anyone, most of all me.
In the early 80's I walked out of a good job because the manager was lying on the floor of the factory. I walked before they sacked me.
My next employer fared little better, but at least I didn't try to strangle anyone.

I drank too much, used drugs, and generally arsed around without any regard for anyone.
I worked hard, with my father in law Jim's help we turned two ruined cottages into the lovely home we have today. I would plaster walls, install plumbing until the early hours of the morning, but Jim somehow understood me and I was fine with him.

It was mainly 'authority' that I raged against, and now I can understand that. But back then I didn't, to quote Popeye "I am what I am" was my attitude.
And how I saw myself is crucial to how I ended up acting out.

I saw myself as a worthless underachiever, but it was always someone elses fault.
I was having weird and sick fantasies, so I believed I was a pervert - no better than the "boys I had fun with at school"
I was in a work culture where as a maintenance guy I was always rushing to a breakdown, and getting shit because the repair took longer than they wanted, or we didn't the spares. If I fixed it, then another pile of crap was waiting.
Regard for me or what I did was rare, and when it came, from my wife or Jim, I didn't believe it.

I finished the house, my job was steady with decent hours despite the crap, so I had no real pressure on me, so I sat in front of the TV drinking beer, a true couch potato.
By this time the fantasies were getting worse, I had started to rely on them while having sex so they became ingrained deeper. Then they started to not work as well as before, so I dug deeper and dragged new ones up. Sex became a chore because it didn't match my fantasies, sex died off.

In the mid 90's divorce was being talked about.
How much of a failure could I be?
Not that it bothered me greatly, I was so worthless in my own estimation that it seemed inevitable anyway, who would want to stay with me?

By this time I had fantasy down to a fine art, and Phoster and Dan both mention the adreniline rush of acting out, I had learned to start the rush with fantasy and prolong it over days until such a time I could act out, by that time I was oblivious. I keep saying it, but it was genuinly better than cocaine.

What about the risks? Did I care? The truth is that I didn't care, not about me or anyone else once the fantasy / adreniline rush was rolling.

But interestingly, I often had what I considered intrusive interruptions to my fantasies.
The thought of getting caught would surface, along with the consequences. Which for a married guy giving bj's to strangers in a toilet were not good. Divorce, loss of friends and family, probably loss of job, home and basically everything were real possibilities. How about AIDS for a risk? Using condoms never even entered my head.

However, in therapy we talked a lot about this and the thought I arrived at was that it was possibly a subconcious message saying "If I got caught, then MAYBE someone would ask 'why". And I think there's some valididty to that as well because over the years there were so many times that I craved to tell someone, mainly my wife, about what had happened at school. But in my mind I'd left it too late, so I needed an 'incident' that would make it possible to disclose.

This might also have some bearing on the increasing risks that I would take when acting out, but the 'getting caught' thing wasn't the only driver at work. ( it rarely is, acting out is a complex mixture )
The total lack of self esteem led me behave like a 'slut', and the greater risks led to greater thrills and increased adreniline rushes, it's why people go bungee jumping.
In the end the risks weren't considered, neither were the feelings of those I love, and this is how came to a situation one day where the risk of getting caught amounted to lunacy on my part, well both our parts because the other guy was willing as well.
That day haunts me, as they all do obviously, but this day was utter madness, and It was ONE of the reasons I sought help within a year.

Could I do it again?
No is the simple and honest answer - IF my circumstances stay pretty much as they are.
As long as there's some stability in my life, such as my wife, family and close friends, then I'm fine.
But if something major occurs, such as the loss of my wife, then I couldn't honestly guarantee that my acting out wouldn't return as a part of the coping stratergies I'd use. I honestly think it's a very small risk even then because I have terrific relationships with a lot of people now, and I KNOW where I could go for support.

I last acted out on May 8th 1998 and started therapy almost exaclty a year later, and since that sunny May day I have had the chance to act out with other men about 5 or 6 times. I drive a great deal in my job and have to use public toilets so in a way I'm going into places where I know men might be waiting for sex, and I know the drill of getting it.
But I walked away every time because I now know the REAL consequences, not just the list I wrote earlier on, but the consequences that I'd be inflicting upon myself mentally.

I deserve to live a decent life, I haven't inflicted deliberate pain and torment upon others. OK, I've not always been the perfect guy, but what the hell! Who is?
So even accepting that giving a bj has certain pleasures, I can see that it isn't a part of my life anymore because my life is good now.

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

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#60675 - 03/17/06 06:17 PM Re: Acting Out
Rayne Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 23
Wow…thanks guys for your candor and honesty. I really did not know what to expect when I came back to the board. I know for my husband, he was going through a MAJOR depression before he started acting out. I am sure that had to be a big trigger. After I found out, my husband repeatedly told me how messed up he was, and what a bad person he was, so I am sure he has a lot of self-loathing going on. And as previously alluded, my husband would always say “I want to die”. But I thought he was being overly dramatic.

To me, it almost sounds like any other form of compulsion or addition. You look to a certain thing for that “escape” and once it is over, you are back to square one – reality. Then it starts all over again.


Quote:
Originally posted by phoster:
you hate yourself, and that hate builds and grows until you need that next escape, that next moment where you can forget all the pain. that is what it is like for a survivor. it isnt that you dont love your wife or girlfriend. it is that you hate yourself. it takes self esteem and self worth to be able to resist when things get bad. remove all hope and all value from a person, and he just doesnt care what happens to himself any more. if he loses you, well it is just something else he deserves and has coming. the whole time it actually has very little to do with you or his love for you. it is all about him, about his pain, about making it go away for a moment.
I like Trish, sometimes find it hard to understand it all. But hearing from all of you makes it a little easier to relate.

_________________________
Rayne

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#60676 - 03/17/06 06:43 PM Re: Acting Out
phoster Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/21/03
Posts: 758
Loc: ohio
"I thought he was being overly dramatic."

unfortunately he wasnt. we have lost a few members along the way here from this very thing. it is very hard living when you spend every day of your life feeling sick and perverted. it wears you down when you have to battle each day to resist acting out, and you reach this point where dying seems simple. if you were dead, it would all finally stop. i know it isnt easy to be cheated on. lord help for what i've done to my wife, but living like this isnt easy either.

"If you loved me, how could you do this?" my wife asked me. she still wonders, because she really doesnt understand how this stuff is. i do love her with all my heart, but i wasnt worthy of her. i was going to lose her anyway in my mind becuase i was so sexually screwed up, so why resist or put off fate? she deserved better. if i messed up and she left, she would be better off without me. she could find a good guy. it was an awful, awful way to live, and i can't believe i did it all those years, and only tried to kill myself once.

_________________________
compassion is a light even to the darkest soul

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#60677 - 03/18/06 01:25 AM Re: Acting Out
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Suicide is a very real possibility after acting out, it's something I nearly did because of the levels of guilt and shame, and the utter hopelessness of trying to stop the cycle.
I could be acting out within days of the last episode, after telling myself "never again"

As I said earlier, I'm very confident that I will never act out with other men ever again, but the basic urge still has some power left.
I haven't killed it off, all I've done is learned how to control it to a certain degree.

Which is why within 30 minutes of posting last night I was looking at gay porn.
In a way I look upon that as a minor victory because it's not acting out with other men, but it's still something I don't want to do. I want to make LOVE with my wife.

It's a gradual process I guess, and my use of porn is, on average, getting less. But I'm a bit stressed right now, there's a lot of crap going on around me that I have no control over, and I'm using every coping mechanism I can lay my hands on.
Which is why I said that "if something major occurs, such as the loss of my wife, then I couldn't honestly guarantee that my acting out wouldn't return as a part of the coping stratergies I'd use."
I have to retain my hope though, I have to believe that the progress I've made so far will continue, and I don't care if it's slow, I don't care if I stop as I am if that's all there possibly is; because 'this' is so much better that I was.

My stressors should hopefully go away in the next few weeks, so I'm planning ahead to that time and refusing to get hung up about this period of stagnation.
In the past the future was something that I never considered, but I do now.

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

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#60678 - 03/18/06 06:30 PM Re: Acting Out
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
I agree with every word of Dan88's post. I guess that makes four cents. \:\)

I've come to realize, in my own relationship, that the "why" stuff didn't resonate in my heart, or reassure me the way I wanted, because it wasn't really the right question.


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#60679 - 03/19/06 01:09 PM Re: Acting Out
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Dave,

Your posts are usually so helpful to me anyway, but this bit especially affected me:

Quote:
In the past the future was something that I never considered, but I do now.
This was important to me because so often I am making progress and I don't even notice it. This seems to be a case. I am looking to my future with enthusiasm and anticipation, whereas even just a year ago I think I was still just living from day to day.

It's good to celebrate these little moments I think.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#60680 - 03/30/06 04:18 PM Re: Acting Out
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Rayne

I'just going to tell you the things that have passed between my partner and myself that have most helped us to understand each other. I am lucky in that he talks to me now. He acted out with strange men for most of our relationship.

He says that he was unable to get away from all the truly negative crap that went on his head so the only option was to be numb. He could do this through drinking, very absorbing solitary pastimes, marijana (sp?) OR when it all got too bad, his othercoping mechanisms didn't work and he started to feel suicidal he had the crack cocaine of withdrawal and numbing.... go find a strange man and give him a blowjob in a public place.

For him this was a hit of massive proportions and ensured that his head was full of something else and his feelings and emotions were completely dead.

He could then carry on functioning.

I truly believe that before therapy and the start of recovery without this particular form of acting out he would have been dead by now.

I once said to him that I couldn't understand because for me, having sex with someone else would have to worth the following risks.

1. Getting an STD
2. Loss of pride in my own fidelity
3. Losing him if he found out
4. Loss of pride in our monogomous relationship


He responded that he already had no pride, thought I'd be better of without him anyway so if I did find out and leave all the better and if he caught an STD and died it was all he deserved.

Whilst I don't sit thinking "Oh, well thats all right then I'm cool about it all", I do think I've achieved a level of understanding enough to not dwell on it too much.

Good luck, its a hard one. I do think knowledge is power and understanding your man can only help you. I think you do absolutly right to try and find out more. A councellor I saw insisted that I stop dwelling on his problems and work on me. I ditched her because I absolutly needed to understand before I could move on. Before I did I felt paralysed and unable to move anywhere in terms of making a decision about our relationship.
Not sure if you know but we are getting married now and am so glad neither of us threw in the towel.

Hope that helps

Tracy


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#60681 - 03/31/06 12:41 AM Re: Acting Out
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Tracy
the risks never entered my head when I was in the cycle, and adreniline rush, that lead up my acting out.
They were there in the guilt and shame period imediately afterwards, they were there in big flashing lights!

I remember the first time I acted out and gave a bj, the first one since my abuse nearly 30 years before.
I phoned all the helplines I could find numbers for sick with worry about AIDS and all the other STD's.
I called gay helplines because I thought I'd turned gay, I called the Samaritans because I was suicidal.
I was working late one night and made all the calls from a public phone box in a town well away from where we live, I was that paranoid I wouldn't even use my mobile.
After every call I flung the door open and threw up. I was drenched with sweat and shaking like a leaf. I normally have a stammer, but that night I could barely speak. Eventually I collapsed and fell out of the door into the pool of vomit, and lay there for what seemed like hours.

Two hours later I arrived home as though nothing had happened.

Five days later I was acting out again.

When I've described the acting out cycle to people who have no experience of it at all, I always feel as though I'm exagerating things or making excuses, and I still feel that way.
But what we experience is the truth, and we are truly out of control once the cycle kicks in. And the efforts we make to maintain our secret acting out and are immense, they have to be when faced with the horrendous risks.

Thankfully the risks are a far greater reality to me now, so acting out is a very low risk for me.
But what about the chance of giving a bj to someone who we 'trust' is clean and discreet? maybe someone advertising in a local paper who's 'curious' and after some investigation is a first timer, and sex could take place discreetly and safely? Would that be a temptation?

I admit that it has crossed my mind, but the reality for me is that it just doesn't float my boat at all - not that I've tried it!
All my acting out was done with fantasy as a precursor, and using the 'safe guy, safe situation' as a fantasy just didn't work. The only thing I was interested in was the actual bj, I didn't even wan't anything sexual done to me in return, and I never ever let another man touch me sexually at all. I was out of the door and gone after my performance.

The survivors that I've talked to who have acted out nearly all say similar things, yes some did do / recieve return sex acts, but they never wanted anything that came close to ....... I'm struggling to find a de>
_________________________
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

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#60682 - 03/31/06 06:49 AM Re: Acting Out
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Tracy,

Your comment about your partner's attitude to acting out really struck home for me:

Quote:
He responded that he already had no pride, thought I'd be better of without him anyway so if I did find out and leave all the better and if he caught an STD and died it was all he deserved.
My acting out was with alcohol and drugs rather than sex, but I felt exactly the same way. There was no combination or excess that I wasn't willing to try, and the danger of death meant nothing to me since I didn't feel that my death would be much of a loss to anyone. All that mattered was escaping for those few precious hours.

The fact that I would always come crashing back exactly where I had started out also didn't bother me; I didn't feel that I deserved any solution to my problems, and in fact I figured that I had already placed myself beyond help. And of course I had - I am such a pathetic and disgusting loser. blah blah blah. See how it goes?

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#60683 - 03/31/06 01:19 PM Re: Acting Out
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Thanks Larry /Dave

Although I'm quite OK about it now its STILL iluminating to hear you describe your experiences. It does seem that the nature of the beast changes ie; coping mechanisms. drinking, drugs, sex... the drivers and emotional stste are so damn similar.

Dave
Interestingly my partner also has a periodic stammer. He says in his teens it was so bad it was like a disability and rendered him virtually mute.

I hardly ever hear him stutter and its quite a shock when we are with certain people because it comes back, namely his parents, brother and a couple of childhood friends. As we rarely see them I kind of just look in amazment as he can become a bit incoherant whereas his speech with us and with his "adult friends" is pefectly clear!!

I feel some anger as I write this...Its that feeling that creeps back, what did they ever do to deserve.......

Love to you guys whether you are partners trying to understand or brave brave survivors.

Tracy


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#60684 - 03/31/06 04:59 PM Re: Acting Out
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Yeah, my stammer comes and goes, and often I can see no reason or pattern to it.

I had a car accident last week and I dealt with it, talked to the other people involved etc without a stammer, and I was very stressed because it had the potential to have been a fatal accident but luckily nobody was hurt at all.

Today I was speaking about my abuse to a friend who up till now didn't know anything about it, and I didn't stammer even though I felt slightly tense.

But I went to the cake shop and could barely talk to order a bun!

My wife says I'm the worlds worst liar because I stammer when I'm tense, which I agree with mostly.
But what made me tense ordering an iced bun?

And am I now so relaxed in what are generally regarded to be stressful situations that I don't stammer?

Some days I'm like Arkright though, but that's a British joke!

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

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#60685 - 03/31/06 07:34 PM Re: Acting Out
blueyes25 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 15
Does everyone end up "acting out"??? Is this common in all survivors???


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#60686 - 03/31/06 07:56 PM Re: Acting Out
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Arkright? I'm guessing that as well as British thats also ageist coz I've never heard of it, me being young and you being old. :-):-) I'm a Yorkshireite.

Glad your OK after your crash, do you mean we nearly lost you, what a thought!

We are seeing a pschosexual therapist at the moment and he says that men use sex to medicate, whereas women dont (in his view another reason why women struggle to understand "unfaithful" men)... so in times of extreme pressure for men sex works and can ultimately be replaced by other theraputic ways of managing stress. We had this discussion in response to D admitting that stopping acting out had left a big gap.

Its a strange one isn't it. I am generally sceptical of the many touted "differences between the sexes" and this is another learning curve, although I'm kinda reserving judgement at the moment.

In response to your post Blueeyes25 I don't think all men act out sexually. Larry might chip in because I don't think he ever has but, acting out / coping mechanisms.. I'm starting to see them all as methods male survivors use to.. well, survive.

Love

Tracy


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#60687 - 03/31/06 08:43 PM Re: Acting Out
FastForward Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
All,

This is a good string of thoughts. Thank you all for your candor in sharing this.

Here is another thought: is it possible to abuse your significant other so much that at some point they do understand because at some point they become a survivor?

I believe I am at that point of understanding. I have been abused by a survivor to a point when there are moments of despair such as described above, and in other posts, by survivors. I had come so close to blocking all feelings that the sheer despair touch the wish to die so closely that at times I already feel dead, absent from reality. At times fearing that I will become absent from responsibility for my action. After all I feel it is not me there.

So, I do not act out in physical ways against others but I do "punish" myself in a way that I was conditioned to that was "acceptable" - junk food - trying to fill a bottomless void. And I
try to understand - just to maintain a grip on sanity - and not block out and remove myself from sanity. In the meantime, I often still cannot believe that it is possible to be hurt so much by another human being.

I feel for the survivor in my life still. But I have come close to the point when I am indifferent toward the abuser. The catch 22: they are both contained in the same person.

My job now is heal and be s survivor. I am determined not to be an abuser for I can see abuse as a potential weapon against the abuser that survived abuse and is now potentially using it to cominicate IT (CSA) through like action.

How is it possible not be driven out of one's mind by all this?

Take care all. Sorry, if this makes no sense. But I recently gave myself permission to ramble ... . \:\)

_________________________
FastForward

L&P - always.

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#60688 - 03/31/06 09:16 PM Re: Acting Out
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Hi Fast Forward

It seems to me that you are describing significant levels of abusive within your relationship. I hope you can do some soul searching as to why you would be willing to stay in a relationship that hurts you so much.

I never knew that my partner acted out and so really I wasn't hurt by it per say until I found out, and from the moment of disclosure I trust that he hasn't done it since.
He abused my trust and I think I can say that I am a secondary victim of the original abuse without absolving my partner from the responibilities which are his.

Quote:

You said;
"I feel for the survivor in my life still. But I have come close to the point when I am indifferent toward the abuser. The catch 22: they are both contained in the same person".

I can honestly say that even in my darkest momenst of hurt and anguish my partner remained a million miles away from being contained in the same frame as the man who abused him.

Tracy


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#60689 - 03/31/06 09:27 PM Re: Acting Out
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
I'd like to add to my orignal post.

Fast Forward

You can leave this relationship anytime you wish. Survivors of CSA never had that option.

Tracy


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#60690 - 04/01/06 01:18 AM Re: Acting Out
FastForward Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
Tracy,

Perhaps it was not clear: I am no longer in the relationshp. But as survivor accounts here attest, just because the abuser is no longer in your life, it does not mean that the effects of abuse disappear immediately. It takes time to sort through the past and place it where it belongs.

Thank you for your reply.

_________________________
FastForward

L&P - always.

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#60691 - 04/01/06 08:49 AM Re: Acting Out
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
FastForward,

I feel for the trauma you have endured and I'm sorry you had to go through that.

I wonder if one way forward would be to ask yourself how you can set good boundaries so this doesn't happen to you again. That is, try to focus on establishing a better framework for your future rather than dwelling on the pain of the past.

I'm of course not trying to dismiss what happened in the past. But if we work with it then I think we can rob it of a lot of its power to continue to harm us.

Hope this makes sense!

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#60692 - 04/01/06 09:23 AM Re: Acting Out
Hopeful wife Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 14
I have become amazed recently reading a number of replies to peoples posts by the level of arrogance displayed by many of the respondants, in particular on the "trust.." post and now on this one. It would appear that we are fortunate enough to have in our midst some of the most knowledgable and enlightened S.O.'s...who feel obligated to patronise others who are not as fortunate as they are.

Tracey: \:\(

Why do people (as adults) stay in abusive relationships: The answers are many and varied but usually the thing they have in common is that the person is afraid to leave and /or has had their self confidence broken down to such a point that they don't know how to move forward. Maybe they are ashamed to admit they have been abused, maybe they have nowhere to go, maybe they have kids and have no means of supporting themselves...etc.etc..
If we were to take your comment that "you have the option to leave, victims of C.S.A. didn't" to it's logical conclusion then 99% of the male survivors should only have been abused once, because as long as they had parents or an adult in their life that they could have run to and told, then they should have according to your argument...Why didn't 99% of them? Because they were threatened, afraid ,ashamed ,etc...
Victims of abuse suffer very similar "effects/emotions" regardless of age/gender etc.

You are fortunate enough to be in a relationship where your partner wants help, is getting help and loves you and has never , it would appear, been abusive towards you. You are young, unmarried and have no children...you have many options. I am also fortunate in that my husband has always been incredibly loving towards me and is also seeking help for his problems BUT I am always aware that things could change in that at some point in the future he could act-out again...I would not presume that I was in a position to patronise anyone about how to behave/ feel about their relationship.

This is a forum for people to express THEIR feelings in a safe and supportive enviroment and hopefully get some support or advise. I really feel that I am not alone recently in being "afraid" to respond to posts in case I am not toeing enough to the "Party line". It is NOT a competition about who is most supportive to M.S. or loves/supports their S.O. the most...we all do or we wouldn't be here but we also all have different lives and different experiences...let's try to learn from each other and not embaress or make each other feel "Less"

Thank You

Hopeful Wife


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#60693 - 04/01/06 12:45 PM Re: Acting Out
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Thanks for you points. I'm sorry that's the case, I feel thoroughly chastised.

I hope we can agree that sometimes email exchanges are a "cold" way of communicating and its very difficult to put across any emotion behind the words, hence they can come across not quite how they were meant. I've often...no, ..usually! post and then read back and thought crikey thats not conveyed what I wanted to say. I guess I'm not that eloquent.

With regards the above post, I guess the response it provoked in me was one of "Oh I hope that the men who read that don't think that women usually cast men who've acted out at their partners expense as abusers"

My post was probably biased, a bit tactless and more personal than I would have wished, (FastForward I'm sorry for that, I should have made a more general point)but I do not accept a label of arrogant / competitive. Maybe I was having an off day.

Cheers

Tracy


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#60694 - 04/01/06 06:15 PM Re: Acting Out
FastForward Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
Larry,

Thank you. My future is the brightest it has ever been. That is why it was finally easy to post what I did. I had spent several years making sure it did not become worse. If I had no boundaries, his behavior would have caused much more damage. Instead I am out of that situation, even though it meant the end of a friendship. In three months I am beginning a new chapter in my life as a financially independent person with more time to spend with family and friends. I plan to take a year off and trave, then start my own business, travel some more, and go back to school. I look at my behavior as well as his to remain as objective as possible.

Tracy,

I did think you jumped to a few conclusions but I know me well enough to know what applies and what does not. As for labeling men as abusers - calling abusive behaviors in one man is a far cry from labeling the whole male humanity abusers. I read your email more as a revelation about where you MIGHT be than a reflection on where I am. I am already gone from that scene. So, no hard feelings.

Hopeful Wife,

Your words echo ak's in the male survivor forum. You make some good points that help the communication process. Overall, I understand, it is easier to focus on something in another person. It may even deflect something we do not want to deal with at the moment. \:\)

All,

Thank you for your comments! Really, thank you. Perhaps greater eloquence will come to all of us with trying. \:\)

BTW, Rayne started this thread with questions about acting out ... .

Have a great weekend all.

_________________________
FastForward

L&P - always.

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#60695 - 04/01/06 10:26 PM Re: Acting Out
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hi FF,

I said in my previous response to Rayne that I don't know that asking why is always the best way to come to peace with a partner's acting out-- and I think it's relevant to what you ask about "understanding" the survivor.

Knowing "why" my partner acted out was helpful to me because I needed to know what kind of a person he was, who could do the things he did. I needed to know something about his motivations because I needed to know if he was someone I felt okay re-committing to, as a person and a parent. At the end of the "why," I felt safer, but not better, if that makes sense.

I know some survivors who say the same type of thing about knowing "why" someone abused them. It might help them to understand the difference between themselves and the abusers-- it might help them to regain some personal power and reject a false sense of blame or responsibility for the abuse-- but it doesn't make it stop hurting. It doesn't even make it make sense.

I don't think Tracy's question to you

Quote:
I hope you can do some soul searching as to why you would be willing to stay in a relationship that hurts you so much.
is a very different questions from me or Rayne asking our partners why they acted out in the first place.

As Hopeful Wife said, it is about the number of options that each person feels he/she has available at the time. Someone else could certainly be in the very same situation and see other options there too-- someone else in my situation might have made other choices. So what is it about me that caused me to make one set of choices?

FastForward, if it's not too personal, I'd be interested in reading a thread about the point at which you decided to exercise your option to set boundaries for yourself and get out of the situation.

SAR


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#60696 - 04/01/06 11:15 PM Re: Acting Out
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
BlueEyes
this is a what the 'Dictionary of Psychology' says about acting out and acting in -

"Acting out.
A rather irrational, impulsive display.
This meaning is usually reserved for uncontrollable outbursts in problem children.
The display of feeling and emotion which has previously been inhibited. Here the term is used with a neutral or even positive connotation in that such self expression is regarded as healthy and therapeutic.
A coping style in which the individual deals with conflict or stress by actions rather than reflections or feelings"

There is, oddly, no entry for 'acting in' but it is generally accepted that it is more or less opposite and the individual deals with conflict or stress USING reflections or feelings"

The important part regarding survivors is the last bit, we act out using ACTIONS, and these can be anything, not just sexual. Drink, drugs, violence, porn and anything that is an 'action' is acting out.
This is also thought of as a predominantly male behaviour, and women tend to act in and deal with stressors and conflicts in a much more emotional way than men do.
Obviously none of this is cast in stone, but it does seem to be the way it is, men display the effects of their trauma with 'actions', and women do it in their 'heads'.

Tracy
I'm ok, my brand new 3 ton company van had hand brake failure and ran away down a busy street, wrecking a new BMW before going down a pavement and lodging itself in a pub doorway, I was stood in a cake shop watching it go past the window! Thankfully nobody was hurt at all, but it was close.
Hey, you're a Northerner, you should know Ronnie Barker's 'Arkwright' from the sitcom 'Open All Hours' He had the best stammer I've ever heard.

Fast Forward
Quote:
Here is another thought: is it possible to abuse your significant other so much that at some point they do understand because at some point they become a survivor?
I would say "yes"
Thankfully, I don't think I've done this myself, but I freely admit that over the years I've given my wife a lot of unneccessary hard time.
Obviously different people have different tolerances, and I think I'm extremely fortunate that my wife is very tolerant of both my needs and me pushing the limits of our relationship.

But I can see that there must be limits and boundaries that we ( especially me ) must accept and adhere to.
I 'know' when I'm pushing my luck now, but it hasn't always been that way, and boundaries that we've agreed have been broken by me. And she's let me know when I do!
Having said that, it's what I want her to do. How else am I going to learn? If she just kept adjusting her levels of tolerance and allowed me to ride over our boundaries then I'd be back where I was 10 or 15 years ago.

I'm always saying that survivors "have to do it our way, and in our time" - and I stick by that, because what I mean by that statement is that other people cannot possible do our recovery for us.
So my view is, that we have to be allowed to do our own recovery, but NOT at the expense of those around us who love us, support us, and do their level best to understand us.
Why should you put up with crap from us? you shouldn't, and that's a major part of our learning and recovery; understanding that just because we suffered 'crap' as kids it doesn't give us the right to inflict crap on others.
Yes, it's going to happen because we're learning, and like a baby falls over when learning to walk, we 'fall over' sometimes.
When that happens though we should also have the balls to stand up and deal with our fall, WITH our partners.

For those of us that are in a relationship we do have advantages and disadvantages. ( BIG genaralisations following )
Obviously we have the advantage of love and support, someone to share our feelings with, and the prospect of the relationship growing.
But we do have all this as an extra area of thought alongside our own very personal recovery.
Single people are possibly more likely to be the opposite of that.
But I know that for all my falling down, the times my wife has said "come here, I want a word" I would personally not change a thing.


I don't really know what to say about a situation where this doesn't happen though, but I can see your point that if the survivors does, constantly, break the boundaries and behaves with disregard for their partner than eventually the partner could become victimised in much the same way the CSA victim / survivor is or was.
Maybe it's a case of the partner being dragged down to the ( struggling ? ) survivors levels of behaviours and thinking rather than the survivor moving forward and attaining the partners levels, assuming the partner is somewhat 'in front' of the survivor.

I'm a firm believer in the ethic that nobody should suffer at another persons expense.
That's something every survivor who has a partner, family or close friends that are willing to support and love us should strive to live by.

Dave

PS. If this reply make no sense it's because AOL threw me offline at the exact moment I pressed 'add reply' and I lost the complete post.
You have no idea how much I hate that BITCH that says "goodbye" in such a smartarse voice !

_________________________
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

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#60697 - 04/02/06 10:45 AM Re: Acting Out
nymij Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/29/06
Posts: 16
Loc: Dallas Metroplex
All: First, Rayne, thank you for your original post. And, to all you significant others, you are very brave for being on here in an attempt to understand/help. I am married 17yrs, 2 incredible kids and a survivor who has acted out significantly with men.

So, I cannot express how I felt reading this thread. First compassion for you and other supporters of someone who is acting out. Second, I was crying (not normal for me) while reading others describe the insanity of acting out. That is what it feels like, insanity! I cannot possibly re-iterate what they said with the same clarity!

This has helped me so much. Three years ago I was acting out and my wife found out. For the past 3yrs, my wife has asked the same questions and expressed the same concerns. And I, have not known how to respond to those question of "how could you do this? Did you not think of me, our freindship, your kids? You have hurt my heart, what were you thinking?" When those questions come out, not only do I not have the words that could possibly explain the insanity, but I then SHUT DOWN and turn the guilt and shame inside! Of course, turning in that guilt and shame becomes debilitating to me, and completely a form of rejection to my wife. It is a horrible cycle...

So, thank you all for your comments! From the perspective of a survivor trying to improve, provide support and answers to my wife, and stop any urges to act out, this has been a help. Knowing that the questions Significant Other's ask, and knowing that other survivor's insanity is similar.

Thanks for all your candor and honesty!

Jim

_________________________
Phil 3:13

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#60698 - 04/02/06 02:09 PM Re: Acting Out
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
I have said this in the past, but it's worth saying over and over again. One of the most important things I am learning here is to broaden the way I look at things to include the woman who is the most important person in the world to me.

I think learning to deal with the ways abuse affected me also means I have to consider how it likewise affected my wife, and for so long in ways that neither of us understood.

It's not just that I want a healed relationship, though of course I do want that. I want a healed relationship in which she feels that her pain and needs are not less important than my own. Listening and talking to the partners here is playing such a vital role in the ways I am developing a sense of how that can happen. My own acting out was not sexual, but more emotional: remaining distant, inability to take valid criticism, radical mood swings, sexual dysfunction, fear of rejection, low self esteem, to name just a few. But the more I think of it the more clearly I can see how challenging and frustrating all this must have been to her.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#60700 - 01/21/07 01:35 AM Re: Acting Out
Savannah Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/23/05
Posts: 13
Does it matter what kind of acting out, i.e. with women or men? Or whether it's emotional or purely physical?


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#60701 - 01/21/07 02:30 AM Re: Acting Out
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Does it matter to what Savannah?

I've been on the wrong end of my partner acting out with other women. I've spoken with partners whose survivor has acted out with men. Each and every time, the damage to the relationship and to the partner is the same. Sure there are some differences, but in the end, we're hurt, angry, our self esteem winds up in the toilet and every other thing you could possibly think of.

At the same time, the input from the survivors above shows that their actions/reactions are also very similar whether it was a male or female that they acted out with.

As for whether it's emotional or purely physical, well, I don't think emotion comes in to play when your talking about acting out. An emotional tie would indicate an affair to me and that's a completely different animal.

ROCK ON.........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#60702 - 01/21/07 02:52 AM Re: Acting Out
selene Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/06
Posts: 221
Loc: midwest
.

_________________________
"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery from The Little Prince

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#60703 - 01/21/07 03:10 AM Re: Acting Out
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
You're right Selene. I should have clarified that I don't believe any loving positive emotions exist in acting out. Especially not to the point where either party, especially the survivor, can get something other than the physical or emotional release out of acting out. There's no thought along the lines of a relationship.

ROCK ON.........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#60704 - 01/21/07 03:31 AM Re: Acting Out
Brokenhearted Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
Tonight I've begun to wonder if the reason I'm so desperate to understand "acting out" is because somehow I think it's less painful and more acceptable to me if he's cheating because of his abuse issues.....when really maybe it ought to hurt just as much as just plain ol' cheating. It is still terribly hard to forgive and unacceptable in a marriage, and I wonder if I'm more tolerant because it may be tied to his abuse, and should I be? Also why does it matter if it's w/ men or women? It hurts the same. I'm just feeling a little angry/betrayed tonight and wondering just how trustworthy he can be again in the future. Dr. Phil's words haunt me: "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior" I hope I'm not just being pessimistic. I want to be realistic.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#60705 - 01/21/07 03:48 AM Re: Acting Out
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
BH,

Cheating is cheating to a parnter but I know for me I am more willing to forgive because I've come to learn that acting out is, sadly, a horrible reaction to what my b/f has been through. If he were just a jerk tom-catting around, I could kick him to the curb and go on with my life.

That being said though, it is not something to be tolerated indefinately, actually, I don't believe it's something I could deal with again. Fidelity is something we're entitled to when we believe and have been led to believe by our partners that we are in a committed relationship.

As for the trust, well that takes time and work to re-coup. I was watching the show intervention the other night. The daughter was out of re-hab and trying like hell to do all the right things and stay clean. She'd been doing well for months, but the parents, the father in particular was still dis-trustful. The T sat down with everyone and asked some very pointed questions of the father. All of his answers were positive about the daughter. Then the T said, OK, she's done everything she can to regain your trust, you acknowledge that, but there's still a little bit left, right? Right, he said. The T said well, she'll never earn that back, you have to give it to her. That statement hit me like a ton of bricks because of the absolute truth of it.

No matter how hard my b/f works to regain my trust, there will always be a little piece of me that won't trust him, unless I make the decision to let it go. I've made that decision.

ROCK ON.........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#60706 - 01/21/07 04:08 AM Re: Acting Out
Brokenhearted Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
Writing through tears now, Trish....that bit about giving the last bit of trust back is pretty neat....how do we know if they are cheating b/c of abuse issues solely, or if they wouldn't have been faithful even if they hadn't been abused? I guess we'll never really know that one. I don't know why I'm having such a hard time w/ this tonight. Normally I am able to "look at him through Jesus' eyes' and I want to still do that....I do....I still hurt for the little boy that was abused....but he's also a 38-yr-old man with a family....I think it's so hard because I knew he cheated 5 yrs ago, and he saw all the pain it caused me, and from things he's said to me recently, there's a huge likliehood that he has done it again since, and is waiting to admit it in front of our counselor like he did back then, just isn't ready to yet. And I'm hurting because I trusted him again after the last time, and the pain is just pretty bad right now to think he could still do it again even though he knew I was devastated back then.

My heart is breaking because I do love him so much, always have, always saw him as a decent guy and thought the cheating was not worthy of him, we have had a beautiful little girl since then and so much happiness surrounding that blessed event.

Maybe I'm just having a rough night. One of those big lows on the rollercoaster.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#60707 - 01/21/07 04:34 AM Re: Acting Out
AshSurvived Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 167
Loc: Australia
I think I act out, well probably act in really, because of the emotions involved. It's hard to pin it down, when I have it figured out I won't need to get help anymore. But I think I am recoiling from the emotions that get triggered at random from my abuse and I go back to what I know. Which used to be hurting myself and is now fictional stories or cartoon pictures that sort of symbolise what I'm feeling or would have acted out.

I tense up and shut down my feelings, I become totally withdrawn. Acting out for me can even be as simple as spending the whole day on wikipedia without eating, just researching gandhi or something. It might not sound so terrible, but when my wife gets home I am compelled to tell her all about it and rattle on like a nut.

Anything to get me into my pure intellect and away from others and feelings and relating. I get completely miserable and out of touch, my body aches and my posture is that of a hurt little boy. I'm still feeling this way from yesterday and I'm contemplating doing it again. If I can somehow start to be more in my body, present and aware, if I can start to find things I actually enjoy doing that aren't intellectual or hard work I think I might be able to stop acting out. Rather, the desire might subside. But I just don't know how yet. I don't know how to be a natural child and have fun. I get mad at people, it occurred to me yesterday, who act like natural children, which most adults do. I'm jealous and I'm angry that they stay that way and don't keep growing, I think it's these people that I clash with.

I feel an abhorrence of feelings and this could be in great part due to my conditioning which was all about pain and 'don't you dare cry' and so forth. If I act out I don't have to risk trusting myself or creating anything new. There are templates for acting out in me and plenty more in the world because so many men create and demand them because we're all in the same boat.

It sickens me to think so many have gone before me and come after me that there are these templates; that it's so easy, so convenient.

I think it has a lot to do with my early conditioing not just purely the sexual abuse because I act in typical ways: thinking and sexual gratification. For me the abuse of my sexual abusers and the abuse from others in the form of conditioning with violence and shame and all that are inseperable. It's all templates with all sorts of traps should I try to escape the template.

But I reiterate, it's getting a lot better. And my wife's acceptence or knowledge is pretty much irrelevent to whether I act out or not, it's purely self preservation. And because I can't do anything I want to do, any of the things others take for granted I don't feel all that guilty. I'm a drummer who can't play drums, a singer who can't sing and a writer who can't write. I can't do the only things I'm good at so I feel entitled to some escape, even if it ruins me, I have nothing else left.

_________________________
"It's your world Dave, I'm just livin' in it"

- Harvey Pekar to David Letterman
(American Splendour)

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#143180 - 02/25/07 08:19 AM Re: Acting Out [Re: AshSurvived]
Kathryn Offline
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Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303


Ash,

"I'm a drummer who can't drum, a singer who can't sing...".

I'm 43 years old, and I know it sounds a bit patronizing when older peopls say things like, "but you're so young...!". But it's true. I can remember when I was 36 like yesterday. But 28? At 28 I had been married to my first husband for one year. And geeze, it sometimes seems like a lifetime ago.
What I'm saying is that at 28 you're confronting who you are in a way that most do not. I certainly didn't.

K.


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#143189 - 02/25/07 11:37 AM Re: Acting Out [Re: Kathryn]
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
one thing that bothers me about this thread is are the women here giving up some of the very basic things people need because their partners were abused? you the partners of survivors ,are a different kind of person right from the start ,it takes a special person just to be able to live with a survivor i think.its like you just put your needs and feelings on hold in order to try to help your partner.abuse is about boundries and having them broken ,shouldnt there be boundries set for living with us? its not fair or right for anyone to abuse the faith and kindness and understanding ,that comes from a serious relationship .if you were married to a 'normal guy' would you think its ok for him to act out ,or have affairs ? would you make excuses for them if they did? i dont think that giving up the boundries that make a relationship equal is gonna save your survivor . it just seems to me it would be real easy to abuse the trust and faith you give your partner,in your desire to help your partner dont lose sight of what you need ok?your needs and your feelings have to be just as important as those of your partner .god i wish i had somebody like you women in my life and if i did and if i knew how to be in a rel;ationship ,i dont think it would be ok for me to act out for any reason,im not ragging on guys that have or will ,but in a way to me reading the stuff that happens is like reading an abuse story,the feeling of betryal and low selfesteme you guys describe sounds way too much like what abuse does to us. you are special people so please set some boundries and stick to them ,letting stuff like acting out just slide can be enabling to your partner ,letting them get away with acting out might just make them act out more . im not really getting across my meaning here ,its hard for me to find the right words. for me if i had someone like you in my life?well id do everything in my power to express how much it meant to me,and i would never do anything to screw that up. dont lose yourself trying to help is what im saying i guess,your well being is just as important as your survivors i think .giving up the respect that you would exoect from a non survivor is not gonna save him and i think it can hurt you in the long run . sorry this is a kinda dumb response but i just hate to see people being hurt and trying to find ways to say its ok ,its not ok.abuse is not an excuse for what our perps did to us ,and its not an excuse for guys acting out and hurting you. it might be the reason and it might not be the survivors fault ,its so weird cause what most of us want is to be able to trust again to be able to not worry whats gonna happen tomorrow ,to be able to have faith in people again ,dont you think partners deserve the same things?i think in order to trust again ,we also have to be able to be trusted again . i know acting out is not a controlable thing ,but accepting it is.im gonna stop cause i have no idea where im going here ,sorry for rambling .

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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#143192 - 02/25/07 01:00 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: shadowkid]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
A couple of points if I may...

1. When a survivor acts out, it's not about you, the partner. It has nothing to do with your ability to please him sexually, your weight, your looks, or your emotional connectedness to him or the lack thereof. It has everything to do with the damage done to him. I think most of you aleady realize that, but wanted to throw it in just in case.

2. Each of you as the survivor's significant other needs to decide in your own mind what you will tolerate and what you will not. Please DO NOT stay with us in this relationship simply because you know our history and you want to help fix us. Please DO take care of yourself. Don't put up with us cheating for whatever reason. The relationship is afterall about setting boundaries. It's the basis for a loving, caring, committed union. Draw that line over which you will not allow us to cross if we want to preserve what we have. There is safety for us in having those boundaries set. If we cross that line we know what we will loose. There may come a time when we do cross over and you may indeed discover our secret. Please, for both of us, follow through with the consequences whatever it is you've laid out. Again, there is safety in that for us and you. Your actions may be conditional on certain things and you many indeed get back together with us, but we need to know and experience the boundaries you set forth. It's the only hope for the relationship.

3. Unfortunately in some cases we may cross over that line and never come back. While that may be heartbreaking for you. Please understand that it is STILL not about you, but about our ultimate inability to cope with the damage from childhood. It is not a failure on your part but a result of the terrible actions perpetrated against us combined with our own stupid decisions. Each of us ultimately are responsible for our own lives and our own decisions. It is us who goes cruising for men at the local freeway rest stop, or masturbating to gay porn on the internet, and we know at the time we are doing it that it's a bad decision, that it's wrong and against everything we should be standing for as a husband and father, etc. We did it anyhow despite that, and every time we do it we risk our relationship with you not to mention the possibility of bringing home death to you through disease. So if you loose us because you set a boundary, it's not your fault. You have done the right thing. You have taken the high road and you will be a stronger person for having done so albeit one who's going through hell at the moment it all goes down.

Well, I've said my speel. I've been wanting to do that for a long time. Please forgive me if I've stepped on any toes, and if I've said something you disagree with please feel free to say so, but be gentle, huh?

Lots of love,

John



Edited by walkingsouth (02/25/07 01:01 PM)
_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#143193 - 02/25/07 01:06 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: shadowkid]
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
I think I know what shadowkid is saying. Besides being a survivor of CSA, I'm the ex-husband of a woman who suffered horrible mental and emotional abuse in her childhood. I know there is no measuring rod for abuse, but I'm thankful that I didn't have to endure what she did. She never tried to get any help for herself, though. What she did do was act out, with years of infidelity, jumping from affair partner to affair partner (3 in the last six months we lived together).

I wanted to "forgive and forget" the first time I learned about one of the affairs. I wanted that way too much. I was a classic "enabler."

Looking back, I still believe I did what was right for me at the time. Even after she left with "her soulmate" of that month, leaving her mother, me, and three kids behind, I still wanted to "make it work." But one person alone can't "make" a relationship work. If a victim won't seek help, won't accept help when it seeks them, they're not ready to be a full partner in a healthy relationship. Each person in a relationship with someone like that, with someone who refuses even to try to heal, has to come to terms individually with that realization, or deny the existence of the elephant in the living room.

I hope the men whose partners are here are able to get the help they need. Some will. Some won't. Some might, after it's too late for the relationship. But no one has a right, abuse history or not, to expect their partner to accept unacceptable behavior indefinitely.

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#143200 - 02/25/07 02:18 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: shadowkid]
Kathryn Offline
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Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303


Adam,

You are so cool.

John,

I have no doubt that some men create a reality in which they feel/believe that thier behavior is not about those with whom they are connected. Let's just say we have different conceptions of reality. My reality is that this feeling/belief is sort of like a man who freely asks another person to tie their wrists to theirs, then he decides to drown himself in a lake cuz he's feeling bad. He didn't mean to drown the person who's tied to his wrist, yet he's the one who asked for that physical bond. So, while he may feel/think that his jumping into the lake is merely a personal decision based on his own bad feelings, the other person is as dead as dead can be. And their dead both because 1) the guy who jumped in the lake asked them to tie thier wrists together and because 2) he decided to jump in the lake under the false feeling/belief that he's only hurting himself.
Who's reality is right? Mine or yours, or my bf's? Well, the fact that two, not one, person is dead seems to me to validate a greater reality which is not merely in either your or mine or my bf's head.
It just is.

And the other thing that just is, it seems to me, is that if a guy is off doing gay porn (which I personally am not sure I'd find overly-objectionable -- not sure) he is doing it in part because my female body doesn't satisfy something in him. And assuming that I'm with the guy under the assumption that he's not interested in looking at naked men, then his interest is something that involves me just as much as the guy who asked me to tie my wrist to his... then decides to jump in the lake.
One of the things I've wondered about is whether "acting out" isn't in part as a means to pull both into the lake: "I feel bad about my sexuality, so to even the playing field, I'll make you feel bad too". It seems to me that it is. Even in situations where the guy thinks he'll keep it a secret forever. It's a way for him to tell himself that even if "She" rejects me, it doesn't matter, cuz I've already rejected her -- if only in fantasy, porn, or meaningless sex with men. What greater message could you give someone (or merely yourself) that their power over you is minimal than telling them that they simply do not have the ability to capture your full attention and never will have?
The "It's not about you, it's just how I'm fucked up, so don't think it's about you, even though you can't fully capture my attention..." loop is the most exhausting circular stuff I've ever experienced.
I would much rather someone be blunt and say, "You know, even though I love you, my heart (or my dick or whatever) belongs in part to someone else". Or conversely, tell me precisely why my reality is faulty. Precisely.

Thanks,
K.

K.


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#143203 - 02/25/07 02:57 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: Kathryn]
Kathryn Offline
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Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303


Just to clearify my previous post (and why isn't there a spell-check on this thing?)....

If "acting out" is a flight towards working through abuse issues, and I'm sure there's meritt to this feeling/belief (it makes sense to me), isn't it ALSO a flight from something? Like intimacy? And to the extent it's a flight from intimacy, it's like the guy who jumps into the lake all the while telling himself that it doesn't involve the person who just so happens to be tied to his wrist.

There seems to be an emphasis on the "acting out" being merely, or mostly, about re-enactment, etc... And less concentration on it being a flight from intimacy (women). But it seems to me that this is certainly an aspect. And a big one.

For a guy who's never been abused, but has multiple straight affairs, he's doing it in order to make himself less vulnerable in his relationship -- "See, I don't really NEED HER. And I'll proove it by having an affair". The reason people feel belittled when their lover has an affair is because that's the PURPOSE of having an affair -- to reduce the power those we love have over us.... Etc....

Of course this involves the person being cheated on -- and it's MEANT to. At least in part.

And if not, then please someone tell me how or where I go wrong?

And sorry for my crappy spelling.

Thanks,
K.


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#143205 - 02/25/07 03:22 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: Kathryn]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Quote:
And the other thing that just is, it seems to me, is that if a guy is off doing gay porn (which I personally am not sure I'd find overly-objectionable -- not sure) he is doing it in part because my female body doesn't satisfy something in him.
Absolutely not true in most cases of CSA with men. Your female body has nothing whatever to do with the affects of abuse on his psyche. He would be doing these things if he were living alone so, to attribute it to some inadequacy on your part is simply a false assumption. It's gonna happen with our without you. A harem of 300 virgins would make no difference because he's still trying to work out, and act out the effects of the abuse on his mind and heart. You cannot now, nor will you ever be able to meet his needs till he realizes that he needs to meet his own needs and seek appropriate intervention. Until that happens you are a bystander watching at train wreck with little or no control over the outcome, if you even know it's going on at all.

And why would anyone tie their own identity so closely with another that if he jumps into the figurative lake and drowns they do too? Relationship is all about joining your life to that of another, granted, but it is also about maintaining proper boundaries and keeping our own identity and person as a separate entity, a separate free moral agent, if you will, who chooses to enter into mutual relationship of love, trust, and respect. Just because one partner chooses to sever that trust is not a sign that the other must follow. A person must take care of themselves in this situation. Sure, it hurts like hell and is destructive, but not nearly so as if he/she gets pulled into the cess pit along with the partner and they both drown because they were tied together in an unhealthy bond.

Sorry if I sound heartless here, but as I say, that's the way I see it. My wife does as well, by the way. I'm modeling my comments here from the way she's taken her stance toward me, from comments of my/our T, and books I've read on relationship.

I'm perfectly willing to be deemed wrong in your eyes. That's ok with me. Really. \:\)

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#143209 - 02/25/07 03:41 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: WalkingSouth]
Kathryn Offline
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Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303


It's not about right or wrong: it's about discussing two different perceptions of reality.

I don't think I have to be overly enmeshed (which admittedly in this case I am) to nevertheless recognize the fact that some guys look at guys or have sex with them. And sure, a lot would continue to do so if they were single. I don't take it as a PERSONAL attack on me qua me. But it's also true that I happen to reside in a female body.

If I'm with a guy who likes men in some way, it's not about me in my personality or whatever. It's just that he likes men in some way. But no matter how hard I think through this, I can't see how it's not also true that HE (even if I don't) finds me not "quite the thing in some way, at some times" simply because I live in a female body.

I'm not trying to challenge anyone on a personal level.

I'm just trying really hard to understand.

Thanks,
K.


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#143210 - 02/25/07 03:47 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: Kathryn]
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
K,
Quote:
But no matter how hard I think through this, I can't see how it's not also true that HE (even if I don't) finds me not "quite the thing in some way, at some times" simply because I live in a female body.
I think John's point, and I hope he'll correct me if I'm wrong, is that it's not about you simply because this hypothetical survivor wouldn't find anyone "quite the thing."

It's an internal struggle for the survivor. Those outside the survivor's own pain who get hurt in the struggle are like the non-combatants who are hurt in a military attack. They weren't targeted, they weren't factored into the planning, but they were hurt nonetheless.

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#143211 - 02/25/07 03:47 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: Kathryn]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: Kathryn


My reality is that this feeling/belief is sort of like a man who freely asks another person to tie their wrists to theirs, then he decides to drown himself in a lake cuz he's feeling bad. He didn't mean to drown the person who's tied to his wrist, yet he's the one who asked for that physical bond.

I would much rather someone be blunt and say, "You know, even though I love you, my heart (or my dick or whatever) belongs in part to someone else". Or conversely, tell me precisely why my reality is faulty. Precisely.

Thanks,
K.


Hi Kathryn,

Let me try to be both blunt and compassionate. I certainly feel for you and can hear your frustration, but there is a contradiction in what you are saying. On the one hand you are asking for your bf to own up to the full responsibility and obligation he incurred when he asked to be with you romantically. Yet on the other hand, you are not owning up to the responsiblity and obligations you incurred when you agreed (an active, not passive, choice) to be with him.

The analogy you use, while very poignant, paints you out of the picture. While he may have indeed held out the shackle, you were the one who allowed it to be closed around your hand. You are just as free to say no to the offer of his outstretched hand. ANd that freedom exists even now. There is no lock holding that shackle close. If it's clear that this man is about to jump in the lake, you have the freedom, and the obligation to yourself, to simply open the shackle and release yourself from this supposed "bondage".


There is also another issue I'd like to raise with your analogy. In essence, you are saying that your relationship is akin to a kind of confinement, or imprisonment, to the emotional whims of your partner. This is not a very pretty picture to paint of any relationship, and I would imagine that if someone else were to describe their relationship in these terms you would quickly detect the unhealthy dynamic at play. Further, were someone to ask you what your idea of a perfect relationship was, I'd be willing to bet it would look nothing like what you currently have.

It's very easy to look at the faults of our partners and allow our compassion to turn quickly into judgment when we get hurt. (And for the record, I'm not saint when it comes to doing so myself) But this is a trap we should be very wary of in all of our relationships.

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#143213 - 02/25/07 04:09 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: tartugas]
Kathryn Offline
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Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303



It's NOT about JUDGEMENT!!!! Really !!!! And of course I have personal freedom. And NOW I have enough information to excercise that freedom in the very dark prison of my relationship -- Just kidding! But really, I chose to tie myself with this person not knowing he likes men, for whatever reason. So at least for awhile, my freedom to choose whether this relationship was acceptable was not provided me.

But now it is. So now the only person at all responsible for me deciding to choose to stay in or not is ME. Granted.

But part of my decision entails understanding this stuff.... Of course I could choose to walk away just cuz it scares me. Or I can choose to try to understand, then make an informed decision....

THAT'S ALL I'm saying. That's all.


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#143220 - 02/25/07 04:26 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: Kathryn]
philobat Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/31/07
Posts: 293
Loc: California
Kathryn, I feel for you, I really do. I hope you will be able to make the healthiest decision for you.

Regardless of our past, it is only an explanation of our behavior- not an excuse.

You are in my prayers.

Love,

-Philobat


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#143221 - 02/25/07 04:38 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: outis]
Kathryn Offline
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Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303
Joe,

Hope you come back here and read this. I get what you're saying. It's like there's a piece of one's self which out of necessity created a little private room to go and hide. I can relate to this, I think I'm a bit like this myself. It's like an autistic nuclei or something: a turning away from the world to a private, internal space. And there's all kinds of crap there that we don't really want to see. I think in the case of men, they use sensation so as not to get in touch with this aspect of themselves -- at least more than women tend to do. We tend to just become Borderline -- Emotions flying all over the damn place!
But this is what I really want to know: aside from the whys, wheres, hows, is how this is experienced on an aesthhetic level.
One thing I've thought about is whether guys who say they aren't attracted to men per se, is whether they confine their notions of beauty to women (all that Beauty Myth stuff) -- whereas men are "handsome".
And yet it also seems that a lot of men are "drawn" to men so that they can feel like the "Beautiful One" -- the sex object. I mean frankly, that the Beautiful is considered the exclusive domain of the female body sucks if you're a man. I'd hate it, and would want to be able to feel beautiful in someone's eyes.
I'm 43 and so am slowly approaching being considered a "handsome woman" -- as though it's a demotion.... the ill effects of aging. You guys can only be handsome. Unless of course, you're gay -- then you get to be beautiful cuz gay men find men beautiful -- as it should be.
Personally, I don't find men only handsome, but beautiful.

So, how about the whole aesthetic aspect of all of this?

Thanks,
K.


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#143231 - 02/25/07 06:14 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: Kathryn]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Kathryn,

Yes, the ultimate decision lies with you. I wish you well with the decision you make that it will be the one that brings you the most lasting peace of mind. Like I've told you before, your man is a fortunate individual in that you see the value in him, the good person that is in there, the hurt little boy wishing to be free from the shackles. My hope is that both of you can find the solace in each other that is needed for his healing and your happiness with the man you've chosen.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#143233 - 02/25/07 06:27 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: WalkingSouth]
Kathryn Offline
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Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303


I think I understand what you're saying. Is it that working out what's re-enactment and what's positive attraction extremely difficult? I mean, that's where I get hung up: the aesthetics.

If there's positive attractions based on positive aesthetic reactions, then there are things that a person in a female body can't provide. If the thrill is the sex act, not men per se, then why does replicating the sex act with a woman not do the trick?

If it's a sexualized way of getting approval from men, isn't all sex about this? I mean, I have sex with men in part to get their approval.... And I also have fantasies of getting female approval through having sex with a man, though I don't have fantasies of having sex with women per se. But there are what I could describe as genderless sexual moments, or of "feeling, almost visualizing" interior spaces in my lover -- sort of womb-like fantasies. Of couse, I think I also visualize specifically masculine interior spaces, yet there does seem to be a linkage with imagining feminine interior spaces -- thus the genderless moments.
I don't imagine a penis stuck onto a man with me on it -- I imagine the penis coming from inside the man -- so the penis interpenetrates. Rather than just penetrates....

It's taken me a long time to be able to articulate these fantasies, but they're there. It's sort of like experiencing my male lover as being "hard" like a man (father) in his outer appearance yet "soft" enough to hold me like a woman (mother).

Ok, so there's all kinds of needs we try to meet through sex.

As far as trauma: for whatever reason, I work my trauma out with men, though men (father) caused my trauma. Though I feel in myself the posibility of fleeing from men and working it out with women.... Just haven't -- for whatever reason. But I certainly couldn't stand my father touching me.

Anyway, just rambling thoughts.

K.


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#143235 - 02/25/07 06:36 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: WalkingSouth]
Kathryn Offline
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Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303


Thanks John.

Sending you really good wishes.


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#143238 - 02/25/07 06:52 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: Kathryn]
Kathryn Offline
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Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303


P.S. -- I mostly stick around because he actually treats me pretty darn well.


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#143239 - 02/25/07 06:58 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: Kathryn]
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
K,

I haven't acted out in this way, so I'm perhaps not the best spokesperson. Instead, I drank, got high, and avoided all hints of sexuality for many years. I "stayed away" from the memories that way.

I don't think aesthetics have anything to do with it. It's not at all related to sexual orientation, which would involve aesthetic senses. It's a different way to "stay away" from the memories, by "proving" that the interaction can have a different ending, "proving" that it's not an "out-of-control" situation, but instead it's something that the survivor "controls" in the sense of finding a partner, a time, a place.

Or maybe it's a rush of feeling, unlike anything else the survivor can experience when living a life in which strong emotions must be avoided because some of them, related to the abuse, seem too powerful to endure.

I'm not an expert, but I'm sure that aesthetics isn't a motivator.

In the end, whether you understand or not, you will have to decide on your own which limits are inviolable, what past acts are forgivable, and how you and your bf will communicate about these. Every relationship has struggles and causes some pains. A lot of that comes from the "baggage" the partners bring with them to the relationship. This particular "baggage," because it's related to sexuality, itself part of our human core, often brings these kinds of hurts. Recovery is possible, but no one should ever even hint that it's easy for anyone involved, survivor or pro-survivor.

I'm past what I can offer on this subject. Please, when you make your informed decision, be at peace with yourself.

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#143299 - 02/26/07 03:14 PM Re: Acting Out *DELETED* [Re: outis]
selene Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/06
Posts: 221
Loc: midwest
Post deleted by selene

_________________________
"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery from The Little Prince

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#143336 - 02/26/07 09:00 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: selene]
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Selene,
Quote:
[... i think we can make a new and very loving relationship, but it's a new one and not a continuation of the original ... and maybe we can make it something truly wonderful ... but for me there may always be that little something special missing ...
I spent a lot of time reading about relationships, especially marriage, and things like infidelity in the last several years. I think the most important word in the piece I quoted from you is "may."

There are couples who recover from infidelity and use that crisis to strengthen their marriage. You two could be one such couple, if you're both on the same team now.
Quote:
... it's hard, adam, to deal with the cheating ... and sometimes i wonder if i've done the right thing ... sometimes i wonder if maybe i'm totally nuts to even consider staying ... but it's what feels right for now ... maybe that makes sense ... i hope so ...
Only you can know if it's "the right thing," and maybe only in time will you know. But if you are actions are aligned with your best motives, it's difficult to see how you can go wrong. Your path forward may involve pain, but all paths through life have some pain. The potential up-side on a loving, committed marriage is tough to beat.

Thanks. It's nice to see someone fighting for their marriage and their family.

Joe

P.S. Have you checked out the online forums at http://www.divorcebusting.com?

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#143749 - 03/02/07 06:09 AM Re: Acting Out [Re: Lloydy]
Barney Offline


Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 236
Loc: Southern Utah/Northern Arizon
I need to read this over and over again. There is so much wisdom here and I feel like by reading it, I can somehow start to understand me and the struggle I have with the desire to act out with another man.


Thank you so much men for taking the time to share your thoughts as I have never read anything like you have said and it is very meaningful to me.

Barney


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#143774 - 03/02/07 12:39 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: Barney]
selene Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/06
Posts: 221
Loc: midwest
.

_________________________
"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery from The Little Prince

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#143865 - 03/03/07 12:21 AM Re: Acting Out [Re: selene]
AshSurvived Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 167
Loc: Australia
I wanted to add something, because now I have a different perspective, rather I am gaining a different perspective, on acting out.

I have been acting out for about 10 years in the sense of reliving my abuse constantly. It was because I accepted myself as a pervert and decided I ought to stop supressing my 'natural' urges and just do what comes 'naturally'. Only the past few days have I been reading about Bondage and Survivors and realised the impact of my actions. I have stopped dead as of 4 days ago. Stopped going to bondage sites, stopped fantasising, the lot. I can't say it's over and gone from my system, but now that I realise I have totally fucked up my life by acting out and 'accepting', myself I am scared to even give an inch back to my abusers, shit-scared.

Acting out all the time has kept me locked in the cycle of abuse, has kept me a little hurt boy. I mean quite literally: I look like a little hurt boy when I act out, my body tenses and shape-shifts and my entire demeanour changes; my wife has witnessed it many times.

Now I am trying my best to understand all the physical and emotional changes that take place when I feel the urge to act out... and I try to come to this site or the chat and deal with those feelings in some way, and try to feel some positive vibes instead of wanting to hurt and humiliate myself.

I have also realised that when my wife tries to be intimate and I act 'childish', I'm not acting, I AM a child, the further it goes, the further I regress, and that scares me too. As you can see, the seriousness of all this has come crashing down on me this week thick and fast and really shocked me into awareness.

_________________________
"It's your world Dave, I'm just livin' in it"

- Harvey Pekar to David Letterman
(American Splendour)

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#143897 - 03/03/07 08:50 AM Re: Acting Out [Re: AshSurvived]
beccy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Hi Ash,


that's a real hurdle it sounds like you've jumped over! Be gentle with yourself......and try not to judge any of the acting out you have done. You don't deserve to feel any shame about any of it, and it's my personal opinion, that it's ok to acknowledge any enjoyment you did get from it for what it was at that time. You are beginning to move away from that now and that's good a good thing, as you sound ready for that change.


The 'childlike' behaviour you mention, both my bf and myself have had too. I've acted out within that too, though he hasn't(at least not with me). I actually only came to realise that's what it was about a month ago and it shocked me too. These things are SO complicated aren't they? To me, it has felt scarey and I've not been sure of who I am without that. But at least it's movement. I believe it's a step in the right direction of reclaiming personal power? But still important to remind yourself that it's ok if you enjoyed parts of the other things you did.


NO SHAME, OR JUDGEMENT.



peace
Beccy


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#144026 - 03/04/07 05:52 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: roadrunner]
pnaanp Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/03/07
Posts: 1
Eloquently put Larry. Thank you for sharing your perspective. You stated that in a way I could really understand and identify with.


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#144694 - 03/09/07 06:27 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: pnaanp]
GWsurvives Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 251
Loc: Atlanta, and here, among othe...
I don't have much to add here as I am stuck in the middle of this same thing.
What I would like to do is give a BIG THANK YOU to the partners of survivors that continue to try and understand their partners struggles.
Just please remember, we are even more confused than you are about our own actions.

Thank you!

_________________________
"Some times there just aren't enough rocks" Forrest Gump

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#264178 - 11/28/08 11:54 AM Re: Acting Out [Re: GWsurvives]
Kathryn Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303


Just wanted to bump this up because this was one of the best exchanges on acting out, thanks to Lloydy and the little mushroom guy.... can't think of the name....

K.


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#264212 - 11/28/08 03:48 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: Kathryn]
1islandboy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 862
Loc: washington
Thank you for bumping this Kathryn,

To much for me to digest in one setting, now I have it in (my stuff).

island

_________________________
Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine ~ M.F. Fernandez

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#331877 - 05/24/10 12:35 AM Re: Acting Out [Re: 1islandboy]
ericc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 1977
I figured I'd bump this up again as well. I haven't been able to read the whole thing, but what I have read makes a lot of sense when I look at some things that have gone on in my life. Underlying so much seems to be a sense of zero self-worth and an attitude that doesn't really care. Not all the time, but often enough to lead to unhealthy behaviors. I don't want that anymore.

Eric


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#331886 - 05/24/10 02:26 AM Re: Acting Out [Re: ericc]
Charlie24 Offline


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 562
Eric,

I like what you had to say. I too haven't read the entire post, but I know I've acted out. I've acted out and am ashamed for acting out.

I hated the mindset I got into from my abuser and from my family members that I was some kind of subordinate that is there to serve people and be a fucking doormat.

That is why I finally have learned how to cut people out of my life.

I've also learned that WHAT I WANT for ME is the god damn most important fucking thing in my life. Not what other fucking people think they want me to be or for me.

This is me taking the fucking power back from my abusers and taking it into my fucking HANDs and holding it.

This feels so damn good to be assertive in my life.

Charlie


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#334381 - 06/22/10 02:11 AM Re: Acting Out [Re: Charlie24]
givemestrength Offline


Registered: 10/11/09
Posts: 26
Hi everyone,
I haven't been on here for a long time but this is the single mosy powerful and helpful thread I have read...perhaps timing is the key as I have recently "caught" my husband acting out on the internet after a long period of him disengaging (poor choice of word I know but thats all i got right now) from such activity.

Every time it feels like the first time and we are now putting measures in place so hopefully it will not happen again...I am the most deflated but also the most hopeful I think I have been...anyway this is a story for my own thread but just wanted to say to all those who have participated in this thread thankyou! You have reminded me of things that are too easy to forget and clarified others. Particularly Hopeful wife and walking south ...your words really spoke to me so thanks...

*sigh* this is such a hard road but as long as you don't lose yourself in the process I believe, for me atleast, it's worth it.


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#334474 - 06/23/10 10:50 AM Re: Acting Out [Re: Lloydy]
Turquoise Offline


Registered: 06/21/10
Posts: 5
First, I would like to say thank you to Rayne for the original post and to all of the men and women who have expressed their opinions so eloquently thereafter. There is a great deal to digest here, and I am sure I will reread everything several times. Although I have never posted before, I have found great comfort in the MS forums – it is helpful to see men’s perspectives and it is equally helpful to see that I am not alone in my situation (although all of our situations may be slightly different, many of the broader themes here remain the same).

I want to add my personal perspective.

I have been with my husband for over a decade. At the beginning of our relationship I revealed to him that I was molested as a child. He too is an abuse survivor, but he never told me this until 2 months ago. It was his deep, dark secret, and I was subsequently in the dark myself. Our relationship was beautiful – full of love and what I thought was trust. For me personally, the trust part was very important. It came as an utter shock to me when I found out (again, 2 months ago) that he had been acting out with men online and had been in an 8 month relationship with one particular man. There has been talk in this thread about a woman’s choice in her relationship, the choices they make when they agree to be in the relationship. While I understand this in part, I would like to emphasize that, for me, my choice to be in the relationship at that point was made with a blindfold on – I only had partial information. In addition, I too feel confusion over a man’s decisions to act out when those actions have the ability to hurt and traumatize (yes, I do feel traumatized) the ones they purportedly love. The candid perspectives of the men on this board are a window into this world that I thank you for – yet I confess that it is still tremendously difficult to digest. For me, I was abused but have not acted out. I feel this dichotomy makes it more difficult for me to understand. My husband and I are trying to work things out in couples/individual therapy. Here, I have been able to make an active choice. I make the choice to try. I make this choice from a place of love and caring. Yet, my husband is unsure of his sexual identity and in this I feel my choice is lessened. I cannot be a part of this choice, despite the fact that it will affect me greatly. It is hard to effectively illustrate my point, but what I am trying to say is that many of our choices, as partners of those who have been abused, are not black and white because the bleed into one another. For those of you who have suggested that we, the partners, create strong boundaries – I could not agree more. My boundaries are that I will work on this until he decides, or, until it gets to be too much for me. If he decides that he can live a heterosexual, monogamous lifestyle with me, than I will work to rebuild the trust, the love … but if he breaks that trust again, I will leave because I personally (again, personal choice, we are all different) cannot live through this again.

As a final note, I would just like to add how difficult it is for the partners of men (or women, for that matter) who have acted out -- this is why we struggle to understand, why we ask the questions we ask. If you have not experienced the other side of the coin, from my perspective it is heartbreaking. The pain and anxiety that this causes are tremendous.


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#334701 - 06/26/10 05:23 PM Re: Acting Out [Re: Turquoise]
Alas Offline


Registered: 06/24/10
Posts: 16
Loc: old Europe...
I just wanted to add a big thank you to all contributors of this thread, it helped me a lot understanding what's going on with this guy I'm so deeply concerned about. It leaves me somewhat desperate, though, knowing I can't do anything about it anyway. It's yet another curve on this emotional roller-coaster ride. And it's devastating to witness what he does to himself. And it's so tiring seeing my hands being confined to helplessness.



Edited by Alas (06/26/10 05:24 PM)
Edit Reason: removed stupid icon

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