when i first started reading stories and threads here on MS it was very difficult for me. so many triggers.

when i first started telling my story to my T, to my wife, and to fellow-survivors on these forums, it was very difficult too. so much resistance and a lifetime of shame and secrecy within myself to overcome.

with time, practice and exposure, it has become easier in some ways - i can be more open about my experiences, feelings and reactions to the past. i can now read and write without dissolving into an inert puddle of useless and incoherent pain.

BUT - one thing has not been easier. in fact, i think it has become more difficult. i seem to feel much more intense emotional empathy with those whose stories i read. it's not the same as being triggered. that to me means more like reliving my own memories, experiences and feelings which are reactivated by reminders or similar details in our stories. this is more like indentifying with and sharing their pain - even when their background or experience is quite different from mine. the focus is less on me - although i am the one feeling it and i wouldn't know how it feels without my own past, if that makes any sense.

i think this is a good thing in a way - i am becoming less self-centered and self-absorbed. but it is also often overwhelming - to be so sensitive to others' pain and other emotions. it remninds me of some sci-fi book i read with people who werer "empaths" that could read everyone's inner thoughts and feelings. in the book, some of them couldn't handle it and checked out finally. i think if other guys on MS get to this stage, it may be one reason some of them disappear from our midst.

anyone here know what i'm talking about? anyone know what comes next - beyond this?

Lee
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We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9