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Vulnerability...

Discussion in 'General Support and Advice' started by I'mStillStanding, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. I'mStillStanding

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    Well therapy kicked my ass today. I’ve been focusing on my self esteem issues because I’ve been very aware lately of how unhealthy certain things have been for the the last 20 years. Well the worst part is the last 10 years I’ve had to listen to my family say I’m starving myself trying to lose weight and I’m always rolling my eyes. Towards the end of therapy I said I’m just dreading the next time it comes up because I’m gonna have to say well your right and I’m working on doing better... well this conversation followed:

    Therapist: How will that go?
    Me: It won’t go far we don’t go to deep in those things. I mean.... We are very affectionate but just bad stuff we don’t discuss to deep.

    Well we discussed how things have been with loss and illness and all... how I haven’t really been able to have share my emotions because someone else’s was more important then:

    Therapist: How old were you when you were first molested?
    Me: (caught off guard) Um around 4...
    Therapist: Who was the first person you told?
    Me: My grandparents and we were actually in Burger King... they freaked out and was like shut up! shut up! So they took me home and told my mom I had something to tell her and left. So I told mom, she ran to the bathroom and started throwing up. I followed her and was rubbing her back when my step dad asked what was wrong I said mom’s sick...

    Well she stopped me and said do you realize what you’ve just told me. I was like yea you asked about the first person I told and I overshared but that was kinda how it all went down...

    We didn’t have much time to really go into it but she had a few points she had to make before she’d let me leave... she gave me chocolate lol I guess it makes everyone feel better...

    So I guess that’s when it started. At 4... shut up when I’m telling what happened to me because we were in public and they were embarrassed so I should be embarrassed... then mom getting sick because of me telling her and I go rub her back cause that’s what she did to me when I was sick...

    I’m exhausted! I’ve gotta do dinner for the family and keep it together... all this happened at the end of therapy so thank god I can keep my emotions in check. I had to go shopping, now cook... I guess I’ll let it out after dinner when I can go to my room and have some privacy, but honestly this was a big unexpected hit!
     
  2. Devil Dave

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    You don't need to reassure any of us you're not cold. While we're all taking different approaches to answering your comments, I think we can all agree that you're not a cold person at all. You obviously care about other people's feelings a lot, and I guess that's why you have been guarded, so that you don't feel like you're inflicting more problems onto others. That's really admirable.

    From the other side, it can be uncomfortable to hear a total stranger or someone I barely know talking about very personal issues (I don't mean on this site, but in public and social settings offline where it's unexpected)
    But if its a close friend who I know well, then I would want to hear them talking about their deepest and darkest issues, because I've come to know that person and they've gained my trust and respect, and I like to think I've gained theirs, and that they see me as more than just someone to have fun and only talk about happy stuff with. I do want us to be there for each other in other ways.

    And it can be difficult to share such issues with others because the moment is not always right, which you learned at a very, very fragile age. It is upsetting that your trusted family members reacted in that way when you reached out to them. The experience seems to have taught you to put other people's feelings first, and it sounds like you've been doing that for a very long time. I hope you do start putting your own feelings first a bit more, and that you have people in your life you can do that with.
     
  3. I'mStillStanding

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    That’s another defense mechanism. Same reason I make fat jokes about myself. I tend to say things I think people are thinking. I mean if I say they don’t have to. I do it in therapy too... I’m not a robot was what I got called out for saying yesterday. And you’re right... everyone has so much going on in my family that sharing my stuff is just adding more unnecessary issues. Like when I came out three years ago. I still hear about how it was awful timing and I should have done it when I did. So I don’t want to burden anyone with my emotional stuff.

    I guess this. I tend to question people who go to deep to fast. It’s like why would you do that? I mean I’m not rude I just keep my eyes open. I also like to share certain things that’s resolved as mentioned so my friends don’t feel that I don’t trust them. They feel in the loop.

    I really don’t have any idea what to say about this new revelation. It was weird and I wasn’t to happy about blurting it out. I like to go into therapy with an idea of the issue and tell them the problem and then talk through it. While I knew my not sharing emotions was and issue that I wanted to work on I didn’t want to do it yet... I hadn’t spent enough time to self reflect and prep...
     
  4. Chip

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    Sometimes, when your unconscious is ready, these things just come up. You'd made references before to your family not dealing with emotions, and so I suspected something like the above. I don't know if your therapist got to this piece, but if you look at the situation you describe, you got the abundantly clear message that sharing your fears and hurts makes people throw up... makes them run away... makes others blame you for their reaction. And when you get that message at an early age, it gets incorporated into who you are very easily, as kids are very impressionable.

    Also, keep in mind that
    is essentially saying "Everyone else's needs are important, but mine don't matter". Which... is a message you got loud and clear at age 4, and plays a really huge role in why you are emotionally distant; that's a learned behavior that was repeately reinforced.

    It is also highly likely that your weight is, at least in part, a byproduct of your parents' responses. Children with histories of sexual abuse often gain a lot of weight, which serves as an unconscious protection... it's a layer of separation between you and others, and in a way, it also says "I won't let you too close". Some data I've seen indicates that there may be a significant relationship between obesity and childhood sexual trauma. So typically what happens is that as people go into the painful material surrounding the abuse, and the aftermath of it (sharing the information with those who should be your protectors, and having them run away, vomit, and otherwise shame you), and reframe it... very often, the weight almost starts "melting off", because, unconsciously, we no longer have the need to hold on to that protection.

    What I suspect will happen over time is you will learn that it is, in fact, safe to talk about difficult and uncomfortable material with the right people... that is, people who, as Brene Brown says, have earned the right to hear your story, Now... it is likely that your family may never earn the right to hear your story, because their own wounds make it too uncomfortable for them to hear about anyone else's. And that isn't OK, and it isn't what you deserve... but it may be a reality. So that will mean that you will eventually find others who earn that right. Of course... you have to be willing to be vulnerable enough (and they, to be vulnerable in exchange) for that right to be earned, and for you to feel safe. And that will take some time. And it sounds like you are on the way to being able to do that.
     
  5. I'mStillStanding

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    She did. She got a little frustrated with me, which ironically has happened several times with my therapist. My family knew about the first time. They didn’t know about the others till 4 years ago. I was tell her how the reactions were similar. Mom had a bit of a break down and it was my fault for putting that added stress on her. I could tell she was getting upset so I tried to explain I knew I wasn’t to blame, but I also understood the point they were making as it not being the right time or her being the right person... well she let me know how frustrated she was at that! I know next week it’ll be intense... I’m kinda dreading it!


    I mean I just hate being a burden. And I think my therapist picked up on this. I’ve been trying to figure out what I side that led us down that path yesterday... and I mentioned how there was always a reason that what we were going through affected others more than me. Even my abuse. I mean I’ll never be a mom and understand the guilt of having a child who has been put through abuse.

    My weight actually didn’t start coming on till after the abuse ended and the bullying and illness started. I do think the abuse has a lot to do with it. I don’t find myself attractive at all, so once in therapy we were discussing this and one thing lead to another... that’s when I realize I made myself ugly so no one would want me. It was easy to stay in the closet, I was safe from pervs, it was just security... since that I’ve actually been losing weight I’ve had some ups and downs but more downs which is good!

    This is hard. I’ve been in and out of therapy most of my life. And since I was a teen I’ve always started therapy the same way. When the therapist asks what brought me in for my first session, I give the three main problems I’m facing and say ok let’s get to work. They all have always given me the same... well ok then. I thought it was because no one goes in with goals, but it’s really because I go in with such strict boundaries. I’ve just realized that. Ironically my walls were on the list of the things to discuss in therapy this time... but I did have guidelines and we crossed them... and wasn’t suppose to be in this area yet... it makes me very uncomfortable because I like to have time to be prepare to have an idea where I’m at in the situation... and the fact that I can’t skip out is a blessing and a curse... missing appointments or not following through with commitments causes such major anxiety I can’t do that... I need to sort it out and all but it’s hell!
     
  6. Chip

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    The reason your therapist was getting frustrated is because the idea that it "wasn't the right time or her being the right person" (particularly the latter) is out-and-out bullshit. You're talking about your own mother. This is the person who brought you into the world. and should be your fiercest defender, most unconditional source of support, and the person above all others that you can count on. And yet... you got none of that. What you got instead is highly conditional love, a constant reminder that you're a burden and don't know what to tell her or when. That is so many kinds of wrong. But of course... you grew up with that, so to you it seems reasonable and normal. It isn't. (It's also important to understand that even though it sounds like she was utterly unable to be there for you emotionally in the most basic of ways, she was doing the best she could with what she had, and her own behavior comes from her parents... and her parents from their parents... and so forth. It's no one's fault, it just is.)


    Again, the message programmed into you is You are a burden simply by existing. And that's an absolutely false message, but nonetheless, it is absolute truth to you, again, because that the message you've gotten basically since you were born.

    A good therapist can pick up on that sort of thing from very subtle clues, comments, body language... all sorts of things.

    Again, this is bullshit you've been fed by a mother who unfortunately wasn't capable of giving you the unconditional love and support you deserve. It simply isn't true. And again, not her fault... it's a result of her own wounds from her parents... but it's what's created your current distorted thinking.
    Every parent at some point feels guilt about something they didn't do as well as they should have. The difference is, most parents don't pour that guilt onto their own children and blame them for it.

    That would be consistent with what we typically observe with abuse survivors. It often takes a few years for the weight to start being added.

    That's an awesome, and really healthy, revelation.

    That makes sense. It's an unconscious control issue. Your whole life, you've been given the message that your needs don't matter, that when you ask for something, or want to talk about something, particularly sensitive or emotional... that your needs won't be met. So it makes perfect sense that, over time, you'd learn to carefully guard and protect anything that would bring up that hurt, or any other difficult or uncomfortable feelings.

    Which, actually, is probably the best thing that's happened. Because you didn't have the time to calibrate the rationalizations, intellectual defenses, or avoidance strategies you've used to avoid serious discussion of this material. That's not a cut... it's an (up to this point) relatively effective strategy that's helped you survive... but now stands in the way of the work you need to, and (at least consciously) want to do.
    Yes, you're doing some of the most difficult work anyone can do right now, and unfortunately there's not much else to do but realize it's going to suck for a while and keep working through it. But you seem to have at least an intellectual understanding of what happened. Now the work is on understanding and reframing it, getting to the emotions (anger, fear, grief) that have been carefully covered over for decades. It won't be fun, but the outcome will be very positive, and a completely different perspective on who you are, and your worthiness.
     
    #26 Chip, Mar 6, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  7. I'mStillStanding

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    You sound like my therapist actually lol I tend to have use a bit of colorful language. I tone it down here just to be on the safe side, but in my everyday life it’s there... when I said the not person my therapist said... “Wait... What? Then who the f**k is the right person?” This shocked me for real. It caught me off gaurd...

    Yes, mom is very fluent in guilt. I think it’s a southern mom thing...

    I want to say I love my mom. She’s amazing, like an amazing mother for real. Not perfect but great. This is hard to sort through because I really hate talking negative about her at all... I do fuss about her often, I’m honest about her lack of seeing things clearly, her not respecting boundaries (especially spirituality which aggravates me the most), feeling unappreciated, etc. It’s just hard...


    I didn’t take it as a cut! I always discuss the subject matter. I just like to have the emotions tucked in the appropriate places before I open that box in front of anyone. It just helps. I’m realizing I’ve actually not dealt with it in therapy just acknowledged it happened... what a waste!

    This scares me the most. My walls aren’t just around my heart. Some are around my memories. Like, I told everyone about the abuse at 4 and had to talk to doctors and cops and social workers. I just stopped answering questions and actually blocked out the memories. At 12 we rode by the house and I said that it was a scary house, mom was shocked because I hadn’t spoke about it 8 years. She asked why... and I said I don’t know something bad happened there... I can just feel it! Well at 18 I was stirring greens and smelt it... in a flash memories came flooding back... from the dinner they served greens which I hated, to playing with the other kids outside and them making fun of how I said my name, to my brothers face when he took me into a room all by myself and I freaked out.... I shutdown and forced myself to stop! I wouldn’t I’ve not went further with the memory. Still the smell of greens make me sick! I remember the after telling people but even my words are cloudy... I don’t want to risk going further! I don’t think I can handle it honestly. So the other two guys I remember the second one perfectly clear. The third I remember bits and pieces... ironically I don’t have any memories of that time other than the few of the abuse which again only go so far. I remember so much from kindergarten and first grade... nothing from second. I can’t even tell you my teachers name... it’s weird! Again I don’t want to know! I’m good with those memories behind those walls... I’m concerned the walls may be connected... so how do I bring out the emotions and leave the memories behind?
     
  8. Chip

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    The issue isn't the memories themselves, it is the traumatic feeling, violation, and loss of control associated with the memories. There are techniques (EMDR is the most widely known) that are remarkably effective at, essentially, neutralizing the traumatic feeling associated with the memory, so that after EMDR, you can still remember, but it carries no emotional charge.

    It sounds like you have a good therapist. Generally speaking, the approach is to go fairly slowly into the trauma, and approach it in a way that is safe for the client. Most clients with trauma do have the idea that they'll end up a puddle on the floor if they have to address the memories, but the truth is that this isn't the case. It can be momentarily pretty difficult, but it is also incredible the level of weight you feel lifted after getting that stuff out. What makes shame (which is basically what this resolves to) so powerful is it being hidden and not talked about. As we talk about it, we begin taking away much of its power.

    I would suggest talking openly with your therapist about your fear of bringing the material up, but acknowledging that you do want to get at the root issues that are causing your problems. Your therapist should be able to reassure you and provide guidance.

    Also, above you talked about your mom. The challenge is, we can love our parents for what they did for us that was good, and most of us have at least some positive memories. But we are often afraid (again, the fear of feeling the strong emotions) to acknowledge that we can, and do, have negative emotions associated with their parenting. In your case, there are a whole lot... repressed anger, grief, and severe shame... that she (inadvertently) caused through her own unresolved wounds. So we can be angry that we didn't get the childhood we deserved, and realize at the same time that our parents were doing the best they could with what they had. That mantra helps to remind us that we can still feel what we need to feel, and change our perception and get what we deserve... and at the same time, still appreciate the good our parents gave us.
     
  9. I'mStillStanding

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    Had to look this up. It’s weird because I fidget all the time it drives everyone crazy. I I’m always “diddling”. Bouncing my leg, moving my foot, or if I’m standing I sway back and forth. I literally can’t stand still. But I have noticed that when I’m in therapy (I love wearing bracelets) I’m always playing with my bracelet when we get to talking about the heavy stuff. I didn’t really realize till I notice she was watching me spin it around my wrist a few sessions ago... then I realized I do that often when I’m uncomfortable too. So I wonder if being more intentional with this distraction would be something that would fit within this?

    I told her I wanted to get to the root but I did not want to undo any repressed memories... she said ok but I guess it’s not gonna be an option. I just remember what happened when I was 18 and I did fall apart! It was really bad. I wasn’t in therapy or didn’t go to therapy. I was pissed everyone knew and no one would tell me. I mean I may have been more open about the others had it been something that was discussed openly. Maybe I wouldn’t have had to deal with a year of confusion while I was the “toy” for the person in my family if I had felt like I could talk openly about it...

    I like a plan for everything. Even vacations. I mean it can be a relaxing vacation but that has to be the plan. So I kinda need a plan for this process and I think that’s what’s causing me so much anxiety right now. I swear it’s been two days I feel like it’s been a month! I don’t know how I’m gonna wait to next week like this... there is not plan on how we are going to handle this and move forward and I hate this feeling.

    I think it’s more guilt than anything, when it comes to mom. I know how she would feel if she knew I had these feelings (anger, pain, shame, etc.) because of her. I would never want her to feel that. I know there is good and bad on everyone. And someone doing something bad doesn’t make them a bad person or take away all the good they’ve done. I’ve actually had a fight with my sister about the family member who abused me because she said he was evil and I said he wasn’t he made bad choices... and he’s in a really bad space but he’s not evil! She doesn't agree and we went back and forth for a while. I do think you can get to a point where you’ve been in the dark so long there’s no light left... like the first guy I mean I was 4 and he was in his late 50’s. But he wasn’t born that way. Something happened and pushed him and he made choices that lead him down a path of no return. But the last guy (family) I just don’t think is there. But mom would think me feeling these things mean I think she’s a s**t mom and don’t appreciate all she did and the good times. That makes me feel sad because I don’t feel that at all...
     
  10. OnTheHighway

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    I have been following this thread with interest. There are quite a few parallels comparing what you are going through with my own journey. So I can certainly relate to the challenges you are confronting given the historical abuse, the guilt you feel towards your mother and so on.

    Vulnerability helped me tremendously. I was able to build personal confidence by making myself vulnerable. The more vulnerable I was, the more progress I made - it sounds counterintuitive but it works. As a result, my ability to tackle my deeply closed off emotions was aided by the confidence I built.

    As I got in touch with these emotions, I confronted a lot of pain. I needed to look at the pain, feel it, understand it and for a while let it embrace me. Tackling the pain head on was one of the most challenging things I have ever personally done.

    While on this journey, I also found closure. I found closure to the past traumas, I found closer to the wounds created at a young age by those whom did not know how to express their love and closure from those events where I was intentionally harmed.

    The end result? I built self worth and I found self respect.

    With self worth and self respect I have been able to put so much pain into its proper place with proper perspective. It was as if all of the pieces of my life had come together, and I understood. I understood the pain, but better yet I understood the best path forward. And as I progressed on this path I found happiness within myself and happiness with life.

    So what should you try and take away from this? Well, for starters I would suggest you tackle the pain head on. Don’t worry about how others may perceive your own personal journey. They are only spectators at this point, and you need to take control of your own life.

    Confronting the pain will be difficult. But it seems your right at the cusp of doing so. Take the leap and push through it. And when you have, you may find significant relief while gaining valuable insight and perspective.

    I hate to sound a bit cliche, but your life is all about you now. You need to focus on yourself. And you might be surprised to find others will appreciate the strength you build in yourself more so than you realize; and they may actually accept it more so than you think.
     
  11. I'mStillStanding

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    Thanks for the encouraging words :slight_smile: I really hate the idea that I find comfort in knowing I’m not alone in this (I know you’ve made it out the other side). Some how it feels wrong... because it sucks to know others have dealt with this struggle. It’s just a weird feeling... again thank you so much for sharing!

    I swear these last two days have moved so slowly! It’s like time is standing still for me and I’m kinda just going through the motions... even on here! This thread was suppose to be about not hating on us gaurded folks and give us some time and some how I’ve started to unravel... the more I try to gather it back up the worst it gets! I mean even siting here typing this it is taking everything in me not just lose it. I’ve got to finish dinner for the family and clean up after then I can retreat and let it out...

    But honestly I’m too tired for all this s**t... I’m tired inside my body... like how much longer is this gonna be. I thought coming out three years ago would be like ok this will be the final part and it’ll be up from here... wrong... then last year had a bit of a break down and finally diagnosed as bipolar type 2 not just depressed... and I thought ok finally we are through it and I should be in a good space! Nope! I just am over having to deal with all of it and it’s never ending... since 4 it never ends... abuse, family illness, brothers death, my physical illness, hating school because of bullies, my depression and anxiety, other family illness, more family death, marriage issues (not related to being gay), my illness getting so severe I nearly passed, had to move back home because I had to have some one around all the time, more family illness, realizing I’m gay, coming out, gramps death, divorce, dad’s (step dad but my feather figure) death, more mental health problems, grandmother health and moms health takes a turn, grandmothers now on hospice, dealing with my horrible self esteem that I’ve always had, trying to lose the last of this weight, having a therapist agree with my family that I need to be careful because it appears I show signs of a eating disorder and I shut that down quick I’m not ok with that conversation (I mean let’s be real I’m really over weight an eating d isn’t an issue we need to worry about yet).... this month is my three year anni of coming out, three years ago gramps passed, two years dad passed, my grandma is on hospice now.... it’s so much... I literally don’t think I can handle dealing with anymore stress or I may completely lose it!
     
  12. OnTheHighway

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    There is no timeline. No one critical path to follow. I first accepted being gay almost six years ago (wow, can’t believe its been that long already). As each layer of my onion was peeled another layer presented itself; and you seem to be peeling your own onions. But look back on your three years, and look at the progress you actually are making. Your not standing still. Your learning about yourself. In doing so you have reached a critical point on your journey; and I really mean it - what you are now confronting is profound! If you push through this I think you will have accomplished a major milestone. In comparison, despite my own perceptions and projections, I don’t think I really truly reached the point you are now at until some time later. But as I said, timing is irrelevant. Just keep pushing forward!
     
  13. Chip

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    If you're asking if the fidgeting you engage in, done intentionally, would be similar or equivalent to EMDR, then definitely not. EMDR is actually disrupting the connection between memory of traumatic experience and the memory itself. It is done by a therapist or counselor, who follows a specific protocol in bringing up the memory and then doing the EMDR procedure to dis-associate the traumatic memory from the memory itself.

    Well... if you really want to get to the root, then no, you can't exactly get to the root if you aren't willing to look at what's at the root. That said, there are band-aids (various cognitive strategies) that basically tamp down the feelings, but they don't actually solve the problem.

    So what, exactly, does "fall apart" look like for you? giving more clarity to that will help provide a better interpretation.

    So recognize that the need to plan everything is a control mechanism that exists to try to keep the anxiety at bay. But what if you intentionally don't do that, and instead simply let the feelings come up? That may sound terrifying, but I think if you do that, you'll be able to more quickly get to the root of the issues.

    I think you'll get the best outcome to therapy if you can learn to give up your need to plan and control, and just let the therapy process unfold, and trust your therapist.

    So I would invite you to explore where that guilt comes from. The message you got from mom is you can't do anything to disrupt or upset her. That isn't a normal or healthy or effective/sustainable way to raise an emotionally healthy child. And it is an extremely powerful way for your mother to control your behavior. As long as you allow it to. At the point you are able to recognize it for what it is -- manipulation -- and begin to set boundaries and ask for your own needs, you'll start feeling better.

    That's essentially it. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have, and they find a way to rationalize and believe that the decision they are making, makes sense to them, in that moment. Now... what they are doing may be evil, but they are not.

    That's not your problem. It's 100% on her. (It's also a thought distortion on her part which isn't your responsibliity). You can't control how she feels about anything. Only she can do that. And she can choose to feel like shit and make herself a victim... or she can choose to recognize that she did the best she could. But she's done a marvelous job of making *you* responsible for her feelings, instead of taking responsibility herself.
     
    #33 Chip, Mar 7, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  14. I'mStillStanding

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    I feel like such a Debbie downer and I hate that because everything y’all are saying makes so much sense... I understand that all in my head... I tell people that stuff and have when they were going through it. But trying to explain that to my heart and soul is the problem... it’s just not getting it!

    I have made tons of steps forward, especially in my sexuality. But it seems every time I make two steps forward I get kicked 10 spaces back!
     
  15. I'mStillStanding

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    I’m gonna start with apologizing because I hate that this thread has taken this turn. And honestly not sure when I’m gonna be out of this space... I’m thankful for this thread because it’s currently my only outlet till next week therapy... god it’s taking forever.

    Ok so no I read back through the site and I had just skimmed it. I had combined two therapies... they mentioned taping fingers in the EMDR and I scrolled down and it discussed snapping a band on the wrist... read it totally different thing. My mistake...

    I read this and knew it was coming. I was hoping it’d be different... I just can’t...

    Well, when I smelt the greens and the memories came back (before I was able to stop them and knew what was about to happen) I started throwing up. I could not eat for a while. I was extremely depressed... like really bad! Dark dark place. I just didn’t care and was just a zombie honestly. I’ve just started coming out of my seclusion again from this last bit (different from the time mentioned) of an issue and now I’m gonna have to deal with this! I know myself. There’s only so long I can keep a lid on this pot... if there was a padded cell option in my magic 8 ball it’d be coming up all the time!

    Or is it I’m just extremely organized lol no being in control means being safe. I mean it just everyday life... doesn’t everyone google new restaurants to view their menus to know what they serve and where they are and the parking situation???

    Trust my therapist? I don’t even trust myself lol that’s the problem!
    That was my first thought! My edited thought was... I totally trust my therapist and feel safe there. That is why I think I’m opening up there more than I have in the last...

    I try to set boundaries but she refuses to respect them. It started with my sex life. I accidentally told her I’d had sex one day and she kinda freaked. There’s been little snide comments since because I’m not married and sexually active. I’ve told her it’s not her business and not something we can talk about. She is always wondering why I won’t introduce her to friends... well because she can’t even respect my space... how will she respect others. But it’s spirituality, it’s everything. And not just me my siblings too.

    I get that... but it’s not just mom. An example... I lived close to my brother, him and his wife asked asked me and my ex to his house for dinner. Well it was for that night and we were actually already at a restaurant so it would have taken an hour and a half to get to my brothers. Plus we we were gonna go to the movies after. Well I asked could we do it another night... they literally didn't ask us over for like 8 months. We’d moved 2.5 hours away from home and they were the only people we knew in that town. We felt so alone for the first couple weeks till we made friends and they were mad because we didn’t come that night (it was like our 4th night there) so they didn’t invite us back. So now I have a hard time saying no to anyone lol it’s like if I do they won’t ever ask again. If I have to cancel because I’m sick I’ll have a panic attack... I’ve always had issues with being on time and showing up (Mom was always running late which made me freak out as a kid). I’m all kinds of crazy I know!

    See, even you know how amazing she is! Thanks she is the best hahaha :grin:
     
  16. I'mStillStanding

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    So sitting at my mom and grandma’s getting ready for to make lunch for the family. They are watching their Sunday pastor on TV and they are singing a hymn I’ve known all my life... It is well with my soul. So I do agree that we should always look for the bright side of things (though lately it’s been hard to find it but it’s there for sure). It’s funny because part of this whole thing (me not sharing my emotions and struggles in real time) is also something I got in church. You “gave it to god” and let him fix it. Once he did then you shared your testimony! Faith (or spirituality because I’m more spiritual than religious honesty) is very important to me and I’m not bashing it. Just realizing how some of the things that have contributed to the very foundation of my walls actually came from Sunday school!
     
  17. I'mStillStanding

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    So I feel I’m posting way too much in this thread... and I do apologize for that. It’s just really been something that has pushed me into some very uncomfortable situations lately... just in my own self reflection, in unexpectedly sharing things in therapy connected to this topic, and even in a conversation I had last night.

    This has been on my mind since it was posted and I’ve just been struggling with it honestly. But last night I did share something privately and I figured I’d share it here as well.

    The third person who sexually abused me was very close to me (I’m not gonna say how he was connected because I just don’t want to disclose that but he was in the family). He was an older teen and I was around 6 or so when it started (it lasted about a year). The thing that I had never told anyone (till last night) is... you know when we were kids we have these crushes on the “older kids” around us. Because they are cute, or their cologne, or they are nice to us (or mean lol), etc. Well I actually had a crush on him! I thought he was just the cutest... we were opposites I was very pale and blonde and he was darker skin and dark hair and dark eyes... anyway I’d often have nightmares (actually related to the first time I was abused when I was 4)... so I’d end up wanting to sleep in the room with my parents or in the bed with my big brother or any other older person... including the one who took advantage of the situation. So it started out just snuggling but turned into more and I’d ask what was going on and he’d always have an answer to reassure it was nothing and finally I just stopped asking... I blamed (I don’t know why I say past tense because honestly I still have issues blaming myself) for it... I liked him so maybe something I did may have made him think it was ok? And then the physical response I had and the feeling of some of the encounters really screwed me up for a long time...

    This is just one reason I like to keep the wall up.... because honestly I felt gross when everyone in 5th grade started making fun of me about being gay... because I knew I had done this thing with a guy you wasn’t suppose to do with anyone till you’re married and everyone around me said a guy wasn’t suppose to do it with a guy (something I didn’t buy into) but I didn’t want anyone to find out I was “trash” so I had to pretend it never happened and that I was straight so if anyone found out there wouldn’t be anyway I would have any blame from the public... though I blamed myself...

    I don’t like this... and still have days to wait for therapy... this is why there is the wall because I let it down a bit and now the memories coming back and the guilt, shame, gross feeling when I really realized what had went down comes back... but so does the feelings of the crush stuff and when I felt safe when I’d sleep in his bed with him at first because of the bad dreams... and with that new waves of guilt and shame and yucky comes with... and then the constant replay is just so much!!!! What’s the point in having to do this?
     
  18. Chip

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    What you are describing above is the reaction of just about every male who was abused as a child. Nearly all blame themselves, and believe that somehow they brought it on, or that they could have done more to stop it, when the reality is that it is in no way the child's fault, ever. Nor did the child "contribute" to it. This is 100% on the abuser. Likewise, the physical arousal that many abuse survivors experience is very embarrassing and uncomfortable to talk about (even more so for straight men that this happens to), because, in effect, they feel like their body betrayed them. It is a juxtaposition of something that is wrong and feels wrong and they don't want... and at the same time, a part of them responds as though they do want it. But the body response is simply a hardwired mechanical response to stimulation, and usually, when the survivor is able to recognize and process this, they can let go of the shame associated with that memory.

    The shame associated with being sexually abused is usually the single biggest "fallout" from the events. It deeply impacts self esteem (as we see sent the message that it was not OK to share anything that wasn't sunshine and rainbows, so you also learned, in addition to the shame from the violation, that you weren't allowed to feel negative feelings associated wth it.

    The juxtaposition of those feelings is what makes it difficult to reconcile. And you are not at fault here. You sought out caring and connection and nurturing because you did not get it from your parents, and part of you realized it is a physiological need. So a part of you put up with it because another part of you knew that you needed the nurturing. Again... not your fault.

    The point of working through it is to be able to put it in context so that it no longer sends you constant messages that continue to destroy your self-esteem. And it does take a while for that message to filter down to your unconscious. But when it does, you will see your whole concept of yourself start to change in a more positive direction, and it will become easier to set boundaries with your mother, and ask for your needs. It isn't fun, but it is ultimately hugely beneficial to your happiness.
     
  19. smurf

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    You are a beautiful person who has been soo hurt. That hurt is heavy and when we first start opening up is incredibly painful. So painful that we want to just bottle it all up once again so it will stop hurting.

    Fight through it. Tighten your jaw, feel the hurt, and then breath it out. It will get easier to handle the more you talk about it and the more you learn how to breath out the pain. Its not easy at first.

    The point is that, believe it or not, there is a way out from the pain. There is a way for it to not feel as heavy without having to shut it down. One day you will be able to feel it, let it strengthen you and not let it consume you. Keep at it because you are amazing and you deserve to breath out the pain.

    You have one stranger online cheering for you <3
     
  20. I'mStillStanding

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    I’ve said this in therapy what seems like a thousand times... smoke and mirrors as a way hoping they wouldn’t see how much I blamed myself. But I’m not an idiot, I knew they’d be some signs of that... so I shared that I couldn’t help but wonder why three different males (one old man and two older teens) thought it was ok to do that with me? What was it about me? Was I just such an easy target? Or did I actually do something that lead them to believe this was and option? These are all real things I’ve struggled with. But I’ve been very honest that the last bit of abuse had been the one that’s mess me up the most!

    I’ve mentioned my physical response before in therapy as well. Just brushed over it. But I set up those boundaries as not to discuss it to far because I don’t want to say I liked being close to him (I almost deleted this but I’ll leave as I’m trying to stop filtering my thoughts as much).

    I did put up with it... but did I also like the attention? Did I like the fact that I was special and had this? Because that’s where the problem has been. That’s what I hate about myself so much... is the idea that I wasn’t disgusted by what happened and I should have been! I’m extremely disappointed in myself in this situation and I am a person who likes to fix it when I mess up and I can’t fix this! It was very perverted series of events and I was very much a key player in it!

    I’m not sure how much is left to destroy honestly. I thought I was gaining some back but this week I realize how fragile that was!

    I’m 30... a third of my life has been taken already with this crap. I need to get it sorted and behind me. This is why I like plans... goals. You can set a date and time on it and get it done. This week has felt like a month and it’s torture.


    ——————————
    I’ve actually been opening up more about this incident here than ever. And everytime I look back a thought I’ve never allowed myself to have on the matter comes up. So I’ve shared them. It’s really forced me to think about it and that’s not something I ever thought I’d do. I’m hoping by doing that here I’ll have the balls to do it in therapy at the end of the week. Though I’m not sure I could look my therapist in the face to say these things. Also don’t want to say something prepared. I think I’m just gonna tell her no boundaries and let’s pick up where we left off because I’m a mess and see where it naturally goes with her lead.

    This is why I love EC. I do treat my thread like a journal and often over share and post too much... for that I am very sorry! I hate feeling like I’m bothering people... it just forces me to really think things through and in a very different way than I ever have. It did it three years ago when I joined and was coming out... and now it’s doing it again! So thank you!