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About jlandrith

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    Rape Crisis Supervisor
  • Birthday 09/16/1970

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    Alexandria, Virginia, USA, born: Peoria, Illinois
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    reading, writing, civil liberties advocacy, museums, aquariums, beaches, national parks, online publishing, my family
  1. "What happened to you is indeed bad, but rape is something primarily done to women by men. We need to keep the focus on female victims." This is what happens when ideology overrules empathy.
  2. Pregnant women. The woman who did it was pregnant. She made me fear something that should be seen as beautiful. I'm getting better with this one over time. I no longer recoil as I once did, but I will experience varying levels of anxiety in their presence. I will quickly spot and focus on a pregnant woman in any given environment (room, mass transit, etc.) before I even know that is what is happening. I guess that is some form of mental self-defense.
  3. Wow. That is a stupid comment. Perhaps it sounded smarter in his head. Too bad it escaped...
  4. You are welcome Matt - and thank you for providing this wonderful handbook in multiple formats and giving of your time so freely online and in person.
  5. I've heard my share of stupid things since getting involved in survivor advocacy. Some of my (least) favorites are below: 1. From the Knuckle-Dragging, Beta Male Wannabes: "You were raped by a woman? Dude, I'd pay to have that happen to me!" Usually followed by, "was she hot?" 2. From the I Failed Biology 101 Coalition: "Come on, a man wouldn't get an erection if he didn't want it." 3. From the Close-minded Stereotypers Pretending to Be Feminists Gallery: "Women don't do that, rape is a crime committed by men against women." 4. From the I've Never Been Traumatized Personally, But I'm an Expert Just the Same Federation: "If you focused on the positive things in life, instead of dwelling on this icky stuff you'd get over it." This is often substituted with, "it has been XXX years, how long are you gonna let it bother you?" 5. And finally, from the I Have A Magic Calculator that Can Assign Objective Values and Hierarchies to Human Suffering Committee: "Others have been through worse, what makes your little problem so special?" I could go on for a while longer, but I think the sarcasm is dripping enough as is now.
  6. Healing Out Loud

    Penelope Trunk, discussing her child sexual abuse, on How to decide how much to tell about yourself on your blog: I can understand Penelope's point here. I disclosed the details of my own rape a year ago my blog. In order to heal from this secret I felt I had to set it free and in a way that prevented me from ever lying to myself again. In the end, I've heard from many people who've endured similar experiences. In trying to help myself, I ended up helping far more than I could have ever expected. Further, I wonder how different my life had been if I hadn't spent nearly twenty years in denial keeping secrets in shame. Of course, like Penelope has experienced on her blog, I was treated to "wisdom", insults and other child-like "logic" from cowardly anonymous critics, including my own personal full-time anonymous hater who apparently has nothing better to do than obsess about me. Most negative response were just judgmental and immature individuals hiding behind the internet to say things online that they'd never say in person. The internet makes some personality types actually believe they are being brave by leaving angry and insulting messages when others disclose painful experiences in a healing manner. Particulary disturbing was one poster who basically told Penelope that being raped as a child is no big deal compared to loss of a limb in war or a long-term illness. I always find it fascinating when people play the "others had it tougher card" as if that is some kind of ultimate wisdom that should automatically be accepted without scrutiny. I'm sorry, but is that poster really saying they have a way of measuring years of being raped and beaten as a child vs. loss of a limb and can prove one is worse then the other? Really?????????? What is the scientific formula for such a measurement? Or perhaps that person is okay with children being raped and thinks it is not a big deal? As far as the whole 'women don't want men who've been abused nonsense' also being peddled in the comments – really? As a rape survivor, I beg to differ. There are plenty of compassionate and loving women out there who are not repulsed by wounded men and are willing to go the extra mile to help someone they love. I'm sorry, but what several of Penelope's critics are doing is known as victim-shaming and it is reprehensible and unacceptable behaviour. Often it is done in self-defense in order to make their own choice about hiding similar experiences seem more palatable or the individual doing so is an abuser themselves or covering up for an abuser. Or perhaps they just want to pretend the world is sunshine and rainbows and popsicles. Either way, people who think like this are the reason why most rape and sexual abuse survivors feel ashamed of what was done to them and compelled to suffer in silence on a regular basis. Kudos to Penelope for breaking the silence unapologetically. Anyone who doesn't like it, should thank their lucky stars they don't have to live with the flashbacks, nightmares, sexual dysfunction and other wonderful side effects of rape trauma syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is not a competition for who has suffered the worst. It is just painful and some of us choose to heal in the open, rather than suffer in silence just so certain people can go on pretending bad things only happen to bad people and not the nice person sitting next to them. Entry also posted at: http://remodel4life.blogspot.com/2009/07/h...g-out-loud.html http://jameslandrith.com/content/view/3459/79/
  7. Thanks Callisto. It was very shocking when I first experienced rape denial and victim-blaming at the hands of the general public after telling my story online. I expected some insecure males and clueless female critics to respond negatively, but not as viciously and loudly. When it happened here from a female rape survivor who shares the same gender as my attacker it was just too much. I am thankful that you get it and thank you for reaching out.
  8. More Venting (TW for language)

    Originally posted on 7/14/2009 at DailyStrength This posting is more of a rant than anything. I was recently treated to some lovely gender biased comments and attitudes by some female survivors here. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ As a male survivor of a female rapist, I am often triggered on most survivor forums and discussion groups. The worst are the conversations that start off, "men need to learn X and Y" and "parents need to teach their sons A, B and C". I don't need to learn that as I'm not a rapist and my son is being raised just fine without your lovely interference and gender based guilt training, thank you very much. How about the women who hurt me? What do they need to learn? What did their fathers and mothers not teach them? What about mothers who abuse their children? Any chance you've got a lesson for them as well? No? Didn't think so. How about no one, regardless of gender, rape or abuse anyone else? Pretty please with sugar on top? Can we go with that instead? Sometimes, the gender stereotyping drives me away from the forums for a while, which is why I've not posted that much at most forums even though I've been a member of several for over a year. I get tired of being treated like the enemy on the basis of my genitalia - if that makes sense. At one very popular forum, I think I've been involved in chat only about a dozen times in the last year as the male bashing used to be really bad in there and I'd just as soon not bother with such damaging and worthless hatred. Recently, a female survivor responded to a comment of mine in the "raped in a certain sexual position" thread at one forum and basically said that women can't rape men and that I must have wanted it, etc. Wow. Guess what? I got in trouble for responding to her rather than just waiting patiently and silently like a good little boy for a female mod to validate my feelings about the posting. Even though she did remove the posting, the moderator owes me an apology over that. My response was reasoned, calm and fully well justified and she knows it. I was treated to victim-blaming, rape denial and gender stereo-typing and then chided for not taking it silently. I don't require a female mod's approval to take offense at overt rape denial and victim-blaming. This mindset is a real problem in the larger rape survivor community - the belief that a woman's approval is required to validate the feelings of male survivors - especially those of us who were hurt by women. I hope that didn't sound too bitter, but I get it far too often and in the most condescending ways - even here (not gonna name names, so don't ask). It gets old. You know? Some of us aren't rapists. Some of us were hurt by women. Is that really so fucking hard to grasp?????? Then on another thread a few weeks prior to that, I was basically informed by a few female posters in a very cowardly and passive-aggressive manner that male participation in a certain thread was arbitrarily not allowed (cuz they said so) and that I was not a safe person because I was a man. Then why was the thread in the general area and not in the private women's forum where such conversations are supposed to take place? Anyway. I didn't expect a mod to step in as I decided to defuse the situation by swallowing my pride, accepting blame for having a penis (even though it was not my fault as they should not have been posting and reading in the general area if they can't handle any contact with any males) and apologized for posting there, even though it was clearly a public, gender neutral subforum open to all members, per the clearly written posted rules. Eventually, a mod decided to intervene. In that case it was squashed that quickly as that mod was also hurt by a woman, so she doesn't put up with the gender stereotypes and other hateful remarks that some female survivors seem to revel in throwing at whatever unfortunate male survivor wanders by on a bad day. This garbage gets really old fast, which is why so many male survivors are seldom seen outside of the private men's forums on many survivor websites, which themselves are often moderated by women. No irony there. Nope. Sorry, I'm a little triggered and slightly sarcastic right now. I am one of 5 men working with 20 women, two of whom are my supervisors, while two others report to me. My own wife raped me in retaliation for denying her sex when I was too drugged up to consent or resist. Everyday is hard, even in places I come to for the purpose of finding safety and validation - especially when told by female survivors that I am not safe to be around solely for the fact that I possess a penis. Never mind what happened to me and that fact that both of the people who raped me had vaginas - just like them. I'm not supposed to take it personally, regardless of the fact that I spent 16 years as a secondary survivor as well. My penis is the only damned thing about me. Nothing else matters. What. The. Fuck. Ever. Unfortunately, that sometimes causes resentment and anger. I may have a little (perhaps more) of both right now. No one person in particular set that tone and I don't blame any one person. The gender stereotypes were allowed to fester for a long time before they were grudgingly addressed at a very minor level after a lot of hell raising by some male and female survivors of female rapists. Those of us who take offense are expected to be understanding, sheepish and gentle in the face of such guilt transference, victim-blaming and rape denial - no matter how overtly offensive, openly hostile or invalidating. After a while, it just gets to be too much, but as I stated earlier it is part of a larger problem in the rape survivor community that needs to be addressed. Many people would be surprised at how many men and women have been raped by women, but are unwilling to say a word about it. This is especially true when they see other survivors shouted down or condescended to when they speak up about such abuses. I was treated to plenty of both when I first published my story. I'm not "over it", but I've transcended it to some degree toward advocacy if that make sense. The anger will be with me a while longer I fear. Anyway, I don't think I can say anymore. I'm just in a foul mood right now. I'm sorry.
  9. Tired and Done With It (TW)

    Originally published on 7/13/2009 at DailyStrength Saturday's therapy appointment was a hard one. I hadn't seen Carin in at least 3 weeks and desperately wanted to talk again. I was ready to tell her some things I hadn't shared with her yet. We got to talking slowly as usual. How have you been, etc. Zak, the ancient therapy poodle, snuggled up to me as he always does in these appointments, resting his head on my knee. (good doggie, pets on head) The usual topics for discussion are the rape from 18 years ago and my almost nothing there relationship with my wife. I decided it was time to give her some deeper insight as to why that was the case. Carin describes me as "emotionally divorced." I think that is an accurate description. I have several reasons. We had previously discussed the time she punched me in the face during an argument. We had also previously covered how she lied about it for nearly 3 months afterward until my silence toward her was too much to bear and she broke down to admit it, then went back to lying shortly afterward. This is not the only time she used her hands in the middle of a verbal argument. If I did the same to her, I'd have gone to jail because she would have pressed charges. I let it go because men are expected to put up with this shit and violent women almost always get away with it. Anyway, that is a different journal entry. This time, we needed to cover her own sexual behaviour toward me. I've shared what she did to me last fall here in prior journal entries. I had not shared this with Carin yet. I was not ready. I didn't want to hear yet another woman make excuses for her. I've not had this experience here at DS, but I have run into it elsewhere. -- TRIGGER WARNING AS IT DESCRIBES RAPE -- To be sure there is no misunderstanding, I'll spell out the details. Last fall, I was sleeping about 1-2 hours a night at most. I couldn't rest. I couldn't fall asleep. The rape was constantly running through my head and I was crying all the time. Patty, my nurse practitioner of 10 years or more, suggested I try Zoloft on a daily basis and Xanax when the PTSD was the worst. Yes, it is hard to have a female NP examine me given my rapist was a woman, but I'm not going to let that psycho rapist bitch from hell deprive me of my trusted medical advisor. It is not going to happen, no matter how hard it is to take off my clothes for her or let her touch me during an examination. I trust Patty, she gives good advice and she knows my medical history well. The rapist doesn't get to take that away from me. Anyway, I'm dealing with some anger issues right now, as I'm sure you can tell. The first night I filled the prescription, I was triggered out of my head and exhausted. I took the Zoloft and Xanax together that night for the first time as I was just a total mess and really needed to sleep it off if I could. I felt them kick in and I knew I was going to be out soon, which was what I had wanted - sleep. I informed my wife that the drugs were kicking in and I was going to go to bed as I could feel myself getting woozy already. About 30 minutes later or so, she came upstairs and looked at me for a minute. Then she ripped off the blankets and threw them on the floor. She then proceeded to angrily pull down my underwear and immediately began to suck on my penis while rubbing my testicles. She climbed on top of me then using her hands to stimulate me and began to lick and suck on my neck. When I was fully erect, she rolled me on my side and whispered in my ear, "you don't have to do anything." I couldn't have done anything if I wanted to as I was only marginally conscious. She backed up onto me and eased me into her and began to grind on me and masturbated herself to orgasm with one hand while she gripped my testicles with the other. She got up and went back downstairs afterward. I disconnected during the 20 minutes or so that this transpired. I really don't know for sure how long it was as I felt like I was watching it from outside the room looking in at myself and her. I didn't feel anything and couldn't if I had wanted to as the drugs were doing their job in calming down the PTSD storm that had been raging uncontrolled for 3 months. I gave Carin some of the details on Saturday, but not all as I had trouble just saying the minimum about it. I saw her face change as I told her. It looked like sudden recognition - like she now understood why I was uninterested in seeing a marriage counselor and had such strong feelings about divorce. What my wife did was ugly, selfish and re-traumatizing. She knows fully well that she did not have my consent as I told her I didn't want sex and wouldn't for a long time while I started to heal. Further, as a rape survivor herself, she knows better. I don't think I can forgive that, nor do I think I owe it to her one whit. I've forgiven a lot in our marriage. I've been able to deal with the physical violence, the emasculation of me that she does so gleefully in front of her family and friends (usually to their disgust), and countless other acts of selfish manipulation. Further, my son has not seen my family (aside from my father who visits us each summer) on my side of the family in 10 years while we attend two of her annual family reunions (maternal and paternal) and visit her parents and siblings several times a year. There is always money for those visits to New York, North Carolina and South Carolina, but there never seems to be enough money to visit my family in Illinois. Oh, I can go anytime I want, but I am not allowed to take Charles with me without her present - and she does not want to go. In short, Charles can go, but not without her and she does not want to go. A nice Catch-22 there... Now, I am working two jobs - one Monday - Friday and another Saturday and Sunday. I'm exhausted all the time, while she she has sat on her ass since being laid off for two and half years (and counting) and does very little aside from her half of the housework (we agreed 50/50 upon marrige), which I usually end up helping her with as well. I am just done being forgiving and understanding. I spent sixteen years waking her up out of nightmares, watching over her as she relived her attacks in a semi-conscious state and preventing her from injuring herself during the worst of the flashbacks. Then there are all the nights I pulled her hands off my throat or dodged her fists while she was having a violent nightmare and couldn't tell me from her attacker and then held her while she sobbed for hours. I don't expect her undying devotion for that, but at least an occasional acknowledgement that I'm here and have feelings too would be nice. I'm not looking for martyrhood, but I'm pretty sure there aren't many men who could do this for as long as I have been while simultaneously putting up with not being an equal partner in their relationship in other areas. When I finally told her about my rape, she was at first understanding but later judgemental and mocking. I was informed it was easier for me to deal with her rape, but harder for her to deal with my own since I knew before we were married. Okay, but how about at least try a smidge? A week after telling her, she mocked me in an argument for seeing a therapist. Then, on multiple occasions she made it a point to tell me I need to take my meds when I disagreed with her on just about anything. Finally, she judged me when I had flashbacks while she wanted sex. Yeah, stupid me for feeling trauma when she is horny. I think the exact words were, "I can't believe you brought her into our bed, I never bring them into our bed." I guess those sixteen years of nightmares, flashbacks and other bad experiences don't count as "bringing them into our bed." I never judged her for that as it is not her fault for any of that, yet I am incredibly wrong for having a flashback when she wants sex. I was raped too, not only once, but now twice. Where the fuck is the compassion for me? I don't owe her anything else. I can't give it to her. I'm drained. Sixteen years of bending over backward to fit her needs and putting up with her abuse is enough. I don't have anything else to give her. I'm just sick with it right now and very tired.
  10. My triggers? Being alone with a woman in a confined space - office with door closed, elevator, stairwell, etc. The word "forceful" - she used it several times during the rape. Female on male rape portrayed as a joke in movies - (Wedding Crashers, 40 Days and 40 Nights, etc.). An older woman flirting with me or paying me a little extra attention.
  11. A Fallacy of Choices

    Yesterday (Saturday), I had my weekly therapy appointment to deal with the mental ghosts that haunt my brain since the memories of my repressed rape returned last summer. We went a little lighter this week as last week was very difficult and I slept for several hours afterward. This time, I took about a three hour nap due to the emotional exhaustion that such therapy can cause. I had no idea that thinking and talking about an old, neglected trauma I feel on a regular basis could be so physically draining. This week we worked on acceptance of the rape as being beyond my control. We talked for a while before we worked on the EMDR portion. For the last week, I've been thinking hard about the rape and my own coping thoughts. For a long time, I've thought that I was faced with a decision between continuing to be raped or hurting my pregnant rapist. To be more specific, I've thought the choice existed once I woke up from the effects of the drink she had spiked at the club. While I was unconscious, there was no choice as she had already been raping me. I've labored under the misconception that the choice began when I woke up. Yesterday, I was struck by an epiphany with regard to my previously perceived choices. I did not choose between being raped or hurting her. I chose not to hurt her. That was my only decision. She chose to rape me. Why was it so hard to connect those dots? Why did I not get it? I only made one decision - not to inflict harm. The rest of the decisions were made by the woman who decided to hurt me. Over the summer, I had spoken with a close friend about the rape. She cried and later told me that she was proud of me. She said that she loved me even more knowing that I would not hurt a pregnant woman, regardless of how much she harmed me. As much as I know she is right about my decision not to harm my rapist in my own defense, it is hard for me to feel anything but ashamed for being raped by a woman I could have easily overpowered. I'm getting over it daily, sometimes a day at a time, sometimes an hour, and on bad days - minute by minute. My therapist told me I should be proud of myself and that I have made great progress by realizing this simple fact. I wish I could feel proud right now but I'm still a little raw and I've been ignoring my emotions since I left her office yesterday morning. I'm just tired of beating myself up over someone else's choices. It is on days like these that disgusting vermin who shame rape survivors or deny that rape is traumatic (and yes they exist, just ask me) find easy prey among rape, sexual abuse and sexual assault survivors. Posted at: http://remodel4life.blogspot.com/2009/01/f...of-choices.html http://jameslandrith.com/content/view/3345/79/
  12. I visited my therapist on Saturday. I have a standing weekly 11:40 am appointment with Carin and her ancient therapy poodle. Per the norm, my wife got pouty and childish before I left. At least this time she didn't make a big production out of how long it takes for the insurance to reimburse me for the claims. She does this before each appointment as she knows it will get me worked up and makes my sessions less productive as I'm a little tweaked at her by the time I arrive for therapy. She has a problem with me talking to Carin as she is not in network and has a vagina. My wife is very territorial and ridiculous when it comes to me and other women. My best friend in high school was a woman, and she cannot stand me talking to her. She considers it infidelity for me to have a female confidante that she cannot control. Really. Sorry, but Carin came highly recommended and is an expert in both trauma and EMDR techniques. I am very comfortable with her and her office is within 10 minutes of my office and 20 minutes of my home, making travel to appointments easy. I can go right after work and be home to decompress within 20 minutes as I am often drained or upset after an appointment. I take this very seriously and I don't want to waste my time going any longer than I need to with a lesser skilled therapist just because they happen to be in network and have my wife's unqualified seal of approval. To top it off, I was a benefits manager in a prior job for a national emergency medical practice consisting of physicians, PAs, NPs, etc. handling staff enrollments and intervening with the insurance company when subscribers had problems, so I understand why the best therapists are often out of network. It is as much a problem with the clinicians, AMA, APA, insurance companies, lobbyists and government - no one is blameless in this matter and all of them helped to create the current mess that is health care financing. It is a pain in the ass to have to submit to insurance myself for about 80% reimbursement, but the benefit is not financial - it is my mental health. Regardless of my own personal desires and needs, my wife picked a therapist for me a few months back and insisted I see him instead. On this I had to put my foot down, which she took as a personal attack on her (isn't everything?). How dare I choose my own therapist without her permission? While I appreciated her desire to help, I understand she is also attempting to control the situation by choosing who I can talk to and about what. The control freak aspect of my wife's personality is such an annoying trait. Her "help" usually has strings attached and is always self-serving in some manner. This is not up for debate with my wife any more. She can get over it, she can talk to the air or she can hold her tongue. Either way, I am done listening. Anyway, that is a separate journal entry. This session was very draining and painful as Carin asked me to revisit the rape in detail. She was particularly interested in trying to get at the root my daily muscle tension, which tends to inhabit my upper arms and sometimes my back and shoulders. She participates in a local off-the-record discussion group of EMDR practitioners and they bring interesting or troublesome cases to the attention of other members for advice and ideas. She discussed my rape and the some of the PTSD symptoms I deal with daily. So, at the suggestion of a colleague, she suggested I revisit the moment I woke up from the drugs and find a way to confront my rapist so I could release the tension. Several attempts at doing this through EMDR techniques were semi-fruitful as I just couldn't confront her. She still had my silence, even in a safe therapeutical environment. She tried a different tact and had me enter the room at my present age to stop the rape. That got me a little closer to confronting her, but was not quite enough to get me over the silence my rapist had enforced over me. We tried yet another way - defense of someone else. She had me imagine it was my son being hurt by the woman. That did it. I was able to confront her and threw her against the wall and pulled my boy out of the room right away. By the end of the session I was able to pull her off me and leave the room - but only once. Carin believes that my unwillingness to hurt a woman, even in my own defense, is at the root of my muscle tension. In short, I have not been able to release that tension and it just builds. I never fought back. I didn't confront her then. I just took it. I did whatever was demanded of me. Even today, I can't yell at her. I can't tell her off. I can't confront her without a great deal of prompting and therapeutical manipulation. The woman raped, emasculated, blackmailed and emotionally ruined me and I can't even fight her back in my imagination. Clearly, this is going to take several more sessions. It is a start. We discussed how the rape and the powerlessness I felt impacted the rest of my life - all of my worthless sexual encounters with older, married women, abusive girlfriends and then my wife (then 29) who manipulated me (then 22) into marrying her within six weeks of meeting. I lost my voice and surrendered my will the day I was raped, but the seeds of that design had been sown in my childhood as everytime I fought back against the emotional and physical abuse I endured at school, I was punished along with those who hurt me. Fighting back became pointless and counter-productive. After a while, you just give up. I slept for approximately six hours after today's session as I was just emotionally drained and exhausted. I'm feeling a little better now, but I've got a lot to process. I wasn't broken in one day and it took more than one person to get me to this state of mind. This is clearly a long-term project.
  13. Reading My Way to Peace of Mind

    I've been reading a lot more lately. I used to average a book every week and a half when I commuted to work by rail from Virginia to DC. In February 2005, I changed jobs which required travel by car, costing me my regular daily reading time. After 10 years, I got used to having that time to myself for reflection and feeding my mind. Recently, I took back some of that time at the recommendation of my therapist. As an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I need regular downtime to relax my brain and find ways of distracting it from the constant over-analyzing and organizational pursuits that tend to run through it 24/7. As my therapist is also of the same type, she gets it and makes sure to remind me at each session to make sure I take care of myself by downloading and decompressing. I do this through a combination of meditation, quiet and calm rest (awake but with the eyes closed), and reading. So, in the last month I've read four books including, "The Hacker Crackdown" by Bruce Sterling and "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. I have two more books that are partially read from a few years ago - "Ghost Rider, Travels on the Healing Road" by Neil Peart and "Master and Commander" by Patrick O'Brian. I'll be finishing those next and will then be caught up with unfinished books leaving a few hundred unread volumes on my shelves. I have a feeling that "Ghost Rider" will touch me on a deeper level now than it did when I started it. "The Hacker Crackdown" is a book I started reading several years ago but had abandoned for reasons I do not recall - probably after changing jobs. It was nice to cross that one off the list and finish something I had left neglected for a while. "The Road" has been on my list of books to read for a few years. Given that the movie will be coming out later this year, I wanted to read it before then. Without revealing too much of the plot, the general setting of "The Road" is post-apocalyptic America as a father and son struggle and scavenge to survive while traveling the road. This book has earned all of the praise and good reviews I've read in the past. It will tug at your heartstrings and cause you ponder your relationships with your children. I won't say much more, just have a few tissues ready. Now, I can't wait to see the movie. The casting of Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) is an inspired choice for the father. In the end, I really needed to hug my little boy after the last page...
  14. EMDR Therapy and Sexual Self Abuse

    I saw my therapist Carin on Saturday for an intense session involving EMDR techniques. I slept for about 4 hours afterward, given how drained I felt at the conclusion. We worked on several memories with regard to my wife's verbal and emotional abuse for starters. I've lied to myself for years and made countless excuses for her. My therapist called it an abusive relationship which surprised me because I genuinely did not expect her to understand it and I guess I expected another woman to take her side. That was unfair to her, but given my background it is hard for me to break free of this expectation. Even though I've not been able to say it myself. She is right, but it is hard to admit that after 15 years. I've mentioned some of the details on here. She told me that I will only be able to heal to certain degree so long as the situation at home remains the same, but to keep working regardless as I can certainly make a great deal of progress. I attended my office holiday party a week ago and one of my office workers was really tuned into to her emasculating treatment of me. We got to a point in the therapy where I could not complete the exercise. I tried and tried and couldn't move on through that part. Carin said it was because I've lived for so long in a situation where I've surrendered my identity to another person. I can't imagine life otherwise. She said I will get to a point where I'm able to complete that exercise. She gave me permission to cry. Well, she made sure I knew I could, not really gave me permission. I went numb a few times and she said she could read it in my body language when I did so. I was crying inside, but my exterior did not betray that emotion. I then went from anger to numbness to anger to numbness, rinse, repeat. The rapes (acquaintance and my wife), years of physical abuse in the school system, and my mother's emotional and verbal abuse will be tackled in later sessions. As I typed the word rape earlier in this entry, I began to experience one of several body memories that bother me on a rotating basis. Writing rape or saying rape - as it applies to me - often causes an uncomfortable erection. This leaves me ashamed and sick to my stomach each time as the implication is that I liked it, else why would it occur. I know that is not the case, but it keeps happening anyway. I know many women who experience wetness when they remember or talk about it as well. This doesn't make it any easier and I still feel ashmed of myself for it. I am beginning to hate my own body. I want to throw up. I know this is a natural response and that I should not feel ashamed of it. I've read so much and have talked to so many survivors. My brain knows this without doubt. Still, the emotions over-rule the logic. When I get like this, I sometimes gravitate toward sexual self-abuse. If my wife demanded it right now, I'd likely just lay there and let her do whatever she wanted, regardless of how triggered or sick I felt about it. I'd likely even feign interest in order to get it over with so I could sleep. I can't sleep well when I feel like this - the need to be used gets pretty strong. It is a mixture of sadness, shame and release once I surrender to it. I let a lot of women do that to me before my wife. I let one girlfriend basically whore me out to her best friend without my consent and then let her treat me like shit and accuse me of cheating after she just passed me around happily. I was just a **** and a tongue to several married women, many of whom were 15 - 20 years older than me. I'm disgusted by this dangerous behaviour, yet it is strangely familiar in a way that I can accept for the time-being - just another thing to feel sick and shameful about later. Hopefully, that pattern will not continue after this marriage is over. I'm going to be in therapy until I'm 150...
  15. Recap: Our Love Should Not Hurt

    Wednesday evening (11/5), I participated in a panel discussion on domestic violence and sexual assault. The event, titled "Our Love Should Not Hurt" was sponsored by the Alpha Chapters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity at Howard University in Washington, DC. About 75 or so Howard University students were in the audience. Quite a few secondary survivors were there for their friends or significant others. About 1/3 of the audience was male. There were 5 female panelists and 1 male (me). Domestic violence was the first topic and I was happy to see it covered quite well to even include violence perpetrated by women against men and also verbal abuse. Several of the male students were very interested in the verbal abuse portion of the discussion. Been there, done that... One young woman spoke about her friend who had emailed her about an attack she had endured several years prior. The survivor asked her friend not to ask her about the email or even acknowledge it in person in any manner. She just wanted her to know it had happened. The young woman broke down in tears several times while asking the panel how she can help her friend. I got a few minutes to speak to her after the event. She thanked me for speaking out. I thanked her for believing her friend. That part is so important - the believing. So many people are so willing to assume that someone they know would lie about being raped. One of the questions was directed at me with regard to how a man would know if he had been raped. I told my story - the Cliff's Notes version - as part of the answer. I was not prepared for the audible gasps from both the audience and other panelists. I've gotten used to the idea of a female rapist as it happened to me, but I forget that it is not what people expect when they hear from a male rape survivor. They expect the rapist to be another male. I was extremely nervous as this was the first time I spoke publicly about the rape. Everyone was supportive and after I was particularly touched by the kindness one of the other RAINN speakers showed me. This was surprisingly therapeutic (while simultaneously draining emotionally) and I look forward to working with RAINN on future outreach efforts. Also posted at: http://remodel4life.blogspot.com/2008/11/r...d-not-hurt.html http://jameslandrith.com/content/view/3273/79/