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About Tim1962

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    I will not shut the door on the past

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  • Location
    The midwest, USA
  • Interests
    healing, spirituality, music, the great outdoors, cooking and healthy food, beauty in just about any form
  1. I've been trying to re-open those doors to my childhood, and it's working, slowly. One of the small victories I recently had was replacing a certain childhood book. This book was a Christmas present to myself and my two sisters when I was 6 or 7. It's important because I remember my father reading to us from it, on the same bed on which the abuse happened. (Yes, I know it's strange that I can associate something pleasant with something so unpleasant. That's part of the gordian knot that I struggle to untangle.) I clearly remember my dad standing the book on end, slipping the dustcover off and setting it aside so it wouldn't get damaged while he read to us. And then me trying the same thing one day, sitting on the bed by myself. I slipped the dustcover off just as my step-grandmother was walking by. She corrected me for not treating the book properly. I remember thinking, "but my dad did the same thing", but I didn't say that. I've been looking for this book for about the last 15 years, ever since I realized that no one in my family had it anymore. I found the exact edition on Amazon, and it arrived yesterday. I'm looking forward to re-reading it.
  2. This was a difficult morning. I awoke with the same desire that I've lived with, nearly constantly, for about the last 15 years. The desire won't be satisfied due to my circumstances, and that's ok, since that's forcing me to really take a look: is this really, truly not about sex at all? I can feel that black hole of depression just waiting there. To say it more directly: I'm not getting what I think I need, so depression lurks... And anger - I want to blame my wife. I'm not going to be pulled into that, by the way. Instead, I'm staring it down. And so I also feel nausea, to a certain extent - it's hard to look. We've all been talking in this thread about craving for sex, specifically for the kind of sex that we experienced during our abuse. I think that, for the very first time, I'm beginning to tie that craving to the context of my abuse. My abuse was at the hands of my father. It spanned my pre-memory years (I'm almost certain) to my age 8 or 9. And then my father left. So I struggle to sort through the aftermath: how much of the damage was from the abuse, how much from the abaondonment, and what other damage may have been done by having a father who was the type of man who would have committed such acts. I'm sorting through that, quite literally, in real time. I hope this is an effective method for folks reading. Yes, I can report that this particular craving for sex, okay for oral sex specifically, is more than just the craving for sex. I can say that because it's a much more encompassing feeling than just the craving for sex. It's a craving for warmth, for love, for belonging to someone, for a sense of being ok, a sense of security, a desire to KNOW, down to my bones, that the world is all right. In other words, I think it's a craving for the feelings that I SHOULD have had when I was around my dad, but instead what I got instead was frickin' oral sex-stimulation. That really sucks, wicked pun intended. But at the same time, the craving is also masking a tremendous sadness. I think that's about what was lost. Me, probably, the carefree boy who felt safe (I never did, or at least I can't remember that I did.) And maybe some sadness over the loss of my father. He was sick, but he was my dad, and I didn't know then how sick he was. All of these feelings, I think, are focused into a point which, to this point, I have been percieving as a desire for oral sex. That's not very precise: actually the feelings are there and the channel that the energy has taken, up to now, is out through my groin. Yes, that seems more accurate. And, sorry to get graphic here, but what's appealing about oral sex is that I don't really have to do anything except just be taken care of. There is a big part of me that still really wants to be taken care of and, since adult males don't get "taken care of" that's the way this is coming out. (I hope that, in writing that, I'm being helpful to someone!) That's all for now. I do feel like I have some clarity, but there is much work to be done. 1st therapy in many years is tomorrow. I hope the T knows what he's doing...
  3. (Carleen) Thank you for sharing this letter here. I hope and pray that you continue to heal. I'm so glad you found some support and began to pull yourself out of that hell. I'm glad you're here. With kindness -- Tim
  4. I'm sorry you feel this pain.
  5. LadyScorpion - I started a topic on this in one of the forums, since I'm really going nowhere with it. And we'll get a lot more visibility there. Here is the link, I hope you can share more of your thoughts! My link
  6. Yes, that's quite true for me as well.
  7. The second (third?) revelation of the morning has to do with what I'll call "harmonising the voices". I recently met with my sometimes-therapist, Jim. One of the concepts we discussed was how to control and manage the different "voices" in my still-somewhat fragmented personality. (This isn't unique to me, according to Jim - it's common to all survivors of severe childhood trauma.) Three of the voices are: the young child, i.e. the boy who was abused; the grown-up male, i.e. the adult-me-now; and the "punitive" voice, the one that goes around beating the crap out of the little boy for being such a fuck-up etc. I've messed around with getting these voices to play well together. In collaborating with other survivors, and in sharing my abuse story, some of the walls I've put up against the abuse feelings have begun to come down: I'm no longer terrified by them. Those feelings are the little boy's feelings, mostly, and as I've begun to let those feelings flow, that little boy gets more and more real to me. Where I once had resolved to just shut the door on that whole portion of my life, forget it (and him), and move on, I'm now holding that door open, bringing him forward with me into my daily life as an adult. I can now look at pictures of that little boy (me-then) and I no longer feel a cold stone wall. And with that, I began to remember some events in my childhood that were actually filled with warmth; it wasn't all bad. Jim told me to use the adult voice to take care of the child, to bond with him and to reassure him that he'd be protected, and that I would take care of him. He also told me to watch for the punitive voice, and when I found it beating up on the little boy (on the fragile tim-inside) to intervene. Even to go so far as to say: "Leave him alone! Can't you see he's had enough?! I'm not going to let you treat him that way anymore!" As I was reflecting on this earlier this morning, and trying to integrate this information into resolving the female-dependency thing I discussed above, I began to wonder if there wasn't another voice to incorporate. In fact, when I tried to use the adult-me to talk to the little-boy-me, I found myself saying, "we are here for you, we'll take care of you". Who is this "we", I wondered? Was there yet another voice? I had a sense that, yes, there is another voice there, and I think it's the teenage-Tim. Here's why: One thing I was wondering is if the little-boy Tim is actually still here, really. Did that presence, that identity just disappear when I grew up or is he still here, a real, living, breathing part of my being with an identity of his own? Without going all multiple personality, I think that he is. So, when I talk with him, I'm actually talking with that little boy, not some fictionalized representation of myself-at-that-time, assembled from what's left of my memories. But then I had to ask, well, if he's still here, the me-as-a-child, then where is the me-as-a-teenager? Is he still around? And, if the adult-me is supposed to be taking care of the child-me, then isn't there a teenage-me who should be helping to take care of the child-me also? To look at it another way, as we grow from child to teenager to adult, doesn't each stage comprise its own new layer of identity, which (or who) should enfold and embrace the younger, more vulnerable, earlier part of ourselves? But, and this is where it gets challenging: the teenage-me is where the real problems started, almost to the day. The teenage-me was a mess, in every way. At age 12 I started using drugs and drinking. At age 12 I first had sex (real sex). At age 12 I started spending compulsively. At age 12 I launched my career of chaos which yielded legal, financial, job, and social consequences. Not coincidentally, it was during my teenage years that I experienced the first real consequences of my discomfort with men. I moved into a new town and high school for my freshmen year, and the pain of trying to fit in with other boys my age is, to this day, too severe to to even discuss. I smoked a lot of pot, and drank a lot of booze, as an ineffective means to resolve this, what?, this feeling of total cluelessness. It was if every other boy had a secret decoder ring that translated the language of males. I didn't have one, obviously, and always felt like I was from another planet. I felt lost, lonely, inadequate, full of shame, and fucked-up, seriously defective. Just horrible, in other words. So it's clear that teenage-Tim, if he exists, needs a lot of help. In fact, as I've been practicing the exercises that Jim shared with me, giving child-Tim a hug isn't nearly so hard as dealing with teenage-Tim. Teenage-Tim wants to fight back, generally. At best he sulks, and turns away. It's been helping me to visualize me-at-that-time: skinny with pimples and everything. Memories of the color of my favorite shirts, or of oiling my old snowmobile boots, anything that was closely connected to me-then is useful in bringing that person back into my life. I wanted to shut my door on high school, too, by the way, as badly as I wanted to shut the door on childhood. I very much wanted to just forget about all of it. My final thought was, gee, I wonder if that punitive voice IS teenage-Tim? It's possible. Aren't some teenagers the harshest creatures on the face of the earth? The most ready to judge, to taunt, to tease, to condemn what they don't understand or what's defective or hurt? At least, the ones who don't adjust are. The ones who do adjust, who come from happy homes and have good parents to ease then through that so-difficult stage of their lives, can be the sweetest people I've ever met. If it is teenage-Tim who is the punitive voice, and even if it's not, if I can get him to be part of the "we" who helps to hug and protect the child-Tim, then I think we'll have a really solid team.
  8. ... and I'm really hating that.
  9. Becoming my gender

    I had a bit of a healing crisis this morning, and as a result several ideas really crystallized. One was the cover-up of sex for loneliness or need for comfort, which I wrote about on this thread: Sex as a cover-up The second was something about myself that I find abhorrent in at least two ways. Not sure if I should write about this here (I'm posting it on my other, male survivor's group also)... I've hinted at this a few times in vague terms but today it really became clear. As someone who was abused by men (my father and then a male babysitter), and then subsequently abandoned by my father at age 8, I never really bonded with guys. I had 4 mostly-wonderful sisters, and my mom was always there and took pretty good care of us (again, mostly), but with her parade of 5 different husbands, I didn't have much of a chance to connect with men. I didn't trust them anyway, for obvious reasons. It began to sink in last week that I have to get serious about getting through the wall I've got up between myself and other guys. I'm embarrassed to the nth degree to acknowledge this, by the way... So I joined a men's CSA survivor group and hopefully can make progress there. But the other aspect of this, that I equally hate admitting, is that I've spent much of my life expecting women to take care of me emotionally. Ugh. Not "Ugh" because of women - I like women, in fact very much. But "ugh" to see this in myself. Ugh, again. As I was lying in bed this morning, uptight again because my wife was too busy with rushing off to work to pay attention to my needs (which happened to be sexual, I admit), I found myself trying not to drop into a black hole of depression. I was teetering right on the edge of it. What was wrong with her? Why wasn't she better at recognizing my needs? I mean, we've been married for 20 years! I redirected my thoughts, trying to process this, and focused on my own lack of communication - what, exactly, did I want from her? What wasn't I communicating? (we've been over this before) I heard someone recently say, "lean into the pain", and I really like the physical connotations of that phrase. Like what you do in a strong wind, or in a car on a sharp turn. I've also heard "breathe into the pain" or "sit with the pain" (from meditation instructors), but I like the "lean" version better because it uses the body. Much of my healing has involved getting my body to move, to take certain more-healthy actions over the years, so the "lean" version seems to fit my approach better than anything else I've heard recently. For now. So, while I was leaning into this thing, this looming black hole of depression, a phrase from Bill W (AA's co-founder) came to mind: "this absolute dependence upon people and situations for emotional security is, I think, the immense and devastating fallacy that makes us miserable". Was I dependent upon women for my security? I had to acknowledge that I was, that I had spent much of my life using women to feel better. When I was a boy, I would often pout and sulk until I got what I wanted from my mother: a new model car when I was very young, and later when I was a teenager it was a new water ski. During my late teens and twenties, it was with sex, and by rescuing my female friends from their various and sundry difficulties, that I made myself feel better. As a married man, I often found myself struggling to sort out my relationships with women who were not my wife, ie, spouses of male friends, women I knew from church, even women in AA. In all cases, I've been been loyal to my wife, at least in a physical sense, but in hindsight I can see now the extent to which I reached out to them emotionally, doing what I now recognize as wanting them to take care of me at some level, or respond to me emotionally. (Yeah, I'm still saying "ugh", myself.) This presented a very clear conflict for me, internally: there was a great deal of tension between what I wanted or thought I needed, and my commitment to stay loyal to my wife in every way. I was aware of the tension, but could not sort my way through it. So, this became clear to me this morning, and while I'm still somewhat repulsed by the whole thing, I'm happy to see it for what it is. This really makes me wonder about, and feel compassion for, my CSA sisters who have been assaulted by other women. When a woman has been assaulted by a man, she can find healing (I hope) within the community of women. It works just the opposite way for men who have been assaulted by women: I would assume (but I could be wrong..) that their chief issue would not be with other men, but with women. But for the woman or girl who have been assaulted by someone or someones of her own gender, where does she turn? To men? For myself, the answer is to resolve to take care of my own emotional needs, and to begin to allow the men's community to fill the gap when I'm struggling to do it myself. "Ugh" to that, also... but it obviously needs to be done.
  10. Brother or sister, I would: * Say that I'm so very sorry, that I love you, and that I will be here to support you no matter what * Say that I'm here to listen to every last detail (if you want to share), because sometimes it's one or two things that we just can't bring ourselves to say, and these are the things that are most damaging (like, that it happened more than once) * Say that I'm sorry I was not there to stand up with you, and if there is anything I could have/should have done I'm here for you to say that. And that we'll get through this together -- it's what true brothers are for