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#268749 - 12/26/08 12:40 AM On anger... I think.
DMCarrollG Offline

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 22
Loc: Brooklyn, NY United States
I'm writing this post as one of my first... I realized I really want to call my boyfriend who is out of town with family... but at the same time, I think that him as my strongest support through this time could be "too much" for him- it is Christmas after all. I thought to use this resource...

Can I ramble a bit? See, my main thing after a few intense years of recovery work is that I am in this amazing relationship that I love, and I put so much pressure on myself to be further than I am... I have only in the past two months seen through my sabotaging attempts at calling him out for "not being there" or imagining all the ways in which he doesn't want to be with me, even as he is... or I've flared up when one of us leaves (me traveling for work mostly)... and well, by seen through I mean seen that much of what I was fighting was him, but not REALLY about him at all.

So I feel stuck- what do I do to fight or let my anger out at my dad who left, the abusers, me being made to abuse my sister sexually with my abusers, me growing up and mainly remembering when the abuse was "my fault" because it was arranged so I would first be asked if I wanted _____, and would then say yes... or me growing up and being molested in a bathroom at 11 and then going on to have anonymous sexual encounters with grown men all through my teens, grow to accept being gay, and continue to try and "be gay" by acting what was primarily a life I was educated in by an almost steady supply of pornography being shown/given to me since before puberty. It's like I see all these things- but then just start feeling helpless as to what I'm supposed to do now?

I'm ashamed of the places this has all taken me and can't seem to really grasp myself as innocent in the later things, and can't seem to rectify and stand up for the atrocities that started it all out.

I get that there is healing/growth happening I guess- but you know when it's happening... well, I feel like I'm being ripped and pulled apart... on some precipice just wishing I"d fall one way or the other.

Argh. It's Christmas. My boyfriend has said, "I just wish it could be lighter." He understood when I got upset... he gets it. I want it to be lighter too! I want to be different than I am, to not have this history... or to be more "healed" to not have it affect my life the way it does... but honestly, and he has helped me in getting to this point- I don't want to keep beating myself up and living so stressed looking for every minute danger or eruption or trigger to try and maintain being "normal" or "healed" or "better."

...I guess what I'm most angry about is having to take care of myself today. It didn't happen then and it's my job now. And you know, I want to feel the ease and comfort that others do... I want to be able to tell stories from my past- hell, to be able to remember stories from my past. Or if I can't... if I can't be different...

I want most for it to be okay. Even when it's tough or inconvenient.

Argh... a small smile. I know this is part of it all. It's hard though.


#268975 - 12/27/08 05:04 PM Re: On anger... I think. [Re: DMCarrollG]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Hi DM,

Something you wrote above struck me just now which is this:

I'm ashamed of the places this has all taken me and can't seem to really grasp myself as innocent in the later things, and can't seem to rectify and stand up for the atrocities that started it all out.

That is so, so, SO common among the guys here. One of the other guys here, Larry (user roadrunner), and I use a term when discussing this aspect of our lives and we call it the "broken boy". During the years of abuse, our lives were turned so upside down and we were filled with just self-loathing, outright lies about ourselves, etc., that during the later teenage years the only way we knew of relating to others was in a broken mode. The one thing that really helps me now when thinking back on that is this: If you knew of a child that had been through the sexual abuse that you went through, and that child went on to make some really bad choices based on the abuse issues he was carrying, would you be judgmental on that child because of that? Larry and I always answer each other "No" to that question, but it's always easier to be judgmental towards ourselves and how we feel we've failed. And our compassion for the kid who made bad choices because that's all he's ever known about how to relate, that compassion comes a lot easier when it is someone else who has been through what we went through than it is for us.

Glad you wrote out the above, it sounds like it really helped you getting some of that out.


#269028 - 12/28/08 01:13 AM Re: On anger... I think. [Re: EGL]
DMCarrollG Offline

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 22
Loc: Brooklyn, NY United States

Many many thanks! It's little "tricks" like that that I am seeking really. Ways to live with the effects of the abuse- some of which are just faulty thought patterns that got me here, but no longer serve me, and are begging to be understood and brought into more alignment with truth. Like, the one you mentioned- would I judge a boy in that situation- my God! It's so clear when you ask that question. My boyfriend has this thing he calls "permission slips," in which he "writes" them for himself, others, even the world at large- that little boy gets a book of permission slips!!!!!!

Thanks so much for your comment. I'll be adding that into my utility belt of NEW coping skills!


#269035 - 12/28/08 06:59 AM Re: On anger... I think. [Re: DMCarrollG]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

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

Just another word on the idea of the "broken boy". A little boy who has been abused will quickly begin to "learn" a lot of false lessons about himself and his place in the world. He won't recognize these lessons as false or harmful; they are just "the way things are". I remember so much of that: I thought that sex was what adults do when they want to hurt a boy, that I was utterly worthless and good only for "that", that the abuse would never end, that it was my fault and my idea, that I "liked it", and so on.

What's important to remember here, my friend, is that these old feelings don't leave a boy just because the abuse has ended or because he grows up. Unless he has the opportunity to work through them they will linger in him and continue to harm him in all sorts of ways. All the acting out and sexualized behaviors you refer to are a part of that problem. That is, you were reacting to the world as abuse had taught you to see it.

It's our responsibility now to face our problems and address them, especially in therapy, but we will find that a lot easier to do if we can rid ourselves of some of the shame we carry. A very powerful exercise I worked out is based on an image I proposed to one of the guys a few years ago. I asked him to imagine himself caught in a building that's on fire, and then when he's in the hospital recovering a nurse comes to him and asks, "Why didn't you just leave by the secret door?" He would of course reply, "What secret door? How could I have used it if I didn't even know it was there?"

So I proposed to the guys that we start a thread on our Secret Doors, all those facts, issues and problems concerning abuse that we just never saw before. By listing them we could see not only how common this problem is, but also that we really do have the right to lay down the shame and hand it back to those who were really responsible - those who hurt us. How can we have been to blame for making wrong choices when in reality we just didn't see those choices. A boy who doesn't see his choices in fact doesn't have those choices in the first place.

Have a look at that thread - you might find it useful. And remember that you were always a good kid and remain a good man today. Abusers can cloud that fact from our view sometimes, but they can never change it.

Much love,

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

#269050 - 12/28/08 12:05 PM Re: On anger... I think. [Re: roadrunner]
DMCarrollG Offline

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 22
Loc: Brooklyn, NY United States
This site and forum is such an incredible resource- in large part due to the men who engage in the discussions and sharing of themselves- Thank you so much Larry!

Some points that stand out the most to me:

That is, you were reacting to the world as abuse had taught you to see it.

What's important to remember here, my friend, is that these old feelings don't leave a boy just because the abuse has ended or because he grows up. Unless he has the opportunity to work through them they will linger in him and continue to harm him in all sorts of ways

This is what is most visible to me today... that the small boy IS reacting, and that it isn't about what is going on today from an adult perspective. And that that not only causes him and I harm, but also people close to me who I love. I adore, adore, adore my relationship with my boyfriend and he gets so much of what is happening- or is at least available and able to find our way through it when understanding is not there yet. But, present aside- yes, I see what you are saying about that boy needing the chance to work through the feelings.

And the thing is, HE needs me, and those who support me, but especially me to help in that. I can be my greatest asset- even if the way I help is in walking myself to resources that can offer more than I alone can give: therapist, friend/boyfriend, internet, support groups, books.

A boy who doesn't see his choices in fact doesn't have those choices in the first place.

This is such a powerful thing to sit with. I will continue to sit in this truth. It is clear to me that one of the most devastating processes of PTSD is how survivors - oh, me as well!- can look back and apply our "future-mind" or "future-knowledge" right on top of past experiences... the places, times, and states of our selves then, and confuse the whole thing by wondering the same thing over and over again: WHY? WHY? WHY????

The answer is always what you have said- knowing what we knew at the time or could see at the time, certain things just DIDN'T exist for us!!! How can we use what we don't know yet? I have found for myself that that is one of the strongest ways that I shame my inner child as well as my adult self. Judging and condemning rather than seeing and learning from and vowing to do differently next time.

I went to the thread and made a posting of my own. What an incredible idea! One thing I am loving about this healing journey is seeing the ways in which my creativity- once relegated to the task of warping reality into a manageable skew I could live through - is now a great asset and tool for healing and coming into alignment with reality. I have personally decided to change course in my career and am focusing on my creative contributions to my field... I think as a direct result to tapping into this.

This thread is a wonderful tool- thanks for sharing it!

All the best and many many thanks!


#269593 - 01/01/09 11:28 AM Re: On anger... I think. [Re: DMCarrollG]
DMCarrollG Offline

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 22
Loc: Brooklyn, NY United States
This is a copy of the post I just put on my blog. I would love any feedback anyone has concerning what is in it and in particular- your experience of information regarding EMDR and recovery. It's a new year- I have to believe that everything is moving into better territory than the year before... I have to believe that this is all taking me somewhere with more freedom, ease, and love.

...As for all survivors.

Thank you.


It is the first day of 2009, and the thing that my boyfriend didn't want to happen most in the world on New Years Eve happened. The thing I didn't want to happen for the sake of my relationship, happened. I was triggered at the party...

I didn't realize it as it was going on, or an hour later... but then...

My boyfriend and I haven't seen each other in 10 days. The stage was set to reunite at his friend's party... we did... it was incredibly electric. I missed him... and now here he was beside me. I was elated because I felt that this time apart I had made some progress with the separation anxiety that is so common for me. I left that party to head to my friend's party, we made out by the coats and I heard that sound he makes... and I felt on fire. He was the most beautiful thing to me in that moment, and he was here with me. I went to my party and jumped right in and had an amazing time. Later, my friend comes and says, "I need you to help me in the kitchen." My friends had closed the drapes around the kitchen area to conceal my boyfriend who had arrived- but he was mid-sneak out to the bathroom. Fun. Playful. Exciting... and we made out in the kitchen, hidden from view. Then we partied a bit.

The trigger came later when we rendezvoused in the front room alone, making out and deciding it was time to go home! We went out, I began saying goodbye to my friends... and at some point, he gave me a signal that he was dancing, he wasn't ready, he was sparking with one of my friends at the party. I smiled... and then went to get my coat, but no... he really wasn't coming.

From there we left "happily" joking around and being "playfully" coy and confrontation... a play-grudge was being held over him leaving me hanging. We were a little tipsy... it was cold... but we were finishing out an amazing night. As we walked and the strange joking wouldn't let go, I began to fear where it was heading. "Why am I still doing this? This is wierd..." Long story short, we go back... I'm still holding out from him in some way, getting him back- at one point turning to go into a restaurant to pee without so much as a look back at him... dishing out what he gave. We begin to be sexual but something is not right... I'm feeling removed but dominant and aggressive. At some point he stops and says, "Hey... hey." and I know that something is off... he's called it out somehow. "I need to take a shower," I think. So I do... I come bak after a long while... scared of this current I now sense. And he is asleep. Gone. Again. And so I get my things and say I'm going to go home...

And it begins. He's had enough... he can't keep doing this. He can't keep having me leave. I have done it many times. Soon, it becomes clear what it was about... it wasn't really his fault. Not him, but "Him."

11 years-old. Beach vacation with family. Public bathroom area... long wooden-planked walkway to the bathrooms... holes at the top of the walls for light and air. Urinals. Metal. I'm at the first one in the row... a man comes in a navy speedo to the one at the end. He begins to stroke his penis... I notice... am enticed and stay frozen. Do I play with myself as I had already long been taught to do by my cousin and uncle? He comes takes me by the hand to the other side of the restroom where the changing booths are. Doored stalls. he takes me in and sits me on the ledge. He pulls his dick out... it's huge and impressive to me. He puts it in my mouth and begins to pump away... or do I go at him, knowing for years already how to do this? Is my childhood erection out? Surely- "me too, me too." And in no time, thick heated cum. Surprise. Shock. What is this. I like it... Intrigue- but no time for that... I see his penis vanish behind the navy blue in an instant and he turns without a hesitation and leaves... even leaves the door open. And this I remember: a fissure in the world opens and swallows me whole and I am left vibrating with numbness and the sense that in a space as large as the imaginable world of my 11-year old brain, I am utterly alone.

Sex. Excitement. Yes... yes... ALONE. 11 years-old... 29.

And last night a fissure in the relationship opened and swallowed us both... and there we were, fighting the swarm of phantoms... emotions... and distance between an abuse survivor and his experiences of the trauma and recovery path, and someone without abuse history trying to understand and make sense of it and ultimately coming up with the wrong assumptions: "I feel like you keep leaving so I must not be giving you what you need... What did I do wrong? Maybe this is too much for you..."

I have a rage inside me... a violent anger that never comes out because it isn't truly violent- it is a pain and hurt and despair of spirit clashing with the idealism and wonder and hope and joy of my spirit in an all-out battle. It is from that battle ground that I write this now. I have gone through many emotions and the waters of my inside world have been variously murky with thoughts and sensations since waking up this morning. "Did it really happen? Such an amazing -AMAZING- night, and then that?" But I write now to say a few things to the new year... or rather as the first day of the new year as my witness:

These memories and triggers will not destroy the life I am building for myself. You will not win. I see you wanting to keep repeating and living out the trauma... I won't let you succeed in bringing the past back to life in the present. I will hunt you down... find you in whatever emotional foxhole you reside in and I will bring you out into the open, into the light, and I will turn you into the gold of an amazing loving relationship. You an not have this -you have had too many of my years and too many of my joys and loves -this is now off limits to you. I don't know if he will be able to stay or for how long, but at no point will I stop my quest to live differently in the hope that- as I feel it could be- this relationship be the big love of my life. You had me once, all of you that used me and left me alone, but no more. I am putting my foot down, staring you down through the barrel of my gun -I've let you live here even after you left me, for enough time. Your time has come- this is the year.

EMDR. It has been issued to me as what might be next. I did it in session with my therapist in college with miraculous results. I avoided it this time that I was looking for a new therapist. I now know it is what I need. I have three moments to take to it... moments that for all my talk and writing and body-sensation therapy are so potently and overwhelmingly fused in my reactionary DNA that I am continually rendered unconscious to make the new decisions begging to be made for the sake of my life today. My previous therapist, who I am transitioning from, offered to have my boyfriend come in so we could all three talk about relating with each other through the turbulence of my recovery... I am now going to ask to take her up on that offer. There is information, assurance, and validation that my boyfriend needs that I can't give- as much as I wish I could in the privacy of our own little world. I hope he will agree.

After the break-up of my first boyfriend of two years, two years ago, I was clearly in the biggest crisis so far in my adult life. Something came out of me that seemed to pick me up and literally walk me through each step of my day... each minute when I was sometimes living minute by minute. It would not allow what had just happened... the devastation and pain I (re)created to live any longer. It is that presence that I call on now. With all the passion and fire of my being I call for it. I am not losing this relationship- losing my power to make new choices... to heal and come to give and receive love. He says he can't take anymore of me leaving- that makes two of us.



#269683 - 01/02/09 08:47 AM Re: On anger... I think. [Re: DMCarrollG]
Juni Offline

Registered: 12/10/08
Posts: 502
Loc: Florida, WPB
Thank you roadrunner,

Wow! The Secrete Door thread was liberating for me.


Today I'm O.K.
One day at a time I make the journey.


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