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#282510 - 04/06/09 02:55 PM Coping
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State

I was talking with a friend last night who was having an issue with coping with life's situations. I got to thinking about that. My old way of coping with stress, disappointment, anger, loneliness, etc. was sex. Now these are normal situations and issues that everyone deals with. People who are not survivors deal with them in ways that usually, hopefully do not harm them and are in fact helpful.

I on the other hand and many of us who are survivors, have been conditioned to do things that are harmful to us or at the very least counter productive. I think a huge part of recovery is learning to handle life's ups and downs in healthier ways. I think the more we use our old coping mechanisms the more we will isolate, withdraw, feel bad about ourselves, and stall our growth. Using coping skills that may have been helpful in our survival as a child, keep us in that downward spiral that blocks our healing as adults.

Now with me I noticed that even when I was in a great mood and something good had happened in my life I had a tendency to want to find someone and have sex with them even if I did not know that person. In fact if I didn't know that person that was even better because I felt no obligation to have anything further to do with them. I just wanted that orgasmic fix and it didn't even need to be my orgasm.

That was very destructive to my marriages and to my relationships but even more than that it damaged how I thought about myself and made me feel bad about myself causing the need for more unhealthy coping.

Perhaps as was suggested, the coping that way was not the problem but I think that caused a huge road block in my ability to deal with the problem. That is why I think finding and learning to change to a healthier method of coping is absolutely vital to the goal of recovering from my abuse. I do not think I can separate the two goals.

For instance if I had learned to take that stress or energy and turn it into connecting and loving and having sex with my wonderful wife I would not be hear today. That idea, however never occurred to the little boy in me that just wanted that OTHER need filled and knew only one way to fill it. Very destructive. Learning to connect with other men in healthy non sexual ways, learning to find love, acceptance, and affirmation from them that will fill that hole in me my dad left was a huge thing for me.

There are other self destructive ways to cope, anger, risky behavior, dinking, gambling, fighting, etc. and part of growing up as men, a great part of growth in fact is learning how to cope with life in healthy ways.

Anyway thatís my story and I am sticking to it.

#282528 - 04/06/09 05:31 PM Re: Coping [Re: Freedom49]
Letourski Offline

Registered: 03/16/08
Posts: 314
Loc: Canada
Hey Roger,

I have traced similar steps in my recovery as well. Over the course of my young life I have used many coping mechanisms such as drugs, sex, pornography, masturbation, eating, alcohol and many others. Now that I am more grounded I can really see the destruction these have caused within myself. The substance abuse did not last very long, roughly 2 years total. But the sex, masturbation and porn use has been a coping staple since the day I have been abused.

When feeling happiness, sadness, anger, confusion and any other emotion I felt a need to express these sexually. This causes me to question my sexual feelings all the time in fear that they may be the result of another feeling which is non-sexual! I have started to just be with my feelings, by becoming more self aware and not judging my feelings they become more clear.

When these issues are transposed in life's situations it's easy to follow the path of least resistance and use these coping mechanisms. I think it is truly sad that as a survivor I respond to not only sadness/anger/confusion in this way but to happiness/joy/fulfillment as well. It's one thing to be suspicious about negative situations but another to be suspicious about a positive one as well. This is where I see a real need to establish healthy ways of coping in today's real world.

These defense systems that served us for so long have become counter-productive. As many others have stated I believe that our responses to the abuse we suffered are the very barrier that prevents us from attaining happiness. The threat of abuse for most us is now gone however our thought processes are still wired into the abuse. I think this is the most difficult part of recovery; the biggest challenge I face is replacing what kept little Dan alive for so long with something that will serve me as a Man.

Thanks as always friend


Edited by Letourski (04/06/09 05:33 PM)
I am the warrior.

#282633 - 04/07/09 07:45 AM Re: Coping [Re: Letourski]
Trucker51 Offline

Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 2826
Loc: Denver, CO
"Learning to connect with other men in healthy non sexual ways, learning to find love, acceptance, and affirmation from them that will fill that hole in me my dad left was a huge thing for me".


I left a post for Bruce (Grunty1967b) down on the member survivor forum that pertains to your sentence. Hope that you find it helpful.


"We stay here, we die here. We've got to keep moving". Trucker Mark

#282658 - 04/07/09 02:33 PM Re: Coping [Re: Trucker51]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
Thanks for the note. I read his post and your reply. I can identify with him somewhat. I have always felt intimidated by other men both gay and straight. I never knew how to act around them and so would hang back and just try to copy the behavior and attitudes. That worked for the most part and I was able to get along but never connect.

Since starting my recovery I have realize that a good deal of my discomfort is due to my dad's treatment of me. We were never able to get along and it seemed nothing I could do would please him. There was not physical hugging or bonding other than at night when he came to my bed. This left me with an unconcious feeling that in order to connect with other males I needed to be sexual with them.

Now that I understand that I no longer make that mistake. I have good close friends now that are non sexual and healthy for me. I still have thoughts and fight the urge when some guy wants to open up to me and get close but I know what is going on now and can compensate and that seems to be working.

I think men normally need to connect with other guys and need close friends they can talk to and confide in and be close to in a non sexual way. This I think is normal behavior for males and if they do not get that "your one of us, a regular guy" thing from other males then it leaves a hole in there life they will try to fill other ways.

I think if my father had not sexually abused me and had accepted me and gave me that affirmation that I was a regular guy and a man I would not be here posting today and would not have messed up friendships in the past by trying to sexualize them because I was drawn to them for the male bonding thing. Just a thought.

Thank you again for your reply.


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