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#369783 - 09/08/11 11:11 PM Question About Shame
Driftwood Offline

Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 86
Loc: Colorado
Who decides who feels shame?

Iíve been thinking about this a lot lately after reading stuff on the introductions forum and other places on this site. I canít help but find myself shocked at what some abusers are capable of, even though I know (as the poet says) ďthere is nothing one human being will not do another.Ē Even innocent children get tortured. But Iím trying to puzzle something out, and maybe some of you guys out there can help me.

Physical wounds heal. (I have an inch long scar across the base of my penis, which I got at twelve or thirteen.) But of all that was done to us, why is it that one of the deepest, longest-lasting wounds is shame? Sometimes I wonder if that isnít the greatest power a human being can have, the ability to make another person feel ashamed. And that power gets abused all the time. Bad parenting. Bad religion. Bad teachers. People get intoxicated by it. Itís like a kind of madness, finding a way to have sway over people, and then deciding for those youíve succeeded in manipulating what they should feel bad about, convincing them theyíre at fault, that theyíre naughty, disgusting, evil. And so much in the society seems to reinforce this. Why do we let this happen?

If you could break the back of that thing, clear out shame, completely, the rest of recovery from abuse would be so much easier. Anybody have any advice, techniques, thoughts on this?

#369784 - 09/08/11 11:48 PM Re: Question About Shame [Re: Driftwood]
kb8715 Offline

Registered: 07/16/10
Posts: 811

First I am so sorry for that scar. Horrible man. I'm glad you are here and can honestly face this.

I don't feel shame anymore. For me the key was to realize I was a crime victim. It was not sex. It was abuse. Once I took it out from the realm of an activity I connect with a woman I love (the mother of my kids) I started to heal.

I've seen a few men get the difference and also give up the first wave of hurt and shame.

I tell guys we make love with people we care about and love.
It aint the criminal acts a monster did to me as a boy.

He has the shame not me. Hope in Hell he feels it.

Be well.


"You can get far in life by pushing except through a door marked PULL...." Profile quote in my son's senior year HS Yearbook.

#369790 - 09/09/11 12:25 AM Re: Question About Shame [Re: kb8715]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
Driftwood I deal with this a lot for several reasons.
First is that what was done to me was what so many of my peers and friends at the time called nasty and queer.
Second that I liked some or most of it and eventually went back and initiated conctact again and again.
Third because it made me feel freakish and different from other boys and eventually men.
Fourth because it was my dad that did it. Someone I trusted and wanted to look up to and be proud of and brag on to my friends. Someone I needed and loved and did not love or need me for anything else but that.
Fifth because it assualted the very core of who I am as a male and a man and those are subtly two different things.

Sexual assualt, premature sexualization of a child is an assualt on their soulish being. You got over your wound on your penis. There is a scar but I will wager you don't give it much thought anymore. I broke my arm once. It hurt for a bit, I wore a cast for a while till it healed and I never think about it any more. Even if someone had assualted me and broke it instead of my falling out of a tree, after a while I would not give it any thought.

Someone can sexually molest or rape a child one time and they will still be weeping about it in their counselor's office or on their pillow at midnight 60 years later. It does something terrible to one's perception of who they are as a man or woman and it is very difficult to get over without help. It can completely ruin any chance of real intimacy.

Just my thoughts


#369812 - 09/09/11 06:30 AM Re: Question About Shame [Re: Freedom49]
overcomer4life Offline

Registered: 02/25/09
Posts: 198
VERY DEEP! I am 38. My CSA happened at ages 5 and 8., DECADES later, I still feel shame. It wasn't my fault. I didn't do anything (until after the 2nd time when I started liking it and thinking it was normal), but I feel shame...lots of it.

I see "normal" guys and always wonder what I would be like if I turned out to be one of them. I'll never know...but uh...okay.

Thanks for sharing, man.

#369821 - 09/09/11 12:05 PM Re: Question About Shame [Re: overcomer4life]
Mountainous Buck Offline

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 1631
Loc: Minnesota
Ive had some good T's and good men who have helped me walk thru my shame. Owning my part in shame in my life was and is the foundation for expelling the deeper shame that owned me for years-

This deep shame was thrust upon my by abuse-sexual, physical,'emotional-and it rightfully belongs back at the feet of those who pounded it into me.

Actually feeling this deep down and vomiting it out of me was helpful- and acknowledge that is was foreign to my true self. I've had several opportunities to feel at this deep level in the presence of trusted people to witness and guide me, and it is powerful and liberating.

Even just writing down what I feel shame about helps me process and work thru it.'I see it for what it is and defy my old belief that shame would kill me if imever let it out.

I also recognize the choices in my life that trigger my shame - I need integrity and accountability to help me not entangle myself in the webs of shame, fear, anxiety, and rationalization that keeps me stuck and small.

We have to take responsibility for what we're not responsible for.

ÔŅĹIt doesn't matter where you've come from,
It matters where you go" Frank Turner

#369845 - 09/09/11 07:57 PM Re: Question About Shame [Re: Mountainous Buck]
Driftwood Offline

Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 86
Loc: Colorado

I like what you say that "Sexual assault, premature sexualization of a child is an assault on their soulish being." It's also true that I got over the wound on my penis. "There is a scar but I will wager you don't give it much thought anymore." True. Almost never think about it. In trying to work through shame, though, itís come up.

I put that scar there. I did that to myself. Difficult circumstances. But what kind of adolescent boy hurts himself that way? Maybe if I could answer that, Iíd stop feeling ashamed over it.

Anyway, thatís what I decided two years ago. I wasnít going to feel shame anymore. No more shame. Iíd either stop doing things that made me feel bad about myself or change my attitudes toward my behaviors. I stopped doing some things, gave myself more latitude with others, and made some progress. But I discovered the problem is much deeper than Iíd imagined.

Itís like Iím trying to figure out the way reality works. When you read a novel, it temporarily takes you out of your world (if itís a good novel). Itís like a separate reality that exists alongside your reality. You can get lost in it, but you always come back. Youíre never confused about it being this made up thing. But there are other things out there, like messages from sexual abuse, that are so powerful that they do confuse your sense of reality. Instead of being something separate that exists alongside you (like the fictional world), it usurps your reality. You get subsumed by the thing. The message is: This is who you are. Or itís not even a separate message. You just move into life believing this is reality.

Or itís like Iím wearing a set of invisible pre>

#369846 - 09/09/11 08:01 PM Re: Question About Shame [Re: Driftwood]
Driftwood Offline

Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 86
Loc: Colorado

You say about shame, ďActually feeling this deep down and vomiting it out of me was helpful- and acknowledge that is was foreign to my true self. I've had several opportunities to feel at this deep level in the presence of trusted people to witness and guide me, and it is powerful and liberating. Even just writing down what I feel shame about helps me process and work thru it.Ē

You reminded me of something. I ran track in high school and had this persistent stitch in my side when I ran. I tried everything, diet changes, fluid intake, etc. Nothing helped. Coach took me aside one day, told me that instead of trying to pull away from the pain, do the exact opposite. Go into the pain. Breathe into it, try to make it hurt as much as possible. Wise man. Actually cured my problem. Maybe Iím still trying NOT to feel the shame. Itís like Iím cringing inside. I think of things and cringe, pull away, when what I need to do is feel them, go ahead and feel the shame ďdeep downĒ as you say. Breathe into it. Hang my head if I need to, but not pull away. Just admit, yes I did this, I did that. Turn red if I need to, but stop running from it.

I can try writing more of it out as you suggest. Iíve already done some of that on this site. Discovered it didnít kill me. Iím sorry for you guys who have to read it, but nothing has helped me more.

#369865 - 09/10/11 02:40 PM Re: Question About Shame [Re: Driftwood]
TJ jeff Offline

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 3576
Loc: Northern Wisconsin
But what kind of adolescent boy hurts himself that way?
I can answer that question from personal experience - this boy hurt himself out of anger that it felt good when his uncle was doing the things that he did - he hurt himself because his adolescent mind was just starting to understand that what his uncle was doing was not ok for him to be doing and his young mind was feeling much shame over it feeling good and so this was his way of making it not feel good

I guess that what I am saying is that in my own persoanl experience it was just my way of punishing myself (and I knew a LOT about punishment thanks to my mother) for something that felt good that I knew should'nt feel as good as it did

took me a LOT of years to learn that the anger and shame needs to be placed on the person that did things to my body that should not have been done

Who will cry for the little boy? - I will... - Antwone Fisher

Abuse happens in silence/isolation - Recovery happens only when that silence/isolation is broken...

TJ's History

#369868 - 09/10/11 05:48 PM Re: Question About Shame [Re: TJ jeff]
CheerfulJohn Offline

Registered: 08/22/10
Posts: 149
Loc: England (at the moment)
"But what kind of adolescent boy hurts himself that way?"

I can also answer that question Driftwood, this boy hurt himself......for years seems like a miracle that I still have one. About 5 years ago I stopped cutting, strangulating, burning around there. (One other thing i stopped at 19, I started again about 1 year ago....when i was doing it I felt in control and free from some of the other torment. Still struggling with that.)

I do think the more we see that the shame is not ours but the perps, culture, family, school. etc the more I'm free from this kind of thing.

I did many things that no healthy child would do......

Be well Driftwood


Wolves will live with lambs. Leopards will lie down with goats. Calves, young lions, and year-old lambs will be together, and little children will lead them.

#369969 - 09/12/11 04:16 PM Re: Question About Shame [Re: CheerfulJohn]
Driftwood Offline

Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 86
Loc: Colorado
Thank you TJ jeff and thank you CheerfulJohn.

I can see how punishing oneself for feeling pleasure works. Your dick betrays you by responding in an abusive situation, so you punish yourself. And CJís example of re-experiencing torment and pain on purpose also makes sense to me. When you inflict pain on yourself, itís a way to manage the fear aspect, perhaps, of abuse. You experience the pain, but youíre in control. You have power over it.

What I love about this site (one of the truly good things about the internet) is that I can get to the truth of things, hear the truth from others and tell it myself. Or try to tell it myself. I like to talk about the importance of telling the truth, but bottom line is Iím not really that good at it myself. Iím still too concerned with how I appear and what you guys are going to think of me. Or Iím scared someone will find out who I am (I have a small public persona). I want to be liked and admired. I hone sentences, turns of phrase, etc., hoping others will see me as intelligent. Itís like Iím trying to compensate for shameful things Iíve done (like catching wasps in a jar and then sticking my dick in the jar).

Well, that was honest. Iím back and forth between liking myself and being disgusted with myself. I either have to shine or wallow. Whereís the middle ground? Why canít I just be an average normal person and let myself be? Maybe with the help of you guys and the good example you set, I can at least move toward that goal.

#369975 - 09/12/11 07:14 PM Re: Question About Shame [Re: Driftwood]
1islandboy Offline

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 906
Loc: washington
My uncle's modus operandi consisted of teasing and then denying...(to the point that often times after being with him I ended up with friction burns from hell)...

As a child...I had no idea that he was using a bait and switch as a form of erotic control...(he would manipulate and then a way of enticing me into servicing him)...This all leads to emasculation, forced feminization and erotic humiliation...(soul murder).

There were times after being with him...where I would go back to my room...(Where I was in control...)...I would masturbate myself and have extremely large and powerful orgasms...(mixes you up about what is good and bad...and further perpetuates thee cycle).

~Problem was~...I wasn't yet fully psychologically developed to emotionally handle something as heavy as this...

I was just a child....

I don't own one ounce of shame...(wash,rinse...repeat).

Veteran of the Psychic Wars (BOC)


Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine ~ M.F. Fernandez

#370024 - 09/13/11 05:52 PM Re: Question About Shame [Re: 1islandboy]
MartinB Offline

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 22
Loc: New Jersey

The shame we feel is often perpetuated by those who abused us as children. Often when children do something wrong shame follows in its footsteps. However, we know we didn't do anything wrong now, but back then did we really know that? I was often told that the abuse was my fault. Actually, one of my abusers used to whisper into my ear, while he was raping me "you're so smooth and pretty." To this day I have difficulty with those few words and it compounds my issues even more that somehow I am the one to blame because I was smooth and pretty.

This couldn't be further from the truth. Child abusers are very intelligent people and expert manipulators. Their hope is molding us into enough shame that the secret of the abuse will remain hidden. They care nothing about your feelings or my own. Their only motive is to hurt children and keep them quiet.

Eventually when we start to question that shame, we, in turn start re-defining our lives and what happened to us. We turn that shame around and place it where it belongs... on the abusers themselves.

Just remember that "shame" is a tactic abusers use to control us. Once we break free of those binds our lives will be important and we will understand our own level of dignity. The shame belongs to the persons who have no respect or regard for human life and the innocence of a child.

Don't ever give up. They don't have the power to control your life anymore.


Please call me Martin. One of my abusers would call me "Marty" and it just brings back too many awful memories.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.- Winston Churchill

#370096 - 09/14/11 03:17 PM Re: Question About Shame [Re: Driftwood]
IrishDadTx Offline

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 53
Loc: Texas
Driftwood - I hear a lot of myself in your post. What stands out for me is this idea that somehow, if confront the shame, lean into it like the earlier post's track coach said, that literally, not figuratively, "all hell will break loose". I swear to God, I lived like that for 15 years. I still struggle sometimes with confronting shameful things for fear that I will be some overwhelmed that I'll "snap" and be a blubbering idiot, sucking my thumb in the fetal position in the corner and my wife will have me committed. Sounds nuts, but it's the truth. You say you have a persona to maintain, and maybe that's behind your fears of confronting this. I know that was mine.

I knew for years that the running, running, running (away from dealing with this shit) was only amplifying and magnifying the shame. But I didn't know what to do...Only since coming here and confiding in you guys have I "stopped" -- and talking about about it is making me realize I CAN handle it...I won't fall part...I will be fine.

I have full-body shivers siting here typing sometimes and just had one. The shivers usually come when I'm reading about shame/acting out issues and when I read about very small 2-6 year old stories. These shivers used to scare the shit out of me and I would run the other direction (disassociate, act out, whatever), but they don't now. It's just part of where I am and I'll makes sense of it all one of these days. I'm feeling more and more like I can accept anything now -- I have you all for support if I need it -- and I've stopped running and I'm now working on confronting all my issues, but especially shame. I had to make a decision to stop judging myself and I had to be able to accept the idea the idea that I was abused then, but I can heal now. Sounds easy to type, but another thing to believe.

Keith - your thoughts about realizing your were a crime victim have helped me a lot this morning, and hopefully others too.

My best Driftwood,

#370115 - 09/14/11 07:39 PM Re: Question About Shame [Re: Driftwood]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
But what I need to do is get those lenses off. How do I take them off? How do I get my own reality back?

Well there's the secret. It just takes time and perserverence to bring yourself back to reality. You are doing that here. You post the lies you have learned and your brothers here point them out and give you the truth. Taking that truth from your head where you now have it stored to your heart where you can live it out is the work you now have to do.

The guys on here are like mental mirrors. You can use them to see areas of your thinking that are blind spots. Lies if you will that you have accepted and tried to live out. Of course the lies do not work in reality hence the confusion and frustration. So when you come here and tell us what you think and feel we can look at that and point out what you are not seeing. Just like looking in that mirror at home to see if that cowlick is still sticking out in the back of your head or if the gravy is still trapped in your mustache. We need each other.

Some time back I had a huge blind spot in my character. Just didn't or wouldn't see it for what it was. Finally I was able to listen and see it and correct it and my life is a lot more peaceful now. Left alone I would have continued to make bad choices based on a false premise and continued to frustrate myself in life.

Glad you are here. Looking at you helps me see things in me too.


Edited by Freedom49 (09/14/11 07:40 PM)

#370142 - 09/15/11 03:21 AM Re: Question About Shame [Re: Freedom49]
Driftwood Offline

Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 86
Loc: Colorado
Thank you, guys.

I feel like Iím moving toward the place some of you have already gotten to. I trust that someday I will no longer own even one ounce of shame, as Island says, and come to feel the kind of dignity MartinB is talking about.

IrishDad, Iíve had similar kinds of experiences. Iím not prone to panic attacks, but when I started confronting this shame thing, trying to get a handle on it, Iíve had some doozies. Once I was shaking so bad I had to sit on a bench (public place), trying to breathe. The odd thing was that part of me was fascinated watching the whole thing happen. I think that undercut the fear enough that I was able to stand and then start walking. I made it home, but there were some terrifying moments there.

I agree with you that itís a decision we make, to stop judging ourselves. When I first started coming to this site, someone wrote to me: ďI have come to the realization that I need to love myself, regardless of what I may have done in the past or will do in the future. Having more positive thoughts, even if I have to fake them, helps me to not act out as much. My having negative thoughts, shame and guilt, only fuels the compulsion by damaging my self esteem.Ē Itís easier to type those words, though (as you say), than to live that out.

Thanks, Roger, for sharing your wisdom. It feels like a journey back to reality for me. Much of what I learn is all in my head, though. I get things, intellectually. I know it wasnít my fault, all the things i did for attention as a kid (including the sex I had with older men, even when I initiated it). You really struck a note for me in saying that the work now is for me to move it from my head to my heart where I can live it out. Iíve had brief glimpses of that. Itís real work to keep after that. But having made even just a tiny bit of progress has me excited and hopeful to someday start liking and respecting myself again.

You guys help me so much.

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