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#406553 - 08/12/12 02:24 PM Re: What did YOU lose? [Re: Still]
cant_remember Offline

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1070
Dark Empathy (what a POWERFUL screen name!),

I share many of these items on your list as well:

1: Ability to have any sort of romantic relationship whatosever. -- YES

2: Ability to have any sort of pleasure or enjoy7ment of s/x. -- OR, too much pleasure, addiction to acting out / anonymous sex.

3: Ability to enjoy giving or receiving physical affection from another human. -- SORTA the same as #1, but YES, I can't enjoy physical affection without the fear that it will cause pain.

4: Sense of worth. -- I'm working on getting this back.

5:Any sort of chance to have a normal adolescence. -- A 1,000 TIMES YES. My high school years were painful and awkward beyond words. What a waste of some good years as I struggled to figure out who I was and what was wrong with me. (Wouldn't figure it out until I was in my mid-20s)

6: any feeling of acceptance within a group at all. -- I am always wary of groups and group psychology

7: Enjoyment of any sort of nudity. -- I have gotten this back. Even though I have a negative body image and need to lose weight. I am fine with nonsexual nudity in locker rooms and even outdoors when possible. But there was certainly a time (high school!) when locker room nudity was a constant anxiety.

8: feeling of self worth. -- This is a constant struggle. Even when we accomplish things, it's hard to feel good about ourselves.

9: ability to blend into a crowd and feel part of something greater than myself. -- I understand this well.

But here's an equally important question: WHAT HAVE WE GAINED?

1. Empathy for the underdog.

2. Determination to persevere against all odds.

3. Ability to spot hypocrisy and bullshit from 1,000 yards away.

4. Survival skills.

What else?
I'll be just fine and dandy
Lord, it's like a hard candy Christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But I won't let sorrow get me way down.

#406562 - 08/12/12 04:41 PM Re: What did YOU lose? [Re: Jude]
Dan99 Offline

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 163
Loc: Washington DC
Originally Posted By: Garydosh
I lost friendship. i never had a friend after the abuse. Withdrew completely from everyone unless i was having sex with them. Its been a lonely 42 years.

This issue of friendship and loss is an issue that's very much on my mind, too. I have no concept of how to be a friend. The example that immediately comes to mind is from when I was undergoing chemo a few years back. It's a very boring process and you have nothing to do really but talk with the people who are also sitting there getting poison dripped into their veins along with you.

So I had a long, friendly conversation with a fellow patient. She was very interesting and we had a fair amount in common. And at the end of her session (I was staying longer), she said we should get together for lunch. I nodded, probably showing how foreign the idea was to me, and said something like, 'yes, we should,' in a way that brushed off the issue. She looked mildly insulted and left. I realized afterwards that she was probably expecting me to give her a number or a card or something. But the reality is my default mode - and when you're doing chemo, default mode is all you can manage - is to not start a friendship.

When you spend so much energy constantly projecting this phony reality -- a facade of normalcy -- the idea of adding one more person to your circle just means another person you have to juggle and manage. It's exhausting enough already.

Itís been coming home to me lately again since I joined facebook about a month ago. All these people Ė some who I knew before the abuse even Ė are friending me. One posts about his new grandchild. So what should I post thatís in the same vein. No kids for me, too messed up for that. But I have fucked hundreds of people. Impressed? Someone shares vacation photos. I could share my 550 hours of accrued vacation that I never take. I make ten times what you all do, but of course I never enjoy any of it. Too busy. Give me a 'like' for that!

There's less and less point in looking at it anymore, for me. The issue of loss basically comes down to choices.

My miserable family situation, cold marriage, friends (or lack of), workaholic habits, sex habits, health, etc., etc. all speak to lost opportunities for children and a happy marriage and strong friendships and family ties, and proper work-life balance.

My losses are the result of the choices I've made. And the years of abuse are the biggest single factor in those choices. You come face to face with it, and it is infuriating. But I know that after anger and grief, I must find acceptance if I want peace.

I posted this quotation from Cormac McCarthy a while back, but it comes to mind again: "All the time you spend tryin to get back what's been took from you there's more goin out the door. After a while you just try and get a tourniquet on it."

I think that's the situation for me. It's taken a long time to see what I've already lost. I need to get past it, because the longer I don't, the more I continue to lose.

#406563 - 08/12/12 04:50 PM Re: What did YOU lose? [Re: Still]
MarkK Offline

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2653
Loc: Denver, CO
Number of WoR's attended: 3
Last attended: 2011

#406594 - 08/12/12 10:07 PM Re: What did YOU lose? [Re: Still]
Publius Offline

Registered: 03/13/12
Posts: 444
Loc: OH
What dark empathy and Shields described is the fuller truth of my losses but Markk pretty much sums it up for me.
"Life is like this dark tunnel. You may not always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep moving, you will come to a better place." ~ General Iroh

#406597 - 08/12/12 10:48 PM Re: What did YOU lose? [Re: Still]
Metolius Offline

Registered: 02/09/12
Posts: 41
Loc: Oregon
Thanks for the post and all the replies. It stirs up a lot of stuff for me. There are a number of things that I should be journaling about but can't sit still long enough to do that. So these posts and occasionally taking part in the Healing Circles seem to be the best way to get some thoughts in writing and do more exploring.

Here's the list of my losses as they come to mind:

1) The ability to sit comfortably with myself by myself.

2) The ability to reach out in trust to someone else when I'm in crisis.

3) The experience and ability to form a really close intimate relationship with another person.

4) Self-esteem. Got stuck with shame and self-loathing instead.

5) The ability to follow through on a project or endeavor without sabotaging myself along the way.

6) The loss of innocence.

I appreciate that someone suggested we also take stock of what we have gained. For me the gains include realizing how strong and resilient I am, the ability to keep trying even in the face of little obvious success, and some insane streak of hope that suggests at some point, it will get better. I suspect it's good to know where the gains and strengths are, so I have some anchoring point to deal with the grief of the losses.

Thanks, Rob, for raising the question, and everyone else for you courageous responses.


#406608 - 08/13/12 12:31 AM Re: What did YOU lose? [Re: Still]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Glad you brought this up since my tendency in my recovery has been not to dwell on what could have been. But there's a difference between dwelling on something and acknowledging the way I've felt about it.

I lost my self-confidence.

Granted, a lot of it had to do with the abusive home life. But after the SA, there's a clear delineation. I gave up on just about everything.

I'd been in advanced placement classes in my early teens. My grades declined, I couldn't grasp new concepts. I couldn't concentrate. There'd been a kind of joy in being able to grasp new stuff and build on it. Instead, it became a struggle and a chore.

I'd been very creative, very adept a freehand drawing and often thought of becoming an architect. Thank God I saved my drawings and renderings from those years. (Interestingly, I also saved some of my photography class negatives which I restored a few years ago and a couple of the prints have appeared in magazines). I completely lost interest and never developed those talents further. The math, as easy as it had previously come to me and as much as it had fascinated me, just became gibberish.

I'd been involved in the annual school play every year in various capacities...even designing and building some complicated sets. Come senior year, I was everyone's choice to direct. I couldn't. I already felt overwhelmed. No one understood why. For that matter, neither did I. I felt as if I'd let everyone down.

I eventually found other creative outlets professionally. Even won a few awards. But it hasn't felt quite the same. I've often felt envious of those who excelled in the areas I wanted to explore and in which I felt in my heart I'd be successful. In short, I've felt second-rate or worse.

Often, too, I simply give up.

...and, yeah, as you might imagine, as I write this I'm on the verge of crying.

#406610 - 08/13/12 12:55 AM Re: What did YOU lose? [Re: Still]

Registered: 02/13/04
Posts: 983


"All I can do is be me, whoever that is"

#406628 - 08/13/12 03:51 AM Re: What did YOU lose? [Re: Still]
Jim1104 Offline

Registered: 03/17/11
Posts: 410
Loc: Louisiana, USA
Oh Wow Mike. Oh Wow!

That's exactly what I was going to say. So, let me say that I totally agree...

...I lost my Soul. Still trying to find it again.


#406639 - 08/13/12 07:30 AM Re: What did YOU lose? [Re: Still]
Still Offline

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 7011
Loc: FEMA Region 1
My concrete assumption that my mother had my 6.

Not so.

Not so.

Not fkg so.

#406641 - 08/13/12 08:12 AM Re: What did YOU lose? [Re: Still]
Jonah Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 18
Loc: USA
"I posted this quotation from Cormac McCarthy a while back, but it comes to mind again: 'All the time you spend tryin to get back what's been took from you there's more goin out the door. After a while you just try and get a tourniquet on it.'"

Well quoted, Dan. You make an excellent point.

I, like many of you, have had huge issues with intimacy, friendship, and have nursed an especially pernicious fear regarding 'loss of control'. Last night, in an effort to help and understand me, my sweet and beautiful wife asked me a question I hadn't even given pause to ponder in all the years we've been together. She asked, "why don't you ever come when we have sex?" I was stunned. I reach orgasm everytime we're together, of course I also pull out, turn aside, and palm the evidence in my left hand like a depraved Doug Henning. What really broke my heart after realizing that i did this, all in an attempt to convince my inner child that "I AM IN CHARGE OF MY OWN BODY," is that through all our years together she must have felt so insecure. I couldn't find the courage to share openly and honestly in the bliss we'd create through our lovemaking because i needed that control. WTF?

I'm learning, slowly, of everything beautiful and precious that I've either defamed or surrendered as a result of what happened to me as a child. No matter how big that pile gets, expounding on Cormac's advice: first, i gotta get a goddamned tourniquet on it, before the last of what sustains me is gone.

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