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#41928 - 04/30/05 05:40 PM Feeling like I'm losing it (very long post)
sophiesdad Offline

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 462
Loc: Florida
Dear All:
I realize that there is a group for Sexual Identity Confusion and have also posted this message there, but I am also posting it here because there are other issues involved. I hope you don't mind the long post. Thank you.

Dear All:

I am new here and posted a very short question last night, but I have a feeling that I already know the answer. I feel like I am a crisis point and so I'm going to go ahead and post this while I have the courage. I will try to be as brief as possible.

I was a victim as a child of both overt and covert sexual abuse. I had a mother with Lupus and an absent father. Basically, I had become my mother's surrogate husband and was privy to information that was far too inappropriate for a child to hear. With her, there was no actual "physical" abuse - but rather the more insidious form of mental and emotional abuse. I became aware of all of this after Hurricane Andrew because I started to have severe night terrors (had them earlier, but not to the extent that I was having them at this point) almost nightly. I was showing many signs of an emotional breakdown. The psychiatrist that I was seeing at the time suggested EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) which opened up a major can of worms. All of the repressed memories started flooding back - both of things that I couldn't quite put my finger on and others that were quite clear. The ones that were "fuzzy" were of being molested by my mother's brother-in-law. Other situations with strangers were much more clear memories to me. However, as I guess is typical for survivors of sexual abuse, I do not remember very much of my childhood before the age of 12 or 13. I know that I existed and went to school, but nothing of details, memories, friends, etc.
Anyway, I found my way into a Male Survivor's group moderated by a psychologist where I live (after countless calls trying to find such a group). I was making progress until I had to have a 3rd back operation for degenerative disc disease. I was basically bedridden for almost 6 months in the interim of which the group had begun to dissolve because of funding problems for the program (the majority of fees were offset by a public grant).
I have kept in touch with one other member since then and am grateful for that contact because I still harbor so much guilt and shame that I cannot really share it with anyone else. The fact that I'm writing this now has taken a lot of inner strength to even put these things down in black and white.
Now a little medical background: I have had 3 back operations and countless procedures for my condition and currently have a morphine pump implanted which drips pain medication directly into the spinal canal to control the excruciating pain. This decision came after months of being so sick on oral medications that I was throwing up on a daily basis and having to take MORE medicine to offset the nausea and vomiting. Please understand, there is a reason for all of this background... the only solution to my problem is an artificial disk replacement at 2 levels which I am currently trying to find out if my insurance will pay for the operation.
Now, I come to the BIG issue - a huge pink elephant that has been sitting in my house for years and why I feel that I'm at a crisis point.
As I have read, it is common for many survivors of sexual abuse to have confusion about sexual orientation as well as have issues about sex in general. For many years I lived a gay lifestyle believing that I was, in fact, gay. As the music director at a church, I met my wife, who was in the choir. We were close friends, spent a lot of time together, and she knew completely about my history.
After about a year of being friends with her, I found myself having much deeper feelings for her and that confused me. I was completely open and honest with her. She also had strong feelings for me. She was the first woman with whom I had had intercourse with. I found it to be an OK experience and decided that I was probably bisexual. We ended up getting married almost a year later (BTW it wasn't until 10 years later that I became aware of the abuse). Our marriage got off to a rocky start because I had a large kidney stone a week before the wedding that was causing life-threatening complications (they didn't have lithotripsy at the time)and needed emergency surgery (left with a 14 inch incision).
The recovery from that took many months during which time we had no sexual activity. After that, sex became more and more infrequent until the point that it was an issue.
I willingly entered into therapy and found a therapist who recommended that I attend a two week intensive in-house program for co-dependent patients. It was in Pennsylvania. It was the worst time of my life and left me very raw and vulnerable. When I returned, I told my wife that I was gay and wanted a divorce because there was no hope of anything changing in the marriage. She was devastated by this, understandably so.
We separated for several months during which time she had become more self-assured and I continued in therapy. I felt myself being pulled back to her once again.
I believed that the whole "blowup" was the result of my usual pattern of running away from serious problems to avoid dealing with them. I felt that the gay issue added finality to this giving no one any choice. We came back together with the resolve to work on our sex life.
Things had begun to be OK again until I injured my back. I was lifting a PA speaker to place it on a tripod stand and felt a "pop" in my lower back. I didn't know it at the time, but I had ruptured the disc.
I won't get into all the details of that mess, just suffice it to say that the first operation was botched as the surgeon had left a shart of disc material embedded into the nerve root which not only required a 2nd operation to fix, but also left mild but permanent nerve damage to the point that my left leg reflexes are diminished.
Through all of this mess sex became less and less frequent to the point that we had nothing at all together. Hence, the development of the pink elephant in our house.
For the last 9 years by back has taken the forefront (no pun intended) because of debilitating pain, 3 medical leave of absences from work), countless procedures, thousands of hours of physical therapy and finally ending up in pain management because there was nothing more that could be done until the artificial disc replacement was approved by the FDA (approved this past October).
I finally sat down with my wife two months ago and said that I am willing (and I feel that we need) to see a marriage counselor. We are still wonderful friends and have a better relationship that 90% of the people around us. We care deeply for each other and I can't imagine life without her being a major part of it. However, we both agree that we deserve to be fulfilled physically as well as emotionally and if we are sitting in a situation that is not "healthy" for both of us, then we need to face that fact. We have both danced around it for fear of the consequences (we've now been married 21 years). I told her, though, that it is better that we face it now while we are both STILL young enough to rebuild our lives if we have to. We don't want to get to the point that there are resentments which will ruin the great foundation that we have despite all of the trouble we've been thru.
But, the issue of sexual confusion keeps rearing its ugly head inside of me. Most of the time, when I'm not in too severe pain and have been able to get enough sleep, my sexual attractions don't seem to be an issue.... I seem to accept them as a part of me and that I have chosen to forego that life choice for the marriage that I have now (BTW, I have NEVER cheated on her).
However, the past couple of months have been pure hell physically - my pain is tolerable during the day but night time is the worst. Pain wakes me up about every 45 minutes to an hour which forces me to get up and walk around and then fight to get back to sleep. I am therefore, sleep deprived to the max from fragmented sleep patterns. This lowers my ability to cope with life and the pressures that go along with it.
Though I am on an anti-depressant which has been controlling the depression, I feel that I am still depressed. This is when the sexual ambiguity starts flooding in again. I find myself looking at other men and the sexual drive is almost overpowering. GOD THIS IS SO HARD TO WRITE AND ADMIT! I feel tremendous shame and guilt when this happens.... I start having a flood of sexual dreams involving other men and I find myself fantasizing during waking hours. I avoid any situation which may trigger these feelings, but, let's face it - I have to live and work around people.
Then a million questions flood into my head - am I making the wrong choice by staying married? Does part of me truly need this type of sexual fulfillment (in a monogamous relationship)? Have I lied to myself all these years? Am I so screwed up that I don't know what I want, who I am?
I will preface the next statement by saying that I do not actively contemplate suicide, but I get despondent to the point that I wonder why I'm here on earth and what is the point of all this struggle?
It would be very easy for me to take an overdose of medication, but I realize that this solves nothing, would hurt literally hundreds of lives, and would give ultimate power over to my abusers - they would have won and I would have allowed it.
So, here I sit in pain, both physically and emotionally. I dare not share this particular set of feelings with my wife at this point because first, it would be a repeat of what happened 10 years ago and secondly, I am so confused and vulnerable at this point that I would NOT want to make any rash decisions or choices that I would regret later.
It's gut-wrenching, though. I have asked the friend that I have stayed in contact with from the survivor's group to meet me for lunch in the next week just so I can talk in "real time" with someone who understands and also shares similar confusion (he is also married).
So not only am I sleep deprived (which the doc is trying to work on helping me), but also in physical pain 24/7, feeling at times that I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown, irritable, overly-sensitive to other people's reactions and interactions with me, trying to avoid sexual triggers which bring on further confusion and trying to work every day in spite of all of this. The emotional component of what I'm going through not only dimishes my ability to tolerate pain, but is also bringing about other physical problems - I am developing a rash on my face that itches so badly that I almost scratch it to the point of bleeding. I saw the dermatologist who gave me cortisone creams and other medications, but they have not helped - I KNOW that this is emotionally based.
I really don't think that anyone in this forum will have any answers for me, but I just needed to unload some of this burden. I guess that I need the reassurance that I am truly not alone in this struggle and that I'm not completely screwed up. Maybe someone can please give me some objective feedback and/or observations. I'm even terrified to start up with a therapist again, because I have had such bad experiences in the past where, one psychologist in particular, projected all of her anger and opinions on me because she was going through problems with her husband who had SOME similar issues.
I can't go on like this, though. I know that if I keep repressing things that I'll end up in a hospital either from an emotional breakdown or my body will somehow shut down and force me to stop.
I am still angry at my parents, though I did have the start of some reconciliation with my father for being so absent when I was a child, but he passed away in the middle of that healing process. My mother died not speaking to me for almost 6 years. My brother (12 years to my senior) doesn't speak to me probably because he thinks I'm crazy.
The only stability that I have right now in life is my wife... she has been there through all of it and loved me in spite of my shortcomings. She is the LAST person on earth who I would want to hurt.
I am so sorry for the length of this posting, but there was so much background to give and so many supressed feelings that had to be put in a concrete form. There is so much more to my "history" that I could write for pages, but I will spare the group. I will gladly answer any questions and hope that someone has some observations and/or words of hope.

Thank you,

There are no unresolved issues - they just didn't resolve themselves the way we would have liked. "Grinder and Bandler - Neuro-Linguistic Programming"

#41929 - 05/01/05 01:29 PM Re: Feeling like I'm losing it (very long post)
lostcowboy Offline

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 798
Loc: Rhode Island
Hi Sophiesdad, I posted a reply on the Sexual Identity forum. Don't want you to think we are ignoring you, just because we don't have any answers. Take care of yourself. I got to get some sleep.

"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend." - Albert Camus
Pretty much my life as I have posted so far. Triggers!

#41930 - 05/02/05 02:49 AM Re: Feeling like I'm losing it (very long post)
PhillyPa Offline

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 64
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I read your entire post because I experience the same dilemma with same sex attractions and actually wanted answers like yourself. What ive learned is that you, like myself, had an absent or distant father. In my case, absent - with sexually and physically/mentally abusive male "role models". Like you, my mother molested me. But, i'm not married - younger, and have unhealthy attractions towards men.
Ive read alot about the topic and found (in MY case) that its related to negative interactions with same sex, and a yearning for positive interactions. I was picked on in school - called "fag", "fruity", etc. So, I never had positive same sex relationships. I attribute the feelings I have to this history of mine. I'm not comfortable saying, "i'm gay" or even, "i'm bi". I dont adore the male penis, i find it disgusting to think of one inside my mouth. My attraction is disordered in that its based on being dominated, tortured and humiliated by a much larger, stronger male. This is the fathering aspect magnified - but probably diluted with a disordered idea that only negative attention is attainable.
I think it helps to zoom in on your feelings for the same sex, instead of loosely defining as simple attraction. It helped me to define what it was, exactly, that attracts me. The internet has helped because, searching for websites that cater to these gratifications, Ive come across countless that did nothing for me. In fact, most do nothing for me. I see nothing in 2 men together who are skinny, good looking, young, etc. Its only surfaced recently that what i'm attracted to is largely taboo, sexually repulsive, pain (ive described enough, i think).
Ultimately, i had to figure out why i felt so guilty for enjoying it. And thats where I discovered that it's cause i'm hurting myself in this replay of my past that i'm beginning to quell. More on that in another post.
But, this is just my perspective towards feeling that way towards the same sex. I wont tell a gay man he is wrong, but I also wont tolerate one telling me to accept my unhealthy, self defeating attraction. If you feel guilty for it, find out why.
Hope i made sense, i know you did! good luck.

Who is this doing the synthetic type of alpha beta psychedelic funkin?

#41931 - 05/02/05 04:23 AM Re: Feeling like I'm losing it (very long post)
sophiesdad Offline

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 462
Loc: Florida
Dear PhillyPA:
I think you have a good handle on why you're experiencing your attractions. It seems like you're reliving the abuse if I am reading you correctly. I guess that this is the core difference - I wonder if the "definition" is what the emotional components are to attractions to either sex.
I just get VERY afraid that after 21 years of marriage that I made the wrong decision. Sure, I can abstain from impulses and attractions, but am I cheating myself out of being fully fulfilled? If so, at what cost? It hurts to think about it.


There are no unresolved issues - they just didn't resolve themselves the way we would have liked. "Grinder and Bandler - Neuro-Linguistic Programming"


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