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#423932 - 02/01/13 03:02 AM i thought it would get easier
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4230
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
when i first started reading stories and threads here on MS it was very difficult for me. so many triggers.

when i first started telling my story to my T, to my wife, and to fellow-survivors on these forums, it was very difficult too. so much resistance and a lifetime of shame and secrecy within myself to overcome.

with time, practice and exposure, it has become easier in some ways - i can be more open about my experiences, feelings and reactions to the past. i can now read and write without dissolving into an inert puddle of useless and incoherent pain.

BUT - one thing has not been easier. in fact, i think it has become more difficult. i seem to feel much more intense emotional empathy with those whose stories i read. it's not the same as being triggered. that to me means more like reliving my own memories, experiences and feelings which are reactivated by reminders or similar details in our stories. this is more like indentifying with and sharing their pain - even when their background or experience is quite different from mine. the focus is less on me - although i am the one feeling it and i wouldn't know how it feels without my own past, if that makes any sense.

i think this is a good thing in a way - i am becoming less self-centered and self-absorbed. but it is also often overwhelming - to be so sensitive to others' pain and other emotions. it remninds me of some sci-fi book i read with people who werer "empaths" that could read everyone's inner thoughts and feelings. in the book, some of them couldn't handle it and checked out finally. i think if other guys on MS get to this stage, it may be one reason some of them disappear from our midst.

anyone here know what i'm talking about? anyone know what comes next - beyond this?

How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#423937 - 02/01/13 05:13 AM Re: i thought it would get easier [Re: traveler]
cosmos Offline

Registered: 11/12/12
Posts: 191
Loc: Puget Sound
I dont think that having empathy has anything directly related to recovery from csa, some people, a lot of people never have it, just look around you, what was it Marie Antoinette said let them eat cake. No one, no human can be so unfeeling to seeing others starving to death and say something that is so offensive. Some years ago I started having nightmares again, brutal stuff, death, killing, just horrific stuff, it made me realize what a jerk I was and that I needed to change, how could I just stand by and let others suffer, I dont mean strangers but people I knew, I slowly became a different person. Ill give a $10 to the homeless panhandler, Ill leave $20 for the hotel maid, its just the little things, the personal things, its doing what little you can to make others journey in this world not so cold, not saying Im Mother Teresa or anything just I do what I can to help others out, you can see it when you look in their eyes. Its not the coldness of giving to some charity or something but making a little difference in someones life like the guy at the rest area who needs gas money or whatever, it doesnt matter if hes going to buy crack with it or whatever, its whats in your heart that counts. It helps to deal with the pain and atrocities I see and hear every day; its why I never watch tv anymore or anything like that. It is so overwhelming to realize how much pain is out there everywhere every day, and thats just the natural stuff, how many people are hurt and killed every day, let alone raped, you cant dwell on it youll be unable to function and its not healthy. You can only affect what little you can directly everything else is out of your control. Yes the stories here are tragic every one of them, absolutely horrific, every one of us knows how evil we can be towards each other, it is too much sometimes, its ok to take a break, youre only human.

I think empathy just means your human, really human, no I dont know what comes next, Im still dealing with the abuse, but please let us know what it is when you get there.

"it has never yet been discovered how to make man unknow his knowledge, or unthink his thoughts"

T. Paine

#423948 - 02/01/13 07:03 AM . [Re: traveler]
Life's A Dream Offline

Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 886
Loc: Bouvet Island

Edited by Life's A Dream (02/02/13 05:27 AM)

#423950 - 02/01/13 07:30 AM Re: i thought it would get easier [Re: traveler]
peroperic2009 Offline

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3856
Loc: South-East Europe
Hey Lee,
your post so much resonates with me.
I somehow get beyond my previous limits when dealing with others hurtful stories.
My T helped me a lot about it. We talked in way like she was giving me supervision and like I'm therapist who deal with clients. She said that it is alright to feel connected to others but I have to be careful when I react on something that I've read because of my own processes. If something like that happen I need to talk with her about it and give attention why I reacted and to search for source of my emotions.
I would add that my capacity has grown with time and trough some crisis, some were very painful and at the beginning I needed to get off line and avoid reading some stuff.
Just my two cents.

My story

#423968 - 02/01/13 02:03 PM Re: i thought it would get easier [Re: traveler]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
When I first found this site I was in extremis and untreated, spiraling downwards badly and gripped by my first out of control flashbacks. Reading stories in that condition was a terrible mistake. One particularly violent and terrifying one warped me in until I felt like I had to keep reading it to make sure the little boy wasn't killed at the end... and when I was done reading I'd have to re-read it to make sure he didn't get killed that time either... he would die if I stopped before the end. Over and over, had to read through to him not-being-killed... or else he would be, he would be killed if I left him there. The fact that he is a very much alive regular poster didn't matter. It reached a level that was both a symptom and magnifier of severe mental unravelling at that time. Since reconnecting with reality, I find the whole incident embarrassing - but what is this place except where you say embarrassing shit?

Once I'd stabilized, I reached out to the guy via PM and told him everything - apologized for in a sense intruding into his worst pains to try to turn it into some "Choose Your Own Adventure" weirdness. To his great credit he understood and even seemed grateful that at least I'd wanted to help.

I hope that didn't weird anybody else out too badly. I was really disintegrating in October, that isn't who I really am now or throughout my life.

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#423971 - 02/01/13 02:29 PM Re: i thought it would get easier [Re: traveler]
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1285

I understand about the difficulty of finally telling..I think we all identify. What has left me puzzled about my own experience with CSA and disclosure on MS is the rapidity in which my thoughts move from one perspective to another.

It took two and a half decades to even tell anyone. I came here in a real state of despair and anger toward the perp and a real sense of mourning about what I lost to him. After reading many painful stories, I decided to post my own. At first I thought my story was insignificant compared to many here. I was quickly assured that this is not an academic exercise---we are not graded on whose experience was "worse." The response was an outpouring of support for me--and validation that I needed to be here.

I'm now working on being less self-absorbed as well. As I progress, the empathy I already had is now growing into sympathy. that I am dealing with my own demons, I am not quite blinded so much the ones plaguing others---whether it's from CSA or anything else for that matter.

To quote Jackson Browne:

Doctor, my eyes have seen the years
And the slow parade of fears without crying
Now I want to understand
I have done all that I could
To see the evil and the good without hiding
You must help me if you can

I've got this life
And the will to show
I will always be
Better than before


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