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#530547 - 01/08/19 10:20 AM Re: Body's reaction to abuse not my orientation [Re: JamesM]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 4229
Originally Posted By JamesM
I don't feel my partner can fix me, but she can love me and I can learn to love and trust, something I needed to do as a child. This is helping me to engage in sex and enjoy the experience, but that is when I get most of the flashbacks.

James M

I think these words are so important. With love and trust come the ability to feel the emotions of sex. It requires love and trust from the partner as well as the survivor. It takes time and I found as I healed and was with someone who made me feel important I could love and trust. Yes the abuser was with me many times, sitting on my back depriving me of joy. He no longer is in the room, because most times I can get him out of my head.

The response of the partner is important to a survivor, how they react, how they respond and their words and many times lack of words are healing, their smile, their hug, their touch allows us to feel safe. I spent many years feeling unsafe because I was not healing, I was just getting by, fighting the abuse and abuser in my mind, feeling neglected and rejected only compounded the falling apart. I began to have syncope and the doctors after I told of the abuse long after being treated told me they had the answer, the abuse. I dissociated as I was continually triggered, I escaped being me to an unknown world. I could not feel joy in anything, touch, words-I felt an underlying negativism, a rejection, an abandonment and triggers that were abusive pushed me further away.

Getting back to having sex while in the present was difficult at first, a few casual encounters were fun but not fulfilling. The woman were kind and fun people but my emotions were not there, I was still struggling as I tried to heal. I was blessed and a woman with understanding of trauma took me to new heights of enjoyment. It was slow going at first and in time as I began to love myself I found joy and fulfillment.

JamesM you are correct no one can fix us, only we can fix ourselves by healing and accepting we were screwed up from the abuse. As someone said on the site, there are many emotionally messed up people in this world. I was one and have faced it and I can see and understand others who have yet to face their past, their issues because it destroys as I was destroying myself and others as I ran from the abuse and abuser.

As you said our past affects our future. I now believe as I understand my past, my present and future cannot deny the abuse and I do not need to let it control the present and future. All life events are part of our present and future. How we view these events, how we accept these events is how they influence our present and future.

I enjoyed reading your thoughts and I am sorry you suffered much as a child. I am glad to see you are finding joy in life. Your wife must be an extraordinary to be there for you.


#530619 - 01/11/19 08:43 AM Re: Body's reaction to abuse not my orientation [Re: JamesM]
EdfromNYC Offline

Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 368
Loc: New York City
Hey James M

I related to a lot of what you wrote. I'll pull out a sentence from your last paragraph that mirrors my experience.

The boy's abuse feels more invasive and affected me socially in ways that my father's abuse had not, perhaps because my father did not use threats, fear and violence to control me. I feel that my father's abuse left me an easy target for other abusers.

I was from an abusive, alcoholic family with a cold, mean father who didn't like me and a mother who had a host of issues. I suffered emotional abuse and neglect like you did from your father. That set me up to be abused. I was a "normal" boy looking for a father to see him and to care for him and to teach him and the only thing I got when my father looked at me was what felt like resentment. I went out of the home in search of male figures to see me and I was abused as a result of looking for normal needs to be met. And that sexual abuse outside of the home was more invasive and affected me socially in a way that just having an alcoholic father did not. I can separate the two now and it helps reading other men who are doing the same.

You and others on this thread have helped me with the idea of trusting women and that I can enjoy sex and intimacy with a woman or women. I'm ready for that to part of me to open up. I've struggled because I mistakenly thought since I had (past tense) old holdover imagery/flashbacks/impulses toward the repetitive sexual compulsion rooted in my abuse that I could never really be fully with a woman plus other terrible sex messaging from my mother when I was a boy (from every cell in her body she did not like or trust men) affected me and caused me to continue to "hate" other men and therefore myself for being a man. I was in catch-22. I am a man and I like being a man but I'm not allowed to be a man because men basically do bad things so therefore many of the things that I want to do make me bad and I can't be bad because that was the one thing that I wasn't allowed to be. But weirdly, my abuse (where I blamed myself) became a secret outlet for me to be "bad" and hide it there and then act like the good boy in public life. I lived a very split life for decades due to the secret abuse that I suffered. And that has had a grave impact on my social life.

Finally, after doing years of work on this stuff, years of therapy, years of 12 step work, I finally took a break from talking to everyone else. For YEARS, I kept desperately hoping someone would "get me" and then give me an answer. As I trust myself, I find that I knew the answer many years ago but I was set on convincing someone else of the answer that I found so that I might be understood. I was seeking to be understood and then taken care of by someone else. I think when I really started to understand that I have to take care of myself is when I really started to completely trust myself and stop looking for validation.

I ramble around but I need to write this stuff. I appreciate those who've come on here and opened up about trusting women and being sexual and validating my body's reaction not being my orientation. They can be two utterly and completely separate things. It is for each survivor to come to his own conclusions. I've done enough of that with silly therapists who are really, really limited in their knowledge of abuse effects but gave opinions on my experience that they weren't qualified to give but I bought into the idea that they knew more than me at the time. What a mistake! I've had good therapists on this stuff and bad ones and the difference isn't knowledge so much as compassion and understanding regardless of training. That's what I got here on this thread - compassion and understanding. I feel more understood and I feel the compassion as other men relate their personal experiences around CSA, sex within a partnership, healing.
And more, much more, the heart may feel,
Than the pen may write or the lip reveal.
Winthrop Mackworth Praed

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