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#55830 - 07/23/03 01:20 AM Are you a machine?
outis Offline

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2261
Loc: Maryland USA
First of all, thanks to all the guys who wrote to disagree with some of the things I said in the "I'm Not Functional" post. There was an interesting undercurrent that seemed to be present in a lot of the things you guys wrote.

I treat myself like I were a machine. I act sometimes like I "accept input" and "process it." Other times I act as if I believe my body is capable of working like a machine, without rest. I don't mean that I would deliberately wear out a machine, but I can "put my body on autopilot" and sometimes actually suffer injury as a result.

I live in my head a lot. Having worked with computers, I sometimes imagine my thought processes are like a software system, with different parts sending/receiving messages and responding to inputs to generate the outputs to pass along.

I'm beginning to wonder if there are healthier ways to think about myself. For one thing, maybe I could picture myself as mind and body, or even better, mind, body, and spirit, in a single package. Maybe my legs are not pistons, and the pain in my knee when I walk/run too far is important and not a "distraction" I should ignore. And the whole input-process-output thing in relation to my mind is pretty childish, isn't it? It's a form of dehumanizing myself.

Do you sometimes see yourself like this, as a machine that should respond according to some specifications?



"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

#55831 - 07/23/03 01:42 PM Re: Are you a machine?
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
Hi Joe,

Am I a machine?

Maybe one that's in need of a major overhaul. ;\)

That's not really a good way to look at the way that I treat myself. Because I'm a lot more complex than any machine ever made.

In the years following the sexual abuse, I continued under, certain circumstances especially, to treat myself as if I were able to just shrug things off.

Sort of like I had no feelings. Like the way the abuser treated me. Like an object or a machine, to be turned on and off at it's owners pleasure.

I developed a hard veneer that I used to cover up all the hurt, confusion and sadness I felt inside.

I guess that would be like the box surrounding the inner workings of my computer--the shape and construction have almost nothing in common with what is inside.

It's easy for me to want a quick fix for problems related to sexual abuse. It has been very helpful to me to read over and over again that issues related to child sexual abuse are best referred to professionals with training specific to the area.

If I were having car troubles, I sure wouldn't try to remove the transmission and scope it out--especially while cruising at 70 mph down the highway. That could get a little dicey--and me, sitting at home alone trying to diagnose and treat something as major as CSA is pretty dicey too.

OK, OK, I know that some of us have a fair amount of experience with psychology and therapy and car repairs and stuff like that, but

Do you know of any doctors that remove their own appendix while going out to down to dinner?

I guess my point is that I actually can treat myself worse than I treat my machines. I expect some sort of super invincibility from my self that is totally unreasonable. \:o

I wanna think that if I can just ignore the problem, it will go away. Yeah like that loud thumping coming from under the hood of my car.
I ignored it and the noise went away...when my engine blew up and quit running. \:o

Seriously, there's not doubt in my mind that the SA had a dehumanizing effect on me.
I expected that I should be able to recover from the trauma of being raped by just ignoring it, for example.
Human beings, as a rule, can't do that. Maybe I figured that if I could then I wasn't human.

I like the concept presented in the Male Survivors; 12 Step Recovery Book. The guy outlines 6 Life Areas in which we are most affected by the sexual abuse. Then he suggests assembling a team of resources to work on each area.

That gives me an idea of how most knowledgeable people view the complexity and difficulty of treating this trauma.

I guess I would have to say that for me to treat myself as a machine was probably a step up from the way I didn't get any help for so long.

But now, like you, I begin to see the need to think of myself and act towards myself in a gentle, kind, loving way.

One exercise I use is to keep a picture of my beautiful two and a half year old niece, Caroline, with me in my wallet.

When I know I'm going to be in stress, I take her picture out and imagine how I would be with her if she were hurt or in distress.

I imagine how I would feel sorry for her upset and sadness, how I would hold her and comfort her I would reassure her that everything was all right.
With her, I would do these things first and then do the worry about exactly what happened, when, why, where etc. much, much later.

That's not the way I am with my hurt. First I have a tendency to look at how I can blame myself or someone else. Then I get angry and yell.
I know that wouldn't help Caroline feel any better. I know that it doesn't really comfort me either.

So instead I try to take the attitude I would want Caroline to experience and then turn that same love, gentleness and soothing towards myself.

It has worked for me before, especially with my fear of flying.

Thanks for the reminder that how I see myself and how I treat myself is a big factor in how the world and I interact.

I needed to be reminded how wonderfully complex a creature I and you are. I believe God is who created me and he's going to have a big part to play in fixing what ails me.

Your bro',

"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

#55832 - 07/23/03 05:16 PM Re: Are you a machine?
Cement Offline

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 740
Loc: Southern California
I definitely have treated myself as a machine.

In fact, the care I take for myself is more like routine maintenance to avoid breakdowns. I push it too hard, run it without an oil change, and definitely need to let the engine cool down some right about now, but, as the poem goes, there are "...Miles to go before I sleep."

I need to humanize myself.


And let the darkness fear our light.

#55833 - 07/23/03 05:28 PM Re: Are you a machine?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
If you saw the way I treat my own machines then you'd have serious doubts about me 'as a machine' :rolleyes:

My competition off-roader's are nothing like the shiny Baja Racers, mine have no straight panel work, especially the roof ! and are patched to hell with any bit of tin I can find.
My road / tow motor is nearly as bad, it's seen plenty of off-road action and has so many dents I don't care. I primered half the bodywork - five years ago ! Primer is porus, so it's now green with a layer of fungus and mould :p

But for a living I'm a maintainence engineer, and both these trucks run perfectly, there's always fresh oil in them and they rarely let me down.

Which is a bit like myself I suppose, a bit ragged but doing ok all things considered \:D


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#55834 - 07/23/03 08:42 PM Re: Are you a machine?
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I dont know whether I treat myself like a machine. Sometimes I work it too hard and keep it awake to long but since January I have been treating my body like I will never get another one, which I guess is true.

But I do know that for much of my life I actually was a machine. More specifically a robot. Push that button; here is the response or action. Push another and another and so on and so on. From the time I was living on the street till I sought healing I went through life as a robot. Being what I thought was a good father, husband and employee. Actually I was an alcoholic until I turned 36, physically re-enacted my abuse and life on the street as often as the urges occured, ranted and raved at my wife and bosses and daughter. Went ballistic over the smallest things. I was passing through with very little emotion except my desperate need for attention and to belong

My coping skills sure did not do much for my selfesteem but them robots are not capable of independant thought.

Now I still get the urges but can slam them in the ass and do the same thing to my evil temper



#55835 - 07/24/03 09:26 PM Re: Are you a machine?
doctorfrau Offline

Registered: 04/11/03
Posts: 60
Loc: West Virginia (NOT western Vir...
Probably shouldn't respond in this forum, but I had to say something...

Once when I tried to apologize to my friend Geraldo over some perceived slight, he said to me, "You can't hurt me. I am a machine. I have no feelings."

It was spooky to see this topic headline.

"...your choice, is what to DO with the time that you are given."

#55836 - 07/25/03 12:23 AM Re: Are you a machine?
martin Offline

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 229
Loc: The Good Earth
Hi Joe,

I kinda think the oppisite sometimes, that I wish I was a machine. I go through so many emotions and thoughts in a day that it can really wear me out.

Often when I see someone who seems so consistant, and machine like I'm envious. Wish I could be like that.

I don't really want that very deeply, just passes by sometimes.

You aren't a machine though! Can a machine feeling caring and concern for his fellow survivors? Or feel pain and sympathy at just seeing the pain of others? No way!

You have those things.

Take care my brother,


Its times like these we learn to live again,
Its times like these we give & give again,
Its times like these we learn to love again,
Its times like these time & time again.
-The Foo Fighters

#55837 - 07/25/03 03:40 PM Re: Are you a machine?
outis Offline

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2261
Loc: Maryland USA
Once when I tried to apologize to my friend Geraldo over some perceived slight, he said to me, "You can't hurt me. I am a machine. I have no feelings."

First off, have fun on the bike-a-thon. Get some air and exercise.

You know, when I read your comment I was a little surprised. The "I have no feelings" idea was in my head when I started writing, but somehow never made it into my post. Not that the stuff I wrote was unintended. But the machine metaphor that has plagued me includes the idea that I do not feel, or can disregard my feelings completely.

So, it was kind of spooky for me to see "the rest of my post" in your de>
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse


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