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I think I've found a trigger
August 3, 2004
10:15 pm
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Worried_Dad
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I have decided that I have a trigger scenario waiting to be tripped. I Didn't used to feel or react this way. I do now.
I think I am hypervigilant to "messages that command me to shame" particularly about sexuality.

I think it is a "trigger" because small energy results in the release of a huge amount of emotional energy. Which I have to learn to deal with. But it is better than being ashamed of being a Human Being.

August 4, 2004
9:11 am
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Juanita
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Did I contribute to this with our teasing WD? I am so sorry if I did. The last thing you need is to feel shame.

My deepest apologies....

You are a great guy. Please think thought instead...

((( WD )))

Juanita

August 4, 2004
11:40 am
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eve
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What's the bigger problem?

Bing denied the liberty of sexual expression?

Or being told how you should feel? Thats a very tough one for me - and its often so subtle, or seems so 'normal'. So I often need a lot of time to realize that its happening.
After all, commercials tell us all the time how we should fee, and what we need for that. Lots of people do it, sometimes it is even considered to be the polite thing to do (example: if you rather say "you'll want to change ..." that "I think you better should change ..." some people might think that is polite - but its kind of sneaky and manipulative, too)

August 4, 2004
10:04 pm
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Worried_Dad
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I think the big issue is being made to feel as if I should be ashamed, feeling humiliated.

You know, when I was a little boy, I really wanted to be a good boy. But it was amazing how often adults used shaming or accusation and how much that hurt. Why would an adult want to make a child feel....small?

Sexuality-wise, growing up I did hard time in the Deep South raised mainly Babtist. Somehow the Devil stuff soaked in.

Going to College cured me of that, but "A" would sometimes hurl accusations at me, and call me names that made me feel ashamed.

I remember once "A" and I were taking a nice candlelit bath together, as was our custom. She casually asked me if I thought that one of our (very married) female friends was pretty, to which I foolishly said "yeah, very pretty. Why do you ask?" At which point she sprang up to standing position, soaking the bathroom, and screamed "WE'RE THROUGH!" That bizzarre fight lasted for hours--and if I remember right involved me getting choked and kneed in the groin. Afterwards, I had a pounding headache and vomited. Headaches often make me throw up. Sorry to be so graphic.

Really, I might have tolerated "A's" occasional roughness and assaults, even the ones involving firearms (I had little in the way of belief in my own vulberability in those days) but it was the way she resorted to making me feel small and helpless and worthless, and the insane jealousy that finally drove me away.

You know, I can't believe I put up with all that.

Later in my life "D" turned out to have the same pattern of relating to me in a controlling, manipulative, disrespectful way. Hitting was part of that pattern, just like with "A." Actually quite a bit more because "A" only punched me once and never slapped me. "A" liked to rassle.

"A" was a passionate, firey woman who wore her heart on sleeve and couldn't tell a lie to save her life. "D" though couldn't really "take me" physically like "A" could. But "D" on the other hand, didn't seem to be able to tell the truth or keep a promise to save her life.

"D" was a Master Machiavellian manipulator ofindividuals, small groups, families and communities. She had at least as much training in psychology as me, but that only seemed to give her more weapons and tools of manipulation.

And among her strongest weapons were accusation and shaming and jealousy. While she was "courting" me she would basically try to coerce me into renouncing my relationship with "C" by saying I was a sexually perverted for preferring to partner with a woman who was older than me. She would occasionally end her argument withput me down with something close to "well, you're not really a very good catch anyway." As I've said, her wooing technique left much to be desired. That was a joke.

And then in the final two years of our relationship (long after "C" or any woman was way, way out of the picture) she really escalated the frequency and intensity of the same accusation, in a hundred variations, accusations, jealousy.

At the same time she began letting me know in many ways that I was just not sexually attractive to her. "I can't believe I was ever attracted to you. You're turning into an old man before my eyes. You aren't attractive to me or any woman." It was so strange. Five years of her wanting to make love twice a day. Then on Monday I was ugly. Why did she give up her apartment and move completely in with me if she didn't want to be with me?

Being accused of something I was not guilty of. Having what were good things about me turned around and made into a shameful thing.

Here's perverse, sadistic crazymaking part: All the while she was swearing up and down that she was in love with me,that our family was important to her, that she would never dream of breaking up our family and so forth.

Maybe it doesn't seem like a big deal to you guys, but two years of it and I was....Desperately trying to be obediant. It not being good enough. Crying almost every day. Auugh.

My healing, such as it is, has been to develop a hypervigilance to certain controlling behaviors, or triggers that remind me of the pattern that lead to my developing some version of battered syndrome. At least I recognize the pattern.

It would be important to continue to develop my ability to dostinguish friend from foe. Theoretically, I can learn to calm down my hypervigilance and not bite the heads off of basically well-intended friends, relatives, coworkers and site coordinators who inadvertently trigger my defenses.

August 5, 2004
12:28 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Hi Twinks,

RE PE: Can't believe you still remember that one. No urologist, me. Of course one treatment doesn't fix every condition. I have read lots of accounts of women (seems like it always women who take the initiative on this one)who have succeeded using the squeeze technique. Never heard from one who said it didn't work, what next.

So I don't believe that no man can be a failure, but I have found that I harbored some unconscious assumptions about masculinity.

One is that I observe that I complained very little about the battering--I complained about the stupid conflict that surrounded the battering. Another is that I notice I am very resistant to see a doctor for "minor" injuries or illness, and for a long time found it hard to attribute injuries to a woman. "Oh, that was just an accident."

I don't think most men are predators, or that predation is central to male sexuality. Certainly not true in my case.

I was raised mainly by my Mom and Grandmother--two very powerful women. So I guess I was socialized that women wear the pants in the family. Of course now I'm an equality feminist and don't "consciously" believe that anymore, but it got me into trouble for a while there.

August 6, 2004
11:04 pm
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free
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I see this all too often as a teacher. Kindergarten- kids don't walk, they run, everywhere. So excited to learn. They ask, and they ask, and they ask. They love their teachers.

High School. When I get them. Day one: I'm their enemy. They are afraid of me. They hate school. They think they can't do math. They think they are failures. They come in with blank faces. They don't speak, usually not even to each other. Takes time to build their trust. Then, it takes everything I've ever learned about life to convince them, just a little bit, that they are valuable, capable, worthy of my time and my efforts. And anything that's left is used to help them believe they are worthy of all people's time and efforts.

Because they are.

You'd be surprised how difficult this task is to achieve. If they learn a little math along the way, I feel I've done something.

free

August 7, 2004
1:10 pm
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Juanita
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The push for ever increasing "modern technologhy & conveniences" have, in my opinion, sabotaged the family values system. Woman's equality movement has done its fair share too.

Don't get me wrong - modern conveniences and a woman's right to be heard, valued & equal to a man are very important.

Somewhere along the way though - we lost site of what was most important - our families. Did we create this problem within society, or did society create it within the household?

Either way - compare the values of the past to today.

In the past, families worked the land together, children by their parents side. Families spent the evening hours together doing simple things - sewing, reading, teaching their children about life. The family worked and lived together as a unit. The family went to church together, and moral values, respect, and honor were of high importance. Women were able to stay home and took pride in their homes. Their "job" was to make sure everyone was fed, clothed, and the house clean. They were home for their children, like my mother was. Snacks were real carrots and cellery sticks, apples, pears, homemade brownies or cookies, or a bowl of jello.

Today, due to the economy, most families have two working parents. In my house, I work 1 job and my spouse 2. Single parents often have to work two jobs to afford food, rent, and car. Children that we love so much are sent to daycare where another person is entrusted to instill such values as love, generousity, patience and inquisitiveness into our children. Some daycare providers have out right told me, it is NOT their job to be teachers. (Excuse me? Yes it is.) It angers me to no end that some day care providers have the attitude that all they have to provide is snacks, lunch, and shelter. Their entertainment is the TV.

Today, after a long day at work, the parents pick up their children, and go home to "work" around the house. You have no idea how guilt ridden I am to come home and love, kiss, and squeeze my children, and have to find the time to cook dinner, do laundry, bathe the children, help with homework, and then it is bed time. The duties of everyday living suck away the time faster than we know & realize. How many nights have I come home, tired from the 8-5 job, to have my daughter start in with 1000 questions? How many times have I said, please, honey, let Mommy have 5 minutes of quiet time to get her head straight? How awful do I feel for every time I say that?

Yeah, sure, I love my van... it only takes 15 minutes to get to local shopping. But, think of the joy we are missing from hooking up a horse & buggy and spend time enjoying nature, chatting with our kids.... the days when going out to the store was a treat and adventure (not just a chore).

We take so many things for granted now-a-days. No time for children's inquisitiveness - or they get sucked into the mindless entertainment of tv while parents do their household work.
To make up for our guilt at our lack of time, parents buy their children all sorts of toys - instead of taking out the old box of games and teaching our kids checkers, mancala, old maid, or some other game that involves quality family time. Buy them a Game Boy so they can entertain themselves... It is a struggle to maintain a "Wednesday nite is game night" and "Sundays are family time".

I wish I didn't have to work. I wish our household could survive on ONE income (not have my spouse working 2 jobs). Then, I could be home, taking care of MY children, cooking REAL meals (not pre-package, processed food), helping with homework, teaching the qualities I want to instill, going to church on Sunday.

Many feminists will probably hate me for this, but I really hate that society has in essence removed the Mom from the home and put her into the work place.... and has eliminated the choice of whether or not doing such is what the family wants to do. My choice is go to work to provide a better life for my kids, or not be able to have a home, and still live a poverty lifestyle.

Every child deserves love, time, and attention. Every child needs to know they are loved, important, and precious. Every child deserves a happy home, complete with loving and happy Mom & Dad, where every member of the family has an important voice in decision making. (we always ask our daughter for her input in family decisions)

I honestly think society needs to take steps BACKWARDS in time to regain the values that were lost, and still be able to keep our mini-vans.
Once we have re-put the value and time back into the family, I think our children will be happier, our families will be happier.

Maybe I am too simplistic and view the 50's as an ideal goal to re-achieve in certain ways... but I also think I am right. Now, to get there...

August 7, 2004
4:16 pm
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Juanita
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Thanks for asking Twinks -

I am feeling & doing better, but doubt I will ever be the same. Something deep within myself has changed and still plagues me. Wish I could forget someone and somethings, but I can't as of yet.

I have discontinued counseling and anti-depressants. Having a go at this on my own.

Rassling with myself, my insecurites, and self-worth. Still uncovering, discovering the new me. Finding what I like and dislike, molding, shaping and healing.

We shall see what the future holds, how my heart, brain and soul deal...

Ever a work in process I guess! 😉

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