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Junior

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Jun 24, 2005
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Hi to you all,
It is a pleasure to find a forum like this one. The idea that people get together like this to help one another with their emotional troubles is one good reason to have an internet.
On with the introduction...
I'm 44, from Arizona and had the kind of childhood that Dickens would refuse to write about. I have never allowed anything in my past to effect my present and have raised two well-adjusted daughters. (Although the real credit for that goes to my wife of 22 years.)
I find, as I grow older, that it's harder to leave my past where it belongs, in the past. Depression takes hold and I think about little else for a week or so until I can push it aside again.
Can you suggest for me a new strategy for re-alignment? Intellectualizing through these 'episodes' is getting tougher for me and I worry that I will get 'stuck' in a funk too deep to recover from.
I am not the least bit dangerous to anyone around me, but when I get this way, I am easily angered. I don't like being that way, and I wish I had grown up like Wally and Beaver, but I guess I'll just have to deal with it, somehow.
I appreciate your time and indulgence in this effort.
 

Junior

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Jun 24, 2005
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I was pretty vague about the whole Dickens thing, and I suppose this is as good a place to let loose and tell everything as any, being so annonomous. (sp)

My parents divorced before I was born, but after a New Years party, had to re-marry. It did not last long and the first of 7 stepfathers came into the picture.

My two older sisters were basically left alone by him, but for some reason, he felt it necessary to lavish his attention on 4-year-old me. I remember a time when sisters were getting ready for school, and as wew were finishing brushing our teeth, I dripped water on the basin-top by hanging my still-wet toothbrush in the holder. He beat me severely for having done so. The next morning, he beat me for drying the toothbrush before hanging it back up to avoid drippage. The following morning, I was beaten for not brushing my teeth at all in my 4-year-old effort to avoid a beating.

<edit by Admin: graphic details of abuse or violence can be triggering to other members - please review the forum rules>

Many step-fathers later, we were living with one of my Mother's boyfriends, I was 11 and they apparently needed money. I don't know the specifics of how a deal was struck, but I ended up being sold to a 30-something couple for 1200 dollars. When the inevitable sexual abuse started in this couple's apartment...

<edit by Admin: graphic details of abuse or violence can be triggering to other members - please review the forum rules>

If there is some advise you can give me, I would appreciate it.
Junior
 

lammers1980

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Oct 15, 2004
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That is a really sad story. It is amazing that you were able to overcome that an live up until now a fairly well adjusted life. Nobody should have to endure that kind of treatment. This is definitely a good place to go for some information and share with your fellow peers. I would encourage you perhaps to seek out a professional in order to share all your deepest issues and help yourself learn to not be so haunted by your past. The more ways you go after the problem, the better off you'll be.
 

Junior

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Thank you , SteveL. Having read a number of the stories on this forum, I agree that there are a large number of people with advise to share. And while I would dearly like to seek an in-person session with someone in the proper field, sadly, I can't do that as my carreer would not allow it. There are still some segments of society where even the thought of mental health issues is not something that can be tolerated.
I know this whole thing sounds absurd and dramatic, but there it is. This is the truth and the whole truth.
Having dealt with this my whole life, I have learned to cope, maybe through inattention, and up to now, it has worked for me. The problem is, that now, many years past the coping phase, the awful early years are somehow inculcating themselves back into my life. I don't understand why and I would like to go back to my prior state of ignorant bliss.
 

lammers1980

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Basically from what I know, you can repress memories for a while, but they will find sneaky ways to work themselves back into you concience, therefore one must deal with them head on and not try to hide that it has happened. If you saw a counsellor, they would be bound to confidentiality and you wouldn't have to tell anyone. Also, there must be laws preventing someone from being dismissed for such a thing.
 

Junior

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Jun 24, 2005
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SteveL,
Actually having the job is one aspect, having the job without official trust is another. Think of it in terms of the military. You will not be discharged from the military for emotional distress, but you will lose your security clearance, essentially dis-allowing you to perform your work. You get pushed off to one side and are given duties that could include washing dishes. You haven't been fired, but you don't have your job, either.
While I have no problem with people who wash dishes for a living, it's just not what I do.
If it is possible to achieve some level of relief with this anonymous forum, I will be, indeed grateful, but in the real world, there are repercussions and little official tolerance.
I appreciate your concern, and I in no way wish to pass aside your clearly useful suggestion, I just can't do that at this time.
Thank you,
Junior
 

lammers1980

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Understood, I had a feeling that you may have been in the military. While they have made some progress in this area regarding mental health issues, they are still far lagging behind other segments when it comes to dealing with this problem. I too have to keep my mental issues under wraps.

I personally view this as a shame because if servicemen(women) were able to discuss their problems as they arise before they get out of hand, without the fear of stigma and career stagnation, we would avoid many problems that you see arise in the armed forces.

The resulting culture of secrecy forces people to keep their mouths shut, thus causing people to wait until they either have a breakdown or go completely off the deep end and do something regrettable. A person who is actively seeking help for a problem is much less of a risk than someone who is timebomb waiting to explode.
 

Junior

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Jun 24, 2005
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First, let me apologise for the graphic nature of my posts. It was thoughtless of me not to take into account the nature of violence, even years past. It can create conflict in a person simply by coming into passing contact with it, but simply saying, "I had bad things happen in my past" does not convey the awful things that I deal with. What I wrote was a taste of my experiences as a kid and to skim over them in explaination is akin to calling a forest fire nothing more than a mishap with matches.
I was driving here just a few minutes ago and saw a little boy staring at the trees going by from the back seat of the rusting family car. My throat tightened at the look on the boy's face.Was he, like me, concentrating on the ten percent of life that has no pain or fear for him? Was he carrying secrets that he will carry for the rest of his life? I sincerely hope not, but in my experience, yes, he probably was.
I wish, sometimes that I could travel back in time and meet myself as that kid in the back seat. I would tell me that however bad it seems right now, it will get better. I would give him a phone number to call and a few words of advise that he may be able to use to deal with whoever was driving the rusty family car. But that's not going to happen, what happened, not just to me, but to countless other little people throughout history will continue. The defencless will continue to be overwhelmed by those they are supposed to be able to trust. Some will live through it, some will not. All that we as "survivors' as you call them can do is to make certain it does not happen to our own children. We will tell our children of the horrors that humans are capable of, and raise them not to be that way.
...
SteveL,
Thankfully, I am not a ticking timebomb waiting to go off, but I do wish for some comfort when the images of my past rise up to haunt me. Images that children all over the world are experiencing right now. Images that will haunt them, if they live through it.
It is a shame that some segments of society refuse to acknowledge that the pain is real pain when someone hurts, if only in their memories.
Junior
 

hugsy

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Dec 11, 2004
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6
maybe there is another way of dealing with your past. pushing it into the past can only work so far. i've seen many times, how people who've been through traumatic experiences find positive ways of dealing with it. a little over twenty years ago, a little boy was missing. his family searched, the news was alerted, everyone was looking for him. he was found dead, had been raped, murdered, dismembered and buried. his father was so shook by the experience, he reacted in the way he knew how...started a campaign for missing children. he then got involved with america's most wanted tv show. he took a very painful situation and used it to help others.
maybe you can't do it publicly, but maybe there are other ways you can help anonymously (sp?)...man, that is a weird word to spell. it might help you release or process the past.
 

lammers1980

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Messages
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I'm sorry Junior, if I gave the impression that I thought that you were a time bomb, I was really using the most extreme example of why I think the military should be more accomodating to those who need help. I certainly did not imply that that was your case.

I would imagine that what you are dealing with some sort of PTS issue, especially with the brutal abuse you experienced. There are a few forums in here I think you'd find useful, such as the "survivors" forum and the PTSD one. Also, perhaps if you find a book in the library or bookstore dealing with the issue of adult survivors of child abuse, you would find it helpful.

Oh, and also, welcome to the boards.
 

Junior

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hugsy,
What an interesting suggestion. The problem with child abuse is so pervasive, in comparison to what John Walsh went through, (not to dimish it in any way) I wonder if it even possible to make a dent. But I will keep that in mind, and maybe by writing, I can affect some kind of positive change.
...
stevel,
Thank you for directing me to the PTSD area. I've only read a few of the posts there so far, but it comes very close indeed to what I am feeling.
By the way, I meant no animosity to you for suggesting anything about "going off", I'm sorry if I gave that impression. Although I do worry about 'going off' in some other way; I worry that someday, I may just stop feeling anything at all. When good things happen, I tend not to react as I feel I should. By the same token, when bad situations arise, I tend not to let it bother me in the same way. A good attribute in some ways, as I've already dealt with bad situations and am able to keep a clear head.
Like the scars that I carry kept the whole 1200 dollar thing from going farther than it did, sometimes bad things can turn to help you out in some strange way.
 

HA

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Oct 31, 2004
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Welcome, Junior!

I'm so glad you survived what was an horrific childhood of abuse. I understand your need to talk about your experiences in graphic details but you can talk about it without being graphic. Were you sexually abused as well as physically? I think it is more difficult for men to acknowledge the deep level of pain such horrors would cause because our culture has an incorrect perception that men should be tough and able to handle anything, even as children. That would probably make it harder to heal.

I can't imagine that your personal mental health issues of childhood abuse would be open for scruntiny by any security measures. Would people actually not be allowed to work in high security positions because they have been abused as a child? That does not make sense. If you were having symptoms that would put people in danger or at risk then is it a position that any of us would want to stay in if that were the case anyway?

One option for more privacy would be an online therapist that functions anonymously. Does anyone know how that works or if it even exists? How would you pay for such a session?

Steve is right regarding trauma experiences coming up when it finds a time and place even if it's something that we hope has just gone away at some point. It would be good for you to talk to a therapist about how this has and is effecting your life.

Here are some links with information from the site for further reading on this topic.
http://www.psychlinks.ca/pages/survivor.htm

From the Men's Project here is a list of issues that are dealt with to lead you to recovery. They can be done in a group setting or through individual therapy.
http://www.themensproject.ca/index.php?ID=1&Lang=En

Contain post-traumatic stress
Manage regression and flashbacks
Integrate childhood memories
Express anger, shame, fear and other feelings safely
Address the impact that the trauma has on family relationships
Mourn one's losses
Take responsibility for one's behaviour
Become more aware of one's body and breathing
Practice self care, curb self injury and befriend the body
Develop and share a testimony describing the impact of the abuse
Practice trust building and develop mutual support
Integrate issues of sexuality and sexual expression
Rediscover fun and joy in life

Glad you joined us, Junior!
 

Junior

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HeartArt said:
I can't imagine that your personal mental health issues of childhood abuse would be open for scruntiny by any security measures. Would people actually not be allowed to work in high security positions because they have been abused as a child?
...
The fact of childhood abuse does not bother anyone, officially. It's only when is bothers you...
I would like very much to speak online with someone one-on-one about all this. It's an interesting idea, I will google that as an option. Thank you.
...
I will try to explain without the graphic detail.
3 years old- We moved constantly, usually ending up at my maternal (adoptive) grandparent's house. They would get fed up with us kids or my mom and off we'd go again.
4 years old- Controlling step-father punishes me severely when constantly new and numerous rules are broken. I wound up in the hospital, he in jail for two years. (These days, the guy would have gotten more cell-time, but this was 1964 and things were much different then.)
5 years old- Started school, did well, moved 3 or 4 times. Mom was an alcholic and could not keep a job.
6-10 years old- Mom is re-married I think 3 times, all alchoholics, abusive types. Went to 9 schools in 5th grade. (typical)
11 years old- Mom and live-in boyfriend need money, I am sold to a couple who are 'into' little boys for 1200 dollars. Am quickly returned as 'defective'. The couple got back only 900 dollars of their money.
15 years old- Drugs having been a very big part of my life for the past 4 years, I leave my mom to live with a male cousin and his family. They are too controlling, but essentially harmless.
16 years old- Go to live with my dad in Colorado. (the only state that will not prosecute dead-beat dads. He was not from Colorado, but that's why he moved there.) His wife hated me, so dad decided to 'do the right thing' for his only son. He and I moved out and took an apartment nearby.
18 years old- Graduated school, dad moved out of the apartment, leaving me to deal with it on my own. That was okay with me.
19 years old- Joined military, met wife, raised 2 girls.
36 years old- Found out that my maternal grandfather (adoptive) had raped my mother when she was a little girl. This explained her amazing selfishness. Also found out that when we were living at their house when I was 3, that my mother, in an effort to manipulate him into giving her money, offered up my then 4 year-old sister to him for sex. He accepted. It was this knowledge, at 36, that started my current crisis, I think, because up until then, he had been the only man in my life who never did anything wrong. He was the man that I patterned myself after, having only bad examples to choose from. I was devistated. He was the one who said the opening prayer at his lodge meetings, a lodge that helped people. He was my rock, my one example of what a 'proper' man was supposed to be. And he was the worst of them. I now have only myself for an example. My kids were never raped, abused or even exposed much to alcohol. They are the best thing I've ever done.
They are both grown, now and I wonder what will happen from this point. Forgive me, but I married my wife not out of honest to goodness love, but because she was the one who got pregnant. I guess that in my way, I love her, but it's not the kind that you should have for someone you're married to. I only stayed married up to now because it was the right thing to do. She is manipulative and selfish, bitchy and oppressive to me. But I find that I can't bring myself to leave her, as it would quite simply be mean. And I refuse to be mean.
 

HA

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What a sad story of your life. You would really benefit from therapy. You need to be living the most healthy and happy life that you can. A therapist will help you do this.

Here is a link to a list of online services. You could discuss the benefits of seeing someone in person and how you could work that out without feeling like you are risking your job with this person as well.
http://www.canadiancontent.net/dir/Top/Health/Mental_Health/Counseling_Services/Online/

I wonder if seeing someone in a different city than the one you live would help with your privacy?

Hope you get linked to someone soon. Let us know how you are managing.
 

Junior

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Jun 24, 2005
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HeartArt,
Thank you for the link, I checked it out, but the more I read about E-therapy, the more I think I will throw my hands up and see someone in person. I don't know what will happen in future for this decision, but hey, who ever knows, right? I need to talk to someone.
I am too bummed out lately to allow this to go on much longer.
Thank you.
 

ThatLady

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Nov 4, 2004
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>>I wish, sometimes that I could travel back in time and meet myself as that kid in the back seat. I would tell me that however bad it seems right now, it will get better. I would give him a phone number to call and a few words of advise that he may be able to use to deal with whoever was driving the rusty family car.<<

Seems to me that's exactly what you're doing, hon, in memories. The memories take you back to that time when you were young and helpless against overwhelming cruelty and rejection. However, the person who is remembering is an adult, with all the strengths that overcoming seemingly impossible odds have given him.

If you can keep yourself in the present, while visiting the past, you can give that lonely little boy the helping hand you so wish he'd had. You can comfort him, and give him hope. You can show him how it can be...how it will be. You can show him the children he'll have, and how well they turn out; the pride he'll have in them, and the empathy he'll show them throughout their growing years. You can help him by being the male role model he so desperately needed and could not find.

I hope you are able to get therapy. However, if you're not, learning to separate yourself from the child you were can help you use these dreadful memories to help to ease the pain of that little boy, who is still living inside you and crying out for love. Just love him.
 

ThatLady

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I'm wondering the same thing, Dr. Baxter. It seems to me that all the responses have shown understanding and empathy. I'm a bit confuddled. :eek:(
 

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