Finding Self

Where is self?

The pain, emotional and physical,
has shown demanding intolerance,
there will be no denying its existance,
pain’s presence invokes omnipresence.

Aroursed to fight… or flee,
loosed demons that betray,
voices, internal dialogue,
unvanquished torment!

Survival’s demanding sources,
doling out more pain… persistant
tolls on body and mindfulness,
dampened soul, like deadened sound.

The silence hurts beyond limits,
hurling to our body memories,
flashbacks, dissociations
intended survival, walls to self.

Where is “self” hidden now?
In what room of the fortress?
Will doors be opened upon request?
Go seeking, a journey, a quest to self.

Childhood Sexual Trauma therapies and experience. Sharing welcomed.

I am in a region where many types of therapy are in high demand and therapists abound. It’s hard to find one who is available, and well trained. There are many who need therapy for what I’m dealing with, here’s a video to expose the reason: Video about male childhood sexual assaults and rape.

Here’s a story, similar to mine, about the evil of being taken advantage of and subjected to rape as a minor, age 16, by two men I had met that evening. A story of childhood rape.

I have found, that my connection with my therapist, her willingness to get to know me, and especially my idiosyncrasies has given the best results. I’ve experiences from about a dozen therapists in my lifetime, and some 3 or more psychiatrists. I’ve seen she takes her training seriously, and knows my need to question how things work, so I know what to expect. It has been instrumental toward the progress I’ve realized thus far.

I’ve also studied Janina Fisher, Pat Ogden and Bessel Van Der Kolk among others, to understand what my mind and body are going through. Here are therapies I’m now aware, please review: A video about the importance of Sensorimotor Therapy

I’ve mentioned EMDR therapy in a previous diary: EMDRIA, and overview.

Here’s a video about Polyvagal theory.

Dissociation and childhood trauma therapy: An overview of Dissociation.

A therapy unknown to me, but on my radar is Neurofeedback via brain mapping:

An overview of Neurofeedback therapy.

 

A video explaining Internal Family Systems therapy.

Depression, self loathing, dissociation, and the effects of survival mode with body reactions are entwined in all this. Every survivor has parts to heal that move toward healing, protecting, or escaping, but somehow with the hope of thriving. I know the therapy work, studies and research, writing, advocating for myself are helping me with healing. I share to interest others in finding what helps themselves, comparing to my experiences if they wish. I share to be relatable and I’m open to listening to others, to validate their experiences, and share in community.

 

The parts I’m working on need safety to heal, to deal with all the above. I’m doing things for my youngest memories to my older youth, it’s called Internal Family System and relates to a lot of me. The connection of my parts, my inner children, a sense of my internal family system, linking the depth of my parts to their trauma, neglect, bullying, molestation and rape, is this added description and next link :
Janina Fisher helps describe therapies

I have spent a lot of time on parts, the IFS therapy. It’s been important especially because I’ve been blocked from seeing my inner self by dissociation. That’s where I block a problems source and its affect on me. The revelations were profound, especially self loathing and need for self love. It’s physically felt with sometimes visceral intensity, so my therapist also taught me self care. She worked with Sensorimotor therapies that sought to bring to my core, what small love could be built with the work.

Metaphor describes the work: It took months for me to fix a massive hole in the bucket of my core, unable to build any beginning of self worth. The internalized loathing so deep, I wished not to be, that I wasn’t worth to be. I cried and cried… I couldn’t stop and she (my therapist) let me, and guided me back, showing me a few tools that helped build some self worth. It’s then that I began to see myself and my parts, thereby realizing the depths of trauma in my mind, and felt by my body. The dissociation had hid to much from me. The work leads me to accepting my parts and their past traumas.

I continue my work, accepting, because I’ve discovered all these things. This journey has ups and downs, memory triggers and trials of pain. To me, there’s the lessening of that impact, finding my brains way of rewiring the circuits to build ways I can cope. There are those, who will find this work extreme, and too difficult. There needs to be hope, and study, and small steps that their next therapy can help get them there. Small steps are key.

My therapist has some intuitive connection to what makes me tick. She’s begun using buzzing paddles, toward small experiences of fear and rage, etc…. I’m to take a single memory and visualize, see connections to me, but to visualize it up on an imaginary screen. She wants it like a movie is playing to disconnect it from the part of me that owns the memory, it’s to make a safe space. While I do that, she’s asking: “what do I see?” and my imagination is excellent, it’s a gift and helps my discovery of the unknown, to unlock old fear. This fear has been lurking with my hyper vigilance, and triggers fight, flight, freeze, fawn, submit or attach Survival Mode responses.

One session for a fear memory, seeing a particular fear, and what it looked like to me, became intense. I started by creating a mist on the imaginary screen; it roiled, it moved, as if alive, tendrils, swirls, masses of something moving. It was white/gray/yellow/orange, and I didn’t know what it meant. That mist/fog was all I saw at first. Then I saw the nightmare, a scene in the mist. I had that nightmare when I was about 6 and it may trigger you? In the nightmare, I am barely holding myself up at the surface, having fallen into a hole, and hands grasping my ankles, pulling me down. This time though, with some vengeance, with anger as the adult seeing me at 6, I imagined my adult self intervened, and got in there trying to attack what was attacking me.

My therapist uses regular intervals to stop and ask what I see and suggest things. That nightmare was intense during my youth, and recurring irregular times over my lifetime. The nightmare memory was putting me into a strong physical reaction, so we went back to that mist. I was having blocks, other emotions invading the space. We ended it when she directed me to put it all away in my safe storage, which we had set up in our earliest sessions.

I will say, I think I’m still a fearful man, but, maybe seeing that mist nightmare, and my adult intervention, it’s allowed me to feel less fearful and understand why I feel fear. I had no connection to a caregiver that relieved my fears. I managed by not thinking about them, and that led to dissociating.

Rewiring is the purpose of this and many therapies; to engage my thinking brain. To take a part of wiring from the survival mode part of my brain and rewire to my Frontal Cortex region. That’s the thing about these types of therapies, it’s for interrupting the circuit I had about fear, and seeking to find new circuits for processing fear.

If you’ve questions or reactions, ask/comment below if your moved to? I ask you consider this topic, and why I share; it’s intent is to help others while sharing what’s helped me.

Thank you community, for your consideration and care.

Thinking out loud 2…

There are many people who inspire me. @thefawz for standing up for a kid being bullied in a restaurant (staged), @contrapoints for her honest channel, wit, intellect and live stream, rserven because she mentored me toward my narrative voice (not knowing it), and others. It’s obvious my life is now being on the edge of a community of Trans People, and perhaps LGB issues, I have been following Trans issues. Does reading, advocating, and watching their considerations encourage me to be myself? I also have a very strong connection to an online community of survivors (now grown to 2), where the first community validated me.

 

What started my narrative online is validation. I have a nagging doubt that men who are unexposed to nuanced humanity will evolve their rigid biases over time. To me, that’s why we have Trump (arggghhh, enough of him!) That group of online men has kept me stable in validation, and that vital role in being connected like that, is everything!

 

Jumping back to Trans Women, I saw the movie “A Fantastic Woman” yesterday, it came to a nearby venue. The movie is an emotional rollercoaster, a drama where Marina and Orlando open the film with their love, and Marina carries on to the end. Her resilience reminds me of how each of us move through our own drama, and seek help or solace in our way. The character Marina played by Daniela Vega draws us into her most intimate experiences:

 

I went to the movie alone, I do too many things alone. My interests are humanity, and evolving self determination, and I ponder a great many things. I’ve stated I have a bad memory, and having such a busy mind, I write this note of that being contradictory. I may reconcile what that means in time, perhaps dissociations have devolved my memory? How, odd, I can write for days about my life, and experiences, I can give more detail, I recall so much, but, to recall someone’s name, or any name of something when I need to, often fails me. I could never remember equations either, nor code, nor some rules of grammar and spelling. Sigh…. Ok, boring you!!

 

When I started reading rserven is when I could see more about being myself. I have suffered body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), it’s untreated, and undiagnosed, even to this day. I don’t want to talk about. Then why am I writing about it? It’s what I do, I write. There’s no specific connection to being Transgender and BDD, because Gender Dysphoria (GD) isn’t a mental illness, BDD is. There are mental health issues that can manifest for someone with GD, and they’re no different than many other people. Depression, anxiety, ADD, OCD, and other. Anyone can find something to be concerned about their mental health at some point in their life. Whether they’re in tune with themselves to know it, that’s always in question.

 

I’ve been fortunate to have online access since around 1997, and I’ve learned a great deal. I’ve also remained sober since March 20, 2000. When I consider the humanity I embrace it’s evolved with learning and sobriety,  but I see some conflict moving forward. I have very few friends I talk to, and no acquaintances whom I visit unless they’re at some friends dinner party. I’ve not been to one of those for many years now. I’m not seeking connections (though think about it all the time), so to remain isolated doesn’t seem conducive to moving forward toward whatever that means.

Ok, maybe next time I’ll ponder what “moving forward” means?

Rape culture is offensive to me, This may trigger survivors, please be concerned for yourself.

Please, deep breathing may be necessary to finish this blog post.


I’ve been reading a lot these past couple of months, and recent weeks have been very active. I’ve been seeing sexual assault through new lenses, and working for myself, and now, toward healing and helping others. I didn’t know much about pushback until last night. I ran across FACE in my local (this past Sunday) newspaper. The sections included the actions concerning a Gustavus Adolphus campus rape allegation, and results (that link I found), this is the newspaper link: StarTribune Womyn’s Awareness Center pushback to campus Title IX actions.

It seems the early work in March of this year by Gustavus Adolphus students has led to a Sept 2nd, 2016 posting for a full-time Title IX staffer and I found it’s been going on around campus’ for some time Title IX jobs on campus’ around the U.S.

It’s “FACE” that caught my attention. Because, Sherry Warner-Seefeld and her FACEBOOK feed SAVE bothers me as much as FACE does. FACE was started by Sherry and two other mothers. She’s a mother whose son was accused of an on campus rape. The actions of FACE and their facebook feed SAVE are exacerbated by another group calling themselves COTWA or the Community of the Wrongly Accused

To those 3 entities, add:  a model for action at Help SAVE our Sons; suing the schools and or victims, maybe law enforcement, etc… but sue them they do. Sherry is one of three founders, and they got the aid of Judith Grossman as another founder. Sherry thinks Campus investigation methods are witch hunts, and denying due process, creating more victims . What? A big part of the problem she foments, is the [he said vs she said] paradigm. It foments denying the reports victims! In the case of Sherry’s son, they actually achieved an arrest warrant for her son’s victim! Wow?! So, in my opinion, she’s now a double+ victim, and her son is enabled to make the excuse: alcohol is a defense to rape!! That’s horrific! Their tactic, FACE, SAVE, COTWA and others, is to build doubt of the victim’s word,  repeated denial and fomenting doubt, until it becomes true to them (Sherry and her son), but horribly, it may then become true for others and lunatics. There are plenty of lunatics.

What lens do you dear reader, think the public, Title IX coordinators, administrators and others who work on these allegations could look through to make progress ensuring safety, integrity, avoid revictimization of the rape victim, and foment support for rape victims rights? We know the [he said vs she said] paradigm is flawed, and the first step is to draw the line where rape victim rights vs accused are in line with a just outcome. Which means the rapist must have a police report filed against them, and why wouldn’t a judge be involved. The police have obstructed justice for the victim too often, and even if I grudgingly respect where Sherry, Judith and others are coming from as mother’s standing up for their children, It’s reprehensible to disregard the rape culture they’re not addressing. The problem of campus rape and many other forms of sexual violence is epidemic. Their push back puts up an impediment for rape victim justice; It misleads and in my opinion is unworthy of the attention they’re getting.

I think the first step is to listen to the rape victim, acknowledge they’re heard, and listen some more. I think there’s a role for advocates here that is seemingly wholly ignored, especially by Administrations that are forced to follow overwhelming privacy restrictions. I’ve noticed that Administrations are looking through the lens of the Clery Act and like the Gustavus Adolphus incident, diminished the urgent need for on campus awareness almost 2 months. That does not seem to fit the rules of disclosure to the campus community in my book. It’s part of the culture and what these new Title IX coordinators must address going forward.

Gawd, I hope I don’t trigger anyone, but angst or becoming aware and called to action is a good thing. There are too many lives denied their hope of healing. The push back, is going to have push back!

 

Please comment, this is important.

Thank you.