Shame and old feelings

flying

Active Registrant
I've been getting overwhelmed by shame lately when I have anxiety. Also, when my wife initiates sex I get scared, part of me freezes up, and I feel shame. I'm realizing that I froze my feelings during abuse situations as a kid, and I feel that now I am starting to go back and let the kid in me feel all of the things I shut out: fear, shame, disgust, excitement, confusion, sadness, anger. At times I feel like crying for no reason. I have one or two friends I can talk to, and I have my therapist. I can tell my wife a little, but I don't want to burden her.

That is where I am right now.
Ben
 

KMCINVA

Member
Ben

You are processing the past, which can be very painful. I resurrects the emotions, the denials, the guilt and shame we internalized. It is an on-going process. I have been at it for years and even today, with less frequency, the pain and emotions surface. I can be triggered by a movie, a story or article, tears will well up in my eyes. Today I am in better control of the emotions and outcome. I believe the process has allowed me to accept the truth of the abuses, the triggers and the shame and guilt is not mine. The latter belongs to the abuser and those who protected or denied the abuse. I have been here is 2011 and only in recent years with interim bouts of depression and anxiety do I feel peace and happiness. It is a long journey and one I am glad I traveled because I never knew love as I do today, love from others and more importantly loving myself.

I wish there was a magic pill. Only through processing the pain can we free ourselves from the pain. Good luck and thank you for sharing.

Kevin
 

flying

Active Registrant
Thank you Kevin, I feel as if I'm in a safe, good place in my life. I've grown a lot. Now I suppose it's safe for me to have these feelings. But they are bursting at times. Right now I just want to cry, which is very hard for me to do. I appreciate your response.

Ben
 

Visitor

Registrant
Hi Ben - I'm happy to hear you're in a "safe, good place" in your life. Kevin gives a fine overview of what you're going through. This process takes time. The one thing that called my attention in your opening comment was "I can tell my wife a little, but I don't want to burden her." Whether you like it or not and whether she likes it or not, the two of you are both participants in this journey. I would encourage you to have a conversation with your therapist about the best way to include her in your healing journey, because she can only be an advocate for you if she understands what is happening in the moment. And this will likely begin not in the bedroom but in the living room where you will have a conversation that allows both of your to share feelings evoked by this process. I doubt she would take this as a burden. Rather I expect as someone who loves you she will want to be your ally in healing. She can only become that if you ask for her support. You might also check with your therapist about a book on this subject that was published some time ago. There may be something more current, but this book is wonderful. The author is Wendy Maltz and the title is "The Sexual Healing Journey." Good luck to you both.

Alan
 

flying

Active Registrant
Thanks Alan, I actually have the book you mention. I've read it and done some of the exercises. I've also gotten a lot out "Beyond Betrayal" by Richard Gartner, and "Victims no Longer" by Mike Lew. I told my wife more, and it was helpful. She is dealing with her feelings now about what I told her and my feelings of shame.

Ben
 

iaccus

Member
[We can completely relate to everything you wrote here. Shame is a constant reminder, ever present in my mind. It taints every interaction, even with the wife. You are certainly not alone.

QUOTE="flying, post: 527570, member: 13600"]
I've been getting overwhelmed by shame lately when I have anxiety. Also, when my wife initiates sex I get scared, part of me freezes up, and I feel shame. I'm realizing that I froze my feelings during abuse situations as a kid, and I feel that now I am starting to go back and let the kid in me feel all of the things I shut out: fear, shame, disgust, excitement, confusion, sadness, anger. At times I feel like crying for no reason. I have one or two friends I can talk to, and I have my therapist. I can tell my wife a little, but I don't want to burden her.

That is where I am right now.
Ben
[/QUOTE]
 

wreckage

Active Registrant
I too feel like crying for no reason sometimes. Many times it is triggered by father-son relationships that are portrayed on tv or the movies. I think this is a cry from within for something I didn't have.

I have shared a little with my wife too but I can't go into detail. As far as the shame, I only gave the feeling a name. I doidn't understand that not treating myself better was because I felt I didn't deserve. I have a combination of physical, emotional abuse nin my past as well as drug abuse. I think I stopped growing emotionally but kept going through the motions of life.

Therapy is helping me so stick with it and keep a focus in terms of what you talk about. I find that that helps me.
 

flying

Active Registrant
Thanks for your reply. I was able to share a little more with my wife and it helped me feel less shame, and it gave her a better understanding of what I'm going through.
 

Strangeways

Member
That's good. I have discovered that my wife is an incredibly strong ally. So strong that I regret keeping my problems from her for so many years, but I wasn't in a place where I could have done that then. I can now. Sounds like it's been a positive for you too. It also helped explain all of our sex problems over the years. It didn't fix them, but now she's a little more compassionate when I shut down on her.
 

EQCR

Active Registrant
What stands out for me is that you freeze up when your wife initiates sex. For me, as a survivor of thirteen years of abuse (11-24), any time someone shows me affection, even a simple attempt at a hug, I feel part of me freeze up. What I have discovered, through years of therapy and a support group (based on gestalt therapy principles), is that although I desperately crave love and attention I am deathly afraid of it. I do not feel a sense of safety (which I process as a lack of control) if I am the recipient of affection. I have learned that my response, although not typical of what others feel, is understandable (I am searching for a non-shaming word for 'normal') :p considering how I learned to cope as a child and young adult. I have started to learn to stay focused on the here and now and let myself be loved. For me, it takes time and patience to even accept being hugged. I hope that sharing this can help you, perhaps, to understand and know that others also struggle with shame and fear and disgust you describe.
Hope and Love,
EQCR
 

flying

Active Registrant
Thanks for your response. Yes, when people are attracted to me I get very uncomfortable, when my wife initiates sex I sometimes freeze up or check out. I want her to be attracted to me, and I want to get more comfortable not being in control. Freezing up and checking out are just involuntary reactions that I am working through. My therapist is helping me a lot.
 
Top