Learning and unlearning or modifying as can be managed.

I changed my profile pic to an older me today. I still have a confused feeling at that age, and I didn't know what things were. There weren't opportunities to learn from others. We moved so often, and I had so little contact with anyone my age outside of school. I soon became more adrift the next year. That's when I will go to 'Junior High' of my era. A sick f'ed school for any confused nobody, with extreme anxiety and near total ostracism from the others in my grade. It seems odd about that. I had been in the district from age 10, so I knew a few by name, but each summer I unlearned contact, and any understanding of my place in school. My naivete led to intense bullying. It's when I learned about bullying labels, vile hate spewed labels. I would go home numb and isolate to my t.v. or fort, or room. My fort might be an arrangement I found in a nearby forest, or the apartment lockers, closed and dark. A blanket and me, hiding. It's an old memory with less impact than when I first shared all this here. I've had EMDR about this time and its effects. I chose the bullies first, then the rejection, then my intense fear about my body.

It's this era where I was to learn I was considered abnormal, and a nobody because of it. The school years to follow, roughly 4, and junior grade the last, became a landscape of tolerating others ignoring me (which was good) or isolating myself. The Junior year of high school, was the Troubled Boys halfway house I was put in, and the GED, a first independence kind of job, and my apartment. A time to be sure I had not understood life, nor known how to engage with society. There had been no direction, no manual to offer suggestions, no words to explain the present and the near future, no understanding how to plan. I was poor, disconnected, near total inexperience, and adrift alone. That had been my norm, so I didn't know nor could I know to seek understanding. I had not known how to get by, nor where to find out how to get by? I just existed, and felt extreme anxiety about what I'm supposed to do?

In a bit of time, say the next 4 years, I learned some things about interacting, or more precisely, I just acted like I should be somewhere and be doing what I was doing. It was about social things, and those were connected to church. There is some safety (sort of) about going to church, and I found a safe bible study with University students my age. I hadn't known anything about college or any higher education of any kind. Junior year of high school wasn't a future for me, it was a means to an end of getting that job to pay for rent, food and some minor possessions. 17-21 was very lonely, and church, that bible study and the few social things from it was a first opportunity to explore social engagement. I liked it, and felt accepted. It was a time I cared about world events, social marginalization of we poor and the politics of poor oppression that showed a vigor I hadn't seen before. We poor were now more than ever, a pariah, looked down on more than ever. It was the small social circle I found, where I could hide being poor. University students I was engaging with were from all over the world. They wouldn't be overly judgmental of my missteps about social strata and financial status. They would wonder about my family, but I avoided bringing it up for a few years. It became a problem later, but for a couple years it wasn't important.

I mention all that to show I know I had a few years of enlightenment. I learned how people from around the world thought, and what was important to them. I appropriated a lot of that understanding, and tried to express my concerns toward world and US connections. I noticed the US was quite aggressive internationally, and found out how the US used its power for its interests, and to me, it was too often The wrong way. I wanted hope for others, and could understand coming to the US offered all of us more, especially future jobs. But I also noticed a growing military industrial complex warned about by Eisenhower. I soon became very angry about AIDS, Afghanistan, Being in Lebanon, the insanity of the Iran/Contra/weapons scandal (too hushed) though the coverage was good at the time. This and so much more, like drought, famine, pollution, farmers, savings & loan, Air Traffic Controllers, spending on "Strategic Defense Initiative", and soon to be changes about how the poor survived in this degrading system of unfunded infrastructure. It all showed me I wouldn't support a very large part of politics from the 80s to present. I'm still this way. Being, marginalized without connections, without a support structure aka family and friends, and the traumas ignored, led to decades of extreme anxiety. The depression hit hardest when I stopped drinking etc...

All of that past has been processed to some degree. I have learned why I am the way I am by examining all that past. The change, 'unlearning', or modifying a lot about me has begun this year, 2019. I write this in this forum because I now see one of the biggest things about me had been missed the longest.

Being called hate spewed labels for all my teens, and then into my 20s there being so much about me that had to deal with sporadic questioning by others about my sexuality, my life showed me the way out of that was to be a normative male. I didn't have most of the words I'm learning these past 5 years, which I'm now using and understanding. The words gender normative, and non binary have been part of these past 5 years, and my first experience expressing myself has been here. I'm reaching out in 2 other ways since I started this here. It's been less than a month, but like most things in the past 5 years, I feel a sense of urgency. I'll be 58 in less than 2 months, and whatever life I will live, is precious to me. There are many things yet to experience.

That's what the beginning of this post is all about, sharing how I had no clue about experiences for decades. Explaining the part that shows why being marginalized happens, and it's a hardship. There's a self acceptance, and grieving about the past I have allowed. It's valid for me to have wanted more, and it's valid for me to desire more now. I don't mean it in a selfish way, I want to engage within the context of means that exist for me, and not impose upon others where they're unable. I have been some form of that all my life. I've diminished myself to the betterment of others, and note some of that has caused harm to me. Some of that harm has been significant. My changes in the present are seeing my way to manage the past and present as filters that utilize my new tools.

I've noted the Window of Tolerance quite a bit here, it's connected with my Survival Mode, and some looking into Vegus therapies. There's a lot out there concerning the Mind-Body connection. Especially with trauma therapies. These are on my radar and looked at often. I enter a new part tolerating my reactions about a new marginalized group, that being non binary. Accepting it with myself means to accept a new kind of ostracizing. I will be examining what's safe for myself, what may be pushing undesired hyper vigilance and what brings me other relationship issues.

Lots going on, and I remain helpful, and compassionate to what we're trying to do. To make it this day, this hour, and to the next moment.

Help me see things that you thought of, and share if you wish to.
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Ceremony. I identify with so much that you have said. I am gay and tried and prayed so hard to be straight. Because, when I was a kid, being gay was considered a deviant mental disorder. Condemned by everyone.

Combined with that, was my 13 years of being sexually abused. And the Church's condemnation of me. Drove into a center divider in 2000 trying to kill myself because the church said I was going to hell. Why not go there sooner than later. I was horribly injured and spent months in the hospital. At first angry that I failed. And finally having to accept who I was.

I had always felt inferior to other people, partly because of my being condemned and mostly because of my CSA and MST. I was repeatedly told that I was stupid. That I was a failure. That my only reason for living was for men to deposit their sperm in me. That I would end up in a mental hospital. That I would be a criminal.

All that was a lie. But I lived with it for decades. And believed what they told me. I was miserable. Never happy. I hadn't smiled in pictures since I was four. Because that's when my step-father raped me for the first time.

I have come a long way. But I can never forget what was done to me.
@Jaxson, I can recall infrequent preaching while growing up with church Sunday school and camp. Ma would have us (younger brother and I) go to summer camp the church used or owned. It's there that some few not too bad and just a couple of odd things happen. I'm sure of one thing looking back; I wouldn't be an easy target for csa when we moved so much. Ma would have us 3, older sister, me and younger brother move almost every year. The exception was that time from 10-13 in that one district. Oddly, we still moved 3 times there, each time upward in quality of our apartment building. The last not that big a deal, but ma had to move anyway, it was her way. In 2 years I would have more bad a very few good experiences where I finally end age 15, a Spring-early Fall thrown out. First to a holding place set up for unwanted kids. Then to a drug treatment inpatient center for a month, then back to that holding place, and finally an inpatient mental illness facility. It was told to me to be for evaluation. I just wanted the doc to give me drugs. It was nasty with horrible side-effects. Partial paralysis where I lost muscle coordination to walk, talk and eat. Horrid constipation, but I barely ate anyway. And it took being let out, my dad, his first time where I lived with him since age 5 and their divorce, who came to get me from that facility. It was a few months before my body recovered, and my mind cleared a bit to try an process my new living arrangement. It was soon disrupted by my siblings coming to live there too. School, 10th grade was too much for my extreme anxiety and I broke down in the student counselors office. They sent me to the special needs classroom, where we barely learned anything, and mostly with our own motivation. We spent most of the morning watching t.v. that was set up to distract and give us something to think about. It was almost always "The Donahue Show"

:rolleyes: it seemed weird to be watching t.v. shows in class, but it was how that little town my dad has us living in dealt with special needs.

I think remembering these old things can be useful toward an understanding, it's the trauma mixed up in them, and whether the memory triggers that trauma which takes the time away from living. I think the past 5 years, and again, especially this year, have a new living style for me. I'm setting better boundaries, and asking for me needs more. If they can't be met, (my needs), I'm less angry this year. I've come to accept some of the feedback my therapist instills to me, that we're all having to deal with something, and we all have some emotional or stress related background to process. It's that we add sexual trauma and it happened while were children, that strips gears to run our lives. We have mis-wired brains because of survival mode and the ptsd that sets off our triggers. A damn f'ed up misdealing of children's lives.

Processing the adult me, to bring my inner self to a safer place within my own making has been the work of over 2 years of therapy. I have used IFS in the way my inner self can use it. I set it to what I wanted, how I wanted it, and created my safe environment to do that inner work. My imagination has been an asset to me, it's quite incredible where I can bring myself (I have allowed myself to let my mind relive some LSD trips I've had). I like it, I've always liked it, and smoking pot too. It's my imagination that does it, and I opened it full to do the IFS work. I feel a deep compassion about others and inner work. It's so f'ing hard at first. It's the one comparison I do sometimes. I minimize how hard my trauma was on me, when I think about doing the IFS work. It's like, maybe my pain shouldn't be taken too seriously by others, because mine had some different circumstances (no long term, ongoing sexual abuse), but ongoing emotional trauma, detachment, constant anxiety, twice molested short term, and one bad rape. The thing that throws out not taken mine seriously as others, as if mine wasn't so bad, is that the depth of pain that exploded into my life 3+ years ago, nearly killed me. I want to be in this community, to be accepted as I am, with my infrequent doubts, and fails, and then my expressions of compassion, kindness and deep gratitude.

This place is me alive, me showing something no one else gets to see. Only those who see me here and my therapist. This relationship is special, we're special, and we deserve to do our work here, and be here, and thrive here. All welcome, all cared for, to grieve, to rant, to complain and get shares of compassion, to just sit with each other and sometimes we hug. I am a huge hug guy. I'm also a huge guy. The largest hugs anyone can accept, will be from me. Long arms wrapping, and hugging in a safe and caring way. I've done it many times.

I like to be me. Thank you guys. Thanks for responding Jaxson.