Who has healed?

I’ve been thinking about this lately before going to Therapy.. Who has healed?

Sure I’m Therapy, going through this workout weekly for 6 months now. Perhaps now I have words to talk about what happened to me as a child, and I’m told that’s healing where before shame and grief kept me down. That’s it though... and maybe that is as huge as my Therapist tells me. Everything else though is just unpacking more and more shit in details, and new memories previously blocked. Is this real progress or putting myself through unnecessary pain.

I figured at the start that while my abuse was over years, that perhaps it will take an equal amount of years to heal. That doesn’t exactions seem logical though, but then I’m not there yet to know. When I listen to survivors here and there, most have been in therapy for decades in cases, and some since they were in their teens.

I can only deduct that this will never end for me, as it appears for so many. Perhaps I was meant to be doomed from the start, and now I’m simply going through the motions to... What, prolong my existence? Maybe long enough to find some magic moment where I’m able to skip happily through life?

Who here has healed?
 
noticeable levels of healing. Hyper-vigilance is now gone. self esteem and self worth have improved. been porn-free for a year.

not perfect, but noticeable levels, for sure.
 

Shyshark

Registrant
This is a hard question Gistin.

I have most definitely healed in many areas but it must be noted that 'healed' doesn't necessarily mean 'healed forever'.
Things come back and you have to deal with them again ... but ... it's much easier. The effect it has on you is milder and it's not as scary
because you know you can handle it.

When I first started dealing with my abuse I was hyper sensitive to several things ... smells being one of them.
A whiff of Old Spice could stop me in my tracks. It has been out of vogue for years but it's has made a comeback and I have smelled it a few times lately. The first time startled me because it was so unexpected but I was able to chuckle about it. It no longer holds power over me.
Now ... if the man was very close and also hot and sweaty ... like armpit stink ... I don't know how I would react. For sure it would be very triggering.
The smell and sight of a dirty ashtray full of butts would make me gag. Nobody smokes anymore and I haven't seen an ashtray in years.
I wonder what would happen if somebody would suddenly push one at me ... like across a table. I'd probably throw up.
Luckily I doubt that will ever happen.
I hate feet ... especially men's feet ... and if I can smell dirty feet I would gag for sure.
Being taken by surprise is always a problem. If you like your teeth don't sneak up behind me and touch me without saying something first.
That will never go away.

It does get easier.
 
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Tom E.

Registrant
I feel I've improved some... still working on it though. I don't blame myself anymore. Acceptance is nearer to me. I realize that time & talking about it is beneficial. Forgiveness is better too. I'm not as angry about the past as before. It's an ongoing journey. I hope & expect that things will get better in general... and keep on improving.
 
@Skyshark Thank you for your reply and all said is a fair perspective. And @Tom E. And @NC-Survivor, it is equally good to hear where you’re at in all this. Grateful for your sharing.

I guess I need to hear more success from other survivors, what it means to really heal first hand. It all seems to be a rabbit hole that shows no end for me. I know it’s only been 6 months of hard work, but I need the enforcement and trust of the process. I’m further than I was, my T is proud of me for the courage I’ve put forward in finally dealing with it all.

I hate the term “That’s healing happening” or the like. I don’t know why... Maybe because at the moment of sharing it does not feel that way, or in other situations it feels used so much it devalues the fucking exhaustion of emotion that went into an experience of “healing”.

I long for the tools in being able to manage what comes at me, some of the basics work, but shit... It’s almost too much at times to deal with and I just want to walk away from it all. So I greatly appreciate your responses @Shyshark, @NC-Survivor and @Tom E.
 
I’ve been thinking about this lately before going to Therapy.. Who has healed?

Sure I’m Therapy, going through this workout weekly for 6 months now. Perhaps now I have words to talk about what happened to me as a child, and I’m told that’s healing where before shame and grief kept me down. That’s it though... and maybe that is as huge as my Therapist tells me. Everything else though is just unpacking more and more shit in details, and new memories previously blocked. Is this real progress or putting myself through unnecessary pain.

I figured at the start that while my abuse was over years, that perhaps it will take an equal amount of years to heal. That doesn’t exactions seem logical though, but then I’m not there yet to know. When I listen to survivors here and there, most have been in therapy for decades in cases, and some since they were in their teens.

I can only deduct that this will never end for me, as it appears for so many. Perhaps I was meant to be doomed from the start, and now I’m simply going through the motions to... What, prolong my existence? Maybe long enough to find some magic moment where I’m able to skip happily through life?

Who here has healed?

Thanks for wondering about this @Gistin.

I've now seen a progression, to what I can see is like you note: "now I have words". That was a big step for me too, and it's keep going into this 3rd+ year of processing the trauma. Healing or Recovery are words that brought some discussion about 2 years ago (?), and I've taken to liking "process" and using like I did here. I've learned that with therapy, which focused on rewiring my traumatic and deep reactions, with the dissociation, hyper vigilance, survival mode, and all the rest, there's a clearer hope for me now.

That rewiring I mention is sometimes discussed here, I wish more so, because of how much it helped me, but please consider what I just wrote is without criticism of anyone, this is a complex journey with many winding paths and pitfalls. There's every reason to be kinder to ourselves when we can manage it. That too took me over 2.5 years of therapy, writing and blogging, and therapy to just begin to like myself enough to believe I was worth processing this pain, this deep darkness within walls so thick, I had become sure nothing could, or would get in or out. I needed that protection, I was intensely vulnerable, and without any hope. I think that can resonate with a lot of traumatized people. There's a lot that happened to our young developing brains, which we are not responsible for. We didn't do those things to us, we, as children and teens became part of something which may have been a worst nightmare, or somehow it was like we were accepted.

That last word "accepted" is hard on me, it's part of my being molested around 13. I think there are a lot of things that mess up our path in growing up, and what happens to the brain is very significant. To undo, or rewire what happened, is to bring processing to the trauma, which will be new. It's new to me. I've seen what it's done for me for about a year, and I'm still in awe that such therapy can do what it's been doing.

I like to consider the word process now, because I'm OK with a fact for me, that I'll do and revisit some of these things the balance of my life, whatever that may be. I don't think the part where I am doing work for myself has brought any resentment with it? I'm sure it hasn't, I'm now doing for me, what no other has been able to do for me. My T reminds me I'm doing the work, she's guiding me. She's really good though, and has shown me more in less than 3 years, than all the 43 previous run ins with therapists or inpatient has ever done. I consider all of that past work as nothing, it never looked at CSA, and I have to let some of that go, I do resent some of that. Though, I restate, this current and beginning for me, is not holding resentment. I've become more attune than ever before, and can really process the deep emotional times much better. I haven't known this more than a year or so, and that's why I appreciate your question. It's giving me a time to share and reflect on this.

There is something that can meet our needs, at some level. It's going to be work, and questions like this might be very helpful, maybe prepare for a session, or review one afterward. I can think of many sessions, where afterward I posted my thoughts on it. There's a lot to consider, and many therapies that can be considered.
 
Looking back over my journey I'd be inclined to agree with you that there seems to be no end to the pain, yet I know the work I did first in the 1980's and then in the 1990's was before the tremendous gains in understanding trauma and brain development. In many ways, I did more work in five months with a therapist this Spring than I'd done in nine years of work back then... though I realize those were the years when i was unpacking some of this, coming to it slowly with great confusion... rather like you're doing at the moment.

I'm inclined to believe, reflecting back on my journey that the period of truth telling when we've stopped acting out to dissociate from our feelings lays the ground work for healing. You're just in the middle of digging up all the old memories and body sensations. I can understand that it would feel overwhelming and unending.

I'm still working hard but it is no longer trying to uncover old memories. Rather, I'm working with self-care, developing new muscles I didn't exercise when lost in shame and running away. I'm feeling very hopeful... No alcohol for over a year and a half, no porn for a year, morning meditation, journal writing, spiritual reading, exercise, taking care of my home and my car. I'm actually looking a bit like a grown up who is capable to attending to the frightened child who for decades was hiding in the shadows. I still doubt I'll ever liberate my sexuality, but then I'm old enough that the testosterone is diminished and being celibate does not feel like a curse. So hang in their Gistin. You're doing the heavy lifting now but you have the support of everyone on this website. You're NOT alone with any of this.
 
@Gistin, I want to reply separately with a question; Do you focus on a lot of the memories and regrettable(or not) actions that you've had or done?

I ask, because my T focused on getting my brain to process these, outside of rehashing the events. I can do that, that's allowed, but when I got to work on my brain, that's about all I cared about. I learned a lot, and I've shared almost all of it in many posts here.

I ask, because I'm wondering how other therapists think they're making progress, and what they consider the process to be?
 
I assume that when guys finish working on this stuff they leave the site. I was abused by my dad and grandma for many years, our family was very violent, we have a lot of mental illness among my siblings, getting committed to hospital and we lost one brother to suicide. I’m saying this to show that I didn’t really have much hope for myself when I started trying to improve my life with therapy etc. I was depressed with constant suicidal thoughts, sometimes I spent weeks in bed and lost jobs. It’s been six years of weekly therapy and I am loving life most of the time. It took me about 18 months before I felt any better, I nearly gave up a few times as I felt I was getting worse.
That’s my experience, six months is a short time, for me it was mostly pain at the start. Everyone is going to have a different experience, we all start from different places and with different strengths and difficulties. I would urge you to keep going I feel confident that you will be glad you did.
Take care Gistin.
 

KMCINVA

Registrant
Gistin

I believe "healed" should be healing. The journey to heal, at least for me, is an on going process that will be part of my life until the end. The damage done is great and reversal of the ill effects take time and much introspective work. I continue to heal and I am at a stage where I am beginning to live, not survive or thrive, but seeing the world through my eyes and not that of the abuse/abuser. I truly wish I could attain the absolute of being healed, instead I am grateful and satisfied at the degree of healing I have achieved. The trajectory is upward toward the absolute. I accept I may never achieve the absolute.

Kevin
 

WG

Registrant
What excellent words from these men in recovery! We're all on this road in one way or another since our abuse wasn't all the same, either. I still have the startle response at sudden sounds. I still am working at touch. I'm still working at certain smells that can trigger. I, too, have attended my therapy sessions and done the heavy lifting, so to speak, of unraveling most of this. I know there's more, there always seems to be more. Yesterday a memory was trying to surface - I still don't know that it was - but it was there. Perhaps today it will make itself known. Healed? Not quite. For me, that may always be the answer. "Not quite".
 
@Gistin I don't know what healing means to each person it is so subjective. I know that I have no more visceral reactions to what happened to me if it comes up or I remember it nothing happens to my state of being. I know it happened it left traces behind but I also know it isn't happening and it can't crush me as it did before. In a way, I'm free of the trauma attached to the memories and I only deal with daily stressors that can be amplified by having been abused for 10 years and it causing cPTSD. I function really well now by taking good care of myself and my needs. H.A.L.T. must be in order for this to work for me. I started to think for me the best possible way to move forward was to Heal or Deal with whatever came up, this allowed me not to get hung up on having to heal something I couldn't at the moment but just dealing with it until it was healed.
 
Profound discussion. Deep respect to everyone doing this work. Knowing there are others taking parallel journeys is a profound relief after a lifetime of living with shame and confusion. When I think of the tens of thousands of dollars I've spent on healing, the few dollars I contribute to this amazing website seem like a steal. I want this website to always be available to every man in need of support. Lives are saved here. Thanks you all!
 
** Potential Trigger - Second Paragraph.

I am grateful for all the comments in this thread, had me a good cry this morning reading you words. So many great perspectives on healing, and I suppose in the thick of it all right now, it becomes hard to see a way out. It is so incredibly hard at times, as you all know, and I know I’m not alone.

What used to be - I’d become destructive, hold a gun to my head, drink until I pass out, tempt fait doing things others wouldn’t do. No one around me knows this side of me, it was always reserved for my darkest hours of grief and pain. I grew up figuring I was alone in all this, I became a master at stuff it all down, which only build more pressure inside and the cycle would begin erupting beyond my control.

My healing I suppose is also in this...
In all your words, I’m reminded of our rule in mountaineering - If you hit a wall, come back down again so you can live to try another day. It doesn’t mean these thoughts don’t linger in me, but I recognize that none of these desires or emotions hold a place of value in facing the demons of my childhood. These walls I hit are now managed through Therapy, supported by you all, and wisdom gathered also by you and others. I’m able to break things down and figure my way through it, not always as graceful, but I’m doing it.

It’s hard to see where things are going or how its evolving from inside the storm, so its a thread like this that helps me with perspective.

Again so grateful...
 
@Gistin, I want to reply separately with a question; Do you focus on a lot of the memories and regrettable(or not) actions that you've had or done?

I ask, because my T focused on getting my brain to process these, outside of rehashing the events. I can do that, that's allowed, but when I got to work on my brain, that's about all I cared about. I learned a lot, and I've shared almost all of it in many posts here.

I ask, because I'm wondering how other therapists think they're making progress, and what they consider the process to be?
I have a trauma therapist that has a focused on the brain aspect of trauma. Through EMDR, Brainspotting I have learned so much about how my mind has processed all this over the many years. As well the choices I’ve made to make things worse on myself, which if anyone experiences trauma like sexual abuse - deal with it sooner than decades later. All in all, it has been both scary with rewards of understanding peppered through sessions. Occasionally I have needed sessions just to just talk about what has been uncovered, or need for perspective, or just a break because it can be so intense.
 
This is a very significant and valuable and helpful thread. Thanks to Gistin for starting it and to all who have contributed. I like and agree with those who have made the distinction between healing or recovering and healed or recovered. I am not sure that I - or any other survivor will ever be totally "fixed" or free of the effects of abuse. But we can reach the place where we can deal with it so much better that it becomes worth all the painful work to get there. I remember a conversation with my second T where I asked what I could expect as a goal to look forward to. How well would I be at the end? He asked me to define what it would look like to me.

I took a week or two to answer and came up with a list of conditions that I would like to experience. Among them were freedom from triggers and flashbacks, absence of nightmares and night terrors, the ability to be more open and expressive emotionally, the strength to accept what I experienced and move on without constant bitterness and dwelling on the past and my grievances, and a normal sex life.

I cannot claim to have reached a 100% success rate on all of these, but I am a lot closer than I have ever been before. i am healing and progressing and recovering. i am a work in progress (as is every human on the face of this earth!)

I like to use the analogy of a journey. I know where i started and where i was headed. Some days i know i have moved further along than others. Some days i know i have backtracked or gotten sidetracked or just stayed put. But in the long run, this week i am further along than i was last year. and i expect that i will continue to move forward. That is not to say that my eventual destination will stay the same as i thought it was when i began. but i do believe that, wherever I end up, i will be much better off than when i started. I have a T-shirt that has the words on it - "Happiness is not found in a destination, but in the journey." That is how i look at healing.

Traveler Lee
 
...In all your words, I’m reminded of our rule in mountaineering - If you hit a wall, come back down again so you can live to try another day. It doesn’t mean these thoughts don’t linger in me, but I recognize that none of these desires or emotions hold a place of value in facing the demons of my childhood. These walls I hit are now managed through Therapy, supported by you all, and wisdom gathered also by you and others. I’m able to break things down and figure my way through it, not always as graceful, but I’m doing it.

It’s hard to see where things are going or how its evolving from inside the storm, so its a thread like this that helps me with perspective.

Again so grateful...
I'm reading a wonderful book with the title Journey Through Trauma - A Trail Guide to the 5-Phase Cycle of Healing Repeated Trauma. She uses mountain climbing as a metaphor for the journey, beginning by talking about creating a Base Camp. Then follow chapters on Awareness and what came to mind as I read your comment above, a chapter titled Trust and Ropes. There is a way in which men who frequent this website and who comment on thread such as this understand we do it together, trusting one another, connecting to one another the way mountain climbers do to insure safety. You're doing awesome work here Gistin and as Lee notes, you've given all of us an opportunity to reflect both on the journey we've been taking most of our lives and where we are at the moment. I believe the painful past does recede as we do this work which in itself is a victory. To move from being consumed by the past and its pain, to a place where we haven't forgotten the losses we've experienced but we're no longer at the mercy of those memories. Keep up the great work and stay tethered to this board. There will always be support for you here.
 

Shyshark

Registrant
It takes time my friend and there are times that it feels futile ... but it's not!

Don't ever give up ... or give in to the abuser. If you let him rule your life then he has won ... and you can't let that happen.
He ruined your childhood ... don't let him ruin your life.

Be strong and give yourself credit for every single step you take that takes you one step further away from him ...
which is one step further than you were the step before ... which are two steps further away from him ...
and they can add up fast if you believe in yourself.
Believe it ... you are worthy ... he is not.

((((((((((((( Gistin ))))))))))))
 
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