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Best approach needed.

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
As you know I have been undergoing therapy for PTSD stemming from social and sexual isolation experienced as a teen and young adult. Right now I am resistant to being triggered but still have some unresolved issues waiting to ambush me. Because I am secure in my accomplishments, I have never needed any external validation about my intellectual abilities. The feelings that I should have social value and be valued for intimacy, that of being a worthwhile companion and lover, are not as solidly internalized and still creates stress for me as I look for external validation, especially at my age.

Complicating this is the fact that even though the blockage in my coronary artery has been rectified, I feel like my life is so contingent that the near future is my last hurrah for experiences that I may not have had in my life. As I explained in other posts, my social deficits left me unable to understand if girls/women were taking an interest in me and this left me feeling unnoticed and unnoticeable. My mind has glommed onto that feeling like a beartrap as the "what if" lies start churning and I wonder what it would be like to be desired as a companion and lover.

I know that this would be merely seeking external validation because in many ways I think I am an interesting and curious person, and I can be a lustful yet unselfish lover. So, why is my mind turning in that unproductive direction when there is so much satisfaction I can get in the present? Not only that, but here I have received some lovely and supportive messages from women demonstrating that I am not unnoticed. So why can't I take it to heart, that whatever the future will bring, I will never be bereft of companionship and intimacy?
 

phantom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Are you insecure about your wife maybe wanting to leave you, or you not being able to find a new partner if she dies?
 

Knower of nothing

Well-Known Member
The knowledge of the past experience will not go away so there's no preventation of the anxiety. There is only calling on the courage to trust yourself rather than the feeling. You'll have to call on it every time.
 

Magna

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Sorry to hear about your PTSD. My suggestion would be...perspective.

If I understand you correctly you're saying that you are having regret that because of your issues in your youth that you didn't have more of a chance to have a greater number of sexual relationships or more instances of sexual relations? Maybe that's not what you're saying?

Here's where the perspective comes in and really appreciating what it sounds like you do have: It sounds like you have a spouse that is still open to sexual intimacy at your age? You may or may not know, that from what I recall, a full third of marriages after something like the age of 50...are...sexless. There's absolutely no way that in all or in even most of those cases both partners are pleased with such a change. It's also common knowledge that during and after menopause a significant number of women have little or no libido. Gone.

So you are a man that was a virgin for longer than average and did not have the level of sexual intimacy in your teens and twenties like a lot of men did. However it's a statistical fact that many of those men who still need and desire sexual intimacy are not having those needs met in their lives now; they're in a reverse of your situation. Is their situation better than yours because of the experiences they had in their youth but that you now/still have that they don't? No. I would argue that your situation is superior to theirs because...you're presently having those experiences and opportunities while men in the other situation may likely live out their lives capable of but never being able to have those kinds of experiences again.
 

Atrapa Almas

70% INTJ + 30% ASPIE = 100% HUMAN
V.I.P Member
Hello Gerald,

Its almost imposible to fully recover from trauma as it is almost imposible to fully recover from addictions.

So PSTD is likely to stay with you in some way or another.

I think that learning more how trauma works could help you figure yourself whats going on. Therapy will probably also help.

My personal understanding of what may be happening to you is that "Thinking that you are not love worthy" is your personal subconscious way to protect your inner youngself from your present oldself hate and disgust.

If you thougth that "You have allways being love worthy" then you could turn to blame your youngerself and hate and depise him.

But if you think that "You have some broken part that is not your fault and stops you from being love worthy" then, automatically your youngerself is innocent of any blame and you can accept yourself.

The trauma book I am reading says that trauma survivors do need to reflect on what part of responsability they had in the traumatic events. I will paste the link here just in case:


The book also says that reflecting into the trauma for healing is likely to heavy trigger the old pain and suffering. So people who hide in alcohol is likely to want to consume it again after reflecting on the trauma for healing. So therapy and strong support is advised since you could face very strong and negative feelings.

Best of luck.
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member
So, why is my mind turning in that unproductive direction when there is so much satisfaction I can get in the present?
Gerald Wigus, I definitely think your situation is complex, but one somewhat simple element here could be what we have all discussed elsewhere… Anxiety peaks when there are many evidently good things right before us. When things look good or hopeful, or appear to be settling, our mind turns up all the deepest anxieties that we have worked to quell or squish or hide.

These troubling things hide in our mind and refute the evidence before us that there is satisfaction in our lives. So although this may not be helpful in how to handle it, I offer the perspective that it does make sense that these things are coming up after such a momentous thing like life-saving surgery.

It is not unusual for external validation to ultimately be hollow and empty. If we do not get to that point of feeling internally validated, then the situation is simply as it always was… Seeking and searching for what we do not have.

Not only that, but here I have received some lovely and supportive messages from women demonstrating that I am not unnoticed. So why can't I take it to heart, that whatever the future will bring, I will never be bereft of companionship and intimacy?
Sometimes we experience sadness so deep that it remains with us. Perhaps, it is your younger self that is still with you, the one that was experiencing this trauma, rather than the Gerald Wilgus before us now, so full of long years and wisdom.

I know you are full of compassion and I do trust you extend this to yourself, but perhaps this is a case for radical compassion toward that young man who suffered so much and continues still. Even though the young man has seen you grow into what you are, he is still what he was, the memory of sadness and sorrow and loneliness. He did not get to experience what you feel now, and so perhaps mourning is in order.

I hear that you are hurting, and seeking resolution with such earnesty shows great courage. And times when we are displaying courage and bravery can be so draining and tiring, and yet you barely have your strength back from surgery. There is a chance that utter fatigue… Life fatigue… Is slightly clouding your thinking here, and adding a negative spin to your thoughts.

I will be thinking of you and praying in my own way for strength to return to you. I hope that you find peace in your mind and your heart, and that somehow our support can start to break down that wall that is keeping you from feeling things from within.

We can be like archaeologists, chipping away at the tiniest bit, one grain of sand at a time. I don’t think we will give up on you. We will keep digging and sifting until the treasure within has been protected.
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Hello Gerald,

Its almost imposible to fully recover from trauma as it is almost imposible to fully recover from addictions.

So PSTD is likely to stay with you in some way or another.

I think that learning more how trauma works could help you figure yourself whats going on. Therapy will probably also help.

My personal understanding of what may be happening to you is that "Thinking that you are not love worthy" is your personal subconscious way to protect your inner youngself from your present oldself hate and disgust.

If you thougth that "You have allways being love worthy" then you could turn to blame your youngerself and hate and depise him.

But if you think that "You have some broken part that is not your fault and stops you from being love worthy" then, automatically your youngerself is innocent of any blame and you can accept yourself.

The trauma book I am reading says that trauma survivors do need to reflect on what part of responsability they had in the traumatic events. I will paste the link here just in case:


The book also says that reflecting into the trauma for healing is likely to heavy trigger the old pain and suffering. So people who hide in alcohol is likely to want to consume it again after reflecting on the trauma for healing. So therapy and strong support is advised since you could face very strong and negative feelings.

Best of luck.
This makes sense. I intend to bring this up with my therapist in our next session.
 

Thinx

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Good points made by others here, I think you have made great progress with this, and yes, probably working on this might have opened up some old wounds. I was listening to that old Johnny Cash song recently, the chorus is Because your Mine, I walk the line. I guess that's generally what we do once we are in a relationship.

Not that everyone does, some people by mutual consent may agree different rules about sex, but that's probably less common. I always think, for me one committed relationship is a lot, I definitely couldn't be going anywhere else aswell.

I had a brush with mortality this year too, had a big operation and then had to have further treatment post op, it certainly dented my certainty I was necessarily going to live super long. I had always been healthy and suddenly I wasn't. I had to deal with needles and an op and canulas and hospitals. I'm such an optimist, but I definitely have had some days when I felt low, and questioned my previous certainties. I think that's fairly normal, and I think I need to be kind to myself and give it some time. When, really, do we ever know how much time we have?

Your journey has been long and full of learnings and experiences, @Gerald Wilgus , and time runs only forwards, so there's only the present and future you can experience, we can't do it all again. I think there are sure to be regrets and missed opportunities, but it's always the roads we didn't take that we wonder about, because we didn't take them, and we don't know how they'd have panned out.

In my case, having children is something I wonder about, though I don't see where it would have been a wise option for me. Also, perhaps I might have been better off if I had come out as gay sooner. And been more aware of what that would be like, more prepared. Also, a couple of relationships I might have had, if I had been more aware and confident. A more joined up career would have been good too. Understanding about autism sooner... But I didn't. And here now I am, in a happy place and with someone I respect and love. Life happens, we have to make ongoing decisions about our priorities, I guess.
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Good points made by others here, I think you have made great progress with this, and yes, probably working on this might have opened up some old wounds. I was listening to that old Johnny Cash song recently, the chorus is Because your Mine, I walk the line. I guess that's generally what we do once we are in a relationship.

Not that everyone does, some people by mutual consent may agree different rules about sex, but that's probably less common. I always think, for me one committed relationship is a lot, I definitely couldn't be going anywhere else aswell.

I had a brush with mortality this year too, had a big operation and then had to have further treatment post op, it certainly dented my certainty I was necessarily going to live super long. I had always been healthy and suddenly I wasn't. I had to deal with needles and an op and canulas and hospitals. I'm such an optimist, but I definitely have had some days when I felt low, and questioned my previous certainties. I think that's fairly normal, and I think I need to be kind to myself and give it some time. When, really, do we ever know how much time we have?

Your journey has been long and full of learnings and experiences, @Gerald Wilgus , and time runs only forwards, so there's only the present and future you can experience, we can't do it all again. I think there are sure to be regrets and missed opportunities, but it's always the roads we didn't take that we wonder about, because we didn't take them, and we don't know how they'd have panned out.

In my case, having children is something I wonder about, though I don't see where it would have been a wise option for me. Also, perhaps I might have been better off if I had come out as gay sooner. And been more aware of what that would be like, more prepared. Also, a couple of relationships I might have had, if I had been more aware and confident. A more joined up career would have been good too. Understanding about autism sooner... But I didn't. And here now I am, in a happy place and with someone I respect and love. Life happens, we have to make ongoing decisions about our priorities, I guess.
Yes . . . . how an existential reminder on one's mortality leads to re-evaluation! Reading everybody here, I feel sure of unlocking some inner peace. Accepting that my (unknown) ND kept me from life, perhaps I could not only forgive him for the loneliness, but also mourn that young man for the loving experiences that I now have open to me that he was unprepared to experience.
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Life is unfair and many suffer severe deprivement and catastrophe in their lives. If you have even managed a half way decent life you are fortunate and should stop thinking about wanting more. Be satisfied with what you have.
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Life is unfair and many suffer severe deprivement and catastrophe in their lives. If you have even managed a half way decent life you are fortunate and should stop thinking about wanting more. Be satisfied with what you have.
As I take stock of what I have, I see my fortune to have moved far beyond what my modest birth would have predicted.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
I decided l like all of me. The bad, the good and the in between. If l have a relationship that's great, if l am just with me, that's great too. Like l don't need to settle for a relationship just because. Maybe men look at it differently. If we live in our past, guess what? We live in our past. If we take our collective learning experiences and see what a better person we are, we can never go back, in your case? To the shy little boy, he isn't here anymore, and he asks you to set him and those painful memories free. Because that isn't you anymore.
 

VictorR

Random Member
V.I.P Member
I'm going to suggest an article which I hope you and anyone else reading this thread may find helpful in general.

Bai, H., Cohen, A., & Park, S. (2020). From fear and hostility to awakening and hospitality: Learning to encounter the strange with an open heart. In B. Zizek & H. Piepenbring (Eds.), Formen der Aneignung des Fremden (pp. 59-70). Heidelberg, GmbH: Universitatsverlag Winter GmbH Heidelberg.

Abstract:
The strange is no stranger to us. It lies within the bosom of each of us. The strange is found in the heartbeat of every one of us: “. . .[we] are always already everywhere inhabited by the Other in the context of the fully real“ (Smith, 2006, p. xxiv). The strange is that which has been denied in us, and becomes the shadow material (Hollis, 2007), to use the Jungian terminology. If, for example, a young boy is strictly told not to cry when he is sad and hurting because--his father insists--he will grow up to be a ‘sissy’, the soft and the sensitive in him could become a stranger to him in his inner world, and also he may see others who are soft and sensitive to be sissies and despise them. Not understanding this psychological construction of the strange can have horrific consequences, as human history amply attests: seeing others as savage, subhuman, vermin, criminal, evil, and the like. Ryszard Kapuścińsk (2006), the great Polish writer whose lifetime travels to foreign cultures and meditations upon Otherness are well-known to us through his journalism, observes: “Conquer, colonise, master, make dependent – this reaction to Others recurs constantly throughout the history of the world” (p. 23). Our present paper focuses on understanding the psychological construction of the Other, and seeks ways to deconstruct this construction, not just theoretically but through practices of embodiment.

Direct link to article (.docx)
 

Atrapa Almas

70% INTJ + 30% ASPIE = 100% HUMAN
V.I.P Member
I'm going to suggest an article which I hope you and anyone else reading this thread may find helpful in general.

I had forgotten that I already read about that. It sounded familiar (because I already read it in the past) and unifamiliar because I dont identify that proccess in myself. And disgusting, because I do identify that proccess in almost anybody else. And disgusting, because it explains so many awful things made to minorities, it explains so carefully so many suffering. Inquisition, wars, abuse, torture, bulling... so carefully explained as a consecuence of the totally healthy and normal proccess of constructing others.

And also explains why being different will always be a problem, even when normality is what causes corruption, torture, abuse, wars and bullying.

It seems that keeping child curiosity and love to learn almost everything is a High Capacity characteristic. That is almost the opposite to what is described in the article.

Well, sorry for the rant. Or not so sorry.

The construction of the other is a "healthy" and "normal" mind proccess. When we talk about Trauma, the proccess is not "healthy".

Trauma memories are stored differently, frozen in time. They are not integrated in the self. They are not even verbally integrated, may lack time integration, lack emotional coherence. They are like broken fragments of glass that cant melt with the fluid river of memory and the self.

To the shy little boy, he isn't here anymore, and he asks you to set him and those painful memories free. Because that isn't you anymore.

It is there, frozen in time. It is there, not integrated with the present self. And those memories cant go free because they are also Frozen there.

From "Trauma and Recovery" book:

IMG_20221124_060912.jpg

IMG_20221124_061022.jpg

IMG_20221124_061114.jpg

IMG_20221124_061324.jpg


The explanation is longer and more complex, but I hope this fragment will help to understand the difference between trauma memories and integrated ones.

Hugs.
 

Shamar

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
As you know I have been undergoing therapy for PTSD stemming from social and sexual isolation experienced as a teen and young adult. Right now I am resistant to being triggered but still have some unresolved issues waiting to ambush me. Because I am secure in my accomplishments, I have never needed any external validation about my intellectual abilities. The feelings that I should have social value and be valued for intimacy, that of being a worthwhile companion and lover, are not as solidly internalized and still creates stress for me as I look for external validation, especially at my age.

Complicating this is the fact that even though the blockage in my coronary artery has been rectified, I feel like my life is so contingent that the near future is my last hurrah for experiences that I may not have had in my life. As I explained in other posts, my social deficits left me unable to understand if girls/women were taking an interest in me and this left me feeling unnoticed and unnoticeable. My mind has glommed onto that feeling like a beartrap as the "what if" lies start churning and I wonder what it would be like to be desired as a companion and lover.

I know that this would be merely seeking external validation because in many ways I think I am an interesting and curious person, and I can be a lustful yet unselfish lover. So, why is my mind turning in that unproductive direction when there is so much satisfaction I can get in the present? Not only that, but here I have received some lovely and supportive messages from women demonstrating that I am not unnoticed. So why can't I take it to heart, that whatever the future will bring, I will never be bereft of companionship and intimacy?
I have similar problems and feelings, perhaps to the PTSD level, although these would have been overwhelmed by other, greater, traumas. I find one of the things that gives me the most grief is best described as "might have beens." All the opportunities I missed because I didn't understand. All the things I could have done but didn't because of fear or uncertainty. If only I knew what was wrong with me so I could overcome it while there was still time to do something about it. You don't state it outright, but it is hinted at a lot in your original post. If I am right, say so. We may be ablte to gain strength from each other with our similar situations. If I am wrong, say so, I (or others) may be able to gain insight into my own situation. Unlike you (despite the fact I am technically married), I AM bereft of companionship and intimacy.
 

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