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During my abuse, and for years after I left home, I picked up some bad habits. I don’t know if it was the PTSD or being trained to see others as objects that might be useful or harmful to me. I developed a hyper alertness when out in public. I tended to notice every male around me and would check them out for hostile or friendly body language.
Most times, depending on the venue, it was indifference, but not always, and it was those times I would seem distracted to whomever I was with. Mostly it was because I was checking out where the bathroom was, where the nearest exit was, and trying to find a seat against a wall.
Also, I became almost obsessed with my body. I wanted to know every inch, learn about all its functions and what sort of sensations and scents it carried. Certain parts like knees have their own scent. Of course that led to a curiosity about everyone else’s bodies too, which got me in trouble on several occasions. Some people are militant about their modesty.
Abuse changed my whole perception on the world around me in ways I couldn’t appreciate for decades, and after many counseling sessions, I still have a few quirks, which I won’t share here. But I have come to realize that much of what I believed was not true and even dangerous for me.
I’m learning a healthier way to navigate life these days, and I’m more comfortable with who I am. I’ve learned to listen to my wife’s suggestions and watch people’s reactions to things I say and do so as not to be thought weird.
I can look back on many cringe-worthy situations that would never have occurred if my sensibilities had not been so horribly messed with.
Fortunately, I’m re-trainable.
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A note from Cec's assistant: Cec's publisher sent him a box of bookmarks for his upcoming book, More Than Surviving. If you would like to help Cec by distributing some of the bookmarks, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and give him your mailing address. Thank you!