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Abuse and Compartmentalization

(This post comes from Roger Mann.)

I talked to a friend who was in and out of same-sex relationships because of his abuse. We discussed that other victims speak of the emptiness of same-sex relationships, which leave them depressed and feeling miserable. But neither of us felt that way, and it caused us to wonder.

One thing we have in common is that riding off into the sunset with another male has never been a possibility. It’s not that we haven’t met anyone who’d be willing, but it’s because of the way we responded to our abusers.

Because of who they were, we never considered that what we had between us was anything more than a physical action. (For him, it was an older brother; for me, it was my dad.) It was a “thing” that involved connection and fondness, but also an understanding that it would eventually end. While I might have loved my dad, and my friend his older brother—and the closeness we each felt was great—life continued, and we grew up and moved on.

Part of our experience became a fixed pattern that repeated itself in similar types of sexual relationships. Because of preconditioned attitudes cemented in our impressionable years, our ability to commit intimately to anyone else was almost impossible.

We both knew men who wanted a more permanent situation with us, and while we felt genuine affection for them, a commitment was out of the question. Our idea of fidelity still included our wives.

The abuse rerouted our wiring and compartmentalized that area of our brains. I honestly believe my dad ruined any possibility of my having true fidelity with anyone. I can either love someone or have sex with them. For my wife, love and sex are a package deal—no compartmentalization. I struggle with that, and it’s hurt her.

Now that I’m older, it’s easier to be more faithful, but I fear it’s because of age rather than morality. With God’s help, and as revelation and understanding increase, I’m doing better.

3 comments:

Jesus said...

HI Cecil,
Long time since have been on shattering silence.
May I wish you a Happy New Year and much abundance in 2019, family etc.

I bought your book "Wives of Abused men", for my wife some while ago but its still on book shelf and my wife has not read it or I.

Been struggling in 2018 as more things come to the surface re-childhoold and how affects my marriage. I am surprised how you denied your family were and often wonder if my own wife was treated fairly by her mother. She would not discuss and feel either hidden as too painful or something in her psyche would be painful to bring it up.

I have been used to going into my psyche ever since I got through the worst of abuse in late 20s but after first relationship failed, rejection of an adverse childhood environment came back in my continuing research into being whole. I read a quote the other day and recently experienced this that ..."While in the midst of tough, the night is half over, etc" auote by C.G.Jung letters Vol2 pp 586 and it was written by a 13th century perhaps religous or prophet but not sure - his name Eckhart.

Well recently I was struggling with now over 2 years not intimate with wife, and trying to get counselling help for us both but feel my own nightmares always lead me bakc to some eaarly event, infant, teens etc with abuse etc. I cannot sleep and go to the bathroom and re-act this painful sort of loss on my own awesomeness. I have not discussed this fully with my wife or counsellor yet but am going for some Christian retreat 18 Jan for 2 days and felt would discuss with them first.
Please pray I get revelation and more courage for 2019 and restored intimacy lost.

Jesus

Cecil Murphey said...

Jesus, That post was written by Roger Mann, a survivor himself, and a man who is marvelously transparent.
I'm sorry for all the pain you're going through--and most of us have gone through them. some are still going through them.
Don't give up! Others will tell you the same thing. It's not easy to survive and grow after sexual assault in childhood, but you can overcome.
Cec




Jesus said...

Hi Cecil,
I got a email linked to shattering silence - a Dr Ekpen.
Have just come out of some counselling from an intern studying Masters and her supervisor - a clinical psychologist Phd. My wife had two sessions, myself really only one. It did not go well as when I mentioned I had a fall Christmas 2017 the psychologist medicalised me and felt could not work with me unless had a MRI scan. Well I live miles from Hospitals, and it ise not necessary as after the fall, and have fallen in the ice number of times where we live duringwinter. I immediately felt nervous in the internet link but was 25 years since last Dr Clinical Psycholigist gave me 26 x 40 mins free on our NHS in Uk after my father had died in 1991, when had been out of first marriage 3 years but not children. Now married 25 years with two sons 23 and 17. I was sad that they could not continue with me but perhaps later with my wife, the intern worker was completing hours towards her Masters and the new intern was more highly qualified and heid not wish to do internet counselling. I fet sort of manipulated into the medical model and is this typical of a complex trauma psychological situ when seeking help etc. I did not move on, as we went into the counselling after over 60s are marriage intimacy declined and began to act out earlier abuse etc.
bless
Jesus