Saturday, December 3, 2022

 Life Is Messy

by Roger Mann


Life is messy. Messier than I ever imagined. I grew up in a house that celebrated truth and honesty. At the same time, I was told/taught to keep secrets and lie. I was just a kid but there was something about it that didn’t sit well with me. But being 9 or 10 years old, what did I know.? “Father knows best, I was told.

Even as a kid I got an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach about what was going on, but I was conditioned to override that and obey my parents. 

 But stuff like that won’t stay silent for long. As a teenager, I began to see that dad was not as all-knowing and perfect as I had been led to believe and that made me mad. I had been lied to, betrayed, and eventually set aside. He hadn’t given me much attention throughout my childhood but what he did give changed to less and less as I got older. I think he began to worry about what I might say or do.

I let it go. There was nothing I could do that would not cause even more problems, so I left home as soon as I could. I think he was relieved. I thought I’d managed to get away and put all that behind me. I was wrong. All the secret abuse and lies didn’t stay buried. The older I got, the more problems I seemed to have until finally, I had to deal with it all. 

The anger didn’t go away. The flashbacks and the bad dreams that scared my wife led to my trying to deal with it on my own. That only made it worse. I was a lost soul and the foundation I had so carefully laid began to crumble beneath me at around 45 years old. I needed help and I searched to find it.  

When we reach a certain age, we often look back on things. That’s when the fa├žade shows its cracks. For me, it was 45 and I have talked to many others around that age with similar stories. 

Whatever your age, get help.

You can’t do it alone.

The results are so worth it.


Sunday, April 10, 2022

 The Father Wound Discussion

I've been quiet and doing a lot of pondering lately. This thing about my loneliness and feeling like I need some guy around my age that I can relate to and form a deep friendship with is still doing gymnastics in my head. The last men's bible study I attended was very interesting. (I don't know why they call it a bible study because hardly anyone brings a bible and it is usually just a video and Q and A after which can turn into a chit-chat session.)


The vid was a guy talking about his relationship with his father which was complicated as usual and how God used it to give him insight and healing. The follow-up Q and A, of course, were the dreaded "How were you and your dad's relationship and what have you learned". 


I HATE having to go there but every group I've ever been to always ends up with the "father" session. I kept my mouth shut hoping we'd run out of time. It didn't work. I think I handled it well alluding to some unspoken issues that deeply affected me but that God helped me through. Later one of the men who does know my story said he was wondering how I was going to handle that. 


I admit I came really close to just vomiting it all out right then and there because I was angry. I just knew though if I did I'd regret it. The thing that made me so angry is being put on the spot again. I don't want to be the poster child for incest abuse and the token ex-gay guy in the church. Also, I was angry that I WAS that guy and full of shame to be completely honest. Having confessed that I struggled with P they would all then go "Ahhh, THAT kind of P" and then I'm watched to see if I'm checking out guys in the church. Which of course is only reasonable I suppose.


I don't want to share my story! I don't want to be that guy. I did it before and it always felt like poop after whenever we'd meet. These were two different churches and we eventually left. I just never felt the same acceptance after that. (Although one guy did slip me a small note saying you are not alone. He was killed in an accident soon after that.) Being friends, associating with "that guy" seemed to make them uncomfortable and me too.


But, the longing is still there to be accepted for who I am and completely comfortable around each other. Not having to watch everything I say and do for fear it would be misinterpreted.


And, then of course there's the effect it'd have on my wife and extended family. "That guy's family, you know, that guy" Arrrgh!


Well, my life is what it is. My history, what is known or would be known, would all be out there. Unless it's someone who has some similar history or struggles most men, especially Christian men would find it tedious and problematic. So, anyone who did reach out well would certainly raise the eyebrows of the more pious. 


Life is messy. The church is messy. Christ's body is messy just like our natural bodies are messy and require constant Hygenic cleansing in order not to offend the sensibilities. I wish we could all accept that and just love each other, history and all. 


God, I can be such a whiner. Forgive the rant. I apologize.


Just my thoughts. 



I need ice cream. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

 We live in a world that is very hectic. We are inundated with news, requests for weird "How did we do?" surveys, not to mention all the usual work and responsibilities we must take care of on a daily basis. We hardly have time to keep up with our binge-watching. 


A hundred years ago life was much simpler. If something momentous or traumatic happened in our life, we had time to process it, accept it, and move on. But today, we have very little time to do anything with such things because there's a line of stuff waiting for us to deal with as soon as we turn around. 


I suspect this is why men in their 45 to 55 range are now suddenly overcome with feelings, memories, and confusion about their lives and who they really are. The life that has been stuffed down deep so they can keep moving, around this time in their life begins to surface and demand attention. I've experienced it myself and I've talked and read about so many other men to whom this has happened also.


It's unnerving, confusing, and can leave one feeling a bit lost. My own childhood traumas seemed all well taken care of for so long that when my own life began to unravel from the most unexpected places, I was ill-prepared and lost my second marriage over it. 


Lesson: Slow down. Give me a break and let me feel whatever I feel. It could be God trying to heal some wound whose bandaid has started slipping a bit and needs some air.


Just my thoughts

Friday, August 27, 2021

 Not sure if this qualifies as healing but...

I've noticed this past year that I'm much more comfortable in my own skin. I had an occasion not too long ago to have to tell my story once again. It had been a while and I approached it with no real nervousness. I made my introduction to the Zoom attendees and began with the account of my abuse in a vague general way. I'm not sure why I was reluctant to admit certain detail but I found myself skirting details. That's when I realized I was feeling the shame all over again when I'd convinced myself it was gone. That not only shocked me but made me a little angry with myself. At that point, I stopped and told them I need to be honest here and really opened up with at least the PG version as I call it. 

I became emotional as I waded into it and I just let the tears flow. I didn't care. It happened, it was bad, I didn't handle it well and it messed me up badly. That said, I'm ok now and I'm working on being better, at a lot of things. 

Life happens, but it's not all bad. I've worked hard to address and repair as much as was within me what was broken and I've had a lot of help from some really great people. I thank God for that often. I thank God for this site and I know I should be here more. It helps. 

I realize I couldn't do this alone. God knows for a while I did try. It was awful. But the support I've had has pushed me to keep reaching for this elusive thing called wellness. People tell me I've come a long way. I'm just glad it shows. I'm too close to the trees sometimes to tell if the forest is still there. 

Thanks for reading this.

R

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

 My wife and I were watching a movie last night called Mistic River. It was painful to watch and had a rather bad ending and I found myself upset and disturbed after for a while. This happens every once in a while. I've been doing some reading and research on human trafficking too which doesn't help. Still, I want to educate myself on this stuff and what to look for. I have grandchildren now that are in the at risk demographic for being kidnapped and sold and it haunts me. I remember my youngest boy age 9 wandering off from my backyard in Long Beach, CA one day. The panic was awful but he was found safely twenty minutes later watching a neighbor working on his car.  

I've never been stolen away although back in the day kids were pretty safe in most areas. I was sent to others' homes a couple of times for "play" but came back with no trouble as they were friends of my dad.

Still, it brings back uncomfortable memories. If other stuff happened I don't remember and that's probably a good thing. There's a lot of my childhood I can't remember and I'm ok with that given the alternative. I've had enough nightmares to last me for the rest of my life. 

I think God watched over me and protected me a lot back then. That's what I pray for my grandchildren too. I had bad stuff happen but I know it could have been much worse. If it was worse and I can't remember, that's another reason I'm reluctant to do any more therapy. 

While I'm dealing well I guess with all this right now I'm sad that the world is getting so much worse for kids. You just can't let them out of your sight anymore it seems. Still, there is a lot of people going after these scumbags that prey on children and that's encouraging. God bless them all. 

Just my thoughts

Friday, April 30, 2021

 Misdirection

I've always been short-tempered especially in certain situations. These special situations are always where I'm being criticized, attacked for something I've done or said, or when I'm working on something and can't seem to get it accomplished in a manner that doesn't make me feel adequate. 

Feeling helpless and/or inadequate is a real trigger. I feel suddenly overwhelmed and furious and sometimes will break things in my frustration. 

But most of the time I feel quite in control and can be pretty full of myself if not careful. In thinking about this the other day I began to wonder if maybe my bravado and pride if you will, is not just masking my insecurity. And I do have a lot of that if I'm honest with myself. I've been such an ass most of my life due to feeling like I'm less than most other men I meet. 

In High School is where I first began to sense this. I was not athletic in the more common sense. I liked math and science instead of football and basketball. I was drafted into my freshmen football team due to the size of the male population in my school. I was humiliated in front of the whole school and just dropped out. I've always felt other boys seem to have some secret "book of rules" that I just didn't get. Growing up that way and failing at my first marriage didn't help. 

So I think maybe I've been lying to myself a little, pretending to be so together and feeling betrayed when put in situations that I'm at loss to navigate thus exposing once again my true inadequacies. At this stage of my life, I know intellectually that all men are broken and failures in some area or another. But that doesn't help how I feel and feelings are difficult to shake. 

One thing that has helped me is a group of men that I'm allowed to be perfectly honest with about my true self. This has been huge in helping me deal with this attempt at misdirection I've tried to accomplish my whole life. God bless me I may turn out to be a fairly decent human being probably just before I die.

Just my thoughts

Monday, March 8, 2021

 Isolation

If there's one thing I've learned this last year it's that I cannot isolate and stay healthy. Since about February of last year I've been pretty much stuck at home. Not as much as my wife but too much for me. It's brought up a lot of bad feelings. I remember back in the 80's struggling with it and not really understanding what was going on. I can remember feeling desperation and a hunger to get out and meet someone, anyone just for the company. I can remember putting up with all kinds of stuff just to be with someone for a while. I didn't have to like them but to be with someone, to feel human touch was almost intoxicating I was so needy.

This plandemic and brought back a lot of that. Not nearly so bad and being married has definitely helped a lot. Getting out to work at my part-time job is like a fix though. I look forward to it each day I'm scheduled and when they call me in on my day off it like a present. 

We were made to be connected and social. It's part of our makeup psychologically and maybe spiritually too. I think this is why so many young people are deciding to off themselves rather than depend on social media alone. We're not wired to exist on just that alone. 

Those of us who have been severely abused and deprived of healthy connections tend to deem connections as all unhealthy and withdraw from people. We build walls and while it keeps the hurt out it also keeps out the love. We become numb and even though we might be in a crowd, we are still isolated. Maybe we get it, or maybe we just accept it because we know nothing else, I don't know, but the result is a handicap emotionally when in social situations. A real awkwardness that we sense but everyone else can see. 

We have started attending church again. No masks, no social distancing and it feels good to shake hands and even hug occasionally. Even though it's uncomfortable for me, I've come to realize I need it and I'm not going to avoid it anymore. 

Just my thoughts