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What is my affliction called, and how do I begin treating it?


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So after a little digging, I have what I think is "Affect Phobia" and it's ruining me

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Ever since I was a child, I've been completely unable to bring myself to punch or hurt another person who is showing aggression towards me, even to the extent that (and this is no lie), when I was in middle school, I actually just let a boy punch me repeatedly in face and head and I did nothing. Even now, at the age of 40, I can't bring myself to do it. Fortunately physical confrontations are rare as I am 6' 6" and 350lbs. But I'm so afraid of what might happen if I'm needed and I can't defend myself or my family members.

Strangely enough, I can "spar" in martial arts and throw punches and kicks at someone who's trying to do the same to me, but it's different. It's in the context of sport, and I know there's no anger involved. It's the anger that makes me freeze up.

When I was in school, and word got out about how I would not hit back if you hit me, I became a huge target for the bullies. I was this great big, strong kid that would let you beat him up.

Someone, please help me.

HEY THERE MEPHISTOPHELES,

MY NAME IS Jj.

JUST WANTED TO SAY HI, AND WELCOME TO THE COMMUNITY. I DONT KNOW IF I CAN BE OF MUCH HELP , BUT THERE ARE PLENTY OF KIND PEOPLE HERE THAT WILL OFFER YOU HELP, SUPPORT AND ADVICE , IF THEY CAN.

YOU WILL SOON MAKE PLENTY OF FRIENDS HERE, WHO CAN TO SOME DEGREE, RELATE AND UNDERSTAND, THE FEELINGS YOU ARE EXPERIENCING.

ITS ALWYS HARD TO REASON, WHY YOU DIDNT DEFEND OR TRY TO STICK UP FOR YOURSELF, WHEN YOU GET BULLIED. USUALY WITH ME ITS JUST A CASE OF SHEER FEAR TAKES OVER, AND I FREEZE. CONSEQUANTLY, IM UNABLE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

ITS GREAT THAT YOU DO MARTIAL ARTS, DO YOU THIINK THAT THE SKILLS YOU LEARN FROM THE SPORT COULD MAYBE HELP YOU TO DEFEND YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY ?

HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED GOING ON A ANGER MANAGEMENT COURSE, MAYBE THAT COULD HELP YOU WORK OUT WHY YOU FREEZE IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, AND MIGHT EVEN HELP YOU TO WORK OUT, IF BY CONTROLING THAT ANGER YOU MAY BE ABLE TO HAVE SOME CONTROL IN YOUR ACTIONS.

YOU COULD CONSIDER GOING TO YOUR DOCTOR, IF YOU HAVNT ALREADY DONE SO, HE MAY BE ABLE TO REFERE YOU TO SOME GOOD THERAPISTS THAT COULD HELP.

I DONT KNOW IF THAT HELPS YOU, BUT IM SURE THAT OTHERS HERE CAN OFFER SOME ADVICE.

ALL THE BEST

TAKE CARE

Jj

Hi JJ, and thanks very much for responding to my post.

Yes, I know with a certainty that my physical attributes (I'm really strong from all the time I spent in the gym trying to boost my self esteem, and I climbed the ranks in Tae Kwon Do and Karate as well,and I hold two black belts. All this was to try and boost my confidence, I suppose, and so I've learned everything I'll ever need as far as skill and strength and so on) would be more than adequate to deal with damn near any threat I'll ever face .

The problem is "pulling the trigger". Unleashing that ability. I just cannot do it. I look big and tough, and I try to look as intimidating as possible (another reason for all the time in the gym) so I'm bald wth a goatee, like a biker, and it helps, Im sure. No one messes with me. But when that fails, as rare as that is....Im helpless.

I've not talked about this to my doctor this as it's just too embarrassing. But as soon as the benefits on my new job kick in, I will be seeking a therapist.

As far as anger management goes, it's never really occurred to me because I've always thought that anger management was for people who have trouble NOT getting mad, or trouble NOT hurting someone when they get mad.

My problem is exactly the opposite.

If I knew of any kind of group in the Dallas area that meets up about MY kind of phobia, I'd be all over it.

Hi Mephistopheles, I just wanted to include your posts so others could know your story.

We cannot diagnose on this site, but we can give you our support. It sounds like you have been bullied, for sure. Were there any events like this further back, when you were very young, where you were confronted with having to defend yourself and you couldn't?

This might be closer to the issue you are suffering from. Afterall, if you were to get physically involved at this point in adult life, you would probably end up seriously harming someone and possibly even go to jail.

Edited by finding my way
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Originally Posted by Mephistopheles

The problem is "pulling the trigger". Unleashing that ability. I just cannot do it. I look big and tough, and I try to look as intimidating as possible (another reason for all the time in the gym) so I'm bald wth a goatee, like a biker, and it helps, Im sure. No one messes with me. But when that fails, as rare as that is....Im helpless.

Hi Mephistopheles,

This all has to be really tough, especially since you see yourself as a peaceful soul- one who couldn't really hurt another person even if to save their own life. And yet here you are, a repeated victim.

Before I write anymore, I want to apologize ahead of time since what I'll be saying may sound a bit sarcastic-- it's not intended that way, but by writing in this way my hope is to get a point across.

What an interesting paradox: You've made it a point to live in the gym and become muscular, to look threatening, act in a threatening and intimidating manner, become a double black belt, shave you head and grow a goatie... and it all seems backfire. You've even given yourself a username (Mephistopheles- a demon) that is threatening.

My first thought is to ask you if there is anything in your behavior/style/dress/appearance/ that invites or provokes bullying. In your efforts to boost your confidence, is there anything your doing that aggravates or triggers bullying behavior in others. While bullying is wrong and there is no excuse for it, the world is as it is and as such, if the behavior comes at you from different areas, the thing to do is to look at yourself since you're the common denominator.

Over the past 10 years I have spent 1-2 evenings per week, late into the night, providing psychiatric services to families in the most violent, poor, drug infested sections of the city--- the projects. At no time have I ever been threatened or harassed by anyone, although I stick out very easily. I'm 5'11", weigh about 200lbs... so I'm not a large presence, and I make every effort to seem harmless and almost subservient (e.g., no challenging looks or stances, no walking like I'm someone, no quick movements, no posturing, etc.). My families, those that live in these violent neighborhoods, consistently tell me that "it's all in how you carry yourself," that determines whether or not one is targeted by others. In the animal kingdom, there are specific behaviors that indicate that one animal is of no threat to another, and thus they are allowed to pass w/o problem; however, small body language and voice signals can provoke and invite a confrontation.

M.--- I'm not so sure you have a phobia, the issue may be that you're trying too hard to be something you're not and thus actually are inviting bullying from others. Which body and language signal are you sending out that may be inviting this behavior from others.

Edited by David O
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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Mephistopheles,

I believe it is important to point out to you that there is a difference between being self assertive versus violent. The greatest cowards in the world can be violent but it takes emotional strength to be assertive. You are stating that you are not an assertive man and you want to be.

I want to emphasize this point because, as an adult, you do not want to be violent. The dangers are great if you become violent, even is self defense, ie: you could kill someone and have to live with it the rest of your life, or, you could be killed, or, you could be badly injured, even permanently injured or you could seriously and permanently injure another. Many of these things could land you in prison.

However, self assertion is appropriate for adults. Something made it difficult to be assertive.

Things like psychotherapy could help as could taking assertivness training classes. Dale Carnegie Company gives assertivenss training and many people have found it helpful.

What do you think??

Allan

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