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Haven't Been Here Much


frugalfurguy
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I'm reflecting on some ironies. Used to be I hated myself for loving fur, and I was obsessed about hating myself for obsessively loving fur.

 

Now I've found a place where there are lots of other people who love fur. There's no question that fur still has singular power in my life, but I've changed. There are so many other significant things going on in my life. Week before last I lost a significant member of my support team who didn't survive a heart surgery. Validating my feelings of loss by getting to a memorial service became a hell of a lot more important than coming here.

 

I've been engaged in a struggle to invite financial independence in my life and all my negative beliefs about myself and money. I've been sharing my life week after week at support groups.

 

Now I find so little time to share about fur. Seems I'm no longer stuck on it the way I used to be, and it's no longer getting in the way of other important things I need to deal with.

 

When I first talked to therapists about my worries about what fur was in my life, the message I heard back was that that was very unlikely to change. Well, I've kept working, and in the last few years a new message has emerged: there's a possibility that by digging at my emotional baggage and opening up to intimate sharing I'll no longer need fur the way I did. There's no guarantee I can get there or maybe I don't even want to go there any more. But however it turns out, I want to be willing to accept the way I am now.

 

I wonder if I'm in the midst of such a change. I've given up an awful lot to get to where I could accept myself the way I am now. That would seem to make my relationship with fur precious in a way. I wonder what kind of hurt there'd be for me to reckon with if once again life called on me to give up something I'd come to treasure because I'd outgrown it.

 

However it turns out, I'm grateful there've been these chances to talk about what I'm experiencing with people who more or less understand.

 

Thanks for being here.

 

frugalfurguy

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Frugalfurguy,

 

Thanks for sharing your post.

 

Life is an adventure than takes us through many paths. If we stay stuck we miss so many beautiful things in life.

 

Good luck on your adventure.

 

Linda

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Very interesting post Frugal.

 

I think what you might find is that your desire for fur is there but in a different way.

 

W

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Having been through intensive therapy for almost two years, I can tell you something that most shrinks don't tell you:

 

You have a right to your own emotions.

 

You're going to sit there in therapy, in group or in pastoral counsiling and you're going to read these little, subliminal cues from people that seem to be telling you that you are wrong for having a feeling about some thing or issue.

 

They won't actually say it. But you'll pick it up. If you said to the therapist, "Fur makes me feel happy.", you might see a subtle change in his expression or you might notice a shift in his body language. He seems to tense up or close himself off to you. You're going to read that as a NEGATIVE reaction to your statement. You're going to interpret that as him saying, "It's not good to feel happy about fur."

 

That's a batch of crap!

 

You have the right to feel any way you want! Your emotions and feelings are valid, JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE THEM! You don't need to justify your feelings to ANYBODY!

 

But I will say, the catch is that it's not the fact you HAVE feelings for fur. The catch is what you DO when you have feelings for fur.

 

Do you use fur as an escape from your problems? Do you use fur to prevent yourself from dealing with the daily problems of your life?

 

If so, then your problem doesn't come from your feelings about fur. It comes from the way you USE your feelings for fur to ESCAPE. Essentially, you use fur the same way an alcoholic uses liquor.

 

As long as you are not hurting yourself or others; As long as you practice your fur fetish with other consenting adults; As long as you aren't breaking any other important laws; you are ALLOWED to love fur!

 

If you come home after a long day at work and you feel the need to unwind, would you have a problem with pouring yourself a glass of wine and setting down in front of the TV and relaxing for an hour or two?

 

As long as you're not neglecting your other responsibilities and as long as you aren't hurting anybody, there's NO REASON why you can't relax after work!

 

So, what if we substituted that glass of wine with fur, instead?

 

What would be so bad about coming home after a long day at work and stripping off all your clothes and jumping into a big pile of fur?

 

If that's the way YOU choose to relax, there's no difference!

 

So, again, you have the absolute right to feel any way you want to about fur... or any other subject. However, you should be careful HOW you express that emotion. If you express it as an escape from your daily troubles, then you are right. You should be careful when you feel happy about fur. You need to moderate yourself in relation to how much time you spend thinking about fur as compared to how much time you spend owning up to the responsibilities of the rest of your life.

 

Maybe you should ask your therapist about this.

 

Ask him or her: "You're not telling me that it's out of line to like fur, are you? You're just telling me that I shouldn't use fur as an escape from responsibility."

 

Use my analogy: "If it's okay for somebody to drink alcohol for recreation, why is it NOT okay to love fur for recreation?"

 

People tend to see their therapists as authority figures. That's not entirely true. If you have been committed because of some criminal matter involving your mental health that is true. But, if you are going to a threapist voluntarily, that is NOT true.

 

You should look upon your threapist as a "Psychological Consultant".

 

You are paying him/her to help you straighten out your emotional life in just the same way you would hire an accountant to straighten out your finances.

 

I think you'll get a lot more out of therapy if you look at the situation that way.

 

And, finally... BRAVO! for having the guts to get into therapy! : " title="Applause" />

It takes a lot more courage than most people have!

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Hey, thanks Linda, Whitefox and Worker!

 

Yes, it's definitely turning out to be quite the adventure.

 

An ironic twist to it all is that each time I've let my dad know I was working at something in therapy his response was something on the order of halelujiah! Always knew you needed it.

 

The thing is that when I enact the gifts of my treatment in my relationship with him, he starts digging in his heels. I get to accept the way he is. I get to stay true to myself. If that causes conflict, there's a prime opportunity to pull out all the courage I've found so far and stay true to myself.

 

I believe I've been lucky. All those times I've turned to therapists for help, I've connected with people who've shown professionalism and concern for my well being. Of course they're people too, and fallible. In my earliest encounters I wasn't ready to hear much, but even there, I came away with some question that looking back at it now contributed immensely. From the very earliest contact it was the suggestion I didn't take up until about 10 years later that I try group therapy. Then another three years after that from a different therapist: What is driving your urge to strangle your libidinal fascination for furs? I've since then become clear that it was a desperate desire to satisfy what I believed to be parental requirements--requirements that were never directly communicated to me, but no less real in my imagination.

 

No, I wouldn't see my therapists as attempting to stifle my fascination with furs, Worker. Quite the contrary, especially at the beginning, it was they who questioned my obsession with exterminating it. I also believe that back then I used it as a defense. There are so many other areas in my life that require my attention for me to progress towards emotional wholeness. By coming to therapists with an agenda that they "cure" me of my attraction to furs, I pretty well restricted their scope to point out other areas to work on.

 

With any luck it shows in how I value myself now that I've come a long, long way since then, and I'm grateful for the support I've had along the way.

 

Something else you pointed out there, Worker, certainly rings true for me. Indeed I have used fur lust as a means of compulsive self-sabotage. I'm working a 12 step program of recovery from that. You might ask what I'm doing here then. It's not exactly the same as recovery from a substance abuse situation. It's closer to an eating disorder. Compulsive overeaters still have to find a healthy place for nutrition in their lives. Likewise I'm seeking a balance, giving myself permission to appropriately express my emotions, taking care of my needs responsibly, and allowing a place in my life for enjoyment of fur while that remains a dynamic part of who I am.

 

Best wishes!

 

frugalfurguy

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One thing that dysfunctional familes do is try to keep each other feeding off the destructive energy in the family circle. If one member steps outside that circle, the others will try to reign him back in.

 

I experience the same thing. Whenever I try to mention my feelings about certain problems that occurred in my family while I was growing up I start getting that change in body language I told you about. If I don't read those unspoken cues, I start getting subtile admonishments. If I don't heed those warnings, things will start getting ugly and people will start fighting and calling each other names.

 

This all comes back to the thing about your right to have your own emotions.

 

YOU are the one who chooses to get healthy. They are the ones who choose to remain dysfunctional as they are. Yet, THEY seem to be telling you that YOU are the one who is out of line. The truth is just the opposite.

 

The answer, for me at least, is to detach.

 

If my mother calls me up and she's hassling me about something that seems dysfunctional, I won't call her back right away. I'll leave the message until the next day when she's calmed down and I'm better able to talk to her without falling into my old dysfunctional behaviors.

 

If my father was still alive and he gave me the "Hallalujah!" treatment when I told him I was in therapy yet hassled me when I talked about it to him, I'd just stop talking to him about it.

 

Parents of dysfunctional families often feel threatened when one of their children brings up issues like that. They seem to feel like you're accusing them of being bad parents. Maybe they were but you shouldn't make them feel like you're accusing them of it.

 

So, that's why the best solution for me was to detach.

 

I think you might do well to consider the benefits of detaching yourself from the dysfunctional aspects of your family, at least for a little while.

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Worker, is the such a thing a a typical "healthy family" if most families are considered to be dysfunctional? Wonder if the healthy family is Leave it to Beaver?

 

There is a book out: if you see Buddha walking down the street kill him! I believe that was the title. It explains in our journey to find ourselves eventually letting go of therapy is the last addiction we have to rid our selves of.

 

I was in therapy for 10 years. Once I separated from my husband, I never felt a need to go again. In reflection, by continuing in therapy it kept me in a bad marriage. I will always be grateful for the things I learned. Grateful I finally realized and changed my life. I viewed leaving as a failure, so I kept trying when it was obviously insane. We both are better off today.

 

Family dynamics occur in groups, too. Even here on the den. And, Lord (No, not our member LORD!!) knows we can be dysfunctional!!

 

But, we are a family. 8)

 

Linda

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I don't know if there is such a thing as a "healthy family". Each and every family has its own dysfunctionality. But some families are more dysfunctional than others.

 

My defintion of a "healthy family" is one whose dysfunctionalities do not hinder the individual members' growth as humans.

 

Does the mere fact that you drink alcohol make you an alcoholic? No! But if you drink so much that you hurt yourself or others around you, then YES! You are an alcoholic!

 

Does the mere fact that you get turned on by fur make you a sick person? No! But if you love fur to the exclusion of personal relationships with other people, then YES! You DO have a problem!

 

Does the mere fact that you have fights with your family mean they are dysfunctional? No! But if your family fights or has other problems that hurt the members, then YES! They ARE a dysfunctional family.

 

One more thing. I think you are RIGHT, Linda. It is very easy to use therapy as a means to wallow in your own problems.

 

I NEEDED therapy. There was a period of about 6 months where I was going to some type of therapy (individual therapy, group therapy or pastoral counciling) three or four times per week! That did not count 12-Step support groups.

 

Then there came a time when I decided I didn't need threapy anymore. I still went to a few 12-Step meetings but, even after a while, I deceide that I didn't need them anymore either.

 

It is easy to use threapy as an escape, just as it is to use other things such as drugs or alcohol or sex to escape from the reality of your life. That's a decision the individual has to make for themself but everybody needs to be aware of it, at least.

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I'd say that the most functional families are the ones where the stuff that's not working can be acknowledged and maybe even processed.

 

Coming from a dysfunctional one myself, I know it's easy to start seeing things as absolute: either you're the meanest of dysfunctional or perfectly functional. I believe it's possible to heal from my dysfunctions, but that's always going to be a matter of progress. As soon as I start proclaiming I'm entirely functional, I'll have skidded right back into perfectionism.

 

I'll be thinking about what you say about clinging to therapy after it's no longer working any good. I'll always need support to keep to a healing path. But I don't think it'll always have to come from professional therapists.

 

I'm at a point with family that I want to give much in my relationships with them. They are valued people in my life, and I want to act as if that's the case. It's also very true that I don't want to allow myself to capitulate to being the way I used to be around them just to have the illusion once again that we're one big happy you-know-the-rest .

 

I'm curious, Worker. How central was your love of fur to seeking therapy? And that question's about my interest. Not as if I'd feel offended if you decided it's none of my damn business. I know that I saw my fur fetish as the biggest problem when I first went for therapy. Since then, I've gained a very different perspective, and it's no longer the iceberg I once saw it as.

 

frugalfurguy

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I'm curious, Worker. How central was your love of fur to seeking therapy?

 

Fur had nothing to do with the reason I went to therapy. I went to therapy because I started having nightmares. The kind where you wake up screaming. Really nasty, f***ed up stuff! I was at the point where I was afraid to go to sleep. I don't care to talk about the causes of all this. Suffice to say, that was 15 years ago.

 

Fur is probably part of the reason I'm so well, now.

You know about my fur collection. Don't you?

 

Do remember one more thing: You and I are among the few people who can prove we are sane. I've got a doctor's signature on a piece of paper that says so! Can YOU prove you are sane?

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Worker, that's too funny, proof that you're sane.

 

Nah, I haven't reached that pinnacle.

 

Man, that does sound vicious. I've had what I call bad dreams. But their effect on me typically is that I wake up refreshed: oh, so that was just a dream and in contrast life itself is so agreeable.

 

On the other hand, I've started to encounter some dread of falling asleep. Fairly often I'll lie awake for a while. Then I'll remember that I hadn't yet gotten across "the hump." After that it's usally pretty prompt I'll start to drowse off then wake in a horrified start. I believe I encounter some hypnagogic halucinatory video, but I don't remember any specifics, just that for a split second I've been scared witless. But from there it's usually just a half-step to a sound and refreshing sleep--sort of like it's a thunderstorm that has to happen. Anyway I prefer that to the kind of nightmares you describe.

 

My surmise about your fur collection at this point is that you collect real fur bears (from looking at your avatar, if nothing else). If that guess was right, I'm still not familiar with such particulars as how many and what are your favorites and what unsusual stories some of them have. So maybe there's more to it.

 

As fur collections go, I may very well define the lean side of the Fur Den's diversity. At this time, I feel content with three items I found on a one-day bicycle expedition to a nearby city. I smile recognizing that if I'd spent as much money on furs as some members here I wouldn't have any liquid assets--in fact I'd have a negative net financial worth. Guess that's part of the consequences of following romantic dreams of literary grandiosity for so many decads. Be that as it may, I feel fulfilled. I have enough, and that's empowered me to put a relatively high rate of what little money trickles into my life into bank deposits and bonds. I mightn't be wealthy in terms of comparing my financial value to others. But, letting go of that, I've discovered a source of wealth inside when I celebrate that for now I have all I want.

 

That's not intended to put anyone else down for having made different decisions. I'm not in charge of that department after all!

 

frugalfurguy

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I don't remember any specifics, just that for a split second I've been scared witless.

 

I'll start off by saying that I'm not a doctor or any kind of expert. I'm only talking from my own experience.

 

When I started having "trouble" and went to the doctor I wanted to find out as much as I could about the psychology of sleep. I spent the better part of my days in the library reading up on everything I could find. That's how I know what I know. I'm no smarter than you. (You might be smarter than me, for all I know! )

 

From what I know, the kind of experience you have is fairly NORMAL, actually!

 

Almost everybody has that kind of experience at least once or twice in their lives. It's nothing to worry about unless it starts hindering your ability to rest.

 

It happens to me every once in a while. I'm laying there in that "twilight state" half way between sleep and wakefulness. Suddenly it feels like somebody electrified my whole body. I let out a yell and sit up in bed. I look around to see what happened. I realize that there's nothing wrong. I roll over in bed, puff up the pillow and go back to sleep. The whole episode lasts less than a minute.

 

If that's the kind of thing that happens to you, just consider it a kind of "nerve twitch". It's harmless.

 

If it keeps you from sleeping, if it distrubs you in other ways or if it happens too often, you should tell your doctor. There may be a medical cause and he can probably prescribe you something for it.

 

No. The kind of dreams I had were the kind where space aliens teleported down into my bedroom and started doing brain surgery on me while I laid paralyzed in my own bed. Those where the nice ones!

 

I was so freaked out I couldn't even look at my own bed in broad daylight.

I checked myself into the hospital and they had to give me Valium to knock me out.

 

These kinds of nightmares won't happen to you, though. You've just got your garden variety night jitters. Anybody can get those.

 

As to the insomnia. Train yourself so that there are only two things you do in bed: Sleep and have sex. No reading. No TV. Nothing but rest.

You want your mind to associate the bedroom with good things, not boring, mundane things. If you're not sleepy, try to lay in bed for a little while longer. If you still don't fall asleep, get out of bed and do something else. Read a book. Watch some tube, etc. About a half hour later, try to go to sleep again.

 

Finally, remember that even if you don't fall asleep, just lying quietly in bed still gives you HALF the rest you normally get. All is not lost. Eh?

 

You got the Bear thing right!

We collect all sorts of Bears. Fur ones and plush. My faves are the fur ones. Mohair ones are nice too!

 

But, letting go of that, I've discovered a source of wealth inside when I celebrate that for now I have all I want.

 

Amen, brother!

 

Sounds to me like you've already seen the light at the end of the tunnel!

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frugalfurguy,

 

I wanted to mention, I come here for reasons other than your original attraction to the site. I love fur,but not the same as many of you. I find fur erotic, but not an end itself.

 

I have few friends who understand fur and I am far away from other furriers. While that is why I was attracted to the site, the friends I have made here and the wonderful sources of information have kept the site as a part of my daily internet life.

 

Linda

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Thanks for clarifying, Linda.

 

I have no question that fur has a special place in your life, and quite all right that it's not the same kind of place as it is in mine. I'm glad you're here, and I think there's plenty we care about in common, fur and otherwise.

 

frugalfurguy

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