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Circumcision Trauma and Personality Disorders

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  • Circumcision Trauma and Personality Disorders

    Hello all - I was a member of the boards over a decade ago, for a few years, and then came back and scuttled off again. I have been hiding in an existential bottle of ethanol for most of my life. I am finally sober for several months and want to start to get my life on track.

    I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I was raised by Borderlines, and so I know that is the crux of my disorder. However, I hypothesize that genital mutilation trauma in and of itself may cause such disorders in some individuals. I already had BPD when I recognized my mutilation for what it is at the age of 17 - HOWEVER - that realization profoundly exasperated my condition. After my revelation I had an extreme emotional breakdown, used drugs until I had a psychotic break, and over the past 15 years have nearly died probably a dozen times due to heavy substance use (mostly ethanol).

    I notice that in the insular, Middle-Eastern Muslim world, personality disorders seem to be the norm. I think perhaps circumcision was designed to create these disorders, even if the exact intent of the original perpetrators was not so coherent and conscious.

    I spoke a Muslim Pakistani man on an internet chat room recently. When I explained to him the ramifications of male genital mutilation, he told me it was good to hurt the babies physically, and that it is good that mutilation dulls sexual sensation, as sexual pleasure should not be "excessive". Maimonides used this exact reasoning in his texts. Sexual pleasure is an essential component of human experience. The word perverse has been perverted. Perverted means "twisted" - sexuality is not inherently perverted at all, quite the opposite. The maligning of sexuality is perverse.

    Anyway, obviously Muslims are not the only mutilators. Most of us were cut by doctors or mohels - myself by a doctor, and my partner by an especially awful mohel who left him mangled.

    I study psychology so these things are of great interest to me. Does anyone have any thoughts about a correlation between personality disorders and genital mutilation? I know that I feel so violated by what happened to me that I will never fully resolve the conflicts I harbor within. I snapped when I found out what had been done to me. Every time I try to make love with my partner, I am confronted by my mutilation and his mutilation. He can't function fully he was cut so badly. My penis feels discomfort during sex much of the time, and I nearly always experience emotional trauma during sex due to my awareness of what happened to me, and the sheer discomfort my penis can provide due to what was done to it.

    Does anyone else here have a personality disorder? I think the incidence of Borderline PD, as well as other personality disorders such as Narcissistic and Anti-Social are endemic and widespread in cultures which mutilate. Any thoughts on the matter?

  • #2
    My very meager credentials: I studied the more "classic" (if I can call them that) psychiatric disorders from the DSM in school. Concurrently, I worked on a Latency unit for a short time, and on a lock-down unit for a bit longer. The upshot of this is that I had an exposure to some psychiatric issues, as manifested by particular patients. This includes several patients with your diagnosis. What does this mean? I ain't no expert by any means, so what I say here is armchair observational, and not in any way professional.




    But..........because I am science based, and more importantly, because science has not researched (with any confirmation I'm aware of) the general psychological effects on neonates who have been circumcised, and, because I have seen several people with your Dx fixate (for want of a better term) on one issue or another, I would suspect, if pressed to the wall, that your suspicion that circumcision is significant in your diagnosis, is a feeling only, and not necessarily a fact. Of course, I don't know your history. In other words, you, like the rest of us for that matter, have to tread carefully when you (and we) are looking for "causes", "reasons", etc.

    Beyond this suggestion, though, I can't help. But I do think that realizing that thoughts are just thoughts, and not mandates, not "orders", not "outside", is very important. Also realizing that someone else's thoughts about circumcision aren't that personally helpful. Whatever one person's take on his culture may or may not be, it's irrelevant to your situation.

    If you notice, I'm qualifying and back peddling here. Not just because I'm not somebody who can advise you (really, nobody here can), but because I think this needs to be a discussion with a therapist. I highly doubt that another guy with the same diagnosis would be much help, either. Run your thoughts past a therapist, discover what you can with that person. You've opened up here. So you can, and should, so the same with a professional, if for no other reason than balance.
    Last edited by Reality; 08-16-2018, 04:53 PM.

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    • #3
      I think with this phenomenon there is a very real correlation between various personality disorders, being prone to violence, etc. and circumcision. Remember, there is documented proof thru MRI studies that the intense pain of circumcision on an infant's brain messes up the wiring in those areas that deal with emotion, perception and reasoning. An infant's brain is like a brand new computer hard drive and the pain is a virus. Just like a computer, the "software" of the brain, i.e. life experiences, must be installed properly and in a more or less proper order and introducing the virus of pain while the brain is still developing has the potential for some really disastrous results. However, this does not effect everyone in the same manner. There are so many variables.
      MORE studies on this are needed.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by parsecskin View Post
        .... There are so many variables.
        MORE studies on this are needed.

        Absolutely. Simply stated and well said. We can't bring any sort of finality to this issue yet.

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        • #5
          "But..........because I am science based, and more importantly, because science has not researched (with any confirmation I'm aware of) the general psychological effects on neonates who have been circumcised, and, because I have seen several people with your Dx fixate (for want of a better term) on one issue or another, I would suspect, if pressed to the wall, that your suspicion that circumcision is significant in your diagnosis, is a feeling only, and not necessarily a fact. Of course, I don't know your history. In other words, you, like the rest of us for that matter, have to tread carefully when you (and we) are looking for "causes", "reasons", etc."

          I am "artistic", lol, but I am science-based as well. This is why I am positing a highly speculative but not wildly haphazard hypothesis, rather than communicating some solid conclusion or revelation. I know that my intense emotions can distort reality. I also know that I am sometimes simply much more highly attuned to the intensity of a matter - mostly concerning the suffering of a living being. I digress. As I said, I am speculating, based on some degree of observation. Yes, many people with Borderline PD fixate on anything we perceive as persecution/victimization. I recognize this and know that it can color my perceptions.

          I still think there is something very significant about genital mutilation in Muslim cultures and generation aggression, domestic power disparity/violence, etc. I enjoy having discussions on these matters, and want as many facts as possible, but also enjoy intelligent observations and anecdotes and brainstorming. I have a feeling I am not the only person with Cluster-B traits on these boards, both due to sheer statistical probability and the congregation of wounded energy I see in communities of individuals coalescing to work to change such a grave societal injustice that leads to grievous personal tragedies.

          "Beyond this suggestion, though, I can't help. But I do think that realizing that thoughts are just thoughts, and not mandates, not "orders", not "outside", is very important. Also realizing that someone else's thoughts about circumcision aren't that personally helpful. Whatever one person's take on his culture may or may not be, it's irrelevant to your situation.

          If you notice, I'm qualifying and back peddling here. Not just because I'm not somebody who can advise you (really, nobody here can), but because I think this needs to be a discussion with a therapist. I highly doubt that another guy with the same diagnosis would be much help, either. Run your thoughts past a therapist, discover what you can with that person. You've opened up here. So you can, and should, so the same with a professional, if for no other reason than balance."

          You're correct that my conversation has no relevance to my personal situation, at least in the micro sense. In the macro sense, I tend to see everything as interconnected to some degree, at least in regard to human social consciousness in an era of mass communication. I get into states where I engage in activities which I find interesting, which may or may not yield any truly valuable experience, lol.

          I do see a therapist. Thank you for your concern. I have been very open with a lot of people about my thoughts and feelings on this topic. It doesn't make the pain abate much, frankly. I am still faced with it every time I have sex. Some people have more damage than others in the mutilation department. And of course I have psychological sensitivities to any adverse stimuli. Still, if I weren't mutilated I wouldn't have nearly the difficulties with intimacy that I do. I believe I've come to a place where I can parse that which is purely emotional and that which is, hard as it is to face, factual. Since my reaction is not hysteria but mature, stoic acceptance, I think Iv'e evolved and am in a position where all I can do is try to improve my sexual situation as much as possible with restoration and salve my psychological wounds as much as possible with socialization with like-minded individuals and internal work, both self-directed and professional-assisted, in addition to activism.

          I do recommend good professional help for anyone with issues similar to mine. Be wary, though - Americans in general are very emotional about circumcision due to its cultural entrenchment. I have had multiple practitioners make me feel considerably worse than I did before seeing them, either through overtly demeaning comments or obviously condescending/mocking energy - and I know these were not always misperceptions. I am not an especially hysterical Borderline.

          Sorry for being so verbose. I appreciate the responses! I would love to get a conversation moving here. I need to do some research. There is a class I want to take, a Psych-Sexuality course in which such topic-matter would be what I'd most anticipate exploring in class. And I love to stir up the status quo and get people thinking and talking in general, lol.

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          • #6
            "I think with this phenomenon there is a very real correlation between various personality disorders, being prone to violence, etc. and circumcision. Remember, there is documented proof thru MRI studies that the intense pain of circumcision on an infant's brain messes up the wiring in those areas that deal with emotion, perception and reasoning. An infant's brain is like a brand new computer hard drive and the pain is a virus. Just like a computer, the "software" of the brain, i.e. life experiences, must be installed properly and in a more or less proper order and introducing the virus of pain while the brain is still developing has the potential for some really disastrous results. However, this does not effect everyone in the same manner. There are so many variables.
            MORE studies on this are needed."

            Yes!

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