Alan Downs is an author and psychologist. He has written eight or nine books. His book "the velvet rage" has become a bestseller. Written around fifteen years ago, it has been translated into eight or nine languages. A friend recently recommended to me.
I read it very much is a prayer. I don't read it, I experience it. The truths in it are very painful, very real, and very healing. I am now experiencing a second reading.
I'm recommended the book to a friend, and he, a student, did some digging. He found some lectures by Alan Downs on YouTube. They are entitled "alcoholism and addiction,"And I have begun to watch them, very slowly, pausing and thinking as I listened to him. His thoughts make so much sense to me that It is scary. I am coming to believe that from my very first consciousness I was terrified of helplessness and aloneness. Much of that has to do with my blessed parents, who were terrified, and who had never been validated in their lives, while they were young, or later for that matter.
I spent nearly 50 years in the closet. I was terrified for most of the 50 years. I never discussed my sexual feelings, my longing, my need for love, and my feelings about love, my ache for human touch (skin on skin) with another human being until I went into a mental hospital at age 24. Thereafter, the only human being I had spoken to about my spiritual, emotional agonies, and my desire to love, was a paid psychiatrist.
50 years I lived in the agony of shame, wallowing in low self-esteem, and pretty much hopeless. I saw no progress in my use of psychiatric treatment to "Cure me." I was taken in, in large measure, by my parents (well-intentioned), my church (morbidly sick and preoccupied, in my dad's words, with " the theology of crotch"), and my culture – much of it well-intentioned. For 50 years I lived as a sick person, desperately in need of expensive (turned out to be fraudulent) "medical" care. I repeatedly asked for the "doctor" to identify a single man who had ever been successfully cure of my diagnosed affliction. He told me that i suffered a maturational arrest, and that if i worked hard enough, the "treatment" would fix me!
There was something that I could not understand, did not seek, but desperately needed – validation of myself as a human being. I reached for all kinds of external sources – work, some professional achievement, tennis, having an expensive new Car and smoking expensive cigars. I also looked to sexual partners, late in that time, to validate me as a person. No – I never looked to sexual partners to validate me as a person. Oh yes, in my 30s and 40s I looked to some very wonderful, loving and caring women, to validate me, sexually. It didn't happen. I have the sexual experiences, but there was no validation. As a matter of fact, it was continuously, relentlessly invalidating – that's not what I was meant for, despite my best efforts, and despite their best efforts and their love. I was not and would never " mature" into a traditional heterosexual man.
I am now slowly, very slowly, and very painfully, coming to realize that I have spent most of my life with a sense of being totally invalid as a human being, and being totally unlovable. I have evidence to the contrary, but at my core, I still don't believe that evidence.
The book in the lectures are helping me immensely. I recommend them to you, without any diagnosis or conclusion, or representation that you need any of this, or to even listen to me.
-- David Mills, retired judge
The views expressed are the author's own. Unedited. The author owns the copyright.