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#144699 - 03/09/07 07:01 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: testingWaters]
want2help Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/09/07
Posts: 25
Loc: WV
I'm new to this but thank you for the advise, I had plans to marry a man who seem to withdraw overnight. It's been two years and he has told me some of the physical abuse but I have reason to believe there was sex abuse during his childhood also. He keeps telling me there's more and that I just don't know how bad it was and that he just can't trust anyone, including me. He keeps telling me I'd be better off finding someone else, that he just can't be the person he was when we met. It seems something triggered his insecurities. I want to hang in there and help but I told him this week, I do not want to be on the abusive end. He has never lashed out physically but has verbally on several occasions, runs away from the issues then returns for what seems like sympathy (I don't mean to sound insensitive but we don't get through it), confides a little more in me, then pushes me away again. It seems to be a cycle and I'd like to break it. I told him not to call if he cannot be consistent in his agreements so he hasn't called but he's emailed and sending text messages. He says he's working on his issues but what I hear is that he retreats to his home and keeps rehashing without any help. He's great at work, mr efficiency. I'm probably the only person he confides in at all. What's the best way to deal with him, he's really sensitive, I don't want to abandon him but I want some sort of normal relationship. We haven't done anything together for months, I did begin to move on when he contacted me again to talk. We went to two counseling sessions, the counselor did most of the talking and said he needed to get to know my friend more to see where he was coming from. We haven't gone back, I think he knew it'd be getting closer to his issues so he doesn't want to talk about them. He said he just wanted to clear the air so we could understand better what happened and why things didn't work out. I love him dearly but am frustrated with his major retreat. Any advise would be appreciated.


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#144730 - 03/09/07 10:03 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: want2help]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Hi w2h,

First of all welcome. I hope that you will continue to visit and share your questions, thoughts, and feelings. You will learn over time that this is a wonderfuly supportive community. You will also learn that the only way to break through the confusion and silence surrounding CSA is to confront the silence by speaking out. As a friend (and almost family) of a survivor, you have already seen how impossibly difficult it can be for survivors to overcome their silence. Oftentimes we lull our companions into being complicit partners in hiding from our grief. Sadly, oftentimes we also find ways to offload portions of our burden onto the underserving shoulders of those who love us. Good for you for not letting your friend do that to you.

The short, unhappy, (yet) true answer is that there is nothing you can do to get him to make the decisions he needs to make in order to heal. The motivation must come from within himself. The best thing you can do is make clear to him that you support him, care about him, and will in no way do anything to harm or coerce him. One thing that is true for survivors is that we have all lacked for strong positive role models in our lives. If you can be that for him, be an example of what a good, caring, giving person can be, you will do more for him in the long run than all attempts to get him into therapy he may not be ready for.

Incidentally, the therapy experience you describe is, sadly, all too common and almost always fails for survivors. It drives me crazy when I hear about therpists who are unfamiliar with the specific needs of survivors do the exact wrong things. Talking over us drives us further into our shells. For all their good intentions, most therapists are woefully uneducated when it comes how best to support and encourage survivors. It is something that a number of us are working to combat. For the time being though, you may want to reassure your friend that not all therapists are the same, and many of us have had to similar experiences. But he has every right to find the help he needs and wants.

Stay strong. And please consider this site a place to come to for support and encouragement for yourself. We're all here to help one another.

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#144796 - 03/10/07 04:08 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: tartugas]
want2help Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/09/07
Posts: 25
Loc: WV
Thank you for your words of encouragement. Maybe you can help me understand a couple things. Why is it he's not able to do things together right now, we used to talk every night and do things together at least 3 days a week. Any why does he not contact me when he's feeling like he wants to be close?, he tells me after the fact that he started to call or ask me to do something but decided not to. And why is he not able to admit that he cares and wants me to still be there? He'll say I should find someone else because he knows I want and need more than he's able to give right now yet he's contacting me within a couple days just to say 'hey', not to try to move forward, just to keep contact. I've been really busy with a new job this year and working a couple part-time jobs which helps to keep me busy. However, I do miss sometimes having a date, but I don't want to go out with someone else. I tried that for about a month and found it wasn't worth the time to me. So, what do I do, stay busy with my own things and just wait patiently for him to come around, keep inviting him to join me, ignore him? I don't know the best approach, I'd just like for him to admit he knows he still cares and will put forth a little effort. Could that be too much for him? Thanks for any insights...


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#144815 - 03/10/07 06:29 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: want2help]
GWsurvives Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 251
Loc: Atlanta, and here, among othe...
Hi w2h,

My advice is usually worth what you pay for it, but I'll give it a shot.
Your man feels he isn't worthy of you because he feels "damaged". And he is. Believe me, it is not something you have done, or not done. He feels this because someone took a precious part away from him. The closer you get, the more he will push away. Nothing you can do will change how he feels. He will have to do this for himself. YOU will have to do what is right for you. He may or may not respond in the way you think he should. (Now that I've posted this, I realize I am posting to my wife. And these are my responses to the same stimuli).

Keep reading the posts here, I'm sure you will some insight. Please remember, you have to take care of your needs first.

_________________________
"Some times there just aren't enough rocks" Forrest Gump

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#144840 - 03/10/07 08:22 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: GWsurvives]
AshSurvived Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 167
Loc: Australia
I second what the others have said, but also he's shutting down and compartmentalising the grief. I am doing that right now. I'm heading for a men's retreat this weekend and I'm scared to shit because i might have to be real and reveal myself. I'm just glad I can be anonymous here.

Part of what I do can be explained by the film:

Prince Of Tides.

Get it, watch it, watch it again. That's me. Nick Notle is so spot on with his characterisation it's scary. There are much better films, but that one is worth it just to see a survivor's coping strategies laid bare.

Survivors are special people, they just don't know it. We are unique, and it might be this uniqueness that draws you to him, to try to convince him of what you see - the positive attributes.
Other than that, all I can say is educate yourself. That alone will change you, and put you in a pcae where you can decide for real whether this is something you want to commit to.

And, he will notice the difference in you. my wife is at a cusp where she needs to make some big changes in her life to make the relationship work. Sure, i love taking all the blame and feeling sorry for myself, I love to absolve her of any complicity, that's what I do best, I did it before her and I'd still be doing it when she leaves. That's part of my stagnating coping mechanisms.

But she has to deal with her coping mechanisms too, that's why she is taking some responsibility, thinking about seeing a partner's shrink and sutting down her work hours. Cos she is helping the relationship stay crap too. Takes two to tango. And moreso, the more she puts in, the more I begin to trust her, I see she must want this to work, she must really love me to be willing to do what she's about to embark on. That creates a bond, cos she has shut down all her feelings too and we are like two survivors trying to make it work whilst coping and staying stagnant, and it aint working none!

_________________________
"It's your world Dave, I'm just livin' in it"

- Harvey Pekar to David Letterman
(American Splendour)

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#144851 - 03/10/07 09:13 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: AshSurvived]
want2help Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/09/07
Posts: 25
Loc: WV
Thank you both for your input. This evening he sent several text messages wanting to know why I've been so cold and distant. I find it difficult to know when to stay stuff and when to say I care. I did tell him that I still care as much as always but I placed the ball in his court this past week (he'd ignored my phone calls the weekend before and I'd emailed him and gave him heck for it, told him not to call me if he was going to be disrespectful). Anyway, he hasn't called, just a couple emails this week. I've responded with brief answers and he takes that as being cold. I try to keep reassuring that I have no intentions to hurt him but it honestly seems that he contacts me more often when I've kept my distance. I struggle with that because I'd rather give him a hug and tell him how much I care, no matter what but he doesn't seem to be receptive to that. I have thought about that movie, I saw it years ago and it was very emotional. I know what you mean about survivors being special people, I've tried to tell him that he is a strong person and I see so much character and virtue in him, he doesn't believe that I'd place that over a happy-go-lucky hunk. So, I understand what you mean by him having to be the one to want to get through it and feel better. Thanks again.


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#144858 - 03/10/07 09:30 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: want2help]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Hi w2h,

Thank you for continuing to come and share your questions and your story. The more we fight against the ignorance in our own lives, the more we do to make the world a better place.

I hate to say this, but I get the feeling that there may not be anything you can do right now that will make things easier on him. If you approach he will shy away, if you retreat he will assume abandonment. It's a cruel game we play with ourselves and our s.o.'s. The best thing you can do is walk away from the field of play with as little rancor as possible. I wouldn't even worry to much about explaining your worries or reasons to him, as giving him any feedback right now will most likely just feed fuel to the engine of despair that is moving him right now.

I know it might sound heartless, but it's not. Inevitably it is far worse to give your engergy to someone in the wrong way and be disappointed. And it's clear that no matter what you or say he's going to find a way to attack himself. For whatever reasons, this is the behavior is choosing to pursue, and only he can choose to break out of it. Tell him you know he's a great person, a special person. Tell him you know he's a good person. But don't go further than that, and don't bother waiting to see the change in his behavior. Those expressions of hope and faith in him are like the fertilizer the farmer spreads, and farmers don't wait around watching intently for their seeds to bear fruit. They give their efforts time. So must you.

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#144935 - 03/11/07 02:00 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: tartugas]
want2help Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/09/07
Posts: 25
Loc: WV
Well, today I got an invite to join for burgers with him and another couple at his place. He left a message, sounded a little hesitant, but considering months of nothing in person, I take this as a major effort on his part, am I correct?

I'm really glad I have somewhere to go where others are being very helpful with insight from a male perspective. Thank you all greatly!


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#144937 - 03/11/07 02:15 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: want2help]
GWsurvives Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 251
Loc: Atlanta, and here, among othe...
Dear w2h,

If you want to go, GO! Have a good time. My advice is: Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Don't "expect" anything. Someone told me recently: "expectations are disappointments in training".

I hope it goes well for you. Keep us posted!

GW

_________________________
"Some times there just aren't enough rocks" Forrest Gump

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#144966 - 03/11/07 05:22 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: GWsurvives]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Chris,

I'd like to respond to your original post If I may, just to thank you for writing that. Once again you've put into words things I only feel but have difficulty expressing. I'm going to copy this one into Word and print it out for my wife to read. Many thanks.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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