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#142677 - 02/21/07 09:42 PM some words from a survivor
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Hello Friends and Family,

On behalf of all of us who have survived, thank you. If it were not for the love and support that you bring into our lives, many of us would not have made it this far. And lest you think that is a sappy platitude, let me assure you, it's not. If you doubt me, find a long time survivor and ask them what they would have done without the support and strength they received from someone they trusted.

In my short time on this board, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of F&F who get caught up in the pain of their loved ones’ struggles. I want to offer a couple of pieces of advice from my own journey as a survivor that I hope may be of some benefit to those of you who are really having a tough time supporting a survivor in your own life.

First off: Be careful around us.

In many ways, the role of lover or friend or family member to a survivor can be a tremendously confusing and conflicting one. Oftentimes, we survivors lash out at those who are closest to us, at those who actually are trying to help us. These attacks are hardly ever warranted, but tragically, are all too common. One of the reasons is that many of us were unable to lash out at those who had hurt us in the past after gaining our trust. Now, years later, when we find ourselves in relationships that require trust, we often find ourselves compelled to act in odd ways. We “shut down”, or we “get cold”, perhaps we turn “nasty” or “indifferent”. Sadly, too often we don’t understand why this happens, the psychological mechanisms of self protection are at work so far beneath the surface, that we can’t see the cause and effect.

But if we can’t see it that means that you have to. Frustratingly, you might not be able to tell us what’s going on, but you should at least keep in mind that we are not necessarily what we seem on the surface. You always have the choice to stand by us or to walk away (no matter who you are, even a family member). If you choose to stand by us, please be mindful that far more even we can see is going on beneath the surface.

The second piece of advice I would offer is: Don’t treat us like kids.

Those of us who have made it to adulthood are not kids any longer, even though a part of our personality may be trapped in the past. It may sound like a rather obvious statement, but the truth is, I see a lot of people making excuses for the poor behavior of the survivors they know. Holding us, as adults who are survivors, to a different standard of behavior, is actually counter-productive. When we act poorly, when we act selfishly, when we lash out in ignorance, we need to learn that our behavior is incorrect.

Remember, for many of us, our emotional growth and maturing process was arrested at a very young age. And we need to learn these lessons we would have otherwise picked up during our adolescence from people who are tolerant of our faults and can make it clear that while our actions may be inappropriate, we as people still have intrinsic worth. Oftentimes this role is best suited to a doctor or other therapist. We survivors can (and, in forums like this one, do) provide this to one another as well. Trust me, we know that we are flawed and broken in many ways. But the more you treat us like kids, the more you make excuses for us, the more likely it is that we’ll stay trapped in that place.

Third: Respect who we are and don’t try to “direct” or “force” us down a certain path.

Everyone learns primarily by one method and one method alone: Trial and error. This is true as true for children as it is adults, survivors as it is for you, our friends and family. No matter how clear our best path might seem to you, if you make it your duty to guide us along our journey, it stops being our journey and in point of fact becomes your journey very quickly. Don’t push us into therapy, don’t push us into rehab, don’t push us – period. You will not succeed in helping, no matter how noble your intention.

I truly feel that the biggest mistake my ex wife made in how she dealt with me as a person (regardless of my being a survivor) was in trying to "help me change". At first I took it as a sign of her concern, care, and even love for who I was. I actually relished the attention she gave me. She wanted me to get better. But over time it became clear that I was not, nor did I show any signs of soon becoming, the person she was trying to help me become. In the end, this truth drove us apart. She took solace in her career, in the things she could control, and I became even more isolated than ever before. I have made more progress since the marriage fell apart, since I took firm control and ownership of my own recovery. But it didn’t have to happen that way. It was ignorance and selfishness, on both our parts that got us to that point.

Fourth: Don’t mistake love for a cure all.

Love is an overwhelmingly powerful emotion, and oftentimes in our search for it, we can let our emotions take the place of out better judgment. I know that, in ignorance, I crossed some boundaries in the past, asked for too much from people, and hurt others through my own selfish hunger for love. I also know that, sometimes, despite the best of intentions, some who wanted to help me made some bad errors and set me back in my journey. Many times they were too hungry for love as well.

Survivors can be oddly charismatic. Despite the fact that we often wilt under the bright lights of social pressure, get us alone and oftentimes something magical happens – we seem to transform into creatures of rare insight, compassion, sympathy, and charm. Combine this with our vulnerability, and oftentimes we make for someone who is irresistible to many a love-hungry soul.

But be careful. As wonderful as we may seem at first remember that no human is a diamond in the rough, waiting for the right person to set them free. Each person is a self-actualizing machine, rather like a seedling that requires the right conditions, the right nutrients and care to grow and thrive.

Last and most importantly: Above all things else, love yourself first.

Don’t let our struggles take you down as well. Everyone in this crazy mixed up world is struggling with something. Don’t let the swirling chaos that is our healing journey distract you from seeking out your own need for truth and health. Don’t allow guilt (coming from us or from somewhere within yourself) to become a motivating factor in deciding about how you will deal with us. In being strong, in courageously making the best decisions for yourself, even if it means walking away from us for a time, you will be providing us with an example of how to live honestly that will prove to be more helpful than you can possibly know.

Remember that you are not the one who committed these crimes against us, and even if in confusion and pain it seems like we’re trying to punish you for what was done to us, don’t ever accept that burden from our hands.

Hmm… in looking over this again, it strikes me that I’m not painting a very pretty picture of us survivors. Well, in truth, the picture isn’t pretty. We all bear the scars that the abuses we suffered left imprinted in (and sometimes on) our bodies. However, in time, with effort and trust, with love and tolerance, with patience and with sometimes painful effort, we can all grow into uniquely beautiful creatures that will carry our scars as badges of honor and distinction. And that last point is just as true for survivors as it is for those who survive along with us.

_________________________
"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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#142714 - 02/22/07 04:09 AM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: tartugas]
beccy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Hello Tartugus,


Thankyou for sharing those words of wisdom with us. Kind, thoughtful advice and insight, some of which I can relate to on a personal level....


peace
Beccy


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#142719 - 02/22/07 07:11 AM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: beccy]
sweet-n-sour Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Dear Tartugas:

Wow! You have given me plenty to think about! Thank you for your post.

Best wishes,
s-n-s

_________________________
"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

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#142906 - 02/23/07 11:55 AM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: tartugas]
Feeling Helpless Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/06/07
Posts: 3
Loc: Bermuda
Thank you Tartugas,for your wise words.

My husband is a survivor and I've been looking at this site for about a month trying to find information with how to cope.Your words have given me hope that I'm on the right track. I'm in the information gathering stage and your post helped me. If anyone can give me any ideas they would be greatly appriciated.

All he has told me the he was raped at the age of 10. He says that he had 1 therapy session when he was young but that doesn't work for him. He says he doesn't remember who the perp was, and doesn't want to talk about it - which I respect, he's not ready to go there.
We have 1 child together and his substance abuse is becoming a problem. I know from my own family history that you can't force people to deal with substance abuse issues and I know he is using to numb the pain, he has said as much to me.I don't know what to do. Do I set boundries that he will see as me "trying to change him"? I can't force therapy. Where do I go from here?


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#142971 - 02/23/07 04:23 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: Feeling Helpless]
Brian Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 05/03/01
Posts: 1563
Loc: Upstate NY
Tartugas,

That was a VERY informative post. I think it should be required reading for all the members of our Families and Friends community! Thank you for your valuable contribution to our site!

Brian

_________________________
Recovery is Possible!

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#142981 - 02/23/07 07:22 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: Brian]
Nobbynobs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 1286
Loc: Toronto
I would add to that list:

1. Don't be afraid to leave if you have to go.

2. Don't let your partner act out his abuse on you.

3. Don't allow your partner to disrespect you. He's an adult and he took a vow to honour you. Call him out if he is being disrespectful or abusive.

4. Pay more attention to yourself than to your partner. The pain is terrible, and it is good that you are going through it with them, but be very careful that you don't get broken down by it yourself.

_________________________
When you go up to the bell, ring it! Or don't go up to the bell.

- Mel Brooks

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#142989 - 02/23/07 08:06 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: Nobbynobs]
AshSurvived Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 167
Loc: Australia
http://malesurvivor.interworksinc.com/bo...age=5#Post68088

It's always good to repeat these things, keep the ideas fresh. And perhaps things have been learned by all insomuch as this thread may not descend into anarchy like those who have bravely gone before it.

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

- Harvey Pekar to David Letterman
(American Splendour)

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#143016 - 02/24/07 04:34 AM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: AshSurvived]
kishka06 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 38
Quite often, I read a post, and have an "Ah Ha" moment. This was definitely one of them.
The first point 'Be Careful around us'. My fiance can be very loving one minute, but after a disagreement (something that would have hardly rated a blip on the radar in past relationships), he becomes completely irrational. Sometimes not speaking to me for 2 days. The words 'shut down', 'nasty', 'cold' and 'indifferent' are words I would use.
I am hoping that this will stop, or at least become less severe, as we progress in our commitment to better communication (sometime easier said than done!).
Your next point (Don't treat us like kids) encourages me to do something I haven't really done yet - let him know the behavior is incorrect - and it hurts me.
I am hanging in there, though.
Kishka


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#143017 - 02/24/07 04:43 AM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: Feeling Helpless]
dean1320 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/06/07
Posts: 129
Loc: Atlanta, GA , US
hi , all i can say is just be supportive but tell him that if he chooses to drink and not talk with you and these nice folks here, then he needs to go drink by himself and not feel anything at all, however his own loneliness will drown him.


i'm a 35y/o man

peace be with u both, i wish i had this tool 20 yrs ago

T

_________________________
NEVER QUIT .

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#144313 - 03/06/07 11:09 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: dean1320]
testingWaters Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/06
Posts: 508
This is one of the best posts I've ever seen here. Thank you.


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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: 16264
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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#145064 - 03/12/07 09:05 AM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: tartugas]
Morning Star Offline
Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1124
Loc: Home
Quote:
Each person is a self-actualizing machine...


tartugas, you spoke it so well.

God bless,
\:\)

_________________________
~ It's over!...Let go of Thy Past, Remember Thy Self ~

Why Don't People Heal, by Caroline Myss; 30 days to clean up your vibrations - Abraham-Hicks

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#145101 - 03/12/07 04:37 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: WalkingSouth]
want2help Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/09/07
Posts: 25
Loc: WV
Well, I went, helped him work a little around his house before the other couple came. It is difficult for him to ask for help but he said he realized he needed some. I had a good time, it was still awkward at times, he talks a lot about what he wants to get done around his house and when the other couple weren't there, he was constantly moving, doing something. I tried to get a clue if he wanted to talk or just do stuff so I didn't try to have an in depth conversation. I find I'm more direct in writing than in person.

I also watched the movie over the weekend, it reflects him quite often, other than right now, he's not even using humor. What is the key to getting to the point in the movie where he realizes he can feel again, is it the release of the grief or the feeling wanted without strings attached or feeling useful and needed? That one puzzles me, cause I know it's something he has to do for himself, I even know that he still cares for me, but I don't always know if what I'm doing is useful. I'm at a point that I know I'm strong enough to handle the situation but I do want to have a consistency if we're to have a relationship. I know he has struggles with intimacy because of feeling unworthy, what I don't understand is the why when what we had was great. I don't understand why he doesn't fight harder to get that again. Is it because he feels so inadequate about himself? He was very verbally abused and has shared that with me so I do believe that had something to do with it. But, he seems to need me to reassure him that I do care for him deeply and feel he's worth it. Yet, he can't say anything in return, just if I ask bluntly if he doesn't care anymore, he'll say he does but that's beside the point. How much stock do I place in his calling after being told not to call me anymore if he couldn't be respectful and consistent? Does this mean he's willing to try harder or just testing to see if I'm still available for him? I can walk away but I'd rather not, I just want to know he's on his way back.


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#145150 - 03/12/07 10:53 PM Re: some words from a survivor [Re: want2help]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Wow, that's a whole lotta questions...

Well I hope the guys and gals here can help flesh this out and give you some more specific advice, but I just wanted to focus on one specific part of your post. You asked,

"What is the key to getting to the point in the movie where he realizes he can feel again, is it the release of the grief or the feeling wanted without strings attached or feeling useful and needed?"

To be honest, there is no magic key that will work for every person. The only thing we as friends, lovers, and fellow brothers can do for anyone making the journey to healing is to work to provide for them the safest enviornment within which they can discover for themselves just what they need. No one person's story of abuse will be the same as another's, and as such, no one person's specific path to healing will mirror another's.

The most helpful thing you can do is to take him at his word, and let him tell you what he needs. Sometimes his response will be silence, or maybe even he'll push you away. You have to respect that and not push him. If you find that that his behavior causes you much grief and anguish, that's ok, and it may be a sign that you need to give some space and time to things. As we've said, what is most important is that you make sure you take care of yourself first. Someone who cannot swim has no business trying to save someone who is drowning.

_________________________
"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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