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#189071 - 10/29/07 12:42 PM Re: Rob [Re: beccy]
Kathryn Offline
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Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303


In a private message someone mentioned both knowing what it's like to be mislead like this as well as empathizing from Rob's point of view: fear of giving up a survival strategy.

Yep, I empathize with this as well. Unfortunately it sets up a "me against you" scenerio.

And it just plain sets things back and, as Beccy suggested, raises questions of what else I'm not being told.

Rob said that he's trying to make me his safe place. I believe him. The problem is that a person can't be a safe place for another unless they are also relatively safe.

"It's a doggy eat dog world and my survival is more important than yours" just doesn't a relationship make.

Anyway, off to the therapist.

Well, back from the therapist. It was a good session and one in which some progress was made regarding conveying my feelings to the T -- we've had a somewhat difficult time getting on the "same page" as far as how I think and feel about a bunch of stuff relating to my relationship with Rob.

So.... I though I'd articulate it here:

I think the fear that most women have in this situation (being involved with a man who has either fantasies or a history of sex with men) is that they're being set up as the defense against deeper, more authentic homosexuality. The T asked if this was my fear, I said yes. Which is true. But I also don't think that either defending against hetero or homosexuality are mutually exclusive positions. It seems to me that a bunch of guys are sort of in the postition of defending against both at the same time -- or one moment this defense or that defense is utilized.

Of course this raises the question for me of to what extent is Rob's heterosexual desires a defense against homosexuality. Why is this important? Cuz of course a woman can't cure a man of homosexual/homoerotic (whatever) fantasies and it does harm to the woman (and one's self) to assume that she has the magic bullet.

Read an interesting book called the Divided Self by R.D. Laing, though it's a tad dated having been written in 1957, it's nevertheless a very book and one which was far ahead of it's time. Laing went on to be a leader in the anti-psychiatry movement and questioned the whole category of "health" versus "non-health" and a slew of stuff that arises from this. It's a book I'd highly recommend to those who feel like they're isolated and have difficulty fully engaging their self with their actions/body/decisions.

So anyway, in this book there's a very short passage in which he describes a form of homosexuality which arises out of the progressive loss of a sense of "I and you" -- of what he calls "two-together" or "we-ness" or "I and thouness". He's smart enough to realize that this is just one form of homosexuality among many (just as there are many forms of heterosexuality and whatever else exists which we have not yet come up with appropriate language to point to). Anyway, he puts it in terms of a progressive loss of being-in-the-world with others and that women can eventually be experienced as to "other" and so one opens one's self up to the possibility of a different form of love -- either men, animals or children.

This certainly makes a lot of sense as a possibility when looking at the effects of childhood sexual abuse. And it also seems to get to the possible fantasies associated (in some people) with traumatic events. Undoubetedly some men on here seem to simply recreate the abuse scenerio and cannot tolerate anything that falls outside of reliving that strict scenerio. I'm reminded of the posts by Lloydy who freaked out if the guy he was performing fellatio on even spoke a word.

Others, it seems to me, have further fantasies -- even if they don't amount to the fantasies that allow for a full, spontaneous, romantic/sexual life with a man.

Anyway, it seems to me that if Rob and I have a chance in hell of having a productive and mutually satisfying relationship there really needs to be full disclosure surrounding this issue, no matter how scarry or upsetting it is.

I hope it happens -- without a variety of versions from which I'm expected to choose.

Thanks for the time to write some pretty disjointed stuff.

K.


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#189074 - 10/29/07 02:31 PM Re: Rob [Re: Kathryn]
dgoods Offline
Guest

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
Thanks for being so frank w/ your struggle.."The Divided Self" although indeed dated, was valuable to me for calming fears i had about possible schizophrenia or psychotic breaks. At one point in my life i had some degree of penis fixation, and urges to pursue men sexually, but i was able to realize at one point that i really didn't "have to", and the urges faded w/ time; i cannot engage in a healthy close relationship w/ a woman, sexually or romantically speaking, but i know someday i will be able to, and i'm willing to give myself the time necessary; (as long as i don't go crazy from loneliness first)... Seriously, decisions acted upon out of fear or impulse seldom have positive outcomes, and i'm tired of (not)learning variations of that lesson over and over again... until i can feel safe and strong enough, nobody except my cat shares my bed.

_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

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#189079 - 10/29/07 04:03 PM Re: Rob [Re: dgoods]
beccy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Katie....


I think I understand that the question you are asking is something along the lines of, "do your fantasies represent genuine attraction, or are they are recreation scenario where you get to be in control?" (And likewise, the same question applied to anything physically acted on)


Obviously as the female partners of these men, this is the question we find ourselves tormented with......


The other issue I also think is relevant though, is the fact that fantasies are just that, fantasies! They do not represent reality and never could, since in them, we are in complete control of BOTH people.......just like you said: "I'm reminded of the posts by Lloydy who freaked out if the guy he was performing fellatio on even spoke a word....." Therefore, it is my personal feeling that any person's fanasies cannot be used to judge their sexuality.


That paragraph about types of homosexuality and progressive loss of being in the world with others is interesting indeed......I believe this is touching on my own level of anxiety about this issue. I tried to voice something of a concern about whatever level of involvement with his desires/fantasies my bf is having(I was worried about how we can begin to make things can work with us, if he is 'involved' with that),with my therapist last week. She tried to reassure me by telling me of her studies in sexual identity, saying that often it is a man's misguided attempt in accessing and experiencing his masculinity. I had to say to her that this I already understand is a possibilty and something I have soothed myself with often.........but it does not change the fact that I still find myself lonely in an intimate sense. Very lonely.


I don't consider myself to be hugely confident in this area anyway and can see how both me and my bf have sabotaged progress, which is understandable considering everything we have been trying to work through this past two years.....but it concerns me that I have seen hardly any attempts at it from him(despite periods of him wanting to f*** very often). I have had no interest in sex minus the intimacy, especially considering that's all we've ever done. I understand many of my own sexual dysfunctions from the work I've done in therapy over the past two years and have made some pretty empowering choices of my own. From my own understanding, it is all about choice, but i do understand that to make these choices, a person has to first understand themselves/their abuse and all the feelings associated.....and has to reach a point of wanting that intimacy. It causes me anxiety that it is obvious my bf has not yet reached this(at least not with me) In this space, i do not feel safe to trust. I do not know where he 'is' in a sexual, intimate sense.......this is what i was trying to explain to my T. That as long as there are negative coping mechanisms in play, and aspects of my bf's emotions that he does not yet understand, I just don;t see how we can make this work. And until that point, I am living in a lonely place......it is frustrating at best, paranoia/suspicion inducing at worst.


I'm not sure I have made any sense here, but there you have it,


peace
Beccy


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#189125 - 10/29/07 09:07 PM Re: Rob [Re: beccy]
Kathryn Offline
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Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303


Beccy,

For me it really doesn't matter if the fantasies represent recreation of abuse or more genuine attraction, at least not in the sense of dealing with the mere existence of them and especially the behavior which arises out of them. Yes, it would be easier to deal with a situation on par with Lloydy: I hardly translate what he was up to as sex. And while I have no doubt that a person can loosen the obsessive quality of these fantasies, even if they're more steeped in what we'll call more genuine desire -- I'm not sure where to draw a reasonable boundary that takes into account both Rob's thing and mine.

All I do know is that, while I believe in zones of privacy, on this issue I need full disclosure considering Rob's history. Partial disclosure doesn't cut it. And by disclosure I mean more along the lines of behavior, not the content or meaning (geniune vs. complusive desire/urges). It seems to me that there are pretty simple cases (Lloydy) and others in which the fantasies built up to deal with the abuse in the first place are part and parcel of what we consider to be sexual orientation, including compulsion to repeat, gaining control, reparation, etc....

Rob was sexually abused by his mother, so acting out with men represents some transformation in fantasy of the original abuse and not an exact replication of it. Perhaps, and such a thing seems immenently plausible, that he transformed the abuse scenerio to a man so as to preserve the nurturing qualities of women/his mother -- a more essential component of survival for a young child.

Then again, unlike Lloydy and others Rob did have a "friendly" relationship with a man for many years. So even if it could be argued that it's a way to make the abuse scenerio more palatable cuz it's not "so bad", "see it's 'safe'", etc.... or whatever.... there's still further fantasies that I personally feel make up all our sexuality, despite object choice in the sense that most of us are working through something in every relationship we create.

Rob mentioned feeling that mostly it's a place out of reach of his mother, a private place he can go to. Ok, sounds plausible, and I'm willing to accept his feelings about this. I can even live with them, including the likelyhood that he'll continue to visit this place for the forseeable future.

What I can't live with is that he prize nurturing this above nurturing me and our relationship. And yes, simply because it includes homosexual fantasies/behavior. If it's an easier place for him to go and a place he feels he must defend and defend it in such a way that leads to hiding certain behaviors and makeing me feel guilty about not buying his story then that's a decision he should own and feel good about. It's not, however, a decision he has the right to make for ME, and hiding this stuff is making decisions for me. And again, this issue has nothing to do with what his fantasies mean or don't mean -- it has to do with being honest so that I can make informed decisions about my life, just as he makes informed decisions about his.

BTW: Laing also mentions the recouping of masculine identity through homosexuality when a man withdraws from being in the world to such an extent that he can no longer recieve the nurturing of his masculinity through sexual contact with women.

----------------------------

dgoods,

Thanks for your response, I've really enjoyed your posts. You seem like a pretty cool guy.

What I liked about Laing's book was his ability to evoke experiences. I would think that if he were writing today he'd drop the "false self" language and talk in terms of various aspects of the self instead, and perhaps equate the "true self" with the most vulnerable self rather than the "only" "true" self.
And, unlike in 1957, it's no longer believed that Schiziodism is the forunner of schizophrenia, though during psychotic breaks in can look like it.

I actually gave the book to Rob. I guess it can be scarry to read if it's not kept in mind that we all utilize splitting and protective withdrawel and it's not a matter of him versus all "those" folks who are more intact -- intact being a very relative term.

Anyway, yeah, in some ways it would have been much better if Rob had decided to do what he's now doing before getting another person involved. But now I'm involved and wish to continue being so -- if he can find it in himself to be a bit more forthcoming. I think I'm at the end of the line as far as any more selective withholding.

And yeah, I understand the difficulty with trust as the result of abuse. I have my own issues in this regard as well. Most of us are surviving something and are pretty fucked up.

Take care,
Katie


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#189183 - 10/30/07 07:10 AM Re: Rob [Re: Kathryn]
dgoods Offline
Guest

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
Thanks! Someday maybe my inner Pinocchio will ditch the wooden suit-
But seriously, it's been so long since i've read it, that I remember more understanding (from the vivid portraits) that schizophrenia is truly a physical deterioration of the brain, that begins with inability to separate internal from external cues; i remember specifically reading an example of a patient's "word salad" he used, and described as unintelligible, but i "read" clearly as the patient's desperate attempt to communicate their own awareness of losing the ability to "break through the noise"; it was a cry of despair,offered helplessly.
I'm "lucky" in the sense of having my ex leave me before the light came on re: my CSA. I'm amazed at both the strength of survivors, and their significant others, as they struggle through what often seems to me to be quite nasty moments in recovery. I know that every close, long-term relationship has its own unspoken language; the volumes of inferred meaning between a couple as they catch each other's eye at a social gathering. One negative habit that seems widespread (nothing personal, just speaking generally) is what i call the "silent strikes list". It's done by men and women alike, but due to prevailing cultural mores, seems to be more common in women.(survivor couples' mileage may vary.)
An example: Ann and Bob meet, hit it off, start dating and fall in love. Both Ann and Bob notice various little idiosyncrasies that may not excite them, but they're too caught up in the moment to give them any thought. The breathless-dicovery phase wears off at some point after they take up living together, and those idiosyncrasies begin making themselves felt. Bob may find Ann's insistence on constantly doing several small loads of laundry, instead of a larger load less often, to be a waste of power and water, and becomes annoyed by her constant running back and forth, gathering, washing, drying, folding, etc. which seems to Bob as Ann's way of avoiding anything she doesn't feel like dealing with. Ann may be ready to tear her hair out if Bob keeps having full-volume phone conversations, while wandering around the same area she's trying to watch TV in, which strikes Ann as not just rude, but a passive-aggressive show of power. One day, everyday stresses take their toll, and Bob comes home in a bad mood. Ann's already in a bad mood, and picks up on Bob's crankiness right away. Bob looks at Ann, sees her staring fixedly at the TV, says to himself, "Oh great. First work, now this." Bob feels obligated to be considerate nonetheless, but manages a poor attempt- "So what's made YOU such a ray of sunshine today?" It comes out harsherand less funny than intended, but too late- Ann, already wishing Bob would go calm down before trying to talk to her, since she's been needing to vent for at least 3 hours, frowns sharply without turning to look at him, and bites off "Nothing. Why? What's YOUR problem?"
Bob, taken aback and frustrated, mutters "Chrissake, never mind, then," and stalks off abruptly to his home-office. Nothing else is said until Ann can't take the lack of physical activity, and starts angrily gathering clothes to wash, just to give herself something to do. She is passing by Bob's office door, when she hears him say to himself "Here we go again.. make way for Laundry Queen..." in a tired, disgusted voice. This is all Ann can take; she drops the clothes, marches into the doorway, and glaring at him, barks, "WHAT did you just say?!?" Bob angrily retorts, "That's your solution for everything, right? Don't deal, just do more laundry. Don't let me stop you!" Ann returns fire with, "At least *I* don't march around yammering away into the goddam phone 2 FEET from someone trying to watch GODDAM TV!"
...By now both are yelling, their faces are red, they're almost trembling with anger, and only a miracle would prevent one of them from a night on the couch, at the very least.

was this really about laundry, or phone manners? Of course not. Both Bob and Ann were silently checking off "strikes" against each other, and ended up w/ an argument that made each seem unreasonable, selfish, and ridiculous in the eyes of the other.

_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

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#189196 - 10/30/07 09:24 AM Re: Rob [Re: dgoods]
beccy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Katie,



this paragraph you wrote,

"What I can't live with is that he prize nurturing this above nurturing me and our relationship. And yes, simply because it includes homosexual fantasies/behavior. If it's an easier place for him to go and a place he feels he must defend and defend it in such a way that leads to hiding certain behaviors and makeing me feel guilty about not buying his story then that's a decision he should own and feel good about. It's not, however, a decision he has the right to make for ME, and hiding this stuff is making decisions for me. And again, this issue has nothing to do with what his fantasies mean or don't mean -- it has to do with being honest so that I can make informed decisions about my life, just as he makes informed decisions about his."



I SO relate to what you are saying there......and selective withholding is just about the best way to describe what my bf also does.....at the moment I am feeling very strongly that he is withholding stuff, I don't know what it is and this feeling is so common to me now, I believe I might have forgotten what life is like without it.....but you're right in saying it's not ok. And I totally understand the need to know Rob's past actions as far as his interraction with men is concerned and believe I would also need to know if my bf had an actual physical history with men......


my bf has not had a physical history with men, so it's all been theoretical here......a period when he wasn't sure if he did want something physical, a period when he didn't know if he might some time in the future. I have found much of what I've listened to difficult to deal with(there's a lot more than just those two things) and I do think this is one of the reasons why he might not tell me things, but like I said earlier, in my opinion that is simply not a fair excuse, since like you say, hiding his stuff is making decisions for me and denying me the choice to make informed decisions about my own life.


peace
Beccy


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#189200 - 10/30/07 09:37 AM Re: Rob/intimacy and disclosure [Re: dgoods]
honey girl Offline
Member

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
I hear you, dgoods. Add the challenges of CSA recovery to the usual relationship & communication difficulties most couples experience, it's an exponential increase in the likelihood of tension and miscommunication.
Sometimes being "right" is not enough, in any case.
Peace,
HG

_________________________
I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

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#189205 - 10/30/07 10:28 AM Re: Rob [Re: beccy]
Kathryn Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303

Beccy,

It seems to me that we feel better if we get to a place of accepting today and not speculating about tomorrow. Rob would, I think, like me to believe that there will be a day when he either no longer has gay fantasies or doesn't need to indulge in certain behaviors.

It's obviouse to me that there are people for whom their homosexual fantasies are purely driven by "paranoid" ideation: If I can't get it up with a female then I must be gay. If I like anal sex then I must be gay. If I was abused by a male then I must be gay. If I don't make enough money then I must be gay..... Despite the fact that there's literally no pleasure associated with homosexual depictions and fantasies. I'm besieged by intrusive thoughts/images of what happened to me as a child, I must be gay. Etc.... And goodness knows I believe that every guy who suffers from this should be able to get some relief and not be told -- "yep, you're gay, you just have to accept it".

Likewise, there's nothing wrong with a woman hoping that through therapy her guy will gain the insight that his homosexual fantasies are seperate from his more fundatmental orientation and so he'll be more free to accept this aspect of himself as just that: a fantasy.... and so will be more able to nurture his heterosexual relationships. And again, I think guys deserve to find someone who supports his endeavors to do just this, if that's what he wants.

But there's also a time where it seems to me that we (the partners) simply ask ourselves if we can accept where things are today. If things change for the "better" (ie, the guys feel more confident in the heterosexuality and find less comfort/pleasure in their homosexual fantasies) then great, it's icing on the cake. Yippy. I like icing -- a lot.

I'm to the point I can accept the cake before me and still love Rob -- all, that is, except hiding information about which I've asked, and asked more than once.

Granted, I haven't been the easiest person to talk to -- and I've gone through my own "homosexual panic" phase in which I found depictions of gay sex as just downright gross -- and have told Rob so. Not exactly a greatly compassionate move on my part, but it was also in response to him saying he doesn't find homosexual depictions pleasent -- so kind of like "oh yeah, well I feel ______ about it" (the blank was far from nice). But I'm pretty much back to feeling about it more like I felt before having met Rob: it's just not my cup of tea and I really hardly translate homosexual (either lesbian or gay) sex as sex in the sense that it's just not sexual to ME. But I can accept that it is (in some way, even if only in a self-soothing way) to Rob. Whatever: He likes his steak medium rare, I like mine medium well. Medium rare doesn't translate into food for me.

What I'm not willing to accept are the following: 1) that I'm mislead and 2) that I'm treated as a defense against homosexuality, ie, "If Katie were nicer I wouldn't turn to homosexual fantasies", etc....

Oops, got to run, more later.

Thanks Beccy!!!!

Katie





Edited by Kathryn (10/30/07 03:46 PM)

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#189208 - 10/30/07 10:51 AM Re: Rob [Re: Kathryn]
beccy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Wow, you wrote some really good stuff there Katie!


Especially this, "What I'm not willing to accept are the following: 1) that I'm mislead and 2) that I'm treated as a defense against homosexuality, ie, "If Katie were nicer I wouldn't turn to homosexual fantasies", etc....



I could write a lot about that, but I've got to run and get my daughter from school amongst a million other things, but thankyou for expressing things so clearly that I found so difficult to express!



peace
Beccy


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#189263 - 10/30/07 04:10 PM Re: Rob [Re: beccy]
Kathryn Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303

Wow, I just figured out what that edit key actually does.

So anyway, I read somewhere where it takes the average straight woman to accept that her partner isn't completely straight. Not that I buy into these generalizations, but it's in fact taken me about two years.

I probably would have gotten here faster if lots of things were different, but they've been what they've been.

Rob and I actually had a nice day on Sunday after all this came out. I told him I felt ok about a bunch of stuff and said I felt confident we could get through this.

There's a part of me that in fact feels that way and the reasons are: Rob's not an unempathetic dope. He's been incredibly empathetic with me about all sorts of stuff, this one issue being a "blind spot" of sorts. Rob's smart and funny and engaging and enjoys having fun. I have no doubt that: 1) he loves me and 2) there's sexual attraction.

If I didn't feel this way then the gay stuff would be a deal breaker. Pure and simple. What straight woman wants a bi/gay man? Ok, some actually do -- but not many. I don't. But it's what I got and I do love Rob and feel his other qualities trump the whole bi/gay/whatever thing.

Personally, whatever the "truth" about sexuality/sexual orientation, it helps me to think in terms not of either straight or bisexual, but in terms of a partially developed homosexual side, which also probably implies a partially developed heterosexual side, which probably is more indicative of attachment issues rather than sexual orientation as defined as the ability to express through sex deep emotional attachments -- with both ourselves and others.

Thinking this way gets me out of the loop of X is straight and likes to have gay sex or encourages gay fantasies or gets off on gay porn or whatever. That's not really my definition of straight -- unless of course a person is capable of fully incorporating homosexual fantasies into their sense of themselves while never questioning their overall heterosexual identity, goals, strivings, hopes, whatever -- something that a lot of women, and probably some men, are capable of doing.

Anyway, there's a lot about this I can accept, given very clear and mutually agreed upon constraints.

Given the choice between a sort of bi man or a macho homophobic jerk, I'd take the sort of bi man hands down. Of course if I could design a man from scratch (about which I feel very deprived of the ability to do) he'd recognize and enjoy nice men and good looking men, be able to hug his friends, and be in touch with healthy homoerotic feelings. He just wouldn't want to give some guy a blow job. Or at least he could easily resist doing so, even if he could get turned on by the idea.

Take care,
Katie



Edited by Kathryn (10/30/07 05:09 PM)

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