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#191957 - 11/19/07 11:00 PM preventive medicine for us all?
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
Hi everyone,

I was just thinking that the biggest part of the abuse problem for me is the silence and lack of early treatment. I was thinking that the abuse itself was nothing in comparison with how I have handled it. For me it lasted a few years very, very sporadically. And my dad was the abuser. And if there had been a family handbook (my mom read all of them!) that told the signs of abuse and if there had been encouraged yearly visits to the mental health doctor (like there sure were to the physical one!) to make sure I was growing up on schedule, we could have seen the signs right away and could have taken both me and my dad to the hospital for a while to clear the air.

Virtually all my problems are responses to the thing that happened, not the thing itself, as though I had a sore that wouldn't heal, and I twisted the injured part into all kinds of strange shapes because I couldn't go to the doctor and have it set. Because of that I had to set the fracture myself and I didn't know how to do it.

It helps me to think this because it deemphasizes blame and puts my own pain in a social context. Abuse happens all the time in so many ways that many go completely unseen....a child's drawing is ridiculed by an art teacher, and the child withdraws and never paints again, other kids bullied and terrorized, etc. so many kinds of abuse and no training for any of us kids on how to handle any of it. To me that's the deepest crime. That as a society we don't care to treat the spirit with the respect due to its delicacy and need for proper nourishment. If only.

Any thoughts?

Danny


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#191961 - 11/19/07 11:23 PM Re: preventive medicine for us all? [Re: DannyT]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

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

I like the analogy you've used. Helps explain it very clearly.

At some point fairly early on in the recovery process I came to the same conclusions you have that the problem wasn't so much the abuse as it was I had no way as a child to try and fix it. I Did the best I could with what I had, and it served to help me survive, but oh, the destruction it brought into my life. How much better would it have been had I had parents who were able to recognize the signs and provide intervention for me when I needed it the most.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not assigning blame to myself for my reactions, because the child can NEVER be the guilty party, but I sure do regret that help wasn't more available to me.

Thanks for this thought provoking thread.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
Lifes 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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#191974 - 11/20/07 07:26 AM Re: preventive medicine for us all? [Re: WalkingSouth]
GateKPR4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 955
Loc: North Carolina, USA
Danny,
Thank you for your insight. Unfortunately for me I had a double whammy
which was my dad was an alcoholic and my mom went to work evenings when I was 12. For me was the inability to express my feelings or to trust an adult enough to tell what was going on with me. I know I withdrew even deeper the day I told my older sister, I was 17yo and that was after I left my last abuser. She did not believe me and I was so hurt by her denial, the pain was unbearable and now I had no one. I don't have to tell you what happened to me from that moment on. I agree that if people only knew the signs and what to look for much suffering could be spared from the life of an abused child.
peace
Rick

_________________________
I'm a normal person dealing with abnormal experiences.
The greatest discoveries we will find within ourselves.
Ricky
__m__m__
|| || || || || || |

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#191986 - 11/20/07 10:34 AM Re: preventive medicine for us all? [Re: GateKPR4]
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
John and Rick

I suppose one of the reasons I brought this up is that there is this problem with blame that so many of us face. I see lots of focused hate directed at the people who have abused us, and that seems so sad to me. Hatred and blame are so destructive in so many ways that they really cloud the issue. For me by far the biggest issue is my responses (at this point 30 years after the fact) to the abuse.

So for myself I'm trying to face taking responsibility for my responses. And that feels totally unlike blaming myself. It's much more like blame has become irrelevant. I have these things I do and think, and I need to own them as my own actions. That's the only way I can get past them. If I blame, I stay in the past. Blame emphasizes the fact that my father caused the abuse to happen, and it Iets me somehow fall out of the picture. Though blaming him makes me even more clearly blameless, I heal far more slowly because no one seems to be the one actually thinking the thoughts. When in fact, I'm the one thinking the thoughts no matter who's to blame.

Our culture seems to treat this problem of abuse as though it were some sort of easy planned crime, when so often it is way more complicated than that. There seems to be this idea that if you put the criminal away you will solve the problem because justice will be done. I know for many of us the abuse was seriously planned by the abuser and about the most heinous crime imaginable as well as being all the other things psychologically warping it can also be. And I'm sure there is also a need for justice to be done.

But I can't help believe that for many of us the worst thing is the silent aftermath. And I think it's important for us to be able to see the division. I'm thinking about John's older sister...the fact that she would disbelieve makes the story so much more painful and in a way that's where the deepest problem begins. We are taught to believe these things don't happen in families and that if they do, they should be hidden because they bring on shame to the family.

Somehow or another we have to replace our ideas of abuse as primarily a criminal act and see the abuse cycle as a continuum and a kind of social illness. People are out there who have the urge somewhere in their poor brains to do these terrible things to others, terrible things that destroy their lives and provide no gain that I can imagine. These people need help and I'm sure they can't talk about what they need any more than we can talk about what need in an open and safe way. These days I see this cycle as so tragic I can hardly put it into words. I so wish my dad had been able to talk to all of us around the dinner table and just say whatever it was he needed to say to get the help he needed so we never would have had to deal with this far bigger problem at all. But instead he held his pain in and continued to do these terrible things when he was so drunk he didn't really even know where he was. And the rest of our family suffered and grew more warped as we held in all the sorrow.

If only we as a culture could talk about all aspects sexuality openly, the world would be a better place. If someone like my dad could just say his piece and not be looked on as a monster but as a human being with a deep flaw that could be healed we would be on the road to solving the problem that plagues us all.

When we create monsters out of sick people we give them enormous power as horrible boogey men and then we can't talk about our sad plight nearly as clearly. After all, we're the victims of monsters, and that's got to be so big as to be overwhelming. If instead we're the victims of sick people who need help, we really release a tremendous dose of our own fear. We can then say, "This person touched me and gave me cooties that make me think strange thoughts. Where's the pill I need to take to kill the germs?" Now doesn't that make things a thousand per cent better? For me, it does wonders. It makes me laugh a bit at all the anguish I've gone through. Those cooties have really got to go!

Then if we just had yearly visits to the psych doctor for a check-up (for all of us), things would get smoother and smoother as people all worked out their wrinkles and warps.

Lots of love to you, too,

Danny




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#191991 - 11/20/07 11:42 AM Re: preventive medicine for us all? [Re: DannyT]
GateKPR4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 955
Loc: North Carolina, USA
Our culture is one messed up system. Don't get me wrong I want to move on from this but at the same time I also need to work through it. Blame never helps anyone and I don't think it ever has. Responsibility is another issue. If you look at our culture here in the US on TV radio, business, etc. Whenever there is a problem blame is everywhere. So it's no wonder that there is so much blame going on. It's not healthy for me but I still find myself doing it. As far as my abuser being sick and needing help, I agree with what you say about silence. If a person was homicidal maniac he does not go tell the therapist he/she is going to go take someones life after the visit. They may be sick but they are not stupid. I think many of them know what they are doing is illegal sick or not. They still have a choice to seek professional help. 25 years I lived with my secrets giving up my power to my abusers, I never knew I had a choice. I like the cooties analogy and that works sometimes. Worked almost 10 years for me and I did wonderful in those years. I'm almost ready to go back to that way of thinking but this time I'll have to dump all my baggage and then I will truly be free. Sick or not it's not hard to see these sick people as monsters after the fact.

_________________________
I'm a normal person dealing with abnormal experiences.
The greatest discoveries we will find within ourselves.
Ricky
__m__m__
|| || || || || || |

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#192113 - 11/21/07 12:25 PM Re: preventive medicine for us all? [Re: GateKPR4]
DanM Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 540
Loc: So. California
Danny,

I want to thank you for raising this topic and so eloquently expressing your thoughts.

I have also had many of the same thought you have. To be perfectly honest, in spite of all the pain, anger and guilt I have felt over the last 41 years, in the back of my mind I have always felt pity for my abuser. I am sure he didn't want to do what he did...no human could truly find pleasure or satisfaction from abusing another..eventually they have to have remorse. I acknowledge there are some cases where the person is criminally insane and really has no moral grasp of what they are doing. But, in general, I find it hard and really a waste of emotional capital to hate my abuser. I have begun to wonder what has gone through his mind over these past 41 years and how has it affected his life?

I think as a whole, society has this warped and unhealthy hunger to see others fail and succumb to sexual and emotional temptions. On one hand, we want to put everyone in jail who morally fails, but on the other hand, they same people love to read about details and gloat in it. I agree, this is a problem that is all to common, but as a society we do nothing to try and correct it or prevent it from happening. We are all to quick to lock everyone up for drug offenses, but we never deal with the underlying cause of the drug abuse. I think it is just too much work and it is just easier to lock everyone up.

It is interesting, my therapist at the time told me it is ok to be mad at your abuser or parent for not recognizing what was going on. However, I just couldn't bring myself to do that...sure I was angry at them, but I could hold this feeling for more than a day. I am not sure if that is a good sign or one that I need more therapy. It just seemed so counter-productive to hold on to those feelings and emotions, as opposed to putting that energy into the future in trying to make it better.

I would really appreciate your comments on this.

Dan M.


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#192130 - 11/21/07 03:27 PM Re: preventive medicine for us all? [Re: DanM]
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
Dan,

I agree that it is truly counterproductive to carry anger and blame, and I can't imagine it could be a bad sign for you to feel compassion for someone. Compassion is just a sign that you have a kind heart. I guess it might be another thing if you were somehow hiding your own anger, but when you say "I could not hold onto this feeling," it sounds like you're just letting it go. To me that's a great thing.

I find that compassion for those who hurt me in whatever way helps me to understand the whole picture. More than that it helps me let go of the pain. I think of anger as attachment to the abuser. My fear and anger hold me mentally chained to the person who did the bad things, when really I mostly want to get away from that person. To really get away from that person, I have to cease feeling toward that person. I lost my love for my dad a long time ago. No there's very little left at all except a sadness for all of us who lost fathers through this abuse.

Don't feel bad about compassion! It's a great thing.

Danny


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#192135 - 11/21/07 04:20 PM Re: preventive medicine for us all? [Re: DannyT]
onlyakid Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 1552
Loc: New Jersey
Danny,
I think your right, I think that if I had gotten help earlier my life wouldn't have been as bad. Alot of my problems come from my withdrawl from life and the lack of normal skills that I should have learned as a teenager, young adult. I also do have alot of anger because of that, my lost childhood. I'm glad to see though that its becoming easier to talk about sexual abuse and I think alot more people will be getting help younger. There is a book that discusses this that I really want to get, unfortunately right now I'm a little short of cash, so it will have to wait till I get paid at the beginning of December but its a book from Dr. Steven Gold called "Not Trauma alone", it talks about the what skills survivors lack and how to deal with that. Its for therapists, but I hope that it is clear enough that I can get a sense of what I need to work on.

Maybe if I can't understand it, I can get my T to read it, so it can help.

_________________________
"Being with people that understand you...Priceless"

"and i don't want the world to see me, cause i don't think that they'd understand"

"You don't know what love is...you just do as your told"

"My life has changed. What you take as a simple thing, is not so simple for me anymore"


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