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#197772 - 01/03/08 02:55 PM Playing the Part.
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1242
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
I seem to want to write about the post-abuse effects more than the actual abuse itself. It seems like that is, for me, the more important and relevant topic at hand. I was shaped considerably by my abuse, but I think what shaped me more was what happened after the touch. It seems more important to discuss my relationships with my friends, and family: my relationship with my dad after he stopped; my relationship with my mom and Julie, her partner; my relationship with my friends and other kids. I donít know why I think this way, but itís the way my brain is leaning. Iíve told my story a lot in the past, and saying it out loud, let alone writing, has produced limited results. Yeah I got it off my chest, but it seems that by focusing on that stuff Iíve stayed there longer than I need to stay. How much chest do I have, anyway?

Someone once told me that I wore my abuse on my sleeve. At the time that comment really hurt me. It was who I was, after all, but surely I wasnít proud of it. The abuse cut me SO deep and I KNEW I was damaged goods (pardon the clichť), and screw him for saying the abuse and its effects werenĎt real. ďIím not playing a part, THIS IS WHO I AM,Ē I thought.

Then I read a PostSecret that said something like, ďMy mental illness defines me, and I donít know how to live without it.Ē I think I butchered that, but you get the idea. The idea is that maybe I WAS being defined by my abuse. Maybe I WAS playing the part of an abuse victim andÖwas wearing it on my sleeve. Maybe I was living IN the abuse rather than living WITH the abuse.

Then I seemed to feel a rush of memories. Thinking back on everything that has happened as a result of my Abused Boy casting.

I donít count the years before I understood it all, but after Iíve told people as an adult I think it is, for me, a mental choice to keep living IN it. Yeah, I was abused, but I donít have to suffer any more with my poor boy face.

Itís sort of freeing for me to kind of step aside from going day in and day out with that burden on my shoulders. I have memories and hurt feelings, but it seems like I really held on to them for some reason and wouldnĎt let go, when really that was an option. Strange that I held onto that which hurt me the most.

Iíve learned that focus is really the key for me. I choose what to focus on and what NOT to focus on. I try not to hold on to the hurt inside me because of my past, and when I feel it welling up I just watch it go by, I guess, like a cloud. I experience the hurt and pain, I mourn my childhood a little, and then watch it float by and out of my head.

I really wasted so much time living in my abuse victim world. I chose to be depressed and sad and hurt and tormented by everything it seems. Now Iím nearly 30 and what did all that crying pay off as in the end? Iím only now learning to be an adult. I havenít finished college. Iím barely making enough money to live on because I never did well in school, which limited my college aspects, which limited my job aspects. I see so many successful people in the world and I can really be one of them someday -- I just hope Iím not 50 before I get there.

_________________________
Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

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#197776 - 01/03/08 03:49 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: AndyJB2005]
DanM Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

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

I want to thank you for your posting, it really hit home with me.

I am relatively new into the recovery phase of CSA; it has only been a year for me this past week. However, I have shared many of your same thoughts. I have wondered if I have been playing the role of the victim for the last 40 years or certainly the last few years. I have had some sucess in my work life, but I always was the underdog having to work twice as hard or not placing value on my work or contributions.

I also have not finished college. I never felt that I was worthy of graduating or that I was intelligent or capable of earning a degree. It was a self-fulling phrophecy. I did everything to sabotage my success and happiness.

I am now 51 and I have gone back to school and will complete my degree in the upcoming 12 months.

I want you to know that you can do it. If I can, anyone can! Hng in there...it is scary at first, but once you get past the first course it is very rewarding.

I think that finally coming to terms with my abuse and seeking therapy has helped me and allowed me to advance my life so I am not a 24/7 abuse vicitim. i still get depressed and struggle with my feelings and emotions, but I am taking positive steps forward.

We are all here to help and support you...Andy there is no doubt you can do it. You need encouragement, support and love. We are here to help you.

Please let me know if you have any questions, I have learned it is never too late to reclaim your life.

With warm regards,

Dan


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#197777 - 01/03/08 04:12 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: DanM]
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1242
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Thanks for the kind words, guys. \:\)

I am in therapy now, and I'm enjoying it. That said, I've always wondered how much my past therapists fed my victim status. I'm not really sure, but it seems a possibility.

My mom's partner has been in therapy for probably 15 years, and while she's a lot better than she was, I just wonder...how long does it take to heal? \:\)

_________________________
Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

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#197790 - 01/03/08 06:48 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: AndyJB2005]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Andy,

This may sound like a negative, but the fact is...we have to face the fact that healing will be a lifelong journey. Yeah, I look back on my life and I want back that which was stolen from me, but the goal is to live each day a little more healthy than the last. Sure, it may seem like we regress sometimes, but as long as we keep moving forward, we have something to be proud of.

When I talk to you, I don't see a victim. I see someone who has overcome that role and is working as hard as he can to put his life together. I've only known you a short time, but I can say with absolute certainty that within that short time, you have not been living in your victimized past.

You are definitely correct in one aspect, though. We can only get so far by reliving memories. For me, the biggest battle has been learning to understand what certain feelings remind me of. It is the battle of those affected by PTSD, and the hope that each time a trigger comes, it affects me less and less.

It's been great getting to know you, Andy.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#197851 - 01/04/08 09:34 AM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: BJK]
Jarrad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 1071
Loc: arizona
omg its so easy to play vicitim. a lot of guys fall into it here. i think we all do it at some point but some guys get stuck in it because its comfortable. and people are freaked out of trying to figure out who they are if they aren't a "victim." its way easier to haev the "woe is me" "my life sucks" attitude because it allows you to stock pile shit easier. "my credit card was stolen... oh well... its because my life always sucks." etc. but you arent actually dealing with anything. so yeah for you for seeing that there is more. thats not to say you cant have a "victim day" once in a while \:\)


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#197852 - 01/04/08 09:41 AM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: Jarrad]
James_dup1 Offline


Registered: 04/13/02
Posts: 1332
Loc: Wyoming
I think your on to something with our reply Jarrad. It is easy to fall into the "vicitim" role. I don't think it's because we want too, I think it's because it's comfortable. It's what we were growing up, it's what we are use too, it's a feeling we know very well. Even if we dont like it. People in general are creatures of habbit. We like things that are familer to us. And breaking out of them "habbits" can be hard and as you say

Quote:
freaked out of trying to figure out who they are if they aren't a "victim."


But thats why we here, isn't it? To learn from each other that's it's ok to be freaked out. It's ok to not know. It's just ok.

James

_________________________
I have more issues than Rolling Stone!


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#197875 - 01/04/08 12:18 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: James_dup1]
Eric5 Offline
New Here

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 27
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
Sometimes I think people impress themselves when they tell you that you're wearing your problems on your sleeve. Who doesnt have SOME kind problem in their life? Is anyone around to make them apologize for it? Do they want an apology from you if they recognize you have an issue? You can't back down. Declare your right to grieve. The right people will be around when you're done.


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#197879 - 01/04/08 12:53 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: Eric5]
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1242
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Very true, Eric. The guy who told me this definitely has his own set of problems, as we all do. \:\) I know it was a shot to me. *shrug*

_________________________
Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

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#197884 - 01/04/08 01:55 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: AndyJB2005]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
I think that if people are asking for some support then they have a real need for that understanding, why else are they looking for it. What I don't understand is why so many have such an aversion to offering that to people. I don't really see the down side to empathizing with someone. Is that person not going to get over the problem if they empathize with them. Emapthy seems to be negative for so many. It seems like people think everyone should skip the grieving and get right to the moving on no matter how long it's been. Definately an issue within themselves because there really isn't a downside to offering support to someone who is hurting. Makes me think there was no intention of helping to begin with. In the end, pretty selfish to try to get their own control issue met on the back of someone who is hurting.

Mike

_________________________
Thriving

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#197893 - 01/04/08 02:35 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: mogigo]
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1242
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Don't mean to be selfish......just offering a way out -- and sharing my own experience....

_________________________
Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

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#197897 - 01/04/08 03:00 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: AndyJB2005]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
Sorry Andy, you miss-read, or I miss-wrote \:\) Wasn't aimed at you at all. More to the guy who took "a shot" at you.

Sorry Brother
Mike



Edited by mogigo (01/04/08 03:03 PM)
_________________________
Thriving

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#197898 - 01/04/08 03:04 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: mogigo]
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1242
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Oops...silly me. LOL Yeah, I'm defensive. Makes total sense now. LOL

_________________________
Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

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#197900 - 01/04/08 03:18 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: AndyJB2005]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
I had a buddy who I've known my whole life, he's known I haven't had a partner in 16 years and his last advice to me was "you're just scared", jeez ya think. I hid my problems my whole life, it's not like I ever went to him and said "woe is me", I acted very happy around everyone my whole life and really just said I wasn't interested in a partner. He was a big part of why my partner and I broke up so I know he has guilt issues now, but really his advice was just his inability to solve my "problem" so he minimized it so he could feel better. 16 years and it was just because "I was scared", brilliant, problem solved.

I know defensive well Andy \:\) \:\)

Mike

_________________________
Thriving

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#197908 - 01/04/08 03:55 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: mogigo]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
I see why you thought this way Andy, I ignored the rest of the post and was answering on the last 2 posts.

I think it's trying to get what wasn't offered when we needed it when we were younger, we need that compassion and I think when we get enough of it we will natuarally switch over to the moving on. I think Jarrad's right that some will maybe get caught up in it a bit too long, but really is there much harm in us offering that. I think it needs to be a self-realization rather than someone pushing them into it, otherwise it's just the same thing we've always heard, "get over it", not helpful at all.

Some may never be able to move on, and I am sad about that, but I'm more than willing to give them a little better place than what they had before they were a "victim", not our job to "save" anyone, only to try and make life a little easier for our Brothers.

Only "I" can save myself, I think it's harmful to think otherwise.

One of my groups rules is that no "story" will be told, we're concentrating on the here and now, but I had to choose to work on the here and now. The past is what a therapist is for, let's just offer what WE can offer, support.

Stay strong
Mike

_________________________
Thriving

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#197914 - 01/04/08 04:27 PM Re: Playing the Part. *DELETED* [Re: AndyJB2005]
awakening Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/01/08
Posts: 342
Post deleted by awakening


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#197928 - 01/04/08 05:49 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: awakening]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
I love it Awakening, going to try that. I've been a survivor for a while now. Felt like I wasn't beaten, gave me strength over my perp. I love you're next step, It won't define me at all, Just a single moment. I am Mike, going to like him one day.

Welcome Awakening, nice to see another Canuck, great place eh \:\)

Mike

_________________________
Thriving

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#197943 - 01/04/08 07:13 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: AndyJB2005]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Not only is it so easy to "play the victim", but it can be such an easy way of getting attention. I didn't fully realize the scope fo that until I read Jarrad's post. For years, I also played that role well. I didn't do it because I feared the unfamiliar or because I was uncomfortable changing. I did it with the hope that someone, somewhere would take pity on me. I've come to realize that wasn't helping anyone, especially myself.

Yes, we all deserve a pity parade every once in awhile, but I also need to touch upon something that Mogigo said. Beleive it or not, most of the time that people are "asking for support" in the real world, they don't truly need the kind of support they are asking for. My mother was the "poor me" victimizer. She was constantly lying about her own maladies and wellbeing in order to perpetuate abuse. She played her "loved ones" off against each other by claiming each one wasn't doing enough to support her, and she did it in a way that was utterly convincing. I was guilty of some of the exact same behaviors until I identified the pattern.

The kind of support we actually need is usually the hardest kind of support to ask for. All I'm trying to say here is that there are two sides to this coin, and the one kind of person I just can't stand to be around is the kind of person who "plays the victim" as a personality trait.

I'm not talking specifically of anyone when I say this. I'm just saying that there is a reason why I don't always give my support to people in my day to day life when they ask. The fact is, I only have so much to give, and when the same person is draining that energy day in and day out, I tend to start to ignore him/her.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

Top
#197959 - 01/04/08 08:33 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: BJK]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6419
Loc: 2.5 NATO Nations
I think I play various roles (including victim)...but I don't feel like I'm manipulating anyone or anything. I'm just coming to terms with what I've denied myself for my entire life. Namely, facing what was done to me and what I became.

If I broke a leg as a kid that was never set right, and decided to fix it now...its gonna take a fk-load of pain getting through the repairs.

Let's not start beating on ourselves for getting through some horrible shit (past and present). I spent enough of my life yielding to other's demanded behavior, emotions and modes. If "victimhood" or "survivorhood" is such a bloody-awful personality flaw, well....guess what did it to us!!

_________________________
This nation has lost its mind!

The Aftermath Video

The Water Buffalo Song

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#197972 - 01/04/08 10:25 PM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: AndyJB2005]
dancr6 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/07
Posts: 383
Loc: georgia
Bobby wrote a poem called "just get over it" seems apropo to a few of the comments here.

_________________________
I'm a freeman now, his authority's dead
no pain monger lies in my comfortable bed!

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#198018 - 01/05/08 10:15 AM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: dancr6]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
I thought I'd clarify some of the things I said in my last post.

I have empathy and compassion for all living beings. From the mosquito that I swat out of frustration and annoyance to the person who perps little kids, I see a living creature in every being on this planet. When it comes to people, I feel nothing but sadness for whatever horrible occurance it was that caused a person to believe that harming another person was an okay choice. Even towards my mother, the woman who totally destroyed my life, I feel empathy and compassion along with the anger.

However, I simply to not have enough energy within me to lend support to every living creature who requires it. When a news show airs a segment about some poor child who was harmed, I have to turn away. People around me tend to think that this makes me some kind of unfeeling monster, but the fact is, I have to fight emotional flashbacks when I see or hear of real kids getting harmed. The choice is simple for me. If I can't help that poor kid directly, I have to turn away.

Most importantly, though, is that there are a plethora of people around me in my every day life who try to get attention by "playing the victim". I call this the "poor me" personality trait. This was my mother. She was able to perpetuate the abuse she inflicted upon me by constantly portraying herself as being a victim. When an acquaintance displays this personality trait, I am heavily triggered. I have three choices when this happens. I can 1) dissociate, 2) flee or 3) deal with heavy emotional flashbacks that just might trigger a real hallucinatory flashback.

The choice isn't very simple. Dissociating is something I am slowly gaining a concious control over, but fighting it is difficult. When I do dissociate, it's because I can't cope with what's happening anymore. It used to be the easy way out. Now, as I am becoming more and more aware of what I'm like when I dissociate, it's simply not acceptable anymore.

The choice to deal with emotional flashbacks is sometimes dependent on how safe I view the setting to be. Sometimes, it happens whether I want it to or not, and that can be evidenced by the fact that I've had to leave work three times in the last six months in order to cope with these situations. If the setting is safe, I'll sometimes choose to deal with the emotional flashbacks. They suck, but learning where they come from has been an essential part in the ever-so-slow learning process of making them stop.

If I have a choice, though, most often I will flee. If fleeing with result in avoiding dissociation and avoiding emotional flashbacks, I will take this route almost every time.

In writing this, it has become obvious to me that I am not capable of lending emotional support to anyone with the "poor-me" philosophy on life. Please, do not think that this is a charactar flaw on your part if this describes you. It is simply my history affecting who I am today. I will lend support to people who I believe are trying their hardest to improve their lives, and that discribes almost everyone on this site. The people who choose to relish the victim stereotype are people I need to keep my distance from for the sake of my own emotional healthy.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

Top
#198023 - 01/05/08 10:49 AM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: BJK]
dancr6 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/07
Posts: 383
Loc: georgia
Bryan, I understand a lot of what you are talking about. My mother wasn't around much but when she was she frequently exaggerating or pretended illness. I have always and still do have a low tolerance for anyone who exaggerates when they are sick. I also attended a 12 step sexual survivors group twice and couldn't tolerate the poor me attitudes that prevailed. It sounded as if they were completely content in remaining victims. :-(
I still have tremendous compassion for CSA victims and will respond to any genuine call for help. Even if it is exaggerated I will offer help with the idea of getting past the superficial part and to the real issue. I know that my judgments are clouded by my own CSA and I don't want to take the chance of denying someone who is in need of help but doesn't know how to show it in genuine terms.

Dan


_________________________
I'm a freeman now, his authority's dead
no pain monger lies in my comfortable bed!

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#198033 - 01/05/08 11:27 AM Re: Playing the Part. [Re: dancr6]
alexey Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 08/16/05
Posts: 1674
Loc: Moscow, Russia
Andy,

It is not a short time program to recover. You will learn more and be more confident in your believes with time, and with help. You will succeed.

Alexey

_________________________
(\__/)
(='.'=)
E[:]|||||[:]3
(")_(")
--------
When you feel all alone and unhappy, turn to you Inner Child and talk to Him.
You will see He can comfort you like nothing else!

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