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#197982 - 01/04/08 11:50 PM What's hearing about it like?
LandOfShadow Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
I'm trying to get a little perspective on what's happening when F&F hear the bad news.

I disclosed 6 weeks ago being SA at 9 and 12 (35 yrs ago) by a teacher and neighbor to my brother and sister-in-law. We didn't talk at length about it at all and I'd really like to, but they get really silent at the hint of the subject. Perhaps it's just too scary or shameful for them to talk about.

I'm not talking about if its your partner/husband! (my sympathy there), just close friend or family.

Do lots of people really think, it's better if I don't bring it up, it's a painful subject? Do most people not understand this often has long-term effects? I know you can't speak for my family of course, but if you've been here a good while, you might have a feel for the common responses. Can't you google it and get a clue if you want to? Is it really generally so hard to even hear about?

It's starting to feel like I have a secret again and that sucks.

_________________________
Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer
Liberté

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you
Freedom

Paul Eluard

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#197988 - 01/05/08 12:43 AM Re: What's hearing about it like? [Re: LandOfShadow]
Sacred_Sage Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 141
LandOfShadow,

When I first told my friends about it...I got the same reaction. They were sort of speechless. After a while though, they rallied around me. I had some extreme bouts of depression and anger, and if it weren't for their support, I don't know what would have happened. They became really understanding about recovery and told me to take my time, and that they would be there to talk if I needed it.

As for my parents, it was hard getting the courage to tell them. My mother was touched by sexual abuse by her father...and she was outraged about it. My father who knew about her abuse, was just sort of quiet; however, both were supportive.

I still have times where its hard to talk about it, but I've learned to stop second-guessing myself and just go out on a limb. I don't think any of my friends would turn me away. I hope this helps.

Hang in there,
Cameron

_________________________
http://youtu.be/HL297ZTYVRM <---- In case you ever wondered what I sound like.

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#197997 - 01/05/08 02:33 AM Re: What's hearing about it like? [Re: Sacred_Sage]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
Hey, I got nothing from my family. Just minimizations from all, "get over it" pretty much. It's pretty painful I would think. I know how badly I want to protect my daughter, I can imagine how hard that would be as a parent to know I failed at it.

While we might need some understanding I could also feel the pain from one of my parents when I told. Not what I needed but I guess he just wasn't strong enough to hear it.

Mike

_________________________
Thriving

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#198012 - 01/05/08 08:55 AM Re: What's hearing about it like? [Re: mogigo]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
LandOfShadow,

Well, I only have experience with hearing about the s/a from my boyfriend so that's all I can speak to. My initial reaction was horror and outrage at the persons who did this to him. I was angry beyond belief but the sadness quickly took hold. I had loads of questions, none of which he wanted to answer and then silence because I just didn't know what to do or say. I think most people, when faced with a disclosure from anyone they love or are close to, feel very similarly. The only resource we immediately have is the survivor himself who has disclosed and more often than not, I think, immediately following the disclosure, there is a MAJOR shut down which leaves both people desperately wanting, but not having a clue how to get what they want or need. Does that make sense?

Quote:
Do lots of people really think, it's better if I don't bring it up, it's a painful subject? Do most people not understand this often has long-term effects?


Yes and Yes.

If you've disclosed to someone you are close to, family or friend, one can only hope that they will not shy away from a conversation you want to have but it is a hard conversation. Mostly because of the gross lack of understanding. It's easy to pick up a small child and hug him and comfort him. It's so much more difficult when that small child is encased in the body of a man. You can't "see" the child and it's even hard to picture the child because that's not who is in front of you. For those who haven't been touched by s/a in one form or another, understanding that the injuries caused 10, 20 or 30 years ago are still there is a difficult concept to grasp. It's like a person with lung problems parking in a handicap spot. They have the placard and they have every right in the world to use the spot, but when they get out of the car, they look to all the world like a perfectly healthy person. The injury isn't right out there like a broken leg.

I wish it weren't so, but it is. Education is the only way to change it and the only way to educate is for the survivors to speak and the rest of us to listen.

ROCK ON...........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#198014 - 01/05/08 09:03 AM Re: What's hearing about it like? [Re: Trish4850]
dancr6 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/07
Posts: 383
Loc: georgia
I disclosed at age 37 to my mother and her response was "oh Danny that couldn't have happened then" How the hell would she know she had abandoned me by them. I didn't show the anger that she caused in me I just treated it like another abuse, I swallowed it and put it in that dark spot I called home for all of those years.

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

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#198017 - 01/05/08 10:11 AM Re: What's hearing about it like? [Re: dancr6]
LandOfShadow Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Trish, I dealt with some of the CSA long ago, but big new stuff has surfaced. I can talk about some of it, and don't shut down if people will listen and try to understand. It feels good to after so much silence. And some I can't. I so know what you mean about the small child in a man. Can't women relate it to being r*ped? Except I had the resources of a 9 year old and absolutely no one to help me. Certainly women often never "get over it". God I hate that phrase. Folks listening in, trust me, just don't say that!

Quote:
I think, immediately following the disclosure, there is a MAJOR shut down which leaves both people desperately wanting, but not having a clue how to get what they want or need. Does that make sense?


I had to dig awhile on this, but I remember that's how it was. It get's a lot more real when people know. You don't so easily pretend it isn't there. It's less under your control. But 20 years ago, I had a therapist who kept say to me, "That silence is not your friend..." ... That's right.

Yeah, we survivors can add prosecuting, testifying and educating the world to our list, eh? But you're right.

dancr6, Mike, I'm really sorry about your family... That anger sounds like it can help you in this. I know how it is to try and trust yourself when everyone has told you "that couldn't have happened", "don't feel that way", "that's just silly", "how could you feel", etc.

_________________________
Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer
Liberté

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you
Freedom

Paul Eluard

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#198138 - 01/06/08 12:42 AM Re: What's hearing about it like? [Re: LandOfShadow]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

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

My experience in speaking of my abuse to friends has been very positive. Of course I've probably been quite selective in who I've spoken to. I have been a member of a Men's Chorus for 11 years now. Early on I told them I was struggling with an issue that had me pretty devastated and over the next couple years, as I was able, gradually revealed the essentials of the situation without details. They were my source of strength in some of the darkest times.

Relatives, with the exception of my immediate family (wife, daughter, siblings, parents), on the other hand were another story. Not too much interest in being supportive there. Silence. Glazed over eyes. I'm sure you know the look and the feeling.

Anyhow, that's my story of disclosure. All in all positive with occasional disappointments thrown in for good measure.

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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#198275 - 01/06/08 06:05 PM Re: What's hearing about it like? [Re: LandOfShadow]
Jem Offline
New Here

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 18
Loc: DC
Frankly, I'm ashamed of my initial reaction. The night before H had told me, you act like you're the only one that had bad things happen in your childhood as I cried into my pillow. I was dealing w/ childhood issues of abandonment and being unlovable that were brought up by his affair(s).

The next morning, in talking a/b the affair and how I was stalled in trying to let it go, H told me a/b the CSA (is that the right acronym?). The way he said it felt like a lecture, "I could get past this and forgive, so should you." I can't remember what I said, I might have posted it here in one of my first posts. But it was angry and shameful. It made H regret telling me.

I had to examine myself and go back to H and apologize. I felt attacked and attacked back. I also assumed that since his relationship w/ the other woman was 'so close' they thought they were in love in a month, that H had told her and that assumption hurt b/c we had been together 15yrs.

So I told H these feelings and thoughts. I also told him that it made me angry to think of someone hurting the sweet little guy H had been. I wanted him to know I was open to anything he needed to talk a/b. He was relieved, but reiterated that the revelation was intended to let me know forgiveness, even w/ pain and betrayal, is possible.

I would like to talk a/b it, but H has requested we don't. He also requested I don't mention it to anyone, not our pastor, not the infidelity support site I go to, nobody. I am stuck b/c I do feel some of his issues must stem from this, but I am muzzled.



Edited by Jem (01/06/08 06:05 PM)
_________________________
jem

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#198309 - 01/06/08 08:50 PM Re: What's hearing about it like? [Re: Jem]
violet Offline
Guest

Registered: 08/13/07
Posts: 118
Loc: US
Here is one of the worst responses my spouse had from his friends family when he disclosed:

"You shouldn't tell your parents. It will only make them feel guilty and upset them."

I can't even discuss those negative responses right now. I am ashamed of how some people responded.

But there have also been very good responses:

"I will do whatever I can do to help to get whatever help or healing you need."

"I don't really know what to say other than that is horrible and I am so sorry we never tried to find out why you were acting out at school. What can we do to help?"

"I am sorry I couldn't protect you."

"How can were you able to speak cordially to your relative (the abuser) and not beat the **** out of him? Because I'm ready to drive the seven hours to his house right now."

"You have been so brave to handle this on your own all these years. I'm sorry there you were all by yourself through that. But you're not alone now."

"Is there something I should read to help me understand what you have been through? Do you want to talk about the abuse? I will talk to you anytime."

I hope all survivors have such people in their lives to embrace them with love and acceptance. So much of this just takes time to sink in. Especially for his immediate family, there was a lot of shock and guilt they had to deal with before they were really ready to talk to him or to be truly supportive.

I gave my in-laws a few pages from Mike Lew's Victims No Longer to help them understand about CSA's long term effects and that is really what seemed to help them the most. I think the general public has no idea how common or how devistating csa truly is.

I think also most people quite honestly want to ask what happened but are afraid to cause emotional distress or flashbacks etc... even while the survivor is dying to have someone to confide in. There seems to be a lot of confusion between trying to talk to a survivor and wondering if they find it too painful (or too embarassing) to talk about.

Good luck.

V.

_________________________
I was silent as a child, and silenced as a young woman; I am taking my lumps and bumps for being a big mouth, now, but usually from those whose opinion I don't respect. - Sandra Cisneros

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#198311 - 01/06/08 09:02 PM Re: What's hearing about it like? [Re: LandOfShadow]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
For me, when he disclosed, it explained alot. We had been close for many years and there were alot of issues that came up about trust, touching, and sex. Up until that very day, I thought it was me. I wasn't pretty enough, he didn't love me enough...etc.etc.etc.
But what I found the most difficult, was that when he disclosed, HE was taking responsibility for what had happened to him. He felt responsible for it. (and alot of times, still does)
Like Trish, I had alot of questions which he wasn't up to answering, and although I tried to explain to him how this could never have been his fault, he countered everything with the fact that I wasn't there. I didn't see it happen.
Following the disclosure, there was his desire to forget the conversation, and then the major shutdown. He didn't want to hear what I had to say, and he seemed more concerned with how I felt about him once I knew. As if I could love him less because of what someone did to him.
I admire you for wanting to talk about it. It is a painful subject, but it causes more pain when it's kept a secret. It's better to acknowledge it and work through the long-term effects than it is to pretend it's not there. Even after all this time, he still has a hard time talking about it. I call it "the 800 pound gorilla in the room". (and he's been crowding the room alot lately, too)
If you don't feel your brother and sister-in-law can listen effectively at this point, try telling someone else that you trust. Or send them here, to the F&F forum. Don't let it become a secret again.
Always,
Liv


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#198384 - 01/07/08 09:32 AM Re: What's hearing about it like? [Re: Liv2124]
LittleMissL Offline
New Here

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 42
Liv, I called it the 8,000 lb gorilla in the corner of the room becuase it felt so huge and suffocating!!! When I had confronted him about finding the chat rooms, and the gay sex site he commented that he thought it was due to what had happened to him years ago.

LandofShadow, I was lucky, my husband had made references to stuff happening to me before so I knew something had happened, I just didn't know excatly what. That night I finally told him it was time that we faced that 8,000 gorilla that was sitting in the corner. I was shocked when he told me that he had never talked about it to anyone. It was so hard on both of us. I remember feeling a lot of anger at this monster who could do such things to a little boy. I also felt sad and very uspet that my husband felt felt so guilty about what has happened and that he has been carrying all of that pain around inside by himself for so long. I think I also felt a tiny bit of relief that we had finally stood up and confronted that "gorilla" together.

Part of me wants to go out and find that guy so bad and just hurt him like he hurt my husband.

Someone else commented about after that first talk that things seem to shut down, yeah, that seems to be what I am experiencing. He knows I am here and willing to listen when he is ready to talk. The hard part is that I want to talk about some of the other things that have been going on but since they seem tied back to the original problem, I am scared to push the issue.


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#198393 - 01/07/08 10:43 AM Re: What's hearing about it like? [Re: LittleMissL]
LandOfShadow Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Liv2124, I burst out crying a few days ago when my partner started talking of all he has in common with a man whose wife was abused. Their marriage eventually ended as a result he said. My partner too thought it was him. I can know it's not my fault, but I feel so bad about myself like it is. I just want to hide from humanity for ever and ever, alone. After 16 years together, I'd sometimes rather not deal with it just so we stay together, that this will surely tear us apart. Or that he will surely leave me if I tell him what's really going on. This is why I'm kind of desparate to find someone else to talk to, and what I was originally asking about. When it's your partner/husband/wife, a whole 'nother bundle of snakes gets thrown in.

_________________________
Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer
Liberté

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you
Freedom

Paul Eluard

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#199086 - 01/11/08 07:40 PM Re: What's hearing about it like? [Re: LandOfShadow]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Dear LandOfShadow,
Here's my theory on the "alone" thing, because he has said similar things to me. No one prefers to be "alone". As human beings, we crave and seek attention and affection from other people. This is human nature. But when someone takes advantage of that basic need, it leaves you in a position of not trusting affection of any kind because someone might take advantage of it again. This is why, as someone close to a survivor, you feel so much anger at the person who could do this to the person you love. He and I have been together over 20 years. He has, and frequently still does, pull away for weeks, months,even a couple of years at a time. He always came back, but with the expectation that we could start over from the beginning. In case you're wondering, this has never worked for him. He'd rather not deal with it alot of the time but that leaves him dealing with the effects of it ALL of the time. You can't effectively hide from your own memories. No one can. Our relationship actually improves when he talks about it, and gets worse when he shuts down. I would never leave him for telling me whats really going on, because he needs to tell it. After all this time I can sense when it's building for him and I'll usually be direct and ask him, "Are you going to tell me what's really bothering you?" He never actually lies. He'll pull away, but he never lies.
Do your best to keep communication open between you and your partner. What happened to you wasn't your fault but it wasn't his either. He obviously loves you very much because after all this time you are still together.


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