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#200396 - 01/20/08 02:44 PM She asks if "I" have a problem?
Summer Offline
New Here

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 8
Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. Growl. Hackles up.

I am going to vent here. I am a normally a lurker, but I am now asking for some suggestions on what to do in the situation below. I will really, really try to make it as brief as possible.

My fiance is learning to recover from childhood SA from one and possibly both of his older sisters. He is in counseling to work through it and through the grace of God and a couple of 12-step programs, he has recovered from alcoholism and food addiction. I am also a recovering alcoholic. We are both active in our programs and in our spiritual life. In other words....we know that forgiveness, change, and hope begins with us and our own spiritual condition and not with expecting other people to chamge to fit our needs. Also, four out of five of his siblings are also in one of these programs. The one that isn't is one of the sisters and the other sister is brand new back to getting clean and sober. I have been told again and again by his family how unsafe and spiritually sick these two women are, without any of their even knowing about the SA. Snakes and bulldogs (sneaky and aggressive) are pretty good parallels.

Although his counselor is working with him towards telling his sisters about what he remembers and feels, they are not there just yet. His goal is to do so before we get married so they may understand why their relationships with him have changed over the last year (he has worked on boundaries and not being pushed around by them, etc.) and why they will not be an active part of our wedding. I support whatever he and his counselor decide to do, at whatever pace, and do my best to try to pray for the willingness to love his sisters and have compassion for them and how sick they are. (Admittedly, I mostly do this between clentched teeth!!! Sometimes I would love to just smash their faces in!) This means that I do attend family events with him and will converse with them, but it is very well within MY rights to have a boundary between me and his sisters and not have to LIKE them or be warm and huggy with them the way I am with the other brothers and a sisters-in-law.

This afternoon at a family birthday party, the oldest sister corners me in the kitchen on my way out and asks me if I "have a problem?" I heard her, but said "What?" to buy a few seconds. She then asked, "Is there a problem? Do we have a problem? Do you have a problem with me?" I was torn between letting loose with what I think about her and "letting go" (in an AA sense). I let go. I said there was no problem, but didn't elaborate or make an effort to soothe her that I really liked her and why would she feel that way and ohhhh, I am so sorry she feels uncomfortable around me...BLAHBLAH. I just said, "Nope, no problem." and left it.

When we left, I said to my finace that she would get three chances with asking me that, but if the third time came I would consider actually telling her why she and I will never be too friendly. He knows I wouldn't put his recovery on my own personal timeframe, but I refuse to participate in the secrets and sickness that run throughout his relationships with them.

Soooo...How do I support his recoverty in this area, but also remain balanced in my boundaries and choices in who I love and spend my time with in his family? How can I be honest and when asked again by her not be evasive and untruthful, without blowing the doors off of THE BIG ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM!?!?

Crap. Ugh. And YES, I have a call in to my sponsor to get some guidance, too...but I don't know what to do if she is going to start poking at me and saying "Like me! Like me!! Why don't you like me?!?!" Ugh.

Thanks for vent. Thanks for being here.

~summer



Edited by walkingsouth (01/20/08 03:43 PM)

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#200397 - 01/20/08 02:48 PM Re: She asks if "I" have a problem? [Re: Summer]
Summer Offline
New Here

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 8
Ok, my title line was supposed to have the "I" bolded and underlined. Sorry for the gobbledeygook.



Edited by walkingsouth (01/20/08 03:43 PM)

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#200400 - 01/20/08 03:54 PM Re: She asks if "I" have a problem? [Re: Summer]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

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

UBB code doesn't seem to work in thread titles. I fixed it for you \:\)

I have a couple thoughts after reading your post. As I see it, when you sign on, so to speak, to marry a survivor you also sign on to the various dysfunctions that go along with him/her including the family dysfunctions. It's a package. You cannot choose to marry him without the accompanying issues.

Having said that, you also need to set appropriate boundaries with everyone concerned. What you have to consider in a case like this is what a confrontation with "the sister" will mean to him and his recovery. What are your motives for setting a boundary that will ultimately lead to a confrontation? Do you run the risk of pushing him faster than he's willing or able to move in his recovery if you set this boundary?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting you're thinking or acting wrongly. I'm just encouraging you to try to step back enough to see the situation from a more distant point of view. The old adage "You can't see the forest for the trees" may fit here. In the end you may be correct in your approach. Only you can make that call, but give it some considered thought.

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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#200408 - 01/20/08 04:29 PM Re: She asks if "I" have a problem? [Re: WalkingSouth]
lostcowboy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 797
Loc: North Texas
Hi Summer, sounds like you are on the right track. I think I would say to BF, that the next time this happens you are going to tell her. That your BF told you what happen between her and him, and you do not approve, and no you are not going to be friends. You don't need to go into any details, if she pushes you about it, just say it is not up to you, she should talk to her brother.

Take care,
Clifford

_________________________
"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend." - Albert Camus
Pretty much my life as I have posted so far. Triggers!

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#200412 - 01/20/08 05:06 PM Re: She asks if "I" have a problem? [Re: lostcowboy]
Lou Offline
Guest

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 100
Summer,

You raise an interesting point here for those of us that are involved with men of CSA and their siblings that abused them.

I am thankful that my BF's older brother who abused him lives in another state.

I was first introduced to him back in May of 2007.....only 4 months prior to me finding out about his abuse to my BF when he was much too young to even know that it was abuse...much less to be able to do anything about it.

Knowing what I know today.....versus not knowing back then, I am sure my reaction to him would be quite different. In fact, now I often wonder how he could have even come across as being this nice loving brother.....sorry.....but I don't think nice loving brothers hurt their younger siblings!

You have given me something to ponder in the event that someday my BF can find the courage to confront his brother about the abuse. I know that when he does, the dynamics will totally change, but for his sake, I hope and pray daily that he can find the courage to do that.

In the meantime, I am glad that he lives there and we live here....I am afraid if he asked me if I had a problem with him that I would have to say yes as his abuse of 50 years ago has totally screwed up our relationship and has now had an impact on my life....something that I totally did not have any control over.

I feel like now he has control over me too as the CSA is still a secret to everyone but me!


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#200417 - 01/20/08 06:03 PM Re: She asks if "I" have a problem? [Re: Lou]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Originally Posted By: Lou
I feel like now he has control over me too as the CSA is still a secret to everyone but me!

I can relate to that. My spouse was also a victim of CSA by an older brother who, all these years later, we see on a semi-regular basis (Christmas, Independence Day, etc.) There are times when I just want to scream at him, "Get the F*** out of our lives until you're ready to face what you've done!"

In the end I know I cannot do that because it would only be acting on my own cause and not in her best interest. She has to be able to cross that bridge of confrontation, disclosure, whatever you want to call it with him on her time table, not mine. As badly as I want to get in his arrogant face and say something I cannot because in doing so I would not be honoring her.

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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#200421 - 01/20/08 06:47 PM Re: She asks if "I" have a problem? [Re: WalkingSouth]
Lou Offline
Guest

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 100
John,

I feel your pain.....I am lucky as due to the distance, he rarely sees this brother or any of his family for that matter.....so we don't have to have him in our faces!

And like you....I know that it has to be his decision to confront him.....in his time.....in his way......but oh how I wish I could be a little fly on the wall.....seeing all of his strength and power when the time comes that says now it is my turn! I will be rooting him on even if only from afar!

It does make me feel better to know that others like yourself feel some of the same feelings I am feeling.....it hurts when you love someone and you see the daily pain on their face, the uncontrollable tears, the screaming nightmares that wake you both up during the night.....IF ONLY the abusers had any idea as to how big of a NEGATIVE impact they have had on so many people's lives.

I can only hope and pray that thru websites like these that men are speaking out more about their abuse so that maybe someday this terrible terrible action can be stopped!

At my church today they had a table set up in the mall area that was for sexual abuse victims. We stopped by to see what it was all about only to learn that it was a support group/class for women....which is all well and good, but I asked them....what about the sexually abused men????? One of the ladies standing there signing up for the group/class agreed with me fully and we suggested that perhaps the church needed to open up the same kind of help for the men! We can't be silent about this any longer!


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