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#248908 - 09/09/08 07:26 PM Why do we compare pain?
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
I was wondering about something that I've seen partners do too many times to count, especially at the beginning of this road to healing. The feeling is -- what he went through is so awful! Yeah, Iím hurting now, but compared to that, wow - I'll just have to get through it. At least initially, partners tend to minimize their own pain and ignore their needs because the reality they've just learned of is beyond understanding. It's the mirror image of what many survivors do to get through what happened, but it's dangerous and unhealthy.

Our guys went through hell as children. They had their innocence forcibly taken from them and their day to day lives became horribly uncertain, or maybe they knew all too well what to expect. Either way, the nightmare continued into their adult lives to touch everything and everyone they come in contact with.

Now here we come into a survivorís life. Maybe itís right away, but more than likely itís not for years down the road that we find out what happened. Weíre thunderstruck! Whether we were calmly told about the csa or whether we found out because our b/f or husband was acting out and got caught. Our psyche and self esteem are blown to pieces. We are a heaving pile of goo. Maybe weíre crying our hearts out, maybe weíre throwing things around the room or, like me, weíre screaming and destroying things in rage; things that were built together but which at the moment, seem to mean nothing. Weíre at the bottom of a huge pile of crap and canít see the way out.

Partners hurt! Survivors hurt! When trying like the devil to work through the pain, is there anything at all productive or satisfactory in thinking that the pain of one is worse than the other when both pains are so extreme in the life of the one feeling it? I donít think so. Do you?

ROCK ON........Trish

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

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#248920 - 09/09/08 07:59 PM Re: Why do we compare pain? [Re: Trish4850]
Junefriday Offline


Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
Aw Trish, it sounds like you are going through a touch time. I am so sorry. You are always there for us and so strong and supportive for us. I hope we can do the same for you.

You raise an interesting question. I think the pain is different for survivors and partners, neither is more or less. My H recently decided to want to try to make things work and explore getting help. While this is good news, he can't fully understand what he has put me through. He apologizes and I do believe he means it, but I don't think that he knows WHAT EXACTLY he should be apologizing for. He said that he feels numb. Maybe because of that, he can't begin to even imagine. He said that for a while, when he looked at me he felt guilty because he knew he was destroying me. But yet he couldn't help but continue to put all the blame on me because it was easier than admitting that HE was the one causing the problems. He isn't yet at that place where he can empathize. Until he gets there, he hopes that I will believe in him and forget the pain. But he can't comprehend what that pain is.

I on the other hand have been reading everything in sight to understand his pain. I've made excuses for his behaviour. I've reminded myself that he is not himself. I've been trying to minimze his pain through justification that the abuse wasn't his fault. As a result, I have made his pain more important than mine.

There are no prizes for stoicism and no one gets a reward for being a martyr. But, I know I had more control over myself and my emotions so I volunteered to take the back seat. I don't know if that was right or wrong.

But now I am struggling with wanting him back but not knowing if I would survive the pain of losing him again.

Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, maybe pain is only as bad as those who feel it.

_________________________
"Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.Ē

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#248927 - 09/09/08 08:22 PM Re: Why do we compare pain? [Re: Junefriday]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Thanks for your concern June. I'm actually fine as far as my b/f and our relationship is concerned. This is just something that's been eating at me for a long time. I started writing it several months ago and just got around to posting.

Quote:
I've made excuses for his behaviour. I've reminded myself that he is not himself. I've been trying to minimze his pain through justification that the abuse wasn't his fault. As a result, I have made his pain more important than mine.


Exactly!

I did, sometimes still do the same thing, but I'm not at all happy about it. The abuse was NOT his fault and he is NOT himself because of it, but his pain is NOT more important than yours, it's just different.

When my daughter was a baby, she would burn 104-105 fevers, but thank goodness never had a convulsion, which is always a danger with such high fevers. My girlfriend's son, on the other hand, would burn a fever of 101 and convulse. So which was worse? The super hot fever that possessed danger or the relatively low grade one that caused convulsions? They were both dangerous, but those little bodies reacted very differently.

Pain is indeed unique to each individual and no one, not even the person suffering it, should disregard it's affect.

ROCK ON........Trish

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

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#248930 - 09/09/08 08:41 PM Re: Why do we compare pain? [Re: Junefriday]
M3 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 1392
Loc: Central Ohio
Trish,

If you don't mind me chiming in...

I found you post very interesting - finding that partners compare their pain to the survivors and minimize their own. Many survivors do the same things - they read or talk to other survivors and think that the other has had it worse and minimize their own story. I wouldn't post my story here for a long time because I'd read so many that I thought were so much worse than mine that my story wasn't worthy of being posted here.

Though I think we can all agree that we feel different intensities of emotional pain - but the intensity in the pain is a very personal thing. I think we all must work at just understanding that all pain is valid and is incomparable between individual. This may be a stepping stone for survivors and their families to get the help they need. If both parties can come to this understanding, then I think it would be easier to bridge the gap to support each other.

What a wonderful question! I'm looking forward to reading more responses. I really think it is a blessing to have friends and family members here who want to help their survivor.

Peace and love...

Michael


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#248938 - 09/09/08 09:13 PM Re: Why do we compare pain? [Re: M3]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
I think it's almost counter-produstive Trish. A fear I had is being misunderstood. I didn't need niceness and calmness, I just needed understanding, this is why "this" is a problem, calmness and stoic behavior, in my opinion meant, patranization. I never once thought or needed a partner to be issue free. I was looking for understanding, being made to feel I was the only one with any issues would make me feel even more isolated.

Together sounds pretty wonderful, as a survivor.

It's not the comparing Trish, it's the idea that a partner came through unscathed that would make me feel even more crazy.

After all, we're in this together. Right?

Stay strong
Mike

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Thriving

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#249001 - 09/10/08 10:07 AM Re: Why do we compare pain? [Re: mogigo]
NY Daisy Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/29/08
Posts: 183
This is the biggest reason that I see a T on my own. I was always putting my feelings aside. My H could not or would not see what this was doing to me. Nothing was worse than his pain. He was the only one allowed to have any. I needed to talk to someone who would not discount that I HAVE FEELINGS TOO. IF I AM CUT, I WILL BLEED.
When I was a young girl I had a form of non Hodgkins lymphoma. I was on chemo for 3 yrs. When I should have been out with my friends, having crushes on boys, cheerleading, I was in a Sloan kettering Hospital in NY fighting for my life. I had to be kept from germs,so I was very isolated. Anyway, my point is when my H told me about what had happened, I foolishly thought that I somehow understood what he was going through. I was not comparing, and I don't know his pain, but I did know what it was like to feel like a chunk of your childhood was taken away. HE DID NOT SEE IT THAT WAY AT ALL.

He was livid that I would even have the audacity to even compare the two.(Which I wasn't.) Cancer was a walk in the park, He was being molested. His pain was real. Cancer does not leave any lasting side effects(according to him). This got me so angry. I told him that unlike him, who could pretend he was living a normal life, I could not. You cannot pretend you do not have it. You can not pretend your normal when your 15 and bald, throwing your guts up all day long from the poison they are giving you to make you well. He was so pissed. His was worse that is FINAL. WHATEVER.

So I see a T to deal with my feelings on things. I have learned to tell him that these are my feelings, I own them, if I am bringing it up then it is important to me, you don't have to agree,but at least try to acknowledge them.

Boy, I was getting mad just writing about it. It is obviously still I sore subject for me, I'll have to talk about it at T. LOL

Trish, I will be thinking about you, and hope what you are going through is resolved soon.

Warmly, NYDAISY


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#250963 - 09/24/08 08:32 PM Re: Why do we compare pain? [Re: NY Daisy]
Chrissy Offline
New Here

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 10
Loc: DC
Sometime last year, I came across this concept. I don't know what the issue was, but I was biting my tongue about problems I was having with him. I can't even remember what it was. When I finally broke down to say something, way too much came out.

It dawned on me that if I'm trying to protect him from my negative emotions, then I must think he's a punk who can't handle it. So I got used to asking myself: do I really think he's a punk? It was my way of getting over my timidness about speaking up.

Too there have been times when I've been talking about my feelings, only to hear him interrupt with his own baggage. And I just had to call him on it: we're talking about me now, not you.

Generally, expressing feelings and stated boundaries is healthy, but the bf and I were never in competition about it.


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#250993 - 09/25/08 12:00 AM Re: Why do we compare pain? [Re: Chrissy]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
Just thinking here, but maybe the F and F see the empathy we have for each other. By that, I mean that trauma does not mean that it stops at SA. We may feel a little misunderstood but it certainly doesn't mean that we don't understand what trauma does to others who haven't been through an SA experience.

Of course you're trauma hit's home. SA may be tough shit but trauma of any kind seems to rear it's ugly head very much the same way.

No savior's and victim's, just "getting it", Wow, what that would mean to a survivor.

Try it.

Stay strong
Mike

PS; feels like a gender issue. Maybe that a man couldn't truly understand. So pretend to be what YOU THINK a man needs. Maybe he just needs you to drop the gender issues




Edited by mogigo (09/25/08 12:02 AM)
_________________________
Thriving

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#251303 - 09/26/08 08:01 PM Re: Why do we compare pain? [Re: mogigo]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Quote:
Too there have been times when I've been talking about my feelings, only to hear him interrupt with his own baggage. And I just had to call him on it: we're talking about me now, not you.


I've been there too Chrissy; not often, because my b/f is usually very attentive and aware of my feelings. The hard part is, I think, that if I'm having a hard time with us it usually is because of the csa. There are just some times when I don't want to hear "why" something is wrong - I already know why. I just need to be selfish and spill my own crap out without worrying about him. It's absolutely healthy to keep things in perspective but it's also completely impossible to do it all the time.

Daisy -
Quote:
Cancer was a walk in the park, He was being molested. His pain was real. Cancer does not leave any lasting side effects(according to him).


OMG girl you've got an incredible heart and strength to have gotten through that one. Damn right you're still mad, but you're working through it. I bow to you my friend!

Mike you're right of course, and oh how I wish it could be that everyone could look at everyone else with empathy, compassion and understanding. I think most of us do the best we can to accomplish that.

Michael -
Quote:
but the intensity in the pain is a very personal thing. I think we all must work at just understanding that all pain is valid and is incomparable between individual.


Again, if we could all recognize this life would move so much more smoothly. I suppose sometimes we are all guilty of being so blinded by our own pain that we are incapable of seeing that another is suffering too.

ROCK ON........Trish

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

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