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#25423 - 02/19/04 11:22 AM The oddity of victims becoming perps
uselesstheories Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 23
Loc: USA
Okay, so I've been doing a lot of reading, family history digging, and learning over the past few months. And yes, my perp (female parent) was most likely abused by her grandfather as a small child.

Here's the oddity that I cannot fathom:

I know what happened to me. I know how fucked up now I am as a result. I know the self-loathing, self-doubt, constant guilt, shame, deadness from within, et. al. that goes along with this victimization.

What, pray tell, makes victims become perps? After what I endured, there is no way I would ever harm another - if you suffered (or are suffering) as such, what would possess you to think it's okay to move from victim to perp? I don't understand how this could be...

_________________________
Life is pain your Highness; anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
- William Goldman

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#25424 - 02/19/04 01:34 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
uselesstheories

I wish I knew the answer to that. Like you I cannot fathom putting any person through what I suffered.

I do know that it is a rare occurance. The greater question, I think, is what causes a person to become a perp at all.

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#25425 - 02/19/04 01:34 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
FlyWM Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 322
Loc: Michigan
I don't understand it either, seems impossible that someone who knows how it feels would impose it on another person. It is confusing and hard to fathom, but luckily it is pretty rare, not many victims become perps. The only way I can imagine it is maybe that since they endured it, perhaps they believe it is ok, and don't believe it will really affect their victims. I don't know, it does seem very confusing. I wish I had something more to say, some way to explain it, but I don't. WHen I see children I can't believe anyone would want to hurt them, I have 3 nephews, and when I see them all I want to do is protect the kids, I don't understand how a person could hurt a child, but some people are just that distorted, there is no reason, it just is sadly.

scott

_________________________
Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible in not a declaration, it's a dare.

--Adidas

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#25426 - 02/19/04 02:58 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Leosha Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
I do not understand it either. I can not even have normal sexual relations with someone, I could not imagine to force anything at anyone. Maybe for someone who has been abused to the point of losing conscience? maybe then it is a control thing for them? I don't know, I do not understand how it possible to want to do on another what has been done to us. But actually, I am quite glad I do not understand.

Leosha

_________________________
Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

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#25427 - 02/19/04 03:59 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
UT,

You can probably get some good information on this very topic from Ken Singer, LCSW, a former president of Male Survivor and one of the moderators here. He has worked with abusers, including adolescent abusers.

Mike is right that it is rare for an abuse victim to become an abuser. It is also true that most abusers were abused themselves at some time.

I really want to believe that something terrible happened to the people who abused me (sexually and otherwise). Something so bad that it warped them. The relationships we had were abnormal. I want to believe that the abusers were abnormal. I don't want to believe that I was the abnormal one.

I personally cannot imagine myself doing things like what was done to me. I remember my T asking what I would do if I got home to find my wife doing to my son something my mother did to me. I was absolutely horrified to even think of that. A lot of my "irrational fears" in therapy relate to being over protective of my family, overreacting to perceived threats.

And part of my problem seems to be that I cannot let my children believe that I would be less than perfect as a protector. I cannot let them (or most times, even my wife) see any weakness, even normal human failings. Above all else, at any cost, my family must be protected.

In some episode of one of the new Star Trek series, someone approaches Worf while he is guarding something. In delightfully Klingon fashion, he says, "I remain vigilant." My T told me last week that expression describes me perfectly. Vigilant, perhaps, yet I tire.

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#25428 - 02/19/04 04:27 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
uselesstheories Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 23
Loc: USA
Thanks to you all for your thoughts and words, but is it really that rare? As I've been reading, I keep stumbling upon this same theme, that which spawned the original question.

Quote:
While it is true that most perpetrators have histories of sexual abuse, it is NOT true that most victims go on to become perpetrators.
I mean, this quote does reassure that most victims do not go on to repeat what happened to them, but it's just odd, to me at least, that the bulk of perps were once victims. It's the first part of that sentence, in bold, that catches my attention and makes me wonder why.

Like you folks, I could never cause harm to another, hell, I've been an ethical vegan for fourteen years now, so I know where my sense of compassion for a helpless creature lies. Maybe I'm just stuck on this at the moment; I can't get past what my mother has done to me, and I guess I've been attempting to understand her logic. Victim or not in her own right, she does NOT deserve my sympathy and understanding for her own pains in youth. Were the sickness not passed down upon me, perhaps then I would support her and be sympathetic.

The link where I found the quote: Male Sexual Abuse Statistics

_________________________
Life is pain your Highness; anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
- William Goldman

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#25429 - 02/19/04 04:34 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Theories,

I'm going way out on a limb here, but what I think is that when they were abused, someone put pain and shame on them. Wrongly. In a horribly tragic attempt to rid themselves of it, they put it on us.

Wrongly.

I can't defend their actions. I wouldn't want to if I thought I could. It was wrong.

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#25430 - 02/19/04 04:48 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Angry_youth_86_Keith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 103
Loc: Olympia, Washington
I struggled with this same issue, because when I was growing up, acting out off and on. I was raised christan *lol look how bad tht failed \:D * And i was taught that any intersted in men/boys *at my age boys beings Im talking about ages 6-11 is when this was drilld into me.* and so when at around 12 on I had slight intersts and curiousties in kids my own age. I actually for a long time thought this ment I was a child molester if I even so much as looked at someone who could have been younger or my age. so I can see that what happens can really put some screwed up things in our head. I also have asked some questions to my T about this, he has said basicly that sometimes if those ppl never got help and were left untold what happend to them was wrong and the muiltitude of other things that comes with being abused were wrong that I guess they belived that everyone else is just tryin to judge them but waht there desiring is right? I dont know, i honestly do not totaly understand the concept at all and it is beyhond me how pain=pleasure.

_________________________
"Ignoring mortality, we worship mediocrity"- Greg Graffin

"Live fast, die young, leave a great looking corpse"-Ronny Van Zant

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#25431 - 02/19/04 08:39 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
crisispoint Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 2154
Loc: Massachusetts
Funny, this subject came up in my therapy session this evening. I'm dealing with this now.

Whether it's self-imposed or reality, I perceive that people I know with kids, who I've told, don't seem to trust me around them as much as they did before. I don't really hold it against them, because I fear this myself, but it bothers me and it's sad that folks believe this about survivors.

My therapist told me (repeatedly!) that one thing that perpetrators lack is a sense of empathy. They can rationalize this behavior to themselves very well, to the point that A: they don't believe they're hurting the victim, or B: they just don't care.

The truth is that we know so little about sexuality and the mind that we don't know what makes us attracted to the opposite sex, same sex, animals, fetishes, and heavy machinery ( \:D ), never mind children. More to the point, we don't know what makes us more susceptible to resist what is bad for us or wrong. I do believe, when it comes to hurting someone, that empathy plays a major role.

So, I worry less about it (I don't think that concern will ever go completely away, no matter how much self-esteem I get), but I wish i could remove that ONE misconception from people's minds. It would make recovery that much easier.

I hope this helps. It helped getting it out and putting my concersn and opinions into words.

Peace and love,

Scot

_________________________
There are reasons I'm taking medication. They're called "other people." - Me, displaying my anti-social tendancies

fromacuriousmind.blogspot.com
malehurtandsurvive.blogspot.com

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#25432 - 02/19/04 08:57 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
UT
It's universally accepted that this is true.

Quote:
While it is true that most perpetrators have histories of sexual abuse, it is NOT true that most victims go on to become perpetrators.
I also think ( this is just my opinion ) that many Survivors show the same 'type' of behaviours as perps in as much as the things that drive us are the same.

I have read a lot about CSA now, and seen a few taped interviews with perps, and the thing that strikes me is that when they describe the feelings and urges that make them abuse children they describe EXACTLY the same urges that drove me to act out with strange men in public toilets.
"There but for the grace of God....."

I can honestly say that it scared me shitless.

What I cannot say though is what happened to make me act out with 'consenting' adults and not kids ? I have no idea at all.
The other scary thing that I have discovered recently in group therapy is that self harmers, alcoholics and a cross dresser ALL describe the same urges at work.

Perhaps we just recieved a bit more moral guidance along the way ? who knows, I wish I did.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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