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#263121 - 11/22/08 10:00 AM The details - question for survivors
Delores Offline


Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 18
I get sick to my stomach when I even think of the details of my husband's abuse. He was ONLY 7 years old when it started and I can't imagine my husband as a little boy being tortured like that. Even the thought of it brings tears.

He hasn't wanted to tell me the details but I don't think I could handle it. I think it's ok if I set that boundary for myself. Do you? He has a therapist which leads me to another quiestion for survivors:

Do you think it's necessary in healing to go through the details of the abuse or can you recover without reliving it?

I wonder how much his therapist is redirecting him to focus on his abuse. I guess he may not be able to yet.


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#263123 - 11/22/08 10:14 AM Re: The details - question for survivors [Re: Delores]
joelRT Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor


Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 1357
Loc: Québec, Canada
Originally Posted By: Delores
Do you think it's necessary in healing to go through the details of the abuse or can you recover without reliving it?

There are a couple of schools of thought on this one. Personally I found, for as horrendously painfull as it was, that the only way for me to get past the crippling long term effects that I was left with, was, yes, to relive it all.

I hated doing it and I, at many times, questionned my sanity for having embarked on such a painfull and confusion course of action. Ultimately though, it was by revisiting each event of my abuse that I was able to determine how it had affected me and how it had shaped me to be the messed up adult that I had become. Once I understood where my issues had stemmed from, I was then able to begin the work of recovery/reconstruction and to leave behind me some of my more undesireable traits.

_________________________
My Story 1
My Story 2
The longest journey we take is to self-discovery

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#263149 - 11/22/08 12:20 PM Re: The details - question for survivors [Re: joelRT]
deck Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 109
Loc: Indiana
Sometimes it's difficult to discuss. I tried to discuss it with my counselor but never really went into much detail. I wrote it out and shared it with my counselor. One of the first things that he said to me was that it was a lot more violent than I had ever made it sound. We were able to discuss it a little more after that. I would write more about it and share it.

I think that it's good to get it out-sometimes we can go right to talking bt I felt writing it out and then discussing it worked better for me.


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#263184 - 11/22/08 03:30 PM Re: The details - question for survivors [Re: deck]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Couple of points....

I think the process of examining the abuse and the interpretation of what it meant and means is important to the survivor. A client of mine last year struggled to tell his wife of the abuse, fearing she would leave him if she knew he was abused. She didn't leave and encouraged him to see someone (me). I was the second person he told. A short time later, he disclosed to his brother and found out that he too, had been abused by the same man. Afterwards, he decided to tell a close friend, a co-worker he trusted, and within six months, was able to talk about what had happened to him with a newspaper reporter who was doing a story on male victimization in the hometown where the abuse took place 30 years earlier.

The process of disclosure took the power of the abuse and the abuser out of its secrecy (which is what the abuser wanted). Each time he told someone, the story flowed easier and he was able to talk with the reporter without the fear and negative emotions that accompanied earlier disclosures to his wife, me, brother, etc.

Second point is that I wouldn't go into graphic detail with a loved one. Sometimes such images stick with the person who hears those details and it is hard to deal with the person without imagining the abuse or feeling some of the upset that accompanies the details.

So, unless there is a good reason to hear the graphic details, I suggest avoiding that potential trap. The client described above did not share those details with his wife but was ok to share with me and his brother, a selective audience.

As a barometer of healing, my experience is that when you are able to tell about something that starts off as incredibly difficult and you can later discuss it without the heavy emotions later, it is probably an indicator that you've progressed in therapy.


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#263221 - 11/22/08 05:58 PM Re: The details - question for survivors [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
Kathryn Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 303


I found Rob's story to be highly traumatizing to me. I was completely overwhelmed. Even had what I'd call a psychotic break and became a berserk bitch.

But what I found the most traumatic was the effects of what Rob went through had on him, the aftermath, the distortion of his life.

Also, his stuff met up with my stuff in a really powerful way: He was sexually abused by his mom and then re-enacted with men. I was physically abused and have avoided (like the plague) re-enacting. So here he was telling me how exciting all this stuff with men was.... There I am stuck in my nightmare of physical abuse....

Boy, was it a clash.

Through in all the stress of sexual identity, blah, blah, blah....

Anyway, I found being in therapy and talking about my own past to be so, so helpful.

Take care,
Katie


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#263226 - 11/22/08 06:22 PM Re: The details - question for survivors [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Even though I discussed the fact that I was a survivor with my wife as we were dating, I have never discussed the actual details with her.

Ten years later, after watching the news, she came to me, obviously, very sad, saying, "I did not think it was physically possible for an adult male to rape a three year old boy." But there it was, on the news.

She cried.

It was then, that I realized that, she had no frame of reference for the things I was saying. And, it was unfair to think she might. She didn't need to, she was not my therapist.

I do and I did and I have a need to say the details. I need it to be heard as it was, not more than it was or less than it was. What it was. I would imagine that varies with each person. For me, it is necessary.

The risk becomes the potential to revictimize the survivor. Having gone through three therapists to get here, the first two being idiots...the odds aren't as good as you might hope for.

The best advice anyone might offer is that...there are a lot of really bad therapists out there...no, really.

Be careful.



:-)


Dave

_________________________
checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#263232 - 11/22/08 06:46 PM Re: The details - question for survivors [Re: Kathryn]
healing_inside Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 2005
Hi Delores,

From a survivor's stand point (me) I didn't give any details to anybody, except my T. I feel that releasing those details to anybody would cause me and others to much grief to deal with and by giving details I did not see any benefit to myself or family.

I think the boundries you set up are good ones.

From my situation I feel that overtime as he begins to talk to others (the right ones for him) about what happened the sting of the abuse becomes less and the flashbacks where you relive it again become not as over powering as they once were.

It is hard work, but in time it will get better.

Take Care, Jim

_________________________
I can't come to the phone right now, I am out living my life

*** WoR Retreat Alumni - Alta 2005 ***

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#263235 - 11/22/08 06:51 PM Re: The details - question for survivors [Re: ttoon]
steveb121 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/02/01
Posts: 157
Loc: Swindon, UK




Edited by steveb121 (12/27/08 03:20 PM)
Edit Reason: Left

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#263400 - 11/23/08 11:22 AM Re: The details - question for survivors [Re: steveb121]
Delores Offline


Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 18
Thanks so much everyone.

I think that this is a way I can practice setting boundaries. From what I've heard, when a trauma survivor tells someone what happened and they can't "handle it" it can trigger feelings in them of being damaged or the story wouldn't make the other person so upset.

Like it was mentioned - finding the right therapist is crucial.

Thanks again - I can't believe the courage of survivors on this board. You guys are AMAZING.

D.


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#263404 - 11/23/08 12:44 PM Re: The details - question for survivors [Re: Delores]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
One additional thought....

Sometimes, the lack of information gives the listener a fearful idea that it was even worse than it was.

One survivor I know told his parents, "It was whatever you can imagine, but worse." While he was trying to avoid giving them graphic details that might cause them disturbing images, he probably left them with images worse than what actually was done.

So, it is finding a balance of what you are willing to share and what they are capable of hearing.


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