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#268249 - 12/21/08 09:00 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Originally Posted By: riz


...you feel terrible every time you see your once fuzzy, purring kitty looking so hurt and angry, especially at you, who didn't do anything except want him to get that nasty trap off. you try to imagine what it must be like trying to navigate with a trap, a flippin metal trap! attached to your leg, and you feel even worse.





Riz,


With absolutely no judgment what so ever, just to inform...the trap has always been there...your once furry, purring kitty...has simply now, allowed you to see it...right?

Maybe, if we went back, consider the curcumstances that lead up to that day, how the cat is entrapped...

Here he comes, see him? The man with the trap. He looks like any other guy, nothing really too out of the ordinary about him. He sits at the base of the tree, just sits and, waits. He has a lot of patience, that guy does, he just waits, watches, listens.

Oh, look...here comes our protagonist, just out for a stroll. It is a beautiful day. The sun is out, not too much dew on the grass. There is something in the air, he lifts his nose into the breeze, his whiskers erect. The man pulls a small fish from his pocket and lays it on the ground where he is sitting. Our kitty has no reason to doubt his good intentions and is, after all, hungry. He wanders over, purring. The man reaches down to pet him and, at the same time, springs the trap.

This is confusing, it truly is, this man who is petting him and at the same time hurting him. It is so very confusing to him and after all, the fish is good. And so, each day, the man brings a fish, pets our kitty, while at the same time hurting him grievously.

All alone, trapped now, he tries to sort it out. His only source of food and caring, love, is this man, who comes each day, to hurt him. It must be something he himself has done, he thinks, begins to believe, because he now needs this man, the fish, to survive...and, if it were the man that was bad, well, if he lashed out at him, scratched him, most certainly, he would die there all alone.

And so, denial becomes a necessary tool for his very existence, while, at the same time our kitty becomes hyper vigilant as he awaits the next attack. Imagine that? To deny the existence of it and, at the same time, attempt to build and maintain strategies to defend against it. And, they are necessary, very necessary.

One day, a little boy comes along and sets him free...he runs into the trees as fast as he can. And, you might think that was the end of the story except that...our kitty has learned well...the cost of love is hurt and or pain. He does not know and has no real need to question that the strategies he has learned, the hyper vigilance is no longer necessary...as he searches for the man with the fish, because, he is hungry.


Funny thing and I wonder if the story about training baby elephants by simply tying a rope around one foot to restrain them is true? That a tiny little rope like that, could hold an adult elephant that might weigh from 9000 to 12000 pounds. Curious, isn't it? What do you think that is all about? wink

I know you are looking for specific answers as to what to do, Riz. And, I know this is really hard and frustrating.

I sponsor guys in AA. One of the things I do, is to have them write out a contract, specifying their intentions. I like to start out with six months. If they do not feel comfortable with that, we whittle it down to a time frame they honestly do feel comfortable with. I am, after all, investing my time with them. A contract is reaasonable and establishes boundaries and expectations.

I would only be guessing at what your husband is thinking or feeling and it would not be responsible to make suggestions based on assumptions. But, your therapist, I think, would be a really good resource for suggestions.


laugh


Dave

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

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#268261 - 12/21/08 11:28 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: Julia]
cole Offline


Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 10
Loc: NC
I can only speak from my personal story and I am a survivor of incest. I was on a self destructive path for 10 years. Many good people got hurt by my actions.For me, abuse is a cycle and handed down from my great father in my family. I believe by leaving you right now he is thinking, "I do not want to hurt my wife, by staying." As a incest survivor I felt what was good was bad and vice versa. When I chose to take control of my life I did. By doing this the abuser no longer had power over me. Observing 3 generations of incest many innocent people got
damaged. Yeah, it hit me hard when all the pieces of the puzzle finally clicked and I realized what was happening. I was married for 6 weeks and that is marriage, but lacked the TLC, maturity, loving etc... All I can tell you is my story and hope you gain some insight into your husband's condition. Love him and do not forget to love and respect yourself.

Cole
h

_________________________
"To always look life in the face...To always look life in the face and to know it for what it is and to know it for what it is not and then put it away." Virginia Woolfe, "The Hours"

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#268273 - 12/22/08 06:10 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: michael banks]
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
This is the best thread yet - thank you to everyone who is posting.

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#268277 - 12/22/08 08:24 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: kolisha54]
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
Hi Mike: I hear you. Will add option D to my growing list :-) Before this thread my major option was feeling sad. Thanks.

Dave: Imagine my surprise and shock when a three quarter ton truck came rumbling over the line into Friends and Family, screeched to a halt in my living room, and something called a ttoon got out! I thought medicine men travelled on horseback but this ttoon seemed like the real deal, big rig and all, because some demon hightailed his sorry ass straight out of my heart after getting the treatment from this dude.

That last line "he searches for the man with the fish...because he is hungry" sent a chill down my spine. If that doesn't make me get it, nothing will.

Hi Cole: So generous to share your own story. It helps me so much to have insight into other ways of thinking besides my own. It's the only way I can ever hope to make sense of what happened, if there is any sense to any of this. Peace.

Everyone:
Did you know that we have just passed the Winter Solstice, December 21st, the shortest day and the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere? Where I am it's been dark and snowing for three days straight. I decided to take this time to work through the sadness I've been holding at bay as I "get on with my life" so to speak. As I wake today, I am exhausted and this really is only the first official day of winter. But I know the longest night has passed for this cycle and you have all reminded me that spring springs eternally. May you all find your own peace and feel the light of Jesus in your hearts, regardless of how you spend Christmas and what is your religion. I myself am not Christian, nor will my Christmas be really merry, but I know what Jesus means and it is my sincere wish that you can find some meaning too.

Love,
Riz


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#268659 - 12/25/08 11:35 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Riz,


Would you care to share why, "as he searches for the man with the fish, because, he is hungry," sent a chill down your spine?


:-)


Thanks...


Dave

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

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#268760 - 12/26/08 07:35 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: ttoon]
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
Hi Dave,

I have not had the experience of my survival being dependent upon the denial and vigilance that you explain so well in your post. Neither have I had my notion of love SO intertwined with the notion of pain.

For me the notion of love causing pain is, in the end, rather benign. I have had my heart "broken". I have felt betrayed. I have felt the drama of, "Oh, how can life go on without him." I have stayed home with boxes of tissues, sad movies, and sappy love songs.

But then I get up and figure out that I am me and I am fine and that was sad but now it's over. Love can sometimes bring pain. But life is beautiful and away I go. "Bittersweet" is a common expression describing the pain that comes with love. Sweet pain. Not torturous, life threatening pain.

When I am trying to figure out what a survivor went through in order to be more empathetic, I am necessarily limited in my ability to understand. Your post drove home for me the DEGREE to which love can EQUAL pain, be attached to it, and sometimes DEPENDENT on it.

Maybe a survivor would trust someone who is offering an obvious love/pain combination more than a "true" offer of love because he for him love/pain IS true love. Or maybe he thinks that love without the extreme degree of pain he experienced does not exist.

Believe it or not, these are foreign ideas to me. I can't wrap my head around them when they are explained to me.

Dead fish are truly gruesome to me. When I was little I was swimming in a lake. I hated lakes because I knew creepy things that I couldn't see were lurking down around my feet. My Dad told me to stop being silly and get in the lake because swimming in lakes is fun.

I dove in and started swimming with my eyes closed because I didn't want to see anything that might be in that lake. When I had to come up for air, I was face to face with the bulging glassy eye of a belly up fish. Something had got to him because his guts were spilling out on one side. I hate fish to this day.

Your explanation of love/pain was very effective for me. I finally got it how my husband was "looking" for pain, accusing me of "trying to get him", "trying to make him do my things", "pretending to be so nice and really only trying to get control over him". I had always just thought I was trying to negotiate a relationship the same way everyone else does.

Also, I thought by not abandoning him, I was helping to grow his confidence. I didn't understand how it could be misconstrued as lying in wait.

So you post was very powerful and eye opening and for me, emotional because of the friggin' fish.

When I got to the last line, the image of the kitty switched in my mind to a grown man, walking away from all that is warm and fuzzy, heading into unsavory territories in search of a sinister creep with a cold, dead, staring-eyed fish. And the chill came because I almost felt his need in my gut. Gruesome.

Riz


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#268840 - 12/26/08 08:43 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Riz,


The first time my wife (second wife) and I met, when we were dating, I talked about my experiences as a survivor. We have done workshops together as a couple. I usually wait until she initiates the conversation, asking me a specific question about my experiences.

She knows that my experiences started at three years old, she knows my father killed himself when I disclosed. She knows that four of my siblings have died, I believe, as a direct result of our experiences growing up.

She knows I go to therapy twice a week, do several retreats a year and, one evening, I was working outside in the garage on something, she was in watching the news. She came out, stood right in front of me and said, "There was this segment on the news tonight. I did not know it was physically possible for an adult male to rape a three year old."

Right then, I understood that she had absolutely no frame of reference for my experiences. After talking about it, I believed, openly and honestly, she was shocked to hear it on the news.

I went in to see my therapist the following day, told him I was disappointed by what she had said. He just looked at me, a little stunned,

"Why?" He asked.

"Because," I said, "I thought she understood?"

"Why would she?" He said.

I was honestly surprised that he seemed to be angry.

"How could she possibly undertand?" He asked. "And, it isn't her job. She is not your therapist. She is your wife."

I went home, shared that conversation with her and there was an obvious, huge, sigh of relief.

"Thank you,______(therapist)!!" She said.

I think I am a reasonably smart guy but, sometimes I am an idiot. And, that changed our relationship. It let both of us off of the hook. She didn't have to fix me, I didn't have to hurt her by telling her the details. (I hated that because it seemed to hurt her).

I learned to manipulate, negotiate for the most basic needs...I brought that into every relationship I have. The tools survivors carry are tools used most likely to defend, not to build with. We get this far and sudenly realize the tools we have are obsolete. Inhibition as a defense, denial, minimizing things, rationalizing, intellectualizing...it isn't just that there was not a safe place to express what was going on emotionally, for many survivors, it was physically dangerous to express what was going on for them.

So, I get it, I do...because I think this:

"I dove in and started swimming with my eyes closed because I didn't want to see anything that might be in that lake."

...is what it is like to be a survivor.


Thanks, Riz...


:-)


Dave

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

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#268854 - 12/26/08 11:03 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: ttoon]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Dave, Riz,

This is an incredibly powerful conversation. At several junctures I wanted to jump in and add my own two cents worth but resisted. Glad I did. It might have broken the moment.

Thanks both of you for having the courage to "tell it like it is", not only from your own point of view but from that of the significant other and the survivor.

Please continue........ smile

_________________________
“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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#268889 - 12/27/08 07:30 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: WalkingSouth]
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
I am reading a book, Waking the Tiger, by Peter Levine. Maybe some of you know it? It is an interesting explanation of the formation of defense mechanisms and post traumatic stress.

The part I am reading right now is explaining how trauma "freezes" the body. If the body is in a state of rage or terror when it freezes, the body will most likely find itself in a state of rage or terror when it "unfreezes", often many years after the fact.

I think this is referring to what Dave is saying, about how it can be physically dangerous to let defenses down, or at least terrifying because the person doesn't know how they will react without their defenses and fears the harm they may cause themselves or others.

See, this in another example of how lay usage of words like "defense" can be so confusing to people like me. People say things like "Don't be so defensive!" in regular conversations. What they mean is, loosen up, take it easy, let your guard down so we can talk like friends...something like that, right? The common notion is that the person can, maybe with a little encouragement, easily or not so easily, but definitely at will and consciously switch from being defensive to being open and trusting.

Granted, I can never understand what it is to be a survivor. And I, as a wife, am not required, nor am qualified to be a psychotherapist, or hear every last detail of my husband's experience. However, having a working knowledge of what the heck is going on is quite helpful, just to have a productive conversation.

I am finally beginning to see how he is indeed swimming blind, and that I am too. I think of how many times he has said things like "Well, what am I supposed to do?!" I took it as a snippy, agressive swipe. I see know that he was asking a serious question with a sincere need to know "WHAT SHOULD I DO? HOW DO PEOPLE NORMALLY COMMUNICATE X, Y, OR Z WITHOUT USING DEFENSES?

Dave, Last night he called me and started to cry while we were talking and then went into that formal mode that I have previously reacted to with such sadness and resentment. This time I did not feel hurt, defensive, used, manipulated or anything else. See? It's not that I felt bad and stuffed it down, sacrificing my feelings for his. No. The bad feelings simply were not there.

The understanding I have gained through this thread is remarkable and my eyes brim with gratitude as I say I have you and everyone else participating here to thank.

John, Thanks for your encouragement. I feel scared and small trying to talk about these very large but very delicate issues. Please do jump in!

Riz


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#268892 - 12/27/08 07:44 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
joelRT Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor


Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 1357
Loc: Québec, Canada
Hi Riz,

Joel here. I have been following this thread very attentively, but have purposefully stayed out of it. You have made some very important connections with people here and I couldn't be more pleased for you. I've been watching you struggle but grow, and as I've said to you at least once before - you are one awesome lady! I don't say that to women easily (oh damn, my issues are showing).

You are not the same timid and frightened girl who showed up here a few months back and while you may not think this, your struggle is very much akin to that of we survivors. Certainly you come to this battle from a different place, but you are going in the same direction and headed to the same destination that we all are - that of full understaning of male CSA and freedom from it's devastating impacts in on our lives.

You go, girl!



Edited by joelRT (12/27/08 11:21 AM)
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