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#27086 - 03/07/05 03:40 PM It's been over 7 years... (advice needed)
vassillios Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 12
When I was 14 years old I my parents were divorced and my mother took my sibblings and I to live with her family. My mother's brother was helpful in trying to get me adjusted to my new life. Some would say that he was a good male role model for me, despite him being an alcoholic. A few months after he gained my trust, he molested me. I had since forgiven and somewhat forgotten. I never told anyone about him. Now seven years later I am engaged to be married. I do not want this man at my wedding although the rest of my family seems to think that he is a "father figure" to me but I do not. My fiancé is the only other person who knows about him. The problem is that I'm not sure how to not invite him, without others knowing about him and without them being upset with me for not inviting him. Obviously I have a right to not want him there and I don't think it is necessary to let the cat out of the bag this late in the game. What my fiancé and I came up with was an 'immediate family only' ceremony and an open reception. I would feel very uncomfortable with him watching me take my vows but I don't care that much if he's at the reception with 100 other people. The problem is that no one understands my reasoning for making the ceremony 'immediate family only' and I'm getting a lot of shit for it. I really don't think it would help if my family suddenly became aware of his deviance when he's just discovered he has cancer. I'd like to think that I can be a good person even though he was not. Besides, I happen to know that I have a good chunk of change coming in his will. So I really don't want to make any rash decisions that could jeopordize what I already have going. What do you think I should do? Should I keep the secret and resist the pressure I am getting and make myself look like an asshole? Should I tell someone and have people be more understanding of what i want?

_________________________
sleep... tune out...
its not my fault you cant
tune out
your thoughts turn cold to me
and i cannot get out from here
but I will get out
you'll see
it'll be a wonderful day
when i get out of here
it'll be a wonderful day

Top
#27087 - 03/07/05 04:48 PM Re: It's been over 7 years... (advice needed)
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1796
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.
I can only tell you what I would do.


I would have a conversation with him and explain why you do not want him there but how you will be sending him an invitation.

I would tell him if he doesn’t want the entire family to know that you don’t want him there and more importantly the reason why you don’t want him there, then when the invitation arrives, he will mark on it that he will not be able to attend.

Hope that helps,


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#27088 - 03/07/05 04:48 PM Re: It's been over 7 years... (advice needed)
Rustam Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 471
Loc: UK
Hi Vassillios,

Sounds like you are between a rock and a hard place. I don’t honestly know what you should do. It sounds like the ‘immediate family only’ option comes closest to what would feel best for you. It’s your wedding and you have every right to have who you want at it. I guess you may have to stick to your guns in the teeth of the opposition. I don’t expect that could be easy. If there are some people who are giving you hassle who you think would understand then maybe you could consider telling some who would be able to take your side without rocking the whole family boat too much.

Here is a link to an article on the site that may help you in thinking about this.
http://www.malesurvivor.org/Survivors/Adult%20Survivors/Articles/singer3.htm

Sorry I can’t be of much help, but welcome to the site,
Rustam


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#27089 - 03/07/05 07:43 PM Re: It's been over 7 years... (advice needed)
TM Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 6
Loc: Miami, FL
I have to agree with Roland, Vassillios. Your wedding day should be everything you want it to be. Everyone with whom you wish to share that day should be there and support you.

Asking your abuser to simply decline to attend when he RSVPs is a good idea. It also leaves the responsibility for coming up with an excuse in his ball court.

Congratulations! Many wishes for a long happy marriage.


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#27090 - 03/07/05 09:43 PM Re: It's been over 7 years... (advice needed)
vassillios Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 12
Thank you for the welcomes and the responses. I read that article about disclosure and confrontation and I am wondering if this is an appropriate reason to disclose or confront? I am sure that if I weren't getting married that it wouldn't come out, does that make this a selfish way of getting what I want? I have gone 7 years with successfully keeping this to myself and dealing with it alone with exception to my fiancé. I really don't want pity or sympathy or for anyone to hate him now. I just don't want him at my wedding. Can I have it both ways?

_________________________
sleep... tune out...
its not my fault you cant
tune out
your thoughts turn cold to me
and i cannot get out from here
but I will get out
you'll see
it'll be a wonderful day
when i get out of here
it'll be a wonderful day

Top
#27091 - 03/07/05 11:30 PM Re: It's been over 7 years... (advice needed)
FLRich Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 1404
This is just my opinion, Vassillios, but I think Roland hit the nail on the head here. Think about his advice and then think about the others' advice, too. It has to be your decision, and it is a tough one.

Maybe you can put the wedding off a few more months and then he won't physically be able to attend. I know that sounds heartless, but it is no more heartless than what he did to you, his nephew.

Seven years is a long time to have to keep this shit bottled up, but know you did one thing right. You told your fiance up front. This is a good thing, no secrets, no lies. You're starting off right!

Congratulations to you both, and I hope you can come to a workable decision that is comfortable for YOU on your wedding day.


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#27092 - 03/08/05 02:06 AM Re: It's been over 7 years... (advice needed)
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1796
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.
I’ve been thinking about this one and I may have been wrong.

You are starting a new life, and something to ask yourself is if you want to start this new life with such a big skeleton in the closet.

Now may be the perfect time to disclose to your mother and begin the healing that you really do need to be free of this thing.

I told my wife what happened before we were married, and she knew it wasn’t going to go away and we would have to face it someday, and if you plan to have kids then you are going to need to deal with this before then.

I already messed up one marriage and had a drinking problem (although at the time I didn’t think it was a problem) and as my son edged closer to ten years old things really began to go down hill in our family. All this time, I just thought life really sucked and that I had a kid that was causing trouble. Sure I remembered the abuse happened, but for the life of me I couldn’t understand how that could affect me now.

It turns out it was all me and my abuse. What pushed it to the brink was that my son reached the same age I was when I was abused.

The drinking, the depression, the anger, and yes my son. I was angry that he had a protective family that watched out for him and protected him from sexual predators, took care of him, made sure he did his homework… all these things that I did not have. I found it easier to push him away with my anger because although on one level I was sure I would not “do to him what was done to me” but on another level I had no education on what makes someone a sex offender and had no idea if I was “tainted” in some way that would automatically make me an offender later and if he hated me, then he would stay far enough away from me.

So yes, I understand why you don’t want to bring all this up now, but now may be the time, because you are going into this new life and you don’t want these secrets to follow you. Plus, there are guys here that will never have the chance to face their abuser and I think almost all of them wish they had said something before it was too late.

I’m glad you read that article about disclosing, you are ahead of the game that way, you acknowledge this is causing you some angst and you are dealing with it.

I can’t tell you which road to take regarding the invitation, only you can weigh the options and make that decision. But what I can tell you for sure, without a doubt, is that you will need to deal with the effects of the abuse sooner rather then later because later may be too late to save your marriage.

If you click the bottom quote below, it will take you to my survivor story here on this site. It will sort of show you that life can be better then you ever thought it could… but you have to clean out that closet.


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#27093 - 03/08/05 06:17 AM Re: It's been over 7 years... (advice needed)
Don-NY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/06/02
Posts: 546
Loc: Long Island, NY
vassillios,

First of all, congratulations on your marriage and the fact that your fiancee knows about your past. I wish you the greatest of joy and happinesss.

I have a somewhat different take on your situation, and somewhat different advice. I hope it will be of some help. I realize that some of my questions or ideas below may offend you, and I apologize in advance. I'm just trying to look at all angles; maybe make you think some more.


Quote:
Can I have it both ways?
This is a question that only you can answer. In spite of your statement that you "had forgiven and somewhat forgotten", I don't think you have really done either, certainly not forgotten.

The only way you could have it both ways is to elope, hold the reception as planned, and then have a formal (church?) ceremony on some future anniversary after your uncle has passed.

I'm sorry that your wedding is being marred by all of this, but I see this situation as an opportunity for you to take a stand and to be free of some of the fallout of what your uncle did.

If you forgive, then you forgive, and an inheritance or him witnessing your vows should make no difference.

This seems to me to be an important test or turning point for you. For seven years you have kept this from the family, and only you know why you have done so.

But the result is that they see him as a father figure for you, and I can't help but think that you have been a part of creating that perception, actively or passively.

You must decide whether you have truly forgiven and what that means. Your mention of his will seems significant. Do you think the inheritance is a form of repentance for your uncle, or is it hush money?

If it's repentence, or restitution, and you accept it as such, then why must you punish him by keeping him away? If it's hush money, then is it worth it?

If I were you, I would speak to your uncle privately, and tell him what is going on and why. If you forgive him, tell him so. If he must do something for you, like stay away from your wedding ceremony, in order for you to truly forgive him, then tell him. If you can never really forgive him, then tell him that, and tell him to just stay away.

I personally think that this is not the time to disclose the past to your mother or anyone else. Perhaps a year ago, or a year from now, or ten, but I wouldn't do it now. There is too much going on, and the results and fallout just now could be far worse than any benefit you might gain.

Just talking to your uncle now could have all sorts of results that no one can imagine, especially now that he is ill. You cannot predict how he will act; who he will tell or confess to.

You have tough choices to make, but they will quite possibly define the man you are and the life you will have.

I would choose the truth. Be honest with yourself, and be honest with your uncle. Do you forgive him or not? Why is his presence at the reception OK, but not when you take your vows? What is the money? Is it an apology and a symbol of his guilt and remorse, or is it a payment for silence? Maybe that's the real question you need to ask him.

Everyone else is a secondary player here, even your fiancee, and while you should and obviously are considering them, YOU come first. Be sure you can live with what you decide.

_________________________
If you understand everything, some things are just as they are. If you understand nothing, things are still just as they are.

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#27094 - 03/08/05 03:28 PM Re: It's been over 7 years... (advice needed)
vassillios Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 12
Don-NY,
Your post really hit me hard. I think you are right that I really haven't forgiven nor forgotten. I have always had somewhat of a hatred for him but I think I have been simply supressing it all these years so as not to deal with it. I feel like I'm being selfish because I am not really considering him in all this. I don't want others to know because of my fear of embarrassment and humiliation. I feel like less of a person because I allowed it to happen. My fiancé keeps telling me that I shouldn't be the one who's embarrassed because it wasn't my fault but I still feel partially to blame for it. Although,I feel like I have a right to be selfish. I feel like I've earned it somehow and that he doesn't deserve the decency I would show to other human beings. I was selfish in not telling anyone up to this point. I assumed that I could get more out of him that way. Who's to say what his punishment should be?

I do think agree with you that this isn't the right time to bring it up, although it's a bit confusing since this is the situation that brought it up. I think that there should be a greater reason to it than just getting my way for my wedding. After reading some of the comments and aricles on this board I feel like I need to do more. I feel like I should express my feelings to him and hopefully release myself from this burden.

The thing that really got me was when you said:
Quote:
But the result is that they see him as a father figure for you, and I can't help but think that you have been a part of creating that perception, actively or passively.
I do see that my actions and inactions have caused this over the years. The fact that I pretended to forgive him when I never really did is why I am in this mess now. Everyone thinks that everything is ok with us, including him. Only I know that it's not. Now that something important and special has come up, I don't want to pretend anymore. All my feelings are starting to rise back up and I don't want him to be a part of my special day, my new life. And this is where I am torn between feeling selfish or dignified. Am I being selfish or do I deserve to get what I want?

_________________________
sleep... tune out...
its not my fault you cant
tune out
your thoughts turn cold to me
and i cannot get out from here
but I will get out
you'll see
it'll be a wonderful day
when i get out of here
it'll be a wonderful day

Top
#27095 - 03/10/05 03:47 AM Re: It's been over 7 years... (advice needed)
Don-NY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/06/02
Posts: 546
Loc: Long Island, NY
Vassillios,

I've tried to answer you several times. I'm a bit afraid of saying the wrong thing or giving advice that isn't really good for you and might cause you to do something that you regret.

BUt I do want to help. That's why I asked the questions I did. I worry that what is happening now is just the beginning of a huge sh*it storm for you, and I don't want to make things worse.

I can tell from your words that you're an intelligent and decent man, and I give you a lot of credit for surviving so well as you have.

I think about what I would do in your situation, and then I wonder, "Sure, that takes care of the wedding, but what about Easter, or the 4th of July, or grandma's Birthday?"

I'm afraid this is just the beginning of this mess for you, but if you ignore everything else I say, remember this: THIS ISN'T YOUR MESS, IT IS HIS MESS. HE ABUSED A CHILD. IT'S HIS FAULT, HIS SIN, HIS MESS. NEVER YOURS.

And whatever happens, Vassillios, you have the control now over what will happen and when. Not him, not me or anyone else who advises you, You have the control.

So, after saying all that, I'm going to tack on my latest reply to you below. I wish you well, and I hope that what I say helps you, but I have faith that you will do the right thing - for you and for those you love.

Remember that we're always here and will try our best to help you any way we can.

Donald

-----------------------------------------------------

Vas,

Your reply to me makes what you are feeling and thinking much clearer. And it tells me much more about

It’s your wedding, your new life, your future. This is an important event in anyone's life and again, I am sorry that it has brought this all up to a boil. Just remember that big events, even happy ones like marriage, create a lot of stress and feelings can be magnified and blown out of proportion.

It's a sh*t-storm, in plain english, but you have the control here, and I think that you can and will do the right thing to keep it under control. Remember that, above anything else anyone says to you; YOU have the control over what will happen and when.

You are not being selfish. You are being self-protective, self-caring, self-asserting, and you are taking control of your self, your life, and your future.

And I don't think you were being selfish when you were younger. It was self-protection again, and I think you did a damn fine job. What you did was survive this, and it sounds to me that you managed very well.

Whatever you thought when you were younger, whatever you imagined or told yourself, was good and right at that time, for the boy and teen you were. Were you selfish then, trying to see how much you could get from him? Maybe. But you were a boy, and those were a boy's thoughts.

Now you are a man, and it seems to be time to do things differently. You are getting married soon, and that in itself is a great triumph over what he did.

What HE did. You asked, "Who's to say what his punishment should be?" There are answers to that in both the Law and the Bible, but I don't sense that you are looking to really harm him. This does not mean there are no earthly consequences. Missing an important family celebration like your wedding, because of HIS OWN ACTIONS, might be just the right thing.

You said you feel like less of a person because you allowed it to happen. Sorry, V., that's just wrong. You were a boy, a 14 year old boy whose parents had just divorced and whose life was in a lot of change and maybe chaos. Not to mention all the confusion that just being 14 creates.

It doesn't matter what you thought or felt or talked to him about back then. He was wrong. He was an adult who abused a child. And being an alcoholic is no excuse either, even if he was falling down drunk. He was at fault. He is to blame. He should be embarrassed. He should feel humiliation. He abused a child.

I can't say this strongly enough. It was never your fault. You are not partly to blame. You are not to blame AT ALL.

I understand the feelings you have - the fear of embarrassment and humiliation, and this is one reason I said before that this is probably not the time to "go public" with this within your family.

That does not mean that you must keep quiet and just let things go on as if nothing happened. You could do that, if that is your choice, but from what you said I don't think that's what you want.

You are right again when you say there should be a greater reason than just getting your way for your wedding. There is a greater reason; what he did. You have every right to tell him you don't want him there and why. I would feel the same way, and I'll bet anyone else here would too.

But, I think you can do this without being mean, without having to let everyone know; keeping your dignity and self-respect and control.

I would go to him in private, and I would make a point to not use the word "uncle". Unless you never use it now, then I would use it very sarcastically.

So if his name is Tom, I would say something like this, "Tom, I have never forgotten what you did to me seven years ago. I said nothing because I was a child. Now I am a man, and I am saying this. I do not want you at my wedding. I do not want to see or hear from you that day. Make an excuse, be sick, be tired, I don't care, but don't be there. If you tell anyone that I asked you not to come, and they ask me about it, I will tell them everything."

Vas, that's what I would do. I would hope for the best, that he just stays away, but I would be prepared for anything that might happen. I don't know your uncle, if he still drinks, what he might do or say, but it will be his doing, his actions, not yours.

That's my advice. It is what I would do. It may be terrible advice for you. Discuss it with your fiancée. From what you say, she sounds wise and intelligent, as do you.

There is something else very important I must say. It's about the quote from me.

Quote:
But the result is that they see him as a father figure for you, and I can't help but
think that you have been a part of creating that perception, actively or passively.
That was not an accusation, or saying that you caused this or are partly to blame for this, or even that there is any blame. Your actions and inactions over the years were actually very noble, wise, and effective Survival mechanisms. You are obviously intelligent and well educated. I'm willing to bet that you've never been in serious trouble, and you're a fine, decent man.

Pretending or thinking you forgave him IS NOT why you feel you are in a mess. That allowed you to get by and to grow into the man you are now. What HE did caused this mess, and you are going to clean it from you by dumping it back on him. It's his mess, not yours. It was never yours.

All these years you have been selfless, sacrificing, hiding HIS secrets and HIS actions- HIS MESS.

Now you are being self-aware, self-protective, and self-assertive. And you do deserve to get what you want, Vasillios, you absolutely do, especially in this situation.

Now promise us, whatever you do, it will be because it is right for you and the people you love. Ask for other opinions if you want them or need them. If it gets too overwhelming, maybe there is a clergyman or doctor you can trust and talk to?

Let us know, after the wedding, how wonderful that day was.

And come back here anytime, ask us anything, just rant and rave if you want to. As I said before, dealing with this can be a huge sh*t-storm, and the understanding and support you get here is amazing.


I do hope this is the worst thing you have to deal with for a long, long time, but if it isn't, we'll be here.

Donald

_________________________
If you understand everything, some things are just as they are. If you understand nothing, things are still just as they are.

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