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#279109 - 03/11/09 08:17 PM Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers
Jim1961 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1125
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Newbie here. MS is a wonderful site. Thanks for all your encouragement!

I searched for "Ordinary People" on MS and someone mentioned it here back in August. Sorry to repeat a movie already discussed, but it has special meaning to me.

The movie came out in 1980, at a time when I was particularly self-destructive (age 19). I happened to watch it on HBO back then, and wow was it powerful. I cried very deeply during several parts. It had a positive effect on me.

I rented it a few times later (mid 80s). During times when I needed a "good cry". Two days ago (age 47) I downloaded it and watched again. Same reaction, but tried to understand what was so powerful. I'm sure that there are multiple levels (layers) that it hits, but one scene (the one I cry the most) made me realize something.

The story (spoiler alert!!!) is about the effects on a family after the first born son dies in a boating accident (the younger son, Conrad, survives). Conrad (wonderfully played by Timothy Hutton) attempts suicide after, is hospitalized at in a psychiatric ward and then released to go back home. This is when the movie starts.

The story deals with his relationship to mom and dad (and his friends too). Lots of stuff here, but the fantastic part of the story to me is his interaction with his therapist (Dr Berger, played by Judd Hirsch).

Near the end, Conrad feels very sad about the loss of his brother and he says "you just make one mistake and..." to which Dr Berger says, "and what was the one mistake you made? You know!" and "Let yourself off the hook!"

Conrad's answer "I stayed with the boat." He survived...

Is that why I get so tearful watching that scene? Is it because doing what I had to do to survive was my only "mistake"? Maybe something even deeper, not sure. But boy 25+ years later it still hits me hard.

God bless,
Jim

_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#279235 - 03/12/09 07:51 PM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: Jim1961]
Logan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 1205
Loc: NY
hey jim

I also thought it was a great movie and it was a great book too.

Logan

_________________________
"Terrible thing to live in Fear"-Shawshank Redemption
WOR Alumnus Hope Springs 2009
"Quite a thing to live in fear, this is what is means to be a slave"
-Blade Runner

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#279238 - 03/12/09 07:59 PM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: Logan]
Jim1961 Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1125
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Thanks Logan. I haven't read the book. Thanks for the suggestion.
Jim

_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#279308 - 03/13/09 08:42 AM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: Jim1961]
Geeders Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/03/08
Posts: 1901
Loc: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
I really disliked the move myself. Not for the reasons you have stated Jim but for the inability of the parents to feel anything toward Conrad. It strikes for me, more than a few bells in terms of my own parents, and their ability to connect with me when less than happy feelings are involved. Still a work in progress.

However, that rendition of the Canon in the opening frames of the movie has stuck with me ever since I first heard it. Those harmonies and strong voices conveyed a level comfort with who they were. Strong, heartfelt emotion, feeling the music, not just singing and belting it out.

Welcome to MS Jim. You are among the best of friends here.

Jim

_________________________
My name is Jim
WoR Mysthaven 2008, Level 2 WoR Alta 2009, Kirkridge 2010, 2011, Oprah 200 men

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#279311 - 03/13/09 09:02 AM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: Geeders]
Jim1961 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1125
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Yeah, I had reactions to the parents as well. I wished my dad was like Sutherland at the end... MTM was amazing as the ice cold mother.

I forgot to post Dr Berger's response after Conrad says that his mistake was staying with the boat, "Now you can live with that, can't you?' Very powerful to me as well.

I also really liked Canon at the beginning. I didn't know what it was back then (was a rocker). Coincidentally, my son is very musical (he's 15) and plays Canon on Viola, piano, synth and electric guitar.

Jim

_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#280305 - 03/21/09 03:52 PM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: Jim1961]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Jim1961
Yeah, I had reactions to the parents as well. I wished my dad was like Sutherland at the end... MTM was amazing as the ice cold mother.


After reading this thread I ordered Ordinary People from Netflix. The dvd movie has some real therapeutic merits.

It helped me a lot because I saw reinacted the dynamics of part of my own family of origin.

The mother is highly narcissistic. She is beautiful and she knows it. She needs to be wanted and desired and even worshipped by all around her. In the movie, she married because the guy loved her appearance and would fall at her feet to marry her. They had 2 boys.

The narcissistic mother with 2 children often will make one of the children the prince and the other the pauper. Everything the pauper child does is to magnify the prince child. This turns the prince child into a very selfish child.

The narcissistic mother is cruel. The pauper child is subjected to continual verbal jabs and punches and corrections. Some of these are very subtle and some are very direct. Nothing he does is right. He starts feeling like scum. In the movie, the pauper child felt responsible for his brother's accidental death and felt he should have been the one who died instead of the prince child.


This is what happened in my family. My mother was the queen. My older sister was the princess and she was the exalted one. I was the impoverished one. The pauper child is highly susceptible to abuse, either by the prince child or by someone else. In my case it was outside the family. It was almost as if it HAD to be that way to satisfy the family dynamics. He feels he deserved to be abused because he is the pauper child.

In the movie, the pauper child survived into his late teens. He was being seen by a good T, who really broke through his mental construct of himself and helped him start to understand who he really was. This was even true in my case. I will spare the details but because of abuse in and out of my home I developed a fairly severe speech problem. I was sent by the school social worker for speech therapy and then for psychological therapy after it became evident that my vocal cords were normal. Several years later the first book on child abuse published in North America came out of the milieu of my therapist's group.

Allen

pufferfish whistle

Check out some of these references if you had a narcissistic mother:

http://www.geocities.com/zpg1957/narcissists.htm

http://www.halcyon.com/mashmun/npd/six.html

http://holywatersalt.blogspot.com/2008/04/narcissistic-mothers.html


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#283237 - 04/11/09 09:35 AM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: pufferfish]
Jim1961 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1125
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Allen,
Very interesting analysis. I never picked up on that (prince/pauper), perhaps because my family structure was so different.

Anyway, the movie has a powerful effect on me. My T gave me homework to write about how and why it effects me (especially the "one mistake" scene). I gave it a lot of thought yesterday and wrote it down last night in my journal.

I think that the boat accident represents my life falling apart (dad leaving, mom drinking, neglect, CSA) and the death of "who I was supposed to be". Buck (who died) was confident, outgoing, popular, athletic and loved. Conrad (who survived) was sensitive, cautious, self-conscious, self-degrading (felt inferior/worthless and a coward) and ultimately suicidal.

I feel great sadness (cry) because I lost my Buck. I could not protect him, so feel guilty that he died. Maybe angry that I let him die. My one mistake? Having to kill him to survive...
Wow lots to work on with the T here.

I'm wondering if you guys have felt that way to, like part of you died? Were you able to resurrect that part of you? Is it possible?

Thanks and Happy Easter,

Jim




Edited by Jim1961 (04/11/09 10:33 AM)
Edit Reason: added more detail
_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#283253 - 04/11/09 01:06 PM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: Jim1961]
Geeders Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/03/08
Posts: 1901
Loc: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
"Every time a man disclosed to me that he had been sexually abused or assaulted, I started to die inside. A little piece of me just died every time a man said to me what I could not say to myself, or anyone else."

From Pg. 32 of this months newsletter.

The answer to your question Jim, for me, is a resounding YES!

Jim

_________________________
My name is Jim
WoR Mysthaven 2008, Level 2 WoR Alta 2009, Kirkridge 2010, 2011, Oprah 200 men

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#283264 - 04/11/09 02:20 PM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: Geeders]
GeorgeMartin Offline


Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 189
Loc: USA
Oh my gosh, I watched this film when I was in the Army Hospital in Fort Lee, VA on one of them hospital bed televisions late one night. I had blackouts, was suicidal, and didn't know what the hell was going on with me. I felt like I was humpty dumpty and didn't know how to put myself together again. But I remember this movie. Timothy Hutton was such a "nice boy". I found I cut my arms in an apparent suicide attempt which is why I was in the hospital in the first place. The movie, was quite well done for its time. Haven't seen it again since but maybe I will try to find it again and watch now that I am twenty two years older since I was in that hospital.


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#283304 - 04/11/09 06:19 PM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: GeorgeMartin]
Jim1961 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1125
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Doug,
Thanks for the feedback! Please use caution though because it is very intense emotionally and likely has many triggers.

Happy Easter,
Jim

_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#331342 - 05/20/10 06:56 PM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: Jim1961]
GeorgeMartin Offline


Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 189
Loc: USA
Another movie is "I Know My First Name Is Steven".


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#331405 - 05/21/10 01:17 AM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: GeorgeMartin]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: GeorgeMartin
Another movie is "I Know My First Name Is Steven".


Yes, that movie helped me personally. It seemed to validate the very different kind of kidnap experience I had.

Allen

pufferfish


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#331407 - 05/21/10 01:36 AM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: pufferfish]
catfish86 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Ohio
Ditto on that. My mom tried to send me to bed when it aired but I went upstairs and watched it in the bedroom with the volume low. It was only about 4 or 5 years after my kidnapping and it riveted me for some then unknown reason. I had suppressed everything. When the flood of memories started, I had a lot of understanding by reading summaries of that story. I had seen Ordinary People some time ago, I may rewatch it but I am finding I need to be much more careful about triggers.

_________________________
God grant me
The Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

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#405282 - 07/30/12 08:57 AM Re: Ordinary People (Movie 1980) - spoilers [Re: Jim1961]
une.vie.d.espoir Offline


Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 106
Loc: Quebec-Canada
Hi Jim,

I would like to share whit you and be a little part of your life, in no way I impose on you. I just stumble on here (Ms) and read a part of your life the one you mention about the film “Ordinary People”. I am French speaking so please don’t look at my spelling ok. But if you don’t understand fell at ease to ask me and I will do my best as for you you understand me ok.

In no way I want to make you upset and you be trigger about things. Yes I had to look around the meaning of the word “triggers”. I would hum well I would like to share what did append in my life if in a way it can help you. See I was abuse (sexually) by my dad from age 10 to 15. I knew something was not normal and at age 15 I got real mad at my dad and told him to stop abusing me. 15 Days after that he committed suicide.
(
Conrad feels very sad about the loss of his brother and he says "you just make one mistake and..." to which Dr Berger says, "And what was the one mistake you made? You know!" and "Let yourself off the hook!"

Conrad's answer "I stayed with the boat." He survived...

Is that why I get so tearful watching that scene? Is it because doing what I had to do to survive was my only "mistake"? Maybe something even deeper, not sure. But boy 25+ years later it still hits me hard.

As of today I know I did not do a mistake. I really did love my dad and I still do Jim. I really understand what you are saying. We stay behind and watch life as if we were the responsible ones. How did I got better is that I have just finish a therapy whit a wonderful and bright therapist, is name is Denis. He brought me to my feelings wen I found my dad dead by gas poisoning in his garage. My therapy sessions were an hour, but that day I cry out all the hurt, the rage for 2 hours.
Today I understand what really happened when I found my dad dead by suicide. It is this way I understood there were no mistake.

Affectingly,

Jean-Pierre

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