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#33024 - 03/28/05 04:08 PM Not my ID
bkeithb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 63
Loc: Milwaukee
Hope all had a blessed Easter Weekend!

As I start this post, I want to again say how grateful I am for having found this discussion board and web site. In only a week I have begun to explore some feelings I haven't thought about for 20 or 30 years. I appreciate you men's insights who have been dealing with this for longer than I. Thank you!

Having said that, I am a bit concerned about going on this journey of discovery & recovery re: SA. Here's my concern. Put simply - I don't want being an "SA Survivor" to become my "identity." I don't want to think of myself primarily by this handle. Yes, I was sexually abused as a child/teen. Are there repurcussions from this? Oh yes! I'm learning more and more about this every day. But is this what has made me ... "me?" Is this horrible event "the" defining event in my life? I hope not!

So, I'm looking for some wisdom and insight here, friends. How does one begin this journey of discovery & recovery without letting it consume oneself ... without it becoming one's "identity?"

_________________________
bkeithb

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#33025 - 03/28/05 04:31 PM Re: Not my ID
theo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1122
keith,
what i have come to understand is that i have embraced this as a badge of honor. not the abuse, good god, NO. but the fact of my survival and the continued refusal to break in the aftermath of the evil of these parasites. it took a while, but i finally embraced an image that had great meaning for me. the song, "eye of the tiger" by the group "survivor" came to help me revise the identity of being a survivor. i am not a label...i am a man who refuses to surrender. that is a survivor. what i have come to embrace is not the perception of being a survivor eeking out a recovery. what i have embraced is what each of has done and continue to do every moment of our recovery. we are champions, keith...that is what a survivor really is.

listen to the song, feel the power of its message...know that you are a champion, keith.

_________________________
journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

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#33026 - 03/28/05 07:20 PM Re: Not my ID
ForeverFighting Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 1058
Loc: New Mexico, USA
If I'd lost a leg in the war, my identity wouldn't be "an old soldier", but still, that wouldn't be a minor part of who I am either. If I'd survived being taken hostage by someone, my identity wouldn't be "former hostage", but if somebody looked at me wrong, I'd probably go the other way.

Being an abuse survivor isn't my identity, but I can't ignore what it's done to me. If I'd had a perfect childhood, that wouldn't be my identity either, but my life would be different. Who we are is made up of where we came from. We can't ignore that, though we often wish we could. And I don't go around telling people off the street, "Hi, I was raped by my uncle. How are you today?" But if I see someone in pain, I can feel for them in a way the average Joe might not be able to.

Abuse has changed me. I don't like what it's done to me, but I go with it. If I can log onto this site and be an abuse survivor for an hour or so and be able to help or support someone else by using my past, then I feel like I've used something horrible for a good purpose. There have been lots of defining events in my life. And I talk about those, too. Unfortunately, the scars of SA are so obvious and ugly, I can't ignore what was done to me, and if I ever want to live a "normal" life without reacting to current events with tools from my past, I have to adopt that injured child as a part of who I am. I lived 30 years denying that I knew the child. I think a few years of adopting him as me is only fair.

As to your last question, this abuse has been bottled up a long time. It may consume you for a while. But it does lighten up. It gets better. The more we talk about it and make it part of our pasts, the less it remains a part of the present. I know it's hard. Hang in there.

_________________________
ForeverFighting

"This search for the truth--it's not for the faint of heart."--Goren on 'Law & Order: CI'
"The former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart."--Isaiah 65:17

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#33027 - 03/28/05 09:00 PM Re: Not my ID
Dan88 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 247
Loc: DC
Keith,
If you're like me, this stuff was consuming and defining your life anyway. Just because for a long time I didn't think about being a survivor, doesn't mean it wasn't consuming my life. It was, but just in ways that I didn't immediately recognize.

Believe me, I can really relate to your desire not to get immersed in all this garbage all over again. If your experience is like mine, it will consume you for a while, but you will get to a point of acceptance. While it's not great to have to accept reality, at least once I came to accept things I could move forward productively. Take care.

Dan


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#33028 - 03/28/05 09:02 PM Re: Not my ID
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
keith,

Identity, or lack of identity, call it what you want.

Before you came here, you must have had so many unanswered questions, and this is the place you found the answers.

If you want to call it your identity, do so, but it signifies all the strength and vigour, that you used, as a child, just to get here.

The mental agony as a child after SA, is unthinkable, and nobody on the outside of it could imagine the strength you used to get through life.

To me today, it has helped me find my inner child, only because I can relate to how I was before the abuse, and how gentle and kind I was.

I use this in my relationships with people I meet, and I have great empathy, for people who have any suffering.

You are already on the path of recovery, I have been in agony in this place with what I have read of others' lives, but there are so many good men here, who have so much insight, is this not what ab**e gives you, the ability to think so deeply, and help others in pain.

take care,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#33029 - 03/29/05 06:26 PM Re: Not my ID
bkeithb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 63
Loc: Milwaukee
Friends, thanks for your replies ... it helped nuance what I'm feeling about wanting to begin dealing with this deeply buried issue of 20-30 yr ago ... but not wanting to be consumed by it or have being an "SA Survivor" become the defining identity of my life.

Theo - love Survivor and "Eye of the Tiger" (I'm a guitarist ;-). I'll listen to it fresh and feel like a champion!

ForeverFighting - you're right, while being SA survivor is not my identity, I cannot ignore it either. IT has changed me. And once I've dealt with it some, I would like to do as you and others do and help others along the journey. I'll "hang in there."

Dan 88 - You're right. I need to move from avoidance/hesitancy to dealing with the SA baggage, and onto accepting it all and then become productive. Good "lay of the land" my friend.

Reality2k4 - Yes, a place of answers! Thanks for the encouragement.

_________________________
bkeithb

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#33030 - 03/29/05 06:58 PM Re: Not my ID
crisispoint Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 2154
Loc: Massachusetts
Bkeith,

I here ya. It ain't MY identity either, but I ain't hiding it either.

I survived. WE survived. I'm Goddamn proud of that. I'm proud of the little boy I was, and I'm proud of the steps (baby and sidestepping ones they may be at times... \:D ) I've taken to get my life back.

I am what I am, and that's part of it. Anyone in the "real world" wants to pass judgment on what happened to me can kiss my trash!

Be proud of who you are. I sure am proud of you.

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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#33031 - 03/29/05 08:13 PM Re: Not my ID
bkeithb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 63
Loc: Milwaukee
Thanks, Scot

I haven't even started to crawl yet along the journey of recovery. But I appreciate your encouragement.

I do feel proud that I've begun the journey. So much hurt, shame, guilt, stuffed emotions, etc. that need to come out. I guess the idea of my post is that, while I want to begin the process, I feel the possibility of being overwhelmed by it all ... consumed by it again. I hesitate to go down that road. But know I must.

Does that make any sense?

_________________________
bkeithb

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#33032 - 03/29/05 08:59 PM Re: Not my ID
healing_inside Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 2005
Keith,

The way I see it inside is that the SA happened to me a long time ago. I had no choice about it. The after effects are a part of my life, but they are not my total life, though sometimes it feels like it.

I have felt out of control throughout my life, but as I go through this painful journey, I have taken small steps to regain control of my life (stand up for myself etc...)

I have taken control of my medications and when my shrink want to up something, I say that I will think about it and consider it. I know what is best because I am living it, not him.

My primary wanted to up my blood pressure meds and I said I want to hold off for one month, because I wanted to try non-med way of controlling it. I started hiking again and my BP dropped 20 points of the top number and dropped 15 points on the lower number.

I will not let the perp. win in my life. I have been damaged so long in my early years that I will not allow myself to be damaged any further.

I have been off work since June because of the SA coming to the surface. I am going back to work (part-time) for awhile.

I have to get back into work, because if I fold like a deck of cards and give up and get to afraid to try then the Perp won again. I WILL NOT ALLOW THE PERP to screw up my work life and the rest of my life.

healing_inside formally Jim's_recovery

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

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

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#33033 - 03/29/05 09:55 PM Re: Not my ID
bkeithb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 63
Loc: Milwaukee
Healing_Inside,

Sure sounds like you are, indeed, healing inside. I like your take charge attitude! Victim no more, eh?

Good for you! \:\)

_________________________
bkeithb

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