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#351569 - 01/22/11 01:11 PM Feeling rage, still protecting my family
Awake at Last Offline


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 77
Loc: Chicago Land
Yesterday while listening to a story on the radio (more on that in a minute) I felt rage at my abuser (older cousin) for the first time. I wanted to do him serious physical harm and felt rage surging for several minutes. I also learned why this feeling is blocked. I am still protecting my mother from knowing about the abuse by her brother's kids.

I was listening to a story on this week's "This American Life," which runs on public radio. There was a twenty-three minute survivor story, the longest segment on a show called "Slow to React." It was called Act 1: "When I grow up." It played yesterday and will reply today on many public radio stations. After Sunday night you can download an MP3 or get it as a podcast. The show has a website (thisamericanlife.org).

Anyway the guy on the radio was thinking seriously about confronting his perp (an older teenage friend of the family who raped him when he was seven)and doing him harm. He was held back because he didn't want his family to learn about his abuse. Then in the radio story his parents learned and he didn't need to keep the secret anymore.

As soon as the story reached that point I felt serious rage at my cousin sweeping over me, as if I didn't need to protect my family anymore.

I often wondered why I didn't feel anger at my cousins. Intellectually, I could have told you I was protecting my mother and didn't want to get involved with all this family stuff. I have distanced myself for years, without cutting off ties. This was different. It went deeper.

My father was the one who came to get me after I was raped and the only one who knew about it. He told me two things at that point.1) Never tell anyone: it will ruin your life. 2) You can't tell your mother: it will destroy her.

I tossed out command number one some time ago. I am still obeying command number two. (Background: my mother was/is bipolar. She was in the hospital when I was raped.) I guess I still believe that my mother can't handle this and it won't do any good to tell an eighty-six year old this now.

I now know my cousins will hear from me when I don't have to protect my mother anymore. I have no interest in protecting them.

I also recommend you check out this week's "This American Life." This is a big deal for male survivors. OK not Oprah, but still big.
Jim


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#351590 - 01/22/11 04:22 PM Re: Feeling rage, still protecting my family [Re: Awake at Last]
RecoveryReady1 Offline


Registered: 12/05/10
Posts: 433
Hello Jim, I always get a strong reaction to storied where it becomes apparent that we are protecting people at our expense.
I know that I was trained to stuff any feeling I had even before the cas....I felt tremedous guilt that I would burden my mother...my father was a saddist and would use anything to harm you more......all the children were frozen...no ability to express anything......I remember the actor..I saw on Oprah the black actor who told his story.....When asked why come forward now, in your 40's....he said his mother had recently died and he no longer felt the need to protect her......That really seems to be the biggest issue around this abuse is protecting others......at our own expense of course....Thanks for your post.


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#351601 - 01/22/11 07:12 PM Re: Feeling rage, still protecting my family [Re: Awake at Last]
tommyb Offline


Registered: 11/29/10
Posts: 361
Loc: American South
__________


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#351606 - 01/22/11 09:04 PM Re: Feeling rage, still protecting my family [Re: tommyb]
Awake at Last Offline


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 77
Loc: Chicago Land
Thanks RR and tommyb,
RR, I think many of us are protecting others: a sacrifice that adds to our burden but gives it meaning, even if its not always good. Even when you are distancing yourself from the family, they are with you.

tommyb, whether my Dad was a good guy or not is a good question. He died when I was twenty (now 57) and took our secret with him to the grave. I think he did the best he could back then (1959), but his code of silence was absolute. After that one talk we never talked about it again.

Since I have been numbing my feelings toward my cousins I guess feeling the anger was a good thing.
Jim


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#351668 - 01/23/11 02:23 PM Re: Feeling rage, still protecting my family [Re: Awake at Last]
RecoveryReady1 Offline


Registered: 12/05/10
Posts: 433
"Even when you are distancing yourself from the family, they are with you." Yes! so true.


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