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#35331 - 11/06/04 02:58 PM How about ASKING for what I want?
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
After listening to me bemoaning the lack of support and empathy from a couple of my family members recently, my therapist gently asked me how had I presented my dilemna (the one that I wanted support and empathy for)?

I replied that I had sort of hinted that I might be having some sort of serious problem and then waited for their reaction.

My therapist is great. He asked me to consider what it would be like for me to actually TELL people what it is I am looking for....trust, support, sympathy etc. instead of just laying myself open before them for whatever they choose to put on me.

Wow, what a simple way to do things. Mind-reading has never been one of my fortes--my family has no skill in that whatever either.

So maybe if I told them, "Look, I'm having some financial troubles right now and I need some moral support.", then they could either support me or just keep their mouths shut.

In this and many other ways, I see how I continue to act like a VICTIM rather than an adult survivor. As a victim I simply take whatever anyone chooses to dish out--then I can be all hurt and offended and go off and bitch and whine about how nobody understands etc. etc. ad nauseaum.

If I state my needs upfront and then don't receive what I want, I haven't made an open ended request that involves clairvoyancy and other difficult ways of communicating \:\) .

I've noticed since that exchange with my therapist how hard it is to stop the seemingly automatic shift into the victim approach to human relations--it's a bad habit I have to put myself in a position of having to simply 'take' whatever comes my way, when in fact I'm perfectly capable of stating my needs and going about the business of getting them met.

I suspect it could be that it requires more work for me to first figure out what I need; then clearly enunciate them and then exercise my part of responsibility in the relationship to see that they get met.

It's more painful, but oh so much easier to play the victim card. It's my trump card and I have relied on it so many times. Even though it doesn't bring me what I want or need, it's easy and familiar.

After a while of asking for what I need during the last week, it has become clearer to me exactly who and what willing to help me out; and those people and situations that were just more trouble on the way.

For example, presenting my confusion and sadness about the financial state of affairs current in my life to my family only adds fuel to the fire of worry, because they have so many financial issues themselves.

Instead I consulted an attorney who specializes in these matters actually two attorneys (free of charge), who were able to answer my questions and allay my fears in a way that was detached and professional.

For the emotional support, I have my therapist, my sponsors and people like the guys here.

Recovering from the long term effects of sexual abuse is a lot easier when I get out of the way and quit repeating old behavior and expecting new results.

I hope I continue to be more specific about what I need from life and the people in it. And that I continue to exercise MY responsibility instead of bitching and moaning about the people in my life who continue to disappoint me.

I mean the first time, OK, that's expected. But when I go back time and time again to try my ESP to get the same people to give me the same things I need, without me even giving them a hint of what that might be, then I am clearly the one that is the problem.

The old ways worked, sort of, for a long while. Then they stopped working, but I kept using them anyway.

Now I hope I'm ready to develop some new skills that will lead me to greater fulfilment and happiness.

Wish me luck...

Thanks,

_________________________
"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

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#35333 - 11/06/04 06:28 PM Re: How about ASKING for what I want?
onlyakid Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 1536
Loc: New Jersey
Marc,
You post showed me how I have been playing the victim. Right now I'm big on why did it happen to me, and I don't deserve this, look at all the other kids out there who don't go thru this. It started me thinking on how maybe I didn't have any reason to move out because I was just playing the victim by not doing the things I need to do like search for a job, go back to school, etc. However I've come to the conclusion that moving out still is the right thing to do because my mother just doesn't understand how I need to take small steps to get things done. You could say but you haven't told her. Well you're right except for the fact that I know my mother and she isn't patient enough to give me the time I need to accomplish goals.

We get into fights, she makes me unconfortable and when she gets angry she can really say some hurtful things like "No wonder you don't have many friends or a girlfriend, you don't know how to be in a relationship." Well thats constructive, I know exactly what to do now LOL . All that does is get me more depressed and blows my self confidence. It just pushes me further back. Gotta go, I'm at work. More later

_________________________
"Being with people that understand you...Priceless"

"and i don't want the world to see me, cause i don't think that they'd understand"

"You don't know what love is...you just do as your told"

"My life has changed. What you take as a simple thing, is not so simple for me anymore"


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#35334 - 11/06/04 07:01 PM Re: How about ASKING for what I want?
Rustam Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 431
Loc: UK
Good topic! Learning to ask at all does not come easily to me. As a kid I largely gave up asking, seemed easier to pretend to myself that I was self-sufficient. I do ask for support in a vague way, not saying precisely what I want; putting the other person in an impossible position and confirming my own belief that I wont get any help. I tend to minimise what I am talking about as though I have figured it out for myself when really I want someone to hear exactly what I feel and to be properly listened to. We of course need as you say to choose people who are able and willing to offer what we need. It is easy to re-victimise ourselves by trying to get our needs met where it's never going to happen.

I guess as you say it is more work figuring out what we need and then taking the risk that we may or may not get what we want. Expecting others to intuit what we need does leave us in a victim place. Confirmed in the belief that others cannot support us and angry with them for not knowing what’s going on with us, we feel disappointed with those who can be closer to us if we give them the chance.

Thanks for the insight,
Good luck with this,

Rustam.


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#35335 - 11/06/04 07:24 PM Re: How about ASKING for what I want?
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
The eternal victim. We are actually victims for so long, it would seem like an old friend parting to let it go. We were victims then, we than progress on a course of covering it up, and just trying to lead a normal life. We victimise ourselves, every step of the way, through concealement and denial.

It is sometimes hard to say what you really are thinking, even in here, when you know so many are hurt. Truth is though, if we don't then we carry on concealing it, and not dealing with it.

We all need to know one thing, and that is, we are all survivors. We can only go on, by thinking how strong we must have been, and how strong we are to get here.

If I think about it, I feel like I have lived an adrenalin trip, all of my life. Always feeling edgy and tired!

My own thinking, and that of others both here, and in the books I read, is that we need to nurture the inner child. Make him better, do mad things like the inner child would do. Let him play, and watch how you grow as the child feels safer.

I know for instance, how my inner child felt so unsafe in the World, he would be vigilant in every situation. He would hide away from any danger, or take flight.

This vigilance carries well on into adulthood where it is not needed, but it shows that my inner child is still afraid. This is something I am working on.

He craves love and affection, a lot of which was devoid in his childhood. I will give him that, and all the other things he should have had.

take care,

ste

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

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#35336 - 11/08/04 01:14 PM Re: How about ASKING for what I want?
phoster Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/21/03
Posts: 758
Loc: ohio
it sounds easy, speaking up and asking for your wants and needs, but trust me, it is very hard. for me, one who always ran from confrontations and hid his feelings, beginning to ask for what i wanted and needed was very hard. i knew i needed to do it, but actually pulling it off was the difficult part. slowly, i have done better, and it does give you a lot of relief, or it did me. instead of carrying all this around inside, i was able to voice my opinions. that really set me free in a lot of ways. even if i didnt get what i wanted, at least i felt heard and didnt have to carry it around inside. it works, if you can force yourself to do it.

_________________________
compassion is a light even to the darkest soul

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#35337 - 11/08/04 01:29 PM Re: How about ASKING for what I want?
Malidin41 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 140
Loc: Utah
Hello my friend,

I know exactly what you are going through. I have struggled quite alot with telling people what I need and always get left behind because I do not. I have talked with my T about this issue and he has told me to instead of puting others before myself to put myself first and then others. It is hard to do this but I have been working on this for awile now and in time it gets easier and easier. I wish all the besgt of luck and know that if you continue on voculizing what you need and want it will become easier just like it has for me. I am still working on this issue and am still trying to let people know what I need but it is easier now than it was a year ago. Please let us know how it goes.

_________________________
Mother of the kingdom of silence I have obeyed you long enough!!!

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#35338 - 11/10/04 06:59 PM Re: How about ASKING for what I want?
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
Thanks for the input and the support, everyone.

I'm facing financial bankruptcy, which will mean losing all my assets, with the exception of my home (which is not paid for) and my truck (which is also not paid for).

Needless to say, this is a pretty big chunk of reality to swallow and digest.

I'm particularly sad to lose my business selling tulips, especially the little piece of land that I have been working.

I'm about to cry sitting here thinking about it.

Almost three years of illness, medical expenses, unemployment, start up costs of my business and a very consuming bout of severe depression have combined to leave me exhausted.

So much of this is directly related to the sexual abuse and my struggle to recover from its effects.

I don't have the energy to relate the details.

One thing though that keeps coming back to me is how my security is tied up with the experience of being abused.

I left my mothers home at the age of 15 to escape physical abuse and violence from my step-father and went straight into the hands of a 55 year old religious figure who sexually abused me.

He gave me shelter, food and what passed for love. In return he used me sexually.

The feelings of shame and fear coming up now as I face the greatest moment of financial instability and insecurity of my adult life are washing over me like the waves of an angry ocean, threatening to swamp this little boat of my life.

I have spent all my money--twenty-five thousand dollars in out of pocket medical expenses in the last two years alone--, I have sold all my property except the tulip farm, I have spent all my retirement, I have been declared disabled and so now will receive less than $1,000 monthly to live on.

I feel scared, I feel sad, I feel alone. Worst of all, I feel ashamed, as if I have wrecked my own life.

What I'm asking for today is for you to listen with an understanding ear and a loving heart.

Whatever faith you have, please let me use it for a while. Right now, it doesn't feel like I have enough.

It feels like this burden is too much.

No advice please. And I don't need any second guessing, I get that from my family of origin and it makes me feel like shit.

My depression makes it hard for me to really feel and express my emotions. Writing this to you and asking you all for your love and support has put me more in touch with my sadness and my grief.

A part of my life is ending, not in the way I had hoped. The new life of my future is not yet visible and the void frightens me.

It is into this void that the abusers have come.

Of the void, I am truly afraid.

My truck is in the shop, so I'm homebound today. Which is probably good since I tend to run around and stay 'busy' so as not to have to stop and feel what I'm experiencing.

I adopted three little kittens a few weeks ago. Two of them disappeared. A neighbor says that there is a coyote in the neighborhood preying on pets.

The third kitten had mange and I was treating her for that. Suddenly she appeared, staggering and mewling. I brought her in the house and petted her and made her comfortable. When I woke up in the morning, her body was cold and stiff. She had died in the night. I haven't been able to cry for her or her siblings yet either. I'm carrying around a lot of grief.

My thought was that I had given her love and comfort in her distress. She didn't die unloved.

Perhaps that is my greatest fear after all.

I want to apologize for this post--but I won't.

Instead I'll hope that you understand.

I must continue to recover from the effects of the sexual abuse, or it will kill me. But sometimes it is so hard to go on, the path seems so painful.

A fellow survivor,

_________________________
"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

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#35339 - 11/10/04 07:44 PM Re: How about ASKING for what I want?
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Danny: Here is a great big dose of Love!!!!!!

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#35340 - 11/10/04 10:36 PM Re: How about ASKING for what I want?
lostcowboy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 796
Loc: North Texas
Hi Danny, They say it is blackest before the dawn! May you have a Glorious Sunrise!

My blackest day came in December of 1998. I had just won the battle, of winning my disability case in November. But in December I lost the war, the VA had to foreclose on my house. I had to borrow money from my brother, and moved back to Texas. I stayed with my sister for six months, then got a 17 year old trailer. I am getting more money than you, I also get some from the navy, but things are still tight.

About your business selling tulips. If it is making a profit it may be worth the effort to save it. In every big city there is a group of retired business men called SCORE they give out free advice. It may be possible to change how the laws look at your business. Right now your personal bankruptcy probably will take the business. But I think you can change how the business is set up so that your personal bankruptcy will not take the business away. Check with SCORE, a business lawyer and a bankruptcy lawyer. Let me know what you find out!

I thought my first post would be about me, turns out I was wrong.
One day perhaps?

_________________________
"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend." - Albert Camus
Pretty much my life as I have posted so far. Triggers!

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#35341 - 11/10/04 11:09 PM Re: How about ASKING for what I want?
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Danny, no advice but you always have support. I hope things turn out ok for you.

You have had to be so strong in the past! I think it tends to minimalise other problems until they grow out of all proportion.

You are a survivor, you survived, you will survive this. I hope one day we can all discover our dream, of living a comfortable carefree life. Is this not what mankind should be about?

I wish you well,

ste

PS sorry about the kittens, I am sure you did your best for them, but fate rears it's ugly head, and guess what. I bet you blamed yourself for them dying. Not your fault.

Don't fall into the guilt and blame trap.

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

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